The Best of the Caribbean

My selections for inspiring the vacations you crave.
I love fishing in the Caribbean a little strange for a scuba diver but there you go !

Short time in San Juan Puerto Rico – What should I do ?

Short time in San Juan Puerto Rico – What should I do ?

Go visit and stay in Viejo San Juan (VSJ).

as there are more options of things to do (dine and discover) and you probably won’t miss the Condado beach in all honesty unless you want that.

This mini article is also applicable to you if you are staying longer and want to learn about El Morro and a little about VSJ. If you are arriving Thursday or Friday night then you might prefer to be closer to La Placita [map] or simply take a taxi from Viejo San Juan vsj for 15 dollars.

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Three types of people who will love Rivera Maya

Three types of people who will love Rivera Maya

While pretty much everyone will find loads to love about the stunning Riviera Maya in Mexico, there are certain groups who may find that this is their perfect vacation destination. For some of us out there, Riviera Maya is not just a place to holiday but a place to experience a little slice of Paradise, albeit for a short period of time. As your perfect vacation destination, this is a place that will leave you with lasting memories and will leave you feeling as though you have just enjoyed your own little piece of heaven on earth!

So, who is Riviera Maya particularly suited to? Below are just three of the types of people that are certain to love this destination...

The romantics: Riviera Maya is a wonderfully romantic destination and is the perfect place for that special, intimate holiday with someone really special. Whether you are looking to visit to get married or enjoy a honeymoon, or whether you simply want to enjoy a romantic break with your partner, Riviera Maya will not fail to impress, with its stunning scenery, glorious weather, balmy days and tropical nights.

The beach lovers: There are many people who want nothing more than to be able to kick back on a lovely beach with crystal clear waters lapping the shore and sunshine beating down on them. In Riviera Maya, you can have all this and more besides. You will find some pristine sands on which to relax the day away, luscious azure waters that bring that tropical breeze your way, and golden sunshine coupled with gorgeous blue skies that enable you to bask in the sunshine whilst soaking up your idyllic surroundings

The adventurous: Riviera Maya is a wonderful place to visit if you enjoy a taste of adventure, as there is so much to do here. Whether your idea of adventure is exciting outdoor sports and recreation, hiking and climbing, trekking through lush tropical greenery or horseback riding along the coastline, you will never be short of exhilarating activities when you visit this tropical paradise. 

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The Guanaja Resorts List

West peak inn - we dont have a website for them you can find reviews on trip advisor here

Bo's Island House

Coral Bay Dive Resort

Guanaja Island Club

Dunbar Rock

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Utila Activities and Things to do

Utila Activities and Things to do

Scuba Diving In Utila - Famous for whale sharks to the degree that several centres for study have been set up there. Also famous for being one of the cheapest places to learn to dive with PADI in the world. Potential PADI recruits are even offered free accommodation off the ferry. This is too hot to refuse for many backpackers quite rightly linked with cheap eating and parties the island is a backpacker hotspot and on the central america trail.

Raving at Sun Jam - Once a year a big party happens on a deserted cay requiring a short boat trip and a love of dancing. Go discover Sun Jam

Kite and Wind Surfing - If you know where equipment can be rented let us know.

Open Water Swimming - the waters are kind around the bay islands which means there are no excessive rip or other currents normally. You should take regular precautions against the hazards of currents and boat traffic however. Bee seen and drag a small inflatable behind you like a sausage if you are going out far.

Kayaking - Here is a tour offering kayaking if you don't want to at least get started on your own. http://kayakutila.com/

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Plan a scuba diving trip in the Bay Islands Honduras

Not an exhaustive guide but fast facts that can help you get to grips with this part of the Caribbean.

Location:

Honduras : The Bay Islands sit off the north coast of Honduras or if you prefer the lower left hand corner of the Caribbean not far from Belize. Discover the full website info for Honduras.

