Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cozumel with the broskis

My dad had the idea way back when to create F&FFE (Fathers and Future Fathers of Eyrealm); not really sure how to describe it, but it consists of my dad, all the brothers, and brother-in-laws in the family.  Once every few years when we are lucky enough to coordinate schedules; we take a trip together. Last week, we all met up in Cozumel for 3.5 days of scuba diving. It was so cool to be there with these great guys who are my brothers, but also my best friends. We had a blast – ate great food – talked – laughed – scuba dove – played basketball against a local team – just enjoyed ourselves. I must say that the diving was some of the most amazing I have experienced, (I’ve been lucky enough to dive in some pretty amazing spots around the world) the visibility was incredible and all the dives we went on were very unique in their own way. The deepest dive was down to about 120 feet and included swimming through caves, all sorts of amazing coral and underwater life. We did some amazing drift dives (where you are moving with the current so you just glide along the reef edge (cliff)). We even did a night dive which was so amazing and eerie at the same time…we had underwater flashlight and saw squid, HUGE crabs, eels, and my favorite – the bioluminescent micro-organisms that we saw in Puerto Rico last year. They weren’t as concentrated, but when you turned off your light and moves around, the organisms would light up all around you like fireflies. On the cave dives it was almost unreal as you looked up through the coral and rock to the shards of light coming down through – I wish we had a camera for that part. I learned that blood is green underwater when I scratched up  the back of my leg on the coral as we swam through one of the caves. Tal described it best when he said that each drive was like flying through a different world.

Anyway, I tried to snap some photos along the way to share. Jonah bought an underwater camera that gave us some great shots, until we went down too deep and well, the camera didn’t like that too much.


We stayed at Scuba Club Cozumel which was a full on dive lodge. Everything you needed was right there. Great food, rooms, pool, hammock, dive gear, lockers, and a dock that the boats would come pick us up at. You could also grab tanks and go out and shore dive. That was the first thing we did when we got there, while we waited for everyone else to arrive. This was relatively shallow so the underwater camera worked.


Tal takes great underwater photos…look at his face in both of these (above and below).


This one is going on the Orange Sky website (me, Noah and Tal’s company).


By the time we got out, the rest of the guys had made it.


This was the sweet little restaurant there…lots of good pieces of fish and homemade Mexican food. That is something that is severely lacking in DC so it was nice to get my fill.


Each morning, the boats would come pick us up and we’d head to various parts of the island for dives.


This is the one picture we all got together. Jared was just finishing his scuba certification so that is why he isn’t in his gear in case you were thinking he was too scared to go or something. He joined us on the next dive.


Here’s a couple of shots of the dive lodge. Then some random shots on the boat as we got ready to dive.


This is right after we finished the night dive. Sorry it is so blurry – a little bouncy on the boat.


This is Buddha, one of the awesome boat hands that helped us out. I made him smile real big.

Later that day – we went and played some basketball at the pro basketball arena on Cozumel (a humble spot). Noah met this guy at the airport who saw that Noah was tall and asked him if he played basketball. Noah said that he did, and that his brothers, dad, and bro-in-laws were coming who were also tall. This guy was the coach of a group of high school/early college kids. So he asked if we would come and play them. So Noah, Tal, Dad, Dave, and I went and played them. The gym was right in the center of town and had cement bleachers built it. A lot of the kids parents and friends showed up to watch. It was  lot of fun – it was about 90 degrees and 183% humidity with not a lot of circulation in there. I think that was the most I have ever sweat in my life. We had a fun game where the team we played took the early lead, but we came back and beat them down the stretch thanks to “Mr. Clutch” Dave Pothier, and a sweet move by dad where he took to Pepe (their best player). Luckily Noah had his phone and we took a photo.

Cozumel Bball2 IMG_4473

The place we stayed was so relaxing; no TVs, just hammocks and the ocean. So we spent the evenings playing cards, talking, and swinging in the hammocks. It was SO cool to be there with all of my brothers. It has been a while since we’ve had talks with all 5 of us.


This is an awesome picture of Jo and Tal watching Noah try a new app on his phone that Josh showed us. It is called PhotoSynth. Totally awesome, try it out.


Jo and Noah went for one last night dive.


This was the sunset that Jo and I shouldn’t have seen. Due to a big old storm in Dallas and the mid-west, our plan never made it to Cozumel to fly out on Sunday. So, we got to spend another day there with Dad (who was staying for another couple of days). We rented a Geo Tracker (amazing right) and drove over to the other side of the island to see what that was all about. It was so fun to spend more time with Jo and enjoy the beauty of the Caribbean Sea. We got up the next morning to get on a ferry to go over to Playa del Carmen, then took a bus to Cancun where the flight I was supposed to be on was full, and so I got fly to Chicago with Jo.


Chicago has a pretty amazing skyline. We are hoping to spend a weekend exploring there this summer.


What an amazing trip! Thanks so much to Dad for putting it all together. This one will be one we’ll be talking about for years and years!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

3 years…

Well, May the 2nd marked 3 years since the day that Julie and I got married. Whoa, where did the time go? In some ways it seems like we have been married for so long, and in other ways it seems like it was just May 2nd, 2008. Unfortunately due to a storm in the mid-west, I got stuck in Mexico and by the time I got home on the night of our anniversary, Julie had already left for the night shift at the hospital. Cripes. We decided to celebrate the next day since for a while we were planning the wedding for the 3rd anyway. We went out to dinner and reflected on the last 3 years of our lives, and the fact that we are just getting started. Being married to Julie is such a blessing to me. She makes me who I am. I can’t wait to see what year 4 of marriage holds.

This is a video that I made her for our anniversary…don’t feel obligated to watch, but I wanted to put it up here to remember what an awesome year we’ve had since anniversary number 2.