August 19th, 2021
The crucial role that sharks play
It's common for us humans to have a fear of sharks. We hear stories about shark attacks that feed this fear when, in reality, sharks are far from the deadly water creatures movies and rare stories make them out to be. The truth is, shark attacks are actually extremely rare and most sharks are actually very safe to swim with! Besides sharks being misunderstood animals, they are also crucial members of our oceans.
Sharks keep our oceans healthy
Sharks are top predators, also known as apex predators. This means they have very few or no predators of their own. Apex predators play an important role, as they keep other populations in balance. With sharks being top predators, they also protect marine plants by preventing overgrazing of marine habitats. For example, tiger sharks prevent green turtles from overgrazing, which keeps seagrass ecosystems stable. Overgrazing poses a huge threat to other extremely important species and sharks prevent these threats from happening.
Sharks preserve ecosystems by keeping a natural carbon cycle in motion. Sharks feed off of dead marine life at the bottom of the ocean. When sharks pass, their bodies also fall to the bottom of the ocean, similar to whales and other larger marine animals. This carbon cycle prevents unnecessary carbon from being released into our atmosphere and keeps oceans alive and well.
How you can save the sharks
Shark populations are quickly decreasing due to climate change, overfishing and habitat loss. Over a quarter of the worlds shark populations are near extinction. It's estimated that 100 million sharks are killed by human behavior and/or activities every year. These numbers are extremely dangerous, so we need to act fast to save the sharks that are protecting our oceans.
You can help by doing a number of things. First off, avoid buying shark products, especially unethically made/obtained shark products. The money we are willing to spend on shark products decides how sharks are used.
You can also donate to reputable foundations that are on a mission to protect sharks. One of our favorites here at Hülya Swim is Project Hiu! We are working with Project Hiu for our upcoming swimsuit collection by giving 30% of the proceeds to their cause.
It's also important to only buy sustainably sourced seafood. Overfishing poses a huge threat to many ocean animals, including sharks.
The next way you can help is one you've heard before, but can really make a difference. Avoid single use plastics! Reuse and recycle as much as possible. Humans continue to pollute our delicate oceans everyday with our overuse of single use plastics.
Written by Anna Rojo
The important role of sharks. (2019, July 31.) National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. https://marinesanctuary.org/blog/the-important-role-of-sharks/?gclid=CjwKCAjwgviIBhBkEiwA10D2j69wKIEqPZg_rI17Ccf-2tiBavb_5IB_Sho2zqH6b1h_keUvFhmHMBoCZh0QAvD_BwE
Why are sharks important? (n.d.) Save Our Seas Foundation. https://saveourseas.com/why-are-sharks-important/
July 23, 2021
Written by: Anna Rojo
Amazing surf spots you have to visit
Incase you didn't know, here at Hülya, we love a good surf spot! Nothing beats a beautiful day at the beach and catching some waves. If you love surfing as much as us, or if you're looking to start surfing, here are some incredible surf spots to add to your bucket list!
Huntington Beach, California
Huntington Beach is no doubt an iconic surf spot every surf-lover has to visit. It's also known as Surf City, USA! Huntington Beach is such a great surf spot that they have annual surf contests, both national and international. Weather is great there all year long, so many locals recommend going in the winter to avoid it's typical summer crowds. Huntington Beach's 10 mile coast is truly a surfers paradise!
Kaanapali, Maui, Hawaii
Any beach in Hawaii is on every surfers bucket list, but Kaanapali is one of the top rated surf spots in all of Hawaii! Located in Maui County, Kaanapali has consistent waves, few rocks, and is known for its breathtaking sunsets. It's also a great spot for people looking to take surf lessons, as they offer lessons at the Kaanapali Surf Club. If you ever find yourself booking a Hawaii vacation, Kaanapali is definitely a location to add to your to-do list!
