Jessie Spielvogel

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

Mexico City: Lessons on Life, Travel, and Business (lecciones para la vida, el viaje, y el negocio)

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Every time I travel, be it somewhere new or familiar, I always look for learning opportunities, and I’m always lucky (or cursed…) enough to find them. I spent Thursday – Monday visiting my family in Mexico City. Every time I visit this place, I eat amazing food from around the world (this time included Italy, Argentina, Mexico, England, and America – if America includes a hot dog), I practice speaking Spanish, and I explore little towns and take in the culture!

This time was especially fun for me because we ventured outside of the city to a town called Teotihuacan where you will find beautiful and mysterious ancient ruins. We climbed to the top of the “Pyramid of the Sun” and looked out over what used to be a thriving civilization. No one knows exactly what happened to the previous inhabitants, but to me, that’s where the magic lies – I love making stories up in my head about the possibilities, and I especially enjoy hearing others’ opinions about what may have happened – people told stories of God, giants, war, and Satan to explain the disappearance of these people and for their ability to build such massive and perfect architecturally designed structures.

Along with exploring these ancient ruins, we also stopped off in Mexico Lindo. Fun fact: did you know that the agave plant is AWESOME? Seriously – so many resources come from the agave plant that I was previously unaware of: parchment paper, honey, tequila, pulque, various medicines, soaps, thread, and even needles for sewing it. Stopping off at this agave place was very unexpected, but you know what was even more unexpected? Receiving a tour and explanation from a slightly sexist man about how the tequila is made, and then actually being peer pressured into trying three different types of tequila at 10 in the morning. Read more

Making the most of your fly time

A lot of wasted time comes from travel days. Spending hours in the airport, followed by hours with no wifi on the airplane, and a few more hours for layovers and delays can really add up when it comes to your lack of productivity.

But, there are certainly ways to minimize your loss of time! These are a few tips for you to maximize your fly time so that you get off the plane feeling productive and accomplished, versus behind and stressed. Read more

You can’t stop change. You can only adapt to it.

In my last article about standing out from the crowd, I mention that even when I’m shark diving, I cannot stop thinking about my blog (because something is wrong with me). Well, this is another thought that ran through my head while I was riding on the boat off the coast of Rhode Island.

We were headed out for our second day of sharky adventures, and the water was a nightmare compared to the blessing of day we had the first day. On day one, we had calm seas, flat as glass, no wind, sunshine, and tons of sharks to play with in the water. Day two, however, started out to be a different story.

When we got onto the boat, ready to take on the day with our cameras in hand, the water was much, much choppier than I would have liked. This is probably something you should know about me before I continue with this story… although I’ve been diving and going out on boats for almost 13 years, I am ashamed to admit that I get seasick. My dad doesn’t understand it, so he tells people that I’m adopted. No daughter of his could ever get seasick! I can’t ride roller coasters, and I can barely ride in the backseat of a car without getting nauseous. Needless to say, I was nervous about all of the waves I was seeing and the high winds I was feeling on the windy Rhode Island morning!

I took this left photo of the nausea-inducing weather at 7:00 AM. I took this right photo at 7:10 AM. I didn’t move. I was sitting curled up on a pile of damp wetsuits throughout this entire transition. I couldn’t remove myself from the pile of wetsuits for fear that I would get sick, so I stayed still and endured my discomfort. Read more

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