Happy World Oceans Day!

World Oceans Day has been recognized by the United Nations since 2009. Before that it had been coordinated by The Ocean Project since 2002 and celebrated on a smaller scale even before that.

A different theme is chose each year, this year it is Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet.

The oceans make up enough of this planet that I think it goes without saying that we can’t have one without the other.

The push this year is to use less disposable plastic.  They aren’t talking about not using any plastic at all – that’s pretty much impossible at this time.  Think about the one use plastic items that you use on a daily basis.  At first I thought it was a fairly easy challenge, but then I looked at the Marine Conservation Society’s Plastic Challenge Tip Swap and holy crap. It’s not just grocery bags that we throw away on a daily basis.  Its trash bags, toothpaste containers, milk/tea/gallon water containers, liquid soap, shampoo and conditioner bottles, the plastic that heads of lettuce and grape tomatoes come in, the list goes on forever.  It’s actually pretty intimidating. But what isn’t intimidating is choosing just one thing for now.  Maybe stop using straws, start using loose tea instead of tea bags, or bring your own bags to the grocer (not the most fun BYOB but still).

Personally I am going to try very hard to actually remember to bring in the stash of cloth bags I have had in my trunk for ages and to bring a net bag on my paddleboard for picking up trash I come across.  On Memorial Day I actually ran across an empty Cheetos bag floating in the water.  Really?

ownday-dolphin

If you are bummed you didn’t find out about World Ocean’s Day sooner no worries, President Obama just proclaimed June as National Oceans Month.  So pick a one use plastic item and see how long you can go without using it.  And when you get used to going without that item pick another.  Because the oceans don’t just need us to keep them clean and healthy just one day or even just one month a year.

What one use plastic item can you do without?

 

 

Paddleboarding… with Sharks (Finally!)

I’ve been paddleboarding for a few years now, and I’ve seen lots of really cool things. Dolphins, sting rays, more kinds of crabs then I care to count, about a billion kinds of fish and all kinds of other interesting creatures.

The one thing I have never seen while paddleboarding was a shark. But it seems I’ve finally found the secret. I was told if I go to  Fred Howard Park in time to be on the water at sunrise the chances of seeing sharks, specifically hammerhead sharks, would be pretty good.  So the last couple of Saturdays that’s exactly where I’ve been. And success!

The last two Saturday mornings the water has been perfect.  Smooth as glass. Between the height you get from standing on the board and the fact that there is no chop to hide any movement it’s the best chance for seeing anything that’s out there.

Water Like Glass

Almost as soon as we were on the water I saw a dolphin swimming around who went surprisingly close to shore which was pretty cool.  Of course it may have been better if we had actually been closer to the shore. Only manatees can beat dolphins for the cool factor. And that’s just because manatees will come right up to you on occasion.

Not very long after that we saw what I at first thought was a bunch of dolphins playing.  The water was splashing like crazy and the occasional grey body and fin could be spotted from where we were paddling. I saw one fin separate from the rest in our direction though, and it was very steady, not moving up and down like a dolphin’s tends to do. The shape of the fin also was telling – this was not a dolphin. Which lead me to the conclusion that neither were the other animals splashing around because the single shark kept circling back to them.

I have to admit that as much as I’ve been wanting to see a shark  I had absolutely no desire to paddle closer to them. I don’t know if they were doing the ‘feeding frenzy’ thing,  playing (do sharks play?) or something entirely different but regardless of what they were doing, no.  I stayed were I was and considered myself brave for doing so.  Brave and three year old excited, it was pretty neat in my humble opinion.

The one bad thing to come from this? I realized just how bad my little point and click camera is.  I tried taking video of them, but the few seconds I was actually pointed in the right direction all you could see was that something was really churning up the water.  So I am now on the hunt for a waterproof camera with a lot of zoom and a viewer that I can see even in the sun.  Because next time I want to be ready!

I also saw a couple of big turtles which I would have loved to get a decent picture of. I’m actually pretty OK with the simple fact that I get to see things like that, but it would be fun to share the pictures if I had them. Here’s a few that I did take.

Paddleboarding 8_22_15Any other paddleboarders or kayakers out there?  What sort of things have you seen when out on the water? Do you ever feel like no one is ever going to believe what you saw if you don’t get a picture of it?  I don’t know why but I always kind of think that. Of course I also think if I go out with a really good camera I won’t see as many animals. Superstitious much? Why yes.

Spring Beer Fling (and giveaway!)

Guess what’s coming to Tampa in just 2 weeks.  The Spring Beer Fling!  What the heck is that you ask?  How about a whole day of surf rock, games, and as much retro fun as you can handle?  Oh yeah, and beer. One choice will be Samuel Adam’s spring seasonal beer, Cold Snap.  I tried it at the pub this weekend; trust me, you should have a glass!

It sounds like a whole lot of fun, and for those who aren’t that into beer Twisted Tea, Deep Eddy Vodka, and Angry Orchard will be there as well. I’m a big Angry Orchard fan!

I’m really looking forward to the music; I LOVE surf rock. Seriously, how could you not?  Here’s one of the bunch of bands that will be there.

To top it all off the night’s going to end with a ‘Beach Ball Drop Spectacular’.  There’s something you don’t see every day!

Want to come out and join the fun?  General admission tickets are $15 in advance or $25 day of and include entertainment, games, and activities including the beach ball drop.  You also have the choice of VIP tickets which include all of that and also access to their ‘retro lounge’, unlimited drinks, a meal ticket for one of their vendors, and a Spring Beer Fling pint glass.  How cool is that? The VIP tickets are $85 in advance or $100 day of.  They’re 75% sold out already though, so there may be none left the night of the bash!

I have 2 general admission tickets to give away, enter here to win! The winner will be announced March 24th.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Spring Beer Fling is Saturday, March 29th from 1:00pm – 11:00pm at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Come on out and join the fun! You can get your GA or VP tickets here.

I received two VIP tickets to Spring Beer Fling 2014 in exchange for writing a review and this giveaway. As always, my opinions are all mine.

Early Morning Beach Run

My sister and I have been talking about meeting early Saturday mornings to run on the beach for months now. It has to be silly early, because she has 2 year old twins and we have to be back before they wake up. Yes, there are other people there to watch them if we weren’t back in time, but you know moms are the ones who have to be up with the young ‘uns.

We finally made it out this Saturday, and I am totally hooked. There wasn’t as much soft sand as I had hoped for, but I wouldn’t have been able to run very far if there had been! The little bit of dry sand there was kicked my butt, as expected. But it was really fun to alternate between running on the road, wet sand, dry sand, and trails all in one morning.

An invitation to Run!

We even saw a few dolphins though of course they split when I pulled out my camera. Maybe next time…

I was a bit surprised that I was the only one running barefoot there considering a lot of it was beach; I’m beginning to feel like the only barefoot runner in the entire state of Florida. Thank goodness for online groups!

Since I ran so early, which I never do, Sunday I kept feeling like it should have been a run day. All day long I felt like I was cheating.

We’re not going next Saturday because we have the Mud Endeavor City Lights run that night, but after that this will be a definite habit. I wanted to go again the next day! Running like that makes for sore ankles though, and once a week is probably plenty to start. I’m already jonesing for the next time though. Life is good when you have things to look forward to!