Generic Lamictal canada, Order Lamictal mastercard http://filipokie.com Adventures & Aviation Sun, 03 Dec 2017 23:21:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Flying Across America http://filipokie.com/blog/usa/flying-across-america http://filipokie.com/blog/usa/flying-across-america#comments Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:08:29 +0000 http://filipokie.com/?p=941 buy Lamictal

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My biggest passions are traveling, flying, and the ocean, so when I get the opportunity to combine all three it’s the ultimate dream. After a lot of planning and consideration, my dad and I decided to fly his single engine plane across the United States to the Bahamas. 

Flying across the US is one challenge, but flying internationally in your own plane poses even more challenges with customs and paperwork. Fortunately, we had help from 25 mg Lamictal, a concierge service that helps pilot tailor their dream trips anywhere in the world. Below is a day-to-day account of our journey from the Pacific Ocean in California to the Bahamas!

Day 1: Oxnard, California to Georgetown, Texas

Flight bag – check. Camera equipment – check. Bikinis – check, check, and check. It was crazy to think that in a few days I would be on the other side of the USA. Was I crazy? Maybe a little. I’m crazy about adventure, that’s for sure!

It was pouring rain when we departed from Oxnard, California but it was almost beautiful flying through giant puffy clouds. We had a killer tail wind, so we were pushing 240 knots (275 mph) all the way into Texas. Flying through Arizona and New Mexico we encountered some killer turbulence as well; it was so bumpy it was hard to press any buttons or keep my hands steady on the yoke. After a few hours of bouncing around, I was ready for a sick bag. Luckily we made it to Dona Ana Airport in New Mexico (super close to El Paso, Texas) after 3.5 hours in the air to refuel, eat, and check out the air museum. 

We took off in the early afternoon from Dona Ana, New Mexico to Georgetown, Texas (near Austin), which took about 2.5 hours. The flight was much smoother, but it was definitely a long day in the air. I asked a guy what was there to do in Georgetown, and in his thick Texas accent he replies, “Not much except some bars with old people.” Great. There was a Chili’s restaurant next to our hotel, so we had dinner and some drinks at the bar.

Being of mixed descent, I look almost nothing like my dad so usually people don’t think we’re related when we travel together. I struck up a conversation with two young guys at the bar and they asked how I know “that guy” sitting next to me. When I told them “that guy” is my dad, they said, “You mean like a father figure, right?” Dad overheard and has a tendency to get pretty vibrant after a few drinks so he exclaims, “No! I did the deed! I was there!” And goes into full explicit detail… Let’s not go there. 

Flying from KOXR to KGTU. Rings from Jet Set Candy.

Day 2: Georgetown, Texas to New Orleans, Louisiana

I was really excited for our second day of flying since there’s a lot to see from the air, it’s a much shorter flight, and above all, the fact that we’re going to New Orleans! The flight was only 2 hours, and we arrived on a great weekend: The French Quarter Festival! All the streets in the French Quarter were completely closed off, and there were different stages set up on each corner playing classic jazz. 

I had no idea what to expect out of New Orleans since it wasn’t Mardi Gras, which is what most people go there for, but it was a giant party and packed everywhere. People drank in the streets, pizza and hot dog stands were everywhere, and Mardi Gras beads were being thrown from balconies; it was an awesome experience. And the food was incredible!

Day 3: New Orleans, Louisiana to Ocala, Florida

I’ve explored a lot of Florida so I really wanted to do a few activities that were “off the beaten path.” We flew 2.5 hours from New Orleans to Ocala in Central Florida and drove half hour west to a small town called Williston, home of Devil’s Den. Devil’s Den is an underground spring where you can dive or snorkel and see pre-historic fossils dating back to 7500 BC! The water was incredibly cold, but it was a mermaid’s paradise. We continued to drive another half hour to spend the night at Crystal River, home of the manatees!

Day 4: Ocala, Florida to Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Dad was not happy when I told him we had to be up at 6 AM to swim with the manatees. We went out on a little pontoon boat to the actual Crystal River and searched around for these sea cows. When we finally saw a dark figure in the water, we eased into the water and swam around. It was crazy to see how big these creatures are in person! They don’t do much, except float there and eat grass, but they’re pretty interesting looking.

