Michael Carnegie



Marine wilderness

Beaufort Scale Force 12

Affter studying at Rhodes University (First year B Fine Art) I worked for Unicorn Lines as a navigator, Safmarine Lines as an engineer and then was a marine and navy diver in the SA Navy during national service. During this time I experienced life on the open sea and interactions with marine wildlife.

Photo by Lesley Rochat
Photo by Lesley Rochat

Then after working as a wilderness guide on the Orange River in the Richtersveld I worked as a lifeguard on Durban Beachfront. While working as a lifeguard I began to see the sea as an easily accessible wilderness where one can have the same deep connections with nature that one experiences on a wilderness trail and through these experiences remain conscious of a bigger reality while trying to deal with the complications of the modern world.

Orange River wilderness trail
Durban Beachfront 1 Jan 2002

I met guides from the Wilderness Leadership School and began planning sea kayak outings along the coast into wild areas. Dr Ian Player, founder of the WLS and others involved with the school encouraged me to continue developing a marine wilderness program.

Bottlenose Dolphins -2003 (DSWF - WAY 2008)
Dr Ian Player (Founder of WLS) 2007

While working as an evironmental educator for the Save Our Seas Shark Centre and KELP in Cape Town I developed marine wilderness outings as part of the education programs.

Outings progressed from rock pool lessons at the Shark Centre to outings into Cape Point Reserve which included a hike through a remote stretch of coast, rock pool and kelp life cycle lessons, a kelp forest movie, kelp vuvuzela painting and then a swim in the tidal pool.

Cape Point outings - Gifkommetjie hike
Tidal Pool - Cape Point - Boortjies Rif

Outings were attended by various groups but largely school groups from disadvantaged communities (often people with ties to rural areas and traditional lifestyles) Outings encouraged a love and respect for wild areas and wild animals and respect for traditional cultural values. The experience also demonstrated the importance of having marine wilderness areas for future generations and encouraged people attending to become involved with conservation of our wild areas and wild life.

Painting vuvuzelas - Cape Point
Surf lessons -Isiqalo Muizenberg

Groups from Waves for Change (working with vulnerable youth to provide productive experiences through surfing) attended outings to the reserve and outings along the False Bay Coast linked to surfing lessons.

In 2010 together with the Kommetjie community we arranged a surf shool in memory of Pierre Du Plessis at Muizenberg which included rock pool lessons and a kelp painting exercise.

Surf school in memory of Pierre Du Plessis
Pierre Du Plessis

I was invited to talk at the Global Wave conference 2011 in Biarritz (France) and San Sebastian (Spain) organised by the Surfrider Foundation. My subject was connecting to nature through surfing. This was a good opportunity to meet international conservationists in the surfing world.

In 2012 I began working with the RNLI in Cornwall as a lifeguard during the UK summer months while developing plans to take my work further with international groups.

Global Wave Conference 2011
RNLI Lifeguards 2012

During following years while working for the RNLI I began talks with students and received an enthusiasic response from students wanting to help SA conservation by doing work experiences in SA. I arranged meetings between people in SA and UK involved with student placements.

I spoke at the Global Wave Conference 2015 (Bedruthan's Steps - Cornwall) organised by Surfers Against Sewage. I used opportunities for public speaking to raise support and awareness for conservationists in SA dealing with marine issues and the poaching crisis (especially rhino) unfolding at the time.

David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year 2015
Global Wave Conference 2015
Dr Fowlds (wildlife vet) involved with Chipembere Rhino Foundation (rhino anti-poaching, E Cape, South Africa) recommended working with international students to raise money for anti-poaching. While in the UK I have been raising money and awareness for Chipembere. Donations have been used for anti-poaching work on Kariega Reserve close to the ECape coast.

I have been spending time in Hawaii working on coastal conservation projects linked to the surfing world.

I plan to continue raising money through my art to help conservation projects in SA and continue developing ties with like minded people and organisations through which to help marine wilderness conservation.