20 Reasons Why I HATE the Cold

  1. Snowwoman, Vero Beach

    Even this snow lady prefers the beach!

    Having to wear extra layers– Peeling off layer after layer once you get indoors where the heater is on is such a pain because I am always so aware that I will have to put them on again.

  2. My hands cannot stay warm.  I need those little hand warmth packets that you break apart and hold for every day of the winter.
  3. In addition to my hands feeling like they can’t open and close, my nose constantly feels like it’s going to fall off.
  4. You can’t swim when the weather is cold unless you go to a stuffy indoor pool with a bunch of ladies that go to water aerobics.
  5. If you get wet on a boat, you stay wet on a boat.
  6. My electric bill goes up because the simple solution to keep cool (turning on a fan) is no longer an option.
  7. Getting up in the morning is so much worse when you’re cold.
  8. The car becomes your own personal ice box… you could put all of your groceries in it and they would keep for weeks.
  9. The snowbirds head south for the winter and all the sudden I am late for work every single day.
  10. The orange crop where I come from suffers.  Poor oranges, you’re one of our only commodities!
  11. Tile floors become your own ice-covered road that you can’t walk on without a pair of thermal socks.
  12. Suddenly, your space for adventure becomes limited to anywhere indoors because the cold is too much to bear.
  13. Winter clothes are more expensive, more boring and I basically resort to wearing jeans.  24-7.
  14. One word: tights.
  15. It’s so hard to dress for work in the winter time because slacks don’t cut it but they are the only acceptable form of dress clothing to wear in a professional setting.
  16. My glasses fog up when I go out to walk the dog… It’s a hazard; I could be killed by on-coming traffic.
  17. If you get sick, you stay sick because the cold weather keeps you down and out. 
  18. Everyone else loves winter so all the winter and cold weather haters are left with only half of their friends to be cynical with.
  19. The days seem shorter because it is pitch black by 5 p.m.
  20. The cold, icy morning dew turns to slosh by the afternoon and makes it so much

Join the Wild Women of Women Outdoors, Inc.

Courtesy of Women Outdoors, Inc.

Courtesy of Women Outdoors, Inc.

I was pondering this the other day as I was sitting in class wishing I was enjoying the crisp sunshine of a beautiful Florida fall day so I decided to take it upon myself to find ways to jump-start a love for the wilderness.  Of course, in order to do that, I stayed inside and “Googled” a solution.

I was happy to come across a good “.org” site which every journalist and blogger knows is a legitimate source.  This website is called womenoutdoors.org. 

The website itself is green-hued and filled with pictures of life-vested, hiking boot-donning, smiling women engaging in my favorite sorts of activities: hiking, kayaking, fishing, you name it.  As I read on, I found that Women Outdoors, Inc. is a “nonprofit, all-volunteer organization” founded in 1980.

Courtesy of Women Outdoors, Inc.

Courtesy of Women Outdoors, Inc.

 

This chapter explores Big Cypress National Preserve, the Intercoastal Waterway (my neck of the woods, ya’ll), the Everglades, and the Florida Keys.  At only $30 a year for dues and $15 for students ages 18 to 25, these opportunities are tough to beat. 

Each year on Memorial Day weekend, the group gets together for their national conference called “The Gathering” in which all region join together to engage in activities ranging from knot-tying to kayaking to Tai Chi.

This year’s Gathering will be held at Sargent Center in southern New Hampshire.

In addition to The Gathering conference each year, Women Outdoors encourages members to attend a service-based trip called “Women Outdoors: Unleashed!”  In the past, this trip has included involvement in Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans in 2007 as well as fund-raising hikes such as Wilderness Heals for the Elizabeth Stone House in 2008.

The group encourages women to speak their ideas for Unleashed! trips for the future.  By emailing SpecialEvents@womenoutdoors.org and providing them with materials on the service or volunteer organization you would like to help benefit, the next trip could be your idea. 

The organization’s mission statement explains their dedication to promotion and education of the outdoors to women and to helping preserve the world’s natural resources.  With over 400 members, Women Outdoors is a great resource for ladies interested in nature. 

