Category: TRAVEL

Eating Our Way from Venice to Wauchula // Dining Off the Chain in Florida

This shark tooth dive trip to Venice, Florida was an “every meal out” trip, and we had no idea what to expect in the way of restaurants. Road trips and dive trips are a chance to experience new food. Sometimes we opt for grocery shopping and preparing our own food; but other times, we throw caution to the wind and plan on a total splurge and eat out every meal. Avoiding chain restaurants is our goal, but that doesn’t always work.

Venice Villas Studio #57 // Venice Florida // Airbnb Review

Under five minute’s walk to a private beach, we loved Villa #57 at Venice Villas. We wanted an Airbnb with a small kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom, and this was available at a reasonable nightly rate. A weekend of shark tooth diving in Venice, Florida led us to search for something with either a pool or a waterfront view, and this fit the bill perfectly. The beach is a very short walk, about a half a block, and the pool is an even shorter one.

Waterfront on Roberts Bay // Venice Florida // Airbnb Review

We stayed one night at a waterfront home on Roberts Bay in Venice, FL to do some shark tooth diving. This was our first stay at an Airbnb with an owner living in the same house – a first shared space, first room in a house instead of an entire house or living space to ourselves. As our first Airbnb stay at an owner’s residence, we were pretty unsure of what to do – ring the doorbell? Bring wine? Take off our shoes?

St. Johns River // Bartram Frolic // Riverboat Tour in Palatka, Florida

Every September, the Putnam County Bartram Trail in Putnam County, Florida hosts their annual Bartram Frolic commemorating William Bartram’s travels on the St. Johns River in 1774. This year’s frolic was the 245th anniversary of William Bartram’s travels through Palatka. I serve as the riverboat captain, commanding a 45 foot pontoon boat powered with twin 200 hp Yamaha outboard‘s on jack plates. This boat is a dream to operate, and the guided riverboat tours are a favorite part of the historic weekend.

What to Wear in Cuba // Packing Light for Warm Weather

Before traveling to Cuba, I did a bit of research on what to wear since we each were limited to 50 pounds of checked-in luggage, one carry-on, and we were bringing dive gear. Our group of four are all Florida residents, and so we thought we were ready for the June Cuba heat. It turned out to be hotter, muggier, more humid, and sunnier than we had imagined.

Trinidad, Cuba // Sanctus Spiritus // Casa Lyosman y Yanin Casa Colonial en el Centro Historico // Airbnb Review

Our visit to Trinidad began with a stay in a family-owned 1800 home joined with a 1900 home combined in one spacious and delightful property. Managed by Lyosman and Yanin, their home is on a 500 year-old immaculate cobblestone street in historic Trinidad. As in my last Cuban Airbnb review, once again, the softness of the beds and the thread count of the sheets simply did not matter. What mattered was meeting the people, making lifelong friends, experiencing the Cuban resiliency, and learning how to adapt, improvise, and overcome.

Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center // Key West NOAA // Mote Marine Laboratory

I can’t say enough about the exhibits and the work being done at the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center. It features over 6,000 square feet of interactive and dynamic exhibits. Native plants and animals of the Florida Keys are displayed, and there’s even a model of Aquarius, which is the world’s only underwater ocean laboratory. The exhibits were educational and interesting. What a great place to visit on a rainy day, or a seriously hot day.

Finding a Boat to Rent // There’s an App for That Too // Boat Rental Apps

Although I’m familiar with Airbnb for renting houses and rooms, and Uber and Lyft for vehicle rides, it wasn’t until I read an article in a trade magazine that I actually realized there are apps for renting boats! This article covers the ones that are available on mobile phone as well as computer because I like to conduct trip planning something larger than the cell phone screen.

DIVING BLUE HERON BRIDGE // RIVIERA BEACH FLORIDA // Deep Water Happy

Slack high tide full moon and day dives at Blue Heron Bridge at Phil Foster Park in Riviera Beach Florida. we organized two slack high tide daytime dives as well as a full-moon night dive at Blue Heron Bridge in the Phil Foster Park.

With the assistance of ForceE Riviera Beach, we obtained permits to stay at the park beyond closing time and enjoy a night dive flush with fish.

Our two day dives also yielded great views of fish, crab, shrimp, and one curious barracuda.

We checked out the dive site in advance, had a great dinner at Pho and Hot Pot, then a very early morning dive both days. Our Airbnb this time was Portside #8 with incredible views of the inlet and pool.

KP HOLE RAINBOW RIVER // DUNELLON FLORIDA // Deep Water Happy

KP Hole on Rainbow River, Dunellon Florida – a fascinating glimpse into geological history. I’m sharing a dive trip to KP Hole on the Rainbow River. It was a most unusual dive, with several surface intervals, wildlife sightings, and the perplexing boiling sand and powerful vents. I’m a teacher, and a sailboat captain, cyclist, SCUBA diver, and runner. You could say I like being prepared.

APPLYING MINERAL SUNSCREEN // STREAM2SEA REEF-SAFE PRODUCTS // Deep Water Happy

Today, I’m demonstrating how to apply mineral sunscreen from Stream2Sea. Just like the Swahili face painting at Moyo in Cape Town, I’m having a bit of fun with the design to demonstrate how little you need for full coverage. I’m applying mineral sun protection from Stream2Sea that’s tinted! It’s is completely non-toxic and environmentally safe, and it’s packaged in completely biodegradable tubes of sugar cane resin!

DIVE GEAR LUGGAGE // IS IT WORTH THE INVESTMENT // Deep Water Happy

Is specific-to-dive gear luggage worth the expense? Here’s a look at several options, and the pros and cons of each. I’m sharing my Akona Roller Dive Gear Travel Backpack Bag, two Akona Adventure bags, and a regular duffle bag features with regards to travel. Considerations of weight, length, width, and height are presented, along with several pro’s and con’s of each bag, and a glimpse into our dive gear weight-reduction efforts for flying to Cuba are presented.

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