Cocoa Beach, Florida
Of course we had to add a favorite Florida spot! Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier is home to the annual NKF Rich Salick Pro/Am Surf Fest every Columbus Day Weekend. Cocoa Beach is known for its beauty and surf breaks. The Cocoa Beach Florida Surf Museum honors the sport’s local history and attracts countless tourists every year. Not to mention Cocoa Beach is the hometown of 11-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater. Incase you didn't know, Kelly Slater is considered the world's greatest surfer! Needless to say if you find yourself in the area and your looking to catch some waves (or have a beautiful beach day!), get yourself to Cocoa Beach!
Montauk, New York
Surfing? In New York?! You heard us right. When you think of great surf locations, this state is probably not one that comes to mind. Montauk, New York, is a village at the east end of the Long Island peninsula. It’s known for its beaches, like Ditch Plains, with its strong Atlantic surf. Surf lovers rave about the waves in Montauk. The eastern end of the island even hosts an annual Surf Classic event. Next time you're in New York, ditch the city life and get out to this areas sick beaches!
Nags Head, North Carolina
Many surfers will say East Coast waves never compare to West Coast waves, but those surfers definitely haven't been to Nags Head beaches! Waves at Nags Head beaches can reach 8 to 10 feet. This is one of the most popular areas to surf on the Outer Banks. It's known for having waves for all skill levels, so these beaches are great for beginning surfers!
Ocean City, New Jersey
For this last area, we had to honor one more East Coast favorite. Ocean City beaches are hotspots for breaks, thanks to its jetties! This area also has more surf accolades than any northeastern surf establishment. It's a great place for both pros and newbies, as Ocean City offers plenty of surfing lessons yet is also the producer of many incredible surfers. You may not think of beautiful beaches when it comes to the East Coast, but Ocean City will change your mind. And you can't forget that some fantastic food is always nearby in New Jersey!
Kites, K. H. (2020, July 20). The best places to surf along the Outer Banks. OBX Today. https://www.obxtoday.com/the-best-places-to-surf-along-the-outer-banks/
Montauk Visitors Center. (n.d.). Montauk Chamber of Commerce. https://montaukchamber.com/
Poirot, L. (2021, April 19). 30 Best Surfing Spots in the U.S. Far & Wide. https://www.farandwide.com/s/best-surfing-spots-united-states-277a82cd13df4620
Surfer. (2017, September 18). Best Surf Towns In America 2017. https://www.surfer.com/features/best-surf-towns-in-america-2017-no-4-ocean-city-nj/
July 8, 2021
The ocean's most fascinating creatures
📸 : pxfuel.com
Out of sight, out of mind
The ocean is a magnificent place. It's so huge that most of it is still unmapped, meaning us humans still have no clue what lies down below. Scientists estimate that over 90% of ocean species are still unknown as we still have very limited access to most of the ocean. Needless to say that the ocean is a mindblowing habitat. While we may not understand most of what lives in our planets deep waters, we do have a list of extremely captivating ocean species that you may not have heard of before.
📸 : news.fit.edu
Frogfish live in the ocean near Indonesia. It is estimated that there are about 50 different frogfish species. They very from color-to-color, some being solid bright colored and some having beautiful stripes. Clown frogfish are terrible swimmers, so they use their fins to move around the bottom of the ocean. This makes them appear as if they are walking rather than swimming, which is why they are called frogfish. Frogfish are extremely antisocial, even avoiding other frogfish. This is because they spend their time being focused on finding food, so much so that they will even resort to cannibalism is they are hungry enough!
📸: Wikimedia commons
Sea pen are invertebrate marine animals. There are over 300 species and they live in shallow and deep waters anywhere from the polar waters to the tropic waters. Sea pens deflate and expand when water moves in and out of their delicate bodies. Their name comes from the fact they resemble feathered quills. Most sea pens also glow when they are touched or otherwise stimulated!
📸: wikimedia commons
This next ocean animal is called the red-lipped batfish for obvious reason. It has bright red lips and resembles a bat. It is found mostly at the edges of reefs in the Galapagos waters. Besides it's appearance, the red-lipped batfish has other strange characteristics. This creature is capable of swimming, but it's fins are more often used as pseudo-legs. They appear to walk around rather than swim to keep tabs on their surroundings in search for prey and for it's predators. Unfortunately, it's predicted that red-lipped batfish may not survive in coming years as coral reef temperatures rise and plastic pollution continues to threaten their habitat.
