Warrior Women of the Sea Connection | Conservation | Community
THE NEUROSCIENCE OF OCEAN EXPOSURE
LESSONS FROM THE OCEAN
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BLUE MARBLE ~ BLUE MIND
Vol. 4 / No. 2: Blue The Blue Healing Healer
Editorial Welcome to our
liueng Blue Hea Iss challenging time in my life in the last We humans are funny. I’ve been going through a very gh peri-menopause, illness, weight gain, year, mostly the last few months. I’m working throu and stay motivated and positive about and depression. I’m strug gling to get my work done had some amazing opportunities and much. I’ve reached out for help from others and have be engaging in. However, the one thing suggestions put forth. Some of which I will definitely me the strongest, is the ocean. But heal will that I know to work the best, the thing I know listen, and to ask for direction. to une, comm to her through all this I’ve strug gled to go to r, my confidant and my guide. Yet for She IS the ultimate healer! She is my church, my docto from my desk, my computer, my home some reason, I can’t seem to rip myself away much specifically the ocean and I’m feeling office. I’ve been disconnecting myself from nature and need the connection, we are part of it. the consequences of it. WE NEED THE EARTH. We l and we can do it on our own, and in It’s so easy to slip into believing that we are in contro leaning farther towards it; but not been has y fact quite the opposite is true. But our societ bringing the awareness of our need of entirely. While I write this, I know of many who are I know of many who share their wisdom connection to the planet, our oceans and our land. to the human consciousness. I hope to from their respective fields and have brought it back e and this growing re-connection back also share these stories in our magazine. These peopl hope. to the planet, the ocean and our need of her, gives me science behind it. I’m excited about this issue; stories of healing and the have to make myself a priority in order I have to make the ocean a priority in my healing. I breathing in her salty air and listening to heal properly. Getting myself out of the funk and and the breeze that runs along her to her speak to me through the crashing of the waves . I have my kayak, my friends, my comshore towards me is exactly what this woman needs munity, the ocean. What more do I need? in your life did you need healing and Where is your favourite place to go to heal? What time to you? the ocean was there for you? How does the ocean speak With much love and appreciation, making waves,
the articles you’ve read, the people you’ve As always, I love to hear from you, our readers, about and if we find them GREAT, we’ll include in our stories your encountered and we would also love to hear clebabes.com next upcoming issues. Send all emails to Jodi@barna
Content 08 14 24 26 32 | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
08 I Remember My Power Teresa Campbell
Prehistoric Finds Kristi Falco
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14 Lessons from the Ocean Jodi Mossop interview’s Jessi Harewicz
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18 Under Pressure Sarah Specker
The Neuroscience of Ocean Exposure Sherri Hayden
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26 Coextinction from the Coextinction Team
Blue Thread ~ Blue Marble ~ Blue Mind Sylvia Taylor
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32 Salt Water Rachel ‘Rosie’ Young
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Barnacle Babes Vancouver, BC, Canada JODI MOSSOP
Publisher | Editor | Content Curator email@example.com
Graphic/Layout Designer firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor in Chief email@example.com
CONTRIBUTORS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS SARAH SPECKER, MD MEDICAL DOCTOR, CONSERVATIONIST & WORLD TRAVELLING SURFER TERESA CAMPBELL BIRTH & DEATH DOULA, YOGA TRAINER, SURFER, RETREAT AND CEREMONY FACILITATOR www.lalupavia.com SHERRI HAYDEN DOCTOR IN CLINICAL NEUROPSYCHOLOGY AND CLINICAL ASSISTANT PROFESSOR WITH THE DIVISION OF NEUROLOGY, DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE, AT THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA KRISTI FALCO SURFER, LIFEGUARD, TRAVELER, DECK HAND AND PADI SCUBA INSTRUCTOR AND JOLYN SWIMWEAR REP www.jolyn.com RACHEL “ROSIE” YOUNG COMMUNICATIONS, TRAVEL, EDUCATION, DESIGN, WRITING, YOGA, SOCIAL JUSTICE www.therachellaurenyoung.com SYLVIA TAYLOR FREELANCE WRITER, EDITOR, EDUCATOR, AND COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST www.sylviataylor.ca JODI MOSSOP FOUNDER, PUBLISHER, PRODUCER, WRITER, BLOGGER, AND STORY CURATOR FOR BARNACLE BABES MAGAZINE
COVER PHOTO: by Julie Bernard of Julie
Heather Photography, at Whyte Cliff Park, West Vancouver, BC
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The Barnacle Babes Magazine is an informative and inspirational digital and print magazine platform with interviews, stories, conservation efforts and more. Issued quarterly. If you like what you see, please subscribe at www.barnaclebabes.com Single Copy Price: $ 1199 + tax CAD One Year International Subscription: $ 4599 + tax CAD GIFTS If you would like to subscribe as a gift for a friend, you can do that online at www.barnaclebabes.com
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Featured Article Teresa Campbell Teresa is a full spectrum doula working in birth, death, loss and trauma work. She has been journeying and exploring somatic therapy, meditation, yoga and dance for over 25 years, and teaching for 20 yrs; leading local and international Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher trainings and Doula trainings, sharing workshops, yoga, dance, ceremony, retreats, classes and teacher mentorships as an experienced registered yoga teacher- ERYT 500 and prenatal registered yoga teacher-PRYT, birth work and loss doula.
