A rare day off for both my Queen and I today…… the diving business has dropped way off and the boat is idle….. which turns out to be a good thing right about now. My new camera housing was due in today….. but our mickey mouse post office says you cannot go to the window and ask about a package if you have not received an official “package pick up” card in your mail box – even though you have an official notice from the USPS saying it is there. So hopefully I will be able to pick up my new housing tomorrow and put my new camera into and fire it up to check it out…….. Needing some groceries [groan] Angie headed to the grocery store after making a scrump-dillioius breakfast. I did the dishes when she took off, before going out and cranking up ye old lawn mower. I was cruising right along – enjoying watching the detail that was working on that big yard across the roadway from us. The place has looked and sounded like a jungle for the last year and a half and just in the last couple of days, we have had a crew in there (from DPNR- Department of Planning and Natural Resources) cleaning it up. It’s funny to watch….. the local White Herron’s have learned that the sound of a lawn mower, weed eater (or giant bush hog) means easy pickings for a meal of bugs stirred up by said implements. I usually have my own little crowd of the big white birds when I am pulling my lawn maintenance – but the big bush hog next door was stirring up way more edible goodies. It’s neat to watch the birds dart in and out trying to get to the fresh mowed area. I finished mowing the yard and was about half way through weed eating, when an elderly gentleman that had been weed eating in the adjacent yard – starting waving frantically at me. I shut my weed eater off and walked over to him. His accent was so thick I could not understand a word he was saying – but it was obvious he wanted to show me something, so I followed him. I got up to where he was at and he kept pointing to a spot on the ground. It took me a minute to finally spot the markings on what turned out to be a small Red-Tailed Boa Constrictor. (Vera– be advised, there are some close up pictures of this critter below) He was a little feller….. maybe 12″ – 18″ long….. I am guessitmating it was maybe a year old. The old fella that pointed it out, high tailed just as soon as I reached down for it. It was in a cramped hard to reach spot, so I grabbed it by it’s tail and rapidly “relocated it” about 10′ from where we were. Out in the open, I could see and deal with him. I pick up a nearby stick and trapped it’s head and reached in and picked him up. Now it’s been about a 100 years since I have handled any snakes…. but it all came back pretty quick…… so I made a quick call to the local “snake guy” and then took him to show my Queen. She cautiously took a couple of pictures for me and I turned him over the “snake guy” who showed up post haste. I can elaborate some more – but already way over my limit….. so a couple of pictures from the past couple of days.
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Just before I went to bed last night – I checked everything that needed checked with my camera system…. that’s 20 different batteries to make sure they were all charged. I carefully sat and polished and buffed all the surfaces I thought would give me premium results…. everything was in place for a long day of diving and working perfectly. Rolled out about 5:30 and eased into my daily routine. I hooked up my camera for a bump charge [SOP] — but instead of the usual 10 minute charge….. it kept charging – way up past an hour. After making my breakfast – I pulled the camera off charge and tried using it…… the issue that had mysteriously developed over night is much to complicated to describe here – but let’s suffice to say – I spent the next two hours trying to get my camera to work….. jeez what a cluster****. I did my best not to panic and ‘make do’ with the capabilities that I had at the time. The situation only got worse as the day progressed….. I was talking to consultants on the pone, as well as texts trying to get myself out of this bind……………. It just did not manifest though….. by my second dive – I admitted defeat and didn’t even bring my camera with me. Because I left in a ‘flux’ that morning – turns out I left my GoPro laying on the table…. along with my diving computer~!!! It would be really hard for the day to get much worse……. I thought. As it turns out – I wound up kicking sharks away from me with my fins on both dives………. @#$%^&*()_ DAMMIT EMMITT~!!!! What are ya gonna do though. I had lamented my tale to a couple of the ‘regulars’ on the dive boat and had already resigned my self to the fact I was going to have to buy a new camera once I picked up Shawn & Cynthia from the air port. While I was waiting for time to leave – one of the guys from the shop pulled up outside the house, I went out to meet him and he got got out of his jeep – walked up and handed me a box and said it was from the ‘guys‘ on the staff……. it was a brand new camera [identical to the one I had so it fits my housing]. OMG…….. You could have knocked me over with a feather…….. I choked back tears and tried to swallow a lump in my throat that just wouldn’t go down……. I was speechless. I finally choked out a feeble thank you. He drank a beer and chatted a couple of minutes before heading out – while I continued to try and gather myself. It’s very rare someone “gets” me like that — but this group done it……. I still don’t have the words……… So even though there are no dives scheduled until at least Friday (slow season) – I’ll be ready when the need arises – and still will be available to provide you all with tons of pictures. What do you do for a situation like that ???
