The Life of Lake Lily Park @ Maitland, Florida

For years now, I had pulled into the parking lot at Lake Lily for a range of different experiences. Sometimes, it was checking out the Sunday morning farmer’s market. Other times, it was hanging out with a good friend or date for conversation. Yet others, it was repeatedly lapping the half mile loop for exercise.


Despite being off I-4 and state road 1792, I was still able to find quiet moments in thought. Stringing all these moments together was nature. Somehow, the park’s charm was the ability in subverting urban civilization.


Perhaps, it was the gratifying connection of feeding the ducks, squirrels or turtles. This action had always brought adults and children degrees of satisfaction.


In passing, a fellow co-worker had mentioned this being one of his favorite spots in Orlando. With sun shimmering on the lake and the animals congregating about, I had continued to understand why.


Lake Lily Park is located at 701 Lake Lily Drive, Maitland, Florida 32751.

Hours: 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM (daily)

Admission: Open to the public

Read More:

Maitland’s Farmer’s Market (








Rock Springs in Kelly Park on a Sunday Afternoon @ Apopka, Florida

My first fall living in the Greater Orlando area, a friend had drove me out to Kelly Park in Apopka, Florida. Unsure of the distance, the commute had seemed to take an eternity in the passenger seat from downtown. This weekend, I had decided to “Pay it forward” by inviting out another friend for a drift down the clear waters of Rock Springs.

Before hitting the road on this Sunday afternoon, I had called the front gate verifying park capacity. Luckily, even with a late start around noontime, foot traffic was light because of morning temperatures starting in the 60s. During the last two miles of the drive, we had pulled into a road side vendor renting inter-tubes. After picking up two for $3 cash a piece, we had headed for the park entrance.

After parking, my friend and I had walked about the perimeter of the springs and accompanying run. Entering at the spring head, I had started swimming against the current, raising my body temperature preparing for our trek. After a few minutes of swimming in place, I had hoisted myself above a split in the limestone overhang.


On re-entry, I had sat atop the inter-tube quickly passing under the first wooden boardwalk. Turning right into the first bend, the current was moving at a brisk pace. During this moment, the shade had gave way to the warming sunshine. An inch long, metallic looking, blue dragon fly had landed on my knee. Then, it had hovered, landed and flown away.

Passing the bulk of human activity on the second bend, we had reached the final stretch of water. At the third and final bend, the sounds of  lapping water and crickets had communicated a calm serenity. Another dispersion of dragon flies had passed above the water.  Now, that long drive years ago was small penance on this picturesque Florida day.


Kelly Park is located at:
400 E Kelly Park Road, Apopka, Florida 32712

Summer: 8 a.m.- 8 p.m.;
Winter: 8 a.m.- 6 p.m.;
Monday – Sunday

(407) 254-1902
$3 per vehicle for 1-2 people; $5 per vehicle for 3-8 people

Read More:

Kelly Park/Rock Springs (Orange County)

Prelude to the Fall in Gemini Springs Park @ DeBary, Florida

Today had marked my second visit to Gemini Springs in the past few years. The last time out, I was visiting some friends playing flag football in the open green spaces of this park. On this October afternoon, I had searched for solitary moments for recording video and stills; however, human activity had reached a fever pitch filling the air with sounds of conversation and horse play.


Making my way to the lake and spring boil, I had run into stray squirrels going up and down the various bridges. Despite all the surrounding water and soft mud on the water’s edge, noticeably absent were mosquitoes from my previous week’s journey to Green Springs, just a few miles away.


Circling the lake, I had looked about for a slithering reptile or two. No such activity had existed to satisfy my curiosity. The only water borne creatures that had swam about, mullet and a turtle. With soft yet firm cool breezes pushing through trees and across the water’s surface, I had focused on some red and purple flowers. These blooms I had concluded wouldn’t be around much longer.

IMG_0191 IMG_0174

Last time leaving this park, a thunderstorm was rolling in a with palpable change of weather. With an overcast morning giving way to sunshine and blue skies, a transformation had begun.This tangible sense of nature had resurfaced with a prelude to the fall.

Gemini Springs Park is located at: 37 Dirksen Drive, DeBary

Hours: Sunrise to sunset

Admission: Free

Read More:

Gemini Springs Park (

Lot 1, Canaveral National Seashore @ Titusville, Florida

Driving a new route into National Canaveral Seashore park, I was reminded of the expansive acreage encompassing the area. On the left, I had viewed many charred trunks of palms from controlled burns. On the right shoulder, I had seen the most butterflies since being in elementary school. Before my final turn into the park gate, a solitary turtle had struggled to cross the center of the road. Fortunately, the lack of traffic had allowed me to swerve slightly into the median avoiding a possible road kill, buzz-kill moment.

boardwalk ccss

Arriving at the gate, I had thought out loud,”How many times have I been here over the past year? Maybe I should just get a pass?” At that moment, the ranger had waved us past the guard house. The reason was National Public Lands Day, meaning free admission to any national park. I was ecstatic at the surprise of saving $5. Perhaps, it was good karma for showing mercy upon the tiny turtle earlier on?

ccss waves

Eventually parking at Lot 1, a few ladies were headed to their vehicle. They had commented out-loud on the rough surf. With that thought in mind, I had carefully waded into the seas wondering,”How rough?” After few moments of swimming and trending water, the undertow seductively had pulled me out beyond my comfort level. After this realization, I had swam back to shallows enjoying the forceful nature of the waves while swimming in place. It had served as an extra round of exercise over the heated gym pool earlier in the morning.