KRISTI FALCO Living on the North Caroline Coast, Kristi’s love affair for the ocean began there. A surfer, lifeguard and traveler, she’s worked in New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Indonesia, Thailand, Costa Rica, Colombia and Panama, deck handing and as a PADI Scuba Instructor. She now reps a swimwear company called JOLYN that specializes in swimwear for female athletes, lifeguards, and water women. She also runs the sales in both the states of North and South Carolina.
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RACHEL YOUNG Rachel ‘Rosie’ Young is a writer and yoga teacher who explores the globe as a digital nomad. A former public relations executive for several Fortune 500 Companies, she now shares her philanthropic messages and yogic teaching via online journalism and directly to remote communities across Central and South America. She encourages her readers and students to blast through personal limitations and live life to their fullest. Rachel can be found on www.swellwomen.com for everything wellness travel and on www.therachellaurenyoung.com for her prose and articles.
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SHERRI HAYDEN Dr.Hayden is a Clinical Neuropsychologist and Clinical Assistant Professor with the Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, at the University of British Columbia. Since 1993, Dr.Hayden has worked at UBC Hospital (Clinic for Alzheimer’s Disease & Related Disorders) and is the Founder/Director of the NeuroHealth Clinic. (www.neurohealthclinic.ca). Dr. Hayden’s is now applying functional medicine principles to brain health and healthy aging issues.
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by Teresa Campbell
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Part of the mythology that they’ve been teaching you is that you have no power. Power is not brute force and money; power is in your spirit. Power is in your soul. It is what your ancestors, your old people gave you. Power is in the earth; it is in your relationship to the earth.” - Winona La Duke, Seeds of our Ancestors. Seeds of Life
I remember my power in my relationship to the ocean. Every. Single. Time. I remember the vastness of the mystery. I remember the wild and instinctual sea wolf within me. I remember that reclamation and restoration of my body, mind and soul happens when I say YES to the ocean’s offer of intimacy. The ocean is my healer. The ocean is the salty womb that unconditionally embraces all of me, holds me, rocks me, recalibrates me and reminds with her ferocity and to let go of control because there is only the mystery. The ocean is the universal midwife who witnesses and assists me regularly in rebirthing myself—in times of celebration, while navigating cancer, when in the closet and again while coming out, in heartbreak and breakthrough. My home, and the place I offer many of my offerings is on the stunning west coast of British Columbia, on unceded Indigenous land belonging to the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam),
Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh(Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. I believe in relationships based in reconciliation and reciprocity. This means tending to the sacred relationships I have with the people, land and ocean where I live, work and play. I am a death walker—I walk with dying people and animals and their families in the transition. I am an inclusive celebrant and ritual healing practitioner, officiating weddings, funerals and personalized ceremonies including gender affirming surgery, divorce and rituals for any and all transitions. I share trauma-informed yoga and full spectrum Doula trainings, womxn's reclamation retreats and energy work. I am a mentor for queer youth and am passionate about being a good queer ancestor. Social justice, feminism and inclusivity beyond tolerance are the foundation of my heart and work. I love the intimacy of the work I do, the way that working within the cycles of birth, death and transition wake and shake you up to new ways of living, breathing and perceiving. The work I share is not about transcending our vulnerability, fleeing into a state of untouchability, safely hidden away in some protected spiritual cocoon. But something wilder than that.
Something more magical. More raw. At times, even more painful. But it is a pain we enter into consciously, as a willing traveler of the unknown, to behold in more depth the untamed activity of love as it comes here. "To partake of the entirety of the spectrum of this human experience, with as much curiosity, soul and kindness that we can discover. To give ourselves permission to care, to take a risk in allowing another to matter and tend to the heart as it inevitably breaks. To at times crumble to the ground in awe of it all. Awestruck at the bounty that has been laid out before us. To fall apart. To fail. To get back up. To be humble again. To start over. To be a beginner. To realize how little we know in the face of the mystery."- Matt Licata It is a sublime honour and privilege to do this work, and for my health and sustainability I need strong support systems— family, friends, therapists, mentors and immersion with nature. Deep communion with the ocean is my go-to healing and recalibrating with this work—either cold immersion therapy, swimming, annual one-to-two-month surf trip down south, kayaking, paddle boarding or screaming underwater.
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Photo by Amanda Bullick
After officiating a funeral for a sudden death, be it still born or a death by a violent accident, sometimes the only way to recalibrate and ground myself is by immersing in the vastness of the ocean for hours. Every time I lean into the ocean to hold me, rock me, shake me up, humble me, soothe me, I do so in that spirit of reciprocity and gratitude. I offer a song, a piece of my hair, clean up garbage and stay curious to a relationship of reciprocity. I notice that the ocean has embraced me unconditionally whether I come with unrelenting grief, passionate play, unbridled joy, wild rage, total confusion or in love. What a gift to experience this unconditional holding, consistent witnessing. I feel cellularly, spiritually, physically, energetically and emotionally changed.