 

Weather the Colder Weather

Image

Courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel

With winter just around the corner here in sunny, water-surrounded Florida, H2O-loving women need to be aware of some warm-up tips when wading.  According to the Southeast Climate Center, Florida winters can range from 39 degrees in Tallahassee to a mild 65 degrees in Key West.  Although winters in Florida aren’t as harsh as states even just to the north, they are enough to dry up feminine-soft skin and chap lip-sticked mouths. 

But winter provides hazards on even more dangerous levels, such as colder water temperatures and a larger likelihood of experiencing cold weather complications.  Hypothermia, a condition in which core temperature drops below what is necessary to maintain a functioning metabolism, poses a threat particularly in a peninsula state where boating, fishing and swimming are acceptable at any time of the year.

Fear not, ladies!  Women’s Health Magazine has done the research through the vice present and instructor for Mountain Shepherd Wilderness Survival School in Catawba, Virginia for what to do in a situation in which hypothermia may ensue.

Below is a list of four important things to remember during these winter months:

Fetal position- If you find yourself keeping afloat with a bright orange life jacket but tired of paddling, make sure to grab on to your knees and bring all your extremities to the center of your body heat, your chest.  Doing this during your “swim breaks” will prevent loss of heat.

Snuggle up- In addition to keeping each other company, you’re in luck if you find yourself stuck in cold water with a friend.  Huddling together is an even better way to retain warmth in a cold situation than balling up alone.

Warm hands, warmer heart- On land, after being doused and exposing yourself to cold air (even if it’s Key West and 65!) can induce a drop in core temperature.  To prevent this from happening, jam your hands between your legs or in your armpits where warmth is less likely to run out.  Keeping fingers heated will help your body feel warmer.

Get some seat heat- Even if you don’t have a stadium seat pad, it is important to put something dry and, preferably, warmer between your tush and the ground.  Leaves, bark, or dry clothing work well.

Weathering the weather this winter season should be a cinch but if you find yourself in a not so hot position, the above tips will help you get through it.  

The Lion’s Share: Florida’s Lionfish Problem

Courtesy of the FWC, lionfish

Courtesy of the FWC 

A University of Florida researcher sees no end in sight for the eradication of the invasive fish in Florida waters that has been taking a lion’s share of reef habitats.

Tom Frazer, professor and interim director of the school of natural resources and environment, was published in this year’s issue of Reviews in Fisheries Science that shows troublesome lionfish may never be removed from Florida’s coastline reefs but may be kept under control in targeted areas. 

 

Frazer’s research took place on Little Cayman Island with the Central Caribbean Marine Institute based out of Princeton University.  The group studied the threats posed by lionfish to the reefs there such as eating native fishes and potentially reducing biodiversity in the ecosystem, he said. 

 

The spiny, ornate lionfish were identified off the coast of Florida in the 1980s, Frazer said.  Since then, they have skyrocketed in numbers and have now spread to Caribbean and South American waters as well as the Gulf of Mexico. 

 

The creatures were first seen within Bloody Bay Marine Park on Little Cayman Island in 2008, he said.

 

The research done by Frazer’s team off Little Cayman Island was conducted over several months in 2011.  The group measured and dissected the stomachs of lionfish removed off of 11 reef sites by local dive masters, he said. 

 

Voracious and venomous predators, these fish victimize valuable juveniles of native species such as grouper and snapper, he said. 

 

The dissection was done to find whether bigger lionfish have different diets than the smaller, he said.  Frazer’s research shows that smaller lionfish eat shrimp, a much less economically valuable resource. 

 

The reason lionfish are such a threat to the reef ecosystems is they are prolific breeders, Frazer said.  A mature female has the ability to lay tens of thousands of eggs every two to three days.

The growth rate of lionfish is so quick that scientists struggle to study them before maturity. 

 

Adults have no known predators, Frazer said. 

 

The REEF Headquarters director of special projects, Lad Akins, said derbies have been held throughout Florida in an attempt to keep the lionfish population under control.  In these competitions, divers and snorkelers try to catch as many fish as possible in a given time frame using spears or nets.

