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Diving Hole In The Wall, Aruba

Well, The Shore Dive Collection is actually a collection now...albeit still very small. Today we published our second installment reviewing a very nice coral reef called Hole In The Wall. Located on the southwest coast of Aruba, it has a tremendous amount and diversity of coral and all the typical Caribbean sea life you might expect. I also filmed a southern stargazer there, which was kind of exciting for me personally. I am using a few more tools both from a camera perspective as an editing perspective, so this continues to be a terrific learning journey for me as well. Watching other YouTubers and how channels grow/evolve, I expect that my videos a year from now will be very different (better?) than they are today. Can't wait to see...

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The First Shore Diving Video!

The First Shore Diving Video!

I love shore diving for a number of reasons: longer bottom times, no boat schedules and the ability to stay in a good spot if we feel like it. There are also fewer divers which means creatures don't get scared and swim away before we get to them. Unfortunately, when I saw YouTube videos about shore diving sites, they mostly only showed the sea...

Diving Aruba: Best of October 2020

We had so many great encounters this month. From a limping banded-arm brittle star to a hunting octopus on the Pedernales wreck to a giant five-foot southern stingray, it was hard to narrow the best to only 15. I also accidentally captured a southern stargazer hiding in the sand come out and gulp another fish. Plus we saw a lettuce sea slug,...

Fish Faces of Aruba

Fish Faces of Aruba

In Aruba you can find so many different fish. Different shapes, different sizes, different colors. You will find schooling fish, solitary fish and fish that travel in pairs. Many of the fish are cautious and unapproachable, however many of the fish appear to be curious - checking you out just as you are checking them out. The behavior differs...

So Much Sea Life In Aruba

It's been a little over three months since we first arrived in Aruba. Together, Leslie and I have logged over 100 dives and are constantly amazed by the diversity and amount of sea life this island has to offer. We dove Tres Trapi again this afternoon and saw schools of hundreds of smallmouth grunts and yellow goatfish hanging out on the...

Aruba: Best of Boat Dives I

Aruba: Best of Boat Dives I

David and I have been enjoying many boat dives in Aruba, mostly with Pure Diving Aruba.  The Pure Team is great – they are very knowledgeable of the local dive sites, they have years of diving experience, and they are just fun to dive with.  With Pure, we have visited sites such as The Planes, The Jane Sea, Harbor Reef,...

Our First Dive on Arashi Reef and The Antilla Wreck

Our First Dive on Arashi Reef and The Antilla Wreck

David and I have been here in Aruba, not far from Arashi Beach and the Antilla Wreck since mid-July and we were finally able to dive these sites in mid-October, but it was worth the wait!! Our dive guide, Susan Heiter was amazing as she pointed out so many critters. The highlight of the day was when Susan spotted a 6 foot stingray (no...

Our Best Underwater Sightings for September 2020 (Video)

Our Best Underwater Sightings for September 2020 (Video)

September went by fast! Even with a week back home, we managed quite a few dives in September and a few of those had some spectacular encounters. While Leslie and I have collectively been diving for over forty years, almost all of those were limited to a week or two per diving. With more frequency comes more opportunities to see new animals and...

Best of Tres Trapi

Best of Tres Trapi

Although the shore diving in Aruba is limited, the sites are easily accessible and the marine life is diverse. Tres Trapi, or "Three Steps" is located in Noord on the northern most part of the island, between the kite / wind surfing schools and Arashi Beach. It's a popular site for snorkeling, but also great for scuba diving. Although not very...

Squad of Squid

Squad of Squid

The dive started and ended with a large group (shoal, school or squad) of small Caribbean Reef Squid greeting the divers from the dive boat. We spotted the squid from the boat and couldn't wait to jump in the water before the squid got spooked and swam away. We were not disappointed as the squid stayed put and even let me fire off a few shots....

Butterflies are Free…

Butterflies are Free…

...well, more like $12/person to enter the Butterfly Conservatory in Key West. But it is money well spent!!! Friday morning David and I headed out for a morning walk. Given the heat and humidity in Key West, mornings and evenings are the most comfortable times to leave our temperature controlled Key West habitat to get some exercise. We decided...

Second Move In As Many Months

Second Move In As Many Months

Two more days until we make the move to Key West. We have tried to strategically pace our food reserves, but uneven quantities of some items combined with a questionable timeline has left us with an imbalance of nuts, mustard, frozen shrimp, tortilla chips and strawberry preserves. Although that might make up one of the tamer Chopped baskets, we...

Retirement Purgatory (Moving On)

Retirement Purgatory (Moving On)

There has been lots of frenetic activity these last few days as we made the decision to continue “Bonaire Watch 2020” from Florida.  That way we will be closer to Miami and can jump on a plane as soon as the Caribbean airspace opens.  Plus, we can get in a few dives to check out the new equipment.  Leslie found a terrific house we...

Retirement Purgatory (Episode 3)

Retirement Purgatory (Episode 3)

Parts of our routine are genuinely enjoyable.  Leslie playing “Everything is Awesome” and dancing when we get up, redesigning our website to get it to a point we have long discussed but not had the time to do while we were working and exploring local restaurants as they start to allow patio seating are all very pleasurable and satisfying...

Retirement Purgatory (Episode 2)

Day 24 at the local Chicago area based Residence Inn includes dwindling food options as we nosh our way through temporary supplies hoping to empty the cupboards and fridge at just about the same time flight restrictions are lifted.  We seem to have an imbalance of nuts and dried fruit which is met with the same level of resigned gratitude as...

Retirement Purgatory (Episode 1)

Retirement Purgatory (Episode 1)

2020 has been bittersweet at TropicLens.   What started as a pair of much anticipated retirements representing a combined 75+ years of work between us has slowly been absorbed by a global pandemic impacting family, friends and coworkers.  It has been challenging to temper what would have otherwise been unabated exuberance sharing...

Wakatobi 2015: Nudibranchs

Wakatobi 2015: Nudibranchs

One of my favorite subjects to photograph is nudibranchs and there is no better place to photograph nudis than Wakatobi. Nudibranchs come in all shapes, colors and sizes. And the best thing is, nudibranchs don't move very fast. It took me a bit of research to understand what was in front (rhinophores) and what was in back (brachial plumes) of of...