In my personal and professional life I invite folks to commune, consult with and care for, the ocean. Every fall I host a Wolf Womxn Retreat in Tofino where we hold daily ceremony with the ocean, surf, play and remember how vital this relationship is to personal and elemental healing. My company is La Lupa Via-The Wolf Way. My belief is that spirit of sea wolves can inspire us to thrive, reclaim and remember, when we are disconnected, stuck or suffering. Sea wolves show us the necessity of leaning into pack. That earth-based ritual, trusting instincts, howling often and communing with the ocean daily are necessary to heal personally, collectively and globally. Thank you, thank you, thank you, to the oceanâ€™s fierce love and embrace. May we wake up to protect her with a fierce immediacy and commune daily to remember the mystery.
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by Kristi Falco
................................................................................ It’s 6 a.m. The sun hasn’t risen yet but we’re already a half hour into our two-hour run 60 miles offshore to the “ledge.” The wind is calm (not typical), and the swell is small (also not typical). As we race to our destination, the ocean colour transitions from green to deep blue the farther we get away from the runoff of the Cape Fear River. Our trusty vessel is filled with dive gear, reels, catch bags, propeller scooters and ten-gallon buckets. I chuckle to myself as yet again I find myself the only girl and 20 years the youngest among this crew of salty divers who make a living collecting and selling “treasure” from the deep. It’s a perfect day to go diving for Meg teeth.
................................................................................ Using the anchor chain as our descent line, we make our way 110 feet below the surface. There is no reef as a reference point and the bottom topography is sand, rubble and ancient clay. Twenty-five minutes of bottom-time is all we have, and after clipping our rec reels into the anchor chain, we each scatter in a different direction. Forget the buddy system; my pony bottle and wit are my only friends as the adrenaline pumps and the clock into deco-time starts ticking. I collect myself and focus on the task at hand and start fanning the sediment with my gloved hand to expose what may be hiding just beneath the silt. Big black triangles are what I’m looking for, and my mind begins to filter out other shapes and colours as I kick away from the anchor chain. The disturbed silt drops the visibility to almost nothing but I keep
fanning and hope my eyes adjust to the darkness. I head towards a pile of rubble and fan… there! I see its shape before I see the colour. Lying in the silt, covered in barnacles and growth, is what I’ve been searching for—a perfect five inch, 20 million-year-old Megalodon tooth. My heart races as the treasure hunt is ON. I continue to search the area and uncover several broken shards of teeth, a rib of some kind and a few smaller teeth of other ancient species. But the Meg tooth is my prize, and I give a little “yeww!” through my regulator. Ten minutes left at this depth, says my computer, so I turn around and follow my reel straight back from where I came from. The silt has settled and I’m now able to search the area more thoroughly
and pick up a few more teeth on my way back to the anchor chain. I wish I had more time; it’s never enough down here, but the other divers have made their way back to the chain and I see that their catch bags are full. They all used scooters and were able to cover a lot more ground and kick up a lot more sediment, and I make a mental note to one day sell enough of my catch to pay for a scooter so I can also bring home teeth by the bucketful. But for now, the few precious teeth I found with my hands are plenty for my personal collection. As I wait on my safety stop I hold one in my hand, close my eyes, and imagine what this watery world must have been like 20 million years ago with a predator whose jaws could fit a standing human. And at that moment, feeling very exposed in the open ocean, I’m pretty happy to never have to find out.
> Ocean Pics taken by Kristi on her GoPro in North Carolina > Boat pics taken by Chris Slogg of WB Diving offshore in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
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Photos: Jessi Harewicz by Julie Bernard of Julie Heather Photography, at Whyte Cliff Park, West Vancouver, BC
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An interview with marathon swimmer Jessi Harewicz
by Jodi Mossop
I met Jessi Harewicz at our Warrior Women of the Sea Conference in June, 2017. She had just begun training to swim the English Channel. She told me a bit about her story and I knew I wanted this woman to be a part of our ocean community. She is big-hearted and inspirational and the ocean has meant a great deal to her, becoming a large part of who she is.
Before Jessi could remember, she was swimming. She does remember snorkeling above sea urchins in Hawaii at a very young age and being scared of them. Her parents taught her to swim then enrolled her in synchronized swimming as a kid. She later talked with lifeguards who remembered her and her parents playing in the water for hours. Swimming laps in a pool was boring to her and she didn’t get the point at all until later as an adult when she understood the value of it. Technique, technique, technique. But it was the pretty ladies in synchronized swimming that grabbed her attention. She believes that syncro made her comfortable in the ocean. Through the good and bad times, feeling dizzy and ill, she’s okay with it all now. And though it never gets easy, she’s learned to live with the tough times. Jessi began her swimming career in 2015 when she started training for a 3 km triathlon, which at that time,
