Jessie Spielvogel

Bahamas Shark Diving – Beach Cleanup Day

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Since we had so much downtime on this trip due to bad weather conditions, the Shark Diver Magazine divers decided to use our time wisely and do some beach cleanup. We all took out some bags and spread out across the beach to collect as much trash as we could. With two bags each, it sadly didn’t take long to fill them up.

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Bahamas Shark Diving – Tiger Beach

Reefs and Lemons tailing the boat at Tiger Beach
Reefs and Lemons tailing the boat at Tiger Beach

We were able to get out on the boat today at Tiger Beach after striking out for the past few days in Bimini. The winds have been completely nuts on this trip, but we were all happy to see the sharks! The visibility was what we expected after the winds kicked up the sands the past few days, but when life gives you lemons, you jump in.

Some of the people in our group got to see a tiger shark and hang with it for a while, but I had wimped out on that second dive because it was a long shot that we’d even see one, and I was freezing!!! Now I have FOMO and wish I had jumped in. We were on the boat for 12 hours today, and I was in a steady state of nausea the entire time. I’m the worst shark diver ever. I didn’t chum though, so I’m going to call that a win! Read more

Bahamas Shark Diving – Snow Days

No dice today or yesterday on diving. Yesterday the wind was brutal, which hindered us from taking the boat out. Fortunately today is BEAUTIFUL with sunny skies and a nice calm breeze, but unfortunately, the wind yesterday shook up the sand so that the visibility today would be a nightmare. It’s a bit disappointing, but thankfully this crew is cool with going with the flow.

We were referring to yesterday as a shark diving “snow day” because it was cold, windy, and we were all stuck wondering what to do for entertainment and getting some cabin fever. We decided to be opportunistic with our cameras because bull sharks like to hang around the marina really close to the docks. The guys who work the dive shop here helped us chum the water to bring the bulls in close, and we had a great time with them! Read more

Bahamas Shark Diving – Day One with the Hammerhead Sharks (and a #sharkieselfie)

Today was our first day out on the water with the hammerhead sharks, and it was AMAZING.

Day one is always a good time to bond with your fellow divers – you have newbies and veterans, photographers and observers, 20-somethings and 70-somethings. It’s a great mix of people from all walks of life. In our group, we have two lawyers traveling together from Switzerland, a firefighter from England with the best accent ever, one sign language interpreter from Kansas who spent 5 years in backwoods Alaska (I should add that her first scuba dive EVER was today, and she did it with hammerhead sharks), some folks from New York and the Dirty Jersey, one woman who lives in Turks because she decided Canada was too cold (amen), an edgy solo traveler from Japan, and then my dad and me, the Texans. The coolest part is that all of these people have little to nothing in common except for their love and passion for the ocean, which is what brought all of us together on this trip. We likely never would have found each other had it not been for this community + Shark Diver Mag, and we’ve already had such a great time sharing stories over beers, photos, and seafood.

After we got settled into the hotel yesterday (and after our ride in the sea plane!!), we spent the afternoon lounging by the pool and eating seafood and fried everything. We called it an early night, and woke up around 7:00am feeling rested and ready for sharks! Read more

Bahamas Shark Diving – Travel Day One

Paul Spielvogel, Peige Turner, and Yours Truly
Paul Spielvogel, Peige Turner, and Yours Truly

I arrived in Fort Lauderdale from Washington, D.C. on Tuesday afternoon and stepped off of the plane to feel the hot humid air – my favorite! Most people think I’m weird for embracing the hot humidity, but it makes me feel right at home and happy.

I met up with my dad who was coming in from Houston, and we dropped our bags at the Fort Lauderdale Ramada hotel, and a friend of mine who lives here recommended we check out a local seafood joint called 15th Street Fisheries. It was a huge hit – it’s right on the water overlooking a dock where we could see fish swimming around beneath us and giant boats that I could never afford off in the distance. The food was great and the weather was perfect! Read more

Do you use Fitbit?

My mom started wearing a Fitbit a few months ago. “Probably something she bought on QVC,” I thought to myself (she loves ordering gifts from them). Since she ordered two, she offered one of them to me. I had no idea what a Fitbit was a the time, so I dismissed the offer by saying, “Mom, I appreciate the thought, but I will literally never wear that. And seriously, stop shopping on QVC.”

Fast-forward a few weeks, and I see people in my office rocking black bands around their wrists. I asked one of my colleagues what it was, and she told me it was her new Fitbit. Having completely forgotten about the conversation with my mom regarding her new wrist accessory, I asked what that was. She told me it was like a fancy pedometer that also tracks your sleep patterns. I thought, “hmm, that’s cool. I want to track my sleep patterns.”

I went online to do some research about this new Fitbit trend. Upon reading user reviews and all of its capabilities, I decided I wanted to try one out. I was speaking casually with my mom on the phone one day and told her that I was looking into getting a Fitbit. “Well, well, well,” she said, “noooowww you want a Fitbit. Well it just so happens that I still have that extra one. I’ll send it to you.” And that, my friends, is when my obsession began. Read more

Turtle racing in the heart of Houston. Yep.

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When I was visiting my friends and family in Houston last week, I made my way to midtown to visit a friend from high school. As we were just about to part ways, I saw a giant crowd of people standing around an arena in the outdoor section of a popular local bar called Little Woodrow’s. I asked my friend what was going on, and he said, “Oh, it’s turtle racing,” as if it were a completely normal thing to pass while walking along a downtown street in a major U.S. city.

He asked if I wanted to watch for a little bit because they were just getting started… and I was clearly fascinated by the idea.

“YEAH I DO!”

Side note: when I was in high school, I had two baby water turtles named Mike and Ike. I miss those little buggers.

With several other popular bars within walking distance, Little Woodrow’s hit the nail on the head when it comes to standing out from the crowd. This was a Thursday night at 9pm, and the place was completely packed with young working professionals ready to cheer on one of the ten turtles from the pack. Read more

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