David Ulloa destinations H2O

Headed to Ft. Lauderdale

I’m headed to the Formula H2O Gold Coast Underwater Grand Prix

formulaH2OI am so excited. Yesterday after blogging, David and I were talking, and he asked why I didn’t just come down to Ft. Lauderdale for the weekend and film the event?

So, I got to thinking. I haven’t done any diving this year and I was starting to get pouty about it. This was my big opportunity to do some diving, do some filming and have a great weekend hanging out with David. Who I am sure is going to win this weekend!

So, I went home and talked to Matt, my other half, and he said I should go. So, by then end of the night, I had plane tickets, hotel and diving booked!2010 racing

I am so looking forward to this weekend. I’m hopping a flight down on Friday morning, then I’m staying at the official host hotel, The Ocean Point Beach Resort, which is right on Pompano Beach. They hooked up the Wreck Racing League with super sweet discount rates. I can’t wait to wake up in the mornings looking out at the ocean!

The race will be taking place on The Tracey. South Florida Diving is the official dive shop for the event, and diving both days, including getting to demo the scooters is only $110. The first dive we’ll get to watch the practice and do demo’s, even get to try the course if we want. The second dive is a drift dive. On Sunday, we’ll get to watch the race from the Tracey, and then explore the wreck. The second dive is a drift dive on a nearby reef.

Sunday afternoon they’ll have the awards ceremony. I’ll get one more sleep in paradise before heading back to work on Monday….

There’s still time to book your trip to the event. The Ocean Point Beach Resort still has rooms available and I’m pretty sure you can still make it out to see the race. It might be last minute, but life is more fun when you add a little spontaneity!

conservation David Ulloa

David is racing to help sharks

Formula H2O Racing

david_whisperer David Ulloa will be competing as Team Shark Whisperer in the 2010 Gold Coast Underwater Grand Prix on August 20th – 22nd. Formula H2O racing is an action packed sport which combines underwater scooters and scuba diving racing on artificial reefs. David’s big passion in life is saving sharks. Check out David’s FB fan page, where he says: I’ll be racing in as many races worldwide as I can to promote shark conservation and raise awareness to the issues that the sharks are currently facing and posting pics from those races in this album. As team Shark Whisperer, I will be racing for and working with Shark Savers and the JR Dunlap Marine Conservation Program at the University of Miami. I’m very proud to say that our team sponsors are Submerge Scooters, Gates Housings and Triton’s Lens. I’m super excited for David and I hope he kicks ass. It sounds like awesome fun and a great cause. What better way to combine your passion for scuba diving and shark conservation. Go David!

Check out the Wreck Racing League for more info on underwater racing or to get involved.

conservation destinations oil spill

Day 88 in the Gulf. Success at last?

It’s day 88 in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill.
BP got a cap on the spill overnight and President Obama is giving a speech about the cap.
The cap is working right now, holding back the flow. However, they don’t know if this is going to work. It might build up too much pressure and blow the cap, or worse, break something further down. Everyone has their fingers crossed that this does work. 88 days of oil in the Gulf of Mexico has had devastating effects on the wildlife and the livelihoods of people who make their living in the Gulf.

If you were planning a scuba trip this year, consider going to the Gulf. There are plenty of operators still running dive trips. There’s so many beautiful places to stay and lots of beaches are still clean. Let’s help keep the dive operators in the Gulf of Mexico in business.

destinations Diver Education oil spill

Scuba in the Gulf of Mexico?

Scuba Shops still operating?

jimmyLast night while BBQing, we were flicking through channels and we saw the Jimmy Buffett free concert in Gulf Shores, AL. It made us wonder, as we looked at the overhead shots of 35,000 people on white sands, how badly are tourist dependent stores being affected? Are local SCUBA stores still operating? Are they able to navigate past the oil and still go diving? Is there anything out there to see? If the water has been closed to fishermen, how about Scuba Divers?

So, I’m going to set up a new page just for the Gulf area. If you are a Scuba Store or Scuba Diver in the Gulf Coast, anywhere from Port Isabel near South Padre Island, TX, up through Galveston, Mobile AL, Pensacola, Tampa and down to Key West, FL, let me know where you are and if you are still running trips into the Gulf.

Anyone who contacts me, I’ll put your information up on the Gulf Coast Diving page to let people know that they can still call you and arrange a trip. If you’re still operating, we don’t want you to lose money because people are just assuming you’re closed!

