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Caribbean Blog

Welcome to the Caribbean an amazingly untouched beauty awaits. Welcoming people and amazing activities to transform you in mind body and spirit.

Week 1 of my Oceanographic course boiled down

What do the oceans mean to me ? I find this hard to answer in a single image – so maybe I should choose one that simply makes me feel very much alive or happy. I thought about the best encounter ever which was pilot whales, but after thinking further I simply love the fishes which is why I scuba dive. I should try and find some closer meaning for the word oceans perhaps as this is a slightly separate thing. I do think of old fashioned ships the kind you find on old spice bottle. I don’t have much personal experience of Oceans at the very thickest meatiest part maybe none ! flying over them for hours gives me an idea of their magnitude and maybe this size is quite key in that it is a global influencer in all things.

Here is the wall - http://padlet.com/wall/exploringouroceans1

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2013/09/olaus_magnus_carta_marina_sea_monsters_on_a_gorgeous_renaissance_map.html

Wow a 3d page ! - http://www.southampton.ac.uk/oes_timeline/#vars!date=1852-09-12_09:24:00!

http://deepseadrilling.org/about.htm

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Exploring the Caribbean Sea bed in a submersible

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Utila and the Whale Shark

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The Barracuda short video

This was a very typical moment while diving in Antigua this kind of sized Barracuda would come in close sometimes with friend. Always curious (with friend bi-curious ok bad joke). Am glad I managed to get some video up about it, can't wait to try out my go pro as you can see this is not taken with anything near sophisticated for todays market.

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Colour correcting the Nurse Shark in Antigua

You can see some of the settings I used in Photoshop here to achieve the result (ignore the bottom two layers and know just one of these is your photo OR video)

The layers will be as shown above the first (bottom) 2 but you may get away with fewer - just make sure to have the two shown selected in the images here. Any problems and you can ask me from commenting below. I will help you set up your photoshop files for you.

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One of the best Antigua diving videos (colour corrected)

What I like about this video is that it accurately shows the quality of diving that the Caribbean and Antigua in particular has to offer. 

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New Resort ! the Sandals Grand this December

Featuring the standard but high standard you might expect of Sandals resorts the new Sandals Grand may be sure to disappoint ;) but its arriving the middle of december and will no doubt be a place where many of you choose to base yourself. It's not such a varied choice of holiday accommodations in Grenada being mostly resorts. So this is another variation I guess and you will have the same plans like all inclusive for example. This won't normally include scuba diving but other non powered water-sports are usually included in all inclusive plans.

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Baha mar and Melia join to open an All Inclusive Hotel in Bahamas

Melia at Baha Mar will be the new hotel name and brand for the Melia Hotels International Group. This new renovation will be for late 2014 but interim Melia will take over running the now Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort at what will be called the Melia Nassau Beach Resort come december this year 2013.

It is thought that the Melia group will bring more international tourism to the Britsh speaking Bahamas with their expertise in Latin America Russia and Europe.

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Cuba the pearl at the heart of Caribbean

Pilar Beach

Cuba is an island country in Caribbean is brimming with vibrant art, soul-stirring music, villages cloaked with colonial charm, rolling farmlands, rugged mountains, varied geography and white sandy beaches which are eagerly waiting for its visitors to get explored. It is one of the largest and most intriguing of all Caribbean islands with its capital city Havana. The country has something for its every traveller from fascinating history to spectacular scenery, from vibrant nightlife to excellent family friendly hotels which indeed make Cuba” The pearl at the heart of the Caribbean”. The land is lush with tropical flora and fauna and is tempered by marine winds that invite visitors to explore experience and indulge. On your visit to Cuba get ready for shocks and surprises because the country promises to be like nowhere else you’ve ever visited. It may be economically poor but culturally rich, architecturally magnificent and naturally blessed. So you just can’t afford to miss this land of classic beauties. The beauty of this country lies in Cubans themselves who are survivors and dreamers who kept the country alive and ensures that Cuba continues to be fascinating. Today tourists from all corners of the world have started looking at Cuba as an exciting destination to visit which is full of amazing attractions to explore. If you are still not among them then just don’t wait anymore and catch low price flights to Cuba and enjoy a journey to a great destination.

