Merry Xmas everyone! May Santa reward you with lovely presents and a beautiful life, full of adventures and marine mammal sightings!
Friday, 24 December 2010
Christmas - that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance - a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved. - Augusta E. Rundel
Tuesday, 9 November 2010
"Animal migration is a phenomenon far grander and more patterned than animal movement. It represents collective travel with long-deferred rewards. It suggests premeditation and epic willfulness, codified as inherited instinct." (David Quammen, 2010.NG)
These fascinating seasonal movements are carried by a handful of species that have developed this Darwinian way to perpetuate themselves through the generations. Oriented by temperature, light, currents, or even magnetic fields, these animals have proved to be an example of evolution and a great source of knowledge, especially in changing environments.
Migratory patterns usually involve special behaviours of preparation and arrival, and require great allocations of energy. From vertical migrations of copepods to the great migration of the monarch butterfly, or of the sperm whale, what drives these animals is truly a sense of larger purpose. It is stamped on their genetic code and they only know the way to go as they are moving.
Let's take the example of sea turtles;
The loggerhead turtle swims to specific beaches around the world to lay its eggs. After all eggs are safe in a sand hole, the mother leaves and will only come back to the same place a few years later. The younglings are born without any parental control and go to the water as soon as they come out of the egg. When they enter the water, there is an immediate trigger that tells them where to go and eventually, when they are fully grown, they come back to the same beach where there were born.
The same goes for the monarch butterflies, which take several generations to get to Canada where they produce a super generation of monarch butterfly that alone will return to the place it all started - Mexico.
It is essential that we understand the importance of these species and their migratory behaviours. This is not a topic of general culture and basic knowledge of our surroundings. It can contribute for a better management of our habitats. In a changing environment, their sensory cues may be masked and thus, their migrations delayed or advanced. Also, the seasonal presence of these animals will contribute for a greater diversity in the receiving environment, thus reducing inbreeding and loss of genetic variation. Changes in migratory patterns should be seen as a warning to humans that there is a great change in the environment that could also affect us.
Migrations are a fascinating topic and are a great source of knowledge that, if put in good use, can improve the state of our ecosystems.
Monday, 8 November 2010
Do you have dreams and hopes?Do you have plans for the future?Are those plans driven by love or career?
Since very young I had great hopes for my future. I am a scientist, a biologist, a student of life, but mostly, a student of marine life and hope I will always be one. I focused on marine mammal conservation and that is my truest, deepest dream; to work with whales, dolphins, seals, etc, until I am very old and cranky.
It's so hard to work on what you love, on what you have dreamed since you are little. There are so many tumbles in the way, so many obstacles that force you to stop and reconsider what you are doing and force you to make some choices.
But where does love come in all this?
I was once told that you can have only one of the two. If you choose career, you will never be fully dedicated to love; and if you choose love, you will never have a good evolution in your career.
That is b.s.
If you truly love someone, you are willing to give up anything for that other person, even risking your career. However, if the other person loves you back the same way, you choices can be made together to make your dreams come true. That's the way it should be for me.
Of course, your dreams shouldn't just be limited to the career, they should include a family, a house, a dog, anything you want and wish to have someday.
What do you think?Does having one thing compromises the other? Does it depend on the job or just on the person?
Monday, 11 October 2010
Did you know that sharks are getting endangered?Do you have any idea why? Well, here's a hint: finning. For those who do not know it, finning is the cruel act of cutting the fins off sharks to sell in the asian market. Sharks' fins are quite valuable and hence, quite expensive! Usually, after cutting the fins of the sharks, fishermen throw the animals' carcass back into the water where they eventually die from asphyxia or from blood loss. Today I went to a small lecture about these things. It was mostly for children, but adults get the big picture...Unfortunately the current legislation is not enough to stop this practices and we need stronger measures to be taken. The fishing industry always gets its way around, or it has up to now. Here are some links for you guys to take a look at:
http://www.apece.pt/ - this one is only for Portugal and talks mostly about the initiatives this organisation has taken to protect sharks in Portugal.
http://www.ocean2012.eu/OCEAN2012 - this organisation concerns all fisheries' management issues in Europe.
http://www.sharkalliance.org/ - shark alliance in focused essentially on sharks too, but at a much wider scale.