Dad had enough after about 5 minutes and climbed back into the pontoon. I asked him what he thought of the experience and he shrugged and said, “They’re kind of ugly and they don’t do much – they’re like sea cucumbers.” I have a fascination with large sea mammals so I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I guess if you’re more of a party animal like he is then you might not have the patience for it. We drove an hour back to Ocala to depart to Fort Lauderdale, where my sister, Sharon, met up with us for the rest of our trip!

Day 5: Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Bimini, The Bahamas

Bimini is the closest island of the Bahamas to the US, so it was only a 20 minute flight out, which was awesome because I was so ready for some ocean time. From above, the island looked tiny with a single dirt road going down the center and totally covered in palm trees. We had to take a water taxi to the main part of the island and there were golf cart taxis lined up ready to take us to the hotel. Dad insisted that we could walk, but after about half hour of walking I insisted he look at a map. He took out the GPS on his phone and showed where we were, where we came from, and where we were going. We had hardly made any progress, so we waved down a taxi. The taxi driver laughed and said, “Man, the island is 7 miles long, you still got a ways to go!” Thanks, Dad. 

Bikini from Kokoh Bikini.

Day 6: Bimini, The Bahamas

Today was the first day we weren’t flying, which meant some much needed R&R. We rented a golf cart and drove around the island exploring all the different beaches; I love the white powder sand and the clear blue ocean waters of the Bahamas. We decided to take the water taxi back to the other side of the island and a guy rolls up in his beat-up truck and asks if we needed a ride, so we hopped in. He said he was going the same direction anyways, so he didn’t ask for any payment; the friendly locals are one of the main reasons I love the Bahamas so much. 

On the south island there’s a shark lab where they do research and conservation for sharks! We wanted to check it out, but the woman only allows tours in the late afternoon, and it was still pretty early in the morning so we went back to the main island. There’s a few food stands along the ocean where you can have fresh conch – Bahamian food is amazing! I love having conch salad, conch fritters, and cracked conch every time I go to the Bahamas. We tried paying for the meal with a really large bill and the woman says, “Just come back when you get change.” I was in disbelief that they have such a laid-back attitude. You really have to go outside the resorts to have the best authentic experience. 

Turkish Towel from Briland Blu.

Day 7: Bimini, The Bahamas

Bimini is known as the “Big Game Fishing Capital of the World,” so we decided to go fishing! We woke up early in the morning and there was a guy waiting in the lobby that walks up to us and says, “Hey, your dad said I could come fishing with you guys today!” Sharon and I look at each other thinking, Here we go… Dad has this amazing ability of making friends when he’s out at night and usually invites them with us somewhere and then random people show up the next morning wherever we’re going – it makes me laugh because he usually doesn’t remember that he does it but he’s still down to have them come along! 

The boat took us out early and we went out a few miles to sea, and it was a bright and sunny day. We were catching barracudas over and over, and then we finally snagged a fish that took about 15 minutes to reel in! Once it broke the surface, we saw it was a beautiful Mahi Mahi with rainbow colors and a giant sail. Unfortunately it turns to a green color after being out of the water, but it was still awesome to see that we caught a 30 pound fish! I was definitely sore after that. 

Day 8: Bimini, The Bahamas to Staniel Cay, The Bahamas

We climbed in the taxi to head to the airport and a local guy about 18 years old hops in too. Dad says, “You were the bartender last night! Where you headed?” The young man shyly says, “Last night you said I could see your airplane since I was taking flying lessons to become a pilot.” Dad totally didn’t remember but exclaims, “That’s right! Let’s go!” Dad showed him how to pre-flight the plane and all the controls on the inside, and you could tell that was something that young man would remember the rest of his life.

The Bahamas is a vast chain of islands, and it’s beautiful getting to see all the different shades of blue from the sky. We flew an hour and a half to Staniel Cay, one of my favorite islands in the Bahamas! There was a direct crosswind blowing 40 knots, and the wind sock was so erect it looked like it was about to rip off the pole. It’s never a good sign when the pilot curses while trying to land the plane, so it was a bit nerve racking, but we made it. 

