Grand Bahia Principe, Mexico Beach & Snorkeling

Spent the day at the beach for my birthday, just swimming around and sitting in the sun. Took my dive gear for snorkeling with me and did some filming of all the fish. It was a good relaxing day sitting on the beach, drinking Jack and Cokes, and swimming around.

I had my new Zeagle Recon fins and love them. I also used my RollUp snorkel I always have it but not hooked up when I scuba dive. The seaweed is pretty bad this year they had crews on the beach every day to keep it clean.

I booked my trip with Kelly at Vitamin Sea Travel she took care of everything, plane tickets, resort and excursions. It was super easy, ad didn’t cost me anything for the service and saved money.

The rest of the day got a good seafood dinner and a Cuban cigar but the pool under the moon was a good day. This trip was a birthday trip for my girlfriend and me as our birthdays are 10 days apart. So we made the most of it. Had a great time and hope to get back to dive Cozumel soon. Next time will be a dedicated dive trip, cant wait should be some great diving and want to get some wreck dives in too.

The water was warm this resort is great for kids as the water is all pretty enclosed, and lots of barriers. I prefer to be able to swim out more but was good enough for a little fun in the water.

Contact me if you have any questions on our contact page

Tulum Ruins Archaeological Zone, Mexico

Tulum Ruins Archaeological Zone, Mexico

While at Grand Bahia Principe Coba, we scheduled an excursion to the Tulum Ruins Archaeological Zone to see the site and markets. It is just down the road a bit and didn’t want to go all day to go to the larger one, can do that next time.

I hate doing the tourist tour of a place, following a guide and such so after we were in the park we ditched the tour and looked around. The views are nice from the cliff looking over the ocean, and other than the people was a nice place.

So after about 40 minutes made our way to the market out front and looked around and bought some trinkets. Then sat around waiting for the tour to meet back up at 11:45 am. After that, we stopped at a brewery and we just sat outside and waited neither cared about beer LOL. For a quick day trip, it worked well, we left at 9 am and got back at 1 pm. But next time I think I’ll just cab it and do my own thing. I don’t like the resort life, makes me feel like cattle LOL. I’m not a Spanish speaker but my partner is so the trip has been easy on me.

What next….

Tomorrow I’m heading back to the beach, I need some more salt before I head home. I would have liked to get more diving in but it was a great time. Traveling with my current gear has been very easy, and love not having to rent gear. The next trip up here will be all Cancun, and all diving. I do more of an inland trip later to see the pyramid and ruins. I’m looking forward to Peru soon as well.

Contact Nate if you have any questions on our contact page

Grand Bahia Principe Coba, Mexico - Diving 2022

Grand Bahia Principe Coba, Mexico – Diving 2022

Had a great time diving with Scuba Aquatic at Grand Bahia Principe resort in Mexico just south of Cancun. So the girlfriend planned us a 4-day trip to Mexico, and I said I have to dive for at least one day. So she got me a 2 tank dive, for Saturday.

The excursion started at 8:45 am, and I got there at 7:30ish. They supply everything you need, but I brought all my gear so I just needed weights and a tank. I was using an untested BCD and new unused fins, a reg I haven’t used since I rebuilt it. Needless to say, a few no-no’s LOL. But I had tested and checked them out beforehand and all looked to be fine, the reg was breathing 10x better than it has.

The dive team was great and very helpful. The dives went off without a hitch, everything worked great, the new BCD and Fins are amazing love them.

First Dive….

So after gearing up and heading the boat, we dove into the Turtle Reef. Saw some great turtles and stingrays. We only had me and 3 other divers with the divemaster. It was a nice and mellow smooth dive. The DM had a leaking connection to the tank. so he had so many bubbles I was worried he would run out of air before we did. I signaled him and was waved off. Later talking to the other dive he reminded me those guys use such little air LOL.

Second Dive….

The next dive was clams and crabs, not that interesting LOL. But it was a good dive and lots of fish to see. I found myself practicing for my upcoming Rescue Diver Open Water in a couple of weeks LOL. We finished the dive and headed back to the resort.

My new GoPro 10 worked great, had a few things to get used to but super happy with it. I’ll post up my gear when I get back.

Contact Nate if you have any questions on our contact page

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Travel Agent.. Yes or No?

