Go See Do Photography

A Lot of Travel, A Little Bit of History, and a Whole Bunch of Photos

Tag: snorkeling

Snorkeling Virgin Islands National Park

Honeymoon Beach

When I booked this cruise with two ports in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the first thing I did was look up Virgin Islands National Park and see how possible it would be to get there from St. Thomas or St. Croix. As it turns out, the National Park is located on St. John and there is no airport on the island. The only way to get there is by boat, with a ferry running from St. Thomas.

With a limited time in port for the day and the number of steps needed to get to the National Park (taxi from the port to the ferry dock, ferry to St. John, taxi/tour around the island), we decided to book a St. John Island Tour excursion through the cruise line. Unfortunately, that tour was canceled due to lack of interest so, with one day’s notice after we had boarded the ship, we had to figure out a new plan. We decided the easiest way to the National Park was through the one available excursion which they called “Champagne Catamaran Sail and Snorkel”.

Boats at Honeymoon Beach

Boats at Honeymoon Beach

From the port, we took an open-air bus to Red Hook where we boarded our catamaran for St. John. After tossing anchor at Honeymoon Beach, we got a snorkeling safety talk and tips about where to view the coral and the turtles and we jumped in the water. For one of my friends, this was the first time she had swam in saltwater, so it was a shock for her!

Turtle Swimming at Honeymoon Beach

Snorkeling with Turtles

I enjoyed snorkeling through the reef and seeing all the interesting sea life, for me, but the highlight of this snorkeling adventure was seeing a turtle! It was easy to tell when someone had spotted a turtle because there were a bunch of people in a circle around it. We watched it swim to the surface and then go back down to the sand.

After our snorkeling adventure, we got back on the boat and sipped champagne and cocktails on the way back to St. Thomas. It was a great excursion and I am glad we chose it, but I am disappointed that we didn’t get to see the rest of the island. I guess we will have to go back sometime and get to spend some time on the land!

Fish seen snorkeling

We originally didn’t have any snorkeling booked for this cruise, so I didn’t end up buying a new action camera or waterproof housing for my phone as I had planned. So, the first night after booking this excursion, I had to go to the photo studio and pay cruise prices for a waterproof phone case, so I would have photos to share with you from this excursion. Learn from my mistake! If there is a possibility of snorkeling and you want photos to remember it (or if you’re like me and wear glasses and take photos while snorkeling so later you can see what was down there), buy your gear before your trip!

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip check out my Island a Day Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

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AKASO EK7000 Action Camera Review

While our recent cruise wasn’t a photography-centric trip, I can’t travel without taking pictures. If I don’t have pictures, I don’t have content to share with you! Since we were planning on snorkeling and river tubing, I knew I wanted a camera that I could get wet. I considered getting one of those underwater cases for my iPhone, but those don’t protect against dropping it underwater and I really didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars replacing my phone, I began searching for inexpensive waterproof cameras.

After hours of searching Amazon and technology review sites, I found the AKASO EK7000. It is a small, GoPro sized, action camera that came with more accessories than I know what to do with! I think one of them is supposed to be a helmet clip but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to put it together. It has wifi so it can connect to your phone to share your pictures/videos on social media and supposedly it shoots 4K video. This camera is ridiculously highly rated on Amazon so for less than $50 I decided to pull the trigger.

Once the camera arrived, I understood all of the 5 star reviews, and its not because of quality. In the box with the camera was a sheet with several accessory packages you can get for free if you show proof of a 5 star rating on Amazon. Right there, that made me incredibly skeptical of this tiny camera’s performance. I played with it in the house for a little bit before we left, but I wish I would’ve messed around with it a little more (this is a lesson for purchasing any new camera gear, really). While snorkeling, I couldn’t figure out how to put it in photo mode as opposed to video mode. Afterwards, I realized it had date stamped all of my photos with the factory date of June 2000, which really messed up Lightroom when I imported the photos when I got home. After getting back to the room, I was able to figure all of that out, but it would’ve been nice to focus on taking pictures while snorkeling as opposed to just working the camera.

Once I stopped panicking about getting out of video mode, I realized that I could pull still images out of the videos so I was able to get some usable shots. This camera did perform pretty well underwater (top), but when it came to taking daylight shots (above), it didn’t do so hot. And lets not even mention the photos that I took inside the cave. My iPhone 7 takes MUCH better pictures than this. The videos did seem to come out better, though. AKASO claims that with the waterproof housing, it doesn’t record sound, but if you watch these, you’ll see that that’s not exactly true. Is that sound 100% clear and articulate? No, but it is nice to capture some of ambient sound. Watch the videos below to see how this camera handles video. And just a reminder, I’m a photographer, not a videographer!

Overall, I think this camera is worth its $50 price tag. Does it perform like the GoPros that are priced 6x+ higher? Of course not! But for capturing vacation memories and not having to worry about accidentally damaging your phone, I think its worth it! Click here for more information about this camera.

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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