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FlyingFlip

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About FlyingFlip

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Interests
    social dancing, photography, snorkeling

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  1. Photography is my secondary hobby, not my primary hobby. Since my primary hobby is social dancing, it seems unlikely that I'll get to indulge myself much in my primary hobby in the near future. Since I've been working from home every day this week (and for the foreseeable future), I've started the habit of taking one or two walks around the neighborhood per day. I take a camera (or two) with me, and see if I can find an opportunity to fulfill my hobby while getting a break/exercise. I've mostly been doing bird photography. But this afternoon it was drizzling, so I br
  2. Out of curiosity, what genre(s)/type(s) of photography do you shoot?
  3. I never upgraded to full frame ... or anywhere above a 1" sensor. If I ever get into certain types of photography, I might feel that the capabilities outweigh the negatives. Generally, I'd much rather use my compact cameras instead of anything larger. About six months ago we were in Yellowstone. Three weeks ago we were on a Caribbean cruise. After both trips, I've been perfectly happy with what my cameras could do. I may have looked at a few of my photos and wished I was a better photographer, but I haven't looked at any and thought they would be substantially improved by a be
  4. My understanding is that Viator is a middleman. It's like booking through TripAdvisor. I'm sure that I've booked something through them in the past, but I can't recall any specific time. (I'm more likely to remember the operator who provided the tour.) My wife and I have our own snorkel gear, so we'll often just snorkel from shore. In St. Thomas we took a van shuttle to Coki Beach and snorkeled from there. Sapphire Beach is another common place to do the same. At Coki Beach, the best snorkeling (if I remember correctly) is off to the right as you enter the water, toward the C
  5. Great bird IDs, Zackiedawg. I was looking through your photos doing my own IDs (before reading your captions), and you clearly know your birds. Particular kudos on the juvenile Cooper's hawk ID. That's tricky, since so many of the juvenile raptors look identical. We had a clutch of four Cooper's hatch across the street from us ... and spend much of the summer hanging out at the bird bath in our backyard. But that's not an easy call without a great deal of familiarity.
  6. I'll be snorkeling in Cozumel and Grand Cayman in the next week or two. For those with recent visits, how have the water conditions been? How rough was the water? How clear was the water? And (less importantly) how has the local fauna been reacting? I'll be snorkeling some with my wife, and a little on my own. I'm a strong swimmer. Her ... not so much. When we're out together, I escort her. When I swim solo (yeah ... I know ... added risk of things going wrong), I play within my limits ... but they're a bit less limited.
  7. I'll try to give an alternate view from someone who is a snorkeler. As several people have already implied, if not stated outright, there are some spots that can only reasonably be reached by scuba. If you're interested in those spots, it's a no-brainer. Scuba. If you have the option for both, and you're going to choose snorkeling, here are the spots where you would choose snorkeling instead. First, the stuff you want to look at has to be mostly near the surface. I can maybe make it down 20' on a snorkel dive. (I've seen a pro do 50', but base it on what
  8. Photography is full of trade-offs. That includes every detail from equipment to settings to processing. So a lot of what you'll want is going to be based on the trade-offs that you can most easily tolerate. Most importantly, you can't avoid these trade-offs just by throwing more money at the problem. Here are the things you'll want to consider: 1. Sensor size - The larger the sensor, the more light it will let in. This will allow you to either take faster photos (e.g. sports or moving wildlife) or photos with less noise (i.e. less grainy looking). However, the larger the
  9. Those two questions have some overlap, but they're not quite the same. Some things are taken as "insurance" in case things go wrong (i.e. Imodium AD). It doesn't matter whether I manage to go two dozen vacations without needing it. It really came in handy that last vacation. The area where you can really economize is in clothing. My wife consistently over packs, because she'll start thinking, "I might want to wear that while I'm on vacation." At the end of the vacation, while she's trying to cram everything back into her bag, she keeps saying, "Why did I pack ____? I didn't w
  10. In principle, I agree that screw top is easier, and that many of those wines are very good wines. However, I generally purchase my wine in the city of departure, rather than packing it in my luggage for the flight. (Especially after the time a full bottle of wine was broken inside my wife's luggage by the baggage handlers.) In order to keep my options open when shopping for wine in the port city, I pack some corkscrews.
  11. I'll second and add to topspot's recommendations. In St. Thomas, we went to Coki Beach, about 2 miles from Sapphire Beach, and had a wonderful time. Sapphire Beach was equally highly recommended. I don't recall what made me choose one over the other, but it might have been beach lockers. Coki Beach has them. I'm not sure whether Sapphire Beach does (or did). Both beaches are about a 20-25 minute cab/shuttle ride from the port. I've been looking at the Money Bar Beach Club (or the PalMar Beach Club next door) for our upcoming Cozumel port of call. The snorkeling is supposed t
  12. When my wife and I did our Alaska cruise, we were on a fairly modest budget. Here were the areas where we saved money: May and September cruises are cheaper. We took one of the first cruises in May. Airfare is usually cheaper if you start and end in the same city, but cruise fare may be cheaper if you start and end in different cities. For us, the cheapest option was to fly in to Seattle, take the train to Vancouver, cruise out of Vancouver, cruise back to Seattle, then fly home ... even counting the AirBnB due to the extra overnight. We stayed in an Oceanview cabin, but i
  13. I did online dating 11-12 years ago. Photo editing isn't the real problem. People using photos that were 5-10 years out of date, or 20-50 pounds out of date, or even someone else's photos....
  14. On our most recent cruise, we boarded a bit later, to avoid two obvious disadvantages for boarding early. Many people want to board early, so the lines are longer if you show up early. Lost opportunities: we were in Amsterdam, so we spent the extra hours touring the royal palace before grabbing our luggage, catching a cab to the terminal, and boarding. If I board early, there's a predictable set of activities that I can indulge in prior to the time we set sail. If the options near the port are less engaging, I'll board early. If the port city offers better opportunities, then
  15. Given the lack of responses, I'll give you my general advice (which I used when snorkeling on the adjacent island, Culebra). Do a few Google searches like: best snorkeling spots in Vieques best snorkeling beaches in Vieques best snorkeling in Vieques After reading through several reviews/guides, you will start seeing some of the same beaches making most of the lists. Those are very safe bets.
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