Saturday, December 24, 2011

Bing Crosby - Mele Kalikimaka (Hawaiian Christmas Song)

I wanted to drop in and wish every single one of you and your families a very Merry Christmas! Since the weather here in Florida has been in the 80s for over a week I decided I would share my favorite tropical Christmas song, recorded by Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters wayyyyy back in 1950…

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

They're coming home!

The last 6,000 American troops are to be out of Iraq by December 31. 

Have you come across this ad on YouTube?

That's my nephew and his family in the picture!

Earlier this month, my family marked the 1st anniversary of my nephew coming home from Iraq. While David was deployed there was a documentary made called Operation: Family Connect. The collection of films told the stories of three military families and what they experienced while they were apart. My nephew and his family were one of the families.

David was deployed just after his son Ian's birth, so not only was he looking forward to seeing his beautiful wife, Ariana, but he was also excited about spending time with her and his son as a family.

At this time of year, my heart turns to other military families who will not be able to be with their loved ones for the holidays. For almost 4,500 troops this day will never come, they made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and for us.

Today I would like to share The Rathburn Reunion video with you to give you a glimpse of what our military families go through as they wait for their soldier to return to them and the moment they spot each other across a field. This is putting a face on what so many have or will experience.

To our troops who are still deployed in Afghanistan and other parts of the world, I wish you a speedy and safe return to your loved ones. Thank you for your service and your sacrifice.

My nephew, David Rathburn, has been home for a year now. As a family they just celebrated their son's second birthday. I am so proud of them and wish them a very Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart.

Please take some time this busy season to thank our troops in any way you see fit, it will make your heart sing and show them how much we care.

You can watch more stories from Operation: Family Connect on YouTube.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Here Comes the Sun

Here Comes the Sun

Hi Everyone!!!!!! I've missed you all so much and I'm sorry I've stayed away for so long. The last four months have been very difficult dealing with my sister's passing. I want to thank all you for your continued support, your comments, your emails, your phone calls and most of all your friendships. Thank you for understanding that I could not respond to each of you, but knowing you were out there thinking of me meant more than words can possibly express.

I do not want to write about this personal loss, but I am ready to get back to our blogging world and see what all of you have been up to!

I will tell you that, as of late, a few old tunes have been running through my mind when I think of you and the whole situation. Funny, because I was never a HUGE Beatles fan, but it is their words that have helped bring me back to blogging.

First up are these that are so apropos:

"And now my life has changed in oh so many ways,
My independence seems to vanish in the haze.
But every now and then I feel so insecure,
I know that I just need you like I've never done before.

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won't you please, please help me."

Next are these:

"What do I do when my love sis is away
(Does it worry you to be alone)
How do you feel by the end of the day
(Are you sad because you're on your own)

No, I get by with a little help from my friends
Mmm, I get high with a little help from my friends
Mmm, Gonna try with a little help from my friends."

Lately these words express how I'm beginning to feel:

"Little darling, it's been a long cold hot lonely winter summer
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It's all right.

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It's all right.

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes."

In the last month I have started getting out and the first time had to be to the beach, of course! I went down to visit my friend Karen of The Essential Beachcomber. She always knows my soul and she kept me busy shelling, shopping, and eating. You may have seen this pic she put on her blog…

Well, here we are enjoying a day doing what we do best — shelling (me) and shark's tooth hunting (Karen). Don't you love that mermaid in front of Margaret Albritton's gallery? (Loui, she made me think of you!!!)

Karen even lent me her kayak for a solo ride. Boy, it felt good to be on the sea…

The following week I took off with my gal pal Deb to Ribfest 2011 at Vinoy Park in St. Pete. The only thing better than the fallin' off the bone ribs, was the entertainment. The last time I saw these guys in concert was 1978!!!!!!

I have to include this short video of Tommy, just to show you he is as HOT as ever…

This is not to exclude Lawrence, who still makes my heart go pitter patter…sigh and James, you ROCK. I love these guys and it was great to see Chuck performing with them. The "new" guys Todd Sucherman and Ricky Phillips were fab and if you see STYX coming to your town, get down and get tickets!!!!!