seemed long. Looking back at it now, she laughs! At a swim camp in Spain, she was one of only three that showed up in a wetsuit. The water was 15° C. There she met some amazing swimming legends—people who had done the English Channel multiple times. Shortly after, Jessi was diagnosed with a non-operable degenerative hip condition and decided to stick to ocean swimming and get out of the wetsuit. That was the moment she decided to swim the English Channel. As part of training she swam the Bay Challenge with the Vancouver Open Water Swimming Organization that summer. Jessi took the wetsuit off in the water and never put it back on and did her first six-hour swim in the ocean only three months later. Jessi does these swims because they make her feel very empowered and strong. When she started swimming without a wetsuit it was very difficult at first but she learned to embrace the cold. She fights currents, tides,
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the cold and many other conditions. She’s not fast but she’s steady. As long as her dad is kayaking beside her, she knows she can keep going. I asked Jessi, why the ocean? She replied, “Why not? It’s right there
(pointing to the ocean). There is more ocean than land on the earth. Seventy percent versus thirty percent. So much to explore. People say it’s cold out there, but I’ve learned you can adapt. There are small communities of coldwater swimmers around the world. Why not in Vancouver?” To Jessi, the ocean is a place to think. She believes that as a marathon swimmer you need to be comfortable being inside your own head. The swims can be long, boring, tedious and annoying. She shares that when you spend long hours in the salt water, your body gets more sensitive to everything. Bright lights during night swimming can be blinding and the odd splash of saltwater into your mouth can also become unhealthy. Too much saltwater is not good for your stomach. Sometimes she vomits at least once or twice a swim to get rid of it. “Salt mouth” is also a side effect. After a long swim she is unable to eat proper food for 24 to 48 hours, and everything in her mouth hurts. It’s said that your mouth will suffer more than your muscles do in ocean swimming. She also shares that you can also get all kinds of things down your swimsuit. Jessi often swims on the surface so she deals with things that float there. Jellyfish, bits of small driftwood etc... She got stung by a jellyfish recently near Thormanby Island, just north of Vancouver, and it burned for hours. But eventually the cold seems to help take away the burning, depending on the species. But even with these hazards, Jessi keeps swimming. She says that cold-water swimming can be an amazing experience. Once you get used to it, it gives you great endorphin rushes at different times. She shares that it can also be dangerous and that it took her a long time to get to the level of tolerance that she has today. The quick dips in Cana-
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She is very excited about her next big swim: around Manhattan Island in New York, which will allow her to complete the Triple Crown of water swimming: the English Channel, Catalina Channel and the circumnavigation of Manhattan Island. In closing, Jessi offers this piece of advice through her experience with the ocean:
“We are all a lot stronger than we think we are. And sometimes, just sometimes, the stars do align. All the hard work you put into something can translate into a glorious satisfaction. I do spend a lot of time out there. Through the good and the bad, take it as it comes. Step by step, stroke by stroke, the tide will eventually let you in. You may discover something glorious in the journey!” Thank you, Jessi, for your inspiration and dedication to this sport. We wish you all the best in everything you do and look forward to following you on your swimming adventures! dian waters during the winter can be an incredibly reviving and exhilarating experience. It feels like burning at first, but once you ease in it makes you feel so alive! Jessi writes:
“The ocean does not judge you. The ocean does not question you. The ocean will challenge you to dig deep and find a way to make it through!” For Jessi, the ocean can be the most frustrating experience mixed with moments of boredom and despair. She feels sometimes like she’s in a washing machine when swimming in rough water. All she wants to do is stop and get out. Her boat is only a reach away or the beach is right there! But she doesn’t quit. She keeps on going because being out with the seals, seaweed, barnacles and the odd piece of driftwood, is where she is most at home. The ocean has allowed her to forgive herself for her mistakes in life. It has
allowed her to be her own therapist. It’s given her time to think without distractions— a forced meditation where she has to breathe every two to three strokes. The ocean has improved her life in every imaginable way. Channel swimming has made her feel more powerful. Her motto is, “When the goings get tough the tough get swimming!” Jessi explains that, “It’s just one stroke after another stroke. That’s all life is, one challenge after another challenge. Sometimes it’s tough, sometimes it’s more pleasant.” Throughout Jessi’s marathon swimming life, she has swum the Georgia Straight in BC; the English Channel (England to France); Catalina Channel (Catalina Island to the LA Coast); a circumnavigation of Mercer Island in Lake Washington, USA; a circumnavigation of Thormanby Island, Sechelt, BC; and a circumnavigation of Bowen Island, Vancouver, BC. She’s trained in other parts of the Howe Sound and Indian Arm near Vancouver, BC and West Seattle’s Alki Beach. She’s also trained in Brighton, Deal, Dover and all over Kent in the U.K.
