Showing posts with label 2008 pictures. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2008 pictures. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snowpocalypse 2010 - The Next Assault is in Sight

Just in case any one wondered--there is another major winter storm coming to visit us. I'm calling this Snowpocalypse Round 2.

Yes--later today, another 10-18 inches are waiting to increase misery in the region.

If I really wanted this much snow, I would have decided to live somewhere north, like Montana.

Ugh--I'd rather be on a beach. Like this one--Blowing Rocks Park on Jupiter Island, Florida. By the way--the forecast high for today there is 79 degrees compared to our 35 degrees. Maybe this will warm me up a bit.

And I heard on the Today Show this morning that they are still trucking snow into Vancouver for the Olympics. Amazing how they haven't contacted me yet--I have extra--lots of it.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Favorite Christmas Flower

I love the Bird of Paradise. It is a flower which just screams--Bob, you are living too far north.

But it is a flower which hangs itself all out there for everyone to see. Proud and content.

This Bird of Paradise was blooming in downtown Sydney when I was there in September.

So, Christmas flower? Isn't it a bit tropical for Christmas?

Well yeah--but Christmas comes to the tropics as well as the rest of the world. And don't forget, when it is Christmas winter in the U.S. -- it is Christmas summer in Australia.

Let's go to the beach.
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Monday, December 15, 2008

The Fireworks at Disney

I love fireworks displays. And Disney has fireworks to enjoy. I finally am getting closer at capturing these transient events digitally to enjoy again. I wanted to share a couple of my favorite Fireworks shots from the recent trip.
These are from the display on Tuesday night, when it was cold. But as I was able to get the camera working to capture the moments.
The magic of Disney is in the little things and the attention to detail.
The park is clean and they continue to focus on delivering an experience.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

More Disney Pictures

Who knew that Ethan is in love with Wendy?

Actually, none of us until we did the Peter Pan's Flight ride at least seven times. And then he got to meet her in person.

He is really smitten. We went back to visit with her one last time before leaving, but alas, only Peter showed. Although E learned a really neat way to do his shoes to ward off pirates. So now he has no fear of Capt Hook!

And then there was Jax. On Tuesday night it was cold. Really cold. We were in the Magic Kingdom until very late enjoying Mickey's Special Christmas Party. It was fun--but cold. Jax was bundled up like a bunny and I know he was warm.

I thought it was warm in Florida!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Signs in the Sky

Mankind, it seems is always looking to the heavens for some kind of sign. In olden times, man looked heavenward and thought that comets, or meteors, or conjunctions of the planets foretold important events. Many rulers and military leaders relied on the heavens to help them plan battles and invasions.

I guess that is a bit biblical. Thinking of the season and the Christmas Story when the star led the wise men to where baby Jesus lay.

So the other night when the Moon, Venus and Jupiter were dancing in the sky together, I was able to get a really good shot of them on the camera.

I wonder what great event they are foretelling?

Hopefully it is the end of the recession and the beginning of world peace free from the threat of chaos and terrorism.

May you have peace in your spirit, soul, and in your life as you prepare to celebrate the gift that God gave us on Christmas.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sea World, Orlando - A Review

I really don't know how to say it any clearer. A visit to Orlando, Florida which does not included a side trip to Sea World is a definite missed opportunity.

Sea World is fantastic. The exhibits are accessible and there is a variety of things to do. The pace was much more relaxed than Disney and the close tie to nature and our impact on the planet must not be missed.

Feeding the dolphins was fabulous. The feeding area is well run and the dolphins are in view from both above and below the water. The underwater viewing area was very nice and provided a great view of the activity. I never knew that dolphins play with air bubbles (kind of like smoke rings) until I saw a dolphin blow a bubble and play with it. Wow.

The Shark Aquarium is awesome and designed to allow viewing sharks and the other residents of the aquarium from all angles. Unfortunately they use a moving walkway to ensure a flow of people through the shard part of the exhibit so my pictures did not turn out too great--but it was inspiring to see a shark swim over top of me with a mouth full of razor sharp teeth. I also spies a nurse shark dozing on a rock.

The Shamu show was awesome and inspiring. I figured out how to get the camera to take fast action shots when I actually press the button, so I am especially proud of the Orca's jumping out of the water pictures I took during the show.

One place to definitely stop is the Budweiser Hospitality House for two free cold beers. Hey, they are free. And the Clydesdales are worth a gander, too. As we visited the beer wagon and Clydesdale team were on display in the park complete with dalmatian!