Then to just make November even better, I went to my friends Jane's of Artfully Graced for another Art at Home Show. I haven't made anything new, but I took what I had and went to spend the day with friends. Between Jane's paintings, Becky's quilting and Catherine's cupcakes and just being with good friends, you couldn't ask for a more wonderful day!

So that's it, that's what's been going on around The Hut. I miss you terribly and I don't know how often I will be posting, but bet your bottom dollar I'll be out seein' what's new with you!

Oh, I have one last Beatle tune for you before I go:

Shebelle loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
Shebelle loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
Shebelle loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Gone From My Sight, Not From My Heart

Sandra Kay Rathburn (1954–2011)

How do you say goodbye to a sister?

You pick up the phone to call,

even though you know she will not answer.

You just want to hear her voice again,

even though you know it will be for the last time.

She says, "Sorry I missed your call."

You weep.

You try again.

You weep again.

She says, "Bye."

You say, "No, wait, I have more to say."

There is just silence on the other end.

–Rhonda Renée

This has been the toughest week of my life. I lost my sister on Tuesday, August 2, 2011. She moved on to world free of pain and sorrow, but left me behind with the same. I woke each day knowing that I had to stay strong for the rest of the family. I am the matriarch, I had to keep to task. Notify her children, notify other family members and friends. Arrangements had to be made, t's had to be crossed, do this, do that. Clean the house, cook some food, figure out who would sleep where. The house is full, but someone is missing. How could the family gather together and my sister not be here? I see her children, one of her grandsons and my own daughter who loved her so dearly.

I want to run, I want to get away. If they are all here and she is not, then something is wrong, very wrong.

Go through the motions. Let's see what do I have in the house? A pot of black-eyed peas goes on the stove, but all I have are those ham hocks from Sweet Bay that have no meat. They will have to do. Oh, and potato salad, they all love potato salad. Throw a cornbread together. What else, what else?

With my baby sister in 1955
Sweep the floor, make the beds, pull out extra blankets. Run to the store, make a gallon of tea. What do they like? I can't remember, I can't think. This will all have to do. My hands go through the motions, but my brain is not working. Busy work.

Why do I have to do this? I just want to crawl back in bed and cry. No, can't do that, they will all be here soon.

Did the Red Cross get their military leaves taken care of? What time do flights arrive?

I have so much to do, but I don't know where to start. I don't know where it will end. Say goodbye to my sister? I don't know how to do that. I don't have time to break down. There is much to be done. Why me? Someone else come take care of this, I just want to run away. Away to a place where my sister is still alive. I don't know how to say goodbye to my sister.

Family and friends gathered on Saturday to celebrate the life of

Sandra Kay Rathburn

September 29, 1954 – August 2, 2011

The following is adapted from a poem, The Ship by Bishop Brent (1862–1926), I would like to dedicate this in memory to my sister.

Gone From My Sight, Not From My Heart

I am standing upon the seashore.
A little ship at my side spreads her white
sails to the morning breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. 

She is an object of beauty and strength. 
I stand and watch her until at length 
she hangs like a speck of white cloud 
just where the sea and sky come 
to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says;
"There, she is gone!"

"Gone where?"
Gone from my sight. That is all. 
She is just as large in mast and hull 
and spar as she was when she left my side 
and she is just as able to bear her 
load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

I stood watching as the little ship sailed out to sea.
The setting sun tinted her white sails with a golden light,
and as she disappeared from sight a voice at my side whispered again,
“She is gone”.

On the farther shore a little band of family and friends had gathered to watch and wait.
Suddenly they caught sight of the tiny sail and,
at the very moment when my companion had whispered,
“She is gone” a glad shout went up in joyous welcome,
“Here she comes! Here she comes!”

Standing on the bandstand that our daddy built
with the Sea Bees at Heritage Park in Florida

Shellbelle's Tiki Hut will be taking an extended break, so that I can be there for those who loved her and so that I can take care of myself.

