Flock of Spoonbills at Mosquito Lagoon

Check out this amazing flock of Roseate Spoonbills (along with Ibises, Great White Egrets, and Blue Herons) feeding at Mosquito Lagoon in Titusville, Fl.  We were leaving the preserve after a bike ride and passed this commotion just at the right moment.

To see ONE is amazing. To see a whole flock of hot pink feathers gathered in one place is, in a word, SPECTACULAR.

Live conch at the beach

The winds were strong last night as we took an evening stroll on the beach. We saw several kite surfers “catching air” and were able to collect lots of cool treasures that the surf had washed up shore. One treasure we found, however, was still alive! 

Check out this conch’s alien-like googly eyes.  ūüėÄ

A Lesson on How to Fly

‚ÄčIf you think running is just another way to burn calories, then you’ve either never really tried it or just never really understood it. 

The act of running teaches you that pain is temporary but victory is infinite and that all those limitations you’ve placed on yourself were WRONG. It makes you one of the privileged few who gets to witness and ENJOY sunrises and sunsets regularly; it makes you cognizant of your surroundings and appreciative of nature. It helps you create friendships and strengthens the ones you already have. It simultaneously winds up your battery AND burns off a little bit of the crazy lurking inside of you. It takes you places you never thought you could go, both physically and emotionally. 

If you don’t believe that humans can FLY, then you’ve never really run. 

Kayaking in South Florida: A guide on what to pack and wear

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My lovely friend invited me to go kayaking with her in Jupiter over the weekend. Being up for any adventure I, of course, enthusiastically jumped at the opportunity! I’ve only been kayaking one other time and it was in a double kayak through shallow, brackish water at a nature preserve in Palm Beach. This was my first time in a single kayak, pushing through current and avoiding boats and their wakes in intracoastal waters.

I was intimidated at first, and a bit uncoordinated, but I got the hang of it rather quickly.  My Garmin watch logged 5 miles by the time we had finished. Not bad for a novice!

I felt I had packed and prepared pretty well for our adventure and learned a few things I’d do differently for next time.¬†

Here is a suggested packing list for a So Flo Kayaking adventure:

To take with you on the kayak:
* water proof bags to stick your wallet in.
* water proof phone case so that you can take photos
* Sports/ water resistant SPF 30 or higher
* Light snacks such as granola bars or nuts
* insulated water bottle

To leave in the car for when you get back:
* towel
* flip flops
* dry clothes to change into

Here is a suggested list of things to wear:

* A hat that will remain fixed on your head via ties, elastic, velcro etc. (Or else the wind will knock it right off and into the water)
* Sunglasses
* fingerless gloves (like the kind used for cycling, lifting weights, yoga etc.) to help prevent blisters.
* bathing suite
* dry-wick clothing
* water shoes

Please comment here on any other suggestions for things I may have forgotten! 

Here are some pics of our adventure:

Do your part!

plastic bags and sea turtles

Yeah, I was lazy today… I skipped my run. ¬†It was just too hot and my heart wasn’t in it. ¬†My heart, however, is alway in for a walk on the beach. ¬†Today was no exception and it made me feel slightly less guilty about not running.

As I walked towards the staircase down to the beach, I saw a dispenser for plastic grocery bags, intended to encourage people to fill these bags with their garbage while at the beach.  I took one on a whim and decided to fill it as I walked to the inlet and back- my go-to 2 mile walk.

What I found was really surprising and disappointing. ¬†Empty chip bags, Starbucks cups, Styrofoam, soda cans and plastic bottles… What is wrong with people?

Did you know what most adult sea turtles have plastic in their GI system? ¬†Did you also know that plastic in the GI system of any sea creature causes them to feel bloated and full, resulting in them starving to death because they don’t feel the need to eat? ¬†These facts sadden me and make me feel concerned when I see people leave remnants of their picnics all over the beach with complete disregard for their environment.

Imagine how clean our beaches would be if we all committed to picking up our own garbage and making a commitment to filling one small bag with the garbage we find each time with visit?!  Fun thought and maybe something that we can encourage our younger generations to get into the habit of doing.

Besides¬†beach-combing for trash, I found some treasures which redeemed the evening, most notably a shark’s tooth!

Seining the Lagoon

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Red Mangroves

As a kid, who didn’t love a break from class to go on a fun field trip? ¬†One of my most memorable was a trip to Gumbo Limbo Environmental Center in Boca Raton, Fl. during 7th grade. ¬†We were given seine nets and taught to do the “sting-ray shuffle” in the shallow intracoastal waters so as not to get stung while walking and collecting fish, crabs, shrimp, jellyfish… you name it.

Everything we collected was placed in large buckets and, at the end, we were taught about all the different creatures we had found then released them back into the water.  It was a magical and interactive trip and I carry that memory vividly with me today.

I was researching things to entertain myself during the last few weeks of summer vacation a few days ago and… low and behold I found a link to Gumbo Limbo’s “Seinging the Lagoon” Program, but this time it was open to the public! ¬†Of course, I registered and went.

The program was comprised of a very informative 30 min presentation about¬†local mangroves and wildlife, followed by casting the seine in the intracoastal just as I remembered doing as a girl. ¬†We caught a barracuda which was large enough to be deemed worthy of the nature center’s beautiful tank, a large blowfish, jelly fish, a pipefish (related to the seahorse), shrimp, various small fish and one lonely hermit crab. ¬†As we found things and oogled at our buckets, the nature center’s volunteer exclaimed “its exhilarating isn’t it?!” ¬†It WAS exhilarating to see so much life in such a small, shallow area… even for someone who has probably assisted with hundreds of these classes. Imagine what exists in the depths of the sea! ¬†Conservation is so imperative as is educating our youth about the importance of appreciating seeing the beauty of their local environment so that they appreciate and care for it as adults.

Here are some pics of my fun little adventure: