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Archive for the ‘My love for Animals’ Category

NO SHARKS FINS SINGAPORE!!!

Hey everyone!

Please join in my effort together with plenty of divers out there to support this cause. Please try to stop/reduce consumption of Sharks Fins as we need these Apex predators in the sea to maintain an equilibrium in the Eco-system.

Official campaign launch by Ocean Geographic will be at ADEX 2012 at Marina Bay Sands Singapore. Seeya there!

XOXO
Jessica

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It’s 7:30am in Singapore on a Sunday morning and I’m wide awake, and I thought the shot of Choya I had last night would help me sleep past 8am! My mind is still reliving the last 2 weeks I spent in the Bahamas & Miami and my body is still yearning to be back there. Well good things always have to come to an end right?

Flashback to February 29, woke up equally early at 7:30am, went to iHop for a hearty  breakfast of fluffy double blueberry pancakes and off to squeeze in “some” afternoon shopping at City Place in West Palm (our last grasp of civilization) before boarding our liveaboard, MV Dolphin Dream, for the next 10 days. All of us went on board with hearts filled excitement and certain amount of apprehension as the idea of interacting with wild dolphins and being surrounded by large sharks (and maybe a Tiger Shark or two) was a total new territory for us. After sailing throughout the night for 8-10 hours, we are finally in the Bahamian waters. Time to start the adventure!

The first 2 days of the trip began with snorkelling with wild Atlantic Spotted Bottle-nose dolphins – something that I was really looking forward to as I simply love dolphins! Decked up only in a bikini covered by a rash-guard with snorkelling gear, I jumped into the frigid 23 degree-celsius Atlantic Ocean (I’m a tropical water girl mind you!). When you first get into the water, your mind curses you for doing so, but once you start finning really fast and hard towards the dolphins and begin playing with them, the chill is soon forgotten. The thing I found out about these dolphins is that they are highly intelligent mammals and get bored easily. If your focus is to take a photo if them and not play with them, they will just ignore you and swim off. Luckily I was out there with the motive to play with them! My first encounter with them was really exhilarating – one of my lifelong dreams is to play with dolphins in the wild – and now I’m  doing exactly that! A small pod of 6-8 of them came up to our group of 4 snorkellers (we were the first 4 to manage to swim up to them) and the free divers dove underwater and started interacting with them. At that point I only knew how interact with them from the surface by waving my bandanna at them and had no clue how to free dive. The numerous times that I tried to free-dive I just ended up chugging sea water :(. That first encounter was fantastic but I wanted more… Went in for another encounter with a different pod of dolphins and tried my best to free dive with them again hoping to get a close encounter with one and yet again I ended up with drinking more sea water! After the first day of dolphin encounter ended, I went up to the free divers and asked them what’s the trick to free diving to hopefully gain some tips and do it!

Day 2 with the dolphins, fresh from a good night’s sleep and determined to enhance my encounter with them. We found ourselves a pod of 3 dolphins, though numbers were small they were very interested in playing with us amidst hunting for fish hiding under the sand on the sea bed. They came really close to everyone this time and there’s this one young one (the older they get the more spots they have on their bodies like age-spots) that kept playing with me! I tried to free dive again, this time round I was successful! I twisted and turned with this young one underwater and it came up close right beside me signalling that it wanted a pet from me (apparently if they don’t want to be touched, no matter how close you are to them, you will never be able to touch them). I reached out and stroked it! As I was stroking it on its back, it gradually rolled over for a belly rub from me! I was so happy I could feel tears forming in my eyes (or maybe it was the sea water in my mask)… that few second encounter felt like time just paused and everything was in slow-motion. After it got what it wanted for me, it darted off to play with other people (short attention span I must say). Shortly, it came back to look for me again! Tossing and turning with it underwater and I reached out to touch it again and it let me – I have made a friend! How do dolphins feel like? One word – rubbery. That encounter made my day and I can tick off another item in my bucket list.

After those 2 days of swimming with the dolphins, it was a day of choppy waters and bad weather so we were stuck in the boat with no diving nor snorkelling. Captain Scott of Dolphin Dream decided to play a video he made a few years back on numerous years encounters he filmed on the dolphins. Through that video, we learnt from a first hand encounter (much better than those shown on Animal Planet) how these dolphins recognize people and actively go up to him to play just like puppy dogs! There’s a number of these dolphins that Captain Scott named and knew them as friends, in the hand-held video, you can see them going up to him for long belly rubs, pet on the head and sometimes a naughty nudge or two. Usually camera shy, they actually played and made “funny faces” at his camera! They would pick up the bandanna that Captain Scott passes on to them and they will play “pass the bandanna” from one dolphin to another from dorsal fin to tail fin to the side flipper and back to a human again! They got so comfortable with Captain Scott that they even brought up their babies to play with him and he would know their whole family tree (although the father of the child can never be determined). He even managed to record dolphin foreplay & sex (rated RA)! He related that the dolphins that play with us are usually the full grey young ones (that explains my encounter) and the older ones will just sit back and watch on the rest of the pod to make sure they are safe. Over the years, he watches the dolphins grow up, have their own children and they will bring their children back to him to play. They are just like his children and grandchildren. Captain Scott stopped interacting with his dolphin friends a couple of years back when he became the only captain for the boat and thus couldn’t go into the water anymore. I can see in his eyes how he misses his interaction with them.

