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Man Eater Or Misunderstood?

Sharks are insanely powerful creature that has been deemed as nothing more than flesh craving, blood thirsty animals. The media has ignored their beauty and strength and infected the community with lies shaping them nothing more than merciless man eaters. 

In reality sharks have no true desire for the taste of human flesh, it’s the blubbery meat of a seal or the shell of turtle that their tongue desires. A case of mistaken identity is to blame for attacks on humans, the similarity of the black blob floating on the surface and the not so impressive eye sight of the sharks that take the bite.

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Statistically speaking when compared to the average deaths caused by sharks you have a higher chance of being killed by: Hotdogs, Mosquitoes, lightning, airplanes, bathtubs, vending machines, and dogs. You are even 30x more likely to be killed by a falling coconut.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment…

As an avid scuba diver I have swam with sharks on countless occasions over the last four years and watched in awe as sharks paid me no mind swimming within touching distance. I have also been on two shark feedings, where they actually bait the sharks to attract large numbers of them and was amazed with the proximity and sat completely motionless watching these beautiful creatures swim around and bump into me.

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Thanks to the media there is this overbearing fear imbedded into peoples minds, I personally know people who are terrified of the ocean for this very reason. Movies such as Jaws, Deep Blue Sea and more recently The Shallows have created a stigma attached to sharks that couldn’t be further from the truth.

My dream is to break that stigma; for people to realize the true importance of one of the most powerful creatures in the deep and to see their vital role in the eco system. As apex predators, sharks role in the eco system of maintaining fish populations proportions and removing the weak and sick while balancing competitors to ensure species diversity is extremely important.

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There is an absolutely horrid attack on sharks as we speak; humans kill anywhere from 73 to 100 million sharks each year, where on average 80 people are attacked by sharks globally yearly only around 11 being fatal. The difference is absolutely unbelievable.

Most sharks killed yearly are done strictly for their fins, a popular Asian dish, shark fin soup, the main attraction. Because the bodies of sharks take so much space, most fishing vessels will catch, slice off the fins and toss the shark’s body back into the water to drown. What absolutely infuriates me is the fact that sharks fins have nearly no flavor to them, most soups are flavored with chicken or beef broth.

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Submerging myself into the world of shark conservation and becoming an advocate for the well being of these creatures has been a journey and I’m no where near as involved as I’d like to be. I am excited to see their conservation becoming more of a common topic, and plan on involving myself more and more.

My words to anyone with an inkling of a fear towards the ocean or these beautiful creatures is to reevaluate the reasoning behind your fear, to not use media as a resource and to actually look into the facts when it comes to these for misunderstood creatures.

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Sharks are extremely powerful; humans must remember that they are entering the ocean not on the top of the food chain, we must respect these dominant creatures. We must realize that we NEED sharks in our oceans and actively admit that we are what is endangering our eco system by this brutal attack against them. You do not have to fall in love with sharks, like many scuba divers do, but you should know that they are absolutely needed in our ocean.

If we allow shark finning to continue, we are condemning sharks to extinction.

To help support an amazing cause, check out Respect The Fin, an organization that I’ve watched from the very beginning who has blossomed into an amazing organization.

https://respectthefin.com/pages/about-us

Or on Instagram

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Get involved.

Travel on my friends.

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Life on Utila.

The other day I sat in complete silence on top of an abandoned hotel and took in the absolute beauty of this island, realizing that this is actually my life.  (Photo above is the view. pc: Red)

To many this lifestyle isn’t glorified; you eat street food almost every meal, there’s no A/C and 95% humidity, nothing but cold showers, you walk everywhere, constantly covered in bruises from nights out and heavy lifting, you loose things all the time, you’re bound to get a staph infection and some how end up with a non-working phone…BUT you do meet some of the most amazing people from all over the world, you scuba dive daily, there’s always somewhere to go dancing at night, a plethora of cold beers, a cold shower is absolutely amazing after a hot as hell day, bruises tell stories, you’re always laughing, private island parties do exist, and there’s always countless adventures to be had.

