Dec 042016
 

The holidays are rapidly approaching (yikes), and, if you’re like most of us, you may be struggling with gift ideas for those on your list.  We’re here to help.

We’ve put together a list of some of favorite products and services for Travelers, Photographers, Scuba Divers and Bonaire Lovers.

 

For Travelers & Global Nomads

Swatch Watches– I rarely travel without a Swatch watch.  The affordable price point means that you don’t have to fret about loss or theft.  And the fact that all Swatch watches are waterproof makes them indispensable for ocean lovers. Another plus, many larger airports have a Swatch store, and Swatch offers free battery changes for the life of your watch.  This white one is my new fave.

Amazon Kindle Voyage – This is the new device in my arsenal, and I’m in love.  Where do I begin?  The battery life is incredible.  It lasts for weeks.  The screen is easy to read, easy on the eyes and user-friendly.  And who doesn’t want access to new books at their fingertip?

Elta MD UV Clear Sunscreen, SPF 46 – Whether you are trekking in the Himalayas, Skiing in Taos or sailing the South Pacific, sunscreen is critically important.  I go through bottles of this product.  It has a high level of protection, yet it feels light and will never cause breakouts.

Dakine Split Roller Duffle Bag – My Dakine bag has not had an easy life.  It’s been thrown onto luggage belts in Fiji, rolled through rocks and dirt in the Serengeti and hauled in and out of multiple boats in The Maldives.  Yet it has held up like the workhorse it is.  And type-A neat freaks those who like multiple organizational options will love its many sections and pockets.

Ray-Ban Folding Wayfarers – These classic shades are now made in a cool folding design that fits easily into your pocket or travel bag.

 

For Photographers

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6 – This is hands-down the most critical element of my photography arsenal.

Gitzo 3532LS Tripod – This sturdy carbon-fiber tripod is also flexible and adaptable.  We love it for outdoor and wildlife photography.

Think Tank Perception Pro Camera Backpack – This backpack went with me to Tanzania, and it was perfect for my safari needs.  Inside it I hauled one SLR body, two point and shoot bodies, two lenses, an underwater housing for my Olympus TG-4, my MacBook Pro and multiple other accessories.

The Underwater Photographer, by Martin Edge – If you want to learn underwater photography or want to perfect your underwater photography, this is without a doubt the book for you.

 

For Scuba Divers

Henderson Lycra Dive Skin – Whether you wear it alone for snorkeling or under a warmer wetsuit for diving, this dive skin is comfortable and well-made.

Reef Fish Identification Book – These fish identification books by Paul Humann and Ned DeLoach have been a crucial part of our library for as long as I can remember.  They are a must-have for every scuba diver.  They are available for the Pacific and Indian oceans as well as the Caribbean and Atlantic.

Scubapro Spectra Mini Mask – My mask of choice.  The low-profile design and smaller size is a great choice for female or smaller divers.

Diver’s Alert Network (DAN) Membership – We faithfully renew our DAN memberships each year.  The benefits are numerous and include dive accident insurance, a subscription to Alert Diver magazine and dive safety education.  Membership is $35 for an individual and $55 for a family.

 

For Bonaire Lovers – Our favorite local Bonairean products & services

Cadushy Rom Rincon – This spiced and artisan-crafted rum is made for sipping.  Get it while you are in Bonaire. It’s not available anywhere else.

Phish Phaktory Bags – These tote bags are made from recycled sails and materials found in underwater cleanup dives on Bonaire.  The bags are cute, sturdy, well-crafted and will last forever.  The owners/artists are super cool and truly care about our environment.

Carrying my Phish Phaktory tote at Bonaire's Carnival

Carrying my Phish Phaktory tote at Bonaire’s Carnival

Flaming Flamingo hot sauces, salt and jams – We love these made-in-Bonaire products.  Our fave is the mango hot sauce (Steve practically drinks it).

A tank card from Dive Friends Bonaire – Give the gift of air!  Dive Friends Bonaire offers a handy tank card for local divers.

Elements Jewelry – Elements dichroic glass pieces made great colorful gifts and souvenirs.

Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire hats and shirts – Help Bonaire’s sea turtles and wear cool gear at the same time.

Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire Diver Certification Course – We are both PADI certified Coral Restoration Divers.  It’s both fun and important work.  Courses are available at Buddy Dive, Harbour Village and Wannadive.

Cleaning the algae from a tree in the coral nursery

Meredith cleaning the algae from a tree in the coral nursery at Klein Bonaire

Italy in the World, Bonaire – Give a beautiful bottle of Italian wine or a great Prosecco from this boutique and restaurant in Bonaire.  We love the Santero 9-5-8 prosecco for a sunset toast.

An extensive wine selection at Italy in The World, Bonaire

An extensive wine selection at Italy in The World, Bonaire

Latitude 12° Designs Bonaire Necklace – OK, this is my jewelry design company.  I design and create custom jewelry in sterling silver (or the metal of your choice).  My Bonaire Necklace is a great choice for showing your Bonaire love.  But the choice is yours – all pieces are custom made, and the sky is the limit.