After wrapping up for the afternoon, I had headed toward the boardwalk. Right next to the wooden steps, a fish head had captured my attention. Not too far away was a small cluster of pink flowers blooming. The Canaveral National Seashore had always served as reminder of the duality of nature. Sometimes showcasing life, other moments, it had offered testament to death with an empty shells or carcasses. The reason for my affinity for the park was this dichotomy.

flowers ccss

If you hadn’t visited this park, the next day for free admission was November 11, Veterans Day. The vast acreage had offered opportunities for fishing, swimming, hiking and primitive camping. For more information visit,  Canaveral National Seashore (National Park Service)

Read More:

Free Entrance Days in the National Parks (National Park Service)

Top 5 Sci-Fi Summer Movies of 2014

With September in the rear view mirror, I had thought time for reflecting on my favorite summer Sci-Fi films with some of them finally transitioning to DVD and Pay-Per-View. Along the way, I had watched The Amazing Spiderman 2GodzillaInto the Storm, Transformers: Age of Extinction and a few other non-genre films. Of the those aforementioned titles, adjectives like overindulgent, slow and derivative had come to mind. Then, there were movies worthy of paying full price of admission on opening weekend. These five movies had encapsulated great elements of Sci-Fi with sophisticated special effects, highly choreographed action sequences, exploring mature themes of “What does it mean to be human?”, humor, drama, and more.

5. X-Men: Days Of Future Past

After X-Men 3: The Last Stand and Wolverine films, this franchise had started heading into a downward spiral toward mediocrity; however, building on the First Class prequel, Days of Future Past had placed the X-Men brand back in the proper light. This film had continued exploring the conflict of interests and relationships between Magneto, Charles Xavier and Mystique. These characters had provided the centerpiece for which action flows. The three big takeaways were Quicksilver’s scene stealing moments, the end, and post credits teaser for X-Men: Apocalypse (2016).

4. Guardians of the Galaxy


This colorful entry was nimble at shifting tone from the sublime to serious and back. With characters like Rocket Raccoon emulating a cat, Groot grooving, and Drax the Destroyer’s literal nature, I hadn’t remembered a Sci-Fi picture working so hard in commanding my attention with humor and action. With an antagonist like Ronan The Destroyer, a movie watcher wasn’t required to know a lot about comics, just knowing the difference between good vs. evil would suffice. The movie was also strong closer with a final musical number. Though, the post-credit scene had left me with a “What the frack?” moment but, smiling all the way out the theater.

3. Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier


Action, action, and more action had epitomized this sequel. With the theme of conspiracy, the story had changed the rules for victory. During first half of the film, Captain America had articulated,”This isn’t freedom. This is fear!” This social commentary on government encroaching on personal privacy had elevated the story into contemporary pop culture, recalling recent stories of the NSA. With an equally matched bad guy in the Winter Soldier, Cap’s victory was hard fought leaving open questions for a Captain America 3.

2. Rise of Planet of the Apes

“Rise” had invoked a primal response by blending acting and special effects. Emotionally investing into Caesar’s survival was easy when forgetting the line between real and fantasy. The opening and closing shots on Caesar’s eyes had sealed the deal for #2. Putting aside how guns undercut a natural order, the story had depicted the story of two leaders, one human and one ape. Both, despite their best attempts had tragically failed at avoiding a broadening conflict between species. With two great plot twists and CGI hair, I had learned to “Like apes, more than humans.”

1. Edge Of Tomorrow

With Tom Cruise playing against his action hero archetype, I had found this movie a pleasant surprise. With an alien invasion and a time loop, this film had delivered a flurry of action sequences. With an ending leaving my head bent, this story had explored different elements of this genre exceedingly well. A surprise why? I hadn’t believed possible such a satisfying Sci-Fi film with Tom Cruise cast despite his other films like Minority Report or Oblivion. Hmm, maybe it was the joy of watching Cruise’s numerous death scenes or the futuristic combat gear?

Read More:

X-Men: Days Of Future Past (rottentomates)

Guardians of the Galaxy (rottentomatoes)

Captain America 2: The Winter Solder (rottentomates)

Dawn of Planet of the Apes (rottentomates)

Edge Of Tomorrow (rottentomates)

CENTOS 6.5 VMWare Guest VM’s network no longer works, “destination unreachable”

In the course of supporting a CENTOS 6.5 VM guest under VSphere 5.5, I had experienced three different scenarios of losing network connectivity. These scenarios had included a P2V conversion, network driver update (E1000 > VMXNET3), and full VM restore. In each instance, I had begun my adventure typing ping at command prompt interrogating the gateway, ultimately receiving the error “destination unreachable.” With each instance, I had gained a little bit more experience as Windows guy on UNIX. I had hoped summarizing those collective experiences in the steps below.

