Chunky Little Manatee

Many people don’t know that manatees are closely related to elephants. In fact, if you look closely at a manatee’s flipper, you’ll see the remnants of nails and toes that resemble an elephant’s foot. Under an x-ray, they even look like human hands. Pretty cool.

myfwc.comManatee flipper under x-ray

Here in Brevard County, we are fortunate enough to see Florida manatees fairly often in the Indian River Lagoon (brackish water), and in nearshore coastal waters by way of going in and out of local man-made ship inlets.

They are also known as “sea cows” because they move slowly, but they are VERY powerful. I’ve gotten knocked off my paddleboard more than a few times by a manatee. Hey, they didn’t want ME on their lawn….I don’t blame ’em.

I still love manatees, and they’re a good indicator of the health of the Lagoon system, which is obviously very sick and toxic currently, heading into a state of eutrophication sadly.

So I wanted to share some of of this fun info with you, plus a pattern I made up to make your own little chunky manatee Amigurumi toy! It helps to know basic single crochet in the round for this pattern. Add a loop of heavy thread on top to turn it into an ornament for the holidays. Manatee Tree. Freakin’ cool.

Chunky Little Manatee Pattern (PDF file)

Stuffing the body of the manatee

Sewing the tail closed

Making the flippers

Fluke view

Front view

Manatees are cute, so they might get people’s attention.

I’d love to see this

Big Blue Button Amigurumi

Jellyfish are often misunderstood creatures in Florida, especially since they often hurt surfers with stings that range from annoying to scream worthy.

I’ve had my fill for a lifetime, believe me.

In actuality, many of these “jellyfish” are groups of polyps clinging together, drifting with the ocean’s currents. These type are known as Chondrophores, which include the Man O’ War, a particularly famous critter that gives humans a painful sting. However, there are other types of unique Chondrophores here in Florida that don’t pack quite the wallop.

Blue Button

Blue Buttons are part of this group, and can be found in Florida quite often. They are small (usually only 1-2 inches in diameter), but they are beautiful to look at. So, I decided to make a jumbo, huggable version out of yarn. Just because, of course.

Below I’ve shown a bit of my process in pictures for those into amigurumi:

I used three basic blues with a 3.5 mm hook

Making a circle for one side, starting to change color to make stripe

Using a half- color change technique

Top half done- I made it a bit taller

Bottom half

Two halves complete

Each tentacle is from 5-8 inches

Lots o’ tentacles

Pulling each tentacle into the half

Knotted inside and ends trimmed

Placing eyes

Stuffing and sewing shut

Top side

Surprise underneath!!

So happy together

At da beach….

With the oxygen levels dropping in the ocean as sea temperatures rise, expect to see more jellyfish (and colonies). They serve as a canary in the coal mine, if you will.

At least the signs of our stupidity will look pretty….

Keep overthinkin’ it

DIY 4Ocean + CapeClasp Wrap Bracelet or Necklace

This is a project I’ve wanted to do for a while. I had a couple of 4Ocean recycled glass bracelets and a silver shark toggle from Cape Clasp I’ve been wanting to combine into something FUNNER.

Wave at da haters

Both of these companies raise money for ocean related charities, which is always a good excuse to buy pretty things, ya know. And by the way, I don’t shill for these companies, I had to buy ’em just like everyone else.

For this project, I used my two 4Ocean bracelets, my Cape Clasp Hammerhead shark toggle (removed from the paracord), scissors, and some Chinese Knotting cord (I used dark green), which is essentially VERY thin nylon paracord. I used a little over 3 yards for this, folded in half. Glue may be handy to secure the finishing knot.

My supplies

Recycled beauties!

Saving the charms for another project

I made a lark’s head loop over the tail hole and made an overhand knot. I slid a recycled glass bead over both cords, and made another overhand knot, snugging it up against the bead. Repeat until all the beads are gone.

Lark’s head loop over tail

Overhand knot between each bead

For the loop, I took the cords and made alternating half hitches until the loop was long enough to secure over the toggle, then I secured it with a square knot and melted the ends with a lighter (outside!).

Alternating half hitch knots

Toggle secured

Done! It came out to around 20″ when it was complete, long enough for a necklace or a wrist wrap.

The Country Club Surfer

A halfway decent strand of Mikimoto’s will set you back several grand, but I figure this hundred dollar DIY set might help out a bit more.

I let it all go a looong time ago, kids

The Problem with Single Use Plastic

Unfortunately, I end up snagging some form of plastic trash from the water or off of the beach just about every time I go for a surf. In fact, last week, I pulled an empty bottle of bleach completely labeled in Spanish that was covered in barnacles. I wonder how far that may have travelled. If there was a note inside, the bleach ate it up.

My good friend Scrappy Yoga works with

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This is just a trashy issue, no matter what party you’re in

environmental groups and surfers trying to eliminate single use plastics from the chain. They just had a Press Conference in Santa Cruz, California, and it is one of those issues we can all get behind:

SURFERS AND ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS URGE CALIFORNIA LEADERS TO REDUCE SINGLE-USE PLASTIC POLLUTION

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I get this filled for only a buck

Being a Southern Girl, I am a rabid Diet Coke drinker, but I use a large reusable Big Gulp container with a reusable straw. Not only is it MUCH cheaper to get a refill at a convenience store, I never have to worry about throwing away straws or cups EVER. Most fast food places let me use this too, I just pay for the large drink, and fill ‘er up. There’s really no excuse, kids. And now I’ve got a place for all my Gnar stickers that no longer fit on the surf mobile. More surf cred??? Schweet.