📸: wikimedia commons
Leafy sea dragon
Leafy sea dragons are named for their plant-like appearance. They also appear to resemble seahorses very well, however, they are more closely related to pipefishes. They are terrible swimmers, so they rely heavily on their master abilities to camouflage with surrounding algae and seagrass. Due to their beauty, there has been a major issue with humans trying to fish out leafy sea dragons for personal desire. There are strict regulations on these fishing efforts, but it's predicted that leafy sea dragons are close to extinction with climate change destroying their habitat and humans killing them off.
Written by Anna Rojo
Encyclopedia Editors of Britannica. (2010, July 26). Sea Pen. Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/animal/sea-pen
Florida Tech. (2017, June 6). 10 Weirdest Ocean Creatures - And Where to Find Them. https://news.fit.edu/science/the-10-weirdest-ocean-creatures-and-where-to-find-them/
Galapagos Conservation Trust. (n.d.) Red-Lipped Batfish. https://galapagosconservation.org.uk/wildlife/red-lipped-batfish/
National Ocean Service. (2021, Feb. 26). How Many Species Live in the Ocean? NOAA. https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/ocean-species.html
Oceana. (n.d.) Leafy Seadragon. https://oceana.org/marine-life/ocean-fishes/leafy-seadragon
Raechelle, A. (2019, Aug. 30). Clown Frog Fish Facts. Our Beautiful Planet. https://www.ourbeautifulplanet.org/animals/clown-frog-fish-facts-2019/
June 15, 2021
Serious environmental issues the world is facing.
📸: Wikipedia Commons
Before it's too late.
Research indicates that by 2030, climate change will begin to have a seriously negative impact on the way we live and may even become irreversible. While dangerous, climate change is not the only environmental issue this planet has to worry about. Here, we will discuss other issues that need to be improved before it's too late.
Change is needed now. There is no Planet B.
📸 : RecondOil
1. Global warming due to CO2 emissions
CO2 is a greenhouse gas that's emissions have increased by about 50% since 1990. The dangerous increase of CO2 in the air causes what is called the greenhouse effect. This issue is speeding up climate change and is not only a huge threat to humans, but also to wildlife and plants. Additionally, CO2 emissions cause major damage to our planet by increasing floods, wildfires and droughts. These emissions also are melting ice caps and causing sea levels to rise along with many other dangerous effects. It's important we all come together to find ways to slow down CO2 emissions so life on earth isn't destroyed.
Pollution is another huge problem we often hear about but as humans have a small desire to do anything about. Especially in countries like the U.S., we tend to have a throw-away mindset. We throw dozens of things in the trash everyday without realizing where it will end up and what damage it causes. Many of the things we throw away are not sustainable, meaning it will be sometimes hundreds of years before it breaks down. This also means these things will sit in overcrowded landfills where they will harm precious wildlife, marine life and pollute our drinking water. Besides the damages of our massive landfills, The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 90% of humanity breathes polluted air, causing health issues like respiratory damage.
3. Our Oceans
As mentioned earlier, most of our trash ends up in water systems, including our oceans which negatively impacts marine life. Besides plastics constantly being dumped in the ocean, oceans have also become a place for humans to dump wastewater and oil spills have become quite frequent. Worldwide, there has been a huge overfishing problem as well. Overfishing creates an imbalance in the food web and leads to major losses of extremely important marine life. Luckily, more and more people every day switch to vegan or vegetarian diets as a way to boycott unethical practices like overfishing. Unluckily, these practices still occur and are slowly destroying the world's precious oceans and their inhabitants.
4. Urban Developments
Cities continue to grow, especially as population increases worldwide. By 2030, it's predicted city life will change drastically as we must begin to live more eco-friendly to prevent further damage to our planet caused by large cities. A huge challenge will be to make cities extremely energy efficient, unlike how most are today. City-livers will mostly likely travel in shared electric cars, eat more fruits and veggies (to lessen energy waste caused by the dairy and meat industry), single-use plastics will start to disappear and our buildings will be powered by renewable energy.