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Up earlier than I would have liked – but still managed a good nights sleep. Wasn’t to concerned about getting to sleep last night, as I was about as tired as I wanted to be. Those kind of days are starting to take their toll on the old fat guy I guess. I probably could get in better shape to better deal with days like that but I could also probably sprout wings and learn to fly just as easily……. I got my glass of lemon water and settled in to catch up on the news…… disturbing as it is becoming. After about an hour – I had just switched over to FB and my bride come stumbling out at about the same time. We settled in with coffee and just sat for the next hour quietly, just enjoying the cool and the quiet and each others company. I had all I could stand after about an hour and shut FB off and went into my files from yesterday’s shoot. I had 149 pictures sitting there waiting to be edited. I went through them fairly quick and wound up saving 24 pictures….. 2 more camera’s to go…… Next was my diving camera…….. the ‘good’ camera….. 660 pictures on it…… this was gonna take a while. Finally, finished that – third camera… my little GoPro. Thankfully didn’t use it much…. mostly for videos as well…. 49 pictures and video’s on it. A solid 5 hours and I was finally finished saving a total of 224 pictures for the Bride. I created a Gallery for the event on my online site and sent out notices. Done….. It is now almost 2:00 and my Queen recommended a drink…..yes~! Capitol idea~!! We finally wound up having some dinner….. pork chops, stuffing and corn on the cob. MmMm good stuff. Sitting here now watching PBR rodeo championships [was football earlier – even though I can’t get the Colts games here] Next door neighbors just pulled in and came over to ask about our new neighbor that we just found out about today. (Moving into the old gentleman’s house that recently passed away) We are not what you would call ‘shot in the a$$’ about our newest neighbor…… but want to try and give him a chance. More on that as it develops. I also spent an hour or so charging LOTS of batteries in anticipation of diving tomorrow. Rest of the week looks pretty slim… so will dive every chance I get now until Stephie and family gets here………
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Even though it was a day ‘off‘….. I was slated to help a friend out by photographing an informal, impromptu wedding of a friend. It sounded like a fun day out on the water and helping a friend out in the process – so I “signed up”. I met them all down on the board walk in the big city of Christiansted early this morning and was soon loaded up on a local tour boat – to head out for an on board wedding and some sun and sand. I met the Bride and Groom and their collective children (should make a great family) and we headed out. I went immediately to ‘work’ taking pictures of everything I saw as relative to the event. Fairly small boat – but it could get up and scoot…… sporting TWO 300 HP Yamaha engines on the back. We headed to the North West corner of the island to a gorgeous spot…… anchored up and soon a wedding was under way. My friend, a newly ordained person who could legally wed people performed the service – with the bride being a good friend of hers. I snapped pictures from every conceivable angle I could get, trying to get that perfect shot. I am confident I got enough of the right shots, the bride and groom should be at least close to ‘giddy‘ over them. I have also got to make sure my friend [who recommended me] is happy with the shots as well. That is basically why I quit “doing” weddings”. They’ are a phenomenal pain in the touchas because of the shear number of people you have to please……… but confident in my abilities…. I carried on. The rest of the day was way laid back, as we wound up eventually circling the entire island…. stopping to snorkel in various places around the island. When we did move from one spot to the other – we moved…… 60+mph across the water…… I liked it – but I got a whole lot of sun and wind I hadn’t planned on….. but it’s all good………. It helps me get that deep brown island tan~! SOO much more to the day…… but I tell ya folks…… I am whoooooped~! 8+ hours of that environment – this old man is done….. I have had me a little bite to eat….. and my Queen is currently ensuring I get my daily dosage of Vodka…… so it’s beddy bye for me here soon….. I have my phone pix loaded from today – but none of the others yet. I suspect I took probably a Thousand pictures today…… I hope to wind up with a 100 pictures or so that I really like, to send to the bride and groom. I’m gonna put up a couple of my [unedited] phone shots and call it a night……. Will spend my day ‘off‘ tomorrow editing a lot of pictures………….. diving again Monday~~
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Today was a work day — Up at around 05:30 to get my morning business out of the way and settle in for an hour of news and FB until it was time to do my thing. My thing consists of bump charging my camera… loading strobe batteries [that charged overnight] making sure my dives have been logged and loading all the little necessities into my camera gear case. Pretty dull actually but a necessity to a productive day. I try to get all of that done by 06:30 and loaded into the truck (I have my dive gear already in there from the night before) – so I have time to make me my typical breakfast of a small OJ, a small glass of milk – a chunk of meat [usually some kind of sausage…. occasionally a hot dog or a burger] and a couple of eggs. On really ‘hungry’ mornings I toss in an extra egg. I don’t like to get all swoll up from eating when I have a busy day on the boat scheduled. Even with that kind of breakfast, by the time I get back to the house (usually 1:30-2:00)…. I am a starvin‘ Marvin) which tells me I had a pretty productive day.
