When Scientists Geek Out.

Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico, Scuba Divers, Nurse Shark

As a marine biologist, I can’t even begin to list the amount of times I gleefully screamed or screeched underwater when I saw something astounding right before my own 2 blue eyes. Some underwater face to face encounters that stand out are: having a whale shark come straight towards me in Mexico, a giant cuttlefish staring at me in Australia, and multiple manatees in Puerto Rico. Heck, I couldn’t even form a sentence when I saw a huge manatee moving underneath me!

Yes, I totally was that nerd who sat on the floor in-front of the TV a couple of years ago after the Super Bowl to watch the first footage of a live giant squid caught on camera. And of course, I shed tears of happiness because cephalopods are some of my favorite animals on the entire planet. If there is ever an opportunity for me to go into a submersible 1000’s of feet below the surface, YOU BET I WOULD BE ON THAT SUCKER IN AN INSTANT!

So when I saw this video yesterday, I knew I would have gone just as crazy as one of those scientists operating the ROV. Can you imagine starting at a screen for HOURS and even DAYS just hoping that something interesting passing in front of your camera and lights 600m underwater? Then, BOOM! Check out what puts on quite a little show for these researchers 🙂 (Here’s the article if you want to read it as well)

New Years Goals for 2015

Happy New Year everyone! Three years ago, I started a tradition where I create 3 new goals/standards to live by instead of resolutions. I would rather create standards to uphold throughout the rest of my life than create a ‘resolution’ that would most likely not last the entire year. In review – My 2014 goals were:

Travel to a new country each year

Write a random postcard/letter once a month to a friend/loved one

Read at least one new book every 6 months

In 2014 I did travel to a new country – Belize! It was amazing – the people, the diving, the food. I can’t wait to venture back there. I did go overboard, in a good way, with writing post cards and letters to lots of friends and family members this year while living in Puerto Rico. Physically writing a letter or postcard is such a dying act unfortunately with the invention in the internet and emails…but thankfully I got so many return postcards and letters in the mail that made my day each time 🙂 In terms of reading a new book every 6 months…I managed to read one full book and that was about it. For Xmas this year I asked for the hardcopy of Amy Poehler’s book, Yes Please. I am excited to start reading that on the airplane home back to California in a couple of days 🙂 NOW it’s time for my 2015 goals:

1) Stay in touch more with family members No family is perfect. This past year my family made that even more evident than ever before. With the backstabbing and lying occurring all around me, I want to focus on my family members that are open and caring, especially the young ones. After working with children of all ages this past year, I know how important it is to be a part of their life as they are quickly growing, learning, and changing. This goal means more visits, updates, and interactions with family.

Family Goal

2) Make more presents/gifts for people instead of buying new thingsAfter utilizing Pinterest this year for my job, I’ve realized that it is so much more satisfying and thoughtful to make a one of a kind gift than an easy scapegoat gift like a gift card. I especially want to utilized recycled items in my presents for people – you’re helping save the planet and you aren’t spending a lot of money on something new – it’s a WIN-WIN don’t you think?! Use your creativity people 🙂 We learned how to make an angel fish with a palm frond at work a couple of days ago – pretty cool huh?

Angel Fish Palm Leaf Weave

3) Go SCUBA diving every year I’ve been certified since 2006 to explore the oceans underwater. Unfortunately, I haven’t gone SCUBA diving as much as I would like to have over the past 8 years. This year I did A LOT of diving! Since I moved to Puerto Rico in February of 2014, SCUBA diving was much more easily available whenever we had time off of work. I went on 3 different dive boat trips in Puerto Rico, and then I did some dives in Belize as well this past year. If you’ve never been SCUBA diving, I suggest to start putting some money aside in order to get certified. The earth is 75% water, so you essentially haven’t REALLY seen the planet until you’ve seen it under water 😉

Chanel Hason and Sea Turtle

Swimming With Wild Dolphins

There are moments in your life you never expect. 

There are moments that you can only imagine.

There are moments that leave you speechless.

There are moments you can only hope for.

There are moments that are unreal.

There are moments like this…

http://vimeo.com/chanelhason/dolphins This happened after a couple boat dives off the coast of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. On our way back to the marina, the captain spotted a pod of dolphins swimming in front of us. As we got closer, they started to play in the wake of the boat. Soon, the boat slowed down to a stop. My friend Sara asked the captain if we could hop off the back of the boat and get a closer look at the dolphins. He was hesitant to say yes, mostly because he didn’t want to get our hopes up, since often the dolphins immediately swim away when people jump into the water with them. BUT- we took the risk 🙂 I only had my dive fins, and I didn’t want to fuss with putting my booties on, so I just grabbed my mask, no snorkel, and jumped into the open sea with my GoPro. WOW. All I kept saying was:

“THIS IS SO COOL!”

