The Year of the Bird!

Migratory Bird Treaty Act Centennial

 Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

A-well-a ev’rybody’s heard about the bird… B-b-b-bird, b-birdd’s a word

Get ready to sing the 1963 hit song Surfin’ Bird! Exuberant and full of life, it will put you in the mood to celebrate the 100th anniversary of one of the world’s most important treaties – the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Enacted between the United States/Canada and Great Britain in 1918, the Act, which now includes Mexico, Japan and Russia, makes it unlawful to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, or sell migratory birds.

At a time when many bird species were threatened by the commercial trade in birds and bird feathers, The MBTA was a landmark act and one of the first federal laws to focus on the environment.

The importance of this act, that’s done so much to protect migratory birds, is so great that the National Audubon Society, National Geographic and over 150 organizations jointly declared 2018 The Year of Bird.

David Yarnold, Audubon’s President and CEO, says, “No other law on the books helps protect birds as much as the MBTA. The Snowy Egret, Wood Duck, Tricolored Heron, White-winged Crossbill, and Audubon’s Shearwater have all been saved by the MBTA.”

 

Yarnold notes that the Snowy Egret’s brilliant white feathers were in such demand by 19th and early 20th century hat makers to use in women’s hats that the bird was in danger of being hunted to extinction.

 

William Hornaday, Director of the New York Zoological Society, says, London at that time was “the Mecca of the feather killers of the world.” During a nine month period, London’s fashion market made use of the feathers from close to 130,000 egrets and tens of thousands of other birds.

Thanks to two women – Boston socialite Harriet Lawrence Hemenway and her cousin Minna Hall – the deadly bird trade would eventually come to an end after they invited their friends in Boston’s social register to a series of tea parties in 1896 and implored them to stop wearing hats with feathers.

Along with this, they asked the women to join in an organization to protect egrets and other birds. Over 900 women agreed and this organization became the Massachusetts Audubon Society – one of the leading environmental groups that worked to bring about legislation to protect birds and ultimately the enactment of the Migratory Bird Trade Act.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are amazed by what Hemenway and Hall accomplished. During an era when women weren’t allowed to own property or vote they went against the fashion of the time and helped save millions of migratory birds from death and entire species from extinction.

For that, we say, “Hats off!” to the two women from Boston!

Come Join in the centennial celebration!

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California’s Coast – A Novel Experience

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

California’s iconic coast has been the setting for some of the most classic novels in American literature, inspiring literary greats Jack London, John Steinbeck, Jack Kerouac, Richard Henry Dana, and others.

Oakland

Acclaimed adventure author London, who wrote The Call of the Wild and White Fang, grew up in Oakland and spent much of his childhood in the waterfront area now known as Jack London Square.

His book The Sea Wolf, written in 1904, is set here and will put you in the mood to explore the harbor, which was filled in mystery and intrigue in London’s day.

Located on the scenic Oakland/Alameda estuary, the square is a year-round gathering area for shopping and dining, bicycling and kayaking. Be sure to check out the farmers market when you’re here.

Monterey Bay

No one brings the magic of Monterey Bay to life better than Nobel Prize-winner Steinbeck, who has placed many of his stories there, including Tortilla Flat, Cannery Row, and Sweet Thursday. Picaresque and energetic, these three novels capture the quirky feel of Monterey and the unconventional people who live there.

Marine biologist Doc, a central character in both Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday, is based on Steinbeck’s friend Ed Ricketts, a key person in the life of Monterey. The influence of Ricketts, who wrote the pioneering ecology book Between Pacific Tides in 1939, is still felt in the community.

Steinbeck writes: “Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.” Monterey is still steeped in Steinbeck’s prose and you’ll feel it, too, exploring the streets, Fisherman’s Wharf and world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Big Sur

Kerouac, the post-WWII Beat Generation writer known for On the Road – the 1959 novel that inspired countless readers to hit the open road in search of adventure – also focused his attention on Big Sur. His novel Big Sur captures the idyllic feel of this stretch of undeveloped coastline South of Carmel that’s often been described as a national treasure.