Use the Contact Page, let us know your website if you have one, phone number, if you’re still doing trips into the gulf, what kind of boats you have, what kind of diving you do, nitrox, liveaboard, night diving, etc and any other information that might be important for Scuba Divers to know.

If you own a Scuba Store, tell us if you sell Scuba gear and diving equipment, wetsuits, scuba masks, if you fill tanks with nitrox, etc.

Faith Hill has just confirmed that she will also be doing a concert in Gulf Shores, AL, so if you’re in the Gulf, let us know where you are so that we can tell people to take their Scuba Gear with them, or get some new diving equipment from you when they’re headed to the concert.

conservation destinations oil spill

Oil Spill hits Destin Beach, FL

Bad parenting in the Oil Spill.

Ok, so I was watching a YouTube video this morning about the oil washing up on the shores in Destin, Fl. I’ve been to Destin. It’s beautiful. Well, it used to be. My ex, who I’m still on good terms with is stationed right there and when we were together, I got to enjoy the stretch of beach from Pensacola to Panama City beach. The area was all beautiful white sands, with dolphins swimming out in the bay. He still lives there, and I feel bad that his beaches are now so messed up from the spill. While he now has kids with his new wife, I’m pretty sure he won’t be doing what this parent does…

Come on people. If we’re so worried about what the oil is doing to the wildlife and teams are down there with soap washing the birds, and volunteers are told not to pick up the oil themselves because it’s so toxic, why the hell would you let your kids play in the stuff? When you’re kid is screaming for you to get it off her, don’t just tell her to rub her foot in the sand.

I love the beach. I’m sure if you’ve spent money going on vacation to the beach, you want to go and spend time on the beach. But really, when there’s that much oil on the beach, stay off of it. If you have to be on the sand, go further back where you’re not getting oil on you.If you were there enjoying it before it washed up, be glad you got a couple clean hours in and pack it up and find something else to do.

I can just imagine this mother suing BP in a couple years when her kids get really sick, saying that it was the oil spills fault… Hopefully someone will remember this YouTube video and show she was negligent for letting her kids play in the stuff.

I’ll step off my soapbox now.

destinations oil spill

Gulf Coast Beach Closing Map

Which Gulf Coast Beaches Are Still Open? Gulf Coast Beach Map

With the Gulf Coast Oil Spill still not being contained, and now with Hurricane Season upon us, beach conditions are changing daily.  Hurricane Alex missed the part of the gulf over the slick, but created waves that pushed more oil ashore.

So far it seems the slick has made it as far away as Destin, Florida. Some beaches are still open, but you can’t go out into the water. In some places, the whole beach is closed.

In the meantime, if you’re headed to the beach and want to know which ones are closed before you make the trip, check out this USA Today map that updates daily. It has layers you can check to see where you can fish, where animals have beached and which beaches have advisories issued.

Thankfully Hurricane Alex didn’t bring the oil any closer to Texas where I live, but Florida, the other state I would love to live in is being seriously impacted. It won’t be long till it makes it to Clearwater and devastates the Manatee’s and all the other local wildlife.

We’re supposed to go Deep Sea Fishing off the Houston Coast next weekend. Guess I’ll be using the map to see if we can still actually go deep sea fishing before we make the drive to Houston. I love fishing, but I’m not sure I’d really want to eat anything I caught right now….

conservation destinations Diver Education

Donating to the Gulf cleanup

dead sharkIt’s been a while now since the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the gulf of Mexico. Oil is spewing out at an alarming rate and we are starting to see the effects on marine life.

Birds, crab and turtles are coming ashore covered in oil,  while sharks and dolphins are being found washed up dead in large numbers. I know most people are afraid of sharks, but I respect them for their position at the top of the food chain in the ocean, and images like this one make me tear up.

Gulf Oil Spill

They’re still not letting civilians volunteer to help clean up the coast. It’s just too dangerous with how toxic the oil is. Obama says he’s going to make BP pay for the cleanup. Meanwhile, they’re not letting people who are willing to help to help.

There are ways that those of us who can’t make it down to the coast to volunteer or who don’t have boats to donate to the effort can pitch in. There are plenty of organizations who are accepting donations so that they can go do something to help the wildlife in the meantime.

I’ve put a badge on my sidebar where you can donate money to the Emerald CoastKeeper. They’re based in Pensacola, Florida. They are the protectors of the coast between the Alabama/Florida border across to Panama City beach. Easily some of the most beautiful coastline in the entire US.

