Today, I am feeling a tad crabby.
A few years ago, Mr G and I went on a search for a property where we hoped to have a weekend cottage. Our criteria were pretty firm – relatively easy water access for water activities (and ideally, shore diving), not too far from Vancouver, lots of light. We got lucky and found our little piece of heaven, including the shore dive, right before the axe fell.
The Himalayas, which divide India from Nepal.
After the hell, fire and brimstone of an evening in Varanasi (and then the redeeming beautiful morning after), we packed up our bags yet again, and headed for Khatmandu.
Since the devastating earthquake of April 2015, tourism has hugely suffered in Nepal. Direct flights from Varanasi are currently cancelled, and the only way to get there from Varanasi was to fly back to Delhi, and then connect there for the Khatmandu leg. So it was a bit of a roundabout journey, but fortunately Delhi International Airport is quite new and modern. Bonnie once again demonstrated her fantastic organizational skills in keeping us wrangled and ticketed, and so other than the usurious price for a beer at the airport bar, it was all good.
Posted in Photography, Travel, Trip Reports, Writings
Tagged Bhaktapur, Bonnie Backer, Bouddahanath, Budhanilkantha, Holiday Inn Express Delhi Aiport, Khatmandu, Patan Durbar Square, Swayambhunath
Ready for my close up.
This is a picture of a Chain Moray Eel (Echidna catenata) that I captured in Roatan, Honduras. This variety of eel can grow up to 24 inches long. Although I couldn’t see the body of this one, as it was all tucked down into a coral head, I would guess that it was a juvenile – the head was not very large.
Eels are fish – very looooooong fish. When I looked up this guy in my ID book, I was surprised to see how many varieties of eels there are in the Caribbean – at least ten types of moray eels, plus snake eels, garden eels, and conger eels. Who knew? I thought the tropical Pacific had the corner on the eel biodiversity thing…
Prince Albert Wreck, CoCo View House Reef, Roatan, Honduras
Here is a link to this month’s photo feature for Scuba Diving Magazine (online). The images in this gallery were captured on a recent trip CoCo View Dive Resort, on Roatan Island in Honduras. It was a fun reunion group trip, and despite the less than optimal conditions (and a camera housing fubar two-thirds of the way into the trip that made capturing images very frustrating), we had a great time.
This was my second outing with the new mirrorless camera set up I bought last December. Other than the housing shutter control glitch (which has been sent in for repair), I am really enjoying shooting this new, lightweight rig. One of the camera’s features is that it allows for varying image dimensions to be shot out of the box – so the images in this gallery are not cropped to be these varying shapes – I shot them all deliberately that way, depending on the scene/composition I was going for.
Also of note, all of the images in this gallery were shot on CoCo View’s excellent house reef. I will be doing a second gallery in the coming months featuring images shot on boat dives from the resort.
Click here to go see the full gallery and article.
A road less traveled in India.
When I last left you, we had a big day in Khajuraho, touring some super sexy temples, and experiencing some amazing Ayurvedic massage therapy.
The next morning, we were up at dark o’thirty, for an (optional) jeep safari tour in a national park near Khajuraho, where there was a chance that we might see an Indian tiger or two, in the wild. Later that morning, we were scheduled to fly to Varanasi, our last stop in India. After that, we would be flying to Khatmandu in Nepal, for a quickie tour of the broken city, before heading home. So yes, this epic serial trip report is almost a wrap.
Here is a link to my most recently published feature for Scuba Divimg Magazine (online). This gallery of wide angle images was taken on my January 2016 trip to Thailand. This was my third trip to dive in Thailand, and my first outing with the new camera – an Olympus OMD Mark II in a Nauticam housing. There was a bit of a steep learning curve, mostly to do with the new Sea & Sea strobes, but by the end of the week I was loving the new, much lighter-weight set up.
Here is the most recent story and pictures from Thailand:
Open Wide and Say Ahhhh!!!
As far as the diving went – I think it was the best yet I have done in this part of the world. For past trip reports, which contain loads of detail about traveling and diving in Thailand, you can follow these two links:
Awoosh Thailand 2011
Awoosh Thailand 2008
More monkey business in India.
As I mentioned in the first chapter of this saga, I have heard it opined that if you haven’t sh*t your pants, you haven’t really experienced India.
The same may be true about taking a train in India, which although less traumatic than fecal incontinence, can be an unsettling experience, especially if you need to use the super grotty loos ;^)
It doesn’t matter who you are, the first time you put a regulator in your mouth and go under the water more than a snorkel length, every fibre of your being tells you that it is not a good thing.
Señor Sand Diver – Roatan, Honduras
As I beaver away on a new photo gallery and write up for Scubadiving Magazine about our recent trip to CoCo View Resort in Roatan, Honduras, I thought I’d continue to share a pic or two on the blog.
A view of the Taj Mahal, from the Red Fort
On the road again, this time for the long drive from Jaipur to Agra – the site of the splendiferous Taj Mahal.