📸: Pixabay / @mahatoaaditya1234
5. Energy Transition
Energy makes up 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, the U.S. alone gets 80% of its energy from fossil fuels. This includes oil, coal and natural gas. With these statistics, an energy transition is highly likely to occur in the near future as fossil fuels are not only harmful to the environment but are also finite resources. At the rate we use them at now, we won't have much left in the very near future. This means demand will increase, supply will decrease and prices (of things like gas) will go through the roof. Soon, we will need to work towards an efficient energy model that relies on renewable energy sources.
6. Eating sustainably
This issue was briefly mentioned earlier, but still a very serious topic that deserves an independant discussion. With the way the world is currently producing food, especially meat and fish, we will soon need to start being more mindful in how we eat. Food production often over exploits natural resources and severely impacts our drinking water, soil and many delicate ecosystems. Eventually, our food habits will have to adjust to become mostly plant-based in order to save energy and prevent CO2 emissions.
7. Securing biodiversity
Over 22% of known animal species are at risk due to human behavior and activities. This is a terrifyingly high percentage that is not talked about enough. Human beings are naturally selfish and, especially in today's society, it can be easy to ignore what is happening to species besides ourselves. We have destroyed many natural habitats, introduced invasive species, poached and done many more dangerous things to decrease biodiversity. The truth is, biodiversity is crucial to the life of humans. Biodiversity provides functioning ecosystems that supply oxygen, clean air and water, pollination of plants, pest control and wastewater treatment.
📸 : Steven Depolo
8. Decrease in water
We all know what water is a vital resource that every living organism needs to survive. Especially in countries like the U.S., we never imagine what life would be like without having clean water at our fingertips. Water shortages are becoming more frequent due to climate change, the overuse and wastage of water for production purposes, increasing freshwater demand, droughts and floods. Not having clean water at all times could be a very real circumstance if changes are made to preserve it.
9. Natural disasters
Global warming means more frequent natural disasters. This includes hurricanes, droughts, heatwaves, etc. As more water vapor is evaporated into the atmosphere it becomes fuel for more powerful disasters like these to develop. Keeping global temperatures stable means less climate emergencies and more manageable environmental catastrophes. It was always difficult to prepare for these things, however, they could become harder to survive as they become more frequent.
Lastly, it is time to discuss this pressing topic. The UN expects the world population to exceed 8.5 billion by 2030. Everything discussed previously in this article goes hand-in-hand with this issue. To quote EverythingConnects.org, overpopulation is "silently aggravating the forces behind global warming, environmental pollution, habitat loss, the sixth mass extinction, intensive farming practices and the consumption of finite natural resources". If we don't collectively do something about these problems, all the environmental issues in the world will speed up in a way we can't keep up with due to inevitable overpopulation in the future.
✍️ : Anna Rojo
Cardenas, S. (2021, January 7.) Earth could cross the global warming threshold as soon as 2027. World Economic Forum. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/01/global-warming-threshold-reached-by-2027/
Cresswell I.D., Murphy H. (2016). Biodiversity: Importance of biodiversity. Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy. https://soe.environment.gov.au/theme/biodiversity/topic/2016/importance-biodiversity, DOI 10.4226/94/58b65ac828812
Effects of Human Overpopulation. (n.d.) Everything Connects. https://www.everythingconnects.org/overpopulation-effects.html
Fossil Fuels. (n.d.) The National Academies. http://needtoknow.nas.edu/energy/energy-sources/fossil-fuels/
How can climate change affect natural disasters? (n.d.) U.S. Geological Survey. https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/how-can-climate-change-affect-natural-disasters-1?qt-news_science_products=0#qt-news_science_products
Overfishing. (n.d.) World Wildlife Fund https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/overfishing
The big global environmental issues we need to resolve by 2030. (n.d.) Iberdrola. https://www.iberdrola.com/environment/most-important-environmental-issues
Water Scarcity.(n.d.) World Wildlife Fund. https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/water-scarcity
What Is the Greenhouse Effect? (n.d.) NASA Climate Kids. https://climatekids.nasa.gov/greenhouse-effect/
📸 : The Donkey Sanctuary
Why You Should Rethink Shopping Fast Fashion
Here at Hülya, we are so proud to say that we are a completely sustainable swimsuit brand! However, many other clothing companies are not up to speed like we are. Fast fashion releases around 1.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide every year, which makes up about 10% of the worlds carbon emission. Now more than ever, we need to shop for our clothes in a more sustainable manner.