You can also find them on facebook.
Remember to take action, don't sit around and wait from something good to come to you. You can make the change for a better protection of the world's greatest gift: nature.
Friday, 8 October 2010
I'm really sorry for being away for so long. Things have been going a bit crazy around here, but I will try to sum up everything and, of course, give you some nice pictures! For starters, I'm now back in Lisbon and I'm bored to death...For a while things didn't go so well in Norway, but most importantly, they ended well! I came to Lisbon on the 4th of September, but only after one week I had to go back and work some stuff out...After spending one week around the fjords, watching the northern lights and seeing the reflex of the stars in the water, I fell in love with Norway! Now that I am back, there is no day that goes by without me sending an email to get a job there. Two great jobs showed up in Scotland, with my wonderful sea creatures and I applied to them as well! Cross your fingers for me, will you? I keep waiting for positive replies, but so far nothing...It is really getting me down...especially today, that is pouring rain and all I wanted to do was to be in my own house, drinking a nice latte, and looking outside of my window and watching the rain in the fjords (it would even be better if there was a group of dolphins or whales passing by!). For now, all I can do is dream for that day to come...soon!Rainy days always give you this nostalgia...you feel like staying at home, watching a movie and getting a foot massage. It's a struggle when you need to go out... Anyway, now that it's darker and colder, my advice to everyone is just to enjoy the short moments you have with your loved ones, no matter where you are, and make it the best you can! I know that maybe you feel lazy and don't want to get out of bed, but you have to do something! To stop is to die! Remember, past is history, the future is a mystery, and today is a gift!!!
I hope you like my photos :)
Make some comments!
Thursday, 15 July 2010
On every whale safari people come to me asking if I am in Norway as part of a student exchange programme or if I am here to study whales...I try to be the most polite possible in my answer, but the truth is that I go crazy every time I hear the same question!uffff I am a student of life people, ok? I may look young (oh boy, maybe I do look really young!), but I'm 23 and ready to make a living out of my knowledge! Of course, you don't always know everything, but that is one of the wonders of life! So, the moral here is: Never judge a book by its cover and we are all students of life!
Wednesday, 14 July 2010
Although Noway has a breath taking landscape, it is very often that the weather is not on your side and you have to enjoy a not so panoramic view from the windows. It is quite alright though, it fills you with a great romantic feeling of staying inside, having some tea and just relaxing. It is time to hear your own thoughts, to hear your heart beat and explore the limits of your mind! Some crazy thoughts drop by, but I try to keep things flowing and set the mind free. I glass of while would be very welcome, if I wasn't taking antibiotics!But that's a whole other story...In the meantime, I just wonder how the Sun affects my mood, which brings me to the sunflower topic!!!It is a lot of fun watching the effect of extra 5º in the temperature on people. The layers of clothes change, the colors also change, but mostly people change as well!Somehow, on every trip that is warm and sunny, people lay down and just turn towards the Sun! I am no different. I love Sun, I love the warmth, I love how it makes you feel like staying outside the whole day just walking and going out with friends (typical portuguese)!So, whenever I can, I am a sunflower (not an onion anymore!), just facing the Sun and relax as its rays touch my skin and make my cells shake with delight.
Today however, the Sun seems to be hiding in an almost perfect way. Over the grey clouds and heavy rain, it is waiting for the right moment to allure us to the streets and out to great walks! It is not so bad though...I like the feeling of looking outside and listening to the rain. It is such a romantic and deep feeling!!!
Well, well...I just noticed that all I have been writing was about the weather! what a cliché! Anyway, it does affect us all in different ways, but it is still good to experience friendship and love with all kinds of weather and learn how to deal (and have fun) every time!
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
Similarly to the famous movie "Shrek" , I would like to say that since I arrived to Norway I am an onion. Let me explain:
As a child I never liked using tights (collants) and as an adult I should say that I was glad to live in a country where even in the Winter I didn't have to use them. Now that I am in Norway I never wore so many clothes in my life...As an example, here's what I'm wearing today:
water and wind jacket (double layer)
What about that hum? It's amazing when you want to use the toilet!