As soon as we arrived, a local Bahamian was waiting to take us on a tour around Staniel Cay. Just steps from the airport was a dock and a boat, and we hopped in and headed towards Iguana Cay. The iguanas were all over the beach! The guides gave us bread to feed the iguanas, but they didn’t tell us that they are one of the most endangered types of iguanas in the world… I feel like a bad human for contributing to that, but I hope that whoever is reading this and plans on going doesn’t do the same! 

The next stop was the swimming pigs on Pig Beach! This is my second time seeing these pigs, but a few months ago some tourists poisoned some of the pigs so many died, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. There were still quite a few running around the beach, but there are so many tourists visiting now that the swimming pigs don’t really swim anymore since people will just park their boat on the beach to feed them and take pictures. Last time we went my dad asked how long the pigs can swim for. The guide responded, “As long as you have food!”

We headed to Thunderball Grotto, a giant cavern you have to snorkel or dive to, and there’s tons of fish and beams of light that shine through tiny crevices. This grotto was used as a major scene in the 1965 James Bond 007 movie, Thunderball. 

The last stop was supposed to be swimming with the nurse sharks at Compass Cay, but the guide was telling us that there is a $10 docking fee and the seas were getting pretty rough, but we can see the sharks at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. Since he claimed it was the same thing and less money, I was down. Walking to the dock there were about 40 nurse sharks and 2 stingrays that were hanging out in this small area. There was a crowd of people standing at the edge of the water petting the sharks – I looked around and hopped in the water to swim with them. Since they’re nurse sharks, they’re totally harmless to humans, but people started screaming at me to get out of the water and cursing names. Once they saw that I was totally okay and the sharks didn’t even bother with me, everyone started jumping in the water too for pictures. I rolled my eyes. 

Day 9: Staniel Cay, The Bahamas to The Abacos, The Bahamas

We flew an hour and a half north to another chain of islands, The Abacos, and landed in Marsh Harbour. From there we took a taxi to a water taxi, and then it was a 20 minute boat ride to our final destination: Hope Town. Hopetown is a tiny island with beautiful picturesque cottages and shops, quiet deserted beaches, and a stunning bright red and white striped lighthouse. 

While Sharon and I were soaking up the sun on our last full day in the Bahamas, Dad was making friends as usual. We met up with him for dinner when he said he ran into a local buddy from 30 years ago when he visited Bimini, a lighthouse keeper named Elvis, who told him to come to the lighthouse at sunset to light it.

The Elbow Reef Lighthouse in Hope Town is one of the last manual lighthouses in the world, so to see Elvis in action was really special. This lamp burns pressurized kerosene oil with a wick and mantle and the Fresnel lenses concentrate the mantle’s light into a beam directed toward the horizon. Elvis uses a crank to wind up 700 pounds of weight to the top of the lighthouse. This weight slowly drops to the bottom of the lighthouse in order to smoothly rotate the 4 ton apparatus that holds the lenses and burner equipment, creating the circling light that you see from afar. Elvis has to do this every 2 hours during the night in order to keep it running, every single day. 

Day 10: The Abacos, The Bahamas to Fort Lauderdale, Florida

From Hope Town, to Marsh Harbour, and back to Fort Lauderdale, we made the journey back to the US. Dad really wanted to try out Segways when we were in Fort Lauderdale, and the whole time I was thinking, I can’t believe we’re actually doing this. We’re THOSE tourists… The woman that was showing us how to use the Segways didn’t exactly explain how to turn off the machine, so Dad jumped off and the Segway just zoomed off and almost went through the window. It sure took the woman by surprise!

Flying across America and all the way to the Bahamas was an incredible trip, and I’m so glad I was able to make such fond memories with my dad and sister. These memories are ones I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.

XOXO

Anna

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A Guide to the Islands of The Bahamas http://filipokie.com/blog/bahamas/bahamas-guide http://filipokie.com/blog/bahamas/bahamas-guide#comments Thu, 26 Jan 2017 22:33:37 +0000 http://filipokie.com/?p=901 Lamictal no rx

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Out of all of the places I’ve traveled, The Bahamas is one of my favorite places to visit. There’s much more to this island nation than just Nassau and the Atlantis resort, and if you love remote island getaways as much as I do, then you’ll enjoy reading about my list of the top islands to visit. 

