Wednesday, December 31, 2008

More diving!

Ross, Mary and I got out for a few dives last weekend. The surface conditions were lovely

but the recent cyclone activity north of us brought in a bunch of crud and a pretty big swell so it was very surgey on the first dive. It was also a bit chilly for my tastes (thanks to Ross for snapping this with my baby Oly 720SW)!

We decided to move around back into the Gulf for the rest of the dives and the conditions were much better, though there were still many floaties. Sunday was lots warmer!

I'm trying out a new piece of software for the first time so please enjoy this slideshow of underwater images from the weekend. Let me know what you think of it - don't be shy!

Here are some more images that don't move!
01 - our best find of the weekend. A nudibranch we have never seen before Phestilla melanobranchia

02 - some mating nudibranchs

03 - an excellent polka-dot crab

04 - cool eyes

05 - I can't resist moray eels

06 - or little gobies

07 - especially when they give me the googly eyes!

08 - this Moridilla brockii nudibranch was munching down on a little snack

I love looking way into little bits of coral as you never know who will be hiding in there.
09 - shrimp

10 -

11 - little triplefins

12 - crab with eerie red eyes

And, of course, there are always curious fish!
13 - snapper

14 - rabbitfish

13 - lionfish

14 - pufferfish

15 - hawkfish

16 - lizardfish

Back at the marina this bird with a dicky foot watched us load the boat back onto the trailer

It felt great to get out and about, even if I did have to head straight back to the dive centre after the dives. We have been very busy over this holiday period and it's meant some late shutting times and hectic hours...but it's great and I wish we were this busy every day of the year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

12 days

I can't believe that I have not found time to post about my upcoming big adventure until a measely 12 days before I get on the first of many flights!  I fly out of Exmouth on the 11th on the first leg of an epic 55 hour journey through 7 airports.  I will land on the 13th (gotta love that International Date Line!) in Buenos Aires, Argentina!

My friend and Cruise Agent Supremo, Amber,  has arranged a group on an excellent cruise to Antarctica with a couple of days on either side to get a little taster of a bit of South America.  I am going as "our super-duper photographic instructor extraordinaire, expert in all things photography for the group", according to Amber, and I can't wait!

I am heading off on the Star Princess for a 16 night cruise starting in Buenos Aires and ending in Valparaiso then flying back to the US from Santiago.  Here's our schedule:
11-13 January: I fly from Exmouth, Western Australia to Buenos Aires via Sydney, San Francisco and Miami (super fun!)
13 January: spend the day looking around Buenos Aires and maybe catching some sleep!
14 January: fly to Igazu Falls in the morning
15 January: explore more of the Falls area and fly back to Buenos Aires in the evening
16 January: explore Buenos Aires
17 January: get on the Star Princess for my first ever cruise!
18 January: Montevideo, Uruguay
19 - 20 January: at sea
21 January: Falkland Islands
22 January: at sea
23 - 26 January: Antarctic Peninsula
27 January: Cape Horn, Chile
28 January: Ushuaia, Argentina
29 January: Punta Arenas, Chile
30 January - 01 February: at sea
02 February: Valparaiso to disembark then enjoy a tour of the area on the way to our hotel in Vina del Mar
03 February: tour to and around Santiago before my 10pm flight back to San Francisco
04 - 06 February: San Francisco with Mom
07 - 14 February: midwest with Dad, Gma, Cat etc
15 February: get on yet another plane and head back to Exmouth via Sioux Falls, Chicago, Tokyo and Perth!

Amber has all of our tours arranged for our ports of call and I'll add more information on my travels when I can.  There is s-l-o-w internet available on the ship and I will be checking emails as I will still be dealing with the dive shop stuff each day.  I may not be able to blog very much while I'm on the cruise because of the slower connection, but I will be trying to post a photo or two with at least a short note now and then!

There are still almost two weeks to go, so there will be plenty more Exmouth based blog posts to come before I head off!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Wakatobi comes through

You may remember from my long Wakatobi trip report that my travel pillow went off with the fairies at the resort and then there was a little glitch in getting a replacement.

Well, true to his word, Henrik set about getting me a new one and it arrived super fast!  He also popped in an eco-friendly bag, a new hat, some dvds of underwater footage and a bunch of brochures to tempt me back ;)

Thank you! I'm going to enjoy having a pillow on my upcoming epic 55 hour trek (stay tuned for more info on that)!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day ... the evening

Well, the wind never did switch around properly so we didn't get to dive at all on Christmas.  But I did get to spend a lot of time with the doggies and Dave and I headed down to the beach around 6:30 for a bit of a romp.  Before we headed out, Dave took a look under the hood of my car - the fan belt screams when you turn on the air-conditioning, so he was trying to make it stop.

There were too many flies so we didn't stay overly long, but the girls had a blast!

We had fun, too!

Tilly jumped straight in the car and was all ready to go. Dora waited for her humble servant to give her a little towel-off and then a boost into the back!

MatildaLily loves riding in the car...she has to be right up front just in case something cool whizzes by. What a goof!

Back at the house they decided to torment the new footie some more. Death and destruction soon followed as Til got a little over-zealous

Dora watched from afar as Dave cleaned up the glass

She's so elegant

Til felt a little bad about it

But still looked like a goof

There was only a momentary lull and then the games began again

with lots of growling and carrying on

And they had to be right up close to me. Probably expecting me to mediate!

Ultimately, Dora was victorious

She made sure Tilly was clear on whose ball it was

And then started to rip more stuffing out of it as poor MatildaLily looked on longingly

Til got "the look" a couple of times and looked properly chagrined!

Dora was concerned that maybe she had gone too far

But that feeling passed pretty quickly!

After such a rough and tumble day, everyone was ready for a late BBQ dinner so Dave headed out the grill. The evening sky was amazing

It was a lovely end to a very laid back day.