Monday, July 25, 2011

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to…

Today is July 25th. Why is this significant you ask? Well, I'm sitting here this morning and I'm having mixed feelings. Looking back at this month on my blog I see I've only posted once. I knew this, it comes as no surprise, but it has me filled with anxiety. I love blogging — I love posting and visiting — and I miss it desperately. You've all become such an important part of my life and not knowing what's going on in Blogland is like being alone on a deserted island with no one to talk to. Think Tom Hanks in Cast Away. No, I haven't grown a beard, but I do feel as though I've crash landed somewhere far, far away from my normal life and I'm trying to figure out how to survive and get back to some normalcy.

Like Tom Hanks, I did find someone to talk to…

I call her BeeBee (for beach ball, duh). She's a decent companion, but really doesn't have too much to say, however, she is a good listener. I've been telling her all the things I've been wanting to tell you.

Then I came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea. I know you can upload posts to Blogger via alternative methods, so I thought this might work…

Photo courtesy of I am Kat.

So far I don't think any have reached the powers that be on the worldwide web shore. If you find one in your travels, could you let me know?

Anywho, I'm still washed ashore on the Island of New Job and my friends, it has been quite an experience. On Saturday I get a call from my gal pal Karen of The Essential Beachcomber and she says, "What do you think of Loui's post?"

I replied, "Honey, I haven't had time to visit ANYONE all month!"

Karen then says, "Well, if you do nothing else, stop by the Mountain Mermaid."

Well, I did and let me tell you, I cried like a baby. There is something else that is significant about today and that is that I'm turning…

and my dear, darling friend, my Sister of the Sea is throwing me an

Online Surprise Birthday Party!

What Loui wrote touched me so deeply, she has become such an important part of my life, I just don't have the words to describe how much her friendship has meant to me, but I love her! We share so much in common, we are mersisters in every respect. I know a lot of you met her last month during the World Oceans Day Celebration, but if you haven't been to her blog, stop by and say hello.

I woke up this morning, turned on the computer, poured my coffee and came back to find my inbox full of birthday wishes. Then I open my blog and I'm looking at my blogroll and I see the title of some of today's posts from my friends and I start crying all over again! So to all of you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for every bit of joy you've brought to my life, I am humbled to have found you and been embraced by you. I truly love you all!

To my Sister of the Sea, you make me proud to call you friend. I am so touched by your thoughtfulness, my heart is full. Girl, I just love you from the bottom of the sea to shore of distant islands. Thank you.

In case you missed the invite, you can read it here. And then yesterday, she added this. OMG, I am so excited and can't wait to read what my Sister of the Sea puts up today!

So, before the phone starts ringing or I get called away from my computer for one errand or another, I'm off to visit and thank you each "in person." I swear, this is like sitting with all of you and opening presents!

P.S. Just to let you all know, I am doing really fine! Things are good, just really different and REALLY busy. As soon as I can catch a breadth, I'll tell you all about it. In the meantime — Happy Birthday to Me! And dear, darlings, you have all made it that way!!!!! XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

World Oceans Day Winners and Vintage Beach Camping

Between all the changes and losses in my life as of late, I've been feeling rather discombobulated. This morning as I was looking back over my blog and trying to figure out what I would like to write about to get back into the swing of things, I realized that I had never announced who the winners of my World Oceans Day Beach Party were!

Envelope please,


Congratulations ladies! Please send me your addresses and I will get your goodie boxes out to you. Thanks to everyone for participating in the 1st Annual World Oceans Day Party here at The Hut. I can't wait for next year!

Since life has been so unpredictable lately, I decided that today I would do a repost from my early days of blogging. You know, that time when you didn't have any followers and comments were about as frequent as a Blue Moon. In one of my first posts I wrote briefly about my family's camping trips to the beach. We bought a travel trailer when I was quite young and our favorite trips were, of course, to the beach! This picture was taken in the dining area of our first trailer in June 1956, shortly before my fifth birthday.

That's me half hidden behind my baby sister
One of our favorite places for years was Hobson Park in Ventura County, California. Located about eight miles north of the city of Ventura, Hobson is a very small campground with about thirty campsites. There is no room for it to grow, but there are now homes located to the north. Most everything I remember as a child is hard to recognize now, but Hobson does not fall into this category. Sure, the road is now paved and I understand they have RV hook-ups, but the size and charm is still present.