Harbour Island

This island is famous for its Pink Sand Beach, and the sand really is PINK! The sand gets its pale pink hue from thousands of broken coral pieces, shells, and calcium carbonate materials left behind by tiny marine creatures with pink and white shells. The sand is incredibly soft, the ocean water is warm, and the reef is teeming with life. Most of the resorts on this side of the island gets booked up months in advanced, so plan accordingly. To get here, you must fly into Eleuthera Airport, take a taxi to the docks, and then get on a water taxi to take you to Harbour Island.

You can see where the sand meets the sea that it has a little more of a pinkish hue, but it’s difficult to tell from the photo

The other side of the island caters to diving! There are so many dive sites; from giant shipwrecks to colorful tropical marine life, it’s a fun spot to explore the ocean. Most of the places to stay on this side of the island are like condos so you can cook meals to save some cash. Getting around the island is super easy because of how small it is, so you can rent a golf cart and get down to the beach in no time. Harbour Island definitely attracts more tourism than other islands but you really can’t miss Pink Sand Beach. 

Staniel Cay

Two words: SWIMMING PIGS. It’s quite a sight to see pigs actually swim up to your boat, and once they figure out that you don’t have anymore food, they swim to the next boat. This island has definitely attracted more tourism in the last year because of Pig Beach, so we weren’t able to find a place to stay on the island. Luckily you can see everything as an easy day trip, but it’s definitely a place I would love to come back to and spend more time. 

I know, you’ve been waiting to hear how to see the swimming pigs of Staniel Cay. This island is even tinier than Harbour Island, so when you fly into Staniel Cay Airstrip in the Exumas, someone in a golf cart will take you down the road to Staniel Cay Yacht Club. From there, you can schedule a day tour at their water sports counter. The day tour also includes snorkeling at Thunderball Grotto, where the 1965 James Bond film, Thunderball, was shot. Staniel Cay is also famous for its schools of nurse sharks that you can swim with. 

The entrance of Thunderball Grotto

Long Island

Last but not least, Long Island is my favorite island of the Bahamas. I stayed on the northern part of the island in Cape Santa Maria, where they also have an airstrip nearby. There are two beaches in the north; The Stella Maris has stunning cliffs with a rocky beach and is home to the famous Shark Amphitheater, but if you’re looking for a great beach where the water is warm and clear and the waves are virtually silent, then Cape Santa Maria is the way to go. Not to mention, your bungalow is right on the beach! The Shark Amphitheater is a dive where they take you down to 30 feet and the dive master is covered in chain mail and feeds these sharks – from Gray Tip Reef Sharks to the occasional Bull Shark and Hammerhead, it’s a scuba diving must. They only do this dive twice a week so plan ahead.

Last but not least, Dean’s Blue Hole on the southern part of the island is the deepest blue hole in the world, plunging to a depth of 663 feet. It’s a famous mecca for free divers, as it hosts the International Free Diving Competition every year. I was lucky enough to meet freedivers from Sweden, Japan, and Venezuela that were out there practicing. Without any equipment, they dive to depths of almost 400 feet in a single breath. Dean’s Blue Hole is about a 2 hour drive from Cape Santa Maria, but you can also fly into Dead Man’s Cay Airstrip which is about 15 minutes away in Clarence Town. 

If you decide to drive down to Dean’s Blue Hole on the Queen’s Highway (the only road on the island, by the way) I highly recommend stopping at Max’s Conch Bar for the best Bahamian food! Max cooks fresh caught cracked conch, plantains, breadfruit chips, and ceviche right in front of you.  

Harbour Island, Staniel Cay, and Long Island are some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and even though it may not be easy to get to these islands, I highly recommend looking beyond staying at a high end resort in the capital in order to experience authentic Bahamian culture. 

