Battle Royale: Shark VS Moray Eel


I can always be certain that the underwater world will always astound, amaze, mystify and sometimes downright scare me haha.

For example, the video below is a battle between a giant moral eel & a juvenile white tip reef shark. DO NOT MISS THE ENDING OF THE VIDEO!

I have never seen a moral eel this big in my life…it’s massive! The only moral eels I’ve seen so far in Puerto Rico have been very small in comparison. I did some research on moral eels after watching this video, and decided to share some of the fun facts I discovered:

Fun Facts about Moral Eels:


– Morays can cause ciguatera food poisoning if eaten by humans. The symptoms include serious gastrointestinal and neurological conditions.

– Moray eels are one of the few species of fish that can swim backwards.

– Morays have the ability to tie their bodies into knots in order to gain leverage when tearing up their food.

– Unlike other eels, moral eels have 2 sets of sharp teeth. The first set is located in the jaw, and the other in the throat. Teeth located in the throat are used for breaking up the food and for facilitated digestion.


Scuba Obsessed Podcast

Photography, Science, Thoughts

scuba obsessed

Everyone listens to podcasts nowadays – so OF COURSE I was thrilled when the guys of Scuba Obsessed asked me to be a guest on their show! I connected with Darrin and Mack via Skype and we chatted for over an hour about my experiences representing the USA in the Miss Scuba International Pageant, and other various interests/hobbies. You can listen to the podcast on your computer, or download it by clicking the link below:


Scuba Obsessed Website:
Scuba Obsessed Twitter:
Scuba Obsessed Facebook:

While on the Podcast – one listener contacted me and asked if she could interview me on her podcast – Learning To Sea. Of course I agreed! So be sure to stay tuned for that podcast release.

I officially move my life to Puerto Rico in 2 days!!!! I can’t wait to share all my adventures in this new place with you. It’s been 2 weeks filled with a whirlwind of packing and saying goodbye to so many people. I know it won’t hit me until I’m on the airplane… EEEE!

I Wish I Were A Mermaid.

Photography, Science, Thoughts
(c) Ted Grambeu/ Barcott USA

(c) Ted Grambeu/ Barcott USA

You know when people ask you for fun –

If you could be any animal, what would you be?

If you had any super power, what would it be?

My answer never seems to change. I would be any oceanic animal (blue whale, dolphin, shark, etc.) and my super power would be to have gills so I could breathe underwater. I know many people would want to be an animal that flies in the air, but when you think about it, everything flies through the water in the ocean. It’s just a different medium/element.

I came across these photos last week and instantly connected with them. It’s on my Bucket List to swim with whales in the wild. And after seeing these photos…I may have to change that Bucket List item to include being dressed as a mermaid 😉



These photos are of the beautiful Hannah Fraser, a 36 year-old professional underwater swimmer, ocean activist, artist and model. She’s an Australian native, but resides here in Los Angeles. She’s been practicing free diving since she was a child, and even created her own mermaid tails from scratch utilizing flippers, plastic boomerangs, and duct tape.

Hannah is currently working on a project with Cetacean and Whaleman Foundations to discontinue the slaughter of thousands of dolphins and whales across the globe. She creates her own mermaid tails , and a percentage of her earnings as a mermaid goes towards charity for anti-whaling drives. After watching the tear jerking documentary The Cove in 2009, I’ve been a strong activist against the killing of dolphins and whales.  They are one of the SMARTEST creatures to live on this planet, and it pains me to think of all the horrible methods people use to kill them.

(c) Shawn Heinrichs

(c) Shawn Heinrichs

“The ocean is the birthplace of life on Earth, and if I can be a visual link to inspire other humans who have become disconnected from this amazing world, I feel I have done something worthwhile.”




The ocean is the only place where I feel fully at peace. There is no doubt I was put on this planet to help conserve our seas and ocean animals. I am currently in the process of looking for a new job – a job where I can work with/around/near the ocean. I won’t give up until I wake up to the smell of salt water coming through my window, and watch the sun setting over the sea every evening. I know what where I need to be – what I’m meant to do – and it’s time to find that pathway to get there.