This is Hobson as it looks today…

And this is an aerial shot…

We knew everyone who camped there and became one big family. Those friendships carried on for many years and the memories are among my favorites. You can see from the pictures above that Hobson had a very rocky coastline. We scrambled over those rocks with no fear and when the tide was low we were rewarded with amazing tide pools! We'd find baby octopuses and let them slither on our arms, we'd stick our toes in anemones and scream when their tentacles wrapped around us. We found starfish and crabs, and tried in vain to catch the little fish that would dart in and out of the rocks. We cut our feet on barnacles and slipped on algae, but this didn't slow us down and we never grew bored with exploring our hidden treasures.

Back at camp, the adults relaxed, worked on their tans and planned the next party…

One of the annual favorites was the Hard Times Party. They dressed in old clothes — reminiscent of the Depression Era, so on the left  in this picture from 1963 we have what must have been a flapper style dress worn by the older women of that generation and on the right we have a classic hobo look. In the middle is my mom wearing a potato sack dress! Now Hawaii did not become a state until 1959, but my mom went for the tropical look to dress up her sack, adding leis around her ankle and leg, shell jewelry, a light pink wig, and flip flops to complete her ensemble. Don't ask me why — this is my mom's interpretation of hard times. She was a hoot and everyone loved her.

Here are the ladies in color. My mom is wearing her favorite outfit here — a bathing suit, but then mom had the figure for it along with great legs!

The parties at Hobson always included a pot luck dinner. While the women cooked, the men put all the tables together end-to-end, started the campfire for the fish, clams and mussels, and the feast ensued. We ate, we danced, we laughed, we sang and we enjoyed the camaraderie of good friends.

I still love camping at the beach, but I have gone from a trailer back to a tent. Keep your trailers and RV's, I love tent camping! Here is a pic of my campsite at McGrath Beach in Ventura taken in 1995. I don't rough it by any stretch of the imagination! I have a three room tent and an expresso maker for the fire pit. I camp where there are showers and I don't do hot dogs and hamburgers! Food tastes better cooked over a campfire after a day at the beach and I'm all about the food! In the future I'll share with you my recipe and technique for a clambake, it is what I always serve the first night after setting up camp.
So, there you have a brief look at forty years of beach camping for me from 1956–1995. The last time I was at McGrath was 1999, now I live in Florida and the camping is different here. I've camped at Fort DeSoto, but there are still lots of beaches to explore.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Roots Run Deep in South Georgia

First, let me thank all of you for your kind words on the death of my cousin, Herbert. I was again saddened a week later when my cousin Reggie also passed away. Although they knew each other well, Herbert and Reggie were not related. Herbert came from my paternal grandfather's side of the family and Reggie from my paternal grandmother's. They both led long lives and they both made an impact on mine.

While reading your thoughtful condolences, I noticed a number of you referred to Herbert as my uncle. This is probably because in my post I explained that Herbert's mother was sister to my grandfather. If you haven't delved into genealogy, this is a common mistake. I didn't understand the whole relationship thing until I started working on my family tree a number of years ago.

Ah, genealogy, the hobby that ties you to your roots. The thing that can make other family members run when they see you coming. It can also be the tie that binds you together with family members you either haven't seen for many years or those you never knew existed.

Herbert and Reggie were my first cousins, once removed. Simply put, this means they were my daddy's cousins, the once removed means that they are also my first cousins with a difference of one generation between us. To my children they were first cousins, twice removed, because there are two generations between them.

Herbert and Reggie's children are my second cousins. Have I lost you yet? I know it can be so confusing, don't you think? This explanation from might help clear this up a bit:

Cousin (a.k.a "first cousin")
Your first cousins are the people in your family who have two of the same grandparents as you. In other words, they are the children of your aunts and uncles.

Second Cousin
Your second cousins are the people in your family who have the same great-grandparents as you, but not the same grandparents.

Third, Fourth, and Fifth Cousins
Your third cousins have the same great-great-grandparents, fourth cousins have the same great-great-great-grandparents, and so on.

When the word "removed" is used to describe a relationship, it indicates that the two people are from different generations.

