Thursday, April 30, 2009

I really must be into this whole blogging thing...

Monday, April 20, 2009

There is more to Florida than Retirement Centers and Beaches

When I was in Jacksonville on a visit, I got away to to see some of the sights. I visited Fort Caroline (

The fort was actually a bit of a dissapointment. Historians do not know where the fort was actually located so they built a reconstruction based on their best guess. I would imagine they are not close at all for how it looked or where it is located. I went inside the fort and it is nothing more than a triangle with some walls and a few replica cannon.

After visiting the fort I went on a nture hike and it was a cool experience. It was a little path through the woods and looked like a jungle.

Towards the end of the trail, I noticed some movement along one side and it turned out to be a turtle. It has been while since I have actually seen one in the wild and I stood and watched him for a bit.

I also shot some video of him.

There was also a pretty good panaramic view.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Diving Key Largo (Or, Everyone Looks Goofy in a Scuba Mask)

Ever since October when I went diving in the Keys I have wanted to get back down there to do some more diving. This Easter weekend my wish finally came true. My brother flew down and joined me for 6 dives off of Key Largo.

We stayed at the Bay Cove Inn ( It was decent and definately worth checking out for the price. The rooms were basic but clean and there were grills and we had free use of kayaks. The grills came in very handy because we were able to cook our own dinners instead of eating out. It was cheaper and at this point in my travels, I will be happy if I dont eat at a restaraunt for a few months.

This was the view from the dock at the Bay Cove Inn. Not quite a sunset into the water like in Key West, but still very impressive.

And we also dove some. On Friday, we signed up for 4 dives. Two were in the morning at 9am and then 2 more at 1pm. We showed up to the dock and got on board the boat. The other people on our trip boarded as well and began to set up their respective gear. Besides my brother and me, there were 9 other divers on board. It is a bit more than I like but I wasn't too worried until the guy next to me asked a question. "Do you know how to set this stuff up? Its been a while since I last dived." Now, to a non-diver this may seem like a simple question but it really is a big deal. Scuba equipment is basically life support equipment. It is that important, so not knowing how to do a very basic setup was worrying. I was determined that he would not dive with me.

The boat pulled out and headed out to Elbow Reef. As we got farther out to sea, the waves grew progressively worse. They were around 2-4 feet with the occasional wave cresting at 5+feet. By the time we got to the site of our first dive, a girl on the boat threw up all over herself. She was no older than 14 and I felt bad for a second but then I had to get away from it. I cannot be around people who are throwing up. By the time we ended the second dive, 4 out of the 11 passengers on the boat had thrown up and were in verying stages of sea sickness. (I am very proud to report that I was NOT one of the 4 who got sick).

This is on the wreck of the City of Washington (

These little fish followed me around everywhere like the expected to be fed. They were so close that I tried to poke them on several occasions but they were too quick for me.

More from the City of Washington. This was a pretty cool dive. The wreck doesn't look much like a ship and is really just a bunch of metal scraps and pieces strewn across the sand.

On the surface after coming up from a dive. The waves made it interesting getting back on the boat.

Overall, Friday was a long but good day of diving. We did four dives and by the end of the 4th dive I was tired and cold and needed to get out of my wet swimsuit. We also took a pretty good beating with the waves. Our reff dives were only down to about 30 feet at most and so the wave action and current are very strong. It was tiring to fight that all day.
On Saturday we woke up and got out to the dock for the dive I had been looking forward to the whole time. We were going to do 2 dives on the U.S.S Spiegel Grove. The Spiegel Grove is a 510 foot long LSD (Landing Ship Dock). More basic info can be found here:

In a word the dive was amazing. The wreck lies in 130 feet of water but most of the superstructure can be reached at 60-90 feet. We dropped down the morring line and as soon as we got past the thermocline, a huge ship came into view. I was almost breathless.
Here are a few videos to give you a better idea of what it is like:

The Superman pose really was unintentual but I thought it was kind of eery that there was still an American flag on the wreck.

All in all a truly fantastic trip. I am already thinking about when I can dive the Spiegel Grove again.

I would also like to recommend the dive outfit we went with, Silent World. They were great and their website is here:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ole, Ole, Ole

Today tickets went on sale for England's World Cup qualifying match versus Andorra. If you are wondering about where Andorra is, here is some information.

Come June 10, I will be sitting in block 126, row 44, seats 96-98, and screaming along with 90,000 other crazed English soccer fans.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I will never cease to be amazed by people's ignorance

Yesterday I was in Jacksonville and had nothing to do so I went to go see a movie. There really aren't too many on right now, but I finally decided upon the movie "Adventureland."

The movie was quite average but it was the people in the theater with me that make the story.

I went to go see a 9:55 showing and I had settled in to my seat when a family walked in sometime around 9:50. I normally do not pay too much attention to people in the theater but Then this family walked in. There were the parents and then 5 children ranging in ages from late teens to probably 5 or 6. My first thought was that it was really late to have a young child out and then I also thought how innapropriate it was to have this kid up late at night and in an R-rated movie.

So far these parents had two strikes against them and I just put them among the ranks of bad parents I see every time I go to Wal-Mart. (I could easily write a post about bad parenting at Wal-Mart.... maybe that will be upcoming).

The commercials and previews started and this family would no shut up. The mom and dad were about five seats apart from each other and kept making comments back and forth to each other. They had a comment about EVERY commercial. When A coke commercial came up the dad kept commenting about the hidden coke bottle shapes. He would point and then say, "See honey... do you see the coke bottles!?" I held back the desire to yell at them to shut up.

Then this commercial came on. I think its a dumb ad campaign and never pay attention until tonight. Fast forward to video to around the 1:20 mark and then watch.

Right as the part in the commercial happens when the little boy accidentally kicks the ball out in front of the Humvee, the dad suddenly leans forward and in a raised voice says, "Shoot him! Shoot him before he grows up to be a terrorist!"

I almost lost it right then. Are there really people who think like this in our country? Apparently, yes.

This guy sat there with his young children and was yelling at the soldier in the ad to shoot a boy not much older then this guy's. Unblievable.

I really was just simply speechless for the next 20 minutes. It is events like this that really make me lose some of my faith in humanity.