Raw and majestic, the section of Highway 1 that runs through Big Sur is one of the most scenic driving routes in the world. And, thankfully, no billboards or advertising are allowed.

Dana Point

Dana, whose 1840 novel Two Years Before the Mast recounts his voyage on a merchant ship from Boston to California, paints a vivid picture of early California’s coastline from San Diego to San Francisco.

Dana Point, in Orange County – one of the stops on his journey – is named after him. It’s a local spot for SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel.

With a beautiful harbor and shops and restaurants to visit, it’s picturesque with a hometown feel. Visit the Ocean Institute when you’re here and you can explore the ocean’s underwater world and maritime history.

 

Traveling along California’s coast you’ll see how these timeless novels came to life. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself drawn into the stories.

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End of an Era

VW Bug Says Good-Bye

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

The world’s love affair with the VW Bug is coming to an end. Volkswagen recently announced that it is discontinuing the long-lived Beetle in 2019.

First introduced in Germany in 1938, the Volkswagen (“people’s car”) was quickly nicknamed the Kafer (German for “Beetle”) because of its small, round shape.

Developed by lead engineer Ferdinand Porsche to utilize Germany’s new road network, the Beetle soon proved that it could go anywhere and do anything, winning over the hearts of people around the globe.

Durable, intrepid and able to travel on practically a thimble of gas, the nimble Bug had an eight-decade-long run (including two-updated versions in 1997 and 2003). More than a car, it was a symbol of individuality, appealing to intellectuals and the free-spirited, alike.

The Bug’s creative “Think Small” ads helped to build it’s unconventional image and get people to buy a different kind of car than the large, flashy cars that other car companies were selling.

The Bug was even a film star in movies, starring as “Herbie” in The Love Bug movies, appearing in Footlose as Kevin Bacon’s ride, and holding its own alongside Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal in What’s Up Doc? In that movie it showed that it could even survive a plunge into San Francisco Bay. Unlike other cars, it floated.

 

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are sorry to see this iconic car for the ages disappear from the world stage.

 

However, like super-spy James Bond, the VW Bug may still return one day.

Asked if Volkswagen would ever bring back the beloved Beetle, VW of America CEO Hinrich Woebcken said, “I would ‘never say never.'”

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Low Tide Aliens

They Come in Peace

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Invaders From Mars. Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It Came From Outer Space. The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Think of all the science fiction movie classics that kept us glued to our seats in darkened theaters watching aliens from other planets landing on Earth.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel wondered What if that really happened? Would the space aliens be like us? Would they be friend or foe?

At the beach one day we got a glimpse into that when we had a close encounter with the Low Tide Aliens.

Fortunately, they came in peace.

Like the gangster-style, sunglass-wearing Blues Brothers, who turn out to be musicians, these aliens are artists – Laura, Leslie, Darla, Kaitlyn and Mila –  and their goal is “to bring joy and beauty into the world.”

Twice a month, when the tides are lowest, the artistic team heads to Newport Beach to draw mandalas – Hindu and Buddhist spiritual patterns – on the sand.

It’s a way to express themselves and to connect with the earth and ocean. Creating the mandalas is also a way to meditate and heal. Toward this end, the Low Tide Aliens have launched a Sand Art for Causes charity to help others.

Even though the tides inevitably erase their creations, the artists aren’t sad. “It’s actually a very beautiful and humbling experience to do art for the sake of art alone,” they say.  “It’s a practice in letting go and allowing nature to take her course.”

You never know where the Low Tide Aliens are going to show up! At the Surfrider Foundation’s International Surfing Day in Huntington Beach this summer there they were.

“The event was abducted by our good friends from the Low Tide Aliens,” Tony Soriano, Surfrider’s HB chapter advisory board director, told SurfWriter Girls. “We love their artistic beach talent.”

 

While they were there, the beach artists even made a Surfrider surfboard to commemorate the day.

 

Wherever they land, beach-goers are invited to watch the sand art take shape or to sign up for a session and join in the experience.