Gear rinsed and or put back into the truck for the next day….. camera dropped into a rinse tub while I load phone photo’s then go out and get my camera for the rest of the pictures….. That is almost every single day… and while it may sound like kind of a rut to you….. I can’t wait to get each little detail done each morning/evening….. especially later, when I get to look at my pictures…. I’m reliving the dive and I get to see whether I got “the shot” or screwed something up. The satisfaction I get when a picture turns out ‘just so’ knowing you all will [hopefully] love it……… Don’t get me wrong…… I like lounging in bed until my bladder or belly commands me to get up and enjoying the nice cool dark bedroom with my Queen snuggled up against my back……. but I am NO WHERE near getting tired of my diving routine…… and honestly- hope I don’t for at least another couple of years……. may not sound like much to you all – but it is my own special little piece of heaven that I get to enjoy right here on earth….. everyday……..it just makes it that much more better knowing I get to share it with you all~! Gonna quit here for tonight…… next door neighbor visit put me a little behind – but always worth it….. good people. Got the big wedding shoot tomorrow….. I’m nervous/anxious about doing it – but also just a bit excited at the prospect too…….. Have been told most underwater events will now not happen because of the boat they rented…. so sounds like there will be some serious improvising right off of the bat. That’s okay though – I love a good challenge…..
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Last I talked….. I had finished up a really long day and was too pooped to pop…. the next day the Staff was invited out to spend the bulk of the day at Buck Island…. a beautiful little island about 1/2 mile off of the coast of St. Croix….. it arguably has one of the prettiest beaches around. Even though we had to sit through one minor rain squall – the day overall was a wonderfully relaxing success. There was lots of good fun, lots of alcohol and an even better group of folks to spend the day with. The cherry on top of that day was my Queen came along and enjoyed herself as well……… what a wonderful day. By the time we got ack, got the boat unloaded and all the way back to our end of the island….. we were done. I had pictures to edit and get put up, even though it was a “staff day off” as ‘the photographer – I still had to put in a little “work”. Since it was a private event – I made it a private gallery and didn’t share very many pictures on FB. I will put some of them up here – for your viewing enjoyment and so you can see what I mean about the beauty of that place.
The next day was a bona fide work day…. a really small boat – so not a lot of ‘work’ involved…… and one of the dives turned out to be very sharky…… I got me lots of new shark shots….. some I am sure you have seen by now. The dive site is now officially my second favorite site……. Sea Mount…… such a neat place….. this little ‘spire’ juts up out of the ocean floor and is about 100′ tall. It hold so much life…. it’s crazy…. and the growth on it is mind bending…. sponges, corals – it is amazing~! PLUS- it usually always has several friend sharks~!!! The second site we did even coughed up a couple of playful sharks – but not near as cooperative as the first group. Did have one really nice Hawksbill turtle cruise through that didn’t mind me taking pictures of him……….
Today – again, unexpectedly…. was a day off for me….. and I took full advantage of it….. other than a little computer work – I did a whole bunch of nothing in particular……. My Bride worked a half a day at Blues. Even she got away early – we sat and had drinks and just the quiet and each others company. Somewhere around 5:00-ish….. the next door neighbors rolled up and Andrea came over and had a drink with us and we chatted a bit. She has since headed back and here I am now trying to catch up with you all. Crazy, fun, busy days…… not exactly what most people think of when you say retired…… but hey- it is working great for us. Stephanie and family come in next week and we are ramping up for that~! We can’t hardly wait~!!!!!