With respect to CENTOS 6.5 P2V conversion support by VMWare, this was officially untested as of July 2014. For more information on “Using VMware vCenter Converter Standalone to convert physical or virtual CentOS 5.x machines to vSphere 5.1 environments” go to SpiceWorks click here. The scope of these steps had expected an administrator already verifying VM Guest adapter being “enabled” and available. Additionally, I had thought to iterate having the proper VLANs configured in VMWare guest settings and any attached network equipment. So, if you had received “destination unreachable” when pinging your gateway begin with the below:


1. Login as root

2. Review active OS network connections, run the command, ip a


# ip a

1: lo: <LOOPBACK,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 16436 qdisc noqueue state UNKNOWN

link/loopback 00:00:00:00:00:00 brd 00:00:00:00:00:00

inet scope host lo

inet6 ::1/128 scope host

valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever

2: eth0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc mq state UP qlen 1000

link/ether 00:50:56:b7:79:ef brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff

inet brd scope global eth0

inet6 fe80::250:56ff:feb7:79ef/64 scope link

valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever


3. Review network adapter IP configuration, go to /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/


4. List files in the directory with ls command. The listed interface files should match up with the results of #2.





5. If an extra or odd numbered interface exist, say ifcfg-eth1, I had recommended making a copy of the file (i.e. cp ifcfg-eth0 backup.ifcfg-eth0).

6. Review the network interface configuration in VI with the command (i.e. vi ifcfg-eth1, vi ifcfg-eth0, etc).

Example of output:








7. To save the file without changes, type :q


8. To make changes, I had recommended going to CSU Basic vi Commands Page to learn the following commands:

for insert

for save

9. A  file that requires changes, focus on two things;

a. the filename (i.e. cp ifcfg-eth6 ifcfg-eth0).

b. Ensure the value DEVICE= matches the necessary interface (i.e. eth0 vs. eth6)

10. After making the necessary changes, restart network server, service network restart.


11. If you were still unable to ping the gateway, perform route print, route

Example A:
Destination             Gateway    GenMask  Iface default            UG             eth0

Example B:
Destination             Gateway   GenMask   Iface default         UG              eth6

In Example B, the wrong interface is configured. To correct, run the following snippet from/sbin/ route add -net gw eth0



12. If ping had continued to fail to gateway, verify Network Manager service status.

13. Verifying Network Manager running on any interfaces, #chkconfig –list Network Manager


Example of output: NetworkManager 0:off   1:off   2:off   3:off   4:off   5:off   6:off

a. To stop NetworkManager service, service NetworkManager sto

b. To disable NetworkManager from running, chkconfig NetworkManageroff


D. DELETING 70-persistent-net.rules file

14. If network interface and default gateway configuration look good, go to etc/udev/rules.d


15. Locate the 70-persistent-net.rules file, this file contains adapter mac addresses and aliases

Example of content:

# This file was automatically generated by the /lib/udev/write_net_rules

# program, run by the persistent-net-generator.rules rules file.


# You can modify it, as long as you keep each rule on a single

# line, and change only the value of the NAME= key.

# PCI device 0x8086:0x100f (e1000)

SUBSYSTEM==”net”, ACTION==”add”, DRIVERS==”?*”, ATTR{address}==”00:50:56:b7:79:ef”, ATTR{type}==”1″, KERNEL==”eth*”, NAME=”eth0″

# PCI device 0x15ad:0x07b0 (vmxnet3)

SUBSYSTEM==”net”, ACTION==”add”, DRIVERS==”?*”, ATTR{address}==”00:50:56:b7:48:89″, ATTR{type}==”1″, KERNEL==”eth*”, NAME=”eth1″


16. Delete this file, when prompted type, Y for YES.



17. Run reboot command. The file will be recreated after restart (i.e. reboot command).

18. After restart repeat sections A and B to ensure network configuration file and route were properly updated.

Read More:

CentOS 6.3 Device eth0 does not seem to be present (Minimal non-cloned setup) (

Disabling Network Manager (

Using VMware vCenter Converter Standalone to convert physical or virtual CentOS 5.x machines to vSphere 5.1 (

Basic vi Commands (



Why WordPress for iPhones won’t upload videos?

Recently, I was confounded on why WordPress for my iPhone had stopped uploading videos to my blog. Having an iPhone 5s for about a year now, the best selling point for the device was leveraging iMovie and the onboard GPU to quickly edit and upload raw video from various road trips. In the beginning, I had casually shrugged off the experience as being something to do with full onboard storage. Amongst this all, I had shifted a bit of video editing to my MacBook and another Mac from work for larger files from a GoPro camera.