On an old blog post, I made some surfboard art out of bits of plastic I found all over the beach,

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Shades of eternity

mostly around Cape Canaveral, even up into the Canaveral National Seashore unfortunately. Just that little project alone reminded me that just because I put that little plastic straw or fork in the wastebasket, doesn’t mean it evaporates into thin air…

 

6723C804-3D73-4803-A93D-C52C51529E91

Or a cockroach 

Anti-Shark Attack Hack

Just to preface this, if you are in between a juicy bait ball and a starved shark, a well timed punch between the shark’s eyes is the best defense. 

Having said that, there are a lot of gimmicks out there claiming to prevent a shark from attacking in the first place. A lot of pricey gimmicks, of course.

They spent A LOT of money, yo

 
There are SharkBanz, shark deterrent wetsuits, and shark repellent stickers to cover the bottom of your surfboard. While I’m not exactly impressed with the small neodymium magnets that so many surfers have been buying for $50+, I’ll actually admit that there may be something to the notion of a shark’s avoidance of poisonous sea snakes. At least enough for the shark to take avoidance measures over prey. Somewhat.
A shark’s vision isn’t the sharpest, so high contrast objects get the most attention- they’re easier to discern. Sea snakes are very poisonous to sharks, and have distinctively high contrast (black and white striped). 

Typical sea snake, unloved by sharks….

 

Since objects are usually spotted by a shark from below, rather deep in the water column, I figured the best place to put my “sea snake” would be within the back 1/3 area of my surfboard on the bottom. This area is usually somewhat parallel with the ocean floor whether I’m sitting, paddling, or surfing on my board, so it would be the prime location. If a shark looks upward, the “snake” would be visible from below. Or so the theory goes.
I used plain bright white and black duct tape for this project. This combo ensures optimal contrast, especially when waters can become murky at times.

I placed my duct tape supplies about where I was going to tape across

I put the white duct tape down first, then the little black cut strips of tape on top

Look at that shark SWIM AWAY! Wow!

I dig it with the Core Surf octopus sticker! Extra scary to any shark!

 

Hey, I don’t warranty ANY of this, yo. If you honestly want to believe any of these gimmicks are going to work 100% of the time, well….bless your heart….

He’s buying it

Restocking my Cheez-It and Diet Coke Supply

So I was up at the Publix this AM with the rest of the Barrier Island getting Hurricane supplies like Diet Coke, Cheez-its, and some fruit and veggies (hubby’s got to eat too). After all the coverage from Harvey, you’d think this is the freakin’ end. I mean, this is FLORIDA. We deal with rogue pythons and flesh eating lake bacteria. We have Florida Man. We’ll be alright.

Personally, I like Diet Coke, yo

With all this news coverage, I’m really getting in the mood to watch The Day After Tommorrow. Corny movie, but still a guilty

Holy Schnikes


pleasure for someone into Oceanography like me. With the storm Jose forming behind this one, it reminds me of that radar scene where all the hurricanes converge together. Horrible, horrible, horrible.
But SO GNAR
As a surfer, I think it’s funny to hear people ask if the waves are going to be good ahead of this hurricane. Ummm….not this one. Surfers like their ‘canes out in the ocean a bit, away from land, pumping in those nice swells to create beautiful, rideable, glassy waves with light, gentle offshore wind. I’m afraid this storm will only provide training footage for the Coast Guard. Boo.

Sandy was a good swell here in Cocoa Beach

 
We shall see if Irma will move off into the North Atlantic, leaving a nice swell behind, or if it just leaves us with a bunch of cleanup.

I foresee some beach trash crafts a-comin’, since hurricanes always bring in the wackiest and most interesting items to our shores, good and bad.

Oh, I snapped this pic by City Hall on the way back from the grocery. I wonder how many people will show up this weekend? I’ll bring the hibachi and rum out to da beach.

Weeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!

Sea Heart of the Ocean Necklace

In my last post, I practiced polishing a Sea Heart sea bean. Now that it’s finished, I wanted to be

The Sea Heart I polished last time

able to wear it, but I didn’t want to drill into it or paint it. This will keep the piece as natural as possible.

To make my necklace, I used a macrame technique called Bezeling. The sea bean is thick, so I needed to make sure the bezel wrap would hold the sea heart securely. To make my ladder, I used two strands of light tan Linhasita macrame cord spaced 1 inch apart. For the alternating lark’s head knots, I used a dark green color strand.

I used a macrame foam board and lots of t-pins to keep things straight

Close up of the lark’s head ladder in work

I had measured the circumference of the sea heart to estimate the length of my ladder. I erred on the short side so I can “stretch” it over the edges of the sea bean to secure it using a bit of tension. I tied the ends together using a few square knots, and I melted the ends of the excess cord with a lighter (please use it outside- it’s a smelly process).

Tying the ends up around the bean- this was quite tricky

I singed the ends, leaving just two long strands to use for my necklace

Next, I used the 2 long cords remaining to make my necklace. I tied on 2 dark brown pieces to each light tan cord, and made a half hitch sinnet for a few inches, then braided the rest to the end. I did the same with the other side.

One side of the necklace

Completing each side of the necklace with a braid

For clasps, I used a carved tagua nut hook set that was drilled vertically, so I could thread the cord into each hook, and knot the ends off. This method doesn’t require any glue, but I did singe and melt the cord ends.

Tagua nut clasp

Finished necklace

With this very basic type of bezel wrap around my bean, it’s pretty secure. However, I’m probably not going to wear it while surfing though, just to make sure it doesn’t pop out. It is totally waterproof, however. Gnar.

That model needs a LOT of photoshop…..

I think it looks really cool, but it is a LARGE piece, so maybe only on special beachy occasions. Otherwise, you can call me Flava Flav of Cocoa Beach. Boiiiiiiiiiii.

My Hero.