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Because I ‘knew‘ [or at least thought I knew] there would be no diving for the rest of the week…. I went ahead and jumped on the boat for the morning 2-tank dive. The original plan was to run into town and jump on it for the afternoon JR Dive Day (the boat was out West [near me] for the JR Dive, so it was only a couple of minutes away and get the pictures of the kiddlies doing their thing. The 2 tank dive that morning was nice – but tiring….. turns out the morning boat had a LOT more people on it than originally planned…. and I swam my as….. touchas off to make sure I got pictures of every one. To add to it – the first dive was again Armageddon…… it is a deep dive and it really takes it out of you….. or me any way…… Came back to the pier…. unloaded all the tanks and started gearing up for the kids. I made a rookie mistake… by not going and getting me a bite to eat and something to drink while we were docked. I had to disassemble my camera, swap out batteries for the strobes and the camera…. dry everything out and put it all back together. I did that and still had plenty of time…… guess I was just over come with an extra dose stupid……… I paid that price by the time we got back to the dock again. Unloaded all of those tanks after a very tiring dive……. humped my gear all the way to where I was parked (about 1/8th of a mile) and headed home. THEN…… not completely satisfied with how stupid I had been to that point – I skipped my Rehydrate and waters and went straight to slamming down Vodka/Cranberry……. yeah- good move right there~! I got all 400 pictures edited….. loaded into my Gallery and loaded onto Cane Bays FB page….. before running out of steam. It was well past 9:00pm at that point…… and I was struggling……. Some lesson’s you have to learn 2 or 3 or 4 times before they stick I guess…….. So that is why I weenied out again last night. – after reassembling my camera gear [again] and doing some island engineering to get my strobes to work this morning … (my current camera housing is going down hill fast- New [better] one on order…….. I headed out for another 2 tank dive this morning……. it sure is a good thing I like diving as much as I do — this could start to get old pretty quick if I didn’t. Two really good dives with the last one ending up very sharky~!! Tomorrow is a down day (slow season just kicked in here) and the shop is taking the boat and the employees out to Buck Island. A National Park just off the coast of our little rock….. been there multiple times and it it BEE-U-TI-FUL~!!!!! And of course – I will be taking pictures………. Should be a fun day……!
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Laid in bed a little longer this morning fighting off the almost painful bladder pressure I had going- reveling in the fact that I did not have to get up for anything in particular this morning and got to ‘sleep in’. My Bride made several early morning trips to the bathroom – which kept me just awake enough to realize that I had to whizzz really bad. I held off and enjoyed her snuggling up next to me each time she came back to bed. A mostly Northern breeze that cropped up in the middle of the night helped keep our bedroom a little cooler than usual and it felt really good. Her persistent shuffling around after the last trip kept me awake and very aware of the impending need to get up and by 06:30 – I couldn’t take it any longer and got up. I may be bragging just a little bit – but we were both in bed by shortly after 8:00pm last night – so I done really good~! Still fairly dark…. no breeze – but it wasn’t the breath taking hot air that has greeted us in the morning this past month or so……. I done all of my bathroom stuff and settled in to read the headlines……….
My Bride slept in another hour and a half or so — which delighted me to no end. We enjoyed a quiet morning before having a right tasty breakfast. While Angie did dishes….. I scrapped myself up and forced me to go out and mow the yard. Probably the last friggin’ thing I wanted to do – but it’s one of those things that has ‘has’ to be done. Anticipating a busy week of diving – I didn’t want to wait another week, as I would probably need a bush hog to mow it by then. I really ought to do it in the morning when it is a LOT cooler….. but NOOOOooooo.…. lets wait until almost noon – when it’s really good and toasty out there~! An hour or so and a very wet T-Shirt later – our yard was done. I came in the house to cool off only to find out the power had gone and was still out…….. Dammit Emmit~! So I swallowed a bottle of water and went outside to sit on the tail gate of the truck in the shade….. there was a nice breeze out there that helped cool the old fat boy off. Cooled off…… I loaded all the gear in the truck, gave my Bride a kiss and headed into town to mow the ATV yard. After all, it was Sunday, they should be closed IFthe yard needed mowing……. At my Queens bidding – I took a bottle of rehydrate with me…… as I rolled past the yard – it was filled with people and machines…… WTH ???? Working on a ‘Sunday’??? Shawn waved as I rolled on by and headed for the dump to drop off a bag of gar-bage’ I had in the bed that was rapidly becoming odoriferous…… For whatever reason…. I have had it in my [apparently very empty] head…… today was Sunday…… I tried to pull up the Colts game….not~! I need to quit taking days off……. it’s confusing……..
