My favorite Ski Gear

When I was little, I loved skiing. I grew up around skiing every day. I got on my first pair of skies at three years old. I remember crying how cold it was. I remember having a “worm” a small piece of plastic shaped like a little worm, that kept my skies from moving apart. My little helmet only being held up by my tiny goggles. I grew to love it.   I was on skies every weekend, every winter for 13 years.  I lived for skiing. I would look forward to the weekend drive to the mountains. I woke up at the crack of dawn to ski, from 7 am to 5 pm you could find me on the hill. I was one of the first ones on the mountain, and the last to come off.

Unfortunately, I got into an accident when I was a 14 and had to stop skiing for a while. I broke my femur skiing with my brothers. I was going off the trail, and skiing through the trees. I have done hundreds of times. I caught an edge of my ski on a rock and ran into a tree. I sat in the snow alone for 45 minutes as my brother went to get help. I had no idea what had happened yet. All I knew was that I couldn’t get down the hill by myself. Later in the hospital, I found out that I broke my femur. It didn’t really hurt; I was in shock. What really disappointed me the most was not being able to walk, run or play. With this injury, I found out the importance of having the ability to walk and be physically healthy.

Here are some passes to check out:

I still ski as much as I can today. But it is really difficult living in the Bahamas. I’m not as fearless as I use to be.  Here are some of my favorite gear.

 

 

 

 

      

 

         

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Sawfish Research Trip Part 2

All research activities conducted under guidelines listed in permits ESA 17787 and EVER-2017-SCI-0022

Day 3

I went with a different research team today. On the team, we had 2 NOAA scientists and NOAA policy manager. I had to get up at 5 am! It was so early. We had to get on the water by 7 am. It was about an hour drive to the boat ramp. The sun still was up when we were loading into the truck, trailering the boat behind. On the drive, we had to call the park rangers of the Everglades with information of our permit and when we were sampling. We finally got to the boat ramp; we prepared to go outside, we could see the bugs swarming. The mosquitos are known for being bad in this area. It was like I couldn’t breathe without a bug getting into my mouth. Once we got on the water, and the wind picked up the bugs were gone. We were pulling out of the marina and saw a crocodile swim across the mouth of the channel. It was so calm; that you could see the ripples from the crocodile swimming through the water.

Then we were off. The first thing we had to do is set up a VR2. A VR2 is a receiver for tagging fish. Every time a fish swims by that we have tagged, it will ping. Having a series of these receivers will help us figure out where the fish/ sharks are going.

We then set up some gill nets; they are about 2 in by 2 in mesh that extends 200 yards. We stretch the line to the shore to see if we catch any Sawfish. We set a total of 7 nets throughout the day. On the second set, we caught a juvenile Sawfish!!!! It was so exciting!

It wasn’t more than 2ft long. It had 26 teeth on one side and 28 on the other side. They are born with their a set number of teeth. In the womb, they have a gel that covers the teeth. This gel falls off after a few months. But as they grow there teeth stay the same number just get bigger and further apart as the rostrum grows.

About the Sawfish

Sawfish has been heavily hunted for thousands of years for their rostrum. They are critically endangered by the IUCN. The only strongholds are in northern Australia and Southern Florida. There are three different types of Sawfish; Green, Largetooth, and Narrow. The only ones found in Florida are the Narrowtooth Sawfish. The juveniles live in the estuaries, and near shore. The adults move a little further offshore to feed.

I’m wearing Patagonia hat (similar here), Patagonia shorts, Maui Jim Sunnies, Patagonia fishing shirt (similar here), and Chacos sandals.

They are pretty amazing fish. It is really important to make sure we save these animals. If you want to help researchers, do more to study and preserve these animals. Please donate: http://www.sawfishconservationsociety.org

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Sawfish Research Trip Day 1-3

Sorry, this past week I was on a research trip in the keys. Looking for sawfish! All research activities conducted under guidelines listed in permits ESA 17787 and EVER-2017-SCI-0022.

