Rincón – New Favorite Getaway

Photography, Thoughts

I just had one of the best weekends of my life. My housemate/coworker/best friend here – Sara – and I went on a 2 hour road trip west to Rincón (the surf capital of Puerto Rico). Although, right now is slow season, we still had an amazing time. We stayed with a friend of Sara’s, Gabi, who is from Washington but her family is Puerto Rican. She just moved to a beautiful house her dad owns in Rincon, and overlooks the whole stretch of ocean.

We went snorkeling on Steps Beach – which inspired the beautiful pictures seen above of the very friendly (and photogenic) juvenile Hawksbill Sea Turtle. The Elkhorn Coral was HUGE and teaming with life around it. A definite “must-see” when in Rincon. We were eager to go Scuba Diving, but after calling 7 different shops, no one could get us on their trip the next morning. Bummer :/ But, that just means we have something to look forward to next time.

We went back to Gabi’s house to freshen up. The rain had started to pour down outside – but that didn’t damper the fun evening we had ahead of us. We drove to Hotel Villa Cofresi, which is a little waterfront hotel. It’s famous for their outside bar which serves a delicious drink filled with multiple rums, coconut water, and served in a giant coconut. We sat on the patio right next to the ocean front, where we saw a huge bait-ball of sardines jumping and moving across the water’s surface.

After that yummy beverage, it was time for dinner. One of my favorite restaurants in Rincon is Ode to the Elephants. I had met the owner, Clay, last time we were surfing in Rincon a couple of months ago. If you like awesome Thai food, this is the place to go. Not to mention Clay is an expert bartender – he makes THE BEST martinis you’ll ever sip. I swear. The restaurant is nestled on top of a hill that overlooks the whole coastline (gorgeous!). As we were sitting at the bar, the black night sky lit up every couple of minutes to remind us of the fury in the clouds above. Thunderstorms were moving across the ocean in front of us, it it just felt like a perfect evening. After dinner, we headed for a night cap at the new Rincon Beer Company.

There, we played Cards Against Humanity (most hilarious card game ever), and drank some of the local brews. It was a great nightcap to an adventurous day.

The next day we headed to town to find some coffee and a bite to eat. We wandered into an environmentally conscious silk screening house and retail store called, The Uncharted Studio. It reminded me a lot of a little surf shop I’d see somewhere in California. They awesome printed shirts, hand bags, hats, and various art pieces from local artists. I ended up buying a shirt and some postcards, but I know every time I go to Rincón I’ll have to buy something new from them 🙂 Plus, I love supporting local companies.

Then, we went to a little secluded beach spot to meet Clay and his friends from around town. We went SUPing, snorkeling, and relaxed in the sunshine. We made lots of new friends who work at the various bars and restaurants in Rincón – one of which has supposedly an amazing brunch where Sara and I HAVE TO TRY when we go back.

That’s all for now – until our next big adventure…


Photo & Video Update

Photography, Thoughts

WAHOO! I’ve finally had time edit some video footage and photos from the last couple of months. I have to say, I absolutely love my GoPro Hero3 – it’s been attached to my hand both above water and underneath it. I really love creating little video summaries of the adventures I have here in Puerto Rico.

The video below is a promotional video I made for our Underwater Photography activity at work:

And here are some various underwater photos I’ve taken with my GoPro Hero3 🙂

Here are some photos from my trip to Belize in May:

Going For It

Photography, Science, Thoughts


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 🙂

DONATE HERE: Scuba Miss USA PayPal Donation Page

VISIT: Scuba Miss USA Facebook Page

Photography Challenge #1: Joe Platko

Photography, Thoughts

Firstly – my apologies for the blog-posting-hiatus. Summer is the busiest month for my work..and any free time is mostly spent trying to catch up on sleep or working out. In saying that – I will try my hardest to post at least once a week for all you great readers from across the globe. I am crossing off a Bucket List item in a couple of weeks…stay tuned to find out which one it is 🙂

I am super excited to announce my first Photography Challenge today! Here is a summary of the Challenge:

1) Find a willing and excited photographer

2) Give the photographer a theme 

3) Have the photographer submit 3 photographs encompassing the theme

4) Showcase their 3 photographs on PhotoScienceChanel.com 

5) Then I will share a photograph of my own encompassing the theme

My first Photographer participant is one of my classmates from Cal State University Monterey Bay – Joe Platko. He is an amazing nature photographer – both on land and under the water. We both have an affinity for marine life 🙂 so we get along very nicely.

