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Taking it in


There are days when you don’t even have to catch a wave to enjoy surfing. Today was one of them.

It began when I woke up at 7 without my alarm, usually I can’t get myself out of bed till 8 or 9 and by then the beach gets crowded. But for once I had gone to sleep just a little earlier and this made all the difference. Waking up without an alarm was win number one.

When I opened my eyes a strange glow peaked through my blinds. I realized it was sunny out and the birds were chirping. The end of June gloom was win number 2.

With the sun shining it was easy to get my things together quickly and strap my board to my car. I headed for seal beach almost forgetting to check the surf forecast before I left. Upon arrival the forecast was confirmed. The waves were beautiful, big enough to challenge me but easy enough to paddle through. Win number 3 was followed by the 4th win of the morning. I got to wear my new wetsuit with pink and purple stripes on the arms and legs. It looked sharp with my purple board.

Sitting in the line up I wasn’t worried about getting creamed by a wave, I got to think about nothing at all and take in the scenery. I watched the terns diving for fish just a few feet away. It was magical.

When a wave did come there wasn’t a lot of face to ride. The drop was nearly vertical even thought the waves were on the small side. I did manage to finally get a good drop towards the end.

Even though I didn’t stand up fully I got to spend some time with the ocean. That’s the best way to start the day.


Plastic free cosmetics

In my quest to go plastic free I encountered a dilema. There a virtually no alternatives to plastic encased mascara, even the wands i love are plastic. I bought my mascara anyways, but when I got home I got thinking. What about my shampoo, and my cleanser and my moisturizer and shower gel!!! Even my shower pouf is likely plastic. THen I remembered over hearing a converstion in the office. Some one was talking about how she was in love with lush and its organic shampoos.

Lush, that soap company from when i was a kid, my mom loved it and i often gave soaps and bath bombs- they were the best- to my friends as birthday gifts. I was surprised to hear some one so enthusiastic about some thing that was so nineties and so ubitquitous in my life at that time.

So remembering that a lot of their soaps were cut from larger blocks and left unpackaged or at most wrapped in some brown paper, they would likely have some great plastic less alternatives. How forward thinking of them!

Upon perusing their website these following items will be in my basket the next time I need my bathroom essentials:

Soothing Calamine Cleanser- $9.75 @

Almost too many solid shampoos to choose from- this is my pick for its volumizing claims and ocean theme 🙂

Seanik shampoo bar- $10.95 @

The only solid conditioner they have:

Jungle solid conditioner- $7.95 @

Each bar is only a couple of ounces so it’ll be interesting to see how long they last. Going from drug store $3 shampoo this might be a splurge, though it’s comparable to salon prices. Lets hope the results are too!

A blue encounter

I remember watching a David Attenborough BBC film and he was talking about the blue whale. How its heart is the size of a VW beetle and some blood vessels are so wide you could swim down them. The segment wraps with a shot of the blues tail lifted up out of the water, ‘as wide as a small aircrafts wings’ it stretched out wider than the edges of the screen. After I saw that I thought to myself, if I ever see a blue whale I will be the luckiest person alive. It seemed as probable as seeing a real live unicorn. Only a dedicated researcher or well-funded film crew could be privileged enough to see such an amazing creature. The one and only largest animal that ever lived. And today I saw it. Not just one but two.

WOW. Everything I’ve heard is true, the blow really is tall and they really do have a long body, the dorsal fin is really far back. Once the whale surfaced along side of the boat and I started taking pictures blind;  I was so excited I couldn’t even look straight through the view finder. When I calmed down I got the hang of seeing the turquoise colour in the water where it was cruising just under the surface.  I was almost able to predict when it was about to surface and blow. I got some decent photos, even the ones from far away turned out to be usable. Next time I should definitely take more pictures, it’s easy enough to delete the really bad ones. I can’t wait until I go out again!

Weird things to find on a dive

Took some fresh Open water students on a tour of Whytecliff Marine Park today when I noticed a peculiar piece of debris on the sandy bottom it looked like this:

What is it?

This object fits in the palm of my hand and is quite durable, as it doesn’t fall apart when handled.

I just learned what it was a week ago so I was pretty excited to show it to the new divers.

This strange spiral is a Moon snail egg cluster, like nudibranch they lay eggs in a ribbon but this ribbon contains sand and is not to a rock but left loose on the sandy bottom. Watch for them on your next dive!

I am wondering if they are seasonal since it is only recently that I have started noticing them.

Explained: Ocean Acidification

This week school groups started up again at the Vancouver Aquarium and for the Cnidarian station I took the kids over to the coral exhibit. I told them about how sensitive corals are to their environment, and changes, including ocean acidification are causing them to die off in coral bleaching events.

Ocean acidification was a key topic throughout my undergrad degree. We were told the chemical reaction that occurs between CO2 and the ocean that creates acid.  Quickly I forgot the formula and “acidification” became the stock answer I gave whenever a prof asked what effects humans have on the oceans.

Now that I am teaching kids who haven’t taken Organic Chem, I struggle to find a way to explain it to the grade 11 and 12 students in a way that makes sense.

Today I stumbled upon this analogy via a twitter post from @theoceanproject

Imagine you are filling buckets to build a sand castle on the shore. Then someone begins to remove the sand from your buckets faster than you can add to your castle. Then you realize that the waves are beginning to lap at your castle. You are trying to build your castle, but someone is taking away your building material, while another force erodes your creation capacity.

This article also reminded me that Carbonic Acid is what forms when high CO2 concentrations and ocean water meet.

This week when I’m talking to school groups I’m going to challenge myself to stay focused on Acidification and its impact on the groups of animals we look at: Molluscs, Echinoderms, Arthropods, and Cnidarians.

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