Thought for sure by now I”d be sharing a new travel experience but… COVID-19 had pretty much quarantined the world. So – Everyone stay safe and let’s hope 2021 is better for travel.
Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands
What a great time I had on the Princess Cruise with Concerts at Sea. Not a fan of cruises since 2005 when a family reunion had us on Carnival. Terrible. But not this time. Lots of dancing, good music and a great travel buddy from the Northern VA area. Paul Revere’s Raiders were the headliners but for my money the Lettermen and the Grassroots were tops. And I’ve never seen such energy as Ron Dante of the Archies. On top of that, got to dive in St. Thomas and had a great dive buddy assigned (which doesn’t happen often)
First time back in the water since the knee replacements. Limited to 2 dives but found some great stuff – including a 5″ Meg!
Made it, Happy Valentines Day! Back in FL – looking at this view from the condo and looking forward to some sun and diving. Plan to squeeze in a trip or two to the Navy SEAL Museum and have to visit with friends too.
Never can see everything at DEMA, I’m sure this year will be no different. Orange County Convention Center – SeaLife booth. Don’t miss it.
I have never been here before – and had no idea how far I’d be walking. Thanks to my brother Dave for the idea. We had a great time at Biltmore then did Japanese for dinner. Until he visited last year and we did the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge I had no idea there was a connection between the Titanic and Biltmore. Glad I got to tour it.
Labor Day and back to Western New York. Rainbow is a good sign! Fish Fry, guitars, trip to Canada. Let’s not forget the Clarence Center Labor Day Parade – and Clam Chowder. My friend Robin and I got some of the last of it before they ran out! Then let’s not let out a trip to Erie to a casino. Never been there before and had a friend showing me the ropes. Not a fan of gambling but I came out ahead.
First day, First Dive – it’s going to be a good trip!
Another year – another convention. Decided a hat was in order – but a fascinator was more economical. Food was actually good this year!
I’ve been here before, but took the time to do the entire tour this time. Fascinating stories and construction. Everyone should take this tour and see how things were done to get this amazing dam completed back when technology was not what it is today.
Interesting place, got a couple gifts for friends. It’s not as large as it seems on TV and the guys you see on TV aren’t here unless they are filming (Except for the cardboard cutout). There wasn’t much of a line today either. Went next door for some great food and ice cream at the container Mall that Rick has going on.
Beautiful weather, great instructors, great training. So glad I have a lifetime membership. I can go back as often as I want.
Great place to stay if you’re training at Front Sight and don’t want to do the motel thing. Next time I plan to schedule an extra day or so to enjoy the ammenities. I did visit the restaurant and Winery. Great wines and a wonderful menu. But long days of training prevented me from hitting the pool. The owners are very nice and the cottages are comfortable with a full kitchen, living area and separate bedroom.
Check the out on their website
So glad to have my Brother David visiting so we can hear all the great Gospel groups performing at Dollywood. Can’t miss the Eagle Sanctuary either.
Checking in to the Marriot at Cool Springs – it’s time for the annual State Convention! This place is full of Daughters of the American Revolution for the next 3 days.
It’s a beautiful day – with a rainbow. More exhibits, changes coming for WWII and new exhibits all over the place!
National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum
I never get tired of this place. Always changing, for the better. It’s grown so much I hardly recognize it. I don’t know what is most impressive. The O Course, The Memorial, the Thornton/Norris MOH statue, the Maersk Lifeboat… can’t decide.
If you EVER get within 100 miles of Ft. Peirce, FL you owe it to yourself to visit this place.
It’s a shame the Rapa Nui barge flipped over when they were trying to sink the new reef. Pretty much everything was broken. This is the first chance I’ve had to dive it. The gang from Dixie Divers were doing a couple of dives to sink posts and provide a line leading from the Rapa Nui over to the rocks forming Deerfield Mountain Reef and I went along to photograph the event. I’m hopeful they will make new statues to sink soon.
The Rapa Nui Reef Project started as an idea to create a man-made that would be a one-of-a-kind public art spectacle. Benefactor Margaret Blume wanted to put large internationally recognizable objects off the coast of Deerfield Beach.
Her son, a diver who had known of the sinking of the Miracle of Life, pointed her in the direction of Pavan. They got a team together that included Jim “Chiefy Mathie, the Deerfield Beach Womans Club, and Dennis MacDonald the artist commissioned to bring the reef to life. A model was created with the Rapa Nui (Polynesian term for Easter Island) theme. A 150 long and 45 wide by 9 high barge was to be used as a vessel to hold the sculptures. With the barge as a stage, 15 concrete Moai statues were built alongside piles of rubble and one “ceremonial platform with 3 statues sitting on top. The largest Moai reached an impressive 22 feet tall. With approval from the City of Deerfield Beach, the barge was scheduled to be scuttled on June 7th, 2015. It was towed from Stuart down to 2 Georges at the Cove Restaurant where it served as a backdrop for benefits for the Public Art initiative.
Headed home today and, finally, a chance to fill up on a massive waffle. Can’t do this on a dive morning!
Econo Lodge has really picked up it’s game over the last few years. Clean, inexpensive, close to the diving and now a great breakfast!
Oh, and if you forget a charger for something they have a whole rack of them for sale in the lobby. (new ones, not left-behinds)
Wreck of the Atlas
Last Day – Contest over
A free day of diving so we spent it on the Atlas. Switched back to my SeaLife DC 1400 with double strobes and a single video light. Many thanks to Andre Laduba for these shots – and no, they aren’t photoshopped. We actually get this close to the sharks.