There is so much to do in a more relaxing environment. The Penguin house is very special and also a must see during the day.

We visited the Polar Exhibit where there are Beluga Whales and Polar Bears. It is a first class exhibit made to imitate top of the world to include the Aurora Borealis.

And I do not want to forget the rides. We rode the Kranken--a really fast coaster complete with loops and twists. Early in 2009, they will open the Manta--which is a suspended coaster which looks to be really a good ride too. The Atlantis ride was open intermittently the day we were they so we wound up not riding it--but having ridden a similar (if not the same) ride elsewhere it looks to be a lot of fun too.

Recommendation: Definitely visit Sea World during a stay in Orlando. It is a top notch attraction and well worth a day. There are both educational and thrill adventures available.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Disney Pictures of Note

Well, here are some of the best. I like this one--it is Ethan watching the fireworks our last night at Disney. We were at Epcot just chillin' and watching the fireworks.

The picture was taken on Friday night, our last night in Disney and we were all feeling the effects of  a hard week of vacationing in the land of Mickey.

This one kinda sums up the whole Disney experience--a lot of flash and fun and crashing and things to do and places to go.

The next two are from Day 1- Monday as we were getting started. I look at them as the beginning of the experience.
They give a great perspective on the adventure which is just beginning and also the great weather we had all week--except for the frigid tempratures on Tuesday night.

There are more pictures and I will get them in in a few more days.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Alice Springs--Oasis in the desert

I was reviewing my blog this morning and realized that while I had included a restaurant review while in Alice Springs, I didn't provide any pictures or review the city. So here goes.

Alice Springs, or Alice as it is referred to is the largest city in the region. It is a central point for transshipment of goods and is a cultural and arts center. It is also small--less than 26,000 people.

There is a lot of natural beauty in the region. But on this trip I did not get a chance to go to the gorges and chasms that dot the region.  I am told the area looks a lot like the U.S. desert southwest--except no cactus.

The city of Alice has a central walking mall--called the Todd Mall after the Todd River which is nearby--don't get too excited about water sports the river is dry for most of the year. So no tubing.

At on end of the town is ANZAC Hill, the war memorial, at the other is Bojangles. Total walking time--about 15 minutes. That is from the base not the top of ANZAC Hill.

There are a lot of cool shops on the walking mall and the newest addition is a Target Store, which was not yet open--but was expected to open within a week. 

So there isn't a lot of places people can hide on the mall. I was a bit distressed on this trip with the number of unoccupied shops on the mall.  It seems that economic hard times have made their way to Alice as well.

I ma told that Alice and the area are great for families and for those who especially love outdoor activities--hiking and camping and going "bush."

The mall is generally not crowded--but there are lots of tourists. Alice is a tourist town and there are attractions and activities for the tourists to do while in town. While I was there,  an auto race across the desert was beginning and the contestants were arriving at the local race track for the start of the race. So it seems there is always something happening.

Alice has been called the oasis in the outback--and once you fly into the city, you will definitely understand. Three hours of flying over the Simpson Desert and then landing at Alice. But the city is very welcoming.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Canberra Arrival

After safely arriving in Canberra, I realized that I had looked at the maps, and I'm pretty good with maps, but I was totally unprepared for what I found in this unique city. Lots of open space right around the the government buildings in the ACT--Australian Capital Territory. Very unlike London or Washington D.C.

This shot is looking back at the city from a lookout atop another hill--it is nearing dusk, but the vegetation and open areas are readily noticeable. Hopefully, I'll get some better pictures the fading light really hampered the ability to get a nice "put it on the wall" shot.

But we had gone hunting for kangaroos--right in the ACT region as a park around the lake in the foreground. These are Grey Kangaroos and they were keeping their distance--so I maxed out the zoom on the camera, hence, the shake and bit of fuzz.

There were about six of the kangaroos, but they were a bit shy and were keeping in the shadows along the treeline, making it though to pull them out of the background in photography. OK--I wish I had brought Chris' really good camera no rather than my older less capable camera.

While walking across the open area to get to the kangaroos, we spotted these birds. They are Sulphur-crested Cockatoos. And they were also resting high in the trees.

They were fun to watch and to photograph.

I also spotted this Australian King Parrot (I think, I'm still trying to sort it out) Which was fun to see--but he only kept his back to me.

It has been a fun start to the last portion of my trip. The green forests and open spaces are a contrast to the hustle and bustle of Adelaide and the desert view of Alice springs.