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PRESSURE by Sarah Specker
By exerting an invisible 'pulling' force (better known as gravity) on the molecules it is made of, as well as on all matter surrounding it, our planet is able to maintain its integrity. Without this force the entire solar system and everything in it w ould simply fall apart into less than a pile of atoms. The larger the density of an object, the harder Earth will pull on this object because there are simply more molecules per unit volume present to pull on. And since Earth has a surface, this means all molecules are pulled against its surface, creating another well-known force: pressure. Any object placed in between the Earth's crust and the matter surrounding it, will therefore experience this pressure directly on itself. This means that at “mean sea level” the air that surrounds us, presses down with a weight of approximately 14.7 pounds per square inch, also known as equaling 1013.25 mbar or... 1 atmosphere (atm). Our bodies don't feel this pressure because the fluids in our body push outwards with the same force. But when we descend from sea level, like when scuba diving, the amount of molecules surrounding us increases, and therefore the weight pressing down on us increases too. The bodies of most marine animals
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have acquired special evolutionary adaptations, allowing them to withstand this pressure. For example, their ribcage and lungs are so flexible they can easily collapse and expand without breaking or bleeding. The human body is, unfortunately, not so well adapted. A change in pressure can have a devastating nearly deadly effect when exerted too quickly. But when gradually changed, we can endure, survive and potentially even benefit. At the interface of a gas and a liquid their molecules collide, usually leading to a certain amount of gas molecules being 'forced' into the liquid, depending on temperature and surrounding space (volume). A decrease of the volume means more gas molecules are present in a unit volume, leading to an increase in pressure. This automatically leads to more gas molecules being forced into the liquid, resulting in a higher concentration of that gas. When scuba diving, this process takes place in our bodies too. As a result of descending, the atmospheric pressure increases and air from the tank is being inhaled under pressure, leading to extra dissolvance of air’s components: nitrogen, carbon dioxide and oxygen. It is exactly this chemical phenomenon that is mimicked in a very special medical therapy called hyperbaric oxygen therapy. By having a patient breathe in
100% oxygen whilst being exposed to two to three times atmospheric pressure (created and sustained by a hyperbaric chamber), you can increase the oxygen concentration in the blood substantially. A high level of oxygen has several beneficial effects. Logically it improves the delivery of oxygen to all tissues, but in particular to tissues that lack it, for example due to damaged arteries or large wounds. Alternating oxygen flow stimulates growth of new blood vessels, especially into oxygen-poor tissues, and strengthens the immune system. This treatment can be used not only for decompression sickness (also known as “the bends”) or gas/air embolisms, but also for complicated infections like burns, osteomyelitis (infection inside the bone), radiation injuries (e.g. caused by cancer radiation), crush injuries and other large traumas. Current “street-fashion” has caught on to this treatment, selling oxygen ampules or inhalers for private use to enhance beauty and improve general health. But with everything that truly works, there are potential side effects. Too much oxygen can actually be toxic for the central nervous system (e.g. causing seizures) and the eyes (potentially causing shortsightedness and cataract). Also, as mentioned before, the increased pressure can damage the eardrum, middle and inner ear, as well as the sinuses, >>
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lungs and even teeth. Not to mention that being 'locked up' in a hyperbaric chamber could induce some serious claustrophobia.
scientific experiments, and generally observing the effect that living in a submersible construction had on the human body and mind.
As with any scientific discovery, we often wonder: How was it figured out?
The staff had every regular home amenity you could think of: shower, hot water, TV, radio and even a tanning bed to combat depression caused by vitamin D shortage. They discovered that higher concentrations of oxygen make hair and nails grow three times faster, sleep more restful and regenerative and wounds heal quicker.
Jacques Cousteau, the late world famous French navy-officer-turned-oceanexplorer and scientist, considered 'the father of scuba diving,' hoped to enable future exploration—and exploitation— of the sea by creating the Conshelf, a series of underwater research and living stations. Placed at Shaab Rumi in the Red Sea of Israel in 1963 at a depth of 11 to 25 meters, Jacques and his crew spent several weeks in these constructions. This Conshelf 2 project focused on testing several mixed breathing gases, performing several other
The project was largely funded by the French petrochemical industry, who terminated the project, deeming it unproductive. All that’s left today is the rusty remains of one of the submersibles, accessible to interested scuba divers.
As a medic, I have seen the beneficial effects—and side effects—of hyperbaric treatment up close in some of my patients. Decubitus wounds that seemed untreatable eventually closed and horrible infections were cured, but also substantial visual impairment was experienced. It’s a unique but expensive treatment showing us what pioneering research can lead to. As an avid ocean lover it still amazes me how curing the sea is. It makes me wonder how many treasures and treatments She might still have in store for us. Let’s treat and conserve her well, and see what more she is willing to give and teach us. Love, Sarah
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Alice Lake, BC
Underwater Clean up
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Matt, Jatty and Taona after underwater clean up dive.
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The Neuroscience of
by Sherri Hayden
My relationship with water has been a complicated one. Although my earliest memories are of joyful play in the water, fear experiences would subsequently present themselves in my life.
Sherri & her son surfing in Tofino, BC
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The most memorable fear experience being a near-death drowning in the Old Man River of the Kananaskis, southwestern Alberta, when I was seventeen. Had my brother failed to pull me from those river rapids that moment would have been the end of my relationship with water. Luckily, the experience just left me with a debilitating fear of running/moving water that resulted in a degree of avoidance throughout much of my adult life.
Strangely, these crises brought me back to the moving water I feared so much from my past as I impulsively signed up for a womenâ€™s yoga and surf retreat with Swell Women in Maui. This experience, which I had initiated to escape my life stress, actually served as exposure therapy (exposure to the source of anxiety/fear in a controlled context in order to help overcome the distress) for my fear of moving water. I emerged from the week with a greater sense of balance and bravery to face the stress I was returning to at home. Since then I have surfed various locations throughout North and Central America with many remarkable women from around the world who also are challenging their own limits in their own way.
Despite this trauma, I went on to pursue my vision of clinical practice as a neuropsychologist serving patients with dementia and traumatic brain injuries. I have felt honoured to share the journey for those facing end of life or with traumatic change to their brains. However, after twenty-five years of secondary exposure to the trauma of others, the weight of their suffering was taking its toll on my own health. This was compounded, around age fifty, with several personal stressors (i.e., a seriously ill child and sudden retirement of my husband), which served to demand more self-care be incorporated in my life.
