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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Play Underwater at Clear Lounge Cozumel

Clear Lounge Cozumel is a place where Cozumel vacationers and locals alike can enjoy a unique opportunity to play underwater! Whether its shooting bubble guns or writing messages to friends “on the outside”, guests have given rave reviews to Clear Lounge Cozumel. In fact, CLC is one of the top-rated Cozumel activities on TripAdvisor! For two years in a row, Clear Lounge Cozumel has been honored to receive the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. In fact, CLC is rated five stars out of five, and is one of the top activities enjoyed by Cozumel travelers! 

clear lounge underwater cozumel

Stepping into Clear Lounge is like stepping into the future. You’ll feel the weightlessness of the underwater world all around you, while the colorful lights and bubbles, mixed with refreshing, aromatic oxygen exhilarate your senses. It’s a whole body, multi-sensory experience! Once you have entered the underwater lounge, you’ll have a chance to shoot targets with a high-powered bubble gun, have your picture taken in the underwater photo booth, and play a round of underwater Jenga.
Outside of the Lounge, guests can enjoy the awesome O2 bar, or down a fruity, oxygen-infused smoothie while observing guests playing in the human fish tank!

One of the reasons that CLC is so successful is due to its outstanding team of dedicated employees. The Clear Lounge Cozumel team works hard to ensure each guest has an unforgettable experience. Leading the CLC crew is Leisa Herrera, Site Manager. Leisa and her crew shared some info with us on why CLC is such a great place to work:

Q: What is your role at Clear Lounge Cozumel?
LEISA: I'm the Site Manager. When you love what you do, you do not work! I take care that everything works well, so that the guides give their utmost in each tour and so the people enjoy our activity to the fullest!

oxygen bar- clear lounge cozumel

Q: How long have you worked at Clear Lounge?
LEISA: I've been here since the opening (April 2015)! Clear Lounge Cozumel is like my baby- I have seen it grow and change. It has been a great experience in my life!

Q: What would people be surprised to learn about Clear Lounge?
LEISA: All! You forget everything and just have fun, like a child! It’s an easy way to have fun and find peace.

underwater lounge in diving helmet

Q: What is the first thing that people do when they get into the tank?
LEISA: Feel the weightlessness of their bodies (sic) in the water. It's wonderful!

Q: What is the last thing that people do before exiting CLC?
LEISA: Tell us “thank you” and talk about the beautiful things they experienced! For many people, it is their first underwater experience and they leave super happy!

Q: Have you had any notable/famous guests at Clear Lounge?
LEISA: A reality show actor from Mexican television (Enamorándonos), and Diego Pons Cristiani, a well-known travel blogger. Although the reality is that each person is very special to us!

shark photo underwater lounge

Q: Which prop gets the most attention from guests?
LEISA: The “like” prop is the favorite (maybe for Facebook, hehe)

Q: Which photo background is the most popular? 
LEISA: The shark is the favorite!

Q: What smoothie flavors are available? What is the most popular? Have you added any recently?
LEISA: We have strawberry, mango, piña colada, and two new ones, coconut and banana. The favorites are strawberry and mango!

smoothie bar cozumel

Q: What O2 scents are available? Anything new? 
LEISA: Each guest can choose his or her favorite flavor. We currently have mint and watermelon. We change the two flavors every 3 months.

Q: How many people work at Clear Lounge?
LEISA: 7 wonderful people!

Q: What jobs do staff members do at Clear Lounge?
LEISA: 4 guides, 1 smoothie girl, 1 cashier, and me.

clear lounge staff

Q: Who has worked at Clear Lounge the longest? 
LEISA: Asael, one of our guides. He loves what he does and transmits it to guests! 

Q: Who is the newest member of the staff? 
LEISA: Karla, The smoothie girl! A charismatic girl who is very smiley!

It’s  “clearly” evident that Leisa has great enthusiasm for both her job at Clear Lounge Cozumel and for her team! If you would like to experience Clear Lounge Cozumel for yourself, contact Leisa at or visit

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Take a Journey With...

Sea TREK is an amazing underwater experience. While donning a helmet, participants submerge in an aquarium tank or walk on the bottom of the ocean floor, and observe breathtaking scenery and amazing wildlife.

