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Tribord Easybreath Full Face Snorkeling Mask- Should You Get One?

Tribord Easybreath Full Face Snorkeling Mask- Should You Get One?

If you follow us over at the Renaissance Beard Youtube Channel, you know that my wife and I enjoy scuba diving and snorkeling when we get the chance. I first came across the idea of a full face snorkel mask when I saw the Tribord Easybreath advertised in a video on Facebook. They looked cool and we had an anniversary trip to Jamaica coming up, so I ordered us each one to try out while we were away.

The basics: The mask feels extremely well constructed and you can tell as soon as you touch it that it is made out of quality materials. The lens, though made of plastic, is heavy duty and the silicone seal around the mask is very soft. The full face snorkel is supposed to allow you to breathe easily through your nose and mouth, unlike a traditional mask that only allows you to breath through a much smaller snorkel tube. The large dry top snorkel prevents water from getting in the snorkel meaning you don’t need to clear the snorkel if it happens to be submerged. The open face design means the largest field of vision of any mask on the market.Easybreath-Schnrochelmaske-Test

Our review: My wife really enjoyed her mask and honestly doesn’t want to snorkel with a standard mask again. She said the visibility was much better, breathing was easier, and no water got down the snorkel itself. She also pointed out that it was much more comfortable to wear over a longer snorkeling period because her mouth and jaw did not get tired from having to bite down on a separate snorkel tube. As for me, I can say the mask just didn’t work for me, mainly because I found this type of snorkel mask’s fatal flaw: Facial Hair. This mask only works if the entire silicone ring around the mask can make contact with skin. Having a beard prevents the mask from being able to seal and water just pours in.

The final verdict: Buy it, unless you have a giant beard. Want to grab one for yourself? Click here!

If you have any questions or have anything that you’d like featured in a future post on The Renaissance Beard, don’t hesitate to contact me or leave it in the comments.

Be sure to check out The Renaissance Beard Youtube Channel here.

Diving the Blue Grotto

Diving the Blue Grotto

The Blue Grotto is an amazing natural spring located in Williston, Florida. Williston itself, as a town, is really nothing anyone would want to visit on its own merit. It is your typical rural Florida. None of the beauty of the coast, none of the glamour of Orlando. It’s small, rundown, and if you have to venture into the grocery store, you get the terrible feeling that at least one-third of the people around you might be on methamphetamines. The other two-thirds just look really tired and slightly angry. However, about five miles outside of town, off a nondescript dirt road, you will find something that makes visiting this area completely worth it. Williston’s diamond in the rough, the Blue Grotto.

The Blue Grotto Dive Resort is a privately owned operation. It has all the things you would expect of a modern day scuba diving destination. It has a dive shop that can fill scuba tanks and rent or sell you the essentials you may have forgotten. They have a number of small cabins, one of which we stayed in. They are nice and clean. There is no television or internet. If this bothers you just remember that you will have to get up early to get the most diving in and it also gives you an opportunity to finally get in some recreational reading. Just remember to bring a good book. The only negative I could really find is the shower has terrible water pressure, and by terrible I mean flat out sad. A small child could cry tears with more force than their shower head could provide. Closer to the Grotto itself, there are a number of pavilion type shelters with picnic tables with hanger rails meant to be used as convenient staging areas for dive groups. In the middle of the park sits the real star of the show. Surrounded by a large wooden viewing deck/ staging area, the Blue Grotto itself sits resembling a set piece from a Jurassic Park or King Kong movie.bluegrottouwmap

The dive at Blue Grotto begins at the mouth of the cavern, which is 80ft wide and 20ft high. Approximately 30ft below the surface is the only air bell available to spring divers in the region; filled with fresh compressed air, the bell allows you a unique opportunity to stop, remove your regulator, and talk with your buddy under the water. Descending from there, at about 50ft, a permanent guideline brings you to the crescent shaped cavern where you might find fossils embedded in the walls of the chamber and aquatic life such as Virgil, the Blue Grotto’s people friendly soft shell turtle. The best way to describe it is really with video. So check out our dive videos above and  below!

If you have any questions or have anything that you’d like featured in a future post on The Renaissance Beard, don’t hesitate to contact me or leave it in the comments.

