Dying Stars

These are relatively health coral heads:

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(That clearly do more squats than me)

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They are starlet corals.

Growing up I would stand on the rails of the boat with my eyes squinted looking into the blue horizon as my dad drove the boat. Each of us waiting for a signal from the other. We were looking for these massive heads. Sometimes we would be fishing, sometimes lobstering, most times just wanting to be surrounded by the animals we love. Starlet corals such as these provide homes for many marine species just as most corals do.

The ones in the pictures above were enormous and gorgeous.

The ones below are also enormous and gorgeous… but dying. They are a short swim away from the ones above but just that small change in depth (and therefore temperature) makes all the difference for these sedentary creatures.

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This is the first in what I sure will become a whole series of posts about coral bleaching. It is short because I don’t want to overwhelm you with facts. Growing up in Miami… or probably near any coast, we hear it all the time. We learn about coral bleaching in school, hear about it in the news, well here is my first hand account of coral bleaching.

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As coral polyps overheat they expel colorful algae that live in their tissues which changes them from the orange brown, to this light purple, and eventually their transparent tissue reveals the white skeleton beneath. Death and decay follow soon after.

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Beauty in death?

 

 

Stay fascinated.

Icy Love

I would go to the ends of the world for my best friend, so I don’t bat an eye to fly to Denver.

… but to be completely honest with you all, it wasn’t just Nina that lured me here this time. I met someone. I met what I feel like could have been the love of my life – five days before he moved to Colorado. Please kill me. We spent 5 days together, we meant to just be friends but from the first night neither of us could deny that something greater was at play. Timing is a bitch.

I walked outside the terminal, gasped for humidity, and searched for Nina’s dusty new car. Kylo, her golden retriever pup, escaped the hatchback in excitement when he saw his madrina (me) at the airport. We really don’t deserve dogs.

I didn’t plan on seeing this guy. I was oddly content being near him. Nina convinced me to reach out so I texted him a day or so later then deleted the conversation. I wanted to focus on what little time I had with her and just let myself be surprised if he decided to answer. I know I’m crazy, OKAY? Passion is equally a bitch.

Having Nina in Denver is a strange feeling because I arrive at this extremely foreign place and then there’s this very human piece of home everywhere I go. It is like walking through China but every time you turn around the door to your house is right behind you. And it also makes you go out… and buys you drinks… and demands you make brownies.

I told her we didn’t have to do anything crazy every day I was there. I would have gladly made the trip to just curl up on the couch with her and watch movies. She is the only human that can mute my pain.

But we did go hiking…

Hike

When in Rome

When in Rome

I don’t usually do this unless I’m drunk or I’m high but I was both all trip sooo: forgive me for the sappy story I have intertwined with this post but I have this boulder sitting on my heart and I am hoping writing about it will help me bare the load. I may never certainly know if our connection was love but I really do love Denver – despite the lack of saltwater and fresh fish.

Mountains take my breath away as much as the ocean gives it to me.

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Pain makes us stronger, it is why I am not afraid to tell anyone how I feel. Friend, lover, or foe. I am tactful… or as tactful as my heart allows. Sometimes you have to just jump.

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And then you immediately regret everything because you didn’t put two & two together that you were jumping into GLACIER run off water.

Swimming back to shore felt like treading through dark chocolate syrup that was slowly freezing. I stared at Ashley (Nina’s little sister & another life long friend of mine that moved to Denver… again please kill me) to try to tell her with my eyes that I was drowning.

He never answered me since I know you are wondering. How could my heart have lead me so astray

My regret was fleeting. I re-watch these videos and wish I had jumped from the higher ledge. Or at least more than once.

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Puppies were my only source of warmth & luckily they were abundant:

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With so many millennials moving to the area, Denver’s nightlife is akin to Miami’s. Most of it all reminds me of Wynwood.  Artsy and hipster with plenty of intermingling. Denver exemplifies the best of my generation: unity. No matter what you look like, how you dress, or how you talk – everyone is welcomed.

Blue MexicanMargaritasAt night

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Finns Mannorfinns manor1

Brunch

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Music pulsed like the chuff of a lion. Strange but comforting:

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Our last night alone together we sat and spoke about the parallels in our lives. Family, intensity, goals… around 6:00 am he nervously asked me if I would move with him. I knew he meant it equally as much as he did not.

I told him no. “You’ll be back” I said confidently. 

He stayed quiet.

I can’t live without the ocean… but he feels like an ocean.

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I’d tell you more… but I am not ready to give away much else.

Did you know that when you remember something you aren’t actually remembering what happened? You are remembering the last time you recalled what happened. So, the less I recall, the more accurately I remember & the more I write, the more I can let go.

Denver took good care of me. I ate, drank, and hiked my problems away. I think we have multiple loves of our lives. Some make us feel vulnerable;

& others invincible

Invincible

Both are equally important.

Now if only the bars stayed open later and the city could somehow migrate about 2,000 miles south east…

Stay Fascinated

Rainy Labor

I judge people based on how they feel about rain. Everyone likes sunshine and tan-lines. *hard eye-roll* Let’s hear it for raindrops and muddy feet !

JK I don’t judge anyone (or I try not to #2016Resolution)

This past Labor Day weekend was a rainy one. These are some of my normal rainy day activities:

  1. I walk my dogs.

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Indiana Jones (Indie) on the port, Bongo on the star.

Yeah… I don’t know my rights and lefts. So my blog, my rules we use port & starboard here.

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Collectively, I call them the Titi’s. (tea-teas) Or The Tiis (teas).