So, don’t be afraid if you encounter the Low Tide Aliens.

Just say: “Take me to your easel.”

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Tiki Time!

Join the Party!

 Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel


Who can resist those smiling tiki gods luring you to join the party?

Tiki art, tiki mugs, tiki shirts, tiki bars. When you add the word “tiki” to anything it just becomes more fun.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are big fans of all things tiki. Growing up in SoCal, there were lots of tikis to see in shops and restaurants, on clothing, and more.

Classic Polynesian restaurants Don the Beachcomber, Trader Vic’s, The Islander, Kelbo’s and many others celebrated the tiki lifestyle with their island decor and exotic drinks.

Deified by the early Polynesians, it was thought that Tiki was the guardian of the entrance to the underworld. By the 1950s tikis were pop culture icons. With their smiling faces and gleaming eyes, they represented fun and adventure, beckoning us to an alternative lifestyle unburdened by convention.

 

Today the mysterious and mischievous Tiki is still part of the scene and showing no signs of letting up.

Tiki artist Doug Horne told SurfWriter Girls, “Tiki culture is alive and well! I think it’s still growing.”

 

Artist Josh Agle (better known as Shag) is a fan of the irrepressible tikis, too, and often includes them in his swinging, mid-century motifs.

To celebrate the tiki culture for yourself, why not check out one of the many tiki bars out there and feel the vibe? SurfWriter Girls came across this list of the Ten Best Tiki Bars in the World compiled by Critiki, a travel guide and historic archive of Polynesian Pop culture hotspots around the world. Nobody knows tiki better than the crew at Critiki.

To find your own little slice of tiki paradise, click: Tiki Ten

Then let the party begin!

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Wave Quest!

Finding Kelly Slater’s Wave

  Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Since the earliest history explorers have searched for new lands – from Ponce de Leon’s quest for the Fountain of Youth to Columbus’ journeys across the Atlantic looking for a direct route to Asia.

Surfers around the world were on a similar quest to find Kelly Slater’s Wave – the man-made wave pool he created to generate perfect waves…no ocean required!

Keeping a tight lid on the whereabouts of his creation, Slater – the World Surf League Champion a record 11-times – unveiled his Wave to just a select group of elite surfers in a series of sneak peeks between 2015 and 2017, culminating in a secret surf contest held last September.

Top surfers from current US Open of Surfing Champ Kanoa Igarishi and three-time world surfing champ Mick Fanning to six-time world champ Stephanie Gilmore were all on board to test the waters.

And the general consensus of those lucky enough to score a ride on Slater’s Wave – Wow! Gilmore called her 30-second ride in the barrel “an experience I’ll never forget.”  Igarishi said, “The waves were as perfect as they come.”  Courtney Conlogue tweeted to her followers, “I just walked into the future.”

Excited by the reactions, Slater finally revealed to the surfing community the spot he’d chosen for his Wave – 20 acres in Lemoore, a farming town near Fresno, California, in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley – more than 100 miles from the beach!

Slater said, “I’ve been dreaming about this wave my whole life.” Created with the latest technology, it took ten years to make it happen. Slater worked with geophysical fluid dynamics specialist Adam Fincham and a team of engineers to develop what scientists call a ‘soliton wave’ – a self-reinforcing solitary wave that maintains its shape while it multiplies at a constant velocity.

Using a system of hydrofoils that run the length of a 2,000 ft-long man-made lake to create swells, the Wave can generate waves over 6-feet high.

And, in true surfer fashion, it’s powered 100% by the sun.

 

Slater was particularly stoked about being able to “alter all the aspects of it, the speed, the height, the shape” of the waves. And, with no shoreline break, the waves can go in two directions – back and forth in the pool – giving viewers more surfing action to see from different angles.

Surf artist Dave Reynolds (on right with artist Phil Roberts), who was there in September, told SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel, “It was the most incredible and interesting surf contest I’ve ever been to. I’ve been intrigued by wave pools for the last 20 years. This wave was freaking amazing! Surfers were getting more tube time on one wave than I get in a year.”