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Ingenious Underwater Photos

Photography, Science, Thoughts

Underwater photographer, Jason Isley, decided to have a little bit of fun whilst diving in Indonesia and Boreneo recently. This underwater photography dive was SPECIAL – He made sure to pack a handful of miniature figurines in his pockets 🙂

Jason staged funny/scary mock situations with the miniatures next to unsuspecting reef fish, octopus, and worms as the antagonists. What an ingenious idea?! You can check out Jason’s Flickr for more of his U/W Miniature Photo Series. I’d love to do something like this on my own one day when I get a nice underwater camera. Maybe bring some Barbie’s down..some colorful Troll dolls too perhaps? Or it could be fun to bring down rubber/plastic realistic ocean animal toys and place them next to the real things 🙂 Oh how the mind wonders with creative ideas…

Let’s start with my favorite photograph (I may be biased since there’s a Blue-Ringed Octopus in it 😉 ) :











Malibu Photo Shoot

Photography, Science, Thoughts

So the other week my friend Matt sent a message to a couple of friends requesting that we all should head to Malibu one Thursday to be part of this “surfer themed” photo shoot with an amazing photographer and videographer. I had 1 day-off during the work week- so I jumped on the opportunity to lay on the beach for the FIRST time this summer. (I know it’s sad..)

I don’t think I’ve ever really been to Malibu before- so when I arrived to Point Dume– I knew this wasn’t going to be the last time I stepped foot on that beach. It was GORGEOUS and there was literally no one there. It was a couple of hours before everyone arrived to meet up for the photo shoot, so I napped on the beach and enjoyed the sights and smells of the sea.

The photographer was Coy Gutierrez- Check out both of his FANTASTIC websites here:

Coy came with a stylist for the shoot as well as a videographer- both great guys! It was beginning to turn into the “real deal” as they tend to say 🙂 All we really did was hang out and have a good time while they shot us! There was this amazing little hut made out of palm leaves on the beach which we hung out around towards the end of the day- it looked like something out of a surf movie (PERFECT!).

Of course being a marine scientist I went straight to the tide pools observing huge purple sea stars, acorn barnacles, and lots of beautiful sea anemones. I even saved a stranded sea star from the mouth of a greedy sea gull…be FREE little echinoderm!

I made some new awesome friends, and overall I couldn’t have asked for a better day to spend my day-off from work. Looking back and reminiscing about this day, all I can say is that I am just overflowing with happiness and thankfulness that I have opportunities like this come up in life. I have so many different groups of friends and peers that I all cherish so deeply- I thoroughly enjoy every moment I get to spend with them. Shout out to Matt Hoffman  -I appreciate extending the offer to participate in the shoot my way- it was a highlight of my summer.

So take a gander at some of the beautifully amazing photos Coy so graciously let me share with all of you 😀

Don’t the photos just want to make you drop everything and head to the beach?!
Which one captures your eye the most?

Jill and Matt

Point Dume

And They’re Off!

Matt and Pat

Matt Surfing



Drawing an Otter

Hanging ’round the hut

Playing in the tide pools

Purple Sea Star

iPhone Addiction

Jill Ran Up The Hill


Sunset Dreams


Clever Whale Shark Sucks Fish Out of Net!

Photography, Science, Thoughts

Credit: National Nine News

This video is absolutely amazing! Check out this smart whale shark sucking out helpless silverside bait fish caught in a fishing net off of Indonesia. These gentle sharks use their vacuum-like mouth to gulp up these little fish. Guess they were doomed either way, but I think getting consumed by a “natural” marine predator beats humans each time.

Conservation Internationalwas the environmental group that caught this awesome video footage. This group has been trying for a while to place satellite tags on whale sharks, and finally they got this perfect opportunity when they started feeding on the baitfish. Luckily the fishermen in this case think the whale sharks are good luck, even though they eat most of their catch (oops).

Enjoy those fish you wild Whale Sharks!

Make Monday Worthwhile.

Photography, Thoughts

Last week was by far the longest, craziest, hectic, satisfying, and sleep deprived of my year so far. For work we did all the production for the California Philharmonic’s inaugural concert at the Santa Anita Race Track. I took a lot of great photos which I will share tomorrow (I’m editing them now 🙂 ).