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I felt like this day was never going to come, but I have officially completed my DM! Yes, you read that correctly, I am finally a Dive Master, I just have to go through one more unofficial test, my snorkel test (Proving my drinking abilities by drinking nearly a liter of alcohol through a snorkel) and I’m done.

I have been submerged in learning and love the opportunity of being able to dive daily. There has been countless memories made on the boat and diving with some of my favorite people in the world and there’s always so much damn laughter involved.

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Little did I know the happiness I felt scuba diving for the past four years in small portions would completely multiply and bring me so much joy as I pursued my DM.

I guess I never really knew what true happiness really was until I was blessed by this Island, it’s scuba diving and such amazing people. The joy that my heart feels from the moment I wake up until my head hits a pillow at the end of the day is absolutely indescribable.

In the nearly 3 months I’ve been on the island I have been blessed with two of the most amazing friends I’ve ever had, Kaylin (Red) and Georgia.

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This connection we share is beyond words; we finish each other’s sentences, we always agree, and there’s never any judgement. We’ve actually sat down and tried to piece together how this much perfect is even possible and still haven’t found an explanation. We come as a package deal, the trouble three or drunkateers. I have created memories with these two girls that I will forever cherish, basically found my soulmates and am absolutely convinced we were always meant to meet each other.

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The thing about Utila is that it is incredibly easy to fall into a routine, you become amazing friends with locals and with travelers the same. There’s this welcoming vibe over the entire island that pulls you in.

I have found home. Some place that will forever hold a piece of my heart captive.

I didn’t expect to fall this hard for a small island in Honduras, I expected loving it and expected the friendships, but I had absolutely no idea to what extent it would actually be.

Quitting my job and jumping over to Central America was easily one of the greatest decisions I’ve made in my 22 years of living.

Travel on my friends.

Friendships. Scuba diving. Booze.

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up…

I have now been on the island of Utila, Honduras for a month and it still feels like I got here yesterday. There’s a ton of free time, but at the same time I am always incredibly busy.  Time here has a way of slipping through your finger tips.

As it’s my first solo journey I was quite nervous upon my initial arrival, but within hours of connecting with the dive shop and settling into my room, I was swept away by instant friendships, and somehow managed to snag a bartending job within 3 days of being on the island that doesn’t interfere with my scuba diving.

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The amazing thing about this island is that everyone is actually in the same place in their life, they’re here to scuba dive and live slower paced lifestyle so the connections are endless. It’s basically a breeding ground for us crazy scuba divers! I’ve met some of the most genuine people on this island, some people I am honored to have the privilege to call a true friend. I was automatically accepted for who I was and introduced to the true identity of Utila that I didn’t discover on my previous trip here.

The dive shop I chose to pursue my DM with, Parrots Dive Center, was instantly my family, we laugh, we dive and we all enjoy a few alcoholic beverages after a long day scuba diving or roasting in the intense Utila sun. You are rarely ever alone because someone is always there inviting you to dinner, the beach or an adventure to the top of an abandoned hotel.

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I fell in love with this Island almost instantly; the people, the lifestyle, the diving. I think I was always made to live this life. Utila might not be my forever home, but it quickly has became a home to me. I find myself defending it, and cleaning it whenever I get the opportunity and frown upon those who do not care about it’s wellbeing (which is sadly more people than you would think).

My happiness has reached an all time high here, somedays I work my ass off from 5 am until 5 pm and I am still smiling despite the exhaustion because I genuinely enjoy what I am doing. I wish everyone could feel such contentment, if but only once in their life if anything, to understand how fulfilling it truly is.

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I couldn’t be more pleased with my decision to pursue my DM on the beautiful island of Utila, I’ve been blessed with this opportunity and if given the chance I wouldn’t change a thing about this adventure. This time so far has moulded me into someone radiating pure happiness and I have learned so much about life and myself.

