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Urban Ocean Cruise in Long Beach Brings Awareness Along with the Fun

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The fifth annual Urban Ocean Festival will be held May 3 and 4 at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Food, live music, art displays, and great educational programs bring the plight of the urban ocean and how humans are impacting its delicate balance to our consciousness. Over 10,000 people are expected over the course of the two-day event. The festival will also feature mini cruises aboard a double-deck yacht around the Long Beach Harbor select weekends though the summer to really bring the concept of ocean responsibility front and center. My tween and teen girls and I had the opportunity to preview this cruise and were treated to a morning of fun and education.

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Our 2 hour harbor cruise was treat enough. Sailing away from the dock near the Aquarium of the Pacific, we admired the view of the moored boats and yachts, the palm trees lining the coastline, and a clear blue morning sky. We motored past the Queen Mary, always an impressive sight. But as we sailed further out and around the bay, the meaning of the “urban ocean” really hit home. At the mouth of the LA river, cargo containers, cranes, and pure industry was all we saw for a good portion of the cruise back to the harbor. It served as a true reminder that the ocean is our partner and not ours to own. We may embrace commerce with container after container of imported goods coming to our shores, but it is not without repercussions to the ecosystem.

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It was probably not coincidence then that the industrial view came into view just as the Trashin’ Fashion Show started on the top deck. Designers Marina and Erica showcased their creations on models wearing actual ocean debris. Marina’s design featured fish netting, beach toys that had washed ashore, and other “plastic pollution” as she called it as a statement about shoreline garbage and its affect on sea life. Plastic, she pointed out, does not degrade.

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Erica’s dress was made of trash bags and embellished with lovely flowers made entirely out of aluminum cans. The detailing was truly a marvel, and again a reminder of the origin of the designs and how we as humans influence the ocean we purport to protect and enjoy.

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Back inside the yacht’s cabin, we were treated to a mini art show. These pieces spoke to urban expansion and its detrimental impact on the oceans.

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A true treat was the Seafood for the Future cooking demonstration with Chef Daniel from the Aquarium’s restaurant. The pan seared mackerel was selected for its sustainability. My girls gave it an A+ for taste. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s a healthy fish high in Omega 3 fatty acids!

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Once back at the harbor, we disembarked with excitement for our impending visit to the aquarium, but with a new appreciation for the ocean and the creatures that call it home. The Urban Ocean Cruise was a lovely morning adventure while instilling in my girls a real awareness of our responsibility to the beaches we love to regularly visit. We can enjoy our gorgeous Orange County coast without leaving a toxic footprint.

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These cruises run select weekends through the summer. Cost is $29.95 for adults and $10 for kids and does not include aquarium admission. Aquarium members receive a discount. For more information on the Urban Ocean Cruises, visit http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/events/info/the_urban_ocean_world_port_and_sealife_cruise/

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Karen Bremer is a North Orange County native. She’s a mom, freelance writer, and owner of www.shopbeecreative.com. Her company Bee Creative specializes in products for scrapbooking, card making, and paper crafting online and in person at consumer shows in major cities around the country. Married for 16 years with 13 and 11 year old girls, her business provides the flexibility she needs to be a dance mom, room mom, and girl scout leader among other titles. Free time? She’s never seen it and wouldn’t change it for the world.
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2 Comments

  1. Great article Karen!

  2. That food looks fantastic and the otters remind me of back home when I was kid. I used to love going to the aquarium too. Next year I’m going to come check this out.

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