Monday, November 3, 2008

Random DR photos

1. Snorkeling in the pool near the waterfall
2. Cool pineapple drinks, (i was trying to get the girl in the shot too, but she turned, dont tell my wife)
3. Sunbathing
4. Whos flying the plane?
5. Rode ATVs to the sugar cane fields, ate soem sugar cane. The extra boy in the photo came with our guide and the boy drove the ATV most of the time.

More DR!

1,2 Inside the first Cathedral in the Americas
3. Statue of Columbus in front of the first Cathedral. Columbus wasnt famous in Spain until after his death.
4. Running with the bulls on the street of the ladies
5. First sundial in Americas, it still works, it reads 3:00

Dominican Republic Sept/Oct 2008

1. Firing cannons from the Calle de los Dames. (Street of the Ladies) in Santo Domingo. Protecting the New World's first city and harbor.
2. Beach at our resort, Coasta Caribe, Juan Dolio
3. WoooH! Sandcastles rock!
4. Dive boat and water sports hut at the resort. The guys would drag me across the sand tot he boat, pick me up and put me in it and then throw me over board. Rinse and repeat to get back to shore.
5. A good looking troop

Monday, August 25, 2008


I did my annual waterski run with TAASC this summer. Here's a few photos of the sinus cleansing. When you're jumping wakes, you're bound to fall. The guy in the last photo, shouted "shake and bake" as I was taking off and that spurred a wole round of Talladega Nights jokes.
"I got two knives in my leg!!" "Calm down Ricky Bobby we're going to use one to pry out the other one." "One's a safety knife!"

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Virginia for a Henderson

Friday June 13, 2008, George and I loaded another E150 van for another road trip. We headed south towards Huddleston, VA, to pick up a Henderson motorcycle for Tom Brim, George’s boss.
We stopped around midnight in Beckley, WV to stay at a Holiday Inn that didn’t accept cash for a room and had no cash on site. We stayed on my card and spent a nice night in a large accessible room.
Gone by six-forty five, we took US 64 into Virginia and then some back roads to reach VA 43. What a road, it looked like someone spilled their guts and some one else made a road following them. It was a fun road but in a E150, my butt was puckered to the seat. I wished I was on my old CBR929RR and kickin’ Riche Law’s ass through the curves.
We met up with Bill Saunders at his backwoods hideaway and picked up the Henderson which was in pieces ready for assembly. Before loading the van we were treated to strong coffee with Chickaree in it, ginger muffins and home made apple butter and fruit. After loading the van and ogling the many other vintage bikes in the garage, including Indian Big Chiefs and vintage BMWs, we set off towards West Virginia.
We took a different route out, seeing some different scenery and not keeping the seat puckered up the backside. George was gentler on the drive out with the loaded bike.
After a quick stop in Covington, VA at a motorcycle junkyard, we landed at Tom and Kathy Law’s house in Oak Hill, West Virginia in time for supper. Tom took George for a ride in the Cateram Super Seven sports car, an overgrown go-kart on steroids, before we headed out for wings and beer at a small gas station. It seemed odd but this is West Virginia and they had the Buffalo Wild Wings symbol on the door.
Back at the house we played cut throat pool and partners eight ball before heading to bed. We didn’t want to leave the peacefulness of Tom’s house in the morning and we were greeted with a breakfast of eggs, fresh biscuits, home made blackberry jam, bacon and cooked apples. With full bellies, we watched the end of the LeMans 24 hour race and then packed ourselves back in the van.
Up route 19 to Summersville and Sarge’s dive shop to check out the dive conditions and accommodations. We wanted to dive but George wanted to get home and we pressed on winding across the mountains on Route 60 along the Kanawa river and into Charleston before getting on the highway and cruising home.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Florida Trip II