Renaissance Reviews: The X-Gear Camper Tool

Renaissance Reviews: The X-Gear Camper Tool

Whether you are actually camping or just on a long car trip, it’s always nice to have a set of compact and foldable metal silverware with you when you are on the go because, if you are like me, you have probably found yourself in situations where disposable plastic silverware just doesn’t cut it, both literally and as a figure of speech. To be honest with you, I have never heard of the brand X-Gear and this little piece of gear was a total impulse buy but it did catch my eye for a very good reason. Over the years I have owned all kinds of Swiss Army knives and multi-tools, with many of them having had flip out silverware on them, but they have all suffered from the same fatal flaw: they were all small and made you feel like you were eating with children’s utensils. This X-Gear Camper Tool does not suffer from this problem and if anything the utensils seem a little big. This translates into a set of camp utensils that actually feel usable. The spoon is actually big and deep enough that you can eat soup with it and everything is built sturdy enough that it doesn’t feel like you will break them at any moment.

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The tool features a knife, fork, spoon, and bottle opener, all of which are made of stainless steel. It also separates into two pieces allowing you to have a fork in one hand and a knife in the other. Moving the fork up into the usable position unlocks the two halves and allows them to be separated giving you a fork and bottle opener on one side and a knife and spoon on the other. The knife is very sharp but it is also quite slick. The knife lacks any kind of nail groove or grip assist for easy pulling that is usually found on most folding knives which makes it a little hard to get a hold of and for me this is probably this product’s biggest and only downside.

 

 

 

It’s compact and folds down to about 4 inches which makes it incredibly easy to throw in a bag or glove compartment. The quality is good and they are polished like you’d see with decent regular dining utensils and they are thick enough to prevent them from bending during use or storage. All in all, I would recommend one of these, especially since you can pick one up for about 10 bucks.

 

 

If you have any questions or have anything that you’d like featured in a future post on The Renaissance Beard , don’t hesitate to contact me or leave it in the comments.

 

 

Swimming with Sharks and Riding One of North America’s Tallest Water Slides: A Review of the Waterparks at the Walt Disney World Resort

Swimming with Sharks and Riding One of North America’s Tallest Water Slides: A Review of the Waterparks at the Walt Disney World Resort

I haven’t posted in over a week, but it’s because I have been down in Orlando at Walt Disney World. As many times as I have stayed at Disney, I have somehow managed to never visit their water parks until now and I have to say they are a blast. Thanks to a combination of crazy weather and pure luck, we managed to catch the water parks on a day where they were practically empty and thanks to the fact that there were no lines we were able to visit both of Disney’s water parks in the same day.

We started our day out at Blizzard Beach which is designed to look like a melting ski resort complete with a chair lift. With everything from a lazy river to various slides, Blizzard Beach has all your usual water park attractions but the real kicker is the insane water slide Summit Plummet. The folks at Disney aren’t necessarily known for thrill rides but Summit Plummet is as extreme as water slides come. At 12 stories high and propelling riders up to 60 miles an hour, the slide is currently the tallest and fastest water slide in the US. To reach the the top of the water slide you take the fore-mentioned ski lift to a landing before climbing another few stories worth of stairs.

Summit Plummet

The view from the top of Summit Plummet is pants crappingly terrifying to say the least. The slide’s near vertical drop means that when you are at the top it looks like you are about to fall off a cliff, which to be honest isn’t too far off from the truth. When I first went over the edge, I swear my body lost contact with the slide for about 20 feet. The whole drop is over in a matter of seconds with about half of it taking you through a dark tunnel. It’s terrifying, exhilarating, and great fun right up until the super wedgie you get at the bottom of the slide. The force of the water slowing you down from 60 miles an hour snatches your swim suit up between your cheeks with the strength of a thousand middle school bullies. Everyone that braves Summit Plummet ends up with one of these wedgies. I found it to be incredibly entertaining to just sit on the benches at the bottom of the slide and watch the faces of each rider contort with shock and discomfort as they try to gracefully adjust their bathing suit at the bottom of the slide.

After Blizzard Beach, we hopped a bus over to Disney’s other water park Typhoon Lagoon. With terrible weather looming off in the distance, we had very limited time at Typhoon Lagoon so we made a bee line for the attraction that sounded the coolest, Shark Reef. At the Shark Reef you snorkel with sharks, rays, and tropical fish. It was pretty awesome. I could describe it to you but, since I had my GoPro camera with me and filmed part of it, I think it’s just easier to show you.