Day 1  

I woke up early around 5:45 got in the car to the FSU Marine Lab. Finally, we arrived there about a 7:30ish. We had to start loading the car and boat with the gear for the trip. We had to trailer the boat down to the keys.  Started our journey around 9:30 am. all five of us piled into the truck and headed south. Through the small towns in north Florida to the turnpike. Only made stops to get gas and pee. It is about a 10-hour drive to Key Largo. We got there right when it was getting dark. We still had to unload the equipment and get ready for the next day of fishing.

Day 2

I woke up early around 6 am to get on the boat at 7 am. I got up, ate breakfast, and started to load the boat with bait and gear. I love of the smell of the sea. It was so nice to get back on the water. We headed out to our first location. It was about an hour and a half drive through mangroves and turbid water. We then set 2 longlines. Each longline consist of 50 baited hooks two buoys and two anchors. After an hour soak we caught 3 Bull sharks and one lemon shark, but no sawfish but it was great to get some sharks. Usually set 6 longlines in a day. In a very similar location, we set 2 more lines. We only caught one more lemon shark.

 

Two more lines were set; we drove out to the next stop. It was about a 15-minute drive. We set again but didn’t catch anything. The sun was setting, and we started to head back. It was starting to get cold if you can believe it gets cold in the keys! We got to the dock as the sun went over the horizon. all of us had to scrub down the boat, cleaning off the scales and blood from the bait. We smelled of dead fish and covered in salt from the ocean. Once we finally unloaded the boat and scrubbed it down, we headed to the showers. It is one of the best things is to have a hot shower and scrub off the scales and blood off. Finally got into bed to get up even earlier.

Gear

My field gear is usually a pair of polarized sunglasses.  Love Maui Jims, this is the one I’m wearing. I wear a fishing shirt or a shirt I don’t care about. Here are some that are great cause they have SPF. Because we are in and out of the water it is important to have quick drying shorts. I like to have loss fitting so I’m comfortable. My favorites are linked here. And to save your face from the sun it is so important to have an awesome hat.

  

   

  

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Carry on Essentials

There is a lot of traveling in the next couple of weeks visiting family and friends. I traveled a lot, over the years from living in the Bahamas and the east coast for school. I love traveling but it is tough being stuck in a seat for 6 hours or more. I have added some must haves on the plane to travel in comfort.

I always carry my computer, I need to be working where ever I’m. I like to bring a notebook so that I can write down thoughts that I have while in the sky. I like to use a large tote bag to store everything, easy to access and keep under the seat.

I carry a little make up just to feel like I wasn’t on a plane the whole day!

 

Cuyana tote– great easy tote, you can customize it to you.

Cuyana travel case– 2 leather cases in 2 sizes. They are great to use and hold everything.

Headphones-I like the light pink, they work great.

Eyemask– It is always nice to have a sleeping mask on the plane, people next to you turn on the lights to read or leave a window open. There is always so much going on, it is nice to shut out the world.

Waterbottle-There is so much pastic being used when traveling, from the plastic cups to the plastic waterbottles. I like to bring my owen waterbottle and fill it up in the airport before I get on the plane.

Tea– I’m always cold on airplanes. I have having a cup of tea to warm me up. But I hate the tea that the airlines. So I bring my own, and order hot water. This is one is tastes so good and boost your immune system.

Banket scarf– To help me sleep, it helps to have a blanket. I love this blanket scarf, its also on sale! Its a great peice to have a scarf or a blanket.

Lips-I always have chapped lips after I fly. I love this lip balm, it feels great but also has a little tint.

Headaches-I never drink enough water, its the worse to have a headache and being stuck on an airplane.

Best Secret-This heals everything from scabs to dry hands. I love this stuff it helps me keep heal sunburns, cuts and scratches.

Good Book– There is nothing that helps pass the time than a good book. It is kind of nice forced to actually sit down and read.

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3 go to Patagonia coats for fall

It’s finally getting cold. I always need to layer. It is so easy to through a down coat in my backpack that is light and easy. Here are some of my favorite Patagonia jackets.

The Better Sweater is a classic. This coat is so cozy, and perfect for every day. It is a great layering sweater. It is a perfect combination of a fleece and sweater.

 

The Ultralight Down Hoody was my favorite on the Kilimanjaro and I have been wearing it at night when it gets colder in the fall.  I love throwing this on after a run or a sweater to help block the wind.

