We woke up bright and early this morning to meet the same dive charter from last night to make two more dives. The conditions were getting a little rough, but they assured us that we would head towards a protected bay. The ride to the spot was more like a roller coaster than a boat ride, but we got there and decided to gear up and drop down as quickly as possible. We again saw many colorful fish and pretty coral, but also moray eels and a teeny tiny yellow nudibranch. The water was blue and the visibility was at least 80 feet, much better than anything we are used to diving in. Doug and at least one other diver got sick in between the two dives due to the thrashing of the boat, I nearly joined them We cut our surface interval a little short and got ready and back down to minimize the motion sickness and to get us back to the marina before conditions got any worse. More of the same on that dive; lots of surge which actually allowed us to see a lot without much effort as it just carried us along. When we were in the water the dives were great, though calmer conditions would have made the whole experience a bit more pleasant.
We landed in Kona yesterday and had an amazing day today! We leisurely started the morning with a breakfast buffet, complete with fresh Guava juice and pineapple – delicious. We then made our way over to the beach right outside the resort grounds (Kahalu’u Beach Park) for some snorkeling. The water was very clear, warm and full of colorful fish, coral and green sea turtles. We relaxed a bit and then went to Honokohau Harbor to meet our dive charter for a manta ray night dive. Words cannot describe that dive! It was absolutely breathtaking! We were inches away from five very large manta rays as they gracefully flipped and dove through the lit up water eating their fill of plankton. Buddy, our dive guide, said that the biggest one had a 14 foot wing span! The photos do not do it justice, but they give you an idea of just how close the mantas got when they were not actually making contact with our heads or arms!
Last week, during my spring break, we flew up to Colorado and spent the week in the rocky mountains, at or near Beaver Creek resort, near Vail. The weather was perfect for skiing, and there was 18″ of fresh powder from a snowstorm the day before we arrived. It also snowed 5″ more while we were there. The fam went skiing and ‘boarding twice. I’d never gone skiing or boarding and thought I’d try it, so I took a “group” snowboarding class with only one other student, so it was pretty much a private lesson. It was pretty fun, despite the fact that I fell down a lot… I’m still sore a week later.
Another highlight of the trip was our visit to the original Chipotle, in Denver, near DU. It was small but the food was good. I wanted to buy a t-shirt but they didn’t have my size… so they just gave me one! On the back it says, “I made the pilgrimage to Evans” [st.].
So admittedly, I’m a little late on this post, but what else is new, eh? A couple weeks ago was the fabled “cool kids cruise” of 2008. We got in a boat, and rowed on down south of the border to the Mexican Riviera. The full 13 of us “kids” went on a zipline and repelling tour in Puerto Vallarta, which was awesome! We took an inflatable speed boat to get there and on the way we saw a group of humpback whales, one of which was nice enough to give us a show by breaching, in slow motion, I’m pretty sure. In Mazatlan, D+E+D+J skipped the formal tours and took our own walking tour around the city. As far as Mexican cities go, it was not bad. The next day, Erin and I went scuba diving in Cabo San Lucas, at “Land’s End”. We saw some cool animals that we’d never seen before, including a school of puffer fish, a few moray eels, and a couple sea lions playing together. I still haven’t sat down to organize the pictures, but I hope I will soon.
Well, we started our New Year off with a bang! We flew up to Las Vegas for the weekend just for fun, and to take advantage of the fact that I’m not in school right now. We stayed at the Luxor because honestly, when else can you sleep in a pyramid? Here is our list of activities:
- Ate some good food (i.e. Chipotle)
- Saw the Zumanity Cirque du Soleil show
- Gambled $5
- Went to the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay
- Got roped into a timeshare schpeil (but got 3 free meals and tickets to aforementioned Shark Reef out of it)
- Went to The Fremont St. Experience
- Walked through some casinos including the
- Found Erin a nice dress for the cruise
- Looked at all the pre-CES paraphernalia
- Picked up a nice little Peter Lik piece for our living room
Here is our list of transporation methods:
All in all, it was lots of fun, except for the end part where they put our luggage on the next flight and we had to wait in the airport for an extra hour and a half after our plane landed a half hour late and we got home at 1:30am.
Well, I just downloaded the last of our pictures from the past 2 SCUBA filled weekends, so I thought I’d share a few of them. On the 10th of June, we woke up at 4am after getting home late after Ashley’s wedding celebration, and drove down to Mission Bay to get on a boat headed to The Los Coronados Islands off the northern coast of Mexico. This was our first fun dive since our cruise in February and the first after purchasing all of our own equipment, so we were excited to go.
The water was really clear, much more so than our experience at La Jolla Shores, and a little warmer. We went on two dives. The first was at the “Keyhole” which was right behind us there in that picture. The second was at “Lobster Shack” which was named that for the place on the island that used to have a lobster shack on it. We saw lots of Garibaldi (the offical saltwater fish of California) and some other cool fish, and best, some seals!
Look at my wife. Isn’t she hot?