Well a few more days to go on this adventure and I'll be winging my way home. Who knows what other adventures I will have.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wallaby Feeding Stop -- Nature Up Close

In terms of trip highlights, feeding the ragged group of Wallaby's near a resort ranks up there as a unique aspect of my trip. They are small and cute marsupials who have very soft fur--yup. I got to pet a couple.

They do have some social issues, however, as there was some fighting over the food that I was feeding a couple of them. Seems the dominate males like to remind others who is in charge.

They were very friendly and the resort sold bags of special Wallaby food--some dietary formulated stuff I guess, for crazy tourists to feed to the animals.

One of the Wallaby's has a Joey in her pouch--and I was able to get some pictures of them together.

As it was nearing dusk and the area was a bit dark, the flash wanted to go off--but it made their eyes red. Turning the flash off though meant that that I was unable to freeze motion --so here are the two extremes in pictures.

For the purists in the crowd--these are Rock Wallaby's, that is according to the sign at near where I had the opportunity to feed them. I guess, according to Wikipedia, there are some 30 species of Wallaby's. In Wikipedia they are listed as the Short-eared Rock Wallaby.
And yes--some of them are really scruffy. These are animals living in the wild--not in cages. Sadly, I forgot to image the hillside where they are living so you could see their preferred environment. It was a vert steep, rocky, arid area.
Enjoy the pictures though--and it's OK--they are cute!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Jupiter in the Morning

Beaches that are wide open with few people on them are becoming harder and harder to find--hence, I'm not going to divulge which beach near Jupiter we went to this morning--but it was wonderful. The day was perfect, the ocean a bit cool at 78 degrees, but calm and inviting with its turquoise hue.

The boys in the boat had the right idea for the day--enjoy the sand and the surf. It was idillyic. Chris and Mary escaped for a long walk along the beach to talk about stuff and to enjoy the shells on the beach. Chris found more interesting sea glass.
I was content to run into and out of the water every so often while reading under an umbrella on the beach. We got to the beach later this morning because I drove our departing friends to the sirport to rent a car for the next part of their trip.
But a fabulous day on a quiet beach with the sound of the wind and surf.

Another Day another Happy Hour

Unbelievably, our vacation is rapidly drawing to a close. It has been a wild ride with our friends here in Florida and I only wish it would not end. We said good-bye to one couple this morning as they headed off on part 2 of their vacation, and we are on tap to depart Friday afternoon.

We have been doing late breakfasts and lunches, and later dinners while definitely slowing down to enjoy the scenery.

Some of us have been enjoying searching for treasures along the shoreline--and finding them! Seashells and sea glass in all shapes and varieties are always a find. Chris has definitely found treasures and is sharing them with us.

As you can see--last night--July 16th the water was smooth and the sky was filled with colorful clouds to enjoy. Unfortunately for me, due to suspended sand in the water it continues to be poor snorkeling conditions. But I enjoy a lot more than just snorkeling.

Happy Hour is a time to get together and reflect on the day and also enjoy the scenery. Jupiter Island, where we generally celebrate Happy Hour on the beach has to rank as one of the finest Happy Hour locations in the world!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Aboard the Blue Heron

Note: If you believe that fish are friends, not food--do not read this entry. It ends badly for some friends.

Drift fishing off the coast near Jupiter is always exciting. I look forward to a morning trip on the Blue Heron to catch dinner for the evening. Today's excursion was especially exciting as I caught two King Mackerel to add to the two that my boating companions caught for an exceptionally promising dinner.

George and Fran accompanied me on the four hour adventure on the high seas. After carefully checking the weather for the day, we decided to try to get the trip in before the afternoon storms.

Unfortunately, when we got to the Jupiter location, they had decided not to sail due to too few people, so we headed off to Riveria Beach to make the 8:30 am sailing.

Pelicans were there to wish us fair skies and winds. One got especially close--so I took his picture.

We made the sailing and were underway to the open Atlantic. The day turned out to be very good. Everyone on the boat caught fish. There were a lot of brand new fishermen on the boat and a horde of kids who kept the crew busy. We even had two baby's in strollers aboard who kept their Mom's very busy.

The catch? The most numerous were Bonita followed by the King Mackerel, a rainbow runner and a red snapper. Bonita are not really good for eating and most were thrown back. We had some exciting shark encounters--and I lost three catches (probably all Bonita) to the hungry predators which followed the boat at two stops. One of the sharks was a 10 foot Bull Shark--and he made short work of a number of catches. They were fun to watch, but it was frustrating to drag a fish up from the depths only to have a shark eat it. And while Bonita are a fun fish to land, they require a lot of work.