National Parks Cuba

The country is blessed with abundance of natural beauty which you can explore at its several national parks. Turquino National Park is located on Cuba’s highest and steepest mountains, Sierra Maestra which is around 1990 meters high. Established in 1991, the national park showcases ecological villages within its area along with several field stations. It also pursues active policy of support for key endangered species. Topes de Collantes National Park is an amazing and protected landscape of sheer beauty which comprises of various peaks and elevations and occupies an area of 12 hectares is a natural pool of crystal clear water and many more natural things is worth visit.

Fascinating Museums

The country has some of the most amazing museums that are well worth of a visit. National Museum of Decorative Arts preserves over 30,000 works of historical and high artistic values. This magnificent museum features items and articles which span from four centuries of style. Art lovers can explore nostalgic time of yesterday while visiting this museum. Museum of Cigar is one of the historic museums of Cuba which is situated in old Havana depict tobacco culture of island. The museum exhibits best quality of cigars and is even attract the non-smokers as well. Cigar is island’s most famous export and this museum is a must while visiting Cuba.

The old city- Havana

Havana the capital and colorful metropolis of two million people is remarkable for its architecture splendors spanning more than five centuries. The city is decked with some big crowd pullers among them Plaza de Armas which is the oldest square in Havana and the site of city’s foundation, El Templete, which is the oldest neo classical building in Havana, Casa de la Obra Pia houses a museum of 18th century furniture and goods are few among many of its major attractions. Get ready for all this fun and excitement and for this just grab beat deal discounted flights to Havana and enjoy a great journey to this culturally rich country.

Soulful Music

Cuba is a country that appeases your senses without trying. The music of country creating a continuous backing soundtrack that really sets the scene. Everywhere you go there is music and with music comes dancing. The music of Cuba is largely based on its cultural origins in Europe and Asia and over the three hundred years created a wealth of new musical forms. The lively and energetic music is profoundly influenced music styles throughout the world and impact that still continues even today and will sure soothe your senses. If you happen to be in Trinidad then especially you will enjoy the outdoor music that is casa de particular. But no matter where you go you will find the melodic tunes that are unmistakably cuba.

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DSD - Discover Scuba Diving Antigua

I used to teach Discover Scuba Diving so it is always great to see this course in action. It has its critics but it really has upped the inflow of new Scuba Divers to the sport. That is a good thing. Yesterday Donald from Indigo Divers took a couple of gals out and they took to the water like fishes. I was observing them while waiting to get back on the boat for our second dive. Antigua is a great place to learn to dive. Twee had talked her two mates to do it as she was an open water diver who was doing all she could in her new found sport - they are an active bunch from Texas and I am sure they will be doing a Scuba Vacation next time.

The first dive was excellent for me as I love barracuda and here there were good schools of them - I got some good shots. And again there was a nurse shark, holed right in a tight crevice my camera flash got him out a bit - a wee chappie that kept my diving days to seeing sharks ratio at at least one shark per day.

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I forgot my wetsuit - mornings my brain doesn't do.

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Antigua Diving with Indigo Diving and Nishi Squid

Had a couple of tanks with indigo diving today and was very impressed with their levels of service and the boat. The diving - how was it ? Well we saw all manner of tiny critters from blennies to flamingo tongues and peterson shrimp and pistol shrimp sharing a flat = corkscrew anemone. But what was a real treat was the black tip reef shark ! it was also a pleasure to dive with Steve and Nishi and Pat from Indigo divers. All very good divers and that made for a great two tanks. Nishi is blogworthy as she is an expert on SQUID! She even found 3..So the site was Double Dip and we got no deeper than 18m for the first dive, lobsters, one king crab and a very healthy sized barracuda. The second dive was in the vicinity and forget the name if it had one. The second was where the shark cruised on by. 

The video is on this page Antigua Shark Sighting

 
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Sailing with Confidence: How to be a Better Skipper

To be a leader of men is no mean feat. Leaders stand out by their demeanour, their sense of control, their knowledge of their field of operation, and their consideration for those under them. A happy combination of these traits inspires respect in their followers.

The best way to be a better skipper is to thoroughly understand the duties and responsibilities of a skipper and then execute them to the best of your ability.

So what does that mean in practical terms?