After taking spare time during a workday, I had started my journey with an update to iOS 8.0. Perhaps, that was going to help? Plus, I had wanted to gain access to new imaging capabilities in this upgrade. After a failed installation launching most of the onboard media to non-existence, I had tested again with the same result. No harm, no foul, my files were backed up to my MacBook. Soon after the release of iOS 8.0.2, I had performed an upgrade with the same inability to access iPhone videos. Third, removing a work related Mobile Device Management package had netted the same result. Lastily, I had noticed a new update for WordPress for iOS being available, 4.3.1 to be exact. Still no dice, I was unable to upload any videos from Photo app. As for pictures, I was only able to upload four at time. This other peculiar behavior had led me instinctively to Google.

In returned search results, I had found similar reports of the same “bug” handling media in WordPress for iOS; however, still I had no answers. Searching further now, I had ended up on In their forums, I had struck information gold. The developers for WordPress-IOS-Editor had explained a few things.

#1. astralbodies commented Jun 17, 2014

“In the last major version of the app, we added a new media picker to the editor (for uploading images), but we disabled video uploads because they weren’t working very well.”

#2   bummytime commented Sep 30, 2014

“As of right now, the new, visual editor is our highest priority. We are anticipating releasing that in the next month or so. As soon as that is released and stable, we are going to attack all things media…including videos! ”


Having answers, I had felt somewhat relieved; however, the best part was connecting on GitHub. Now, I was able to get meaningful development updates on an application that makes this blog happen.

“And that had made all the difference” – Robert Frost

Read More:
Re-enable support for uploading videos #14 (



Detour into Green Springs Park @ Deltona, Florida

“viridescent adjective \ˌvir-ə-ˈde-sənt\ meaning: greenish or becoming green. Origin: Latin viridis green” –

A friend had suggested visiting Green Springs Park in Volusia County at the beginning of September. He had mentioned an affinity for walking the premises with his wife at dusk. Now, for some reason, perhaps this aforementioned quaint notion had reduced my mental image of the park into just a pond, an oak tree and a park bench for a loving couple. The reality though, this park was more lush with plant life and extensive with acreage than this assumption.


Heading to the beaches of Titusville this past weekend, I had detoured off course into Deltona, Florida. Coming off the I4 exit, after a quick left on Debary, a right on Providence, then another quick left on Lake Shore Drive, my vehicle had pulled parallel to the St. John’s River. Across the road from the St. John’s was Green Springs Park’s entrance.


On this mid-morning, the gravel parking lot was fairly empty in difference to perhaps Wekiva Springs State Park. Approaching the main paved trail, a slow trickle of bikers had flowed in and out of the picnic tables and restroom area. Walking left down the main paved trail, Green Springs was immediately available on your right. This body of water had certain mysterious quality on viewing. The differing shades of greens emanating on, around, and below the surface had further underscored the forthcoming fall season. A friend of mine, had described the elongated branches of a tree stretching over the spring as finger-like and evil. Maybe, it was just symbolic of the history of the area being part of an old winery?


Aside from the multitude of overhanging tree limbs, a number of white square signs had lined the spring perimeter noting “No Swimming.”  If entering the water, the signs had spoke of being trespassed from the property by a park ranger. This was only the second park with fresh water springs in my travels prohibiting swimming by the generic public. The other was Silver Springs in Ocala; however, another passerby had mentioned the “locals” wait until after dark for venturing into the spring head.

Moving to the opposite end of the spring overlook, I had climbed down to the water’s edge. In my movements to get a better picture, small fish had splashed beneath the surface trying to escape perhaps some other natural predator. After collecting few more images and video, my friend and I had moved back onto one of the side trails. We had come across several small rusty colored streams. While charming in sound, the abundant thunderstorm season had provided ample breeding grounds for mosquitoes. With the swarming insects, we had quickly opted to head out of the side trails. On the way out, we had seen a pair of red cardinals. Before we could grab a few stills, they had flown away. Following that lead, we had left the park pondering the dynamic fall temperatures might bring to the miles of trails in this park.

Green Springs State Park is located at:
994 Enterprise Osteen Rd, Deltona, FL 32725

Open daily: Sunrise to sunset
Admission: Free

Read More:
Green Springs (
Volusia County Florida Ecological nature parks (

Review: Been Verified

So, there are very few apps, I had selected to keep on my mobile device, year after year; however, one of those was Been Verified. Here are few reasons why!

1. Criminal Background Check – Pretty easy and quick way to reference a suitor, possible employee or just any stranger that you had wanted to be sure doesn’t have rap sheet. Interestingly enough, this pulled up even minute detail on myself, like a when I had run a stop sign in college.

2. Addresses – Ever forget those hard to remember college addresses where you lived? This is perfect for helping reconciling when filling out rental applications.

3. Acquaintances – Wonder where an old college roommate  was nowadays? This was perfect for myself in getting enough detail to catch an old friend on Facebook.

4. Price; One credit, free a month.

So for those you that hadn’t tried this app (aka service), give it a spin. You never know who might knock on your door next!



More Information:

Been Verified, Google Play (Android)

Been Verified, iTunes (Apple)

A Return to Troy Springs State Park @ Branford, Florida

An acquaintance had defined fresh water springs as simply, “A hole in the ground with water in it.” For some, the confining nature of a closed body of water with little aquatic life had probably fit that description. With my affinity for the crystal blue waters of Andros Island, Bahamas, that assessment was probably on point; however, questions had motivated my return to Troy Springs State Park @ Branford, Florida. Questions of unknown sights, limits, and connections had helped steer my vehicle across a three hour drive to the heart of north Florida.