My background in neuroscience subsequently brought me to explore our understanding of ocean exposure effects on our brains. For instance, studies suggest ocean sounds activate our prefrontal cortex (the most evolved and complex part of the brain and includes the center for regulation of our stress response). Ocean waves sounds have also been found to play a role in balancing serotonin levels and in reducing cortisol, both involved in regulating mood and stress response. This seems demonstrated in therapeutic surfing programs, such as those geared towards veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In my own experience, this ocean environment
I just came back from an amazing conference on functional medicine (wholistic) and feel I’m moving in that direction after 25 years in traditional Western medicine. What inspires me in this healing journey is definitely my relationship with the ocean....these pics are of surfing in Ucluelet and diving Maui. I began surfing at 50 and just got certified to dive at 55 this year...I hope to use my own experiences to promote healthy aging and brain health through connecting with nature, and the ocean in particular.
not only provided much needed exposure therapy for my fear of moving water but also engaged my prefrontal cortex to enhance regulation of my high levels of stress. With this framework, I can imagine the process of surfing provides opportunity for my prefrontal cortex to regulate both the “fight-flight” response with the surge of catching a wave or being tumbled by one, as well as the “rest and store” response, triggered by sitting on the board feeling and listening to the rhythm of waves between rides. However, this is not the only potential benefit. There is growing attention to the concept of neuroplasticity, our brain’s ability to change, such as creating new neural pathways. What we now know of neuroplasticity in aging is that novel experiences may help set new neural pathways, which likely strengthen and perhaps provide a protec-
tive effect for neural tissue. This is why new experiences throughout our lifespan may be a means of ‘beefing up’ our brain tissue. This concept brought me to become certified as an open water diver this year at age fifty-five. Once again, fear presented itself during the certification process with thoughts about I’m too old to learn something new and fear of being forty feet under water with only a regulator to keep me alive. However, as my sixteen-year-old son wanted to pursue this goal, I persisted to complete the requirements in order to share the experience with him. This not only strengthened my relationship with my son, but also with the ocean and the amazing creatures within it. Recently, I had opportunity to attend a workshop of Mind Body Medicine in Ucluelet, BC which inspired my hope to integrate
understanding of neuroscience with the healing powers of the ocean and other lifestyle factors for brain health and healthy aging. In reflection on this, I find it is interesting to consider that the three animals with the greatest potential life longevity are sea creatures, such as the Greenland shark, bowhead whale and Galapagos giant tortoise. As we seek greater understanding for healing of our body, brain and mental health, it seems we should turn our minds to the ocean. Certainly, in my own life, the ocean has been a revelation for its power to help me to manage stress, both personally and at work. For this, I am grateful.
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TIN CTI ON: IT’S NOT ONLY THE SOUTHERN RESIDENT KILLER WHALES WE’RE LOSING
from the Coextinction Team
Barnacle Babes has had the pleasure of getting to know the film makers of COEXTICTION; a 1O part video-series about the Southern Resident Killer Whales living in the Salish Sea of the Pacific Northwest. We will be following their progress and will make sure to share with you when the release will happened and how to find it.
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All photos taken by the CoExtinction Team in various locations throughout the Pacific Northwest of the USA and Canada.
In the documentary series, Coextinction, the team invites you to join them as they uncover the truth behind the imminent extinction of one of the world’s most iconic species. With only 75 Southern Resident Killer Whales remaining, they share with us their heartbreaks, as many continue to disregard the fragility of Canada’s West Coast, the Salish Sea, and its interconnected wildlife. In this series, they interview scientists, lawmakers, Indigenous leaders, educators, and more. Coextinction seeks to understand why these killer whales matter to us, what it will take to save them, and more importantly, why we should. Coextinction creators share that beneath the Salish Sea’s beautiful waters lie dark truths: an unsustainable fishing industry, obsolete dams, an environmentally irresponsible pipeline, and governments from multiple jurisdictions lacking direction. Coextinction also reminds us of the interconnectedness of all life on Earth
and explores the greatest issue our planet faces: a sixth mass extinction. This documentary series hopes to inspire an international movement to protect the incredible Southern Resident Killer Whale and the ecosystem it depends on. They believe that we as individuals and a global community need to take action immediately. It’s now or never. After successful filming last summer, Coextinction plans to release a ten-part series on the plight of the SRKW, the Chinook Salmon, and the Salish Sea – a series that will make impact. Coextinction is a thought provoking story of an extraordinary team fighting to save an iconic species. Witnessing the crisis first hand, co-hosts Gloria and Elena lead the documentary as they dive deeper into the breathtaking Salish Sea, uncovering the hard truths of local leading industry and government action, or lack thereof.
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COEXTINCTION The phenomena of the loss or decline of a species resulting in the loss or endangerment of other species that depends on it, potentially leading to cascading effects across trophic levels.
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Gloria Pancrazi “I started Coextinction with the sole purpose to help the Southern Resident Killer Whales and ended up immersing myself in a much deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of everything on Earth. We are incredibly disconnected from nature and our impact on this planet. It is time that we look at the bigger picture and challenge ourselves to do better”.
Co-Director, Elena Jean
“The story goes beyond the Southern Resident Killer Whales. Their imminent extinction has everything to do with the decline of a keystone species: Chinook Salmon. Coextinction is the loss of a species, resulting in the loss or disappearance of other species that depend on it. Two hundred species go extinct every day. What we often forget, is that the majority of these species are dying out as a result of coextinction, like the Southern Resident Killer Whales”.