The thing about solo travel that I adore is it pushes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to interact with people. You are bound to meet people that you wouldn’t meet otherwise and for that I am grateful. My recommendation to anyone who has ever considered a trip by themselves if to face their fears and go, you will not regret it.

Travel on my friends.

I quit my job to travel.

Yes, you read that correctly and my two weeks completed at work so I am officially JOBLESS.

I have talked about taking this plunge for some time now, the idea always circling in my brain and I have continuously convinced myself that it wasn’t practical and working my life away in retail somehow was. After countless self pep talks and hours of planning I decided to hand in my two weeks. My next destination: Utila, Honduras.

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The idea of becoming a Dive Master started forming a year ago on the very same island I am returning to, when I met a few people going through their DM course. Talking with them planted this idea in my mind that I could potentially create a career out of something I loved so dearly, but the fear of the unknown was fantastic at convincing me that I wasn’t at a point in my life where I was ready. The past 3 dive trips I’ve been on (Thailand, Puerto Rico, and Curacao) really solidified the idea in my mind as I talked to some amazing Dive Masters who encouraged me to finally pursue this idea. I wasn’t about to let another year pass me by as I dragged my feet in doing what I knew my heart wanted to do.

After researching to the point where I believed I reached the end of the internet in this search field, I found myself continuously returning to a familiar island and a familiar dive shop. I was only on the island previously for 5 days, but even a year later there is still something pulling me back, possibly the feeling of not completing everything that needed to be done there (i.e. my DM).

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Leaving a quality job with a promised income after nearly 4 years to pursue something with no income for the next few months is absolutely terrifying. I blame that fear for the length of time it’s taken for me to actually pursue this, but I am extremely proud to say that with my deposit paid and my 2 weeks completed at work I am well on my way towards my dreams. I don’t think it’s going to be easy, I am prepared to face many challenges and I’m going to have to learn a completely different lifestyle verses what I am used to, but I am ready.

You are told your whole life to chase your dreams and yet so many people get trapped in what’s comfortable and easy to obtain. I have decided that I don’t want to be someone who gets trapped, I want something that brings me such joy on a daily basis, I want something bigger than what I’m currently achieving.

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Utila, Honduras is only the first stop. I want to spend the next few months exploring this Earth in more depth than ever before. I am walking away from everything I’ve ever known and conquering this thing called fear. I’ve started referring to this as my permanent vacation, it’s by no means permanent, but it’s a start.

Wish me luck.

Travel on my friends.

How scuba diving has changed my life

For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated with the ocean, there’s always been something mesmerizingly beautiful about it that could draw me in for hours. I got my Open Water Dive certification in September of 2013, I was freshly graduated from high school and had absolutely no plans for my future.

I’ve tried to explain scuba diving to non-divers ever since and it’s proven incredibly difficult to put into words; the undeniable feeling of flying is the closest I’ve come to successfully explaining it and even then that doesn’t seem sufficient. I came to scuba diving at a very low point in my life, I was 18 and I had gone through the major loss of my older brother; I was depressed and couldn’t seem to find anything that would encourage me to continue living a successful life. In the decision to pursue diving, I didn’t let my depression drown me, I found a way to “breathe” underwater and it has proven to be the greatest decision I’ve ever made.

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My OW certification was a fun process, I went through it with my mom and even though I say she almost killed me in the process by leaving my at the bottom of lake pleasant without air (true story), I truly believe it’s what has aided in building our mother daughter relationship; I always look forward to the next dives with my adventurous mom. Although newly certified I didn’t actually use my certification until about 10 months later on the island of Roatan, Honduras.