“My boss wants me to pick up a motorcycle in Fort Pierce, Florida.”
“When do we leave?” I asked over the phone.
“We’ll leave on Thursday for sure but earlier if I can get off work.”
A trip to Florida and we don’t have to pay for gas, a dream come true. We loaded up an E-250 van with our dive gear and I crawled into a Toyota Corolla. Six foot three and driving with hand controls and no cruise control. We got underway about six on Wednesday night, April 18th. One motorcycle pick up had turned into a car and motor delivery in South Carolina and a motorcycle engine delivery in Delaware, Ohio.
Three-thirty in the morning, we crawled into a hotel in Virginia off I-77. The place stunk like smoke and when we left at seven in the morning, I felt like I was walking in a smoker’s lung. We delivered the car and the motor and then headed on south on I-95. We stopped in mid-Florida and took a break before stopping in Ft. Pierce to drop off the trailer we were dragging and then headed to my friend Don’s place in Hollywood. We ate at a nice outdoor cafĂ© and then headed further south to Key Largo.
We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, boy were we smart when we left, and arrived at Capt. Slate’s Atlantic Dive Center early Saturday morning. We got onboard the Star Fish Enterprise II with our gear for the ride to the Spiegel Grove. The water was perfect, seventy-five degrees to the bottom, flat seas and little current.
I went off first and headed up the drift line to the mooring buoy and the George and I got separated. He went down a different buoy that the boat drifted. I had to get back on the boat and wait for the next dive. I wasn’t happy at all.
The second dive, we moved up to another mooring ball and had a better dive. I bottomed out in the well deck at 121 feet and we toured the gantry cranes. So they weren’t the best dives and we didn’t get to see the front of the ship but it was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to go back.
When we got back to the dock around noon, we were looking for something to do besides sleep. A group was going out on a twilight cruise. George and I signed up for the three tank dive and ate lunch off our grill and then loaded the boat. The tide was out and boat was about three feet down from the edge of the dock. They moved the gangplank and I hopped out of the chair onto it. A guy held my legs and I walked down the plank on my hands and popped into the chair on the other side of the gunnels.
We dove on the Benwood, an old wreck with lots of life on it and then Horseshoe Reef. I got an hour out of the tank and still had almost a thousand pounds of air left. We dove at the Horseshoe again for a night dive and got back to the dock around nine.
After packing our gear and tipping the boat crew, George drove us to Marathon. He had called Abyss Dive Center about a ride on the boat Sunday morning but didn’t make arrangements for staying the night someplace. We ended up sleeping in the back of the van after hearing that the only hotel room in Marathon was going for $409 a night. It was a long, hot, humid night on a steel floor.
The dive boat broke down right after we exited the channel, a cooling hose blew off. We waited for a half hour for a makeshift hose and then went on our way. The boat broke down four more times for the same thing. The capt wasn’t very happy with the boat owner. We dove two reefs and after a half hour on each one, we got bored and went back to the boat.
We met with Don and Scott at Cocomos on Holiday Key and drank a few adult beverages and ate lunch then headed for Ft. Pierce.
In the morning, George and Chris packed the van full of motorcycle parts and a Norton bike and then loaded a Ducati Super Sport on the trailer and we headed for Tampa, we picked up a Cagiva and then made to Ponce de Leon before getting a hotel room. Morning found us at Vortex Springs, I tried out a Dive Rite TransPac and fell in love with it. We explored the cave on the first dive and then explored the basin and cavern on the second. All too soon, it was time to pack up and head home. We pressed on to Paducah, Kentucky where we spent the night. We made it home about noon, Wednesday the 23rd of April. We were tired and sun burnt but it was well worth every minute. Next time we wont drive that stupid van though. Ten states, seven days

Friday, April 11, 2008

Winter Sports Clinic

The National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic was held the first week of April and 491 disabled vets made it to Snowmass Colorado to tame the mountain. We had ten to twenty inches of deep powder and they said this is the best skiing in 22 years of the clinic. I enjoyed myself in the deep powder and a bucket that fit me really well. Way to many margarittas were consumed and if you think its a foofoo drink and your a man because you drink beer, well one word for you Tequila! Over all it was a great time and I cant wait to go back next year! With my own ski.
That snow on the table fell overnight.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Mine Countermeasures Gear

For those of you who know, check out the old MK-105 and the Q-14 at the Man in the Sea Museum in Panama City.

The Chippewa

This is the wreck we dove in Panama City. I saw the stack and part of the pilot house, the rest was lost in the crappy viz. Cant wait to go back.

Vortex Springs

Some shots of Vortex Springs in Ponce De Leon, FLorida. It was a beautiful place with great visibilty and a cave you could get lost in. The first three hundred feet are open to all divers, or maybe just the stupid ones, and the rest is locked off to only certified divers. At the locked gate, the depth is 119', 300' into the cave. If yhou dont have your mind screwed on right a lot og stuff can go wrong.

