Monday, October 31, 2011

Not All Bad

Civilization. That is what pops into my mind when I see people playing croquet (and not my first thought when watching hockey or American football). I passed a small ocean-front croquet tournament on my walk this morning. Chairs were neatly arranged under canopies to protect the players from the sun between turns, and everyone was wearing white. Like I said, civilized.

I also passed a plein-air painter doing his thing on the beach. I envy him and the others I often see here and there. Unlike us photographers they don't have to wait for the clouds to be "just so" or the beach to be free of people. On the other hand they can't get final images for their daily blog posts at the same time they are strenuously exercising. Hmmm. I guess being a photographer isn't all bad.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Clear, Gloriously Clear

Gloriously Clear, Flat & Warm. The conditions could not have been any more perfect for my return to the Maui Pink Cap Swimmers. We did not see any unusual critters this week (unlike last week's Monk Seal and Giant Manta Ray and Big Turtles) but Lynne and Rich found lots and lots of Sea Urchin Tests (photo on left).

Click HERE for more photos from this morning's ocean swim.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Bumbling Bumblers

We have huge black bees here (Sonoran Carpenter Bees) which should have been named the Midnight Bumble Bee. They truly bumble along, bumping into one thing and then the next. People, who are not used to seeing them, freak out when one of these giant bees runs into them, but they seldom sting anyone. They were brought to Hawaii to help pollinate passion fruit and today I saw lots of them in this field of wild Aloe plants.

Below is yet another fragrant cluster of Plumeria flowers.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Electric Patterns

I had a long and lonely ocean swim this morning, seeing only a few tropical fish along the way.

When I arrived back at my starting point I was suddenly mobbed by over sixty Spinner Dolphins. Thanks for celebrating my finish, guys.

When the dolphins swim near the surface, sunlight plays in unusual patterns over their skin. I usually don't post any of those photos because I find it to be too distracting; however, in this case the effect is striking, so I couldn't resist sharing it with you.

Click HERE for more photos from today's ocean swim.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Make Lemonade

As someone who has a lemon tree in their yard I know very well how to complete the aphorism: when you're stuck with lemons...

Apparently, someone with a similar mindset found a way to deal with all the stones which have recently appeared on our sandy beach.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fully Energized

What an amazing world! Yesterday morning I was on a boat in Greece and this morning I was surrounded by playful dolphins on Maui.

Some friends from the beach got to see the Spinner Dolphins too. The dolphins were extremely active, zooming back and forth past us several times. Even though I was/am jet lagged, they managed to fully energize me. What a great welcome home.

Click HERE for more photos from this morning's swim.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

They're Back

30 hours since we walked out our door in Athens and we're actually on the ground on Maui. The First Class upgrade was really worth it. Thanks Nancy! And Lynda & Bob- how can we ever thank you enough? MAHALO

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ready for Winter

We did some more hill climbing today. Although we did not summit all seven of Athens' hills, we did our fair share. And saw some mighty purty things along the way . . . and some ancient things too.

Our butts saw the seat cushions of several outdoor cafes as we continued preparing our bodies to see us through the upcoming winter cold with a nice layer of fat. In fact we should be ready for the next several winters.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Too Much Food

Striking public workers here on Corfu were loud, but also very polite. Shops were open as usual, but we were not able to change money because the government is responsible for publishing exchange rates. No government workers = no exchange rate = no money exchange.

Unfortunately, we had more than enough cash because we spent most of the day eating, eating and eating some more. We did not have fond memories of greek food from a previous trip, but today changed all that. Delicious.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Next Big Thing

We have a new favorite spot - Corfu in Greece. Or maybe it's the warm weather. Until now we've been huddling in cafes wrapped in sweatshirts under jackets trying to keep warm. But here the air is warm and not even the slightest breeze was blowing. Heaven.

Being a small island with many narrow streets requires a different kind of transport. You, like me, were probably amazed when the SmartCar hit the streets. What an amazingly small car that was. Well, that was then and this is now. Miniaturization continues in the automobile world and we stumbled across the next "big" thing here in Corfu. Until next year, that is.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tacky Third World

The stone roofs of Gjirokastra in Albania today brought me back to our trek long, long ago through Nepal. Unlike south-central Albania, Nepal had few trees so homes had to be built of materials other than wood. Such as stone, stone, yak dung, and more stone. While other construction materials were present in Albania, the extreme excess of flaky sheets of limestone couldn't be ignored.