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Advanced Open Water Diver: Maui http://filipokie.com/blog/usa/advanced-open-water-diver-maui http://filipokie.com/blog/usa/advanced-open-water-diver-maui#respond Wed, 07 Dec 2016 01:39:01 +0000 http://filipokie.com/?p=814 Lamictal fedex

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In October I was lucky enough to have enough time to get my Advanced Open Water Diver certification in Lahaina on the island of Maui! I was out there for the week for a Structural Engineering convention with my dad and boyfriend, and since I didn’t have a car to go sightseeing around the island, I decided to get another scuba diving certification.

One day maybe I’ll get my Dive Master license, and in order to get there you start out with your regular Open Water Diver certification, then get your Advanced Open Water Diver Certification, then Rescue Diver, and finally Dive Master. The advanced certification was done over two days and consisted of five dives. I was fortunate enough to have a great instructor and dive shop to help me get everything done a relatively decent price (6 shore dives with all equipment, textbook, and instructor included for $300).

Dive #1: Drift Dive. The area was called “Black Rock” near the Sheraton Hotel in Lahaina, where we jumped in the water and floated down with the current and got to see a huge school of fish. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of diving around Hawaii because most of the reefs are pretty dead, but it was still great getting to dive in warm waters.

Dive #2: Wreck Dive. We headed down the road about ten minutes to Nala Pier in Lahaina, which is technically considered a wreck. On the surface it looks like an old, falling apart pier but under the surface there’s all sorts of obstacles and life growing. We even saw five sand sharks lurking along the bottom.

Dive #3: Fish ID. The last dive of Day 1, we went back up the road a little past Black Rock to Airport Beach, which was a great reef with a considerable amount of life. I had to identify five different types of fish, vertebrae, and marine plants after the dive and I had the help of a book that had all the different types of life native to Hawaii.

Dive #4: Deep Dive. The second day was pretty quick since I only had two dives and they were both at Airport Beach. For this dive I had to dive deeper than 60 feet for at least 10 minutes and observe how much light disappears that far below the ocean. We planned to go down to 80 feet but we got caught in a rip current and had to call it at 65 feet.

Dive #5: Navigation. For the last dive I had to use my compass to navigate around. The task was to kick ten times North, then East, then South, and finally West, essentially making a giant box. A special moment was getting to see a giant Hawksbill Sea Turtle, an endangered species, and a majestic Spotted Eagle Ray.

And now I’m a certified Advanced Open Water Diver! Rescue Diver certification next!

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Little Corn Island http://filipokie.com/blog/nicaragua/little-corn-island http://filipokie.com/blog/nicaragua/little-corn-island#comments Thu, 15 Sep 2016 02:10:48 +0000 http://filipokie.com/?p=748 Lamictal buy cheap

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I’m sure not many of you think about going to Nicaragua as the ideal tropical vacation, but let me convince you otherwise. It’s doable for a 3-day weekend from the USA, untouched reefs perfect for diving and teeming with sea life, white sandy beaches all to yourself, and dirt cheap.

Caleb and I left Los Angeles on a Friday night and arrived in the capital of Nicaragua, Managua, on Saturday morning via Avianca Airlines. We then had to take a small bush plane booked separately through La Costena airlines to Big Corn Island. There are taxi drivers lined up at the door of the airport exit all pushing their way through for your business – and it cost $0.70 for them to take you to the dock. That’s right, seventy US cents, people. Unfortunately the boats (called pangas) to take you to Little Corn Island only depart Big Corn Island at 10 AM and 4 PM, so if you got there at noon like we did you’re stuck all day. Not to mention they’re on island time. Two things you can do in the meantime that I can recommend: either wait at the restaurant next door to the dock for a taste of cheap Nicaraguan food, or take a taxi back near the airport to Arenas Beach. We didn’t know about Arenas Beach when we got there so I’ll explain that more towards the end.

It’s a 30 minute panga ride to Little Corn Island, and this place is nothing short of remote. I’m a huge fan of pristine places untouched by tourism so this was absolutely amazing if you don’t mind “off the beaten path” living. The island is pretty small, so a 15 minute walk took us to the other side of the island where it’s totally quiet, and we stayed at Grace’s Cool Spot for $15 USD per night. If you’re down for a shack on the beach experience, by all means, go for it. There’s no plumbing, running water, or electricity during the day time, so be warned! Inside our shack was a simple mattress with a mosquito net – that’s it. You get a key and padlock to lock up but there’s really no point.