Shopping fast fashion has been very appealing because of its extremely affordable prices. The reasons behind why fast fashion clothes are so cheap are unfortunate. First of all, fast fashion producers cut many corners to keep the prices low. The products are not made to last and often fall apart after just a few washes.
Due to how inexpensive fast fashion is, many consumers are drawn to fast fashion websites to treat themselves to new clothing. Fast fashion shoppers especially tend to over consume clothing. We live in a throw away culture, therefore we tend to believe that we should be throwing out and buying new clothing frequently. Throw away culture encourages fast fashion. It's concerning how many fast fashion products fill our landfills every year because we are so accustomed to tossing our clothes in the trash.
Fast fashion is also set at very low prices because of the mistreatment of laborers in other countries. Unlike in the U.S., many other countries don't have strict labor laws or they are not enforced very well. Oftentimes, our fast fashion comes from these countries. Workers are being overworked, underpaid and forced to work in extremely unsafe environments. By shopping fast fashion, you may be helping a company mistreat it's employees.
Producers of fast fashion use water at an excessive pace. About 20% of global wastewater is due to the fashion industry and fast fashion factories especially are not helping to lower this percentage. As many fast fashion factories move to countries without strict environmental regulations, they continue to overuse water for cheaply made clothing that will not last.
We know it's tempting to shop fast fashion, but please do our planet a favor and start shopping sustainably! Brands like Hülya are determined to make a change for the environment and create beautiful clothing that will last. It's time to start supporting transparent businesses that have a passion for fashion and not a passion for getting a quick, easy buck. At the end of the day, the earth is our only home and we need to start living (and shopping) with her in mind!
✍️ : Anna Rojo
Le, Ngan. (2020, July 20.) The Impact of Fast Fashion On The Environment. Princeton Student Climate Initiative. https://psci.princeton.edu/tips/2020/7/20/the-impact-of-fast-fashion-on-the-environment
Hülya Babe Poeiti Nelaupe
She loves to share her lifestyle with people and connect with likeminded ocean lovers! Check her out here!
Hulya Babe Jade Mei Lan Rousseau
We love connecting with environmentally-friendly beauties around the world, and we have another new Hulya babe to introduce to you all!
Jade is from Mauritius island, but has been blessed to see much of the world! She studied at the Sorbonne of Abu Dhabi and had the opportunity to work around the globe- from Paris to Sri Lanka! These opportunities opened Jade’s eyes to new perspectives and shaped her view of the world. Now she travels with her surf photographer husband, feeling at home in many places. She believes the best parts of living the islander life are seeing the most magical sunrises and sunsets! In her free time, you can find Jade bodyboarding and freediving.
Check out her style here!
📝 Carlyn Vautin
📸 Carlyn Vautin
Top Dive Locations To Visit One Day
There are so many beautiful places in our world, it’s sometimes hard to know where to explore next! We are highlighting these places because they are known for their marine life and reefs and are worth spotlighting, although there are certainly plenty other corners of the world that are worth experiencing! If you’re an avid diver or snorkel often, check out these top-rated spots.