The Bonaire necklace in sterling silver

The Bonaire necklace in sterling silver

Custom mermaid necklace in sterling silver

Custom mermaid necklace in sterling silver

Custom, hand made necklace for the ocean lover, by Latitude 12° Designs

Custom, hand made necklace for the ocean lover, by Latitude 12° Designs

custom bracelet set by Latitude 12° Designs

custom bracelet set by Latitude 12° Designs

All of the products mentioned above are products we use and love.  We have purchased each of these products (some over and over), and they were not gifted to us or given to us for promotional purposes.

Dec 302015
 

We would like to wish our readers a very happy 2016, and we would also like to ask you for a favor.  As we formulate ideas for new blog posts and topics, we would like to know more about what topics you want to see us cover in 2016.  If your answer/s isn’t covered in the poll, please leave a comment on the blog.

Thanks for voting!

Note, if you have received this post via email, please visit the blog to vote.

Which topic/s would you like to see us cover more of in 2016?

  • Marine Conservation (25%, 6 Votes)
  • Underwater Photography Technique, Tips, Tricks & Gear Reviews (25%, 6 Votes)
  • Bird & Wildlife Photography (25%, 6 Votes)
  • Diving (17%, 4 Votes)
  • What to Do in Bonaire (8%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 10

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Jan 072015
 

It was a beautiful day, the sea looked calm, and I was at one of my favorite dive sites on Bonaire – Bari Reef.  I began gearing up, following my usual process (like most divers, I have a mental pre-dive checklist).

My last step in the gear-donning process is to slip on my fins.  Left fin on – check.  Right fin on – check huh, that’s weird!  Had my right foot grown a few inches overnight, or had my fin shrunk in the rinse tank?  I reasoned that I had adjusted my fin too tight, and I descended to the sandy bottom at 8 ft, waiting for Steve.

As I hovered there waiting, my fin became even tighter.  OK, now it was obvious that something was wrong (as if it wasn’t obvious enough before).  I removed the offending fin and peeked inside.  By then Steve had joined me, and what we saw almost caused us both to spit out our regulators in a massive laughing fit.  A gigantic large, purple and red land crab had nestled into the tip of my fin, likely thinking that it had found a comfy home.

I handed Steve the crab-stuffed fin.  How was I supposed to know how to remove a land crab from it?  Steve would know what to do.  Ah, yes, but first a photo!

Steve holding fin

Slowly, he squeezed the crab out of the fin so as not to hurt the poor crustacean.

Crab coming out of fin

Eventually it made its way to the end of the fin, and we set him free.

Crab on Fin

After this incident, I have added a new step to my pre-dive checklist.  Step 12 – check inside fin for foreign invaders!

What is the strangest thing you have found in your dive gear?  Friends on the island have reported finding scorpions in fins.  I’ve also read of a diver finding a cockroach in his mask.  Eek!!

Oct 102014
 

Recently I watched a very fascinating Ted Talk given by Hamish Jolly – an Australian entrepreneur, ocean swimmer and kite surfer.  Jolly founded a company called SAMS (Shark Attack Mitigation Systems) that claims to have developed shark repelling wetsuit technology.  According to the company’s website, the wetsuits are designed to “disrupt the sharks visual perception” to divert or delay a possible attack.

While this theory is extremely intriguing, testing is still ongoing, and there is no guarantee that the suits will prevent an attack.  Personally, I’m not yet convinced that wearing this suit, let’s say, to swim or surf in a known great white feeding ground is a sound idea. Nevertheless, it’s a concept that I will continue to follow with interest.

Here’s the video.  Give it a watch and let me know your thoughts.

 

Dec 082013
 

Divers with long hair – here’s a familiar scenario for you to consider.  You surface from an excellent dive, remove your gear and meander (soaking wet, dripping) back to your liveaboard cabin or hotel room.  You make an immediate beeline for the shower, desperately seeking warmth and a freshwater rinse.  And suddenly you remember that you must deal with the long, tangled mess of salty knots growing from your head.  And if you dive with braids (like I often do), you must first untangle the braids before you can even think about tackling a comb through.

It’s annoying, but, like many of you, I’m not prepared to cut my long hair.  I like it too much.  It’s part of who I am.

Recently, I spied a display of brightly colored brushes at my salon.  They looked almost like children’s brushes and promised to detangle any type of wet hair with ease.

The Wet Brush

The Wet Brush in pink

While skeptical, I purchased The Wet Brush and decided to test it for myself.  My skepticism completely disappeared as this amazing little brush glided through my thick, curly hair as if it were as soft as spun silk.  I was hooked.

I bought a second brush to keep in my dive bag/travel kit.  I no longer fret over detangling my salt-hardened hair – it is simple and painless.

The Wet Brush in Black

The Wet Brush in Black

So now the scenario I outlined in the first paragraph goes something like this.

“You surface from an excellent dive, remove your gear and meander (soaking wet, dripping) back to your liveaboard cabin or hotel room.  You make an immediate beeline for the shower, desperately seeking warmth and a freshwater rinse.  And suddenly you remember that you must deal with the long, tangled mess of salty knots growing from your head. You rinse your hair, shampoo and apply a handful of conditioner.  Then you grab your Wet Brush and gently glide it through your silky hair.  Towel dry and move on.”

Note:  I purchased The Wet Brush and wrote this review of my own accord.

Do you have any special detangling tips?