Pilsen Street Art

The Chicago city flag represented on a mural in Pilsen

The Chicago city flag represented on a mural in Pilsen

When my friend Jackie came to Chicago for a few weeks I knew a street art hunt was in order. We headed to the Mexican neighborhood of Pilsen, which is home to a massive stretch of murals along 16th Street. There were some great local pieces as well as some by world renowned artists like Reyes and ROA. It was a great day capped off with a couple of Modelo Negros at DeCOLORES.

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Diving on the Great Barrier Reef: Taka Range

Blue and green soft coral at Taka Range

Blue and green soft coral at Taka Range

I’ve had these photos ready to post for weeks and have been so busy working I haven’t had a chance! These were taken at the Taka Range dive site on the northern end of the Great Barrier Reef. It had only been scouted a few weeks before my trip and visited by a handful of dive groups. The corals – both hard and soft – at this site are abundant and pristine. The colors are mostly soft pastels unlike what I’ve seen at other sites. There are also loads of nudibranchs and other small critters.

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Diving on the Great Barrier Reef: Steve’s Bommie

Schools of yellow lined snapper and fusilier at Steve's Bommie in the Great Barrier Reef

Schools of yellow lined snapper and fusilier at Steve’s Bommie in the Great Barrier Reef

Steve’s Bommie is one of the most popular dive sites on the Ribbon Reefs and it was highly anticipated on the Taka trip. Before this dive a helpful staff member aboard Taka helped me play around with the color settings on my camera, which resulted in some really good, rich shots. The yellow of the snapper is superb and some of the coral colors came out marvelously. As I’m still a novice photographer, some of the photos were a bit TOO color rich, but with more experimentation I’m sure I’ll get it right soon enough.

I had some trouble identifying some of these fish, so if any marine biologists happen to stumble upon this page and have corrections, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

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Scuba Diving in Koh Tao

The Yank without a Chain scuba diving in Koh Tao, Thailand

The Yank without a Chain scuba diving in Koh Tao, Thailand

I got my PADI open water diving certification in Turks and Caicos in 2005 and had grand plans to dive all over the world. Unfortunately, for various reasons it didn’t quite work out that way and I only went on a handful of dives before focusing my interests elsewhere. So when I came to Thailand and heard that there is beautiful, cheap diving on Koh Tao, I knew I had to take full advantage of it.

I got a recommendation from a German friend for Crystal Dive Resort, so I booked a few nights there without doing much research about other places. It definitely turned out to be a good choice. The afternoon I arrived I took a refresher PADI course in the pool to review scuba basics like buoyancy, removing your equipment in the water, clearing your mask, etc. Afterward I felt confident to start fun diving.

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