So, there you have it, a little genealogy tip from me to all of you. If you've never researched you family roots, I encourage you to do so. The stories, photos, memories, family events and love that have been shared are so precious to me, so if you've ever thought about researching your family, I encourage you to do so.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rest In Peace Loved One

Herbert Batten
October 31, 1926 – June 16, 2011

My cousin Herbert was born in Douglas, Georgia and remained there his entire life. As a young man he took his bride to live on the land where his mother Eunice had been born. Eunice was sister to my grandfather and they had both been born there in a little log cabin on the land their daddy had turned into a farm in the 1880s. That cabin, though a bit shaky, still stands on that land and across the road is the family cemetery where my great-grandparents and my grandfather are buried. It is here where Herbert will be laid to rest, amongst other family members who have passed over the years.

Herbert with his wife and two daughters. He also had a son and five grandchildren.
Here I am a few years ago with Herbert and Doris
The Cook House. Herbert built this many years ago and it is where close to 100 family members gather at Thanksgiving.

Herbert never threw anything away and in the Cook House you'll find his collection of Ball jars and cooking implements, along with all kinds of other goodies.
Can you see those two racks of cast iron skillets on the back wall?
Goodbye Herbert, I will miss you so much. Thanks for all the family stories you shared, including the one of my grandfather when he fell out of the second story window right after the family moved from the log cabin into the "Big House" when he was just about four-years-old. I also want to thank you for the love you showed and for opening up your home when I came to visit.

Rest in Peace

Please excuse me while I take some time to mourn this loss. I will be leaving for Georgia in the morning to be with family.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Thank you from the ocean to the shore — we did it!

WOWZA! I can't thank you enough for making my World Oceans Day Online Beach Party a HUGE success last week! I was blown away by all the wonderful bloggers who linked up such thoughtful, beautiful posts to share their love of the sea and passion for ocean conservancy.

To tell you the truth, after all the problems we were having with Blogger, I was afraid the turn out would be disappointing. Just in time, it seems the powers that be in Blogland, got most of our blogs up and running.

I also want to thank my friend Cris of Here and There and Everywhere for hosting the 3rd Annual Oceanic-Blog-a-thon in honor of World Oceans Day.

Most of all, I want to thank our readers for taking the time to read so many fabulous posts. I hope each of you learned something new, I know I certainly did. That's what is so incredible about blogging — the sharing of knowledge. I love those "aha" moments, when a lightbulb goes off in your head and suddenly something becomes clear and you gain insight into a subject; in this case the importance of protecting our oceans from harm.

I'm going to be announcing the winners of my WOD giveaway soon, between the Blogger issues and the party itself, I am a bit behind on my life. Oh, and something else really through me for a loop…

I Got A Job!

After basically being out of work for most of this year, I finally found a position that I think is going to work out quite well. The fact that it came just a few days before World Oceans Day was quite a surprise. I'm not complaining, don't get me wrong, but after carefully planning my WOD beach party since January, it was definitely a bit distracting to start a new job, especially when it meant I also had to…


Yeah, throw a party, start a new job and move all in the space of a couple of days — I can do that…


Luckily, I only had to move thirty minutes away and my daughter actually moved with me. This left my granddaughter in the duplex. I told her that typically when a child gets their first apartment, they are the ones that move, not the parent. She's thrilled and helped us with our move. Things went smoothy and quickly. As I look around my new space, I see mounds of hastily packed boxes and lots of work to get to. I had to take a breadth and let all of you know what's going on. I still work at home, which is a good thing, but I now have a bedroom, an office and a studio all to myself. Yes, I think this is going to work out just fine. Keep your fingers crossed for me — I know I am!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

World Ocean's Day Online Beach Party!

Happy World Oceans Day 2011!

Today, people around the globe are gathering together to celebrate World Oceans Day. There will be coastal clean-ups, educational trips to aquariums and zoos, lectures, interactive displays, nature walks, sustainable seafood festivals, and the list goes on.

Scientists will be at events worldwide, speaking on the vital role ocean research plays in the lives of each of us.

