iPhone

Help us crowdsource info for our move to Belize!

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Help me to my place in the sun!
Help me find my place in the sun!

It is beginning to look like we will be moving up our departure date for Belize! At the current rate that we are disposing of possessions we’ll be sleeping and sitting on bare floors by the end of December.

Lately I’ve been getting an interesting question from friends: “Are you getting nervous?”

Hell, yes. I’m getting nervous. Read the rest of this entry »

Nick, The Belize Fish Whisperer, leads the way

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Hol Chan Marine Reserve from the air ... taken as we left Ambergris Cay this morning for Belize International Airport on the mainland. You can just see the channel through the surf that gives the reserve its name.
Hol Chan Marine Reserve from the air … taken as we left Ambergris Cay this morning for Belize International Airport on the mainland. You can just see the channel through the surf that gives the reserve its name.

It is uncanny. Hol Chan Marine Reserve is vast and, well, under the sea. But Nick moved through it like it was his personal playground.

He knew in which crevices the Moray eels hung out — he’d swim down and clap and they would come out like cobras to a flute. He knew where to find conch and sea cucumber. He spotted sea turtles and sting rays and sharks long before any of us.

Nick even caught a three-foot-long shark with his hands and held it so Rose could pet it. “It felt coarse, super coarse, said Rose, “Like starched jeans. I thought it would feel like a portobella mushrooms.”

Nick was our guide on an overcast, windy and choppy day off the lower tip of Ambergris Caye.

I started calling him “the fish whisperer.”

He’s been at this for five years now, taking tourists like us into the national preserve and the nearby Shark-Ray Alley to take in the vast and varied life below the sea.

Nick delivers a lecture on respecting the reserve’s environment and cautions about touching the coral or picking up shells. He points out one sandy area and says “this is the only place in the reserve where you can stand on the bottom. OK? No where else.”

You get the feeling Nick and the other snorkeling and scuba guides are pretty protective of this, Belize’s greatest natural resource. Hol Chan Marine Reserve runs right up against the Barrier Reef and is marked by one of the few deep water channels, through which come fish, turtles and more.

I went a little crazy with the iPhone camera with its waterproof cover but for what it is worth here are many of the photos that I took.  They are in chronological order, from the moment I dropped into the water until I reluctantly, got out.

The aquamarine coloring is exactly right. This is what the water looks like off of most of Belize.

I hope you enjoy them.

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Waterproof camera for Belize? I’m on the case

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So, I now have an underwater camera for our trip to Belize.

This is the box my Lifeproof phone casing came in. My phone looks just like that. Imagine this phone without the case and imagine that it is falling into chocolate ... it could happen.
This is the box my Lifeproof phone casing came in. My phone looks just like that. Imagine this phone without the case and imagine that it is falling into chocolate … it could happen.

It is called an iPhone.

Well, an iPhone wrapped in a Lifeproof casing, which the company boasts is “Water proof, dirt proof, snow proof and shock proof.” I think it might even float.

My step-daughter Caira bought one first – I think for yet another reason: She is constantly smashing the screen on her phone. This casing should slow down the fracture-rate.

Cai and a friend tested the case by taking some underwater photos and videos in a neighbor’s pool. They came out spectacular.

Given the clarity of the water in Belize, I think this will be adequate for aquatic shooting!

(Update: The Lifeproof case was a gift from my beloved wife and partner, Rose Alcantara, for which I am most grateful!  Jeesh,  how did I leave that out?)

The Lifeproof case came with a bonus: improved audio. Ever since my phone got basted with melted chocolate (not a long story but not that interesting …) the audio has been almost non-existent. Now I can actually hear people talking when the speaker is on.

If the case lacks anything it is a loop for a cord to hang the phone around my neck or wrist. Chances are I will drop it in the water and test the supposition that it may float. If not, I’ll be doing some rapid dives to recover it.

On a side note, my design engineer son Christopher is on a quest to build an insulin pump that is “as tough as the people who use it.” Lifeproof is all about iPhone and iPad cases but it occurred to me that Chris, who has had diabetes since age 2, should talk to them about designing a shock-proof, water-proof case for insulin pumps.

Chris breaks as many insulin pumps as Cai breaks phones.

He’s an active guy – mountain biking, running, snowboarding, skydiving, wakeboarding. Diabetes has never defined his lifestyle and he’s not the only one.

Right now, he is on an 18-day trek down the Colorado River, through the Grand Canyon with some friends. He packed three insulin pumps in separate waterproof bags and stashed them on separate boats. Maybe with a pump made for his kind of lifestyle he wouldn’t have to do that.

I’ll have to wait until he gets back to hear what he thinks of the Lifeproof idea.