I had no other words. I was speechless. It was a moment that compares to no other. They were Atlantic spotted dolphins, which I had never seen before in the wild. You can see that the older dolphins had more prominent spotting, and the younger ones were more uniformly grey with less spots. They were BEAUTIFUL. One of the most amazing things about swimming with them was listening to their clicks and whistles underwater – the sounds were so magnifying! They were swimming in small groups of up to 3-5 individuals, and bouncing between one person floating in the ocean to the other. They swam amongst us for at least 15 minutes (which felt like an eternity). I honestly didn’t want to get out of the water. Yes, I did understand that I was interacting with wild animals. Dolphins do sometimes show aggression towards humans (it’s been video documented). But, in all reality, if I had to get hurt by something in the ocean, I wouldn’t be ashamed if it ended up being a dolphin. Luckily, the dolphins we encountered were very friendly and curious, just like the fascinated humans staring back at them in the water.

Definitely, one of the best moments of my life.

 

Learning to Sea Podcast

 

Miss Scuba USA


LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE

 

I was recently interviewed by Ashley Hasna, who started the Podcast –> Learning to Sea. We chatted about how I got involved in the marine biology field, and how that lead me to becoming Miss Scuba USA 2013. I also throw out some fun facts about the Miss Scuba International Pageant that happened behind the scenes – pretty funny stuff! Here’s a little more about the podcast itself:

Whether living on, near, or far from the water, this is a place to comprehensively learn, love, and share your enthusiasm about the ocean.  We’re covering the ocean from fact to folklore.

Find latest ocean news, interesting crafts, book reviews, and more on the blog. Also hear from ocean experts and enthusiasts on the Learning to Sea podcast. Connection is key, so come down to sea level and enjoy the tide.

Ashley had heard my previous appearance on the Scuba Obsessed Podcast, and reached out to me to see if I would like to be interviewed on her podcast as well. I said OF COURSE! I love meeting and connecting with people from all over the world – luckily podcasts are a great way to do that 🙂 You can listen to the podcast by clicking this link or downloading it on iTunes as well. Be sure to follow all of Learning to Sea’s social media outlets 😀

Follow Learning to Sea:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

 

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

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:

LISTEN/DOWNLOAD THE PODCAST HERE

Scuba Obsessed Website: http://www.scubaobsessed.com/archives/16174
Scuba Obsessed Twitter: https://twitter.com/scubaobsessed
Scuba Obsessed Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/scubaobsessed

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!

Lessons and Highlights of 2013

Goodbye 2013, HELLO 2014!

What an unforgettable year 2013 was… it felt like so much was packed into those little 12 months. 2013 year was filled with risks and opportunities of a lifetime. Through all the experiences I had this year, nothing is more precious than the people around you who have proved that they support you 110% in life. I want to personally thank everyone who supported all my crazy life adventures in 2013. Whether you simply liked a Facebook Page, donated money to help get my to Malaysia for Miss Scuba International, sent a personal inspirational note to my inbox, or just verbally wished me luck on my ventures – I honestly couldn’t have gotten this far in life without you. Two words that sums up 2013: Thankful and Grateful.

I’d love to hear from you – please comment below: How was your 2013 year? What did you learn? What were some highlights?

LESSONS LEARNED:

I learned that taking risks has its advantages.
I learned that a good friend will always come back to you in the end.
I learned that being a vegetarian was one of the best decisions I ever made.
I learned that juicing is a delicious and an exciting new addition to my healthy/fit lifestyle.
I learned that life is short, and there’s no reason to not do something you want to do.
I learned that being confident in your own skin shines brighter than anything else.
I learned that being in a beauty pageant is exhausting work.
I learned that doing hand-stands passes the time real well.
I learned how fortunate I am to have a strong, stable, and fantastic group of individuals who have my back with any wild and crazy venture I choose to take.
I learned that there are more nice people in the world then there are bad.
I learned that the worse thing someone can say when you ask them something is ‘no’ – so don’t be afraid to ask for something you want.
I learned that finding a pair of heels you can actually walk in comfortably – is like finding a needle in a haystack!

HIGHLIGHTS:

Going For It

Chanel03

In just 3 short weeks, I will be sitting on a plane traveling across the world to Malaysia.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I have never competed in a Beauty Pageant before. I have no idea what to expect. I have no idea what we will be doing for the 2 weeks I am there. My feet prefer flip flops over heels. I’m not a model. But – that’s not stopping me. The fear of the unknown is where excitement stems. 

I am passionate. I am strong. I am an environmentalist. I am a scuba diver. I am a marine conservationist. I am a photographer. I am a lover. I am positive. I am a blogger. I am an adventurer. I am a woman in science. I am a health nut. I am a fitness guru. I am competitive. I am ready. I am going for it.

Opportunities like these don’t come around too often. My passion is the ocean and protecting it, and that’s what I’m going to showcase in full force at the Miss Scuba International Pageant. I’m so ready to get my feet wet!

I decided to host a Silent Auction Fundraiser this weekend to help fund my expenses to compete in the Miss Scuba International Pageant. I am fiscally responsible for my airfare, as well as clothing/equipment. The funds are totaling over $3000 very quickly. As a single independent passionate woman, I am reaching out to others to help make my dreams come true.