Let’s be honest, we have all at some point done this. We decide in the middle of the night to go on a trip someplace. We grab our phone and go to Expedia or some other similar sight. You see that the price is less than you thought so you grab your card and book it. Hurray, you are going on vacation.

Now we get to the issues. You are on your trip, and you find that the hotel did not get your reservation or that your reservation was canceled for some unknown reason. Now you have to find a hotel that can accommodate you for that night, and at a budget that you can afford because you already paid someone for a hotel room that you are not getting.

You dial the 800 number. After three hours you finally get a person on the phone. You spend two hours trying to straighten everything out and get into a new place. Finally, you are sent to a hotel in a part of town you didn’t want to stay in, in a hotel that isn’t as nice as the first one you selected, and you are still paying the original rate.

Don’t Waste Time

Now you have wasted an afternoon that you could have spent at the beach or out shopping. All because of some computer issue, having to get a real person to talk to on the phone, having to argue with them about the issue based on the limited information you were given, and finally being sent across town.

This is one example of having a travel agent comes in handy. To start with, most TA’s can match if not find your trip cheaper. Secondly, you can contact them directly and they can get to the bottom of the issue and get it fixed much faster than the 800 number. Often times, we are able to get into the systems and fix the error directly or at least able to get a reasonable remedy much quicker.

Saving Money, & Better Service

Let’s talk about another benefit… personalization. If you are going to a new location, which I hope you do, you may spend several hours reading blogs, guidebooks, watching travel videos, etc. trying to figure out key things to not miss, what area to stay in that is convenient and affordable as well as little secret spots. A good travel agent will have already been to that location or will know someone who has that they can get information.

An even better travel agent will have already studied the location themselves. Your travel advisor will save you hours and hours of research on little important details so you can focus on deciding what to do.
Hesitant about the cost? Travel agents don’t cost more in general. Yes, some will charge a little more than if you were to do all the work yourself, but some of us, like me, do not charge our clients for anything. We have formed great relationships with our vendors to where they have agreed to pay our costs and fees for you. So more often than not, we can match if not beat the price you could find on your own.

We can gain access to deals, coupons, and packages that the general public will not have access to. We can pass the savings to our clients. A really good travel agent will tell you directly that if they can not match the price, to go ahead and book it with wherever you found it.

So….

I will spend hours negotiating with a particular vendor for the ability to price match. I have done it several times. For example, I now am on a first-name basis with a certain person at the Carnival Cruise line due to my insistence on price matching. And I still was able to give my services to my clients for free.

Travel can be a very exciting but anxiety-inducing activity. Those of us who love it and have made it a main priority know the differences between a good trip and a great trip hanging in the minor details that can be an inconvenience. By agreeing to work with a travel advisor, you have a much greater chance of having a seamless and smooth vacation.

Your travel advisor over time will become a good friend who will always have a great idea of where to go and what is the best deal at that time. The next time you head out, give a TA a call and see what they can do for you.

Kelly Grace – Travel Advisor
Kellygracetravels.com
Kelly@kellygracetravels.com

Contact Nate if you have any questions on our contact page

Iron Horse Bar & Grill Leawood Kansas Review

Iron Horse Bar & Grill Leawood Kansas Review

One of my favorite little spots is located in Leawood, KS in the Kansas City Metro. I stopped in for lunch today and ordered my favorite, the Blackened Salmon Club with fries. Iron Horse sports a great Patio dining and bar area and the inside has a good atmosphere, with great live music in the evenings.

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(Our American Style restaurant is centered around some of the finest scratch cooking in the Kansas City Area.  We have an open kitchen concept come watch this amazing team produce our dishes one evening, as we always say “You Can’t Fake Fresh.”!) – Iron Horse Website

The menu has a great varity of dishes I also like the Rosemary Chicken, and Burgers. The Full bar and TV at every angle of the area for the sports nuts.

They do Brunch, Lunch and Dinner, and full bar. Give them a try if your in the area.

Contact me if you have any questions on our contact page

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Egypt 2022 Cairo & Marsa Shagra Village Red Sea Diving Safari Review

Cairo

So I decided to book a tour guide for my one day in Cairo so I could see a lot and not get lost. I used Tripadvisor and found a private tour called All inclusive trip Giza Pyramids,Egyptian Museum,Sphinx,Bazar,Camel Ride,Lunch for $100 it was great.

