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Turtles and Squid and Octopus.  Oh my!

Turtles and Squid and Octopus. Oh my!

It didn't take long for Playa Piskadó to make the top of our favorite Curaçao dive site list. We have yet to go there and not see several turtles. On our last dive, we also saw a pod of squid (although they weren't as friendly as Leslie would have liked) and a very chill octopus. The reef itself is very nice, going down to 100+ feet with an...

Playa Lagun:   Small Beach, Big (Diving) Fun

Playa Lagun: Small Beach, Big (Diving) Fun

We moved to the west end of Curaçao and Playa Lagun is our house reef for a month. We have made five dives here over the last couple of weeks, exploring all of its features. The lagoon is fairly shallow, at just 15 feet, but that is perfect for snorkelers, swimmers, kayakers and even regular water-based exercise classes. In the middle of the...

We Saw A Viper Moray!

We Saw A Viper Moray!

Truth be told, we also saw a Mosiac Sand Dollar on the same night dive! The diving in Curaçao continues to be fantastic and we can't seem to go more than a few dives without seeing something completely new. (Well, for us anyway.) Daan at Rebel Diving Curaçao has picked a number of new sites for us to try. Some have turned out to be quite...

Curaçao Dive Highlights and One Lowlight

Curaçao Dive Highlights and One Lowlight

We visited several new locations on Curaçao so far in 2021. Playa Piskadó was notable for a number of reasons. One the plus side, there were a couple of turtles that didn't seem to mind a bunch of divers harshing their mellow. On the negative side, I saw a discarded sharking lying in the bay where fishing boats are anchored. It sucks to see...

Curaçao Is Gonna Be Great!

Curaçao Is Gonna Be Great!

The second Caribbean stop on our retirement journey finds us in Curaçao. We will be here for five months in total and if the first is any indication, the next four are gonna be great! We were lucky enough to get a recommendation for Rebel Diving Curaçao while we were on Aruba and Daan (owner) has been terrific. She has shown us eight dive sites...

Our First Curaçao Shore Dive Video

Our First Curaçao Shore Dive Video

Our first day of diving in Curaçao included Caracasbaai and Tugboat Beach and the nearby pier. Before coming over from Aruba, we reached out to Rebel Diving Curaçao to schedule the dives and were not only very impressed with Rebel, but the sites Daan chose for us to visit. So far this month, we have visited eleven sites and while several have...

Our Fourth Shore Diving Video

Our Fourth Shore Diving Video

Leslie and I have transitioned to Curaçao, but it hasn't been without a few issues. Some of our luggage didn't make the small prop plane we took over, so they were put on later flights. Everything was collected the next day. Navigating has been a bit challenging as the road system appears have evolved rather than have any planning behind it....

Last Best Diving In Aruba Video

Last Best Diving In Aruba Video

The end of November brought the end of our time in Aruba. It started as an unplanned stop due to to Covid travel restrictions for US citizens, but turned out to be a terrific first leg for our island retirement. Despite our situation, we have been blessed to have met so many good people while in Aruba. Without waxing too philosophically, we were...

Aruba: Best of Shore Dives

Aruba: Best of Shore Dives

Although Aruba is not known for its shore diving, David and I found some great sites for shore diving and were not disappointed with the marine life that we encountered. Hands down or favorite site is Tres Trapi (or 3 Steps). With a maximum depth of 20 feet, you wouldn't think this would be a great diving site, but David and I encountered so many...

Diving Hole In The Wall, Aruba

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...

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,...

Diving Arashi Reef and The Antilla Wreck

Diving 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 our first dive day came when Susan spotted a 6 foot stingray (no...

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...