There is a crazy new adventure on the horizon! One of my best friends and flatmates, Fi, and I are heading up to Tonga to work with humpback whales for the austral winter. I’m so thankful that for the last four years, I’ve been able to spend at least one season with my favorite cetacean species. Humpbacks are such incredible, majestic creatures to encounter on the water. With their extra-long pectoral flippers, inquisitive eyes, and acrobatic nature, they never cease to delight guests on a whale watch (or make me scream).Read More
I haven’t written in a while and I feel like I want to share what’s going on in the marine world of dusky dolphins! I’d never really heard much about the species before I moved down to Kaikoura (they’re just found in the southern hemisphere) and I thought all my bros and ladies up in the northern hemisphere might be a bit curious about the dolphins that have been an almost-daily part of my life since moving down to New Zealand.
First off, here’s why marine mammals rock: they live in the ocean full-time but they have to BREATH AIR. Do you know how inconvenient that must be? These animals have risen to the challenge with the help of evolution and they are rocking those blowholes and myoglobin-rich muscles like nobody’s business. Eight minute dive for a dolphin? No problem. Me? Dead.
Five Crazy Fun Facts About Dusky Dolphins
1) They are part of the genus Lagenorhynchus, which contains six species total. They all share the characteristics of a relatively short rostrum, stocky body shape, and a schnazzy body coloration made up of bands and stripes in multiple hues. Like rainbow dolphins. Magic.
I’ve been feeling the need lately to share the confusion that’s been going on in my head, so this post is a bit more of a journal entry, with plenty of relevance to eco-living and the challenges we “green dreamers” face. I hope that by elaborating on my own thoughts, I might reach someone else who needs to hear that there is another human being experiencing the same emotions. The world is encountering a new level of challenging times right now, and I personally recognize and feel this more and more as I get older, experience the world further through travel, and engage in more and more inspiring conversations with people from across the globe. We are all handling the challenges (whether they involve social injustice, climate change, pollution, food shortages, and other sticky issues) differently, because we are all unique individuals with our own brains and different wiring systems. I tend to feel most strongly and passionately about the “eco” side of things; that’s just where my heart lies. I still get angry and flustered and hurt when hearing about other issues - but one girl would go crazy if she poured all of herself into too many concerns.Read More
I’m pretty sick of all the heavy negative weight around the words “climate change.” Yes, it’s scary. It’s horrifying that we are letting things get this bad. But at the same time, it’s a problem that we are facing, and there are many people taking positive action. Humanity has faced problems before. We’ve tackled issues and seen both successes and failures, and plenty of bumps along the way. In the end, doesn’t it come down to collaboration and problem-solving? I listened to a really succinct Green Dreamer podcast the other day that focused on summarizing climate change science into three basic facts. Dr. Jeffrey Bennet was the astronomer, teacher, and author that was interviewed, and I enjoyed his casual and easy-to-understand style as he pointed out some helpful bits of advice and offered practical ideas for solutions to this crisis. And the episode was only 30 minutes! I recommend listening to the whole thing here, but I’ve also summarized some of the key ideals that really stuck out to me.Read More
Plastic in Paradise
As our boat began to slow and we craned our necks to get a glimpse of the island that would be our next stop, I felt a huge burst of excitement. This was why we came to the Philippines and why we chose a three-day boat cruise from Coron to El Nido in the popular tourist area of Palawan. We were promised crystal clear waters, vibrant coral and hundreds of empty white sandy beaches to explore. So far it had not disappointed.Read More
Two weeks into 2019 and it’s going to keep chugging. Does it feel any different than 2018? Not really. But I do have this sensation, this impatience, this sense of urgency that seemed to ring itself in along with the fireworks and champagne on New Year’s Eve two weeks ago. We all have our challenges that we want to tackle in 2019, our resolutions that we’re hoping to stick to, changes we want to implement in our own lifestyles. For those of you whose resolutions involve tackling the issue of plastic pollution and the impracticality of the “throw-away” culture, please read on. This is a guide on realistic changes you can make this year, and how you can actually keep these habits throughout the coming months instead of getting reabsorbed into the old ways. If you feel like I feel on these topics, you’ll realize that our society is fast running out of excuses to not address these issues on a very personal level.
So, 2019, man! #noexcuses.Read More
I’m sure there are plenty of holiday-makers down in Hawai’i right now soaking up copious amounts of Vitamin D, sipping lilikoi-foam-topped Mai Tais, and perfecting the beautiful art of doing nothing. Is there a better time to immerse yourself in total relaxation than Christmas and New Year’s? Shouldn’t the holidays be about stepping away from the craziness of every day life and just enjoying the beauty of existing? Maui happens to be one of the best places to practice this art form - you’ll get the backdrop of waving palm trees and crystal clear blue water while you’re recharging those batteries of yours.
