Tag Archives: florida
August 31, 2009

PV005: Diving in Key West

Last summer, Oksana and I bought a Jeep in Florida and we drove it back to Alaska.  Since we were already down there, we decided to take a quick trip to Key West to check out the diving.

This is a little video about our first two dives (of six) down there.  I had a tough time editing this together — it was definitely more work than play.  (Oksana and I need to get more cover footage when we’re on vacation; sure would have been nice to have more than a couple random pictures of the town when I was editing the first part!)  I was frustrated with this one right up until the end, when I started to play around with the music.  I think the “Aquovisit” score in Soundbooth worked rather well — what do you think?

Our 2-tank dive with Captain’s Corner Dive Center cost about $80 each (with equipment rentals), but I have to say we weren’t terribly impressed.  Next up, a video about our other four dives with Dive Key West — now that’s a company we can recommend!


August 21, 2008

Catamaran Flare

Catamaran Flare

Purchase a Print or
Download Wallpaper: 1920×1200 or 1600×1200

We were in Key West to dive, but we hadn’t really planned how long we were going to stay.  Our first couple dives were okay, but nothing spectacular.  The water was a little murky, the coral a little sparse.  We paid a little more to go with a different company on the second day and were rewarded with friendlier staff, a better location, and more underwater sights.  We decided to stay for a third day of diving, even though it would mean getting up early on Oksana’s birthday.

While not as spectacular as the previous day, the dives were good (and, coincidentally, we discovered that another girl on our dive trip shared Oksana’s birthday!)  Still, Oksana likes to celebrate her birthday with parties and friend, and I was worried that diving wasn’t enough.  I decided to take her out on a sunset cruise.

Plenty of ships compete for your business in Key West; we walked the docks until we found one of the old schooners we’d heard about, the Hindu.  A sketchy but gregarious salesmen chatted us up and talked us into booking a couple tickets for the 6:30pm sailing.

The evening was gorgeous, the wind light.  While our captain and his college-students-on-summer-vacation crew lamented the lack of wind, Oksana and I relished the relaxed atmosphere on the bow.  Coolers of beer, flutes of champagne, and small panini sandwiches were available for the asking.  The only thing marring the serenity on the water was the loud southern woman who took the all-you-can-drink offer to heart.

As the sunset deepened, Oksana and I took turns walking the deck with the camera, taking photos of ourselves, the sun and sky, and the other sailing vessels tacking in and out of our wake.  Looking back over our pictures, I can tell you I took the one immediately proceeding this one (because Oksana’s in it), but I think she might have been the one who snapped this photo three minutes later.

And can I just say:  Best Lens Flare Ever!

Canon Digital Rebel XT
Date: 17 June 2008, 8:00pm
Focal Length: 88mm
Shutter: 1/500 second
Aperture: F/20
ISO: 100
Photoshop: Rotated & cropped (horizon-leveling),
 cloned out salt spray spots on lens, minor contrast adjustments

August 7, 2008

A New-To-Me Jeep

Obviously the Jeep is not in Florida at this point

This spring, when Oksana mentioned that she finally had things under control enough at work to consider a vacation, we sat down to decide where we could go. She could afford up to three weeks off, but that didn’t necessarily restrict us. With almost any country in the world as an option, we had to narrow it down from not only what we wanted to see, to what we wanted to do.

Oksana, for her part, was focused on diving. As far as she was concerned, we were going someplace sunny, warm, and underwater.

Me? I’d been thinking about buying a new car. My ’89 Jeep hasn’t been weathering the winters very well, and we can afford to trade up. I’m not in the market for a new new car; I can’t see spending that kind of money when I don’t even have a garage. Something a little younger than 20 years would be nice, though, and buying a used car from somewhere dry should minimize the risk of an getting rusty “Juneau body.”

I didn’t tell Oksana, at first, that I was considering shopping for a car while we were on vacation, because she would have pushed for buying it from her employer, Mendenhall Auto Center. That would have been fine, except the more I thought about it, the more I was starting to look forward to another road trip.

Combining these two goals limited our options somewhat.

We picked Florida. Not only could we buy a car and dive on a reef, we could also visit my grandparents!

As our departure date neared, our plan coalesced:

Step 1: Buy one-way tickets to Florida.
Step 2: Spend up to one week with my grandparents, shopping for a car.
Step 3: Put the car through its paces on a drive to Key West; spend up to a week diving the reefs.
Step 4: Drive across country either leisurely or like a bat-out-of-hell, depending on the time we had remaining. Barge the new car to Juneau from there.

It went… more or less according to plan.