Many Sea TREK helmet dive locations offer the opportunity to have your photo taken during this unique journey. Utilizing their unique talents and skills, photographers click away and take once in a lifetime shots, so that guests can share their stories with friends and family, and take home remarkable keepsake of their underwater adventures.

Sea TREK at Reef Magic is fortunate to work with Kat Rowan of Ocean Blue Productions. Kat takes amazing photos of TREKkers as they walk underwater water and meet new fish friends. Here is what Kat had to share about her unique background and exciting job!

What is your background?

My education includes a Bachelor’s Degree (with honors) in Marketing, from The University of the West of England. I have worked in the tourism industry for over 10 years. I instantly fell in love with the underwater world after my first scuba dive in Thailand, back in 2012. I then started my path to become a Dive Master on the famous Great Barrier Reef, Australia, and have since worked on the Greek Islands and the Maldives.

I am now back working on the Great Barrier Reef...the reef I call 'home'.

Describe your job 

I capture memories on their once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Great Barrier Reef!  When I first jump into the water at the Reef, I’m greeted by Wally! Wally is our famous big, blue, slimy resident, a Maori Wrasse. He loves to pose for the camera. I swim around with Wally all day, taking underwater photographs of him with our snorkelers, scuba divers, and Sea Trekkers. It’s a great workout and a lot of fun!

How long have you been an underwater photographer?

I have been a member of the Ocean Blue Productions family since June 2016.

How did you first become interested in underwater photography?

I had no previous experience in photography before joining Ocean Blue. However, once I started, it was mesmerizing- you see everything from a different perspective. My underwater buoyancy also improved tenfold! Perfect buoyancy is definitely the number one trick of the trade!

What is the best part of your job?

The people I meet. Passengers come from all over the world to visit the Great Barrier Reef... They have amazing stories to tell. The most rewarding part of my job is seeing how happy all of the guests are when they see their photos at the end of their's a great feeling!

What is your favorite animal to photograph?

Wally, of course!

What about your job do you think people would be surprised to learn?

That I spend 80% of my time underwater swimming backward, not forward!

What do you do in your spare time?

I have recently purchased my first home, so I like to spend my time renovating our new house. I also love taking my dog to the beach, and binging on numerous series on Netflix.

What kind of advice do you give those who wish to shoot photos underwater?

Buoyancy is key! Also, if you are looking to purchase your own camera equipment, rent out a few different cameras and try them out first. This gives you a good feel for the camera before you invest the money.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Part 6: Tips & Tricks for Travel Savings

For many of us, summertime means family fun! A break from school, enjoying outdoor activities, and spending time together means building memories that can last a lifetime. When it comes to exciting travel destinations, theme parks are often at the top of the list. What kid (or kid at heart) wouldn’t want to dance with a famous mouse or take a wild ride on a crazy coaster?

teacup amusement ride

But visiting theme parks can really break the bank if you’re not aware of the added costs once you’ve passed the gate. In addition to tickets, there are snacks, drinks, souvenirs, and other expenses that can bruise your wallet. Here are a few tips that can keep your adventure fun and budget-friendly.

theme park lunch spot

Save on Lunch and Snacks
While not all parks allow you to tote in your own food, many do. Pack a cooler with an ice pack, and store your lunch in a park locker. Locker rentals are usually only a few dollars, and that’s well worth the cost, compared to spending $60 or more on hamburgers for a family of five (and, you'll save valuable park time by avoiding long waits at food counters). Contact the park beforehand, to ensure they allow you to tote your own. If bringing your own is not a viable option, consider splitting a large meal, or having a big lunch instead of an overpriced dinner. Lunch is often less expensive than post-sunset meals.

You might not be able to bring coolers into the park, but you can certainly keep a packed cooler in your car for a little afternoon tailgate party. Tip: Lay a damp towel over your cooler, so the ice won’t melt as fast.

drinks at theme park

Water is Free
Before you pull the trigger and buy that $8 bottle of water or overpriced soda, check in with onsite restaurants and quick-service spots. Often, these spots will give you water for the asking. In fact, some states require that water is offered at no charge anywhere that food is served.

Sign up for Promos
Make sure you sign up for theme park newsletters, follow park social media accounts, and download park apps for offers and promo codes. Theme parks frequently offer coupons for dining, added attractions, and shopping, as signup incentives. Checking out travel blogs and podcasts ahead of your trip might also offer you money-saving ideas and offers.

