Photos from first part of Indonesia trip


We decided to escape the wintery weather in Seattle this year by coming to Indonesia for January (our third trip here), including a long dive trip in the remote Raja Ampat region near Papua. Before heading out there we spent a few days in Bali and yesterday we hooked up with our good friend Ketut to drive around some of the places we haven't seen (we've been here a few times before). We decided to head out to the western portion of the island where Ketut's village is, and after visiting his family we headed up into the mountains to check out the rice fields and the incredibly lush and verdant foliage. Btw, the monkeys are Macaques and hang out by the side of the road on the way down the mountain.

All the photos were taken with a Canon EOS5D on aperture priority with an EF 24-105mm f/4.0L IS lens (except the one obvious fisheye shot which was using an 8-15mm f/4.0L fisheye).

Click each photo for a 1024×683 enlargement.









Photos from Belize dive trip

(2-foot wide Octopus during a night dive off Turneffe Caye, Belize)


Kimberly and I headed to Belize in November for our first dive trip in well over a year (we're not letting that happen again!) and spent a week on the Belize Aggressor III liveaboard dive boat. Doing liveaboards is the only way to dive – eat, sleep, and dive for 7 days! I did a bunch of courses during the week, including my very-long-overdue Nitrox and Advanced Open Water certifications, and 26 dives to make it up to 122 total dives. I managed to tick something off my bucket-list – diving the famous Blue Hole (down to 140 feet!). I also took a lot of photos!

Here I present my favorites from the week. Click on a photo for a 1024×768 enlargement.

Left to right below: Lizardfish; 3-ft Grouper who liked to be stroked.


Left to right below: Kimberly with her new camera rig; 5-ft barrel sponges.


Left to right below: mated pair of Banded Coral Shrimp; very small (1-inch long) Secretary Blennie that Kimberly found.


Left to right below: juvenile File Fish (about 2 inches) during a night dive; Brittle Star during a night dive.


Left to right below: Basket Star during a night dive – these guys are fun to feed by holding a light just by them and all the little worms and critters in the water swim to the light and and the Basket Star catches them; Brittle Stars in a barrel sponge during a night dive.


Left to right below: Large (9-inch shell) hermit crab; White-Speckled Nudibranch (about two inches long) I was lucky enough to spot in a sea-grass and soft coral forest.


Left to right below: Swimming with 8-ft Black-Tipped Reef Sharks – we really were that close!; looking up at a big shark.


Left to right below: the same shark again; swimming with a school of Jacks.


Left to right below: Speckled Moray warning me off; large (8-ft) Green Moray.


Left to right below: Now the Green Moray has seen me – Morays have terrible eyesight; a Jawfish – these guys live in little burrows in the sand and are very shy – I spent 1/2 hour lying on the sand waiting for this shot.


Left to right below: Lobster during a night dive – with mood lighting; solitary Banded Coral Shrimp during a night dive.


Left to right below: 4-inch Large-Eye Shrimp burrowing into the sand during a night dive; Speckled Toadfish during a night dive – these are really weird looking fish – very flat and wide – and extremely rare!


Left to right below: Octopus (same one as the picture at the start of the post) during a night dive.


Photos: Illinois Railway Museum


Back in May when we were out in Chicago teaching one of our classes we had a spare day so we drove an hour west into the Illinois countryside to the absolutely excellent Illinois Railway Museum.

I've always been a big train fan, stemming from the days back in the early '80s when I used to take the train back and forth to Glasgow every day on the way to school. I think many people are really little boys at heart when it comes to trains – trains never lose their excitement.

We spent about 1/2 a day wandering around their huge collection and chatting with some of the volunteers responsible for maintaining the rolling stock and engines. Of course I took a whole bunch of photos and I'm sure many of you will enjoy them.

Click on the photos for a 1024×768 enlargement.