To follow them and learn more, you can go to their website: WWW.COEXTINCTIONFILM.COM on social @coextinctionfilm
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Mi nd ue Bl
Bl u e
In the writing world, the spine or through-line of a story is often called the “red thread.” In my story of deep connection to the waters of the world,the thread is blue.
d ~ Blu a e re
by Sylvia Taylor
I was watching a YouTube TEDxFountain Hills video of Dr. Wallace J. Nichol, California marine biologist, talking about the underpinnings of his recent landmark eco-book, Blue Mind: The surprising science that shows how being near, in, on, or under water can make you happier, healthier, more connected, and better at what you do. He invited the audience to hold a blue marble in our hand and remember when we fell deeply in love with water; to tell each other our “blue marble story.”
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“The Blue Marble” is an image of Earth taken December 7, 1972, by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft on its way to the Moon. This 30,000 km view of our exquisite home has enchanted us for nearly 50 years and is one of the most reproduced images in history. I knew exactly where my own “blue marble” was: nestled in the gentle hands of my Quan Yin carving, the Asian goddess of love
and compassion. I’ve had it so long I can’t remember when and how it came into my life but I do remember I knew deep in my heart that it represented our world to me and I would keep it always. I sat on my urban balcony where I can at least smell the sea, gazed at the blue sphere cradled in my palm and remembered, as my blue thread unfurled. At two, my first memory, standing thigh-deep in the chilly waters of Northeast England, ignoring my mother’s call and looking across the North Sea to the horizon and my father’s Nordic forebears. At eight, now a Canadian girl, fishing with my dad on lake and stream and wild West Coast. At fifteen, skipping school to walk Vancouver’s beaches and write poetry and song lyrics. At eighteen, asked to contribute music and voiceover for a young filmmaker’s documentary about ocean ecology—an early call to awareness and action. At twenty, canoeing the mighty Fraser River from Interior canyon to the sea. The commercial salmon troller deckhanding up north; the walking walking walking the beaches of the world. Shepherding my stepchildren through years of beach and forest cleanups. Then the writing, articles then books: The Fisher Queen and Beckoned by the Sea. I returned my blue marble to Quan Yin and myself to Dr. Nichols’ TedTalk. Turns out we aren’t imagining the changes we experience when we connect with water, especially seawater: calmer, happier, healthier, stronger, clearer. As Dr. Nichols says, “Once you get into it, you realize that it's chemistry, it's biology, it's physiology. It's deeply personal but it's also strong science.” And since the ocean surface is larger than all the continents combined, and we are 80% water, that makes it the most powerful healer on the planet. Dr. Nichols goes on to describe the phenomena he calls “Blue Mind,” the “mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment. It is inspired by water and elements associated with water, from the color blue to the words we use to describe the sensations associated with immersion.” He says that humans are hardwired to be drawn to and uplifted by water. Just the sounds and smells and colours can urge our brain to release the “happiness chemicals,” dopamine and serotonin, lifting our spirits and grounding our energies.
A simple walk by the sea, a few minutes gazing to a watery horizon can activate what scientist’s call The Awe Factor, our mind’s response to expansiveness and natural beauty. We feel more connected to our world, each other, and the universe beyond. When people learn of my deck-handing days in my twenties, miles offshore for 10 days at a time, thrown around by wind and waves 14 hours a day, they often say, “You must have been scared stiff!” There were a few times I was, justifiably so, but most of the time I was calmer, happier and more insightful than ever before. Senses more acute, memories bright with detail, creative ideas and images floating by on my inner seas. All the benefits associated with meditation. Apparently, every cell of me was bathed in the enhancing effects of negative ions released by each breaking wave. The infinite horizon shifting my brain waves to the slow roll of the meditative beta. By the way, it’s believed that electronic devices give off positive ions which contribute to what Dr. Nichols calls, “Red Mind,” a very unsavory stew of brain chemicals causing anxiety, distractedness, hyperactivity and a host of other modern maladies. We have known of the sea’s curative powers for millennia, named thalassotherapy by the ancient Greek healer, Hippocrates. Salty air clearing and healing our lungs; walking barefoot on sand massaging pressure points to our whole body; magnifying the sun’s source of Vitamin D which combats depression, strengthens bones, immunity and digestive system; high concentrations of vitamins, minerals and amino acids enhancing antibiotic and antibacterial effects that help keep our skin, hair and nails clear and healthy; even floating changes brainwaves and decreases anxious thoughts as the sun’s heat increases feel-good chemicals. On behalf of the most powerful healer on the planet, let’s take a lot more watery walks no matter the weather, briny dips even just to the ankles, and a few minutes of horizon-gazing, breathing to the rhythm of the waves. Maybe we can gaze together, as our blue thread continues to unfurl. Note: the content in this article is not meant to be prescriptive, nor should it replace pursuing the diagnostics, advice and treatments of healthcare professionals.