A single Indie is ‘The Ti’ or the ‘El Titi’; while a single Bongo is ‘A Ti.’

One day I’ll give you the etymology of the Titi’s but this is a short post and it’s a long story. I make up words. You like it.

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Unleashed once the kayakers passed… ^

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The Ti ^

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A Ti ^

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If you ever catch me walking the Tiis… DO NOT APPROACH. Indie will have none of another human coming near me when we are walking alone and Bongo only looks derpy.  If I am in a large group… you’re straight.

2. I act like I’m 12 with my brothers.

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& usually regret it ^ (he wouldn’t let me out… and kept crashing me into things. Note the seriousness in my face)

But I don’t really regret anything ❤

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He wears it every day to school now.

3. I explore the shore.

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Tide pools = ❤

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I love seeing tiny fish dart away and streams of water rushing to and fro.

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Idk why I bring my shoes mostly anywhere. #PiedritaFeet (‘little rock’ feet)

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Not a lot of wildlife since the wind, current, and rain was ripping but this guy was looking for a fight. CRABS amirite? Why don’t lobster stand their ground like this?

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He kinda calmed down and started blow bubbles. He cute…

I love him.

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^^^ See ladies? Angles are everything. Found the exact perfect shot to make it look like it was a beautiful day.

Beyond the scope of my lens: darkness and rainfall.

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The hut I will *happily* live in if this blog doesn’t work out and all goes to shit.

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So I basically walk around the shore for as long as I can keep myself out of the water… then just find a good tide pool and submit to my urges. #cantkeepmeoutofthewater

Don’t tell my abuela I was sitting in the water… in the rain. It’s a sin.

4. I go in the pool.

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… & drink…

don’t tell my abuela

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Quick with that trigger finger getting those rain drops.

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Which one do I look scarier? That one ^

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or this one ^ ?

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Honestly I just go down and snap a million times and look at footage later. I live my life and just kinda hope the camera catches some of it…

LMK if there is a better way to live.

But don’t because there’s not ❤

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Indie loves the rain too… Bongo, however, remains outside out of obligation. He stays under cover and squishes himself as much as he can to the door. It’s adorable.

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Moral of the story: enjoy the rain guys.

Stay Fascinated.

Jerry & Grover

Goliath groupers can be terrifying.

To be fair every animal on Earth (including humans) can be dangerous… especially humans. Anything with a mouth can bite, okei guys?

Goliath groupers can weigh up to 800 lbs and grow to over 8 ft long. These babes are protected and it is illegal to harvest them in Federal or State waters. It’s actually illegal to even lift them out of the water once they are big since they can crush themselves with their own weight (like most large fish\marine mammals). Goliaths can swallow sharks whole (google it) and they make a deep barking noise that has had me drop Bullet (what I affectionately call my GoPro) more than once.

But they are cute and have adorable bulldog faces. Don’t fight me on this.

There are two Goliaths I am particularly fond of in the lower keys.  Jody & Jessica Westbrooks of Livin’ the Keys Life (subscribe to their channel it is aaamazing) let me know that the locals call them Jerry & Grover ♥

Here is a shot of them from the boat:

Goliath groupers approaching boat

Jerry is very friendly.
Here he is saying hi to each member of the family:

Grover is much bigger and much more shy (the big fish always are, amirite?)

The first time I met these two it was a really bad weather day. Not sure how I convinced my dad to take us all the way out to the reef… #daddysgirl ♥

Rough chop, awful visibility, and the current was roaring… needless to say I was the only one in the water. I know, I know my mom tells me all the time… I’m a problem.

It’s never not been worth it.

Anyway, I am going up & down fighting all elements of nature – happily – and as I am heading into the boat I see two big brown masses hanging out underneath her.

My little heart drops for .5 seconds. If you couldn’t tell already from my first post I am 10/10 dramatic. But I bounce back faster than I fall so it’s fine.

So heart drops and I pop my head out of the water and yell for Bullet.

Most of my videos of Grover are me chasing him down and quickly giving up… because they only look slow and lethargic…

Can you tell how murky it was?

SIDE NOTE: did you catch this little piece of fire coral in the video? Rewatch. He stung me to high hell. He deserves his 5 min of fame. Does anyone else ALWAYS get hit by fire coral or just me?

They were both apprehensive the first day we met. Even Jerry kept a safe distance. However, every time after that he has been all up in my face & making my mom scream through her snorkel because she swears he wants to eat her toes. I’ve read they like crabs the most and I know they will swallow a fish whole while it struggles on a line… I should look into their affinity for toes.

big Goliath grouper swimming away

One of the more recent times we ran into the duo, Grover gave me another heart attack. I was swimming along minding my business when he barked from behind me. I promise I felt my brain rattle. We probably scared each other . I grabbed some air real quick and dove down again to catch this little video:

Forever avoiding me but Jerry is at a point where he begs for pets. He rubs up on our legs and fins and gets all up in our faces. It’s endearing… Friends and family we have taken do not initially agree.

I think that was roast beef one of my little cousin threw over the boat. He didn’t like it either. He needs a taste bud adjustment. I love roast beef.

Jerry is a total babe though so he is forgiven:

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Goliath grouper and yellow tail
adolescent Goliath grouper next to boat
Goliath grouper fish
goliath grouper swimming below
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Keep coming back and together we will vanquish all your preconceived notions about the “monsters” of the sea. Sharks, Goliath groupers… what do you guys want to see next?

Stay Fascinated.