 

This year’s tournament in Key Largo hosted 11 teams that brought in 461 lionfish, he said.  The largest of the fish was 410 millimeters long.  Prizes were given for the most fish caught, the largest and the smallest.

 

The event was September 8. 

 

Akins added the effort to maintain control of the lionfish population in Florida and Caribbean waters must be sustained over time in order to work. 

 

Similar derbies have been hosted in Palm Beach and Broward counties, according to the REEF Headquarters website. 

 

In a phone interview, Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission public information specialist

Amanda Nalley said the possibility of completely eliminating lionfish is unlikely because they swim to depths that prevent divers from capturing them.  

Because of the increase in lionfish numbers, a temporary change has been made in the regulations for lionfish fishing, she said.  The change allows non-licensed divers to go after the species as long as they use equipment approved by the FWC such as pole spears, Hawaiian slings or other lionfish-specific devices. 

 

The limit for unregulated fish is two fish or 100 pounds per day, whichever is more. 

 

Commercial fish harvesters have no such limit but must report their catch, Nalley added.  These harvesters are also helping the cause by going after lionfish even if the fish are a by-catch caught along with their commercial game.  Lionfish can weigh up to 2.6 pounds. 

 

“I think that in order to make a significant impact on lionfish the effort will have to be sustained for a very long period of time and I’m hoping that, when we identify the locations that are most important, we can allocate the resource that is needed through that effort,” Frazer said.

How to Avoid Being A Fool on April Fool’s Day- Lessons Through Photos

As a tribute to all of the foolish times I’ve had on the water (and as a warning to the rest of you), I have posted some of my best insights into what to avoid in all your Woman, Water, Wild escapades…

Don't hold sharks

Don’t hold the sharks without gloves for protection… Their sandpaper skin will give you rub burn!

The Burren

Never stand this close to a ledge on a day when the water is rough… the oysters will cut you, the waves will rough you up and, if all else fails, the rocks won’t be fun.

bloody fish

Always bring a rag with you in case the hook leaves a fish bloody…

bad boat picture 1 bad boat picture 2 bad boat picture 3

Be sure you’ve got stable footing on the deck before snapping a picture… You might miss an opportunity to capture a quick moment (like a fish before it jumps off the hook!).

boat blanket

Dress appropriately for the type of weather you’re most likely to experience… Rain, cold or sunshine.

wakeboarder

Wear a helmet when wake-boarding or water skiing.  Water may seem like a gentle, soft place to land but surface tension  begs to differ.

fishing in the keys

Be sure to pull and then reel, pull and then reel… This technique takes the tension off your line which decreases its chances of snapping!

spear fishing

Keep one person on the boat at all times.  Not only does this insure that it stays in the same place (even if there’s an anchor dropped).  Not to mention, someone can take pictures of all the action!

wading

Always be safe and aware or you might find yourself stuck in the mud!

Happy April Fools’ Day!

The Stone Crab Grab

 Angry Stone CrabIn the cooler months in Florida, stone crabs seek the warmth of the brackish inter-coastal waters. For me, I’ll always think of these months as the ones my friends drop their Maryland-style crab traps (also called “crab pots”) to the floor of the Indian River Lagoon and check them every few evenings for any crustaceans.

Stone crabs range from the North Atlantic all the way down to Mexico and, although their bodies don’t have much meat, their claws are considered a delicacy served up with butter.  A Floridian from birth, I particularly enjoy eating all shellfish from crawdads to crabs.

This past Thursday night, I was lucky enough to be invited along to check my friend Eric’s crab trap.  Being an early March evening in Florida, the temperatures that were fairly warm in the day plummeted down to a fairly cold (especially for Florida) 53 degrees. Continue reading

Shipwrecked? Have a worry-free underwater exploration.

Breaconshire shipwreck

One of the advantages of living in a state that sticks out from the main land mass that is the United States is the number of ships that run their courses into it.  And I mean literally!

Because of the limestone under-layer that Florida sits upon, many ships have met an untimely end.  This is most unfortunate for them but, years later, I find myself thinking how bored I would be as a water adventurer had they not met such misfortune.

Exploring shipwrecks is an activity that every sunshine-loving Florida girl should get to experience at one point for another. Continue reading