Meet Raquelle de Vine, adventurer and head of Agalita South Pacific.

Agalita est. 1999 is a pioneer in education and outreach about plastics pollution.

Raquelle de Vine #AmazingWaterPeople #OceaninaDropNZ

Raquelle de Vine #AmazingWaterPeople #OceaninaDropNZ

Where were you born, and where do you live now?

Takapuna, Aotearoa New Zealand, raised in Matakana, and where I currently reside when not at seaaaa

Where are your favorite waters?

Matakana River, Whangateau Estuary, Hauraki Gulf, Offshore Pacific – The blue waters.

How does water make you feel?

Balanced, refreshed, invigorated, empowered, powerless, inquisitive,

Raquelle de Vine drifting with #OceaninadropNZ #AmazingWaterPeople

Raquelle de Vine for #OceaninadropNZ #AmazingWaterPeople

Would you please share a favourite water memory or two?

As I sit trying to choose, many memories come barreling through and out again, and I ponder which to share as a favourite, they cycle through early days of splashing around with snorkels and friends on the estuary I grew up on, to getting barrelled, rolled & beaten in heavy surf or a river rapid and struggling to the surface for that gasp of air, feeling so invigorated and yet terrified at the same time. Flashes of many days throughout the years spent in rivers, lakes and the ocean floating, splashing, diving, skimming, towing, looking, seeing & jumping with my nearest and dearests.

Then clearer more defined moments of fighting sails flapping in roaring winds while getting soaked as waves crash over me, praying my feet will keep me on deck and onto descending into a dive, with the sense of the unknown looming but the creatures whose world I am entering starting to pass by.

And then .. I get stuck on one: it is a moment, I was floating out in the big blue, watching the small zooplankton and gelatinous creatures float by in the current and sinking beneath that indescribable blue to watch the suns rays shimmer through the surface, out of the corner of my eye a dark quick movement just out of sight had me tense and come to the surface.

Glancing around I check on top and underneath and judge how far I am from the vessel, I start slowly moving myself through the water trying not to make any sharp, fast or sudden movements, all the while looking out and in the water.

There it is again, in the distance, a larger creature dark and quick in its movements but has just dove out of sight. I hold my breath and wait, then I dive too. A female sea lion is just beneath me twirling and twisting in the water, her eyes firmly on mine. I resurface and a hesitant moment later she does too, we dive and twist and turn and play, and float on the surface together while time is lost. This is definitely one of the favourites.

How do you incorporate nature in your life, and the way you make a living?

Some would say it is my office, but it is really just what feels right to me. My background is in Outdoor Education and guiding, so it’s been the buzz of sharing and connecting with others outdoors, while seeing their enjoyment and appreciation for our outdoor spaces grow and develop and enabling others to access them that keeps me going. I have however, deterred a little the past few years into focusing on engagement with the outdoor environment for conservation purposes more specifically, in particular ocean conservation from plastic pollution.

Raquelle de Vine scoping the problem #Agalita #OceaninadropNZ #AmazingWaterPeople

Raquelle de Vine scoping the problem #Agalita #OceaninadropNZ #AmazingWaterPeople

Why do you do what you do?

Cause it feels right. A favourite quote of mine by Robert Swan sums it up pretty well: “the greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it”.

Do you have a side ‘hustle’, a passion project? Do you find it blends nicely with your ‘day job’? Tell us more

Haha well I’m not sure which is my day job nor my side hustle, but they seem to both blend well, lately I dedicate the majority of my time on the development of the South Pacific chapter of Algalita Marine Research and Education, which we have started as a charitable trust based in Aotearoa New Zealand, to focusing on addressing plastic pollution. To sustain myself financially though I work on board our organisation’s Oceanographic Research Vessel and am an independent contractor in the outdoors for education or scientific purposes .

Raquelle de Vine with nurdles for #OceaninaDropNZ #AmazingWaterPeople

Raquelle de Vine with nurdles for #OceaninaDropNZ #AmazingWaterPeople

What happens when you don’t have time for nature?

I never don’t have time for nature, it’s unthinkable to get to that point.

Could you please share a time or experience where you felt lost in the crowd, like a tiny, insignificant drop?

The last few times where I felt lost in a crowd and completely out of my comfort zone, were both in big cities after coming in from sustained periods of relative isolation in the outdoors. Most recently was Downtown San Diego after 53 days at sea with four others.

How did you turn that around, and how did you get back to feeling like you were a whole Ocean in a Drop?

Well, quite specifically breathing is key for me, try to focus on just the people I am with or reason I am there, to not be overwhelmed by all the artificial stimuli, find a quiet place and/or return to an outdoor, wild or open space as soon as possible.

Is there anything bothering you about the whole eco/green/conservation thing at the moment?

People that leverage it to make money, without full consideration of the impact they’re having with the product or service they are providing. We need to live in a more aware and interdependent way where everyone is considerate of their personal responsibility to the role we all play in the biosphere.

What do you find is working? And what change do you hope to see in this lifetime?

People mobilizing people, youth voices being shared and listened to, investment into innovative science and technology that looks at the issues from an interdisciplinary approach and industry and government adopting approaches towards circular economies and zero waste futures.

Is there anything you would love to tell the you from ten years ago?

Take every opportunity presented to you and complete it to it’s fullest!
Believe in your capabilities and follow them through, know your path will twist and turn and there will be choices and compromises along the way but just do what is right for in that moment because you never know what might be ahead. If you are ever lost always go back to the ocean.

Any suggestions for the next drop?

Expanding the interconnectedness of the ocean into where humans fit too, a symbolic visual representation of our place and role within the ocean system, either positively as a predator/regulator or negatively as how we have placed over-demand on its resources

Who would be a good person/ organization to donate merchandise profit portions to?

Algalita Marine Research and Education South Pacific Trust

Where can we find out more about the work you do?

Algalita South Pacific on Facebook and Instagram

Raquelle de Vine reaching out with #OceaninaDrop #AmazingWaterPeople

Raquelle de Vine reaching out with #OceaninaDrop #AmazingWaterPeople

23 September – 21 October 2018: #OceaninaDropNZ colouring competition is now on!

It’s for all ages #kidscolouring #adultscolouring and helps with creativity and mindfulness.

Enjoy some ocean art, and take part to win great prizes perfect for summer beach days!

Download your free copy here.

Ocean in a Drop : A series of illustrations by Candace Loy, with each water drop shape filled with sea life and the life that water supports, of a country or state (e.g., California). The bigger vision is to use portions of profits from the sale of beautiful and unique merchandise, to contribute to local marine, freshwater education, research and conservation initiatives in the region depicted by the drop.

#BlueMind is a movement started by Dr Wallace J Nichols, who is also a successful turtle conservation researcher. He has done collaborations with many people including neuroscientists, to show the positive effects of being around water, on the brain.

Not only is there an increasing number of organizations supporting people in overcoming PTSD and other debilitating circumstances through water-based therapy like surfing and swimming; his message is to encourage as many people to reconnect and strengthen their bonds with water, and be inspired as a result to take care of waters across our blue planet.

Combining neuroscience, honouring emotions and using it to create more beneficial solutions for our planet and the life she supports. Here are some of his talks on neuroconservation.

#OceaninaDrop + share your favourite water memory to inspire others, on Instagram and Facebook, and get featured xo