My favorite jacket is the Radalie Jacket. This coat is perfect when I want a little style. Walking around town and going to events without looking too outdoorsy. I got it in a hunter green, which looks great with jeans.

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SCUBA Hair

When I SCUBA dive is the ultimate test on my hair. The mask and fine, thin hair don’t mix. We call it the mullae (mullet for girls). Our hair will break around your face and the back from the strap from the rubber skirt of the SCUBA mask. So some secrets that I have figured out to help with dreading and breaking strands are putting my hair in 2 french braids as SunBum 3 in 1 Leave-In Hair Conditioning Treatment ($11). I also like putting my hair in a ponytail with multiple hair ties at a different point to keep it from dreading if the braids don’t work for you. I use hair ties with no metal. One of my favorites is Teleties pack 3 ($10).

I love them because they are easy to use, they don’t break your hair, they donate Global Lyme Alliance, and they have awesome colors!!

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Sunnies

I love sunglasses! They are so important to protect your eyes from the water. You can catch look stylish while you are on the water.  With all my time in the Bahamas. My favorite pair is my Maui Jims. I had a pair of their classic aviators in both the gold frame with brown lens and the silver frame with blue lens. I love their new line with the blue lens. The frame is made out of titanium and the lens are scratch resistant, which makes them very resilient on the water. They are perfect for the water. They are so clear and light so that I can wear them all day and they never get uncomfortable.

Here with my gold framed Maui Jim’s and holding a puffer fish
Out on the water with my silver framed Maui Jim’s, they match the blue waters of the Bahamas

Another option is Sunski. They are a great cheaper version. They are polarized and work great on the water. I bought my pair for hiking Kilimanjaro. I wanted a cheaper version of polarized to go on the mountain just in case they got scratched or lost. I can also run in them which is awesome.

My Sunski’s on in Africa, we just arrived to go on safari!

When I’m walking around town and want to have a little style. I wear my illevesta sunglasses. I love these. They look good with everything. I love wearing them with jeans and a shirt, or a fun summer dress.

At the watermelon festival! Wearing my illevesta sunnies.

Any of these sunglasses work forever day use as well. I don’t leave the house without my keys, wallet, and sunglasses.

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Get the Right SCUBA mask

The most important thing when you SCUBA dive is a good comfortable mask. Even when you don’t dive, you can snorkel! I have dove all over the world and so many times I stopped counting. I got my open water certification when I was 16, and have been addicted to the underwater world.  Unless you are a serious diver I wouldn’t buy your own gear. The one thing that I would invest it is a good mask. Your face and your ability to see is so important it can either make or break a dive. A mask is so personal.

 

My favorite mask is the Atomic UltraClear Frameless. It comes in black, and clear with different clip colors. It also comes in 2 different sizes (medium and small). I got the small because my face is tiny. What I love is this mask is great for long use. It is the most comfortable mask with its soft rubber skirt. And I don’t get those marks on your face after a long dive.  Dive magazines are always rating the best gear, you can check out this link to see the best masks this year. My mask has been on the list for 10 years!

 

If you don’t want to go for the expensive mask. There is another cheaper option. I got it for my boyfriend cause he doesn’t dive as much as me or at all. But it is better to get one on the cheaper side that you will have for a long time then use one from the dive shop. I got him the IST Frameless Single Window Diving Mask. It is only $30! It was another great buy for a great mask.

Tips:

  1. To keep your mask clear and great throughout your dive. Make sure you use toothpaste on a new mask the night before. Take about a tablespoon and rub it all over the inside of the mask (especially the clear part). Leave it for 5 minutes and wash it all off. It will be strong smell and can the mint fresh can burn your eyes a little. So it is really important that you do it the night before.
  2. ALL WAYS spit in your mask before the dive. Don’t get the mask wet before you spit the enzymes in your spit work with the heat. Once you spit in your mask (on the inside) make sure to rub it around the clear part. Then get some of the ocean water and clear it off.
  3. Other defoggers: baby shampoo, commercial anti-fogger (Sea gold, Spit by Jaws)

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