Meet Tegan Mortimer… a marine biologist from Boston, Massachusetts. She grew up sailing with her family on Rhode Island’s magical Narragansett Bay and later raced one design dinghies for her high school team.
Tegan is a real life ‘whale mamma’ and officially has the best job in the world, leading research and education trips off the shores of Boston. As if that wasn’t enough to make all your wildest dreams come true, Tegan also works at the New England Aquarium, counting Green Sea Turtles and African Penguins amongst her colleagues!
One of T’s highest bucket list dreams is to sail across an Ocean, so it’s a good job she is the first of our Ascension Scientists I’d like to introduce you to. Enjoy diving into the mind of a real wave maker…
Q: What colour is your toothbrush?
Q: If you could teleport where would you go and why?
A: I’d teleport everywhere! Especially to work because I spend way to much time in a car or on a train everyday. I’d also go visit friends that live in faraway places who I don’t get to see often. However, as great as teleporting would be, we’d miss out on all the other places that we get to discover and experience on our way to somewhere else.
Q: Who do you admire the most (dead or alive)?
A: Mary Anning, a 19th century fossil collector. Look her up, she was pretty cool
Q: What’s your top tip for reducing plastic use – what works for you?
A: Carry reusable utensils and straws. I have a spoon that lives in my work bag and reusable straws and some paper ones. This way I can refuse these items when I’m out and about
Q: If you could put just one thing at the top of your bucket list, what would it be?
A: Sailing across an ocean has always been pretty high up there
Q: What’s the most delightful word you can think of?
Q: What’s your biggest fear?
A: That fear will keep me from making my dreams come true
Q: Favourite flavour ice-cream?
Q: Who would be your 4 ultimate dinner party guests (dead or alive)?
A: I actually don’t really like dinner parties so this is a hard one. I really admire Sylvia Earl and would love to quiz her on her success and how she’s stayed passionate for so long. The Pope because he seems like an interesting guy. David Attenborough, no need to explain, and my great grandfather, John Cecil Mortimer. He was a union leader in Leeds and led a very interesting life
Q: Where would you go if you were invisible?
A: to get really good theatre seats!
Q: If you owned your own Yacht, what would you call her?
Q: What have you done that you are most proud of?
A: In 2013 and 2014 I wrote educational material for a sailor’s solo circumnavigation. Over the course of 9 months I wrote 11 “science notes” that covered everything from weather patterns to bird migration and sea bird conservation, to the legacy of “voyages of discovery”. Writing is something that has always daunted me but I was really able to share my passion and interest in the natural world and science and make a real contribution to the expedition from behind my desk
Q: What would your Superhero power be?
Q: What piece of advice have you been given that was most rewarding?
A: I had a teacher that always liked to say “I’m not in the business of training parrots”. It wasn’t so much advice as the idea that you should always create your own opinions and challenge what you’re told.
Q: What’s the most important thing you want to take away from your eXXpedition voyage?
A: On a personal level the courage to face things that seem insurmountable. I haven’t really put a huge amount of thought into what I’m actually going to be doing but I know that it will feel scary at times, and it will feel like I just want to give up and go home but I won’t be able to. I’ll have to find that strength to keep going. It’s important to have those experiences to remember the next time you find yourself against that wall of fear
Q: What’s your favourite marine animal and why?
A: Humpback whales because they’re the animals I study. I’ve spent so much time with them and they are amazing adaptable animals with varying quirky personalities
Q: What’s the one thing that drives you crazy?
A: People who leave the dirty dishwater in the sink and let it go cold and gross
Thanks Tegan, loved your stories of hope and fear and your passion for our planet – so inspiring!
Between her time on the open water and in the deep blue at the Aquarium and her many research studies, Tegan (somehow) manages to find the time to blog. Check out #tegtalkstrash HERE and learn from an expert the far reaching waves that marine conservation is making and the importance of understanding and tackling marine pollution in particular.
If you believe like we do that our research is invaluable to the preservation and healing of our Oceans and Seas then please lend your support and get behind Tegan’s Crowd Funding Campaign to help subsidise her place aboard Sea Dragon.