Last weekend, the 14th-17th of June, we took a trip to Catalina along with Chris, Shelley, Brian, Janet, and Moses to Catalina. We were going for fun, of course, but also to get our PADI Advanced Certifications.
We left Friday night from Dana Point, and arrived at Avalon (the village on Catalina Island) a couple hours before sunset. We all had dinner together and then went to our hotels to study up for the next day’s dives.
We dove twice on Saturday (100′ deep, and advanced underwater navigation), again on Saturday night for our night dive, and twice on Sunday (wreck, and underwater naturalist). Those 5 dives qualified us to be advanced divers. Unfortunately for Brian, Saturday morning he was congested and couldn’t dive. He tried later in the day but couldn’t clear his ears. The dive spot at Avalon is called Casino Point, and it’s an underwater park with 3 sunken ships, a plaque dedicated to Jacques Cousteau, and lots of animals and kelp. It was a really fun weekend!
Well, we're back from our Caribbean holiday, and I must say it was a great vacation! We got plenty of sleep, but also had plenty to do (and of course more than enough to eat).
Our first stop was St. Maarten (or St. Martin). We rented ATV's and went on a mini tour around the tiny island. We stopped at a scenic overlook and at the "most popular beach on the island," where we promptly took our shoes off and I promptly lost my glasses to the crazy surf. Luckily, the trip was not ruined, as we found an optometrist in the teeny city, from whom I bought some contacts.
The highlight of our trip was definitely the SCUBA diving at Buck Island off of St. Thomas. The water was super clear, maybe 100' visibility, and a balmy 79 degrees. The funny thing is, the guides were saying the water was the coldest of the year. We were practically sweating in our 3 mil wetsuits. We were told that we had a 50% chance of seeing a sea turtle, and a 50% chance of seeing a shark, of which, unfortunately, we saw neither. But we did see a sunken ship in 40' of water, and a reef with plenty of fish, in 60' of water. Erin saw a 4' barracuda.
Our last stop on the cruise was an island in the Bahamas actually owned by Princess, called Princess Cays. It was basically like the Disneyland of the Bahamas. It was very pretty, and palm tree-lined. We were able to find some lounge chairs to laze around in (Erin in the sun and me in the shade, of course), and got a nice view of our ship.
One of the most amazing things of the whole trip was how incredibly blue and transparent the water was. Everywhere we went, you could see straight through the water to the bottom, as you can see in lots of the pictures.
After we disembarked back in Ft. Lauderdale, our last huzzah was a trip to the Everglades for an air boat ride. The Everglades is actually not technically a swamp but actually the widest and slowest moving river in North America. It flows from Lake Okeechobee in the middle of the state at an elevation of 18' above sea level, down and out to the ocean. So it doesn't move too fast. We actually saw 3 crocodiles in their native habitat, including one eating a fish, which is apparently extremely rare.
For more pictures, see the picasa web album. The End.
We're about to embark on our 7 day Caribbean cruise aboard the Caribbean Princess and I thought I'd give a quick update on what we've already done here. We spent Friday in Miami, mostly touring various parts of the city via public transportation. We ended up in South Beach at about 3:30, and got to walk along the beach and see the famous sites. The weather was threatening rain the entire day, what a lovely day! Yesterday (Saturday) we walked the 1.5 miles from our hotel to the Pro Dive shop here in Ft. Lauderdale, and chartered a boat to go out diving to the sunken ship "The Rebel". The dive was only our 5th dive ever, and it was down to a depth of 100' besting our previous deepest dive by 40', and was our first wreck dive. We saw a Grouper that was about 4' long and 18" tall. We were only allowed to stay at that depth for about 20 minutes or else we might get the bends. Our second dive of the day was to the "Ft. Lauderdale Caves" reef. We saw tons of different fish, like we were swimming in an aquarium. It was our first dive without an instructor telling us what to do. Since the depth was only 30' for this dive, they told us that we should use "pop-up navigation" where, if you get disoriented, you just pop up back to the surface, and reorient yourself by locating the dive boat. We felt like old pros in the water by that time. We're headed to the port at noon today.
I've had quite a nice conference here in Portland. I've learned quite a few Perls of wisdom©, made quite a few contacts, and had quite a few new experiences. We've been to quite a few really good lectures: of course a couple by Larry Wall and Damian Conway on Perl, one by Robert "r0ml" Lefkowitz about how open source (and Web 2.0) is like a tomato, and saw some cool "Firefox Flicks." Tonight 9 of us OSCON'ers went to dinner at the Portland City Grill, which is located in on the 30th floor of a pink building in downtown Portland. I had the petite filet mignon, so tender you could cut it with a fork. Dylan Bennett of EarthBridge fame lives around here so he met us for dinner and then showed me all the cool stuff he has been working on. The next version of EarthBridge looks pretty sweet. It's amazing how many ideas you can come up with IRL rather than over email or chat. Tomorrow is a 1/2 day and then we're headin' home with our heads spinning.
I uploaded a bunch of our best pictures from the trip last night and here's the gallery!