Tag Archives: Carribean

Taking the GoPro Snorkeling

Snorkeling has been a great hobby ever since I first tried it in the Cayman Islands in 2001. Ever since then I’ve wanted to capture the beautiful underwater landscapes but the cost to do so has prevented me from using equipment that would provide great photos. Fortunately things have changed over the past 15 years making it more affordable to capture those underwater memories.

What's under the water? Is that a Barracuda?

Above is a picture taken in 2015 on the beaches of Cozumel using a GoPro Hero 4. It’s not a great shot but one that makes me laugh because the larger fish is a Barracuda and you don’t see a lot of fish in front of it but there are several behind it. When I first started taking underwater photographs I was resigned to using the disposable camera for water. This image below is one of the better shots as most are made up of varying shades of blue making it difficult to see what you are taking the picture of.

Using a disposable underwater camera

After getting tire of so many poor pictures and the challenge in trying to use one of these disposable underwater cameras I decided it was time to get a waterproof case for a digital camera. The results are better, however I’m using cameras purchased in 2004 so the quality is still less than I would like, but given how often I snorkel, purchasing better gear isn’t justified. Below is an image of coral using the older digital camera in a case made specifically for it.

Coral using digital camera with an underwater case

Many of the images from this older digital camera are a little blurry but at least there are more pictures where you can tell what the picture actually is about and colors are more representative of what you actually see. In addition, there isn’t as much of a limitation on the number of photos you can take because they’re digital instead of a roll of film so go ahead and shoot away. Because of this I was able to photograph this school of fish in the picture below and somewhat see what I was photographing through the screen on the back.

Photographing fish with a digital camera using the underwater case

All of the following images were captured using the GoPro. These are definitely better –  sharper, more accurate colors, and increased detail on larger images. I just set the camera to take a picture every second or two and swim around with the camera. No more trying to set up a shot only to have a wave come by and push me into a different position. The unfortunate side to this is I don’t know what the photographs look like until I get back to my computer because I don’t have an LCD screen on the GoPro Hero 4 as most of the time my smart phone is the screen but that doesn’t seem to like being in the water.

Using the GoPro to photograph fish

The end result is better underwater photographs, which for the most part, I’m happy with. For such a small camera it really does a good job. Since I don’t live around an ocean I would like to try it in fresh water in lakes and rivers around my house to see how those turn out. Most likely not as colorful as ocean pictures but could be fun and interesting all the same in the right places.

Fish and coral captured using the GoPro Hero 4

Above is a school of fish taking refuge among the reef. Below is one of the many urchins hiding in the rocks. The little orange specs near the urchin are small fish. These action cameras like the GoPro are definitely fun cameras to use in ways other cameras can’t without expensive add-ons without sacrificing a lot of quality.

Coral captured using the GoPro Hero 4



Vacation Style

Going to the Ocean on Vacation

What’s your vacation style? No, not vacation in style. How do you like to spend your time away on vacation. Just a quick internet search brought some entertaining results which centered around luggage styles and travel fashion. I’ve gone through three different styles as I’ve gotten older and my choice of vacations is an indication of that. They are: Beach Bum, Whatever Happens, and Adventurer.

The first vacations I had decisions in was crossed between ‘beach bum’ and ‘whatever happens’. Spring Break in Daytona Beach is what I consider my first independent vacation where I primarily just wanted to lounge on the beach with the biggest decision to be made for the day was what to eat. A second vacation on a cruise ship brought more of the same as I never wanted to leave the ship even while at port. Apparently there is enough adventure when you’re a college student between classes, homework, working, and activities that vacation was all about R & R. Of course, spring break usually came after difficult exams and large projects requiring a mental vacation.

Beach Bum

That first vacation along with several after did include a bit of ‘whatever happens’ as Daytona Beach was the sight of Mtv’s Spring Break broadcasts and I took part in those from time to time along with a quick trip for my first time to Disney World. Planning is not a priority for these types of vacations but you still decide to take advantage of an opportunity or two when they happen to go on an adventure. Maybe a snorkeling trip or a ride in a submarine for something to talk about later.

Currently I reside in the adventure vacation style which can take quite a bit of planning. As daily life now involves a lot of routine, vacations need to be more fulfilling to me. The need to just catch some sun has passed and actually feels like wasted time away from work. It usually takes 3 – 4 days away to begin to mentally get a break from the grind of everyday events so just using my vacation time a day at a time does not accomplish its purpose of refreshing me. My goal often times is to return from a trip needing to catch up on sleep but with many great memories packed into a short time.


There are definitely downsides to the ‘adventurer’ vacation style. Usually these trips can be more expensive because everything costs money and they require more time planning and making reservations. Along with the planning can often come additional stress because of trying to figure out if you’ve taken care of everything in preparation and needing to be at a certain place by a certain time once on vacation.

These vacation styles kind of came to me recently because of our next trip coming this spring break which happens to be a Caribbean Cruise. Cruising has lost its appeal to me because I want to spend the time in port doing things instead of be on a ship most of the time with all that food. So why am I going on a cruise you ask? It’s has become part of a family trip to celebrate my mother and father in-laws 50th anniversary and they would like that trip to be on a cruise ship. Our initial plans where to visit Padre Island and Hot Springs Arkansas for spring break which falls into the ‘Adventurer’ category. That will happen another time as a 50th wedding anniversary is an incredible milestone to me. I can only try to imagine it.

Going on a Cruise Ship

Back to my vacation style realization. When booking this next trip the portion I really was having a difficult time with is spending all that time on the ship. That has become kind of boring to me and I’m not all that attached to food so there is not as big of an appeal there either. That enlightenment helped me understand that I’m no longer a ‘beach bum’ and have moved further from the ‘whatever happens’ style as well. For this trip being in the ‘whatever happens’ category would be most beneficial but I’m not able to let myself and my family be that type of traveler because I know I’m missing an opportunity to create life long memories with my wife and children and the chances to do that are diminishing as the children get older.

It’s interesting to me to recognize changes in how I spend my vacation time from when I first started taking vacations to now. I’m sure that will continue to change as things in life continue to evolve. I know several people who like to be in the ‘beach bum’ or ‘whatever happens’ categories and that is a great place to be, just not for me at this point in my life. Is there a benefit to classifying vacation styles? Probably not. Just something I did without realizing it and decided to put out there. Enjoy you’re vacation any way you can!

Creating Family Memories