Some personal odds and ends I have learnt about Peggy:
A friend of hers has likened her to a tornado; people tend to get caught up in what she does. This tornado effect is generally a positive one, unless you happen to stand too close to her when she is talking and then you may get a light slap across the face by one of her wildly gesturing hands.
She picks up litter wherever she goes. Peggy does not ‘tut tut’ at those who have dropped it, she simply picks it up and puts it in a bin.
Peggy has no problem knowing what she wants to be and do in life. Her problem is in fitting it all in; she says “I just need a jetpack to be able to accomplish it all”.
Her dad was a huge influence on her. She remembers him telling her three things: be honest; do not waste time in getting depressed; toot your own horn occasionally because no one else will toot it for you. His death, plus the early death of her brother, spurred Peggy on to live life as fully and whole-heartedly as possible. She feels she is living her life for them as well as for herself.
If Peggy has lived a life before this one, she thinks she must have been a dolphin, especially as she can talk dolphin very convincingly.
Peggy’s general approach is to be friendly to everyone. This has gained her a lot of friends, who tease her for her talkative nature but love her for it also. However, anyone who speaks badly of her can rest assured that she does not speak ill of them in return.
Peggy says of her work as a researcher and conservationist that she is learning every day. She says that what she knows is contained within the tip of her little finger only and the more she learns, the more she knows there is to learn. She does not consider herself to be someone with all the answers, her wish is simply to be a researcher who can contribute one little bite to one very big pie.
Peggy and her husband Dick have a wonderful relationship. They have been together for over 35 years. They are often apart, with Dick living and working in Michigan and Peggy working in Monterey. When they Skype, Peggy wishes she could move through the computer screen to be with him. She says if they were not to be together for whatever reason she would not be with anyone else, “when you’ve had the best, you don’t want anything else”. Peggy and Dick do not have children but instead have chosen to be close to and look after their nieces and nephews, oh of course their pets are also their family, and right now I feel as if I am too.
One of Peggy’s memorable cetacean encounters was, strange as it may sound, with a dead whale. A blue whale washed up dead on the beach and Peggy went to assist with dealing with the body so that research could be carried out on it. She held and looked into the whale’s eye. It was, she says, “huge, blue and the most beautiful eye I had ever seen”.
Even though Peggy found a life with cetaceans relatively late in life and did not go through the usual channels to become a conservationist, she has still gained the respect, and friendship, of renowned figures. Bob Talbot shakes his head as he says “How does she get these fantastic encounters, photos and footage, why do these animals gravitate to her?”
The cake which Peggy gave me for my birthday still tasted good a whole week later!