I have privately driven around with my tour guide. The driver picked me up at the hotel and took me to the guide at the Pyramides, and from the guide just called them when needed. The guide was very easy-going and knowledgeable. They dropped me off at my hotel at the end of the day.

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Egyptian Museum

The hotel La Passage was great, they shuttled me from and to the airport. They have multiple restaurants on-site, I only ait at the buffet, it was good but a little bland, and I found all the food in Egypt. I like flavor and spice and very little was found the whole trip. The staff was great and very accommodating.

Marsa Shagra Village – Red Sea Diving Safari

The resort is so nice, I flew into Marsa Alam Int Airport, and got shuttled down to the resort, check-in I went to my room. I had reserved a Hut, so Hut 1 was mine, I didn’t want to do the tents, and I’m so glad I didn’t. The weather did not work well for me on the trip as I lost 2 of my 4 days diving to winds and cold.

The hut was great very clean and nice, with 2 beds and I used the blanket off the other bed due to the cold, I hate cold. The rooms have power and a fan but no heat or AC. They also have shared bathrooms in the building behind, nice locking showers, and toilettes with lots of room.

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Hut 1

The food was good no real complaints, other than very bland, I like my flavor and spices. They always had a good selection of food other than breakfast it never changed. I was craving pancakes or waffles the whole time but the hotel and resort, no maple syrup LOL. I had mint tea with every meal and maybe a coke or 2, and always water.

In all I was very happy and would love to go back, but I would remember to bring some seasoning with me.

Dive Center – Red Sea Diving Safari

So checked into the dive center, rented what gear I needed, and bought some stuff I needed. Then the next morning the orientation class walked me through the basics of diving there. We did a morning dive then afternoon dive as a group, to show us the plan for diving. This resort I love for the fact you can short dive at will just get to have a buddy, luckily I had one. They had closed diving for the 2 days after that due to a wind storm.

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Dive

That 4th day we dove like 5 times and it was beautiful. I’m sad I lost those 2 days but in no way regret the trip. The dive shade is we organized, they have lockers for each diver that is numbered and they consider with the hanger for gear after dives and you check out and in on each dive, by putting your name locker and dive time and type on a board then erase it when you get back. They have tanks just all grouped up so when you get in you just grab a tank set up and go.

Conclusion

So all in all the trip was great sucess and would love to do again soon with slight change, a couple days in cairo, with a private driver, to take me to the places I want to go with out a guide. Then 6 days at the resort, I learned a lot from the trip, and its a long trip to get there but totally worth it.

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Things to do for the trip

Visa – Egypt $25 When you get the approval it emails it to you and will delete from the site soon after so make sure you save the PDF and print it too.

Remember the resort is setup to dive on your own unless you hire someone to take you out so take a buddy or you will be asking around to tag along on someone else dive.

You get one towel……

bring seasoning or condoments you may want if you can LOL

MONEY – Let your bank know you are leaving the country and I just used the ATM in Egypt and it worked great with no fees, just remember your taking money out in Egyptian Pounds so if you want $318 out then pull 5000 egp out of the ATM, and you can use you card at most places too.

TRIP COST

Plane Tickets – $1200 KC-Cairo Cairo-Marsa Alam Hurgada -KC

Cairo Hotel – $160 2 nights

Cairo Private Tour – $50

Resort Full Board – $912 resort plus dive rentals and covid test

Resort Transfer to and from airport – $75

Randoms – $600 on gifts, trinkets, and souvenirs

TOTAL TRIP COST – $2922

Contact me if you have any questions on our contact page

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Flying Back – Cairo, Egypt & Marsa Shagra Village

So time to leave the Marsa Shagra Village, 6am6 am getting my bags together and checking the room one more time for anything I may have left. I head up to wait for my ride at 630am. He doesn’t speak any English and I have no Arabic LOL. The silent trip, but 3 hours of beautiful scenery, the Red Sea on my right and the desert on my left, what a sight. About 30 minutes from the airport he stopped for gas and I went in to see what they had, not much, grabbed a coke and a water, 20 egg or $1.27 damn I need out of the tourist zone more often LOL.