Upon arrival, my first question about the park being underutilized had gone out the window. A group of scuba divers had conducted training drills filling the park with chatter and foot traffic. So, my friend and I had opted to wait for the activity to clear.


Patiently, I had sat on a wooden bench by the spring boil thinking of my second set of questions. What was beyond the darkness on the surface? What had concerned a dive shop owner to recommend staying clear of this descent after getting scuba certified? After cooking in the summer heat for 30 minutes, my dive buddy and I had moved into the water closing in on some answers.


Reaching 70 feet, the view was unremarkable with shadow, sand, limestone, and logs. Though, one creature had stood out, a tiny brown flounder hugging the shady spring floor. To the question of avoiding this dive after getting Padi certified, there was depth and the dangerous allure of cavernous openings.

The next reason for the trip was my friend demonstrating his ability to still function diving, despite a bum shoulder. This was an important benchmark before suggesting an open water dive in a cattle boat on the Atlantic. To that end, he had appeared like a playful otter flipping over in circles maintaining a consistent depth.

The last question was reconnecting with fresh water springs. For most of the 24 minute dive, the springs had lost some of its’ luster from the previous year. My perspective had changed with an emphasis away from swimming to diving. Though, this notion soon had changed during our safety stop. Perhaps, it was the white noise of water pushing out into the spring. This noise had provided a similar experience to lounging out in amniotic fluid. For a moment, I had felt a calm floating about with my legs and my arms crossed awaiting to rise to into the summer heat. Much like the surface skimming insects, there was a reason to be here. I had only needed to slow the mind for a minute for that epiphany of grace.

Troy Springs State Park is located at 674 Troy Springs Road, Branford, Florida 32008
Phone: (386) 935-4835

Read More:
Troy Springs State Park (Florida State Parks)

Updating BIOS and Vmware View Agent on HP t5545 Thin Client

Few weeks ago at work, I was tasked with updating the BIOS and Vmware View Agent on out of warranty HP’s t5545 clients. The purpose was to support a newer release of VMView. The catch was being comfortable with Unix and updating packages in a certain sequence. Rather than have one more IT person squirm, I had thought pay-it-forward with this extended set of instructions after some “trial and error” and reading HP documentation.

A. Verify BIOS and VIEW agent.

  1. Boot TERMINAL.
  2. Click HP START menu.
  4. NOTE: The default password: Administrator/administrator or root/root.
  5. Under GENERAL TAB.
  6. Verify release BIOS VERSION, (i.e. 786R5v.2.00 vs. 786R5 v2.02).
  8. Verify VMWARE-VIEW-CLIENT (i.e. 4.0.1-1 etc. vs. 4.6.0-366101-1).


  1. Click MANAGEMENT tab.
  2. Insert USB stick.
  3. Select HP THINPRO IMAGE, click NEXT.
  6. Click FINISH. Click YES to CONTINUE.
  7. TERMINAL will RESTART and backup. CLICK OK when done. CLICK CLOSE.
  9. NOTE: This makes the drive bootable version of Unix for T5545 client.

C. Configure USB Drive with Updates

  1. Download WES Add-On (Configure BIOS Settings) (International) sp49355.exe.
  2. Extract files to: Windows system: C:\SWSetup\SP49355\LFlash\
  3. Copy LFlash directory to USB drive.
  4. Download Thin Client Add-On – VMware Horizon View Client (International) sp52674.exe.
  5. Extract files to: C:\Program Files\Hewlett-Packard\HP ThinPro\Add-On\View46\VMVIW3\
  6. Copy VMVIW3 to USB drive.


  1. Place USB into drive restart system.
  2. When prompted to run YES, and confirm YES.
  3. Wait for the flashing yellow prompt to power cycle.
  4. Remove drive after restart.
  5. NOTE: Some terminals had required the HP’s DOS version of their OS to load the BIOS update.


  1. After restart logon to Admin Tools.
  2. Logon to TERMINAL.
  3. Plug drive into usb port on front.
  4. List drives: fdisk –l
  5. Mount USB Drive, example: mount /dev/sda1/
  6. CLI will return path in error message “mount: /dev/sdb1 already mounted or navigate to the /tmp/ path for usb drive (i.e. /tmp/tmpfs/media/K*)
  7. Change directory until you locate (i.e. cd VMVIW3)
  8. List directory contents: ls
  9. Run: fsunlock
  10. Run: dpkg -i *.deb
  11. Run: flock
  12. Restart System

Read More:
HP t5545 Thin Client Drivers (

upgrading beyond VMWare Horizon View Client 4.6 for t5545 thin client (



Bahia Honda State Park @ Big Pine Key, Florida

Heading south on A1A to Bahia Honda State Park @ Big Pine Key, Florida, I had remembered the cadence of my wheels clearing portions of the bridge above the Atlantic. Looking left, I had caught a passing glimpse of the now decommissioned Old Bahia Honda Bridge feeding into the park. One sensation I had recalled most, the summer air blowing against my arm driving toward this destination.