Concerned citizens will be making commitments to lifestyle changes that will have positive effects on our shared ocean. You can join them by taking The Seven Cs Pledge to Protect our Ocean. While there you will learn how you can make a difference in your lifestyle choices.

Then there's folks like us, who belong to a HUGE online community through our blogs!

I want to personally thank each and everyone of you for coming by today to celebrate our mutual love of the ocean. Some of you have been waiting for this day and have prepared posts that you can link up at the bottom. I can't wait to see what you've shared with us! I know there will be stories, facts and photos around our community today that will show us your love of the sea and shore. Others have come by to read and learn from us. Together we can make a difference and I am humbled by your commitment to this cause.

In January of this year, I wrote three back-to-back posts on a grand piano that a 16-year-old boy dumped onto a sandbar in Biscayne Bay here in Florida, saying that he thought it was, "Cool and artistic." I ranted about how destructive this was to our environment, but it got me to thinking — here was this one story that was making headlines around the world and while it did bring attention to the importance of ocean conservancy, it wasn't showing how art and the environment can come together in perfect harmony.

I started researching artists who have made positive, environmental impacts and believe me, there are MANY! Then I came across one artist who brought a whole new meaning to art as an environmental tool and it is his work I want to share with you today. I've been holding onto this research until now, because I believe what he does epitomizes what celebrating World Oceans Day signifies to many of us. The organizers of World Oceans Day say that it is about "making lasting change and it's up to people like us to rise up and be the voice for the ocean all year long." For me there is a voice I've now heard and I am deeply moved by his commitment to protect our ocean.

Without further adieu, I am honored to introduce you to the work of

You can click on this image to see amazing detail!

What Taylor created, sea life has continued to build upon.

The work evolves and will for generations to come!

Let me back up and show you an overview of this incredible work of art soon after its installation…

Underwater Sculpture Art of Jason deCaires Taylor, Vicissitudes, Grenada, West Indies.

From Taylor's website I learned that "in 2009 a monumental underwater museum called MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte) was formed in the waters surrounding Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Punta Nizuc."

"To date the underwater museum comprises of 4 installations; La Jardinera de la Esperanza, Coleccionista de los Sueños, Hombre en Llamas and The Silent Evolution all created by Jason deCaires Taylor. The Silent Evolution, his most ambitious work to date, is a collection of over 400 life-size figurative works, forming a vast gathering of people aiming to define a new era of living in a symbiotic relationship with nature."

By now you're probably shaking your head and asking yourself why I would be so excited about someone dumping installing something in our ocean, even it is "artistic and cool."

Let me explain, these are not ordinary statues. In the words of the artist, "The sculptures are designed to become artificial reef units. The cement used is a special type of marine-grade cement that's engineered to attract corals; corals adhere to it, they grow, they make different formations, that in turn encourages fish and other marine life."

“Coral reefs attract an array of marine life (such as colourful fish, turtles, sea urchins, sponges, and sharks) and also provide enclosed spaces for sea creatures to breed or take refuge… One of the greatest benefits of artificial reefs is that they have lifted the pressure off natural reefs which, over the past few decades, have been over-fished and over-visited. By diverting attention to artificial reefs, natural reefs have now been given a greater chance to repair and to regenerate.”

Just a few months after the more than 400 statues were installed, they were already attracting schools of fish, lobsters and algae.

"With scientists predicting a permanent demise of 80% of our natural coral reefs by 2050, The Silent Evolution illustrates a potential symbiotic relationship between man and the life-systems of the underwater world; one that is critical if our grandchildren are to have the opportunity to see these beautiful habitats for themselves."

The statues themselves are life-size casts of actual people,

the oldest being a 70-year-old nun…

and the youngest, a sweet-faced girl of three…

This next one is of Charlie and in the image on the right you can see
the transformation after six months underwater…

This next image is of The Silent Evolution as it looked on land…

during the installation

and finally underwater

The fish seem to be happy with the results…

very happy

As do many others critters…

including the tourists

I did tell you that this is an underwater museum, didn't I?

Well, what's an grand opening without a ribbon cutting ceremony…

According to the museum, the third stage of the museum commencing in 2011, will involve commissioning local and international artists to contribute further sculptural installations and host special underwater cultural events celebrating the Arts and Science.