Good Night Ya’ll > > > > > > > > > > > > > Thankx for stopping in~!
Last day of the work week ??….. Up early after dealing with the after affects of a stir fry dinner last night. That’ll teach me to try and eat healthy. I can say with out a DOUBT – stir fry [good as it may be] does absolutely nothing for soaking up a belly full of Vodka….. nothing…. zip…. nadda……. at least not like a greasy cheese burger or an equally greasy pizza would……. will probably never understand why people eat that stuff. Don’t get me wrong…. I actually liked my selection, but going back to the ‘soaking up‘ belly contents leaves a LOT to be desired. So while I worked on my breakfast, OJ, Milk, 2 eggs, a hot dog, and 1 biscuit with butter and honey…… I otherwise contended with stir fry and dang little meat with it ( I did order a side of shrimp to be tossed into it)….. would much rather stick with burgers, pizza and corn dogs to soak up alcohol…… 😉 I can hear my Daughter(s) heads exploding right now…….. 🙂
Today’s diving once I got in the water….. was wonderful. I was playing a dual roll today (photog and [[assistant]] dive master) but had a small good group of divers – so I did a LOT more photog stuff than I did DM stuff. First dive site known for sea life and sharks didn’t produce a %^&*() thing other than a nice dive…….. second site – is typically a really boring dive site – but today…… ahh yes today…… sharks… 3 of them that wanted to hang out and cooperate with picture taking….. plus two big Green Moray Eels, even though I only got one shot of ONE of them….. just a very wonderful day overall underwater….. Got back in, got the boat unloaded, an icy cold Budweiser to enjoy on the drive home…… back to my Queen waiting for me with more Vodka. Another pretty decent rain storm broke out while we sat and chatted. Since I was still in my dive attire…. I took the opportunity to go outside into a very chilly rain, pulled my shirt off and took me a very refresher shower of pure clean [free] rain water, then coming back in to do my pictures.
I was contacted last night by an island friend who asked if I was interested in shooting a wedding for a friend of hers….. she came to me with the details and I finally told her I would be happy to do it. LOTS of details to this one….. but want to wait until I have more of those details before I start sharing it with ya’ll…… wedding is next weekend – so you won’t have to wait long…… sounds like a real challenge. It is an “Island” wedding…….. so it has tons of potential~! for now….. belly is full from a spaghetti concoction that island Daughter dropped off….. it wasn’t bad — probably fantastic straight out of the oven……….! I am not complaining….. it was hot, hit the spot and I didn’t have to cook it…… checks off the top 3 boxes of a meal……. 😉 Taking the day off tomorrow….. then back at it for 3 dives on Sunday………. yea, I know… day off and all………
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Not sure where this one is goin’. I got back and got a LOT of fun pictures edited (no shark shots 🙁 ) and got them put up. I asked my Bride if she’s like to go out for dinner and she said yes~! Been a while since we’ve been to the Beach Side Café – so away we went. Definitely the best spot on the island for sunsets and a righteous meal. I ordered my Bang Bang Shrimp and some Mahi bites…. never had the bites and wanted to try them. Won’t be ordering them anymore…… but you don’t know until you try…… right ? Just before our meal showed up – I recognized a couple that was on the dive boat this morning (for the first time) – and invited them to join us. We spent the next couple of hours talking, eating, laughing and just having a really good time. Finally had to bid them adieu as I have to be up in the morning for ‘work‘~~~ I GOTTA smile when I say that…… Not even on my worst day doing it can I consider it work……. hells bells….. I’m being PAID to dive and take pictures~!!! About as close to perfect as it can get…….. for an old, fat, retired, bald headed guy. Plus, I get to meet some really great people and help make their experiences under water even better. Even some of the old ‘fuddy-duddies’ that “Don’t want my picture taken” – are cracking some pretty great grins the next day when they see the pictures I took of them. I like it…..
I said this will probably be short and sweet, because it is almost 9:00 here, which is my bedtime when I have to get up for ‘work’ in the morning….. and I still need to charge all my batteries before I hit the hay….. so gonna quit here….. some fun pictures for you…… even some video so you can get a birds eye view of my ‘world’ when I’m down there…… Hope you like ’em~!!!
Good Night Ya’ll + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Thankx for stopping in~!