Byron Bay | ACTIV8 for the ocean coordinator

I've loved the ocean ever since I was little when my Grandma told me stories of how she used to dive through the waves all day long!  I didn't grow up on the coast but my dad loves to surf so he and mum would take us on beach holidays every year.

I grew up in a tiny village called Old Bonalbo in a beautiful part of northern NSW, right up at the beginning of the Clarence River. Kayaking became a big part of my life and we were lucky to be able to travel all around Australia to do it.

Straight out of high school I worked as a river guide taking school groups on multi - day white water expeditions teaching them how to read the rapids, set up camp, cook outside and the importance of looking after the natural environment. This work, combined with some study at SCU led me to working as a Sea Kayak instructor in Beautiful Byron Bay where I have been for the last five years. I had developed a huge love and respect for the ocean and everything that lives in it! The feeling of complete awe and happiness when a 30 tonne humpback whale glides past 2 metres in front of you, or a bottlenose dolphin dives out of the waves next to you is why I have chosen to make this beautiful area my home...there's nothing better!

After doing a bit of traveling this year, my love for the Australian coast grew even more l, we really do have some of the most pristine environments in the world. I want to do my part to help keep it that way and teach younger generations to respect the ocean as much as I do....that's why I'm here working for Positive Change for Marine Life!

(Emma also makes necklaces from marine debris in her spare time, her fantastic, recycled antique jewellery (from an Elizabethian rubbish dump in Cornwall where she was recently living) is available here with all proceeds going back into our Honour the Ocean marine debris campaign).

Photography © Emma-Kate Williams