And the funny thing is that, once I am at sea looking out for the whales I am still cold!!!!!
Although I am cold, during the minutes that we do have a great sighting of a whale, dolphin or seal, the cold seems to go away. BUT right after that, it seems even colder than before!
So, where we have some pictures that warmed my heart when my body was freezing :P
So far, the weather hasn't been very good, so the trips are not so frequent...Today we are going out, so cross your fingers for me for good weather, south wind and many sightings!!!
Friday, 18 June 2010
Well, well,well...After the magnificent trip, I got to meet the small village of Stø. There truly isn't anything out here. No shops, no markets, no post office, nothing. The closest shop is an IKA supermarket and it's over 7km far...Not that this is a problem, but of course I need to take a 5€ bus everytime I need to buy some food, and that isn't always easy to do. Apart from that, I have been moving in and out of houses/caravans and today I'm moving for the last time, I hope. Also, the trips have been going well, some better than others of course. When people get terribly sea sick (even with the tablets!!!), then the trip becomes unbearable... It is very hard to run all around the boat helping people, cleaning, and making sure there are nice animals for them to see as well. It is hard, but so far I've been managing ok. I just keep my fingers crossed before every trip so the sea state is good and people don't get sea sick. Although the last trip was really the most horrible in terms of sea sickness and excitement from the passengers, it was the best for observations. We had some wonderful sperm whale flukes, harbour seals, gannets, and in the end I caught a glimpse of a beautiful orca male's dorsal fin :) yey for that! I also found out what happened last year with the fin whales, and why there weren't even close to the numbers of previous years. They came up north! As I hear from other guides, there were never as many fin whales and pilot whales up here as in the last year. Soooooo, that's what happened!!!! Today we have no trip, the weather is bad, but tomorrow hopefully we'll go out again and maybe I'll see the killer whales again!
Friday, 11 June 2010
As I promised, there will be more frequent posts about my adventures in Norway :)
I arrived yesterday in Oslo and could already have a pretty good idea on how beautiful this country is. There is green everywhere and you get the feeling that this place brings real peace and tranquility to people. After that delightful moment, I was forced to hurry up to check in again for my next flight. Lucky me....the flight was delayed. As the plane took off I was able to see chances in the sky. I left Oslo with a Sunset and arrived in Evenes with a perfect sky similar to what we usually have in the afternoon. Truly a midnight Sun!
Suddenly, my eyes were completely overwhelmed with images like the one on the bottom. Absolutely amazing, worthy of Lord of the Rings landscape ratings!
I was exhausted, but the light didn't let my system shut down, no matter how hard I would close my eyes! After I got out of the plane, panic came along. I had nowhere to go, there were no buses to the town I was supposed to go and I had to go somewhere else and sleep! Finally, I got to a hostel and slept. The next day, I was picked up and met everyone on the team! I was very welcome by everyone, but unfortunately the weather was bad so we couldn't go out to the Fjords or to sea. Maybe tomorrow!
Friday, 28 May 2010
After such a crazy week I feel ready to write on my blog again. For the few readers that actually follow the blog, I will summarize my accomplishes and my obstacles for the days I went missing. For those who don't follow the blog, just try to keep up,ok? So, I heard that my skipper's exam was delayed once again. After saying everyday that I'm leaving on the 10th and I really really really have to take the test earlier than that, the school booked the exam for the 26th...I was in total shock! This was absolutely one of the worst thing someone has done to me. After long negotiations and talking with everyone from the school to fix this, the exam was re-scheduled once again, but this time for the 6th of June. Yey for me!!Apparently I'll be doing the exam with another girl,and that's it. The rest of the class is not ready and their exam remains booked for the 26th...Ufffff What a relief,hum? With all the craziness going, I had to keep studying for the exam and, as usual, I didn't take my laptop with me (it's a major distraction!). The result was that every night I had tones of emails from my boss asking for a translation of a part of the company's website in portuguese and italian! The italian part I had to ask a friend to do it, so I also had to email her to check things and to make sure I wasn't taking too much of her time...Well, here's how it turned out: http://arcticwhaletours.com/ There's a picture of me on the website which I hope to replace when I get to Norway and take a better one. I have absolutely no photos at all where I look professional! All my field photos are just messing around with friends and that kind of stuff :) I hope you enjoy exploring the website and hopefully you'll drop by when I'm already working as a guide!
