Trash Talkin’ from Lake to Ocean

Filed Under (Activism, Special Projects, conservation) by Alexa & Cindy on 29-06-2010

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This past Sunday, June 27th, we embarked on a trash finding and collecting mission around our lake, as part of a project we did with fellow ocean blogger Sara Bayles of The Daily Ocean.

We really had no idea how much trash was hiding in plain sight.

More on that in a minute.

First, we have to thank Sara, whose year-or-so long experiment to collect trash on 365 non-consecutive days for 20 minutes each time, weigh it, analyze it and blog it, has opened our eyes to the reality of the trash – and plastic – problem we have going on along our shores (and that means everywhere else, too).

Sara does her clean-up along the coastline near the Santa Monica Pier and lifeguard tower 26 in Santa Monica, California. This ability she has to open the public’s eyes to the alarming amount of not only trash but PLASTIC in this trash made her a finalist in Oceana’s Ocean Heroes Award 2010.  Sara has collected 510 pounds of trash in 129 days so far.

No, that was not a typo.

We made a short video of our clean-up:

For the full scoop, head on over to Sara’s post on our joint effort for her clean-up’s totals, our detailed list of what we found and much more. It was SO alarming and SO interesting that we are going to do a lot more clean-ups, and a monthly clean-up with Sara, lake-to-ocean-style. Thank you, Sara, and we can’t wait for more!

Want to clean up with us? Want to do a long-distance co-clean-up with O4E and The Daily Ocean? Get in touch and let’s talk some trash!

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The Great Bake for Oceans’ Sake

Filed Under (Activism, Special Events, conservation) by Alexa & Cindy on 25-06-2010

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Happy Friday, Ocean Lovers!

We’ve been planning. We’ve been baking. We’ve been…sampling.  A lot.

And so, without further adeux, we’d like to announce a culinary – and ocean conservation – event like no other, a partnership with our friend Casey Sokolovic of L.A.S.T. (Love a Sea Turtle).

Image: Heather Garland

Wait for it…

The Great Bake for Oceans’ Sake is here. Super-surprised by the name? ;)  We thought you would be.

We’re putting on our aprons, weilding our rolling pins, and rolling out a coast-to-coast, simultaneous bake sale on July 9th, National Sugar Cookie Day, to raise money for the Gulf marine life affected by the oil spill.

And we want YOU to join us! Get your family and friends, your Girl Scout troop, your church or office, bake up some ocean-inspired sugar cookies and/or other baked goods, and host a bake sale. OR, head out around your area and encourage your favorite restaurant or bakery to participate by baking and selling said confections and donating proceeds.

July 9, National Sugar Cookie Day, is the official kick-off and we’re baking through the month of July. Hold a BAKE when you can, and make sure you visit the BAKE website and register your BAKE or area eatery’s cookie sale. We’ll also hook you up with the best sugar cookie recipe, ever, a complete tool kit with printable fliers, a donation form, and tips for holding and getting the word out about your own BAKE – and of course, we’ll have BAKE swag for sale in the Bake Shop.

BAKE sale proceeds will go to the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies – More on all to be posted this weekend, so keep checking back!


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Encounter with a Mega-Manta

Filed Under (Special People) by Alexa & Cindy on 22-06-2010

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Last month, we saw a news headline featuring an ocean photographer-diver who had captured some stunning underwater images of  a Manta ray (Manta birostris) while diving in the Pacific, off the Socorro and San Benedicto Islands, at the tip of the Baja peninsula. Rays are among our favorite sea creatures, so we had to have a look.

We quickly found that this ray was a bit – different – than what we were expecting to see.

For starters, it was 16 feet wide!

And this Manta was not shy, as they can often be around divers in the water. Such giant Mantas are well-known and highly sought after by divers in the area, but they’re not always willing to come out and pose for the underwater paparazzi.

Such giant Mantas, also known as devil rays, Atlantic Mantas and Pacific Mantas, are the largest of their kind and are closely related to sharks. These mantas don’t have stinging spines and are truly considered harmless. They can leap high in the air and are often seen with Remoras hanging around to feed on parasites that attach themselves to Mantas’ bodies.

We figured that this must be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for even a seasoned pro like Franco Banfi, 50, who lives in Cadro, Switzerland.

So we caught up with Franco and asked him for his personal account of his time with this awesome sea creature, and found out it was pretty amazing not just to us, but to him, too.

Here’s his account of his swim with the Mega Manta:

With my partner, Sabrina, we went on board the Solmar V to Socorro to see and photograph the giant mantas. On our second day we met the dive almost at the end of the dive and we were already happy to pass some time with the manta.

We found the manta so friendly that we went back on board, changed tanks and went back into the water.

During this time the manta was round the boat, almost like it was waiting for us.
We went back in the water to find the manta and start to photograph it. The manta went close to Sabrina and back, swimming around, rolling on itself, turning on its belly upside down and waiting for Sabrina to come close.
We stayed in the water more then one hour, all the time with this manta. On this trip I started using the digital camera, of course I was lucky because in the film era I could do only 36 images before changing film. With the camera I shot 140 pictures, and I was surprised and frightened because before going in the water, my camera said that I could do 114. I understood later that these images with a lot of blue and not many colours are smaller in size, to make possible to save more images on the memory card.

What do YOU think about this Mega Manta encounter? Leave a comment and tell us what you’d do if you could play with one!

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