BUT, if you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself itching to get into the water after a few minutes on the island. And rightfully so! The water around the Hawaiian islands are warm year round and home to many stunning coral reefs and fascinating marine organisms. Coral reefs are About 25% of the fish, invertebrate, and plant species you’ll find here are endemic, meaning you won’t spot them anywhere else in the world. There are several popular snorkeling spots around Maui that have quite an impressive reputation for good reason - there’s also the allure of the chance of spotting a manta ray, a sea turtle, an octopus, eels, spinner dolphins, or even humpback whales!Read More
So, how the heck do we survive the holiday season while being good to ourselves? This is especially challenging if you also consider yourself a vegan, vegetarian, or another classification of plant-based eater. Now, willpower is not everyone’s strong suit. It definitely wasn’t mine for a very long time. I love food. I really love food, in fact. And the idea that someone decided the holidays should be all about eating used to make for a very big internal struggle. It became a lot easier when I decided to start eating vegan for a purpose bigger than myself, a.k.a reducing my carbon footprint. I did it because I wanted to be able to walk the conservation walk if I was going to talk the conservation talk. Going vegan or vegetarian is one of the most straightforward and impactful choices you can make to significantly reduce your carbon footprint and spread some sanity and love to this crazy world. This post isn’t about preaching the vegan word, though (this one is!). This is a survival guide for a vegan party-goer (or anyone trying to eat healthy) as we dive headfirst into holiday party festive season. HERE WE GO.Read More
So I’ve been on an extended stopover in Maui, visiting some very beautiful, kindhearted friends of mine, many of whom I used to live and work with. I am slowly making my way south towards the Southern Hemisphere, but while waiting for some visa paperwork to process, I couldn’t not stop on the most isolated island chain in the world! Maui holds a special place in my heart because it represents a very dynamic time in my young twenties. I moved out here on a whim (and since then, each subsequent move has become easier and easier) to explore what it meant to be a marine naturalist.Read More
I was hesitant to think too favorably about my luck with vegan dining options in my hometown of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. As much as this dear little mountain/lake town means to me, I will say the plant-based food scene hasn’t exactly caught up quite as much here as the (also important) local farm-to-table, sustainably raised meat and seafood industry. It’s encouraging that people here are starting to ask where their food is coming from instead of just nomming down on whatever is set in front of them, but there is really not much of a demand for the green-growing-things-centric meals. So it’s a move for the better, but as with my ability to pan-fry tofu, there is room for improvement.Read More
What’s Up with Idaho?
Most people have never heard of Coeur d’Alene. Idaho is an often forgotten, sometimes scorned state. When people find out I grew up here (well, at least the sarcastic folks), they immediately comment, “Oh, you grew up on a potato farm?” Shut it - the reason those fries on your plate taste so damn good is because those potatoes had Idahoan soil in which to flourish. You should be grateful!Read More
The world is essentially a global village now. If you save up the funds and are willing to plan, you can almost go anywhere. Formerly remote and untouched places are changing fast because of our “travel NOW” and escapist mentality that is leading us to escape farther, be more epic, get off the beaten track, snap those wanderlust-worthy social media pics. When I was in college, I was constantly daydreaming over travel Pinterest boards and writing quotes about going out to see the world, experience things, discover myself and learn by immersion instead of just through books and articles.Read More
This past August, I had the good fortune of flying out to a little island north of Fraser called Lady Elliot. Located off the coast of southern Queensland, it is one of the southernmost cays of the Great Barrier Reef and is known for its abundance of sea turtles, manta rays, reef sharks, and spectacular array of other marine species. The moment I arrived in Hervey Bay, I was surrounded by chatter about Lady Elliot and people who gushed over how amazing it was. Literally, I’d be sitting at the office at work and multiple other crew members from different boats in the harbor would bustle by and stop in for a chat, and inevitably, Lady Elliot would come up. “You have to go. That place is insane.”Read More
Let me whisk you away to Bali - the Balinese Farm Tour and Cooking Class is a half-day tour (morning or afternoon) that picks you up from your accommodation in Ubud and whisks you away to a local market in a neighboring village. A guide meets you there and escorts you around to different stalls, pointing out and explaining the local offerings of fruits, vegetables, and various prepared goods.Read More
So what makes a tourist activity eco-friendly - as in, how do you decide if it’s a responsible choice or not? You want to support locally-owned businesses that are not only reducing their environmental impacts, but are using their tourism platform to help local communities and raise support for conservation. Sustainable tourism has been defined by the World Tourism Organization as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities.”Read More
As a traveler, we have an immense responsibility. Jet-setting or road-tripping (or cycling, walking, running, horseback riding, etc.) to see the world is a beautiful gift, and we really shouldn’t take it lightly. Just as we try to “greenify” our lives back home, we can try to spruce up our travel game to be a bit more self-sufficient and leave less of a consumerist trail in our wake.Read More
This is a straightforward summary of my explorations of plant-based dining options in this beautiful coastal town. Ok, let’s make sure we’re on the same page. I love Hervey Bay. It’s cute, quiet, and the weather is pretty much mint year-round. The ocean’s in your backyard, and the whales come to play from July to October (that’s why I was here!). But, I won’t lie - the food scene leaves something to be desired, especially for the vegans. Since I was living there for three months, I wasn’t about to sit at home and cook the same ole same ole every night - I wanted to eat out, too! I was able to do a fair bit of exploring in my quest to both satiate my stomach and stay committed to my environmental morals. This post is meant to save any vegan or omnivorous veggie-lovers some grief the next time they visit the Fraser Coast!Read More
What does the term freediving bring to mind for you? Diving without scuba tanks? Spearfishing? Long breath holds? Insanity? For me, it was mainly just a talent I admired of other people when I saw them diving down to look at an octopus or a moray eel in Molokini Crater for extended periods of time.Read More
A Post To Perk You UP About Fighting for Conservation
I’m sure many of you, like me, have been experiencing the ebb and flow of enthusiasm/motivation and helplessness/anxiety over the conservation of our natural environment. The articles/news/research findings are bombarding us - always - and they should, because we need to be aware of the issues and the science. The emotions we attach to the media, however, are brought about by our own projections. I associate so much doom and gloom with everything I hear about climate change and ecosystem destruction, I can’t help it. But what if I stepped away from that and chose to see things differently? What if this perceived negativity could be transformed into a positive source of motivation?Read More
I had some time off! And it was amazing! Whale watching is a beautiful way to spend your days, don’t get me wrong. In the midst of a busy season, though, you can bet I’ll snatch an opportunity to take a few days off and explore amazing Aussie. After taking so many guests on our trips who simply gushed about the Sunshine Coast and Byron Bay, I knew I wanted to go see them for myself.Read More