Jessie Spielvogel

If we can’t understand it, we can’t care enough to save it: Making the case for travel

Exploring new cultures, new foods, and new landscapes helps breed a new level of acceptance and humility in human beings. Hearing new languages and seeing people who dress differently than what we’re used to helps remind us that there is not always a right way or wrong way to do things. Travel leads to understanding. It has the ability to break down communications barriers and preconceived notions of fear or hatred.

I try to spend many of my adventures in tropical destinations where there are large populations of sharks for me to swim with and learn to understand – the ocean is where I find that I’m able to be most at peace and stress-free. It’s also where I feel that I have the best chance of contributing to conservation efforts. It’s no secret that plenty of people are terrified of sharks, and who can blame them? Did you know that less than 1% of the world’s population has ever been scuba diving? Dr. Sylvia Earle, one of my personal heroes, once said “knowing is the key to caring, and with caring there is hope that people will be motivated to take positive actions. They might not care even if they know, but they can’t care if they are unaware.” Of course she was referring to oceans in this specific instance, but I think this quote stands true for all areas of our lives. If we don’t experience other cultures and engage with people who aren’t like us, we’ll never understand the problems of the world, and we’ll definitely never feel fired up to fix them. If we don’t experience it or see it, we can’t understand it. If we can’t understand it, we can’t care enough to save it. Read more

Preparing to hike to Everest Base Camp

Jenni Lee and I rocking our hiking boots in Arizona

If you know anything about me at all, you know I’m a water person. More specifically, I spend many of my vacation days scuba diving with beautiful sharks in warm tropical waters.

Another thing you should also know about me is that I’m extremely easy to market to!

Last October, I came across a Facebook advertisement in my feed that promoted an adventure trip to Nepal, hiking to Mount Everest’s base camp. It piqued my curiosity, so I clicked through to the link. As I started reading about this trip, I decided it looked like a lot of fun (and definitely an adventure that would be out of my comfort zone).

I signed up almost immediately. In October 2017, I’ll be venturing to Nepal with REI Adventures to explore the Himalayas!

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Travel Days Before Dolphins in Bimini

Photo by Paul Spielvogel (@SharkImages)

I’m super excited to join up with some of my diving buddies from around the world this week in Bimini, Bahamas. It’s my first trip without my dad as my dive buddy, so I’m sad that he won’t be here for this one, but he’ll definitely owe me one for making me come on this trip solo. I’ve got my passport, my GoPro, and my mask/snorkel/fins in tow, so as long as the weather holds out, this trip should be fab. I’m going to spend one night in Miami with some fam, and then tomorrow morning I’ll head off to Bimini to meet up with the group.

This time, we’re swimming with dolphins! I’ve never seen dolphins in the wild, so I’m so stoked to see them in their natural habitat this week.

I’ll be stealing my dad’s Instagram account this week to cover the trip – you can follow along at @SharkImages, or follow our fearless group leader at @SDMdiving. Please expect plenty of sunsets, sunrises, stupidity, adventure, dolphins, possible footage of seasickness, and nerding out over conservation efforts. Read more

Happy Shark Week!

June 26, 2016 kicks off Shark Week 2016 on Discovery Channel!

As a shark diver and ocean enthusiast, I love this week. I don’t necessarily love it because of the  programming – I think some of the shows sensationalize the idea of shark attacks and make sharks appear more dangerous than they really are – but I love it because it puts sharks in the spotlight and provides an opportunity to elevate the conversation about sharks needing our help.

Here’s how you can take action for protecting sharks: Read more

Top Instagram Photos from Bahamas Shark Diving Trip 2016

After returning from a shark diving trip, I always look forward to seeing the other divers’ social media posts and photos. Each person captures a unique experience, and it’s exciting to see it all play out from the point of view of someone else after you’ve experienced it first hand.

Last week, I returned from a diving trip in the Bahamas where we were blessed with two good weather days, and cursed with four bad ones. In those two good days, these talented photographers were able to capture some incredible photos. Needless to say, no one will ever be able to say they didn’t make the most with what they had!

Below are some of the best Instagram posts that came out of this trip. Each of these photographers has a personal channel that holds many more incredible adrenaline inducing photos – check them out, and follow along with their adventures! Read more

Bahamas Shark Diving – Beach Cleanup Day

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Since we had so much downtime on this trip due to bad weather conditions, the Shark Diver Magazine divers decided to use our time wisely and do some beach cleanup. We all took out some bags and spread out across the beach to collect as much trash as we could. With two bags each, it sadly didn’t take long to fill them up.

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