Even if we feel helpless in this whole situation, we can at least donate something to someone who can do something about protecting our shoreline and our wildlife. Join me in making a difference.

destinations Diver Education

Gulf Coast Oil Spill

My husband Matt and I belong to a Jeep Club in San Antonio. They had arranged a trip to Corpus Christ and Port Aransas last weekend. We had been so slammed during the week, we thought about not going on the ride, since it was a 6am start and we wouldn’t get back till late that night. Then however, we thought about the oil spill in the Gulf and how it hadn’t reached Corpus Christi or Port Arthur yet and we should go down and enjoy the beach while it was still clean.

So we got up at 6am and headed to the meeting point on the SE side of town. We met up with another 5 jeeps and headed south. When we got to Corpus, we met up with the local Corpus Christi chapter. So we now had about 10 jeeps cruising up and down the beach.

We set up some easy ups and everyone sat and relaxed for a bit after the drive. The weather was perfect. It wasn’t brutally hot, there was a pleasant breeze, and the water was a balmy 86 degrees. Everyone took advantage of the crystal clear water, while discussing the possible effects of the oil spill hitting the coast line.

We saw little four wheelers going up and down the beach with turtle flags on there. Matt actually saw a large sea turtle swim next to him while he was out in the water. It’s currently turtle season, and the four wheelers were a sea patrol dedicated to making sure that when the turtle beach themselves that they don’t get run over by people like us driving up and down the beach.

I’m really hoping the spill doesn’t make it to the Texas coast. When I first moved to Texas 10 years ago, there was lots of oil on the beach. They actually had cleaning stations where they provided alcohol to wipe your feet before going back to your car. I had a pair of beautiful shoes ruined by the oil. There’s been a real effort to clean up the gulf and keep it clean. Scuba Divers even use the oil platforms to dive on. I can’t imagine the effect of the oil spill on the Scuba industry. With so many places to dive in the gulf, from the artificial reefs off the coast of Pensacola in Florida down to the Oil Rigs and Hammerhead dives off South Padre Island. In between the two are many Scuba shops and dive centers who’s livelihood is going to be severely affected by the spill. Then there’s the affect to the marine life.

Sure, there’s a small amount of oil leaking naturally in the gulf all the time. But nothing of this magnitude. From the abundance of wildlife on the Texas Flower Gardens to the manatees off Central Florida, the impact of the spill is going to be huge. If you live near the beach, go enjoy it while you can. Once Hurricane season starts, there’s no guessing where the oil will end up.

There are several civilian efforts to help clean up the coast. If you’d like to get involve with the cleanup, check out some of these places.

If you have a better list of volunteer opportunities, please reply below so that we can share the word.

destinations random stuff

Underwater Webcam in Bonaire

While at the day job today, looking at techie type sites, I found a link to something actually fun.

bonaireThere’s an underwater webcam in Bonaire. It’s about 15 meters below the surface at a dive site called “Something Special”. The local dive instructors keep it clean, so that must be fun to tune in as people are down there diving.

I always like watching webcams while I’m at work. I used to try to watch the Bra Boys surfing at Maroubra Beach in Australia, but with the time zone difference, it was normally dark. Tuning in at sunrise or sunset is pretty awesome though.

But, for those of us who’d prefer to be diving instead of sitting at our desk, maybe the Bonaire Underwater Webcam can help keep us amused. It’s gotta be better than a goldfish. Maybe I’ll have to use my second monitor to just show this….You can set the screen to refresh anywhere from 2 seconds to 5 minutes, depending on your connection. On 2 seconds, you can actually see the fish moving around.

If you’ve found any neat underwater webcams you’d like to share, let me know. We could all use an escape from the office.

decorations random stuff

Scuba Baby

My husband and I are about the only people in our age group left that haven’t had kids. However, most of our friends are already onto their second or third. So, I’ve been out and about doing lots of baby gift buying lately.

At Target, they had adorable baby girl onesies covered in fish. Then at KidsRUs this morning, I stumbled upon the cutest theme yet for a nursery.

ocean wonders

There was a crib set, with sheets, bumper and blanket, then it moved onto everything you could think of. Play sets, high chair, swing, mobile, etc. You could do an entire nursery, plus various stuff scattered around your house. It’s a perfect gift for those who are really into scuba. Then little bub could also enjoy the fish and soothing sounds of the ocean till they’re big enough to go diving for real.

Now, since I don’t have any kids to decorate my house for, do you think I can get Fisher Price to make all this in an adult size? I could see my bedroom with the fish sheets and curtains, with matching towels in the bathroom.