Ambergris Caye, Belize
📸 Collector of Experiences, Atlas Obscura
Belize has some of the most stunning reefs in the world! It is one of the largest barrier reefs in the world, second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Belize’s reef system spans 185 miles! Here, you can find many keys and atolls, including the famous Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley. Shark Ray Alley is aptly named as there are many nurse sharks and eagle rays that come to play near the boats! This first started because the “alley” was once an area where fishermen came to clean their catches of the day, and became a great spot for bottom feeding. Now the dive centers all know this spot and perpetuate the feeding to this day. There are many colorful fish, eels, and other marine life throughout the reefs, and the water is usually crystal clear, making the visibility great for scuba and free diving alike.
The Big Island, Hawaii
📸 Hawaii State Parks
Hawaii is exotic and (technically) within the amazing United States! Rich with culture and history, it is a gorgeous island to experience; both the island mountains and the water are full of life. The Big Island (which, surprise, surprise, has the highest square footage in the island chain) features the Kealakekua Bay State Park, where Captain Cook landed in 1779. Visitors today can visit the Captain Cook monument and Hikiau Heiau, a religious site, in the park. However, the marine life is just as fascinating in the park’s water, so if you visit, be sure to dive in and explore the beauty of the ocean here! Many visitors spot dolphins playing, as well as coral and colorful fish. Don’t just stop here though- you can find incredible snorkel and dive spots all over the Hawaii islands!
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
📸 Carlyn Vautin
The Great Barrier Reef on the northeast coast of Australia is the largest reef system in the world, and is the most famous for a reason. There are 2,900 individual reefs that span over 1,400 miles of the coast! It hosts 1,625 species of fish, over 600 types of coral, 215 species of birds, 30 species of whales and dolphins, and 133 kinds of sharks and rays. Some of these reefs are far out from the coast, involving up to a 2-hour boat ride to the dive site, so if you visit this bucket list location, arrive prepared for a long excursion! With the huge variety of sights to see- including shipwrecks- it is well worth the long boat ride! Between global warming, pollution, and tourists harming the reef, there are quite a few threats to the Great Barrier Reef’s survival, and a large section of the reef is already bleached. That being said, conservation of the reef is a top priority for Australia because it is one of the world’s 7 natural wonders and it is a huge proponent of tourism, so measures are being taken to protect this beautiful ecosystem!
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
📸 Blue Growth
The Galapagos Islands are off the coast of Ecuador, and are not the easiest to get to. However, the sights there are unparalleled. These 19 volcanic islands boast some of the most diverse marine life in the world, and this is the location that inspired Charles Darwin’s scientific theories. Now, 97% of the Galapagos is a national park. The islands have active volcano eruptions because they are formed at the juncture of 3 tectonic plates. In fact, due to its active state, the island chain is constantly shifting and reforming, so new islands could be added this very moment! In addition, this is where 4 currents converge, so waves are unpredictable.
The Galapagos is close to the Equator, but due to different marine and air currents, has a very unique climate. This is the only place in the Northern Hemisphere you can find penguins in their natural habitat! You can also view marine iguanas, who are excellent swimmers. While diving or snorkeling, you can also see a variety of turtles, dolphins, whales, seals, sea lions, eels, and plenty of fish!
📸 This Is Cozumel
Cozumel is a fantastic place to visit for diving! Off the coast of the Riviera Maya, this area is 30 miles long and about 10 miles wide. Currents are strong through this area, so fins are advisable and you should NOT swim on the east side of the islands due to ample rip currents! However, those strong currents and channels encourage whale sharks to migrate through the area at certain points of the year. Diving with whale sharks is a definite bucket list experience! Typically, the best snorkel spots are found on the rocky shores, not the sandy beaches, so keep that in mind for your trip, but do be mindful of the currents! Among the whale sharks, you can find manta rays, spotted eagle rays, turtles, sharks, eels, and some seriously cool drop-offs and ledges to explore. The best (and steepest) ledges to free dive are around the Palancar area!
Wherever you go, the deep blue sea is an amazing sight to behold. Let us know if you’ve ever been to any of these locations, or if you have an even better dive site for us to mention, drop it in the comments below! We love learning about new places.