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To me, this was a turning point, I felt this great rush run through my body and I knew I had started something that was going to be a vital part of my life from then on. Scuba gave me this source of happiness that I hadn’t had in quite some time. I was mesmerized by the wildlife and calmed by the serenity of silence surrounding me when I was submerged. I continuously found myself surfacing from a dive with a huge grin on my face and mouthful of words to exclaim about what we saw. I can fondly think back of all my greatest diving experiences and as a true diver I can admit the size of the animals grow each time we tell a memory.

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For a lot of people who dive it’s an escape from reality, their addition to what they are pursuing in life, for me it always felt different. This passion that I’ve held for diving felt like so much more to me. At 22 now, I’ve been on 60 life changing dives all over the world and constantly crave submerging myself in salty water. I am convinced I was always meant to discover scuba diving and couldn’t be more grateful that I discovered it in my youth. I can only imagine how different my life would be without diving, as an expensive sport I’d probably have a larger savings, but I would be lacking the experiences that I’ve gained.

Without diving I’m certain I would never have discovered my passion for sharks, it’s this unexplainable obsession with such a powerful misunderstood creature that humans are actively killing that fuels me to join shark conservation and do my part to maintain the eco system. Sharks are NOT the killing machines that the media has portrayed them as and I could talk your ear off for hours about how beautiful they truly are, but that’s words for another blog post.

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In the next few days I’m headed off to the island of Curacao, I am finally getting my Advanced Open Water certification and the pure happiness I feel towards this brings such a huge smile to my face. The AOW certification is another step into the diving world that just feels right at this point in my life. I may be 22, and to many seem like I don’t have my life put together but I am actively pursuing something that brings such comfort to me.

If you’ve never dove, I cannot recommend it enough. Scuba diving has changed my life in such a positive way and I’d love for more people to discover it’s power.

Reasons to travel in your 20’s

Traveling has played such a huge part of my life, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to have traveled to the places I’ve been. From the cities of North America to the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and over to the Middle East, I’ve seen many different cultures and I am fascinated with submerging myself into what the locals do and eat on a daily basis. I credit my travels into who I have become today and continuously encourage people to travel on any given opportunity, even if that means jumping in your car for a 5 hour drive and ending up in a completely different city. You might be surprised on how your travels change and transform you. I’m 22, and I’m determined to use my 20’s to travel and explore and if you’re not convinced or need a push to begin, here’s my top reasons to also use your 20’s to travel.

Discover who you want to become.

Deciding what you want to do, when you want to do it, and for however long you want without a definite schedule is pretty liberating, especially if you’re at a stage in your life where you have no idea what you want to do. Your travels will light a fire for your passions in life, and guide you towards you ultimate source of happiness.

You’ll only regret not traveling more.

As glum as it might be, you are progressively aging, you are never again going to be as young as your currently are. Chances are in the future you will look back and only wish you did more, saw more and experienced more.

 

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Incredible friendships. 

On your journey you’ll meet people in similar situations as yourself, those who are enamored with the world just as you and who share similar passions in life. Most of these people you would not have met if it wasn’t for your travels. A conversation with someone with similar desires in life, is life changing, they are certain to make a permanent impact on your life.

You’re going to work forever anyways.

If this is something you completely accept and understand, why wouldn’t you take a few years to not solely focus on working your life away. Take some time for yourself, use your youth to explore and create memories.

 

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Determine what you don’t want/need.

While you’re still deciding who you want to be chances are there’s a bundle of things in your life that you don’t need, emotionally and physically. Traveling uncovers the absolutely necessary pieces of your life and along the way you might even discover the route you’re currently taking in life isn’t what you want to do forever.

Build your social skills.

If talking to random people for directions or suggestions isn’t your strong point in daily life, traveling forces you out of your comfort zone and before you know it you’re sure to strike up random conversations, finding yourself with a plethora of opportunities before you.

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Memories.

You become such a different person on the road, you do things you normally wouldn’t do and you experience different parts of the world in your own way. The memories you create in different cities will become that place in your mind, the ‘remember when-‘ of every recollection. You’ll have a lifetime of stories to share and inspire others to step out and explore themselves.