Ritz Carlton Reserve Photo Walk

Photography, Thoughts

After being sick and out of commission for over a week with the mosquito virus, Chikungunya, I decided to grab my camera and go for a walk around the Dorado Beach, Ritz Carlton Reserve property. The fresh air was much needed! I have to admit, I work on one of the most beautiful properties in the world. From the gorgeous beaches to the sub-tropical rainforest, there is beauty everywhere you look. Hopefully I was able to capture some of that beauty in my photographs. 

ALSO – Please visit my NEW ADDITION to the blog – the VIDEO section 😀

Photography: Kite Boarding

Photography, Thoughts

I had the pleasure to host a professional wakeboarder the other week by the name of Moti Levi. He is 25 years old from Israel, and one of the sweetest most genuine people I’ve ever met. Moti has a twin brother who is also a professional wakeboarder, and they both have been hard of hearing since they were young. But, that doesn’t stop them from doing what they love in the water!

Here’s an awesome little video that he recently published:

 

In my photography career, I’ve never really ventured too much into the ‘action/sport photography’ world. So, when the opportunity presented itself to photograph Moti’s amazing skills while kite boarding here in Puerto Rico, I jumped on it! Here are the results – let me know what you think:

Moti2 Moti1 Moti3 Moti4 Moti5
Moti9 Moti8 Moti7 Moti18 Moti17 Moti16 Moti15 Moti14 Moti13 Moti12
Moti10 Moti19 Moti20 Moti24 Moti22

Revelation

Science, Thoughts

Sunset Kayak

I moved to Puerto Rico about a month and a half ago for what I thought was my ‘Dream Job.’ As time passes, I am realizing that this isn’t my ‘Dream Job,’ but instead an eye-opening revelation about what I really want to accomplish in life. I work with 80% kids as my job as a Naturalist. They are definitely a handful and exhausting to keep them entertained for increments of 3 hours at a time back to back everyday. But to be honest, it is so thrilling and rewarding to see how excited they get when we take them to the tide-pools, snorkeling on a coral reef, or even explore a sub-tropical rainforest. Most of these children live in the city (NY), where they don’t get to experience ‘nature’ as often. We even have parents who join in our activities who have never been immersed in a forest, and we have the pleasure to show them a whole new world for the first time.

So, I’ve decided that after my year here, I want to move back to California and get my TEACHING CREDENTIAL! I’ve said it many times before that what I am meant to do on this planet is to educate as many minds as possible about our natural environment and ways to protect it for future generations. My current job has solidified what I want to do in the future – teach kids about natural world and pass onto them all the lessons I’ve learned through my life experiences.

With so many friends who are teachers, I am lucky to have a large community of people willing to answers all the questions that will soon arise once I start this process. It’s actually pretty ironic that I am deciding to become a teacher… in 12th grade at our Senior Breakfast at South Pasadena High School, we voted for people in all sorts of “Best/Most Likely” categories. I won Most Spirited, which is a title I’ve held strong since Elementary School basically. And then out of the BLUE, my class voted me “Most likely to become a teacher at South Pasadena High School.” It looks like my classmates were predicting a future for me even before I knew it!!

I also recently just moved to a different house with a new roommate. It is closer to the beach (literally right across the street), and it’s closer to work. The house is a bit of a fixer-upper, but I think it will be a fun project to take on. My roomie is a cool guy from Washington, who actually works right next door to me at the water sports facility for the Dorado Beach Club. We have a 3rd bedroom open for grabs, which will hopefully be filled by the new Naturalist we are hiring ASAP. We shall see! Things are looking up 🙂

MONTH 1 – Puerto Rico

Photography, Science, Thoughts

chanelhason.naturalist

Hello blog world – oh how I have missed you! I apologize for the absence over the last month; I shall use the “moving my entire life to a new part of the world” excuse.

So today marks the 1-month anniversary of my bold, wild, crazy, exciting, and exhilarating move to Puerto Rico. If you don’t know the backstory already about why I moved – read my previous post.