Reynolds was excited by the different types and combinations of waves Slater’s wave pool could generate. “What I soon came to realize is every wave wasn’t the same. Different sections of the Wave were doing different things. Lots of open face sections and lots of barrel sections.” Reynolds, whose nickname is “Tuberider,” can’t wait to try the Wave for himself. “I need to get a 30 second tuberide before I die! I just love surfing and a good challenge. I have to do this!”

Reynolds and Roberts earned their Wave-side seats in return for creating the trophies that were given out.

Soon the general public can see the Wave for itself when the World Surf League holds its Founders’ Cup of Surfing event at Slater’s Surf Ranch May 5-6. Teams of men’s and women’s World Surf Tour surfers from the USA, Brazil, Australia, Europe and the World will be on hand to compete…

and to share in Kelly Slater’s dream.

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Are the Stars Out Tonight?

Light Pollution Robs the Night Sky

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

They say, “Too much of a good thing can be bad.” Even something that’s become a basic part of our lives – like artificial light.

In 1879 Thomas Edison’s light bulb lit up the night, freeing people from darkness and enabling them to see and do things they couldn’t before. But, the world has drastically changed since then and now the welcoming beams of light that illuminated people’s lives have morphed into light pollution.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel learned from a new study in the journal Science Advances that the level of global outdoor lighting has grown over 2% per year from 2012 – 2016.

The stars and moon are being blotted from view by the bright lights of outdoor lighting as growing cities and developing regions around the world increase their light usage.

 

Astronomers are finding it more and more difficult to find places that are dark enough at night to set up their telescopes to study the heavens.

One of the study’s authors, Franz Holker, of Berlin’s Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, warns that there is a cost to having light at our fingertips wherever we want it – “an ecological, environmental cost.”

Animal migration and reproductive patterns are being affected. Newborn sea turtles, mistaking street lights for the light of the moon, have headed inland instead of to the ocean.

 

Plants are affected, too, as the increased light causes changes in growth and flowering.

 

The light also reduces the activity of nighttime pollinators – insects, bats and beetles – that the plants depend on for fertilization.

And people aren’t immune, either, as sleep cycles get out of sync, affecting our health and productivity.

To combat light pollution, countries will need to learn to use outdoor lighting wisely and only when and where it’s needed.

And we all can help by closing our window blinds, reducing decorative landscape lighting and shielding and aiming lights downward to eliminate upward glare.

Then look up and enjoy the beauty of the celestial universe.

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Living the Hygge Life

Happiness – Scandinavian Style

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

With the new year running full speed ahead and more Things To Do lists to tackle, life can get stressful.

Fortunately, there’s a way to counteract the stress around us – by borrowing from the Scandinavian lifestyle concept of hygge.

Originating in Denmark in the late 1800s, hygge means “comfortable and cozy” and embraces relaxing with family and friends in a happy and uncontrived way.

 

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are all for that. Sunny remembers when she was on a writing assignment in Sweden and friends asked her to stay with them.

When she arrived late at night there was a whole spread of food on the table to share. Everyone ate and talked into the wee hours enjoying each other’s company.

At its essence, hygge celebrates life’s everyday moments. Think sitting in a comfy chair by the fire or outside on the deck watching the sunset, sharing a home-cooked meal, lingering over coffee, listening to music, playing a board game, waiting in the lineup for the perfect wave.

 

Interior designer Mickey Walker, of MW Interiors in Redondo Beach, California, told SurfWriter Girls hygge is about “having your own place to breathe in comfort and warmth.”

In designing spaces for her clients, she’s found that “hygge fits well with California’s laid back approach to living and entertaining,” adding that “if you’re comfortable, others will be comfortable, too.”

Walker, one of SoCal’s most respected interior designers since 1982, specializes in “transforming houses into homes.” What she calls “harmonious homes” that reflect you and are in tune with your own individual lifestyle. “A home that fills your heart” – the kind of place where you truly can be yourself and live the hygge life.