Florida Road/Dive Trip

Friday Feb22 George (tk1031) and I loaded up and headed for Florida about four thirty in the afternoon. Our original plan was to hit Ginnie Springs, the Blue Grotto and try to make an ocean dive off Jacksonville. The weather was miserable in Ohio with sleet, freezing rain, snow and a lot of ice on the roads. We spent an hour trying to get around Dayton because of all the accidents where idiots ran off the road. Under the lights along Interstate 75, the snow was crusted with a slick sheet of ice. We stopped around one o’clock in the morning in Knoxville, TN and slept a restless few hours in a hotel room.

Saturday Feb 23 We got on the road about eight in the morning and after checking the weather reports decided to head Gulf side. The internet showed us Vortex Springs in Ponce De Leon as a place to get in the first dives of the year and then hit Panama City for some salt water wreck diving. The weather around Jacksonville was going to be nice but seas were going to be running 4-7 feet and PCB was showing calm conditions.
After what seemed like an endless stint in Alabama, we made it to Vortex Springs around six in the evening. We checked in, got a wrist band and then went to 4CBBQ a few miles down the road. Back to Vortex and we kitted up in the dark and made a night dive in the gin clear water of the Florida cave systems.
I don’t do a lot of night diving but we wanted to get in the water and get a dive in. I tried my new to me dive light in the cavern area. The fresh water eels were creepy because I hate snakes. I was testing out my new Interspiro AGA full face mask, coupled with the first dive of the year, a night dive and being out of shape helped me to wolf down an eighty in no time flat. It was a good dive and we stripped off our gear and headed for PCB.
An hour later we found the Dive Locker off Thomas Drive and a hotel room around midnight.

Sunday Feb 24 After a quick breakfast, a stop at Kmart we got to the dive shop, loaded up a few tanks of 31% Nitrox and headed for the Fintastic, the dive boat. The day was beautiful about seventy degrees and not a cloud in the sky. The weather report wasn’t lying because the seas were flat and perfect all day.
The area experienced a lot of rain and the bay water was a nasty brown color from the over flowed sewer and treatment plants. Out in the ocean the viz was great staring into the water from the boat. About forty-five it crapped out and you could hardly see ten feet at ninety-eight feet.
We dove a wreck called the Chippewa, an old tug, on the way down the line was a huge school of amber jacks. I think they enjoyed us as much as we enjoyed them. The water was littered with jelly fish and good sized Man-Of-War. Schools of black, dinner plate sized, French Angelfish roamed the wreck. The dive was great in 68 degree water except for the low visibility, which was about ten feet. I joked that I had to swim fifteen feet to see fifteen feet of the wreck.
I had switched back to my standard gear using a mask and regs on the dive and missed my AGA even though I had only dove with it once. The Nitrox was extremely dry and I needed to snort some snot to clear my sinuses so all that had to wait until I got back to the surface, fifteen minutes later.
Back on the boat, we switched tanks and ran to the next dive site, after visiting four more places, we canceled the second dive because visibility had dwindled to about five feet or less.
The rest of the day was spent cruising around PCB checking out the sites and finding local fair to eat. We ate lunch at J Michaels had supper at the Boathouse. We wanted to see the inside of the History of Man and Water museum but it was closed and I relived some of my Navy experiences looking at old helicopter towed mine-countermeasures gear on display outside the museum building.

Monday Feb 25 we left PCB and headed back to Vortex Springs for some salt water rinse and more diving since we have only made two dives on this impromptu road trip. We got to Vortex Springs and spent time talking to Johnny in the dive shop and Ed, a diver who works in the springs and cave. They gave us a local history and lay out of the cave area.
The spring isn’t large and at the bottom, at 60 feet, there is a small cavern opening and then a cave that extends back three hundred feet into a large open cavern where there is a gate into the main cave. We made two dives into the spring and explored the cave up to the gate.
We loaded up and headed for home spending the night in Eufaula, Alabama and then making the rest of the trip into the nasty snowstorm in Ohio on Tuesday.
I was disappointed that we didn’t get in more dives but we kicked off the dive year with a road trip into great weather and beautiful water.