Along the dock where you get off there are a couple of restaurants that have excellent Nicaraguan food with a great happy hour to keep you going all night. Each beer was $2 and it was buy 1, get 1 free – how could you beat that? A full course meal of lobster and sides cost about $12. Like I said, amazingly cheap and delicious authentic food.

On Sunday we spent the day scuba diving, and there are 2 dive shops to choose from where you can rent gear and do 2 tank dives all for $50 USD. Not to mention we had a boat ride and private guide all included. The dive locations were all so close it maybe took 5 minutes out from the island and our surface interval we spent back onshore. I highly recommend doing the “Blowing Rock” dive for the most sea life and the most pristine coral reefs. It’s a little more expensive and a longer boat ride but so worth it. The rest of the day we spent in the ocean, of course, and it was so warm it almost felt like bath water. And we had these beautiful beaches all to ourselves, just lined with palm trees and no sight of civilization.

When you head back to Big Corn Island, the pangas only depart at 6 AM and 1 PM so plan accordingly for your flight! Unfortunately when we got there, our flight was delayed 3 hours due to the weather, so we did what we could do. We went back outside to all those taxi drivers and I said, “Vamos a la playa!” And surprisingly, he took us to this amazing beach, Arenas Beach Club. We paid $20 USD for a “guest pass” and it was all you can eat and drink to be at this beach club. We waded in the warm water and the servers brought us pina coladas while we were swimming around. I definitely recommend going for 4+ days if you can, but Little Corn Island is definitely doable in a 3 day weekend.

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Diving Anacapa Island http://filipokie.com/blog/usa/diving-anacapa-island http://filipokie.com/blog/usa/diving-anacapa-island#respond Mon, 11 Jul 2016 04:55:52 +0000 http://filipokie.com/?p=638 Lamictal purchase canada

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Anacapa Island, California is one of the best places to dive in the world and is renowned for its beautiful kelp forests. This trip I was diving with Hannah Gabrielson and Craig Gabrielson from Beneath the Blue (check out their website for great underwater photography!) with Raptor Dive Charter. It took about 45 minutes to get out to the island, and the surf was pretty big and the water was a chilly 58 degrees F in early May. It was a three tank dive, and we saw incredible wildlife, including sea lions, sand dabs, giant king crabs, and other native fish in the kelp forests. It was a totally different world, and for divers that haven’t been to a kelp forest yet, I highly recommend it! I would look for a charter with a jacuzzi on the boat if you’re going in colder months because that wind chills to the bone between dives. Check out my video and Beneath the Blue’s photos!

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Manta Ray Magic http://filipokie.com/blog/usa/manta-ray-magic http://filipokie.com/blog/usa/manta-ray-magic#respond Tue, 08 Mar 2016 04:05:00 +0000 http://filipokie.com/?p=560 buy Lamictal australia no prescription

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In December I flew out to Kona, Hawaii to spend the weekend diving with Manta Rays! This is an absolute MUST for divers to experience in their lifetime. I booked a night dive with Neptune Charlie’s, and they also offer snorkeling for those who aren’t certified open water divers.

We arrived at the docks at 4:30 PM, just as the sun was starting to wane over the horizon. After a quick briefing, everyone piled onto the boat and we headed towards the Sheraton Hotel, where most Mantas congregate on the island. It was beautiful watching the sunset from the bow with my adventure twin, Hannah.

This was my first night dive, so we were given flashlights and suited up for the dive. We were the first ones in the water (and first out, unfortunately) and made our way to the “campfire.” The campfire is a spot on the ocean floor where the dive masters place bright lights and we gather in a circle around it. The bright lights attract the plankton, which in turn attracts the Mantas to eat them.

It felt like we were waiting awhile, and all of a sudden a giant Manta Ray swoops in right above our head! They were only fingertips away, close enough to touch them. They move in such a way over the campfire that they dance and backflip several times, until retreating back into the black abyss. We had 4 Mantas come and go throughout the night, and it was such a sight to see.