That was then, this is now and Albania actually has roads (of a sort). So cheap concrete and tiles have found their way inland and are replacing the traditional stone walls and roofs. Albania has moved from "quaint" third-world to "tacky" third-world status.

Our visit a couple of years ago to Pompeii opened my eyes to the magic of archaeology. Seeing the way that absolutely normal meadows and pastures can hide sophisticated cities underneath their soil was amazing to me. Today I got to see the obfuscation process in action. The hilltop castle in Gjirokastra was impressive from outside, but inside the fortress plants have taken over the upper levels. I have no difficulty imagining this citadel as nothing more than a tree covered hill in a few decades. I'm glad I got to experience what is still standing.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Trogir Again

Just a couple more snapshots from our final day in Trogir, Croatia.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Today found us out hiking again. First on a narrow rutted dirt and limestone road across a nearby island to a secluded beach. The air was too chilly for us Maui guys to even consider getting into the clear clear water, but the view was enough to make us happy.

Then we wandered the quiet medieval streets of Trogir (Croatia). The day had even warmed up enough so that we could enjoy lunch at a small outdoor restaurant. [yawn] I think it is time to take a nice afternoon nap.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dizzy Leaning

Whoah! I got more than just a little bit dizzy leaning waaaaay out from the spiral staircase to get this photo of the bells from above. I'm glad they didn't begin ringing at that moment, it probably would have scared me out of my shoes.

It turned out that this view of the tower from the ground was a lot more interesting than the views from the top of the tower. Zadar was a lot more fun than Porec and I am sad that the ship is moving on tonight.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Freaky Blue

Today we hiked along miles and miles of boardwalk around some freakishly blue lakes in central Croatia. The water in Plitvicka Jezera national park is saturated with dissolved limestone which settles out to create travertine - and colors the water various electric shades of blue.

Fall colors were just beginning to emerge and reflected gloriously in the glassy calm water. And waterfalls were cascading everywhere. We could easily have spent several days exploring the area.

Conditions were idyllic and I could not stop snapping photos. Lucky for you I am only posting three

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Gone Underground

Today we hiked (and hiked and hiked) out of Porec (Croatia) in search of a cave I had discovered online (thank goodness for the internet and for an activity called Geocaching).

Finally (!) out in the middle of a vineyard we found this hole in the ground (photo right) and began our climb down. Once inside the cavern we discovered that the walls were covered with small crystals which sparkled brightly under our flashlights. So beautiful! There was also debris scattered about from various people who had once upon a time made the cave their home. Fortunately, none of them were home today.

I wonder what adventures tomorrow will bring?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Liquid Chocolate

Every time I arrive in Venice a tear comes to my eye and I get a little choked up. Sure enough, the same thing happened yesterday. Yes, Venice really is that breathtakingly beautiful.

This morning we stopped at a small cafe for refreshment during our wanderings and ordered hot chocolate to drink. I was caught completely by surprise by what was delivered to our table - liquid chocolate! Yum, yum, yum. Amazing. I have never had anything like that before.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Amsterdam in Short

29 hours into our trip found us wandering the canals of Amsterdam during a brief flight layover. Next stop Venice!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Day One

How is it I'm already jet lagged and we don't even leave Maui for another hour? Only 34 more hours until we arrive in Venice...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Gloomy But Beautiful

Gloomy but beautiful - that was today.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Phone Toys

I got an app for my phone camera today which takes fun square photos. Fun being the key word. I had a great time wandering around pointing it at everything and marveling at how cool everything looked. I am obviously easily entertained.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tossed Ashore

Big south surf kept me out of the water today, well, mostly. It also tossed quite a few sea urchins and shells up on my beach.

Hazy sunshine provided perfect conditions for photographing flowers.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Friendly Shark


Our buddy, Bruce the shark, swam with us for quite a while this morning. Right up until we approached some guys who were spear fishing, Bruce quickly retreated to one of her favorite hiding spots and kept a low profile. Click HERE for lots more photos from today's ocean swim.