Sunday, January 18, 2009

What will 'they' think of next?!

A short while ago, I was on the dive boat and at Molasses Reef, offshore of Key Largo. I was engaged in an underwater photography course with one of my underwater photography students. It was a perfect day for snorkeling, scuba diving and underwater photography as you can see in the above accompanying photograph.

Also on the boat that day were a couple and they were snorkeling and she had a very interesting mask. I started asking her all about her mask, but, she said she did not know a lot about it as she just purchased it and it was her first time using it. I settled for a yes answer from her to my question as to whether she would mind if I photographed her mask.

I date back to the era when masks were made with black rubber, metal frames, and their face plates made with 'safety' glass. They were ill-fitting, and equalizing often caused minor mask flooding. These masks were the reason why everyone learning to scuba dive also learned mask clearing skills!

The modern day dive masks are a wonder in fit and comfort. They come in many colors and constructed using soft supple form- fitting silicon. Some recent masks are made with optical quality lenses. A few are equipped with jet-fighter-like heads up displays, which give depth, deco status, and remaining air supply. Some are full-faced masks lending the ability for its user to speak to their buddy. Yes, they still leak, but far less, and mask clearing skills are still among skills we teach mastery of.

This mask had all of the features of a modern era dive mask, sans the HUD, with one additional and intriguing feature. It had a digital still camera built into it!

I spoke with its owner between dives and she said she liked it, had fun with it, but, used all the camera's memory on her first snorkel! I was disappointed because I was about to ask her whether she'd mind me trying it out myself.

Without promoting or panning this mask-cam, I thought it was a pretty cool idea and made me wonder: 'what will "they" think of next?!'

If you want to leave a comment; 'mouse- curse- and- click' over the time stamp below and it will open this post in a new window enabling you to do so.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Auld Lang Syne, well, 'kinda'

Call me sentimental; what can I say? I had a very special day last Saturday. Of course I have to wonder, given what I do, what days are not. I had scheduled a workshop and was working with one of my underwater photography students that day. My student, Ron, had planned a dive trip to Belize next month. Ron is a scuba instructor in Pennsylvania and is taking a group of his there. ( He had just purchased a housed dSLR camera system and had barely taken it out of its boxes. Ron thought it to be a good idea to come down to Key Largo and check these new 'toys' out in the 'sandbox' with me.

I was booking our dive charter for the day and was told that two long time friends of mine were also scheduled to be on the same boat and trip. John and Sasha, and are pictured above, and from your left to right, alongside me. This was a real special treat for me, as I go back a long ways and lots of dives with these two 'guyz'. Clear back to the mid '90s.

Sasha and I met back then and when we both were teaching scuba for other dive companies. He lived and worked up in South Beach (Miami) and I, here in Key Largo. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday he would trek down here with his scuba students, so they would get a chance to dive our coral reefs here, rather than doing all of their dives offshore in Miami. Over those years we became friends. Sasha went on to start his own dive center, South Beach Divers and has been in business for over 12 years.

Since opening his business, it has kept him very busy with the 'business' end of it all and that has trumped the frequency that he can get down to Key Largo and dive and see me. While we only live 60 miles from each other, I had not seen Sasha for over a year!

Similarly, John, also lives in SoBe and he is one of SoBe Divers' longest time instructors. I go back with John almost an equal amount of years and to the time he was working on his Advanced Open Water Diver rating. I staffed his IDC. As a consequence of his work, John does not get down here very often either. It had been at least a year since I last saw John.

To be fair, I do not get up to South Beach, very often. I enjoy it there when I do get up there, it is just that what I do keeps me in Key Largo.

In total, the consequence of this is , while we only live 60 miles from each other, we do not see each other often, or often enough. Saturday, last, was exceptional. We had great dives that afternoon. Ron and I got any and all of his new camera issues sorted out and the camera is optimized for his upcoming trip to Belize. Sasha and John and I had time on the boat to reminisce about old times. We encountered each other during our dives and photos were taken when that happened. We had good diving conditions and weather, and saw the 'usual' cool 'stuff'. Eels , Rays, Sharks, Turtles. At the end of the day, back on the dock, they had time to stay for a couple of beers.

Was a very good time, and a sentimental one for me. Visit Sasha and John if ever in South Beach, and look them up at . Tell them Larry sent ya!

If you want to leave a comment; 'mouse- curse- and- click' over the time stamp below and it will open this post in a new window enabling you to do so.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year Everyone!!

Several months ago, I received a call from a dive buddy who told me that Good Morning America was in Key Largo, and, going to broadcast their morning weather report here. I hurriedly packed up my camera and rushed over to the location. It was not seven o'clock yet, but, there were a couple hundred locals already on site. Including a band who brought their own Margarita blender.

It is made with a conventional blender vessel and a circa 1950s Johnson outboard motor. It is so typical 'Keys' ( as in 'only in the Keys...') that I just had to have a photograph of it, not knowing when or how I might ever use it or share it.

I think New Years is an appropriate time to share this photograph of a wonderfully handcrafted and working Florida Keys Margarita Blender!

Happy New Year and be careful how many margaritas you drink, however you make them!

If you want to leave a comment; 'mouse- curse- and- click' over the time stamp below and it will open this post in a new window enabling you to do so.