I am so lucky to have amazing friends and family who believe in me and my dreams. Many of you have known me since I was a little girl, and understand this journey I have been on has led me here for a reason. I have incredible people donating and assisting in gathering items for the Silent Auction, which I couldn’t have done this all without them. SO THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Everyone is invited – please feel free to join if you are in the area 🙂
SilentAuctionFlyer

DONATE HERE: Scuba Miss USA PayPal Donation Page

VISIT: Scuba Miss USA Facebook Page

“Fun” – It’s Different For Everyone

Whilst reading The Happiness Project on the plane ride back to Los Angeles after a week in Dallas for the Thanksgiving holiday break, I read a chapter that really triggered the inspiration for this post.

The sub-chapter that stood out to me was titled: “Finding More Fun” in your life. The author talks about how she loves the idea of such activities like playing chess, or doing a crossword puzzles, or getting a massage…but when she really looked into it, those were things that weren’t FUN for her.

“Only recently had I grasped one of my most important Secrets of Adulthood: just because something was fun for someone else didn’t mean it was fun for me– and visa versa.”

– Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

I took these words and applied them to my own life. What was I doing that a lot of people think is fun..but wasn’t really that fun for me? And what was I doing that truly brought me happiness? Some people may hide activities that bring them happiness because they aren’t considered ‘legitimate’ or ‘normal’ – but I say who cares?! It’s your life, and you just have to do what you need to in order to make your life amazing each and every day. Below you will find my unfiltered list of some activities that I do for fun.

I want to hear what all of YOU do for FUN!

Don’t be afraid – Don’t be embarrassed – Be proud to announce to the world whatever makes you happy. Please leave a comment below with some FUN activities that YOU DO FOR YOU.

NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY – I’ve been a nature lover since the beginning of time. And once I got a camera of my own, boy did I go wild! Whether I’m on a hike, on a whale watching boat, or at the beach..you can bet I will be there snapping away. When I’m in nature, I feel one with the planet and myself (cliché, but that’s exactly how I feel).

SCUBA DIVING Being submersed under 100ft of salt water, with fish and sea lions swimming curiously around you, you really are in another world. The ocean has been my passion and love since I was 5 years old. It’s never diminished- only grown and enhanced. I recall the first time I saw a shark, I thought I was going to freak out and swim the opposite direction, but instead I squealed in my regulator and instead followed it around the kelp beds for 5 minutes!

A NIGHT IN AT HOME– Some nights I just have no urge to put on nice clothes, make up, and a smile to go out and mingle on a Friday or Saturday night. Or, I just downright don’t have the energy to move from off my couch. Instead, I prefer to light some candles, cook a delicious meal, open a bottle of wine, and pick out an awesome movie (or 2). Let me tell you, Netflix is my best friend. I know that I’m young and I should enjoy my youth, but sometimes it just feels SO GOOD to stay in my pjs on a Friday night instead.

DRAWING – I started drawing after taking an art class in high school. I found out that I love chalk, pencil, and pointillism. Although, I also discovered that oil pastels were my enemy. So when I graduated high school and went to college, my mom gave me a pointillism/pencil set because she said how awesome my drawings turned out in high school. Thanks mom- that was a great gift that has now concluded with an awesome portfolio of all my work (and still growing of course!). When making a pointillism drawing, it involves A LOT of patience. This allows me to escape into my own world for hours upon hours. No distractions. My only goal is to create an amazing piece of art that I am proud to put my signature on. I really think it’s fun to create personalized drawings for people close to me. This year I created 3 drawings as newborn baby gifts! Let me know if you want one too 🙂

My Easter Island Drawing

BEING A HOSTESS – There’s just a feeling of satisfaction and enjoyment that comes over me when I know I’m having company at my little abode. It’s an excuse for me to have my apartment looking top notch, first off, and also it’s exciting to welcome someone into my ‘space.’ As I get older and more independent, I’ve noticed how much fun it is to decorate my house and make it MY OWN. When I have people over, I turn on the ‘house wife’ appeal 😉 – you won’t be disappointed with my service. Below is a picture of my girlfriend Miranda visiting from Canada earlier this year.

TIDE POOLING  If you want to put a smile on my face, just drop me off on the coastline and let me be free to explore the wonders of the tide pools. I love exploring and finding fascinating little creatures hidden away in the nooks and crannies of the rocks. There’s even more fun to be had when I have someone else there with me (not too marine science savvy), who I can dish out all of the knowledge I have about the ocean and its creatures! Below I  made a little progression photography piece of my love for tide pooling 🙂

An Octopus Stole My Camera.

credit: wallpapervortex.com

This is one of my favorite octopus videos out there on Youtube.

I would probably have freaked out if an octopus stole my camera and vigorously swam away with it haha. But it definitely does make for some awesome footage in the end!

Happy Monday- I would much rather be scuba diving today but shhh don’t tell my boss 😉