I will start out by saying that the last three and a half weeks were more than a success. Everything that I had sought out to do in capturing the preliminary portion of the vaquita story was executed. Although I did not witness the spectacle of sighting a vaquita, which I did desire but did not expect, my goals were met. Many additional opportunities found their way onto my path and I was able to capture these moments. These unexpected occurrences were well received and offered additional insight to this story as it evolves.
Once I realized that my time in San Felipe was dwindling and that my departure was imminent, I scurried around the area capturing as much additional footage of this beautiful vista as I could. I also was trying to get an idea of what the locals think about this vaquita narrative. Some local women working in a pottery store stated with confidence that the vaquita is extinct. Another vendor selling tourist trinkets believes that vaquita still exist and he solidified this query by extracting his last ceramic vaquita refrigerator magnet, which I immediately purchased. Apparently, the vaquita is somewhat taboo. There is little to no presence of this elusive porpoise in the terra firma. From my public queries, I feel that the vaquita is analogous to the myths of Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, and the Chupacabra. Many of San Felipe’s’ inhabitants and Mexicans outside of this community are either genuinely unaware of the vaquita or are just not concerned with it. It is extremely difficult to create awareness about the vaquita outside of Mexico, when so many within the country are disconnected from this issue. This is the very reason why this film and campaign are relevant and why we must all band together to help the vaquita.
I wrapped up my final hours in San Felipe rewarding myself with local cuisine and the ambient landscape. I tend to avoid eateries that exude foreigners and prefer to engage with the warmth of a native atmosphere. I found this great spot where the pulse was low and the customers were having a deep conversation with their plates. This is my kinda place! This is where time stood still for me and I was able to absorb the essence of San Felipe and its people. This was also a moment of reflection where I thought about the relationships that were made, the conversations that were had, sights that were seen, and the memories that live on.
All of my traveling and filming efforts have taken place during the hectic coordination and operation of our Kickstarter Campaign. Many campaigns typically raise the funding needed before an activity, but in the case of the vaquita, there is no time to wait. This urgency is the reason that we decided to jump right in and start documenting this story and run a fundraiser during this process. I had faith in others that when we launched our campaign they would see the same value and necessity for sharing the vaquita’s story and support our cause. It may not be the brightest approach to take on such a mission, when you know that your funding is limited. I can be stubborn in this way and if I believe in something, I have the confidence that there will be supporters to help us.
I am new to the crowdfunding phenomena, specifically Kickstarter. For those of you that are unfamiliar with how Kickstarter functions, here is what I have learned. The most important thing to remember is that “its all or nothing”. What this means is that if we do not reach our $15K goal, that all the current donations and rewards up until this point are nulled. If our goal is met or exceeded, then we are successful and we will distribute the rewards accordingly, and we then have our seed money to keep this project going. Of course we understand that not everyone can afford to make a substantial donation to this cause – luckily kickstarter is designed for just this type of situation. Equally as important as the overall funding amount, is the number of backers on the project. The more backers we get, the more attention the campaign gets on the platform, which leads to an increase in small pledges. We would much rather reach our goal with a whole lot of small pledges, then with just a handful of large donations.
As of today (June 15) we are at the half way mark before our Kickstarter campaign ends. I cannot stress enough that your help is necessary for this project to move forward and to raise awareness about the struggle to save the vaquita. We cannot do this without your donations. The vaquita cannot help itself, which is why we all need to work together to help the vaquita. Your support thus far has been overwhelming, but for those of you that have yet to make a donation please consider making that pledge and becoming a part of the vaquita’s story.
Visit our kickstarter campaign page here (and share with a friend!): http://kck.st/1RE4upW
Tags: biosphere reserve, CIRVA, extinction, fishermen, gillnets, san felipe, totoaba, totoaba swim bladder, Vaquita