Monday, July 27, 2009

Essential to Snorkeling

In a land far away, an activity dubbed snorkeling was popular. It was "all the rage" and all the "cool kids" were doing it. That land was earth and snorkeling was the hit activity in beach towns and beach resorts. Kids and adults alike populated the reefs with one goal, actually more like a DREAM: to view the ocean in a way never before seen, as a fish! But before they could embark on their endeavors, they had to obtain one vital component. The one piece allow them to truly enjoy the ocean.
The one and the only.....snorkel keeper!
Wow. Really Anthony, did you just write a whole hook driven by the Lord of the Rings theme to explain a snorkel keeper. Yes.. oh boy...

All kidding aside, a snorkel keeper is really no bigger than a silver dollar but without it snorkeling can be difficult. Some don't even know what one is -- they may have heard the term -- but just to be clear, a snorkel keeper is a connector piece that holds the mask and the snorkel together. IT allows you to move freely without worrying that your snorkel will submerge and having the piece of mind knowing that the snorkel won't grow fins and decide to swim away; it can't, it's attached to your face!!

Most keepers come attached to the snorkel with a clip -- you then attache it to your mask strap. Once attached correctly they are quite secure, are user friendly and can be easily to be swapped with other masks.

So when you think snorkeling, don't just think snorkel and mask, make sure you have that keeper. Because without it, you just won't enjoy the ocean as effortlessly as you should. It's your little plastic key to ocean fun! Sorry, at CWIC we get a little excited about this stuff. Really, you should see us. I typed this whole blog with full snorkeling regalia on. I have to go, my mask is foggy and I need to find a body of water. Hasta Luego!

Anthony- Intern, Blogger, Spanish Speaker, and Action Figure A C Walters Intercoastal Corporation

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Day in the Sun with the Huntington Beach Jr. Guards

We shipped out from the Long Beach harbor at 7am on Monday -- I, along with 40 Jr. Lifeguards and their instructors, pointed our noses toward Catalina on the "Great Escape" dive boat. From the moment I walked on board, I was taken in as one of their very own and enjoyed getting to know as many of them as possible.

HB Lifeguard instructors Kathy and Rory were amazing people - we spoke of the importance of the program that was developed in 1963 for youth 9-17 years of age. "It provides so much," explained Kathy. "Kids need purpose, community and an outlet for their excess energy. I can't tell you how the program has bettered the lives of so many." Kathy, now a mother of four children, has been a part of the program since she was a teenager. Each summer she shares her love of the ocean and water safety. "I can't think of a better way to spend my summers," said Kathy with a smile on her face.

Rory is most impressed with how the youth progress over the 8 week program. "I see boys and girls come in out of shape, unenthusiastic about life and just plan blah," he explained. "And then as the weeks go by, their eyes are wide and they get into great shape. They really come alive...this is the best summer job in the world."

And for anyone who has doubts about the upcoming generation -- I'd like to quell your fears. The group was well-mannered, well versed and passionate about life. I spoke with many of them about their futures, their hopes for their careers and their love of being out in the ocean.

After about 2 1/2 hours on the open sea, Catalina came into view. We anchored about one football field off of the shore and the kids were more than ready to jump into the ocean. Kathy introduced me as part of CWIC and brought out masks and snorkels that our Founder and President Cindi Walters donated for the 2009 season. Kathy and I shared information on using a snorkel, clearing purge valves, attaching snorkel keepers and more. The kids then lined up to receive their own mask/snorkel combo...and they were off!

I jumped in with them and we roamed through huge kelp beds, discovered bright orange Garibaldi fish (California's official state fish) and other smaller varieties. A couple of the kids took it upon themselves to be my guide -- their kindness
and willingness to take me in as one of their own was awesome! In the afternoon, we held fun filled competitions that inspired the kids to laugh, cheer and band together.