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the Power to Cleanse and Protect by Rachel Young
Salt. It’s one of the chemical compounds that is most intimately connected with our human bodies—one that might even hold a candle to hydrogen, oxygen or carbon. A myriad of elements fused together, salt holds great power on an elemental, cellular level. These microscopic effects, as they always do, ripple outwards to alter life as a whole. Our experience of this earth changes in ways we may never consciously recognize, but it’s always present and ready to be harnessed. When it comes to curiosity of simple things, like salt, simplicity becomes an obscure concept. There’s an undeniable beauty that comes from the delightful replication of its chemical structure (in numbers absolutely inconceivable), assisted by the concept, the idea, of potential. It’s comforting to look at salt and know that this inert substance has the power to cleanse one’s body and protect our collective psyche. To some, it might be even more comforting to admit that we might never completely understand its power—and to love it anyway. Here, gratitude is the name of the game. Which begs the question: can we, as humans interacting with this earth and its many different building blocks, accept the idea that salt might hold more of a healing dominion over our bodies than we could even conceive as possible? So far, it’s been interesting to watch us toe the line. However, there’s another element in combination with salt that results in another joyfully simple state of being: water. Is there a single person in the
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world who can deny the healing power of water? We can see the progression of our lives clearly reflected in the endless movement and curls and currents of a river. We delight in dancing rainfalls, so out of context as it falls from the sky. Fresh water is so essential to us that we would, with ease, perish without it. Even a simple glass of water can cure most of our everyday ailments, from headaches to exhaustion. Same goes for salt water: thalassotherapy utilizes the ocean as a mode and methodology for healing, for both mental and physical health. The difference between the power of river or glacier, which can carve through a mountain with unreal precision, and that of the ocean, mysterious and all-knowing?
Drinking salt water is not recommended as a method of hydration, but salt does have its nutritional purposes other than making food taste delicious. Sea salt can cleanse your digestive system by blasting through any blockages that may have built up. Salt water is incredibly buoyant and can gracefully cradle arthritic joints, as well as give your immune system a nice boost. You know those archaic nutrients brought to the top of the sea by those deep ocean currents? They nurture your body just as they nurture the clouds of blooming plankton, which in turn feeds the fishes that then feeds the world. The sea is a constant reminder that we are not separate from the natural world but rather an innate part of it. Just as essential as plankton and sardines are to
the grand blue whale or the fearsome great white shark or the salt locked in its waters. When looking at salt on its own, there are tomes of information available on its many uses. It’s not hard to find the many metaphysical uses for salt, as they’ve been well documented by ancient Asiatic and Wiccan cultures throughout the ages. It’s been noted that salt, especially sea salt, is particularly superb at neutralizing excess energy. According to quantum physics, a considerably more recent science, all matter emits vibrations on a subatomic level. All things vibrate at different levels, and different vibrations tend to come into balance and sync with one another when in relative physical proximity. Salt’s vibrational frequency draws out excess or irregular energy from anything placed near it, which is why you’ll find new-age crystal lovers cleansing their stones in living salt. In more colourful terms, it is known to “draw out bad energies.” Many people throw salt over their shoulder with the intention of neutralizing any “bad luck” they may have accrued—in fact, salt is used in exorcisms as a way to rid people of their devil within! You could also keep insects at bay by leaving a thin line of salt around the perimeter of your house. The addition of water makes salt’s benefits even more accessible to us, including the wellknown soak in a salty bath. Ocean water is, quite literally, swimming with minerals. It’s almost as if all the earth’s forces conspired to make
Image by Quang Nguyen vinh from Pixabay
a cocktail that was ultra-soothing, not only for our outer skin, but also our inner spirit. Seawater helps those with various skin conditions and can encourge healing of wounds. But when we work with the ocean its presence heals us on the inside. Whether it’s swimming or surfing or floating on the waves, the focus that’s needed to ensure you have a safe experience is powerfully cleansing. The rhythmic waves of the ocean seem to wash away our anger with ease, and the sheer power of it can topple our egos. The breathing patterns in swimming produce the same effect as pranayama breaths in yoga. Standing on a beach, at the edge of a continent, reminds us how small we are and how much we don’t know about our world. What could those mysterious waters
possibly conceal so effectively? We may never find out. There are so many ways that salt serves us, from ayurvedic tradition to tastefully seasoned meals, but I challenge you to experience salt and salt water in a different way. The next time you are at the beach on a calm day and the seas feel settled, try mindfully floating. Feel the seawater support your body; feel the pulse of the ocean move in and around you. Allow your thoughts to melt away as your very essence becomes one with the salt water. It’s like a naturally occurring sensory deprivation tank but immensely more effective than anything we humans could invent. Believe me, you will emerge with a new understanding…
Of what? well, that’s for you to discover. Salt is intimately connected to us in almost every way. It’s the main reason our cells function. It’s part of the soil, our oceans, our tears. It builds the universe. Simple salt even gave us the ability to preserve food and advance as a species. To think of it solely as the white, crystalline ingredient that sits on our dinner table is doing salt, and us, a huge disservice. Embrace salt as one of our most readily available conduits of healing and feel the difference!
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JULIANE GRASEKAMP, MEREDITH HATTORI
Hervana & Barnacle Babes sunset paddle, Jericho Beach, Vancouver, BC
Photos by Jodi Mossop
Krystal In Fort Pierce, Florida
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SHERRI HAYDEN Tofino/Uculet surfing with Sean Forester, Canadian Olympic Team member
Tavarua, Fiji. photo by Ron Davis
Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
TERESA CAMPBELL AND FRIENDS
Tower Beach, Vancouver, BC Photos by Teresa Campbell Selfie of Teresa at Tower Beach, Vancouver, BC.
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SwellWomen's Signature Surf & Yoga Retreat — in El Zonte, El Salvador — Hosted at the stunning Puro Surf Boutique Hotel & Performance Academy
SwellWomen with Special Guest Barnacle Babes November 9-16, 2019 www.SwellWomen.com