Although Ocean Beach sits on prime waterfront real estate, the neighborhood still exudes a small-town atmosphere, making it an ideal place to live and visit. Where other beach communities have embraced commercialism, Ocean Beach remains fiercely independent and skeptical of wholesale change. You're more likely to see a food co-op than a fast food chain. The Ocean Beach community is so tight-knit that residents often refer to themselves as OBceans, pronounced "oh-BEE-shuns."
An unincorporated United States territory, Puerto Rico is a small island in the northeast Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic. If you are looking for unique tropical places to visit, the island is covered with green mountains, thundering waterfalls and the magnificent tropical vegetation of El Yunque National Forest. Surrounded by fine sand beaches and rich, vibrant coral reefs, Puerto Rico, which translates to “rich port,” is a popular tourist destination for those who love snorkeling, surfing, diving and sailing.
My first visit to this spectacular island was on a surprise birthday trip where I was literally blindfolded until the point when we boarded the ferry. After about an hour on the water, I was transferred to a tiny boat that would slowly drift us toward this tiny island — I had no idea where I was, only that I was somewhere off the coast of Sihanoukville, Cambodia, floating toward a slice of paradise. You’ll instantly fall in love with this remote island if you’re looking to unplug and get some much-needed peace and quiet. There are no roads, which means there are no big hotels and restaurants, and all you’ll find are private beachfront bungalows with little mom-and-pop restaurants. In fact, there are only a few places on the island that offer Wi-Fi at all and sometimes the signal is out completely. People come to this island to get away from it all, so it’s the perfect place for your next budget-friendly romantic getaway. You’ll find top-notch scuba diving, snorkeling, paddle boarding, fishing and the chance to swim at night with bioluminescent plankton, then wake up in the morning to white sandy beaches and dip your toes in the shimmering, unclouded water. What are you waiting for?
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I awoke at six when the babies in nearby tents did, and then again, at seven, when the heat became too much to bear. Exhausted and frazzled, I walked to breakfast. At the next table, a trio of kids excitedly debated where to start their day. It was nice to see how happy T.I. made them. But for me, sitting in the “open air” plaza beneath a completely sealed dome felt like waiting out a significant delay at the airport. Polishing off some bacon, I realized I actually wasn’t beholden to air traffic controllers or freak storms. I could spend the twenty-four hours I’d planned to, but I could also leave. With a spring in my step, I took the long way back to my tent, pausing for one last look at the sea. I felt happier than I had the entire stay. I could have gotten one of the most coveted beach chairs under a palm tree in the sand. Instead, I settled the bill I’d racked up on my faceless money watch and breezed through the turnstile.
The scuba diving equipment is more complex and heavier compared to that of snorkeling. It comprises a pressurized gas tank filled with Enriched Air Nitrox with extra oxygen: 36% oxygen and therefore less nitrogen to reduce decompression sickness. In the "single-hose" two-stage design, the first stage regulator reduces the cylinder pressure of about 200 bar (3000 psi) to an intermediate level of about 10 bar (145 psi). The second stage demand valve regulator, connected via a low pressure hose to the first stage, delivers the breathing gas at the correct ambient pressure to the diver's mouth and lungs. The diver's exhaled gases are exhausted directly to the environment as waste. The first stage typically has at least one outlet delivering breathing gas at unreduced tank pressure. This is connected to the diver's pressure gauge or computer, in order to show how much breathing gas remains.
In snorkeling, the swimmers nose and mouth are submerged and covered by a mask. Breathing takes places through a mouthpiece connected to the L or J shaped tube that gets air from being above the water surface. If diving, the swimmer has to hold his breath, the tube is allowed to flood when underwater. The snorkeler expels water from the snorkel either with a sharp exhalation on return to the surface (blast clearing) or by tilting the head back shortly before reaching the surface and exhaling until reaching or "breaking" the surface (displacement method) and facing forward again before inhaling the next breath. The displacement method expels water by displacing its presence in the snorkel with air; it is a more advanced technique that takes practice but clears the snorkel with much greater efficiency.

Dave and I honeymooned in the Dominican Republic so it has a very special place in our hearts. The Dominican is a part of the second largest island in the Caribbean so there are many places to capture beautiful tropical island pictures. But this one from Puerto Plata captures our view of what a tropical vacation should be about. Beautiful skies, over the water bungalows and a cruise ship off in the distance.
It’s all about doubling your pleasure when you go to this private Brazilian spot, and no, we aren’t talking about a threesome post-Carnival. This private island is actually two islands connected by a bridge. Two houses, two decks, two times the fun. The property is on Ilha Grande, a 15-minute crossing by boat from Portogalo and two hours from Rio. The main house rocks four bedrooms, the smaller house two, and there are five canoes on site for all of your paddling needs.
While this price might inspire you to blurt out a string of expletives, take note that it encompasses all 14 bures (Fijian for "hut") on the island -- so you're splitting that nightly rate with 27 other people. Now that is entirely reasonable. Also, it's all-inclusive. Everything. Food, booze (including Champagne by the bottle), activities, private seaplane transfers, the works. Treat yourself to pontoon dinners, sunset cruises on the Blue Lagoon (yep, from the movie), a private butler, fishing, hiking, kayaking, massage... you're paying 35 grand a NIGHT. Basically do whatever the hell you want.
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