The installation won't ever really be finished, since the marine life will keep adding touches for centuries to come.

MUSA can be viewed either by scuba diving, free diving, snorkeling or from a glass-bottom boat.

Taylor is currently founder and Artistic Director of the Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA) in Cancun, Mexico.

I could go on and on (and on) about Taylor's art, but there's a party going on and I don't want to take up all your time. I will encourage you to visit Jason deCaires Taylor's website at a later date to learn more about his work and see more photos. I suggest you start here and click through all ten pages if you'd like to learn more about the subjects of his work. Trust me you don't want to miss reading about The Archive of Lost Dreams, where a male registrar collects bottles containing messages from all over the world. Oh yeah, he's a statue and the bottles are REAL.

A special thanks to Jason deCaires Taylor for not only creating magnificent art, but for using your incredible talent to help protect our oceans. Thank you for bringing people around the world and other artists together and showing the rest of us that man and our environment can live in harmony in a mutually beneficial manner. You are amazing!

You can "Like" Jason deCaires Taylor on Facebook to see more photos

and keep up with the latest news.

The sculptures we've seen today are beautiful and we've learned that they do provide a service to our oceans by creating artificial reefs that are benefitting sea life, but the question you may be asking yourself is,

"Why should I care about coral reefs?"

Often, many people only become involved in a cause when they see how it directly impacts their lives. I'm here to tell you that you'd be hard-pressed to find someone whose life is not impacted in some way by coral reefs and the overall health of our ocean.

Because of their structure, coral reefs provide shoreline wave protection from tropical storms and hurricanes.

Much like wetlands on land, coral reefs act as a nursery for the sea, providing space for fish and other marine life to spawn, hide and feed.

More than 70 percent of the world’s oxygen supply comes from phytoplankton in the ocean. Every two or three breaths, remember to thank the ocean. Earth Gauge

Oceans provide us with food, cycle our water, generate most of the oxygen we breathe, balance our climate, supply us with medicines and much more.

One thing I've learned over the years is that when you introduce critters to folks, they are apt to become more invested in saving them. For that reason I just had to share this photo with you…

This pygmy sea horse is no bigger than a little fingernail.
Kapalai, Sabah, Malaysia. ©Scubazoo

Now don't you want to Save Our Seas for this little guy?

Thank you again for coming to my party and remember, everyone who links up their ocean-related post between now and midnight on Sunday will be entered into a drawing to win a special box of goodies from Shellbelle's Tiki Hut. It's not too late to write a post or even link one that you've posted recently, it just needs to share your love of the ocean with the rest of us. The Linky tool will be open until Midnight Sunday EST. I will be placing a permalink to this post in my sidebar for future reference. I hope you all get a chance to visit everyone who has participated and no, you don't have to do it all today, we'll all be here waiting to show you why we love the ocean so much and why we feel it is so important to protect her.

You can also join my friend Cris in Spain for the 3rd Oceanic Blog-A-Thon. This will be the third year Cris and I have blogged together to share our love of the ocean. The first year I wrote about the importance of Mangrove Trees and last year I did the same for Oysters. I LOVE celebrating our world ocean!

Todays Ocean Fact: Although they cover only two-tenths of one percent of the ocean floor, these complex tropical ecosystems rival the rainforests in terms of biodiversity, supporting nearly a quarter of all marine species. They provide food and income to millions of people worldwide, and they protect our coastal communities from damaging storms and tsunamis. Constructed by living organisms, coral reefs are home to some of the most fascinating plants and animals in the world.Coral Reef Alliance

To add your post, click on the blue Inlinkz button below, add the permalink to your blog post  (that's the link that goes directly to your post, not just your blog), and follow the instructions to select a photo. If you have problems adding your post, just email me your permalink or a link to your blog and I'll add it for you. Thanks for posting for the ocean!

I love the beach and everything that goes with it! I love the waves lapping at my feet. I love the feel of the sand between my toes. I love the roar of the Pacific and the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Let's talk about beaches around the world, bonfires, building sandcastles, swaying palm trees, flamingos, clambakes, sunrises and sunsets. If it's tropical, it fits this blog!


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