As you can see, it wasn't all bad things! I also got the chance of going to the theatre with a friend to see a comedy & improvisation play (is it still a play if it is all improvised?). It was amazing! Aaaand I got an extra ticket by going to facebook during the play and writting where I was and what I was seeing! So, on Sunday I'm going back there! I also took a boat driving lesson! I felt like I was born to do it :) It was a verrrrry small boat, but driving it was great! And on Sunday I'm going again, but this time in a larger boat!
Wish me luck!
Monday, 17 May 2010
I just found out that the guy I told you about in my previous post is far from being the guy I'm going to meet! I got the chance of talking with the guy I'm actually going to meet and it was really embarrassing for me just trying to make a joke about our birthdays and finding out that his birthday is far from being the same as mine. The other guy is still an inspiration though!
Now, changing the subject; today is really hot in Lisbon!!! Unfortunately, I cannot enjoy this warmth very much because this is the worst time of the year for people that have allergies! Pollen is out there, flying like crazy, accompanied by something similar to cotton buds that, of course, comes out of trees and make the eyes sting and the nose start running. This time of the year is great to go to the beach, where there are few people and none of these things, but it is horrible if you have allergies and have to go around town.
This weather thing is going crazier and crazier every year...Climate change at its best!
This reminds me, I really need to start looking for warm clothes to bring to Norway... A nice jacket will have to do, or my suitcase will be filled with warm clothes and nothing else! I wonder how cold it will be there...I'll be working out there in the sea, so I reckon it will be much much colder than in inland. I heard feather jackets are the best, but I need to start looking around before making any judgments on the warmest clothes I can get here in Portugal. And that is another thing...in Portugal we don't have much cold, at least as cold as the summer in Norway I think, so it will be a challenge to find clothes that fit that kind of weather. Maybe during the weekend I'll start shopping. It's crazy when you're going to a different country and you need to be fully equipped for what's coming, but the problem is that you can never be 100% sure of what you're going to need! Let's hope it all goes for the best for me.
I wonder how my friend's chicken is doing? :P
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
Aren't you lucky? Two posts of mine on the same day WOHOOOO! (just wait and see how long it will take for me to post another one :P)
I was just looking around online and found this guy, a Portuguese fellow, who is a true inspiration. Take a look at his website and let me know what you think http://www.luis-ferreira.com/#259899/Services. Hopefully, I will get to know him as soon as I get to Norway, as he is one of those persons that you grow up thinking "I want to be just like him!!", after going over the period of wishing to be a dolphin trainer or a barbie of course! The thing is that as soon as I found out my way within marine biology, as soon as I truly found what I love most in the sea; things like exploring this guy's website become a true treat and really make me wonder why the hell am I sitting in this chair writing a blog! And to make things even better, something completely unexpected came up: this fellow's birthday is the same as mine! As a very wise man (my Yoda) once told me: "Pisces
After a path of pebbles and marbles, I should say that finally things have been getting much better. I submitted my paper in a nice journal (still waiting it to be accepted though), my laptop has finally come and everything is set for my trip to Norway. Now, the challenge relies on having a great mark on my skipper's exam! I kind of exhausted my motivating talks, but I think you get the idea of "what goes around comes around". Call it Karma, call it nature's forces or whatever; the truth is that you are always rewarded or penalized for the things you do. Doing good things always makes us feel good about ourselves and it isn't in an egocentric kind of way, it's rather like being happy for making other people happy. The same goes for the other way. Don't think that this is all about voluntary work, helping the elders and misfortunate; it is more than just that. Somehow when people work hard, when people are true friends and are willing to take chances/sacrifices for their own sake, in spite of how difficult it is; the world always finds a way of returning the "favor" sooner or later. Isn't it funny? Well, when you do good for a long time, when you struggle everyday, and it takes long for nature to answer back, it's not funny at all...But let's keep ourselves positive and think that the D-day will come. A similar thing is what happens with animals that have these appendixes or members they don't use at all which will eventually loose in a few centuries or millennia. So cross your fingers for your compensation to come no longer than 10 years! Nature has strange ways, but it is up to us to make the best of its ways and to do the best for us and the ones around us.