They form a small island chain and tourism provides the greatest economy.

b2ap3_thumbnail_bayislandsmap.jpg

Interesting Facts

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Slightly Amazing This - Florida Great White Shark Key Largo

Slightly Amazing This - Florida Great White Shark Key Largo

What an amazing bit of luck, I didn't think you would likely spot a Great White shark off the coast of Florida Key Largo of all places. I have seen a big shark on a pathetic little booze cruise and estimated it was a Nurse shark from memory - but that is nothing compared to this mother of a fish. Posted in 2013 it goes to show that even amazing encounters can escape you. The video could use some time elapsed since start play links being placed as the video is quite long.

Good footage and hope that people share more like this with us. 

 

Here is the video to enjoy..

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Two tanker in Antigua with Indigo Divers

Two tanker in Antigua with Indigo Divers

The two dive sites were quite close  - but it didn’t take long for Indigo Divers new boat engine and improvements to get us there ! A speed of 28 knots.

Barracuda Reef – 55 feet this site did give us Barracuda – and black tip reef sharks that I hope to get saved and edited and uploaded here on our youtube channel. The other dive site was Salomon trail – we did again see sharks but it wasn’t as good as the first dive. I didn’t get any really good footage as I am still learning how to use the rig I have and the light is a bit underpowered. I hope to make a semi decent quick video as you may be interested in sharks. The puffer fish shot was not bad. I was very annoyed to have forgotten to add the red filter I had brought all the way from home. I think you need to dive a lot more to get good footage for moments like this. Simply put there is so much that goes wrong on the boat with your gear your head etc that volume is what can work. Conditions for example should have been a lot better with the vis but untypically rain has been around. Check the video anyway. 

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Always disappointed always learning...

I took a good while to again get familiar with adobe after effects during the making of this short video that had almost everything in it. Sharks topped the order then it was familiar friends and some less known guys like puffer fish and spoted drums. There was some nich schooling action going on which I caught a bit of. A massive lobster that didnt make it into the video due to time of all things.

Problems I had were in keeping the go pro steady and getting enough light on the subject to allow the colours to come through. Publishing the colour correction via adobe after effects was a lot faster than using photoshop I noticed and my flow was this 

trim the footage in gopro studio (I think would skip this step next time !!! BIG TIP)take that footage into after effects (its great to get the zoom control and I played with using some stabilization like on the Barracuda)lay the after effects exports using imovie (not using adobe premiere as imovie works great for me)

See the video here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19Zbe1Rl_Wc

So its the old two steps of working on clips that get to be part of the bigger story when you remove the first step above. I used to use adobe premiere for that last step but pushed for time imovie does well. I loose some control but thats fine for this. As I sy the footage was a little dissapointing so burning more time is not going to happen. It's cheap and chearful ll the way :)

Here is a non colour edited version - a red filter helps avoid the post processing work and gives better results generally but the filter requirments changes depending on depth too.

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mojito
I have also heard that you can shoot in raw () if you dont and need to correct white balance then check out this video for that an... Read More
Tuesday, 17 February 2015 13:18
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Bimini Aerial Video : Caribbean Way of Life

Just a nice way to view the Bahamas and Bimini - if your in any doubt what it might be like then spoiler alert - DONT WATCH THIS NOW !

Caribbean Video Production Services are available now with wonderful GPS controlled Quads at a fraction of the cost of traditional helicopter. The art that is photography is still a requirement so don't think you can just do it yourself. It's cheap enough anyway to get some real unique footage for you're Caribbean Interest.

 

 

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Learn along with me - White Balance and how to correct it

At the moment I dont know what white balance is exactly. But I do know it is important and helps make your shots look great. The good news is that you can alter it later. Shoot in raw and then expect to do this or manually set it with a white slate or diving tank as the 'test area' at differing depths.

here are some links from people that know more than me 

http://www.uwphotographyguide.com/underwater-photography-ambient-light-manual-white-balance

http://photoblogstop.com/photoshop/accurate-white-balance-adjustments-in-photoshop

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Crane beach and resort

I met a nice guy from Brazil who was taking a weeks break from Sao Paulo (its just 5.5hrs flight and 1 hr time difference). We both were asking the driver about the stop for crane beach in barbados. The beach is in th e lower right of the island and to get there you need to take the bus marked something castle . It was a lot of fun playing in the waves bodysurfing a local brought us pina colladas he said he was raheem sterlings cousin.