📝: Carlyn Vautin
📸: credit listed under pictures
Hülya Babe Alannah Vellacott
Located on the Grand Bahama island, Alannah is a marine ecologist with 11 years of experience in marine research, conservation, and education in the Caribbean with various organizations, with her most recent role being a Coral Restoration Specialist at Coral Vita. She is also a PADI OWSI with 17 years of diving experience!
Alannah was a former Bahamas Environmental Steward Scholar (BES Scholar), which awarded her a full scholarship to attend the Island School in Eleuthera and participate in a 6-month, paid internship at the Cape Eleuthera Institute. This experience spring-boarded Alannah’s career in marine research and conservation. She graduated from South Dakota State University with a degree in Biological Sciences, and is considering going back to school for Marine Ecology in the future.
Work History and Cool Projects
Some of Alannah’s work includes projects like conducting AGRRA coral and fish surveys, establishing coral nurseries, out planting nursery-grown corals back onto coral reefs, shark, conch and reef health research and even shipwreck mapping and blue hole ethnography. She has worked with many different non-profit environmental conservation organizations including the Cape Eleuthera Institute, BREEF, the Bahamas National Trust, Community Conch, The Nature Conservancy and most recently, Perry Institute for Marine Science.
Alannah is especially passionate about science communication and media and has landed a role in 'Enslaved', a documentary on the Transatlantic Slave Trade hosted by Samuel L. Jackson. She has also been featured in Shark Week 2020.
Check her out here!
📝: Carlyn Vautin
Notes On Cenotes
Disclaimer: if you are traveling, please follow all COVID-19 regulations in the area.
Cenotes (pronounced like sen-OH-tays) are limestone sinkholes found in areas where collapsed rock has revealed groundwater. There are a large variety of cenotes! There are 4 types: pit, cylinder, basin, and cave cenotes. Some are large, natural pools fully open to the land surrounding it, others are semi-covered, and some are entirely enclosed. In some of the deeper cenotes with cave systems, you can free dive and scuba as there can be extensive passageways below! Typically found in Mexico in the Yucatan, cenotes are also found in locations like Australia, Belize, Dominican Republic, Canada, and the U.S. The water is usually very clear, as the water primarily comes from filtered rainwater and/or underground rivers.
These underground caverns are breathtaking, and 100% worth experiencing one day. While they were once used as a water supply for cities like Chicken Itza and sometimes even for sacrificial offerings in the Mayan culture, nowadays they are enchanting places to explore and feel connected with nature and history.
It’s so important to keep these incredible sites as preserved as possible to keep them clean and unspoiled from pollution and waste. Cenotes can be high-traffic travel sites as people from all over the world come to experience their beauty and wonder for themselves. With that in mind, Mexico has decided to enact some regulations. Read on to learn about them!
While keeping your skin protected is extremely important, most sunscreens have chemicals in them that harm the environment, the water, and the animals that live there! Mexico has banned “regular” sunscreen. Get yourself some biodegradable, reef- safe sunscreen (like these brands in Sustainability Corner’s other post) so we can keep the cenote’s water as pure as possible! Make sure you put it on early enough before getting into the water so that it has absorbed into your skin- you don’t want to wash off residue while you are swimming.
Ditch the bug spray. The parks won’t allow you to wear it as it contaminates the water, and they will make you rinse off in an outdoor shower before hopping in, so leave it in the car or at home!
Bring CASH. Most cenotes charge an entrance fee for park maintenance and the amenities available, like bathrooms, equipment rentals, and lockers. You’ll have a much easier time with cash as many parks won’t accept cards, especially inside the park!
Bear in mind that each individual cenote may have special regulations they follow, and you should always check with the cenote you are visiting to ensure you are bringing the right gear! Some may allow you to bring your own fins while others do not. However, if you can bring your own snorkel gear- definitely do! There are so many cool parts of cenotes to explore underwater.
Drones are not allowed in most of Mexico, and are not allowed in the cenote sites, so leave yours behind! Cenotes are a much better experience when you are under the water anyway.
Have you ever been to a cenote? After reading this, do you want to visit one? Let us know in the comments below or on our Instagram!
📝: Carlyn Vautin