My name is Cy Scammell and I live on a small island in the Salish Sea just three miles from the Canadian water border and 25 miles from mainland America. Our island is renowned across the world for the critically endangered subspecies of salmon eating orcas called the Southern Resident Killer Whales (aka SRKW), of which only 73 remain in existence due to a lack of chinook salmon. Snow McCormick and I co-founded the freediving conservation organization PNW Protectors five years ago to help bring light to their plight as well as the nearly extinct wild chinook salmon they depend on. Our multi-award award winning feature film Co-Extinction will be distributed to the public this summer.
All images © 2022 Cy Scammel using a Sony a7R IV
Our goal is to bring awareness, news, and science to the public, help them fall in love with these orcas, and give them action items to help turn the tide for the SRKW. We have seen great success in our endeavors and we are hopeful the biggest objective of all will be achieved this year: The breaching of the Lower Four Snake River Dams that kill over 8 million chinook salmon a year and produce no usable power to the public. These are the very same salmon that would feed the SRKW they need to survive.
When we are not working on conservation efforts, we are still water people first and foremost. Snow swims in the Salish Sea in just a swimsuit every night (temperatures range from 42 degrees in winter and 49 degrees in deep summer) and I try to find time in the waves surfing, taking photographs, or simply going for a stand up paddle along these stunning island fjords. Though our swell window is completely blocked by Vancouver Island to the west, under just the perfect conditions, our little bay can produce some fun rides when conditions line up.
Cy Scammell is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the PNW Protectors, a 501-c3 non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and protecting the Southern Resident Orcas of the Salish Sea. When he's not dedicating his time to PNW Protectors, you can catch him surfing. To support the PNW Protectors and get more info on their feature film, check out their website. Follow Cy's journey on his Instagram @_chopwoodcarrywater_