In the end, the King Mackerel were the best catches of the day--and we got four of them. They are also a lot of fun to land, and I know dinner will be awesome tonight.

As we returned to the dock about 1 PM--the rain started, but the intrepid fishermen were happy to have had such a successful day.

As it was raining on the docks when we returned, I was not able to get a picture with my fish, but I did get one of Fran with his.

A Stroll in the Everglades

Yesterday, we decided to reprise our adventures in the Everglades in an airboat operated by Everglades Safari and we also determined to visit Everglades National Park at the Shark Valley entrance. We had never been to the Shark Valley part of the park--so this was to be a real new experience.

For the day, so we could all travel together we decided to rent a minivan. The smaller cars we each have rented just won't do 6 people. As it turned out--the minivan decision was a great idea. We were all together and not trying to caravan the roughly 120 miles to the Everglades.

It was a rainy day, as it turned out and we have never been assaulted by as many mosquitoes anywhere as we were today.

But it was an awesome day. The wildlife was in evidence everywhere and there was a lot of bird sightings as well as the expected alligators.

The day required some rain protection measures and we emptied two bottles of bug spray--and still got bites on top of bites.

Everglades National Park - Shark Valley was an unexpectedly fantastic time. This part of the park is highlighted by a two-hour tram tour through the River of Grass with multiple opportunities to both see wildlife and to really understand the complex environment that is the Everglades. There is a tower at about the 2/3 point which provides some stunning views of the park.

The opportunity to spend quality time in the park on a guided tour is fantastic and we only wish the two-hour tour were longer. We saw deer, gators of all sizes, egrets, herons, and really gained an understanding of the Everglades.

After the Everglades, we did a return trip to Everglades Safari's airboats to allow the neophytes in our party to experience the Everglades form an airboat. A radically different experience from the tram.

It was fast and int the rain a lot of fun. We saw a lot fewer animals but really enjoyed the ride. Afterward, we toured the exhibits--but really cut that short since it seemed the mosquitoes had not been feed in what seemed like forever. They were biting through the bugspray.

Probably the scariest picture of the day was the vultures in the trees. We were afraid they were waiting for the mosuiitoes to finish with us and then pick clean the bones.

All is all though, it was a great day in the Everglades and we highly recommend both the Shark Valley part of the Everglades National Park and the Everglades Safari Airboat Tours. Convienently they are both located within about 10 miles of each other off the Tamiami Trail.

Monday, July 14, 2008

People on the Beach Part 2

I continue to be amazed at some of the people on the beach. After our walk earlier, we returned to play in the surf and get some more rays from Sol.

The waves today were beautiful--it was far to rough to snorkel, but we enjoyed playing in the water. But two people caught my attention as we were enjoying the company of our friends on the beach.

I am a slave to technology, everyone knows that. But on the beach--I put the cell away to enjoy the beach. I mean--way walk the beach if you are just going to be blabbing away on a cell phone.

Talking on a cell walking the beach represents everything that is wrong with our society--we do not know how to get away from the stresses of life. We are killing ourselves with stress and imagined importance. We take ourselves way to seriously.

Think about it--if the phone rings during a family dinner--should you answer it?
Your cell rings during a dinner out with family-- do you answer it?
Now change family to business associate or customer--does the answer stay the same?
You are toweling off after a shower and the phone rings--do you answer it?

Point is--these nifty communications devices are supposed to free time for us, yet they are making us slaves of technology.

So, while it may seem as if I am ridiculing the people on the beach, I am really sorry that they cannot free themselves from the chains of technology long enough to enjoy the sights and sounds of the beach. And to de-stress.

The kids on the beach have it right. Take time out to enjoy the sand, the sun, and the fun.

Pelicans on Patrol

This morning we decided to walk along the beach early rather than riding our bikes. We did this for something different to do and to enjoy the early morning of the beach. It is a busy place in the morning, but not from people--from the animals and especially the birds. We enjoy watching the birds as they interact with the environment.

The pelicans are some of our favorites as they seem to fly along the beach in formation, looking for breakfast. The fly close together and seem always to know where they are going. They are fun to watch. They are surprisingly big birds.

Also the beach is always alive with other sea birds who are hunting for meals. They stand so still. Waiting for the unsuspecting meal to appear. They also watch the people on the beach--I suppose wondering if we are going to compete with them for breakfast. Of course, we don't directly compete--I mean when was the last time you ate a crab fresh from its hole on the beach? But in a sense, through our disregard for the environment, we are competing with all life on the planet for the right to survive.

Ah, the beach.
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