Quite simply, the following:

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Don't worry you wouldn't be put in charge of such a big boat nor a little one step by step you will learn how to sail and later be... Read More
Thursday, 08 August 2013 12:29
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Kayaking in Antigua

Kayaking in Antigua

Location : North West Antigua, Dickenson Bay.

A potential chapter from Tales in the Tropics.. Image thanks to Ocean National Geographic 

It was an amazingly calm day so much so that there was no sail fun to be had. So a Kayak it was then, fuelled by some baileys on ice and a massive all inclusive buffet feed I was ready to go. In need of some exercise I decided to head along towards the right and a trail I had done before - it was so calm maybe I should choose another course. Maybe I could get to Millers bar if I turned left instead.I decided to start off left and see where the fatigue set in. Amazingly I had a super energy day. Maybe the biorhythms were good in the physical we had a session playing tennis earlier in the extreme heat. The small islet off diagonal has been teasing me for a long time and it was still so very calm.

"I had visions of them sticking on the paddle and as I brought the paddle up they would wander down and attack me to death"

I felt good and went to see how I could get there. It felt I was further out than I was since there was a large tanker refuelling the island at the offshore tanks. The first thing I noticed was how clear it was a spectacular visibility. And then I kept seeing very small surface disturbances. In no time at all I crossed a very real line into a thick shoal (swarm) of moon jellyfish, the classic shaped ones purple trim and mauve clear see through amazingly pretty and scary in the sting kind. I was not sure if they were so dangerous to the sting. But what was concerning me was if I was to get stung this far out I could start to get in some trouble, the jetskis were now behind me but I am sure it would have been ok.

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maxciriloy
ohhhhhhh...!!! I like your story.... Jelly's are very beautiful and as well it is very scary story of yours... keep writing post.... Read More
Saturday, 14 September 2013 10:20
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Caribbean Dreamy Holidays - Holiday Planning For Couples

Caribbean Dreamy Holidays - Holiday Planning For Couples

It doesn’t matter if you're a new couple or a pair of old lovebirds – at some point, you’re going to want to organise a romantic trip away together. It can be difficult to know where to start. Planning a holiday for two is tricky. What if your partner doesn’t like the romantic hotel you’ve booked? What if they want to play tourist all fortnight and you just want to spend time together in private? What if it ends up being a disaster and you come home resenting each other? 

The latter problem is, fortunately, very rare. Couples who can get along well for a week or two spent constantly together, tend to be very strong indeed. There’s nowhere to hide on holiday. You and your partner are likely to be together 24 hours a day, so it’s important to plan a trip that incorporates both of your personalities and hobbies. This isn’t half as difficult as it sounds – all it takes is a little care and consideration. Here’s how to plan a dream holiday for you and your loved one. 

Decide On A Location

As you can probably guess, location is key. If you’ve got the money and the adventurous spirit – why not splash out and tick a destination off your bucket list? Thailand, Mexico, Peru and New York can all be extremely romantic places to visit and spend time. If you fancy something a little more humble, stick with a European getaway, says travel website TravelDudes.org. Europe has some of the most romantic destinations in the world, you know. It’s important that you decide on a location that you’ll both enjoy, so do discuss the matter at length. Try to arrive at a compromise, if you can’t quite decide on a favourite destination. But beyond all other destinations the Caribbean can be the best destination for a romantic holiday for many reasons mostly that you won't find it too busy at all.

Lounging Or Leaping?

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The best Antigua diving site - Hercules Pillars

The best Antigua diving site - Hercules Pillars

South and dived out of Falmouth area is Hercules Pillars - named for the pretty rock formation above the water. Underwater is a large plateau of coral getting shallower to large flat faced boulders. Here are some photos from that very dive today.

Best Antigua Scuba Diving

and here is a taster

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Grenada has some truly world class paces to stay !

Grenada has some truly world class paces to stay !

I won't go into detail that I don't know about - for that visit their website if you like this taster !

Mount Hartman Bay Grenada

the resort modelled into the side of a cave.

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A Backpacker's Checklist

A Backpacker's Checklist

Backpacking might be exotic, but it isn’t always easy. There are long bus journeys in sweaty, cramped conditions, hostel bathrooms that really aren’t as clean as promised and dark nights in the middle of nowhere with little to do. It’s a good life, but it’s a tough one. 

