Over a Coffee with… Paula Thake, Marine Biologist

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Nature is so important and losing the natural land around us will reduce our quality of life and rob future generations of the luxuries we were so lucky to enjoy. My love for the sea came when I snorkelled through the water as a child in Malta so I feel like I need to do our country a favour in return. – Marine Biologist Paula Thake, over a coffee with Corporate Dispatch

Paula how would you describe yourself?

I’m a talkative and restless human being, am driven by my passions and enjoy sharing my happiness with others, particularly with people that I love. I try to get out of my comfort zone as much as possible to learn things that will hopefully broaden my horizon and make me a better person. I suppose that covers it.

What is your professional background?

I graduated with a BSc. in Zoology and an MSc. in Environmental Sciences at the University of Vienna in Austria, a beautiful city full of opportunities but far away from my favourite place, the ocean. So I volunteered and worked in marine-related jobs throughout my studies which included gathering data in a Sea Turtle conservation project in Turkey, working as a tutor in a marine school in Croatia and representing the on-site Marine Biologist at an Eco-Centre in the Indian Ocean. I currently work as a Whale-Watching guide in Madeira, Portugal.

What inspired you to become a marine biologist?

I’ve always felt drawn to the ocean and have dreamt of working as a marine biologist ever since I was a little girl. I remember reading shark books and snorkelling along the reefs in Ghadira with my father and crying every time I saw the Mediterranean disappear from the plane window as I flew back to Vienna. The ocean has always been my pool of beautiful memories, my happy place and my teacher. I feel like all the answers are there in our oceans and seas, where life as we know it began so many millions of years ago.

You are now living and working in Madeira. What took you there?

As I was searching for job opportunities after completing my MSc. degree in 2016, a friend of mine told me that a Whale-Watching company was looking for an English and German-speaking guide for the summer season of 2017. I liked the company’s philosophy and saw that the diversity of marine life occurring around the island was vast. Moreover, the prospect of working out on the ocean every single day and even snorkelling with dolphins was an opportunity I wasn’t going to miss. I was instantly hooked on the job and the life I had that summer in Madeira and did everything in my power to return and continue living it.

What would you list as the most rewarding aspects of your job?

I learn new things about the ocean and the animals I encounter every single day. Working on the field and meeting animals in the wild teaches you humility and gives you a lot of perspective and sharing this with others is very rewarding.

If you had to come back to Malta, what would you see yourself doing?

I would engage myself with all my might in the ongoing fight for our natural environment. Nature is so important and losing the natural land around us will reduce our quality of life and rob future generations of the luxuries we were so lucky to enjoy. My love for the sea came when I snorkelled through the water as a child in Malta so I feel like I need to do our country a favour in return.

Personal questions :

Favourite Quote: “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act” George Orwell

Favourite Colour: Blue

Favourite Song: Currently “Familiar” by Agnes Obel

How do you take your Coffee: Black as the night

James Vella Clark

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