When I got to the Hurghada airport, and check-in, it was an ever 10 feet show, your passport LOL, but they are very helpful even with the language barrier. But I love seeing all the AK variants and HK MP5s all over total fanboying it up. LOL

So, 4 hrs. to Switzerland, let’s start off by saying Zurich airport SUCKS they gave me a 50 Min layover and I had never been there, so I get off the plane and boarding for my plane is already scheduled to be going on, so no gate on my ticket and my plane is not on the board. Damn it.

I look around and NO ONE that works there, I’m trying to figure out what I’m to do, have to wait in line to get through security and ask the security person for help and he runs off as my bags getting checked and I got like 20 minutes, so I’m freaking out LOL. He runs back tells me my gate and all I must do is go upstairs, thank the stars LOL.

So got my health stamp and boarded, on the phone with my girlfriend the whole time as she is helping me keep my cool LOL. Onward to the US.

So get settled in the plane, windows seat port side all the way stern, nice. Instructed the lady next to me if I get annoying to just nudge me, as I’m deaf on the right side so I may not hear her, I like using that as a good ice breaker LOL. I can see the persons personally.

She was nice, and easy-going. I started a movie as we took off, they got us drinks and dinner before I finished it, and then as I started a second, OUT. I wake up 7 hours later to, we are getting ready to land, sweet, slept the rest of the way. Back in the US, landing in Newark, got my bag and pushed into my gate to wait for my flight to MCI (Kansas City) so 14 hours to kill, 10 hours as I type this LOL.

Contact me if you have any questions on our contact page

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Red Sea Dive Site Day 4 – Marsa Shagra Village

So day 4, weather is AMAZING, diving started early so I geared up and got in 2 divers coming out were the first in and said it was so clear, lucky my buddy and I are second. It started cold but once we hit about 5 ft of water it warmed up. The water was a dream, great first dive, only problem was my GoPro died, like would take a charge nothing so I had to get photos from my buddy. This gave me more time just to look and not worry about a camera, so it worked out LOL.

We did 5 dives all shore dives its nice just coming out grabbing a coke sitting for a few, then swapping tanks and heading out again. We did 3 in the morning and 2 after lunch, max depth 105ft on dive 2 but 80ft to 40ft on the others so easy peasy. LOL

After my dives I hit the front office to do my check out and Covid test, In all honesty I don’t think it was a real covid test and he had it all printed out and ready when I got to the office LOL. But I got to see the decomp chamber that was cool, they have one on site, so its nice to know it you screw up maybe they can save you. LOL

I wanted to get another dive in but I was flying the next day so left 18hrs open before flight, I got the car scheduled for the 3 hour trip to the airport, and checked out of my room since I was leaving at 630am the next morning.

Swimming with the turtle and the schools of fish are some of the best parts of the trip, learned a lot about traveling outside the US to better help me next time….. 2 months.

I will defiantly be coming back, only closer to summertime, and spend a couple of days in Cairo, a lot I want to see around town. Contact me if you have any questions on our contact page

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Red Sea Dive Site Day 3 – Marsa Shagra Village

So there I was in Egypt, sitting on the beach on the Red Sea smoking a hookah………


So diving called for weather again. So I was bored all day, sat on the beach, walked around, ate, ate again then again LOL. So spent the day snapping random pictures, and playing around. They kept checking the water conditions to see if we could dive and it never cleared up and the currents would not cooperate. It started out windy and cold, I had to bundle up and watch the sunrise, before breakfast. Spent the rest of the day in what sun would pop out on the beach, took some random pics around as you can see.

I broke out the Hookah or Shisha Pipe to give it a go, and sat on the beach smoking it, was rather relaxing. I had a nice Mint Shisha, from the local shop. They just sat around listing to music till dinner time. For years I smoked a Hookah back home but had sold it a few years back, with regret LOL. It is nice to be able to pack a bowl again and sit back, relax and injoy.

Keeping my finger crossed for tomorrow butthe weather is supposed to be much better tomorrow. This cold windy weather is rough in a room with no heater, but thankful for the 2 beds. That extra blanket is a godsend. Contact me if you have any questions on our contact page

I did take the time to reorganize my room and clean up, I was starting to get a little messy. Being stuck in a room with no TV or decent internet is rough for a tech guy. I was talking to my dive buddy and agreed this is why you need to partner with you so if your stuck in your room you can fill the time LOL.