|After 3 years of communicating online, I met Rick in person in 2009.|
I first met Rick online. I could probably dig through the archives of this blog or Malaria, Bedbugs, Sea Lice, and Sunsets to pinpoint a date, but it was sometime around 2006-2007 (Before Facebook was really popular! We were still using Myspace). Back then I mostly wrote about cultural misunderstandings, drinking beer, and the occasional tree planting. Rick, however, was a conservation blogger.
I still don't consider myself a conservation blogger, but Rick was one of the people who inspired me to try. Do you remember Carnival of the Blue? After Mark Powell started it on World Ocean's Day in 2007, Rick was the first non-Mark blogger to host. With Rick's encouragement (or perhaps it was out of jealousy), I was the second.
The stuff you read about Rick this week probably won't focus on his blogging, but that is how I got to know him, one snarky comment at a time. It was only a matter of time before Rick and I started to work together.
We first established real conservation together in 2008 when I was the project manager for the Pew Charitable Trusts campaign to designate the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument. Rick, who at that time was part-conservationist, part-funny dude in San Francisco to me, helped galvanize the global dive community in support of the project.
When we finally met in 2009, the deal was sealed. Rick and I share a love of food, beer, science fiction, comic books, science, and conservation. He was the James to my Barney Stinson. It was apparent to us both we were going to be besties for life.
Since 2010 I have been able to work with Rick on issues of global shark conservation and I am excited that our career paths, as geographically challenged as they have been, allow us to continue working together.
Rick is accepting his award in Orlando on Wednesday. I won't be there to watch, but I suspect he'll be surrounded by colleagues and friends. Here's to you, buddy. Cheers.