The theme I chose for Joe seemed fitting for the time being here in America :


At first Joe had a hard time with this theme..that is until he went on vacation in the beautiful state of Hawaii. Here’s what he said :

Hey, so now that I’m back from my “summer” trip to the big island, I thought I’d just give you three images that wrapped up the trip for me. This will likely be my last big family trip, as my youngest sister is now in college, so our family thought we’d go out with a bang. That is why I decided to give all three images for the Summer assignment, and tried to choose shots that epitomized what the trip was about, aside from the family togetherness. Hope you enjoy the shots, ALOHA!

Credit: Joe Platko

Credit: Joe Platko

The palm trees were taken in the parking lot of the beach for our resort.
Lol so that was cool, shooting something everyone else was just walking by.
And I was only aimed up because if I shot dead ahead you would have seen all the cars.
Credit: Joe Platko

Credit: Joe Platko

The reef scene was taken right off of the harbor, when I was diving with my dad.
Credit: Joe Platko

Credit: Joe Platko

The turtle photograph was taken on the last day I was there, after I was bummed about not getting a single shot of one while diving. And I was snorkeling with it just north of Kona.

Thank you so much Joe for these spectacular photos! I couldn’t think of a better place to take “Summer” photos than Hawaii… I have so many fantastic memories when my family vacationed in Maui. The photo I took for this particular challenge was on one of my favorite excursions : whale watching. Well, other than a couple of sea lions and pelicans…our luck out in the big blue was unsuccessful. No whales or dolphins in sight!

But, it was honestly one of the nicest boat rides I’ve ever been on – the weather was beautiful and warm & the sea was so very calm and BLUE. I also had some great company as well 🙂

The photo I snapped to represent “SUMMER” was of these playful sea lions we pulled up to alongside the boat. After working with sea lions, I have a whole new perspective about these pinnipeds. They are such intelligent and dynamic creatures. Hope you enjoyed my first Photography Challenge! Thanks Joe for being my first photographer 😀

If you would like to participate as a photographer – please comment below.
Credit: Chanel Hason

Credit: Chanel Hason

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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 😉 ) :











My First Submission to a Photo Contest- Find out the result!


If you are an avid reader of mine- you’ll know that I asked for some suggestions last month with a couple photos I wanted to enter in a contest.

These photo submissions were for the Birch Aquarium Underwater Parks Day Photo Contest. The only decent underwater photos I have taken  are from scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, in Queensland, Australia. I truly love being submerged underwater…surrounded by schools of fish and coral reefs- a surreal and BEAUTTIIIFUL experience. If you’ve never been scuba diving in your life- you haven’t lived. Put it on your bucket list- trust me.

I got to post up to 5 photographs- which of course I didn’t hesitate if this was an option for my first photo contest 🙂  The category I able to submit to was Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s). The Great Barrier Reef is one of the largest MPA’s in the entire world- so lucky me that I had some awesome photos from my study abroad experience!

The winners were announced yesterday…and drum rolllllllllllllllllllllll….I didn’t win 😦

I had high hopes- but I wasn’t completely bummed. The Aquarium on their blog said that they were going to post a couple favorites besides the winning entries the  next day (which was today). So when I went onto the Birch Aquarium blog- I started scrolling through the 8 favorite photos…and low and behold.. I HAD A PHOTO THERE! Not all hope was lost 🙂 after all.

Here is the link to the Aquarium’s blog post showing their favorites: More Photos: Underwater Parks Day Photo Contest

You will see on that page- the photo shown below which I titled: Jail Break! 

I thought it was a fitting title because the little fish look like escaped convicts in their white and black striped attire 🙂 don’t you agree??

Jail Break!

Well even though I did win the competition- second best sounds pretty darn good to me for my first time in a contest! Smiles all around today 😀 Now I’m looking forward to my next photo contest….know of any good ones? I take a lot of nature shots- both digital and film. Thanks!

Help Me Pick- I’m Entering A Photo Contest!

Photography, Thoughts

Alright- So I’m entering the Birth Aquarium Underwater Parks Day Photo Contest.

This is the first photo competition I have ever entered- I’m super excited 🙂

The only time I’ve taken awesome underwater photos was at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia (not too shabby of a place I might add 😉 ). I rented an underwater digital camera for $50 bucks when I went on a dive boat- and it was the smartest thing I did! I came back with fantastic photos- luckily the visibility was EXCELLENT and the sun was out and the fish were playing.

I can enter up to 5 photos- and I have 4 FOR SURE and 2 QUESTIONABLE.

IF you guys could PLEASE help me pick the best of the 2 below–It will be greatly appreciated- Tell me why too 🙂

PHOTO 1- Reflections


PHOTO 2-Clown Fish Abode