2 days of dolphin encounter wasn’t enough for me but we had to move on to the next thing of the itinerary – the Tiger Shark and my photo shoot with the sharks for the upcoming “Sharks are Friends” campaign. I had to say goodbye to my newly made dolphin friend and wonder whether it will remember my encounter with him/her just as I do… (tears well up in my eyes again but this time its sad tears)

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8th February was Mika’s birthday! And once again she gets her annual home baked birthday cake. This year it was banana & peanut cake with cinnamon cream cheese icing which she didn’t really fancy. I shall revert back to the carrot & peanut butter cake with cottage cheese icing again next year!

Couldn’t celebrate Mika’s birthday on the day itself because of work schedule so we did a belated one with close family & brought her to Kallang Park for a nice stroll. Mika was treated with steamed broccoli mixed with stewed pork for dinner & birthday cake for dessert! She was one happy pooch that night…

I simply love Mika’s face when we have the birthday cake in front of her as if she knows it’s her special day & she can eat it! It’s different when we have her with human birthday celebrations! Well, another year has passed and she’s 4 human years now. No longer a puppy but still a puppy in my eyes!

Love u my little Mika!

XOXO
Jessica

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P.S. this is the dog cake recipe which Mika didn’t like:

Banana Peanut Dog Birthday Party Cake
2/3 cup ripe mashed bananas
1/2 cup softened safflower margarine
3 large eggs
3/4 cup Water
2 cups unbleached white flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
In mixing bowl, beat together mashed banana and butter until creamy. Add eggs and water. Beat well. Stir in dry ingredients. Beat until smooth. Add nuts. Spoon batter evenly into oiled and floured bundt pan. Bake for about 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack 5 minutes, remove from pan, replace on rack and cool.

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I’ve been trying so hard to look for THE canned dog food that Mika will love. Tried so many brands for my sweetie but she seems to get sick if it after 2 days and the rest of the can has to be given added treats like cheese, fresh meat, dehydrated chicken etc for her to want to eat it!

This week, I opened a brand new can of “Black Forest Rabbit & Blueberries” from Addiction and she simply loves it! The whole can of food is finished by her willingly without coaxing & she looks forward to meal times. Not only that rabbit meat is lower in calories which us healthier & its grain free formula has blueberries! I love blueberries & so does my Mika! Rich in anti-oxidants good for my doggie…

If you have a picky eater, maybe you should try Addiction?

XOXO
Jessica

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Hello Peeps!

Today’s Mika’s puppy day! 8 February. Time really flies and in a blink on an eye she is 3 (or 21 in doggie years). Little adult doggie refusing to grow up!

For her birthday treat, I made her her favourite Peanut Butter & Carrot cake & my take on doggie Italian Meatballs just for her! (Disclaimer: all the above food is made for special doggies with doggie specific recipes)

For her birthday cake recipe (really simple!) here it is for all those who wanna bake a treat just for their paw friends.

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup peanut butter (preferable organic)
1 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup honey

1. Whisk the flour & baking soda together until evenly mixed
2. Put in the rest of the ingredients into the electric mixer
3. Mix well
4. Place dough into a 6 inch baking tin – well oiled & lined.
5. Bake at 180 degrees celsius for 30 minutes
6. Icing – cream cheese & peanut butter

Mika’s Italian Meatballs
100g of minced pork
1 heaped tablespoon of Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons of mixed Italian herbs
A pinch of pepper
1/2 cup of shredded carrots

1. Put all the ingredients into a bowl & mix well with a fork
2. Roll the mixture into 1 inch meatballs
3. Pan-fry the meatballs quickly till outside is lightly browned
4. Place the meatballs in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 10minutes until meatballs are cooked through.

Happy Rabbit year to all of u! I’m sure Mika is having a happy start & hope you are too!!!

XOXO
Jessica

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My friend’s bunny Monster (charcoal colored one) will be up for the prize of Best Breed tomorrow at Suntec City Tower 1, 2-5pm. If u happen to be in the area do go down and support this cute li’l bunny!

Their other mixed breed Totoro (brown/white one) is not in the competition but is my fave bunny as she can be flipped on he back and falls asleep on my lap with her legs 四脚朝天! Hilarious!

XOXO
Jessica

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Last Sunday some friends and I went to MacRitchie to visit the remains of the Japanese Shinto Temple that was constructed during the Japanese Occupation in Singapore. This temple was later bombed up by the Japanese when they had to leave Singapore. So what is left in the middle of MacRitchie rainforest today is not much but some small structures.

The hike to this site is pretty challenging as there is no proper pathway and you have to literally bash your way through the trees and rotten logs filled with numerous leaf litter communities, crouching under fallen trees, climbing over big logs and avoiding a lot of thorny plants. A pretty fun way to start your Sunday morning I must say!

Oh and a very BIG thank you to Sunny, our nature guide, to lead the way and show us so many interesting edible plants in the forest! We tried 2 different kinds of Betel leaves that taste exactly like a hotdog! (unbelievable I know!) and some plants that are used to build thatched roof in kampongs.

Here’s some pictures to tell you the story of my Sunday adventure!

XOXO
Jessica

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