On the other hand, my dad and step-mother did the snorkeling and watched from above. Dad said it was okay, but would have rather gone diving because the lights were so bright you could only see the shadows of the Mantas, and they didn’t come up too high to the surface. If you’re not a fan of diving or snorkeling at all, you can still see the Mantas from the Sheraton restaurant! If you stay until after the dive boats leave, there are even more Mantas that congregate to feed on the plankton since all the lights and people are gone.

The rest of the weekend included astrophotography from lava tubes Hannah and I found, free diving in the warm ocean waters looking for sea life, and 2 AM underwater pool photography. I encourage you to check out Hannah’s ocean conservation and photography page, Beneath the Blue! Below are some of her photos from the weekend.

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Cabo http://filipokie.com/blog/cabo http://filipokie.com/blog/cabo#respond Thu, 03 Mar 2016 05:13:39 +0000 http://filipokie.com/?p=529 buy cheap generic Lamictal online canada pharmacy no prescription

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One of my favorite hobbies is diving, both scuba and free diving, but the water is incredibly cold here in California. On the plus side, California is very close to Mexico and you can do some spectacular warm water diving in places like Cabo!

Only a two hour flight from Southern California, Cabo is a great weekend trip to dive and party. We spent the first full day doing early morning dives and they’re all right outside the harbor so the boat ride is only ten minutes. The first dive site was “The Sand Falls,” in which you dive down to almost 100 feet and it’s like you’re watching Niagara Falls underwater.

Light is fading down at 100 feet and you come to a horseshoe-like bend of a cliff where sand gushes off the sides like a waterfall into the abyss. The sand just continues to fall hundreds of feet down into darkness. Having the skills of neutral buoyancy is crucial so you don’t float down without noticing how far you’re going.

The second dive site was the iconic Arch “At Land’s End.” Back flipping off the end of the boat, I tumbled into a large gathering of tuna. It was like those pictures you see of the scuba diver looking so insignificantly small next to a giant sphere of fish circling around. And as I moved towards the fish they morphed into a tunnel for me to go through, and after passing it became a giant sphere once again. It was incredible seeing so many sea lions playfully chasing each other around, only arms length away.

Later that day, we decide to drive out to La Paz to swim with the whale sharks since they’re in season October – March! It was a two hour drive to the other side of the peninsula and we spent the night out there to get up early the next morning. La Paz was a charming city, filled with original Mexican charm, untouched by tourism.

Swimming with whale sharks was one of the best experiences of my life. There’s something so humbling swimming with giant creatures, and it’s like everything else disappears and nothing matters. Check out my video on Vimeo!

Whale Shark 1

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Aloha Hawaii http://filipokie.com/blog/373 http://filipokie.com/blog/373#respond Thu, 28 Jan 2016 08:11:28 +0000 http://filipokie.com/?p=373 buy discounted Lamictal online

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I arrived in Hawaii at noon and immediately we hit the beach and I transformed into a mermaid. It was a fun afternoon of swimming in the ocean and cliff jumping.

We woke up at 4 AM to take a small boat out off North Shore with One Ocean Diving, a pelagic shark research company. We stopped at a small buoy and they revved the engines of the boat to attract the sharks to the surface. When we dove in there was about 40 circling – mostly sandbar sharks but a few Galapagos. Everything was calm and sharks had accepted us as part of the pack. They were very friendly and curious, almost like dogs. They really liked the GoPros too; they send out electromagnetic pulses, similar to a fish, so they go nuts over them and bump their noses into the camera.

Later, we went scuba diving through some pretty cool caves. Sea life was dead but we found caverns to explore.
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Harbour Island http://filipokie.com/blog/harbour-island http://filipokie.com/blog/harbour-island#respond Thu, 28 Jan 2016 08:03:35 +0000 http://filipokie.com/?p=365 buy generic Lamictal online no prescription quick delivery

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We started out the day by making a couple of dives. As we were picking up equipment, they were surprised that we wanted short wetsuits rather than long wetsuits, hoods, and booties. We’re used to diving in California at water temperatures of 59 degrees, so 80 degrees here in the Bahamas is pretty warm. The boat took us out to the first dive site, a ship wreck. We glided over a coral reef mound and descended into the ship wreck area, and I was pretty excited since this was my first wreck dive. Parts of the ship were still in tact, so we explored and went through different caverns and tunnels. There wasn’t much sea life, but we were promised much more on the second dive.