This is the fourth chapter in this series. You will find the previous instalments here:
Chapter 1 – Just Say No to Delhi Belly
Chapter 2 – Delhi – Walking in Gandhi’s Footsteps
Chapter 3 – Colliding Worlds in Jaipur
By now, we are getting in the groove of the rhythm of this thing. Up early, repack suitcase (which does get a bit old as we stayed in many different places during the tour), leisurely breakfast at the hotel, then on the bus at the appointed hour (and remember – Indian Stretchable Time does not apply!)
A break from the India serial blogging.
After the amazing adventure in India in February with the ladies, Mr G and I were very fortunate to travel to Roatan in Honduras in March, to join in on a large ‘reunion’ dive trip.
We stayed and dove at CoCo View Resort – and it was generally pretty great. I hope to find some time in the future to write something about it. I will definitely be sharing some pictures from the trip in the coming months.
Here is a picture of a cute little damselfish (about 4 inches in length). These pretty little flitters are cousins of anemonefish, about which I previously have shared my obsession. These small fish (both damsels and anemonefish) can be frustrating to photograph, as they are constantly in motion. At times, usually when nesting, they can be quite aggressive, and have been known to nip divers.
So, basically, they are charming little b*stards ;^)
So, we’ve left Delhi, and are now on the big bus for the long drive to Jaipur – the pink city.
If you missed the previous India blogs, they are here:
Part 1 – Just Say No to Delhi Belly
Part 2 – Walking in Gandhi’s Footsteps
Delhi to Jaipur was a long haul, with hours of peering out the side windows of the bus, watching India whizz by. I kept my camera at the ready, hoping to capture some of the scenery. As I mentioned earlier in this thing, shooting out of the side window of a fast moving bus is not very satisfactory, but I did manage to get a few decent pix to try to illustrate the experience. Continue reading
So, when I last left you dangling, we were all tucked into our beds in our very nice rooms at Le Meridien in central Delhi, sleeping off (with the help of some pharmaceuticals) the long and not very restful flight in the back of the bus on the Air India flight from JFK. Delhi is 11 1/2 hours ahead of Vancouver – so pretty much half way around the world. It doesn’t matter how much I travel (and I travel quite a bit), that kind of time change will seriously fook me up. So I usually take sleeping pills, for at least a few days, to try to turn things around.
The tour we were on really only offers one full day in Delhi, which is enough to take in some of the many attractions, and get a bit of a feel for this huge, sprawling, smoggy city, with a population estimated at over 16 million. I am not sure how accurate any kind of census could really be, as there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people living in the streets, and in the sprawling slums. Add to that the thousands and thousands of tourists, both Indian and international. and there are one heck of a lot of people banging into each other in this capital city of India.
Posted in Photography, Travel, Trip Reports
Tagged Birla Temple, Delhi, Gandhi Museum, Gandhi Simitri, India, Jama Masjid, Kutab Minar, Qutb, SmarTours
So, a group of girls decide to take a trip to India. The group is three sisters and a friend, and the plan is to experience India as part of an organized tour, because, as anyone who has been to India will love to tell you, it is a gong show getting around this country of one billion (plus) people.
It’s been a busy whirl of travel over the past few months, and although I always have intentions to blog while I am enjoying these new experiences, somehow it never seems to happen. I did take a sh*tload of photos though, and I am now in the thick of processing them. So soon there should be some photos and thoughts about diving in Thailand and Honduras, as well as touring in northern India and Kathmandu, appearing on this neglected blog.
In the meantime, here is a link to my latest piece for Scuba Diving Magazine’s digital platform – it is all about quotidian happenings on the reef. Fish and other ocean animals need grooming, and this is how they do it…
You will find the story and image gallery here —-> Going To The Cleaners
Here is a link to December’s gallery and short write up about diving off the west coast of the big island of Hawaii.
You will find the article and image gallery here —-> Hawaii 2.0 – Images from the Big Island of Hawaii
Here is a link to my most recent contribution to the magazine – this one a photo gallery and description of the magical manta night dive in Kona, Hawaii.
You will find the article here —-> Black Magic Manta Diving
With the prospect of only 3 days to get our first taste of Ireland, we arrived in Dublin, picked up a rental car, plugged our Galway area hotel address into the handy dandy (do not attempt to drive in Ireland without one!) GPS, and pointed the car west.
Here is a link to a recent piece (and short video) that describes some wild and wooly current dives I’ve done, as well as some strategies for managing diving in big currents.
You’ll find the article and video here —–> Gone With The Wind – Diving in Big Currents
Where do the months go? I’ve recently returned from a dive trip to the Big Island of Hawaii, and have been bagging a few cold water shore dives closer to home, but have been neglecting the blog, bigtime.
One of these days, I’ll get back to making regular entries, but in the meantime, here is a link to my most recent piece for the magazine – all about Palau.
Click here to take you to the magazine gallery and write up.
And, if you really want to dig in, here is a write up I did on the blog, on my return from the trip, in March.