AAA office discount theme park tickets

Membership Has its Privileges
If you are a member of a Costco, Sam’s Club, AAA or AARP, you might find discounts available to you via your membership. Since they are able to buy in massive quantities, many of these clubs offer park ticket prices or gift cards for parks, at a discount.

Additional savings can often be obtained via discount websites, such as Groupon or

theme park souvenir shop

Wander Outside of the Park for Souvenirs
Theme parks frequently have stores just outside the gates, and they carry the same merchandise for a lot less. Plan a shopping day at the end of your vacation to hit up those stores for your keepsakes. You can also save money on items like sunscreen, snacks and other park necessities, by visiting stores outside the park before you go.

kids at hotel pool

Visit During Off Hours
If you start your day at the park early, not only can you get a jump on the rides before the lines get long and the temps soar, you can be done earlier, which means you can eat at home, or on the road at a reasonably priced restaurant. Or, consider spending some time at the hotel pool in the morning and head into the parks later. Some parks will discount tickets in the evening hours, and you’ll save time by enjoying the rides while other visitors are watching the parade or fireworks.

save money at theme park ride

Upgrade Your Ticket for More Fun at Less Cost
If you had fun during your day at the park and think you want to return in the near future, stop by a ticket window and inquire about prorated discount pricing for a return trip. Many theme parks offer season passes for a relatively small price over the cost of 1-day or weekend admission. For example, a major theme park in Virginia charges $70.00 for a one-day pass or $168.00 for an annual pass. Annual passes often come with bonuses, too, like free parking or dining discounts.

Do you have a travel savings tip or trick? Share below!

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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Super Spectacular Sea Sponges!

What living organism has no head, eyes, brain, arms, legs, ears, muscles, or organs? It’s the super spectacular sea sponge!

Sea sponges are very basic and primordial animals. They can be soft or hard, harmless or poisonous. They've lived on earth for around 500 million years and are frequently found hanging out in coral reefs. There are over 5,000 species of sponges living in the marine environment, and they are even found in freshwater lakes and rivers!

For centuries, scientists debated as to whether or not sponges were plants or animals. At one time they were considered as coral, then as “half-plant and half-animal” organisms. Everything about their life cycle is far more akin to that of a plant. They grow like plants, and since they have no organs or brain or nervous system, they are not self-aware, cannot think, and feel no pain of any kind. However, sponges do have a reproductive system, an immune system, and they can sneeze! They are able to move, and they have genes. They also capture and ingest their food source.

Sponges are relatively simple, multi-celled animals. They do not have tissues or organs like some animals do, but they have specialized cells to perform necessary functions. These cells are in charge of digestion and reproduction, and they filter in water. The skeleton of a sponge is formed from spicules, which are made of silica (a glass-like material) or calcareous (calcium or calcium carbonate) materials.

There are two types of sponges. Encrusting sponges, which typically cover the surface of a rock, and free-standing sponges, which possess more inner volume compared with their outside surface area. Free-standing sponges can reach gigantic proportions. For example, the barrel sponge, a large tropical sponge, can grow large enough to fit a whole person inside! Sponges come in a wide variety of shapes and a rainbow of colors.

Natural sea sponges possess remarkable powers of regeneration and have the ability to re-grow lost parts and pieces broken off by water currents- the epitome of sustainability! In fact, studies have shown that areas harvested actually increase in their population density.  Once cut, a sponge will re-grow within a few years, often to become bigger and healthier than it was originally.

So, what is the benefit to an organism that seems to have so little going on? Sea sponges have many uses. In the marine environment, they provide food for hawksbill sea turtles and several species of fish, including angelfishes, wrasses, and pufferfish. For some species, sponges provide over 70% of total diet. They also offer small fish a place to hide from predators. Sponges are harvested for human use in the cosmetics, home décor, and home care industries, and are utilized in many natural and organic products. They are earth-friendly, thanks to sustainable harvesting. Unlike their synthetic counterparts, natural sea sponges contain innate enzymes and minerals that help prevent the development of odors, molds, and bacteria. They are also a hypoallergenic product since they are always naturally processed and contain no artificial ingredients, harsh chemicals, or toxins of any kind.

So, the next time you’re headed to the paint store or to a relaxing bubble bath, consider the natural sea sponge as a companion!

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