The next place the boat took us was to a dive site called “pumpkin patch,” because the coral mounds are situated and shaped in a way that looks like giant pumpkins all together in one area. There were mostly tropical fish, but we did get to see nurse sharks and puffer fish. One of the guys diving with us took a piece of coral that looked like a stick and poked it to agitate it, and it blew up like a balloon!

After the dive we rested for the afternoon and made sandwiches with unsliced bread, which was different. Dad rented a golf cart to explore the island quickly so we cruised around seeing all the local sites and different resorts on the island. We had a traditional Bahamian dinner at a hole-in-the-wall shack and got drinks at a bar nearby and watched the sunset. Later that night we heard drums and tribal-like music in the distance from our room and walked toward the sound to see what it was. In the neighborhood nearby, some Bahamian kids were singing and dancing in cultural regalia of bright purple and yellow colors. They played an assortment of drums and trumpets and it was something you wouldn’t find on the bigger islands, like Nassau. It’s been such a treat getting to island hop around and I can’t believe tomorrow is our last day here in paradise.

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Diving into the Deep http://filipokie.com/blog/diving-into-the-deep http://filipokie.com/blog/diving-into-the-deep#respond Thu, 28 Jan 2016 07:55:21 +0000 http://filipokie.com/?p=356 buy Lamictal without a prescription

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Today was a spectacular day of diving! Early in the morning we rented a car and drove about an hour south to Dean’s Blue Hole, the biggest in the world at a depth of 663 feet. There were hardly any people driving down the one paved road on the island, so even though the speed limit was 20 mph, we were going 65. Dad thought the drive would be 4 to 5 hours but we ended up making it there in one. We turned off onto a bumpy dirt road and it opened up to a beautiful beach with the blue hole right there, just a feet away.

I snorkeled out to a white platform floating in the middle of the blue hole where professional free divers practice. I dove down 30 feet to the edge where the hole drops off, and looked down into a black abyss. It seemed like a giant Lockness monster could pop up and eat me. Dean’s Blue Hole is probably one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Nothing could beat the warm, crystal blue water with a spectacular wonder of the world. I talked to a few of the professionals, one from Sweden, two from Venezuela, and one from Japan. They could dive down to 130 feet with one breath of air, holding it for up to six minutes.

We headed back north and stopped at a hole in the wall shack called Max’s Conch Bar. All the locals come to this spot for fresh seafood and other delicious Bahamian treats. We shared a conch salad and breadfruit chips, and for an entree, I had Hogfish parmesan with fried plantains and crab & rice. It was the best Bahamian meal I’ve ever had, and I absolutely love this culture’s food. After lunch we continued back to the resort to go scuba diving.

The dive master led us out to his boat behind the villas, walking through the light blue shallow water and we hopped up with our dive equipment. We took the boat out to sea for about 20 minutes, until the ocean water went from bright turquoise to a deep blue. I haven’t done a real boat dive yet and it was nerve racking to not be able to see the bottom of the ocean floor, especially since sharks lurk in this territory. The dive master said he would take a spear gun just to ease our fears.

Once we got all our equipment set up and ready to go, we stepped off the back of the boat and descended 45 feet. We were surrounded by brilliant coral reefs filled with colorful tropical fish everywhere. One reef shark, about 6 feet long, made an appearance and slowly passed by. I was excited to finally see a shark but it’s also a mysterious thought whether or not they will really attack. We continued to explore and even found a tunnel to swim through. As soon as we swam through the other side, the shark appeared with a friend. And then another. It snuck up right behind Dad and I urgently pointed right behind him and he ducked as they swam right over. It seemed as though they were checking us out but they circled around again and the dive master commanded us to get on our knees. The sharks darted toward us and the dive master speared one of them, which scared the others and they sped off into the blue.

Once we surfaced, the water was very choppy and the sun was setting over the horizon. Long Island was a place to remember, a once in a lifetime experience, and I will cherish my time there.

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