The best part was this little guy – on the last day Mike Gerken was finally able to get close enough to grab hold of him and that that hook and weight out of his mouth!
Floyd's 1921 Restaurant
Great food at Floyd’s and lots of wonderful photos and videos by everyone. Snagged a third place and honorable mention!
Olympus Dive Center
The Ruddy Duck Tavern
It’s been a long drive but after checking in at the motel, checking in at the dive shop and loading gear on the boat for morning I finally made it to the Ruddy Duck Tavern. And the Pecan encrusted flounder — mmm. Dinner tonight – and lunch tomorrow. Just too much food here but it doesn’t get any better than this.
Olympus Dive Center
Rumah Bali Bead & Breakfast
Rumah Bali Bed and Breakfast. Definitely NOT the kind of B&B you see in the U.S. But then nothing is quite the same in Bali. It was interesting that, throughout Bali, the bathrooms were technically outdoors. At Rumah Bali, as you can see, there were three walls, then a half wall with a bamboo shade that you could roll down for privacy, but the half wall was open to a courtyard. All the pictures are on the Rumah Bali page
Narita International Airport
Arrived at Narita safely. Now a three hour layover before my flight boards for Singapore. Enough time to eat, grab some snacks for the flight and get to the gate… maybe time for a little shopping.
McGhee Tyson Airport
Sept 4, 2014 My trip to Bali begins. It takes about two days to actually get there. 3 hours to Washington, 13 hours to Tokyo, 7 more to Singapore where I stay overnight in the Changi Airport. Not to worry, there are three transit hotels in the airport that are quite comfortable and book in 6 hour blocks of time. You can get a room with only a bed and TV, sharing a common locker room style shower and bathroom, or you can pay extra for a private bath inside your room. Then another three hours to Bali. By the time you get there you are ready for the nice fruit and drinks that await you at Rumah Bali as well as the beautiful grounds, refreshing pools and the rooms.
Sea Horse Dive Shop
Morning came, the weather was good, and I was ready to dive. I walked down because I had already dropped my gear the day before. Got checked in, got on the boat……and waited. Sometime after 9am, AFTER all the other boats had left for the day we were told that there was no gas! They had enough to do an inshore dive, but not enough to get to the Barrier Reef and back. I was livid. They were not very apologetic, making excuses about how they thought the gas station was going to get a delivery and they could gas up in the morning. Then, after all the pre-arrangements I worked for, they told me they could take me TOMORROW. Duh, what part of “only in town ONE day” did they not get? Knowing they were short on gas is something that should have been disclosed early. IF not the night before when I checked in, at least that morning BEFORE all the other shops left so I could have gotten on one of those boats! Because we couldn’t go offshore, we dove the “Laughing Bird Caye” – twice. With no real ocean movement between the Caye and land, everything underwater was covered with gray silt. Not very picturesque or colorful. A big disappointment.
What a ride back. We knew we would e driving after dark, and after the trip down we also knew we weren’t going to make it in 3 hours. Top it of, there was still no gas. So off we went and NONE of the small gas stations we had seen were open – or if they were they did not have gas. We were running out so stopped at a small “restaurant” (really more of a pole barn where people were eating) – asking about gas. Yep, we could get a couple gallons from them … but had to use a hose and funnel to get it into the truck. What an experience.
Kelli and I set out for Placencia. Neither of us realized that hardly any of the road had been repaired since the hurricane and what should have been a 3 hour trip took more like 6. You could see the destruction everywhere and with no resources, things just stayed trashed.
After we checked into the small room I had reserved we went to check out the dive shop. I filled out all the waivers and paid for the next day, again telling them I was looking forward to the dive because I only had one day down to do it. We parked and walked around the beach a little, you could tell people were trying to rebuild there and some nice little thatched roof cabanas and a little beach bar had been constructed. Some of the Palms had survived, others were quite small, growing back.
Shopping at Guatemala
Came over to Guatemala for the day to shop – unfortunately none of my pictures turned out except this one!
When we got back I called Seahorse Dive Shop in Placencia. Explained that I was headed down and wanted to dive the Barrier Reef, since it’s the biggest on earth next to the one in Australia. I told them I was driving down and would stay the night, but would only have ONE day to dive.
Airport, Belize City
Back to the airport. Finally got work someone has found the monitor – so it was back to the airport to pick it up. I’m prety sure we had to bribe someone to “find” it.
Got to Billy and Kelli’s via taxi. Didn’t realize just how far from the Airport they live, in Cayo! It took over two hours to get here. It’s hot, there are no hot water heaters in most places, but then, who needs hot water when “room temperature” is warm enough to bathe in? While here working on both the old computer and the new one we had to get parts. I had no idea there was a huge Mennonite community in Belize. That’s where you go to buy pretty much everything “modern” from electronics to groceries to fabric. Imagine, Mennonites being more advanced than the culture around them!
Belize City, Airport
Arrived at Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport (PGIA). Too bad all the luggage didn’t. This has got to be the furthest I’ve ever traveled to do a computer repair house call. The comptuer I brought for Billy and Kelli was with my stuff, but not the big monitor. I can start setting it up using their existing monitor until the airlines find the one I brought.
Diving, Non Profit