When your home is on your back and your bed is wherever you can find it, unexpected things tend to happen. A bout of food poisoning or a nasty cut, even a bad hangover, can turn into a major situation if you haven’t got the tools to deal with it. If you are currently backpacking or you plan to be backpacking soon – it is absolutely vital that you take certain items with you. 

Here are a just few of the most important items on a responsible backpacker’s checklist. If they’re not on yours – add them. 

Money Belt 

No, it's not a bum bag. Yes, it is unfashionable. Nevertheless, it’s a necessity. When travelling, it’s vital that you do not carry all of your valuables in one bag or pocket. If you are targeted by a pickpocket, it is highly unlikely that he or she will have time to check more than one of your pockets. The theft or loss of any valuable item can be frustrating, but the loss of them all can be devastating. Carry money in a securely fastened belt that hangs close to the body. If it makes you feel safer, wear it under your shirt or jacket. Always separate your money and your passport. It can also be a good idea to carry a small amount of emergency cash in a separate bag or pocket. Avoid accessing this money in public – you never who’s watching. 

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It can be tough at times backpacking no doubt. BUT it is the most singlular wonderous thing to do in the world for me and many oth... Read More
Friday, 12 July 2013 23:36
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Scuba Diving Masks for Big Noses

I had a lot of success with my post on swimming goggles for big noses that today while diving and wondering why my dive this morning wasn't quite perfect that I had no room at the end of my nose pocket. There must be a lot of us finning around finding it hard to steer that I hope if you too have a big nose you might share this blog post and indeed be able to share your wisdom so that I might save some dollars and buy the right mask for my big pointy nose.

So please share some diving humour today and help us big nosed divers out !

I did a quick search to save you some time and found these also helpful links:

http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=40442

http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/fins-masks-snorkels/244222-masks-people-big-noses.html

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St Lucia All Inclusive Experience at the Rex Resort St Lucian.

St Lucia All Inclusive Experience at the Rex Resort St Lucian.

The main image here is not of Reduit Beach this is the view on the other side of what you can see looking left from reduit beach, various trails lead up this way to a fish pond believe it or not and some good views can be had. Also the segue tours run up here.

Location : Reduit Beach St Lucia. Close to Rodney Bay.

We stayed at Rodney Bay reduit Beach and the Rex Resort there called the St Lucian during the month of November. It’s hard to fault the beach here and the resort also has a great variety of watersports  on offer. Cruise ship day we felt a little relegated to one side as the resort welcome the cruise shippers to come and stay on the beach. The resort has no less than 3 pools but the third and largest pool is somewhat hidden away. Considering that it has a pool bar its strange that they don’t advertise it more. Facing the ocean this part of the resort is on your left side. Via the beach just walk up and notice the pavilion style building from the beach and cut in. It is your resort don’t worry ! To the right is a slightly more upmarket rex resort the Royal that is out of bounds apart from a paying restaurant you can frequent, virgin staff get to stay over here, but it seems a little quiet to me and the beach is no better. Back to the left hand side of the resort facing the sea you can walk through the resort to get to the dilapidated but functional tennis courts. They look rougher than they are in reality the surface is passable for any game you might have, though it adds to the overall feeling that the resort needs a makeover also some kit is needed like a proper volleyball for the pool as there is shockingly NO beach volleyball a big disappointment for me. The gym is decent enough and pernile I think his name was who also do the activities friendly fun and helpful. The room we had was not poolside and was perfectly fine but nothing luxurious either.

Being all inclusive here and eating in the same place for all the meals would get very tiring indeed past a week. We stayed for just the week and it was ok. The food was to a decent standard and varied enough to help me bulk up – on purpose of course. I did feel there was no one place that encouraged meeting so easily.

We both felt that it was a mixed reception from some of the staff members who seemed at times to be almost unhappy – clearly a fault of the management but it must be noted that mostly they were very happy to serve chat and not allow the management lacking’s to be passed on to us. I met Richard  whom I had encountered at the Rex in Antigua and if anyone can get a resort better it will be him. It needs some investment and some managerial attitude change. For example the Jacuzzi which is cold was left with leaves from the trees and it looked so uninviting as to be unused but it was left like this because no one uses it we were told…well heat a little the water with black coiled pipes or a heater and keep it leaf free  then people will use it.

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