Clearing the bridge, my vehicle had come upon the park entrance on the left side of A1A. After the gate, the asphalt road was bordered by thick greenery. Moving forward, the road had curved few times in different directions. After one curve, it had gave way to views of the shallow waters beyond the guardrail. Perhaps this reveal  was part of the charm of Bahia Honda? All that greenery was followed by the contrasting blue waters and white sands, typical of a postcard of the Florida Keys.


Arriving at the parking lot, the walk to the ocean was around 100ft through picnic tables into the turbulent waters this May Saturday afternoon. To my chagrin, the waters were remarkably cool for this far south. After taking refreshing quick dip in the ocean, I had hopped back into my car to dry out in the heat. Leaving this park, I had wished only for less foot traffic and more time in the sun. The park had offered flats for fishing, ample beach for swimming and more. Reminiscing about this diversion, I had thought I would very much like to return for another round of exploration.

Bahia Honda State Park is located at:
36850 Overseas Highway, Big Pine Key, Florida 33043
Phone: (305) 872-2353


Read More:

Bahia Honda State Park (

Bahia Honda State Park  (

A Sunday Morning at Wekiva Springs @ Apopka, Florida

For my many journeys into the Wekiva Basin, I hadn’t the opportunity to take underwater footage around the spring head until now. This quick video had embodied the sanctity of the spring head on a Sunday morning on July 18th, 2014. The story behind this visit was being turned away the previous day. The important secret for Wekiva Springs State Park most of the year, especially during weekdays, more so in the winter months, visitor traffic was light; however, on hot summer weekends, I had recommended getting there early, between 7 AM – 8 AM.

If you hadn’t known, Wekiva Springs was a 1st magnitude spring. Meaning the spring head had pushed out a tremendous amount of water, roughly 100 cubic feet per second. Another fact regarding the State of Florida, it was home to the most fresh water springs in the world. If you were interested learning more about other similarly classified state springs hop over to’s List of First-Magnitude Springs in Florida. If already a visitor to Wekiva, I had recommended hitting these other 1st magnitude springs in Florida like Silver, Rainbow, Wakulla, Ichetucknee, Blue, Troy, Silver Glen, Weeki Wachee and Alexander. With summer 2014 drawing to close, I had simply thought to say “Jump in the water!”

Read More:
Basins: Middle St. John’s River: Wekiva River (
Hydrology (Wikipedia)


8 Miles on the Wekiva River from King’s Landing @ Apopka, Florida

A number of weekends starting back in February 2013, I had traveled down the Wekiva River from King’s Landing in Apopka, Florida. The great thing about canoeing down the Wekiva for 8.5 miles, you were almost completely surrounded in nature. The catch to having a good adventure was always figuring out what time and with who to get on the water with.

For a starting time, I had targeted between 7 AM – 8 AM in the morning. This last trip, I had arrived late around 9 AM. For a summer day, this had seemed like a severe misstep; however, the waterway had lacked any real traffic. Because of the lack of human activity and raised water level, the normally 5 hour plus interlude had seemed fairly effortless. Like a scuba trip, canoeing had always presented something unique each time out. This go around, the noise of cicadas had filled the air on a mostly sunny, slightly breezy day. Along the way, I had caught glimpses of numerous turtles, white herons and even a four-foot gator. With respect to insects, there were a few mosquitoes, gnats and horseflies. Though, this was nothing a quick slap of the hand couldn’t handle. The surprise of the day was the ability of the sublime taking center stage, specifically the sounds and sights of slow churning water and trees.

As far as planning for half day canoe ride, I had packed orange juice, Gatorade and a banana. Keep in mind, Styrofoam cups or glass bottles were not permitted when launching from King’s Landing. On this trip, staff had requested removal of bottled beer from my cooler. This notwithstanding, the staff at King’s Landing had provided friendly feedback regarding river water level and state of the waterway. The cost for renting a 2 or 3 person canoe for the day was $40. One last benefit of renting from King’s Landing, they had still provided a shuttle ride back to your car at 2:30 PM and 4:30 PM.

Travelling down the Wekiva River from King’s Landing again,the experience had reaffirmed my opinion the canoe ride being one of Central Florida’s best entertainment offerings. I had recommended going down the river for any naturist or just simply a good time.

King’s Landing is located at 5722 Baptist Camp Rd, Apopka, FL 32712
Hours: 7 AM – 6PM Wednesday – Sunday, less Thanksgiving and Christmas

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King’s Landing (
Wekiva River (wikipedia)




18,000 Foot Tandem Skydive from Skydive Space Center @ Titusville, Florida

This Saturday morning, a good buddy had drove us out to Titusville, Florida to go on 18,000 Foot Tandem Skydive at Dunn Airpark. Now, this idea had floated around in my head for few months; however, I had remained non-committal to the adventure until another set of travel plan fell through last minute. Buying the skydive Groupon on a Thursday, my focus initially was just on making the roaster for Saturday jumps.

