This Op-Ed reflects the opinions of Gov. Jay Inslee (WA).
My first interaction with an orca whale took place when I was 5 years old. I was fishing on a boat with my dad in the San Juan Islands, a place known for some of the most breathtaking water views in the country. The fog circled our boat like it does most Washington mornings. It was quiet.
Suddenly, an unearthly sound enveloped us—I heard a deep whoosh that sounded like a giant creature breathing. I asked my dad what it was. He said the fog was too dense to tell but he imagined it could be a killer whale.
He was right. The orca started to glide next to our boat. I felt its sound vibrate deeply in my chest and it swam around our boat two or three times. To my delight, I watched its black dorsal fin rise out of the water like an apparition. The fin was almost 6 feet tall. As a young boy, I was impressed—the fin was taller than me.
That was the first time I connected to a life force bigger than myself. When I heard that orca breathe, my reverence for the wild truly began.
Read the full ope-ed on the REI Co-op Journal website.