To create your own hygge environment, here are some tips:

 

Surround yourself with furnishings that have a special meaning to you – photos, books, art, objects that give you joy. It’s not how much you spend, but the feelings of love and security they evoke.

 

Enjoy tactile things – snuggling in a soft blanket, taking a bubble bath, walking on a sandy beach.

 

Give yourself the space and time to be creative – cooking, gardening, crafting, painting, writing.

 

Balance personal space with social space – a private nook to read a book with living areas to mix and mingle.

As the Scandinavians say, “With hygge you’re creating your own happy place.”

Now, that’s something we all need!

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Wild Thing, I Think I Love You

Valentine’s Day Call Of The Wild

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

 

When it comes to amore, people aren’t the only ones in the mood for love. Just look at the animal kingdom and you’ll get the idea.

 

From penguins to pangolins, otters and owls,

to chickadees and chipmunks, love is in the air.

To channel your inner animal on Valentine’s Day, listen to Wild Thing, the 1966 number one hit single by The Trogs. Whether you stream it online or dust off an old 45, it will make your heart sing.

One of Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All time, it will have you feeling groovy on Valentine’s Day.

So, light the candles, get out the chocolates and pour the wine.

Then let your wilder side come out.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sunny and Patti

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Her Deepness Dr. Sylvia Earle

Protecting Our Oceans

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

When it comes to exploring the depths of our oceans and protecting the environment, National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence, Dr. Sylvia Earle has done it all.

Her accomplishments and accolades are astonishing. Time magazine calls her a “Hero for the Planet” and The Library of Congress says she is a “Living Legend.” The New York Times and New Yorker both gave her this regal title: “Her Deepness.”

An explorer, oceanographer, and author of close to 200 publications, Dr. Earle has led more than 100 expeditions and spent more than 7,000 hours underwater, setting a record in 2012 for solo diving in 1,000-meter depth.

Whether it’s charting the world’s oceans or safeguarding endangered ecosystems, Dr. Earle is always pushing the limits of what’s possible. Through the Sylvia Earl Alliance (S.E.A.) she launched Mission Blue, “an initiative to ignite public support for the protection of Hope Spots—special places that are vital to the health of the ocean…the blue heart of our planet.”

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel know how important the initiative is.  Its goal is to “unite a global coalition of partners to inspire an up-swelling of public awareness, access and support for a worldwide network of marine protected areas.”

Currently less than 4% of the ocean is protected from pollution, acidification, climate change, overfishing, and other man-caused destructive actions. By bringing everyone together – governments, nonprofit organizations, corporations and individuals – Dr. Earle hopes to bring that number up to 20%.

Protecting the ocean is critical to the entire world’s well-being, insists Dr. Earle. “We need to respect the oceans and take care of them as if our lives depended on it. Because they do.”  She says that we are all connected and mutually dependent on each other:

The former chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Dr. Earle dove for the first time when she was 16-years-old, using a diving helmet because scuba wasn’t yet available. She went on to earn her master’s degree in Botany and Ph.D. in Phycology (the study of algae) from Duke University.

Dr. Earle has been pushing past barriers and breaking records her whole career. In 1970 she captained the first all-female team to live underwater. Two weeks later, when she and her teammates returned to the surface, they received a ticker-tape parade and a White House reception.

Then, in 1979, much like Neil Armstrong’s “small step for man; giant leap for mankind” walk on the moon, she walked untethered on the sea floor off the coast of Oahu at a lower depth (1,250 feet) than any other person before or since.

Eager to help others see the world of wonder under the sea, Dr. Earle founded two companies – Deep Ocean Engineering and Deep Ocean Technologies – with engineer Graham Hawkes to design undersea vehicles that scientists can use to navigate depths that were previously inaccessible.

From her birthplace on a small farm in Gibbstown, New Jersey, Dr. Sylvia Earle’s journey has taken her to the farthest reaches and depths of our planet.

A true Ambassador to the Ocean, her accomplishments are unfathomable.

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