(Seems that I still had some motivational ideas here after all!)
Sunday, 2 May 2010
Every year most of us have to get a new calender and write all our friends' birthdays and hope not to forget any. When the time comes, if we didn't forget about it, our minds just get filled with questions about the right present to give, what to do to make it special, book a dinner with friends? or simple go out? (my birthday is long gone, so don't get any crazy ideas about it) bla bla bla. That is why some people just don't fancy birthdays that much and think they are a silly excuse for others to get presents. Of course, every day should be a celebration, but the problem is that not every day is. So, birthdays, mother's day, father's day, valentine's day, and so on, are just a small break from the daily stress that reminds us to take life easy and enjoy it (although, all except for the birthdays are just commercial strategies). Back to the presents' issue, it is very tricky to buy the right thing to the right person, but it is all about knowing the other person. Otherwise, a postcard and some chocolates/flowers would be enough. Some people like expensive, some like practical, some like creative and some just like to take the day off. My advice is: if you know the person well, then don't buy something just to have something to give. Make the effort of taking the next step and reinventing the concept of presents; fold a piece of paper, draw on it and simply write what comes to your mind inside; go to the beach and draw a cake on the sand; be different. Everybody loves presents, that is a sure thing, but things that come from the heart instead of a shop are so much better and so much valuable! Even if you think you should buy something, because that person needs it, just try to make it different from what anyone else could have done. So, today -mother's day here in Portugal- I just made my mother a breakfast in bed. I did one for my father as well (he deserves it too for taking care of her for so long) and found out that it was his first breakfast in bed!!! Write your comments and let me know what you did for your mother today and what was your most creative gift so far :)
Thursday, 29 April 2010
There are those days when you think that finally the world is smiling at you and then, suddenly, something happens that totally messes things up. Well, yesterday was my day... Yesterday, the laptop I was for so long waiting finally arrived. Everyone was telling me to wait for the weekend to buy the new laptop (I'm waiting for it since September) and that without the discount card (I just had the nº) I could never ever have a discount. It was a dumb, silly thing, but somehow I just set my foot down and thought "it doesn't matter anyway, I'll go and I'll see. If it's not available, if I don't get the discount, it's ok, I'll just go for a walk". Of course, typical me, when I arrived the laptop was sold out. So, I gave it a try and went there. So, the moral is: stand up for yourself, don't let anyone influence you on what you do. If you don't take chances, if you don't try, then you'll never know what could have been! Do your best to push away the "don't"s the "no"s and all those negative things. If you want something, go for it! Even if in the end it was the wrong choice, at least you know that you tried and did your best to achieve true happiness. This is a very small example, but it applies on everything! Even though most people around us want the best for us, sometimes their opinion is a bit biased...Of course, be rational about it, don't take stupid chances that you know for sure that will turn out wrong and do something just because. Be true to yourself. Let me tell you, if I had taken all the advices, if I cared about people saying that they think that I do or don't like something, well...lets just say that I wouldn't have found my own way inside marine biology, and most probably would have never seen the wonderful creatures that I saw last summer.
Tuesday, 27 April 2010
To celebrate the today's lovely day (it is 30º outside and I didn't even leave the house yet!) I decided to finally finish my blog. Finding a great name was really hard work! but I should say that after many days around all the names starting with "sea", "ocean" and "marine", something totally different came to life. "Miosothys" (in Portuguese Miosótis) is a not so known flower with a very sad legend behind it. It is said that a brave knight drowned in a river trying to catch this beautiful flower for his lady, and for ever since it is called the "never forget me flower" (sounds much better in Portuguese!)and only flourishes on river edges.
After having such a great morning, submiting my first paper, paying the biology society, signing the contract to go to Norway, and talking with my future boss on skype to decide my arrival dates in Norway, I just want to let you all know that you are very welcome to my blog! This is my first blog, so take it easy on me!