If you have any questions or have anything that you’d like featured in a future post on The Renaissance Beard , don’t hesitate to contact me or leave it in the comments.

 

Great Depression Cooking: The Channel on YouTube That Will Make You Stop and Think

Great Depression Cooking: The Channel on YouTube That Will Make You Stop and Think

It’s rare I find something as awesome as this and I don’t want to write too much about it for fear of detracting from it. This is the Youtube channel of 98 year old cook, author and great grandmother, Clara, who recounts her childhood during the Great Depression as she prepares meals from the era. She passed away in 2013. I accidentally stumbled across her channel. I found it to be amazing, hopefully you will too. Below is one of her videos. You should watch the rest of her videos which you can find by clicking here.

Watch and enjoy!

 

If you have any questions or have anything that you’d like featured in a future post on The Renaissance Beard , don’t hesitate to contact me or leave it in the comments.

Rudy’s Bar and Grill: My Favorite Bar in NYC

Rudy’s Bar and Grill: My Favorite Bar in NYC

Not counting the bars found in your standard full service restaurants or hotels, there are nearly 3000 bars and nightclubs in New York City. That’s a huge number and it should make picking a favorite very hard. For me it was very easy and without a doubt it’s Rudy’s Bar and Grill.

Rudy’s is located in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan on 9th Ave between 44th and 45th St. You can spot it pretty easily from the bright red neon above the door and the giant 6 foot plaster statue of a pig wearing a tuxedo. Once you are past the bouncer and in the front door, you become immediately aware of one of the reasons I love this place. It’s a total dive and I mean that in best way possible. A good dive bar, like Rudy’s, is clean but it still shows its age. The paint might not be as bright as it once was, the upholstery may have been replaced with duct tape years ago, and the bar may be scratched with patron’s names, but it’s that way because it has a history and regulars and changing to look like some modern day club would ruin its charm. It’s the kind of place that still manages to look lived in and down to earth in a world where everything has to be shiny and new, which can be hard to find anywhere much less New York City.

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After you pony up to the bar you learn the next great thing about Rudy’s: its drink prices. It’s incredibly cheap to drink at Rudy’s, not just by New York standards but anywhere. A pint of draft beer and a shot of Irish whiskey will only run you about 5 bucks any night of the week. A pitcher of domestic beer will only set you back 10. If you are looking for super frou-frou-tinis,  small batch organic micro-brews, or an exotic high-end wine selection then move on. This is not the place for you. This is the kind of place that sells regular guy drinks at regular guy prices and they are awesome at it. Just know they operate on a cash only basis, so leave the credit card at home and swing by an ATM.

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Rudy’s even serves food, but to be honest I should say “a” food. The only thing they serve is hotdogs and believe it or not they are free. They come included when you purchase a drink and are served hot off of one of those little hotdog cookers like you see in convenience stores. By this point you are probably having terrible flashbacks of those sad 7-11 wieners left on the cooker for hours, all dried up and nasty, but at Rudy’s your hotdog is sure to be fresh, thanks mostly to the sheer volume they go through in a week. It’s a ridiculous number but in a 7 day week between 2000 and 4000 hotdogs will be handed across the bar to patrons.  

The crowd in Rudy’s is pretty eclectic by all standards. It’s usually a pretty solid mix of Hell’s Kitchen locals, tourists, struggling Broadway actors, and sometimes a celebrity or two. Rudy’s has been around since the early 1900’s and has been known to be a low key hang out for everyone from Frank Sinatra and Norman Mailer to Tom Hanks and Paul McCartney. All together the crowd is a pretty relaxed and friendly one which is good considering it can get pretty busy and the building’s narrow build can cause it to get a little cramped.

 

To sum everything up, you can’t hate a bar in the heart of New York City with 3 dollar beers and free hot dogs. Yes, it is a dive. Yes it looks a little worn and dirty. And yes their booths are upholstered with red duct tape. So what? That’s what makes it fun. Where else can you have a great time for super cheap in the middle of Manhattan? Next time you are that way you should check it out.

 

If you have any questions or have anything that you’d like featured in a future post on The Renaissance Beard , don’t hesitate to contact me or leave it in the comments.