Upon arriving at Skydive Space Center at 7:15 AM on this Saturday morning, I hadn’t realized the gravity of jumping out of a “perfectly good working plane.” Yet, my buddy was extremely anxious. His anxiety had culminated in sweating profusely while filling out waiver paperwork. Amazingly, this plane ride was his third flight lifetime. After getting checked-in, some of the instructors had sized us up with  harnesses. They then had pulled us aside in groups providing instructions for body positioning for the actual jump. The tipping point for my fear of heights had precipitated with the first propeller engine roaring on. This was eclipsed by learning I was going to be the the first customer out the cabin door. After final strap check and round of instructions, the videographer, Derek, had positioned himself first out the door. Then quick moment after, my skydiving guide, Mark, had propelled us across the threshold into the open air.

In freefall, I was treated to an awesome view of the Titusville, Florida coastline. It had looked lush and pristine from above.  After about a minute, the free fall had shifted to controlled decent with the parachute deployment. I was provided an opportunity to steer the parachute. In difference to steering a hang glider, the parachute was intuitive and mirrored your arm movements naturally. After this exercise, my skydiving guide had provided final guidance on landing. The landing itself was remarkable for the small amount of real estate being targeted. The landing though quick, was firm and controlled. After standing up, I had looked back to see my buddy cruise down out of the air with huge smile. It was remarkable  turnabout. Despite the nerves earlier, it was definitely half the fun of selecting this travel outing.

Some things to consider, if you had wanted to go try out this experience. One, consider wearing glasses instead of contacts was a thought. My left contact was dislodged by the air pressure into my goggles. Two, expect a nasal drain after landing, think my sinuses had drained for good 30 minutes afterwards. This was also true for my friend. Three, as far as Skydive Space Center, private GoPro usage was prohibited leaving you with minimum $100 purchase for event media (i.e. video and pictures). Lastily, I had suggested gym shorts for comfort in the harness. All in all, the experience was one of a kind, simply phenomenal. I had recommended this to anyone with a sense of adventure.

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Skydive Space Center (

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Unexso Shark Dive at Shark Junction, Saturday, June 28th 2014 @ Freeport, Grand Bahamas

For my 26th dive overall, I had selected a trip out to Shark Junction with Freeport’s Unexso dive shop. For traveling across the Atlantic from Port Everglades, my buddy and I had picked up a day cruise from Balearia Bahamas Express from Ft. Lauderdale to Grand Bahamas for $120 US. Summary on the commute, it was about seven hours total working through customs. In retrospect, I had wished making this kind of effort for a multi-day visit.

After arriving in Freeport, the next major step was the 30 minute taxi ride to Unexso. For reference, the location of the shop was in the market place next to the Pelican hotel. As far as equipment rentals, we had asked for the $40 upgrade to rent BCDs, fins, regulators, weights, and a mask; however, we had opted to bring our own masks and dive computers. The push on the dive computers, the shop had skipped on wanting to attach our wireless transmitters to their regulators. After a brief meal and rain storm, the boat had headed out to sea. Getting to Shark Junction had took about 10 minutes. During this time, Jarvis, our shark feeder, had provided a rundown of the forthcoming action under the water. One reservation about this excursion was sitting statically on the sea floor. The reason for sitting in a single file profile for the divers was reducing any room or motion for open jaws. Apparently, the grey reef sharks had a disposition to key off sudden movements when hunting prey. The dive instructions on hands was keep them close to your body and avoid moving them out into the open water.

Descending at Shark Junction, all the visiting divers were placed in a row along the front of a downed boat. From here, we had prepared for the underwater show starting with a hungry stray grouper. Unfortunately for the grouper, he was shushed away but not before becoming irate, changing colors from dark brown to a white pattern and back. After few moments, the dive master had started working from right to left in front of his audience doling out food to the hoarding sharks. The sharks had behaved very similar to hungry dogs waiting for a treat. On the flip side, the several grouper in the area were fairly head strong constantly trying to sneak in for a bite. This underwater adventure had lasted for about 30 minutes before shifting to an ascent.

On the returning cruise ship, a passenger had asked me about my fear of sharks on the dive. The response was simple “My only fear was running out of air.” After watching sharks feed in close proximity, it was extremely obvious the focus of their attention, fish. If you had wanted to personally challenge your phobia of sharks, suggest a similar dive. The only question for myself that remains was,”What kind of sharks to see next?”