(Pic above: Kathy Sharing info on masks & snorkels)

After a long day in the water, we headed back to the mainland. The sun was shining and we were all in a content daze -- enjoying the salty breeze and the water lapping up against the sides of the boat as we cruised. I was so very thankful all the way home that I had the opportunity to experience a day in the life of the Huntington Beach Junior Lifeguard program. And I'd like to inspire parents around the world to consider getting your kids involved in a local Jr. Guard program! Seeing the Jr. Lifeguards in action drove home a major point: we as human beings need to reconnect with nature -- find community with others -- and get our bodies moving! True purpose & ultimate peace will follow...

Thank you HB Jr. Lifeguards for your kindness!!! And thank you to my sister Ann Engevik for taking beautiful photos of the event!

- Jen Engevik of CWIC

Pic: Jen & Rory
adjusting a mask A C Walters Intercoastal Corporation

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ireland's Wonderful Beaches

What comes to mind when you think of Ireland? Lets both think, rain, greenery everywhere and small cars. However what the rest of the world doesn't think of is Ireland's wonderful summer beaches!

As we all know, Ireland isn't a place for much sunshine -- many days see dark clouds, lots of rain and people hiding behind four walls by a fireplace. This is true much of the year but if you're able head over to Ireland in their summer time! If you are as lucky as I have been for the last 30 days on the Ireland coast -- you may find yourself loving its expansive, white sand beaches.

Imagine walking to the beach and if you live any where near a beach you probably see people there all the time, but -- well in Ireland you find stretches of beach that no one has enjoyed in months. I can't tell you the honor this Southern California boy felt to enjoy the sun on untracked sand.

Portmarnock Strand, where I spent most of my time, was one of the most beautiful beaches I had been to in awhile! Okay yes the water was cold, come on its Ireland, but one of the most interesting things about this beach was that you could walk over hundred yards out in the water and still have the water be waist level, this was very strange concept for me...and an amazing adventure. the second most interesting thing was the way my feet felt on the beach, by this I mean that it felt like I was walking in a home with a hard wood floor that had been flooded...very strange but unique! To fully need to take a trip to Dublin and check it out...

-Cameron Walters - Intern, Hopeless Romantic, Die hard Swimmer A C Walters Intercoastal Corporation

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A WHAT Valve?!?

A. To cause evacuation of a person.
B. To clear of imputed guilt or ritual uncleanliness.
C. To put to death or otherwise eliminate (undesirable or unwanted members) from a political organization, government, nation, etc.
D. To rid of whatever is impure or undesirable; cleanse;

So Option A, no comment. B, Yoga or a confessional should work just fine. C, Jason Bourne would be proud, or confused... He probably wouldn't even remember. D, You mean to effortlessly get rid of the unwanted water in your snorkel?

YES! That is exactly what I mean. A Purge snorkel does just that. Let's say you are snorkeling and a little splash of water drops down your snorkel. You can still breathe but that taste of saltwater lingers in your mouth. With a purge snorkel you can blow air through your snorkel, like shooting a spit wad through a straw, and the excess water will leave through the purge valve located at the bottom of the snorkel, very close to your mouth.

What is this good for? Well, let's say hypothetically that you have been waiting to see this one particular fish, or crab, or eel for what seems like forever. You can tell it's about to happen but all of a sudden, SALT. Salt all in your mouth and it's disgusting. That right there is a perfect time for a Purge. No need to go above surface and clean everything, just purge it out.

CWIC carries all sorts of Purge snorkels such as the incredibly convenient Alert Whistle Snorkel, Vacater, Siren and Inhale Dry.

Above all else...get in the water. Check it out. Stop watching Planet Earth (Not to knock it, I love the show) and go experience it. It's so close, so accessible, so real and it's basically free! Spending time in the water is a lot like going to the gym. At first you are reluctant; why?, it's too cold, and I'm tired. But afterward, it's all but impossible to regret a little adventure into the water. So purge out everything else and jump in :)

-Anthony; Nature Lover, Intern, Blogger, and that's what I look like in the gym. A C Walters Intercoastal Corporation