Since this is a new week, I wanted to start it off on a good note. I got a delicious super detox tea beverage from a local tea joint in Pasadena with my co-worker, found $20 on the ground, and then I treated my co-worker to some awesome Thai food for lunch. Time is too precious to waste being lazy and negative, keep your head up high and a smile on your face. People want to be surrounded with positivity… it’s crazy how addictive a simple smile can be 🙂

My mom shared this photo with me today, and I just HAD to post it because it made me feel good. I’ve always wanted to swim with whales in the wild (definitely have it on My Bucket List). I want it to be me in this photo so badly!! But I know one day I will get to experience these huge amazing marine mammals in the big blue.. I can hardly wait!

So I just wanted to leave you on a positive encouraging note to : Make the Most out of your Monday

I know it’s the beginning of the workweek for most, but it’s also a chance for new opportunities and experiences. Go out and make the most of your day and overall week!

Octopus Hitches a Ride on a Dolphin’s Private Parts

Photography, Science, Thoughts

Well, when you think you’ve seen it all, a story like this comes along!

In the Ionian Sea, researchers conducting the Ionian Dolphin Project were out watching a pod of friendly dolphins. And when one jumped out of the water, they saw something peculiar dangling from the underside of the cetacean.

After the researchers came back and examined the photos more closely, they saw that the peculiar object was none other than an octopus hitching a joyride on the dolphin! Well, it may have not been the best joyride because the dolphin was most likely jumping out of the water so much to dislodge the poor little octopus from its body. A scary joyride if you ask me.

Unfortunately for the dolphin, the octopus seemed to be lodged into its genital slit. Awkward…

Who knows how or why this happened-  maybe the dolphin tried to eat the octopus and the octopus was doing this for payback? Or the octopus just wanted to experience what it was like to swim with dolphins? Maybe the octopus is having an identity (and species) crisis? We will never know. Let’s just be happy that we wear bathing suits (at least most of us) when we are swimming in that big blue! I definitely don’t want an octopus to find a place to become lodged anywhere on my body (too much?..oops). Hahah!


Photography, Science, Thoughts

Yesterday, June 8th, marked the 20th anniversary of World Oceans Day! Unfortunately I was super busy with work all week, so I wasn’t able to write a blog post yesterday- but now I have all the time in the world this morning so here  we go:

World Oceans Day was created in 1992- it’s meant to call attention to ocean pollution and combating global warming so our oceans and its creatures will be around for many decades to come. Currently, 16% of U.S. fish populations have been overfished (AND THE NUMBER KEEPS GROWING). There are so many more statistics I could post about how we are horribly and irresponsibly treating our oceans…I’ll refrain for the time being for another blog post rant 😉 But- here are some of my favorite ocean protection organizations which have plenty of statistics that will blow your mind:

If you couldn’t tell already from my blog thus far, I’m in love with the ocean. A piece of my heart will always belong to the marine environment ever since I went to Sea World when I was 4/5 years old:

Little Me!

My love for the oceans has lead me to some great accomplishments! I’ve swam with almost every creature at Sea World, researched on the Great Barrier Reef, swam with a Whale Shark in Baja, seen more whales than I can count, got Advanced and Rescue SCUBA Certified, and hopefully this list will continue until the day I die.

I am hoping that next year I can fulfill the marine science void that I’ve been experiencing working 40 mins from the ocean in a working in a totally different field than marine biology. But, life deals us the cards it does and all we can do is make the most out of them- and right now I’m going with the flow and providing a great life for myself. I’m just itching to move to a tropical island for 6 months or so 🙂 I’ll keep you updated!


A Gray Whale Mom and Baby Get Up Close and Personal!

Photography, Science, Thoughts

My grandma sent me this link today on Facebook and it truly made me all warm and fuzzy inside! I’ve never had an experience like this before with whales, but I hope to one day!

I’ve been close to a whale shark down in Baja Mexico- and I was definitely in awe and freaking out a little too from the boat. I took a couple videos- so I’ll share one with you. Don’t mind the commentary though- you really don’t think about what you’re saying when you’re completely and utterly enthralled with what’s in front of you 🙂 I actually got to swim with one that got close to shore from where we stayed-and I WISH that I had footage from that because it was incredible. Animals that are that big and swimming around you are quite intimidating as well…

But here’s the whale video that touched my heart. It inspired me put a new item on My Bucket List 😉

Here’s my whale shark video!