Jo-Ann Roberts and I were kinda-colleagues for a tick in 2013 when I had the pleasure of joining her in her CBC Radio All Points West studio, which she then inhabited, to share stories of Vancouver Island's natural and adventure richness in a biweekly column called Wild Isle. Invariably, Jo-Ann (and her team) were gracious and supportive of my hack beginnings in radio, but our 10-minute meetups didn't leave time for longer conversation, about coastal connections or otherwise. So it was a pleasant surprise when I ran into her at the launch of Hakai Magazine at their offices overlooking Victoria's Inner Harbour, and stole her away for a few minutes to find out more about her bi-coastal experiences and the effects they've left upon her.
"I lived in Winnipeg, and I lived in Ottawa, and when we came here something instantly fit in the puzzle that is me. It’s what we’re doing right now: I can stand and look out at this ocean and my soul feels it. What the ocean does for me - unlike even other bodies of water - is that it reminds me that we are connected, that this is a powerful force. When you grow up on an ocean you know how powerful it is. And you know you must respect it. It’s so calm out there today that you might ask How can that be powerful? but I know that there are tides that will come in and go out, that there’s a powerful rhythm to the ocean regardless the face it’s presenting. And that connects to my internal rhythm. It reminds me that I am not a standalone piece. I just find such richness in being connected to the ocean, being close enough that I can come down and smell it, and see it. The older I’ve become, the more I realize how intrinsically linked I am to it, and through it that we are to the world around us. I know farmers might say something similar about the land. But I’m not a farmer. It’s the ocean that does it more for me. I am a water person. When you get older you start to know the things that are essential to you and being near the ocean is essential to me. I used to think that PEI was my sacred place, but I’ve discovered that PEI is not my sacred place. The ocean off PEI is not my sacred place. It is the ocean that’s my sacred place. And so I can be there, or here, and be home."