Category Archives: Outdoor Activity

Hyperthermia

ID-10065153Hyperthermia is a dangerous condition that occurs when the body becomes overheated. This can lead to heat exhaustion, and ultimately heat stroke. The body core temperature can rise up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Hyperthermia can lead to brain damage, organ failure, and death.

It is important that you are aware of the symptoms of hyperthermia.

Fatigue, Dizziness, Cramps, Headaches, Vomiting, Nausea, and Weakness are some of the symptoms. The heart rate may become elevated, and skin may be reddened. The skin may be moist if you are still sweating, or it may be dry if sweating has stopped. Mental confusion or seizures may occur, and ultimately coma or death.

Heat exhaustion is a less severe form of hyperthermia. People can have similar symptoms like weakness, muscle cramps, headaches, nausea, and also profuse sweating.

There are things you can do to help prevent hyperthermia:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Wear light clothing that is breathable and nonrestrictive.
  • Know your limits-if you are feeling short of breath or too hot, take a rest.
  • Start off your exercises slowly, and gradually build up.
  • Avoid alcohol since it predisposed you to dehydration.
  • Provide yourself with shade.
  • If possible, increase air flow with fans.

Image courtesy of ponsulak/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Palm Beach County Nature Trails

With fall right around the corner, it is time to dust off the walking shoes and enjoy the local nature trails for your daily walk.  Palm Beach County offers a variety of locations that will provide a change of scenery from the typical morning routine.

Green Cay Nature Center:

12800 Hagen Ranch Road, Boynton Beach.  Open Sunrise to Sunset.  Cos t- Free.

1.5 miles of elevated boardwalk through 100 acres of wetlands.  The trails are wheelchair and stroller accessible, and there are benches on the boardwalk.

 

John Prince Park, Custard Apple Trail:

4759 S. Congress Ave, Lake Worth.  Open Sunrise to Sunset.  Cost – Free.

Paved trail around the waterways of JohnPrincePark.

 

Okeeheelee Nature Center:

7715 Forest Hill Blvd, West Palm Beach.  Open Sunrise to Sunset.  Cost – Free.

2.5 miles of paved and non-paved trails through 90 acres of pine flatwoods and wetlands.

 

Riverbend Park:

9060 Indiantown Road, Jupiter.  Open Sunrise to Sunset.  Cost – Free.

15 miles of nature trails that offers a variety of flora fauna and wildlife.  The trail system is mostly flat unpaved hard pack with occasional boardwalks.

 

South County Regional Park, Daggerwing Nature Center:

11200 Park Access Road, Boca Raton.  Open Sunrise to Sunset.  Cost – Free.

Two 1/3 mile boardwalk trails through natural swampland.  The trails are wheelchair and stroller accessible and there are benches on the boardwalk.

 

Scuba Diving In West Palm Beach

Oceans are one of nature’s greatest gifts. Did you know that approximately 70% of the earth is covered by water?  We know more about the moon than the ocean. Coral Reefs cover only 1% of the ocean floor, but support 25% of all marine species and serves as natural barrier for hurricanes, tsunamis, and other damaging storms. Unfortunately many of the reefs have been impacted by ocean dumping, global warming, and over fishing.

Florida is the only state in the continental United States to have an extensive shallow coral reef formation near the coast. It is the third largest barrier reef ecosystem in the world. It extends from Stuart Martin County on the Atlantic coast, to the Dry Tortugas in the Gulf of Mexico. The most abundant development of reefs is off the coast of the Florida Keys. The Florida Reef tract extends 150 miles long and 4 miles wide extending to the edge of the Florida Straits. All but the northern most extent of the reef tract lies within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Gary and I became certified divers in March 2007. At first I was apprehensive. Would I tolerate the pressure? What about sharks? Those concerns soon dissipated once we entered the waters in West Palm Beach. A whole new world opened up for me the first time I put my face in the water and saw what was beneath me. Once you are underwater you forget about the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. Scuba diving is a sport unlike any other on earth. Diving is great for people variety of ages, skills, and health levels. There are some risks involved in diving and that is why you are properly trained to keep you safe.

The world underneath the surface is so unlike anything that you would encounter in your daily lives. Every dive holds something unique and no two dives are ever alike. There are wondrous inhabitants waiting for you to discover.West Palm Beach where we do most of our diving is close to theGulf Stream which bring in an abundance and the variety of fish. TheGulf Stream brings in warm and blue waters and the visibility normally ranges from 70 to 100 ft. Since West Palm Beach is closest to the Gulf Stream there is always current and the strength of the current is very unpredictable, sometimes it can be so strong and you feel like you are flying through the water. This makes for an interesting dive.

In the last five years we have been diving in the West Caribbean, Key Largo, and Eastern Caribbean. So far, West Palm Beach is where we have seen the most variety of marine life. Loggerhead, Hawksbill, and Green Turtles are the most commonly seen in our area. It is very common to see several turtles in one dive, especially during mating and nesting season which runs from April to June. In addition to turtles, you find schools of variety of reef fish, lobsters, eels, sharks, sting rays, and many other tropical species.

Marine life has been significantly affected by hurricanes, coastal development, and irresponsible visitors to the reefs. Artificial reefs are man-made and are placed away from natural reef for new communities of marine life. The artificial reefs are most commonly made from concrete and limestone which is very similar to the natural reefs. Ships are also deployed to form habitat for marine life. The benefits of artificial reefs are food, shelter, protection, and spawning for fish and marine life. This also helps the natural reefs so recreational divers do not over stress the natural reefs.

One popular artificial reef site in West Palm Beach is The Mizpah a 185′ Greek Luxury Liner that was sunk in 1968. In August and September you can find large numbers of Goliath Grouper spawning. This site is protected and spear fishing, lobstering, and shell collecting is illegal. In close proximity to The Mizpah there are other vessels, the Amaryllis which is 440ft freighter, and a 165ft. Navy Patrol Craft. All these artificial vessels are considered the “East Palm Beach Reefs”.

Protect Our Reefs License Plate funds research, conservation, and education. The Protect Our Reef program supports many of aspects of Florida’s economy and ecology. This program has allowed the discovery of new ways to conserve and manage coral reefs, which face global threats from pollution, warmer waters, and disease. In addition to local residents, millions of vacationers come to Florida to enjoy scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing on South Florida’s coral reefs.

Coral reefs plants and animals are being used to develop medicines to treat cancer, arthritis, heart disease, bacterial infections, viruses and other diseases. There are some coral reels organisms that release chemicals to fight off attackers which scientist are researching to hopefully use for medicinal purposes. In the future coral reefs could be used for medicine, nutritional supplements, cosmetics and pesticides.

It is so important for humans to take care of this fragile ecosystem. The sustainability of coral reefs will have a direct impact on us. If the coral reefs are damaged we will lose the protection from storms which they offer our coastlines. The travel and fishing industries will also be greatly affected since billions of dollars and jobs are generated by this industry.

By: Rita Zimmerman LPTA/CLT