To be completely honest, it has been a tough adjustment. Yes, I moved to a Caribbean Island and it’s sunny and 80 degrees year round…but it hasn’t been all sunshine for me. To completely sell your life and belongings, say goodbye to friends, family, and loved ones in just 2 short weeks before I made a drastic move across the globe; it didn’t really hit me until I arrived here. It all happened in a blink of an eye. But, this opportunity was not something I could pass up. It’s what I’ve been striving for basically my entire life. I can already feel that this experience will lead me to something wonderful. What’s life without taking risks?

TRANSPORTATION: I don’t have a car, but I did buy a bike. I’m actually quite nervous to drive here…the rules of the road most often don’t apply here in Puerto Rico haha. I mostly walk along the beach every morning to work which is 3 miles (takes me about an hour) – which is soothing and relaxing. Whenever possible, I try and get rides from friends to and from places 🙂

WORK: My job as a Naturalist is definitely A LOT of work. We are not only Naturalists, but we are housekeepers, chefs, baby-sitters, entertainers, and have to always be up for anything. We have a lot on our plates each week, but it’s always fun to know that no one-day at work will ever be the same. We have a multiple activities – mainly 3 a day. That ranges from coral reef snorkeling in the morning, snorkeling with underwater photography, night snorkeling, eco-nature hikes, creatures of the night (forest at night), ambassadors in the kitchen (eco-cooking), fish form and function, Taino arts and crafts (native people of Puerto Rico), sunset kayaking, kayaking and snorkeling adventure, and more.

There are only 2 current Naturalists – but my coworker who has been here a year is leaving in April to pursue other ventures. So, I am hoping we hire a new Naturalist ASAP because doing all the work we have to do alone is very difficult. Do you want to apply? 😉 Here’s my first GoPro video I made for our department.

FOOD: Another big adjustment is getting used the cuisine. Being a vegetarian is a struggle. The Puerto Rican culture is very into their fast food chains, fried meats, and fish. Finding fresh produce is like finding a diamond in the rough. California has it GOOD (aka an endless array of fruits/veggies/GMO free/gluten free goodies), let me tell you.  It’s been quite the challenge to continue to eat healthy, but thankfully I’ve got some connections in the California who have hooked me up with some great care packages. Also, I’ve figured out that COSTCO has the best produce thus far.

FITNESS: In terms of fitness, I’ve begun to do more workouts at home, since I don’t have time to go to a gym with my work schedule. There is a CrossFit gym (aka someone’s house) up the street from me that I’d love to get involved in! But, the only bad part of that is timing with my work schedule :/

WEATHER: The weather here is nothing to whine about – it’s consistently been 80+ degrees and sunny everyday. The water is warm (75-79 degrees) everyday as well! My body is getting used to the humidity, which I can’t complain about either. Waking up every morning and knowing I never have to wear pants…is amazing.

FUTURE: I am very excited actually to put my own flair on the Ambassadors program. I’ve already been working with my boss on adjusting some programs and spicing up the decor. I love being able to have the freedom to speak up here- I am very lucky in that sense. Jean-Michel Cousteau and Dr. Richard Murphy are both coming out in May this year to Puerto Rico to visit our Ambassadors of the Environment location. I cannot wait! I love having something to look forward to, and meeting these two influential and ocean heroes will be amazing. Adios!

A New Life Is About To Begin

Photography, Science, Thoughts

TravelVigorI have some very exciting news!!

As of February 6, 2013, I have accepted a job offer to be a Naturalist for the Jean-Michel Cousteau Ambassadors of the Environment program at the Ritz Carlton Reserve in Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico.

This specific job opportunity has actually been in the works for over a year and half now. Finally, the timing worked out perfectly in this instance – and I am ready pursue my life long passions of ocean conservation and environmental education and get paid to do so! I am moving exactly two weeks from today – meaning there will be a lot of packing, selling, moving, crying, laughing, and hugging until I depart for Puerto Rico. I can’t even begin to explain all the emotions I am feeling right now. This is the opportunity of the lifetime and I’ve worked so incredibly hard to get here. I want to thank everyone in my life who has stood beside me and supported me through all my wild ventures. I will be more than happy to be any of your personal tour guides in Puerto Rico when you come visit me 🙂

LET THE ADVENTURES BEGIN!