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Balearia Bahamas Express (
Unexso Grand Bahama Island (
Grey Reef Shark (Wikipedia)
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Top 5 Most Viewed Nature Blogs @

Over the past year, I had published over 200 entries talking about food to film to fancy; however, nature related posts had made up a good chunk of reoccurring traffic from the Internet. These specific locations I had enjoyed showcasing either because of their remoteness or calming affect upon my person. Here were the Top 5 Most Viewed Nature Blogs @

  1. Cape Canaveral Seashore National Park – New Smyrna Beach, Florida20131001-194755.jpg
  2. Wildcat Lake Park @ Ocala National Forest, Florida20131115-222214.jpg
  3. Pope Still Hunt Camp, Apalachicola National Forest @ Crawfordville, Florida20131103-170549.jpg
  4. Salt Springs Recreation Area in the Ocala National Forest @ Salt Springs, FloridaSalt Springs Recreation Area in the Ocala National Forest @ Salt Springs, Florida @
  5. Hawk Mountain, Georgia on the Appalachian Trail @ Chattahoochee National Forest20140101-195156.jpg

Barracuda Reef Dive off the Sea Experience, June 8, 2014 @ Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Second dive of this day, I was able to get around without my wet suit moving constantly in the ocean. I hadn’t seen any barracudas for the Go Pro video below; however, I had seen schools of grunts and jacks, a grouper, a queen angel fish, a yellow hog fish, and wrasses. The only creature undocumented on the final edit was a turtle. Holding on the dive flag had also provided an even flow to some of my camera work. The video I had composed using  Go Pro Hero 3+ Black Edition, MacBook Pro and iMovie. Think I was fairly jazzed putting the video together. Adding the track Solar Sailor from Daft Punk to the video, I had thought ideal counterpoint for drift diving.  As far as air consumption,  I was clocking an acceptable number with my PSI on the scuba tank on a 40 minute dive with 1500 psi leftover. Below were the stats from my Suunto Viper Air dive computer for this outing. In retrospect, lots of  elements were ideal on this dive with air temperature at 91 degrees F, warm seas at 82 degrees F and oodles of video. It had  epitomized everything that makes scuba diving fun! barracuda reef drift dive @ barracuda drift dive @ 

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The Stuffed Pig and the Sombrero Resort @ Marathon, Florida

On a brief road trip through the Florida Keys, I had ended up staying two nights in Marathon, Florida. On this adventure, two things had worked in Marathon’s favor versus Key West. The two differences were the cost of getting a room, about 50% less and being equidistant between Key Largo and Key West. Upon checking into the room at the Sombrero Resort and Marina, the amenities were acceptable but, worthy of a 2 out of 5 stars on various travel websites. The WI-FI, though free, was unable to transmit any data. Despite the dreary Internet connectivity and the windy weather, the friendly front desk staff were polite and accommodating. They also had produced an interesting suggestion for dining at a nearby place called The Stuffed Pig.

The great thing about the Stuffed Pig were the selections of eclectic seafood options on the menu and the outside seating area. On consecutive mornings, I was seated inside their front of house. After review of the menu, I had ordered up Shrimp & Grits. This entree was composed of grilled shrimp with grits with sprinkling of cheddar on top. It had also come with portion of smokey crisp bacon, two eggs and toast. The only difference between the first and second day, I had added on a side order of conch fritters day one. The summary on the Stuffed Pig, I had enjoyed both meals enough to clear the plates clean. For myself, that dining experience had made the stay in Marathon, Florida worthwhile.

The Stuffed Pig is located at 3520 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, FL 33050

Sombrero Resort & Marina is located at 19 Sombrero Boulevard, Marathon, FL 33050

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Marathon, Florida (Wikipedia)
The Stuffed Pig (

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Tenneco Towers East Dive off the Sea Experience, June 8, 2014 @ Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Tenneco Towers East was one of the more challenging dives out of my twenty-five to date. This day on the boat had started out with my buddy’s cylinder order being mixed up with 21% regular oxygen blend versus a Nitrox blend of 32%. After securing the correct tanks, he had run into a busted o-ring when setting up his gear. Both of us also had issues with our regulators leaking air from one location or another. Luckily, the dive master from the Sea Experience was extremely helpful in securing my wireless transmitter and my friend’s run to his BCD.

After getting out to sea, I had run into a two issues right out of the gate. First my buoyancy was way off  preventing a controlled descent. Second, one of my fin straps had come loose approaching the boat ladder. After getting back on the Sea Experience, I was provided an additional 4 more lbs. of weights. After re-entering the ocean, I had easily converged with my buddy patiently waiting at the top of Tenneco Towers East. We then had started our decline down the slop of the top of the structure.  Originally, we had planned to spiral around the tower but, the strong current and my earlier missteps didn’t allow for keeping with our dive plan. After our last air check, my friend had realized the necessity to work up to a safety stop; however, I had lost view of him moving to the boat anchor. With rising bubbles and silhouettes from other divers, my view of him was totally obstructed. Amazingly, he had seen me the entire time looking down the rope for the anchor.

After getting topside again, I had found my dive buddy seated at the front of the deck. We soon had engaged about the miscommunication under the water and the break in visual contact. The fundamental faux pas had centered around dumping our planned movement and properly signaling with our hands to ascend outright. I had thought for myself, “Lesson learned. Keep it simple stupid!” With my dive relatively unsuccessful with about 23 minutes submerged time, the silver lining was firing up a newly acquired Go Pro gathering my first dive footage. To that end, I had posted a video below that I think truly communicates the unworldly feel of Tenneco Towers.

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Created with Go Pro Hero 3+ Black Edition, MacBook Pro, and  iMovie.

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Sea Experience (