Editors note : the bus you need to catch is the Sam Lords Castle one and isnt as frequent as the regular services but you shouldnt wait more than 40 minutes on a  bad day. more info on Sam's castle here - http://www.barbados.org/samlords.htm#.VCcsryl4HZc

 

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Utila and the Whale Shark

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A good Learning to Dive Video in Jamaica

This is the kind of thing you can expect when learning to dive in Jamaica, the line allows for a safe descent and the dive is shallow - you will have been taught a lot in the pool or confined safe water area at this point and you will never go outside your comfort zone !Learning to Dive in Jamaica at Sandals !

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Underwater Sculpture News Diving in Mexico

timebomb

From the underwater artist Jason De Caires Taylor himself we present some recent updates for you to share.

 

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Caribbean Vs The Red Sea - Diving Holidays

You may be based in Europe and fancy doing a diving holiday. I am in such a position and have the valuable hindsight to help me out. I have dived Sharm El Sheikh and various places in the Caribbean.

And I can help you decide which is the better option for you.

We need to clarify that value for money is not meaning the cheapest here. Without doubt flying from European Gateways such as London Gatwick Stanstead or Luton for example or from France Italy or Germany etc then without doubt and ALL INCLUSIVE SHARM EL SHEIKH diving holiday will be cheaper.The problem I have with Egypt diving vacations is multifaceted. SO lets jump right in in and go there:

The problems with diving in Sharm El Sheikh

The Dive Operators are real factories and have largely lost sight of the customer as an individual diver. I'm not going to name any individual operator they are all pretty alike in that they are there for the money. You will see this in the low prices initially rising with addons such as afternoon dives or excursions to best dive sites such as the Thistlegorm. There is nothing wrong in this IF this is clearly stated and simple to understand. In the larger operations you will not find the divemasters and instructors hanging out after the day is out unlike in the Caribbean, that's fair enough as well - I'm not complaining just trying to get across the fact that diving is different here. You will get buses to the dock and have to wait while getting processed to the boats passing the metal detector. This gets fatiguing and after the diving day you might have to walk back the last 75m to the shop after the bus doesn't go all the way back.If you are part of a group the above isn't really that much of a deal - but for the lone traveller you will find the dive shops largely lonesome places. And this continues into the evening. Thank god I met some students going  for their IDC and their Instructor in my hotel to make things more interesting. I have travelled the world alone and some countries are more for the lone traveller than others. If you are part of a group then you will enjoy what is good about Sharm El Sheikh..

The restaurants and Nightlfe in Sharm is disappointing. Hassle from the locals to be expected and really not too bad if you accept where you are

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Cruise the Caribbean

graffiti-puerto-rico-web

I have to say that when I get the time I'm certainly going to go for what would have been the unthinkable a few years ago ! As a hardcore backpacker going on a cruise was something that didn't sound right to me. 

A few things are different now !

1) Cruising has changed and the quality of the whole experience has improved. Take for example the dining now you can choose from a massive variety of restaurants and the cruise ships are listening to the passengers.2) I'm looking for a more relaxing time away. Yes my own goalposts moved and I am no longer content to share a sweaty dorm room with the unrecognisable backpackers of today (was I ever like that ?)

3) Cruising is for the retired - Not any more ! With great entertainment bars and clubs to suit your mood and your age group. No they won't likely be the sweaty tawdry pubs of the X in Sydney!

4) I'm now a parent and this is perhaps the fastest growing market for cruising- yes families are very well accommodated by the cruise ships.

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Jaws 4 Revenge of the Lionfish..

caribbean lionfish

The Lionfish now inhabit all of the Caribbean and are present on the wreck of the Aeroplane at Nari Nari. But did you know that this dive site got its new wreck for the film Jaws 4 The Revenge !

Image thanks to Laszlo

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