On The Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

So far, this feature has been about travel, with the occasional “local” picture or two. I think limiting this to just travel is just that – limiting. So I’m changing this up a bit to include neat, colorful, funny, interesting, poignant, etc. pictures that don’t require travel.

As always, if you’re on a trip or have a story to share, you can just pitch in below.

I’m pleased to announce the release of the new picture submission tool for this feature. Using this tool will ensure I don’t mess things up, will make it much less time-consuming for me, and will make for a much easier process all the way around.  This would not be possible without the efforts of valued commenter Major Major Major Major. His help has been invaluable in this feature, not to mention in the pie filter and rotating quote.

The form is here and has a few simple rules:

  1. You have to have made at least one comment that’s been approved/published.
  2. It’s a picture and not too big (you can include up to 7 pictures in a single submission)
  3. You must include your commenter screenname and email (kept private) to verify you, just like making a comment. Only your nym is published.
  4. No more than 10 form entries per hour.
  5. You can include an overall description, per-picture descriptions, dates, locations, etc.

If you are a lurker and thus not a commenter, or should you wish to submit a video, archive of multiple pictures, links to pictures hosted online, or want to include more text or pictures than the form allows, send an email.

Travel safely everyone, even if it’s just down the hall for that second cup of coffee!

 

Quick pre-picture note: there are tons of submissions via the form and I’ll take a look at them Thursday or over the weekend. At least one person reported some issues with submitting a set of pics, so if you had any issues, please let me know.

I’m currently engaged in a major project of scanning old slides, negatives, and pictures from my family history. 22 years ago my father died, and 10 years ago my family home had a fire and most pictures were lost, as were almost all remnants from my childhood. It’s really amazing that some stuff survived, and that my mother wasn’t in bed when the lightning bolt hit crashed through the roof and ignited her bed. But that’s a story for another day.

Tuesday I was scanning some surviving slides, and I had the amazing experience of scanning a picture of my father’s killer. He died from silicosis – he had inhaled uranium ore dust and the rock particles embedded in his lungs and slowly killed him.

And here was a picture of a sample of Uranium ore, noted in his handwriting, from 1956. That was the year where he did some work (he was a petroleum geologist) in a uranium mine; I remember his stories of sleeping in the mine which had the feel of a barely-dodged danger as we had subsequently learned how bad radioactive ore could be. In my youth, when he regaled me with those stories, he was hale and hearty. It didn’t fell him until 1995.

 

On a less-somber note, we are blessed with some truly great pictures from the adventures of Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes and his wonderful Countess:

May 22, 2017
Cape Tribulation, QLD, Australia
This is as far north on the coast as you can get before the road turns to crappy dirt track going up Cape York.  When Captain James Cook wasn’t getting his dumb ass killed in Hawaii, he blundered all the way up the coast, breaking his boat repeatedly. He named this place Cape Tribulation, as he was having real problems with grounding.

 

 

May 22, 2017
Cape Tribulation, QLD, Australia
This beautiful beach is difficult to access (about an hour and a half north from Port  Douglas) cannot be used for swimming. Jellyfish, sharks, and salt water crocs abound.

 

May 27, 2017
Osprey Reef, Coral Sea
This is me and the Countess, looking at a nautilus.  This is part of a research project that the scuba liveaboard company participates in with regard to these creatures. They’re an ancient relative of the octopus, and are typically found in much deeper waters.  For a brief period of the year, they’re found at roughly 700 to 900 feet deep and are trapped at that level and brought up for measurement and inspection.

 

Wow. I’ve seen a host of them in Singapore (aquarium, not diving). They are amazing creatures, it’s so neat that you touched one!

 

May 26, 2017
North Horn, Osprey Reef, Coral Sea, QLD

This was a shark feeding we got to see – I took some stills off my video. These guys hung out with us on the reef the entire time we were there. It was a mix of white tips, black tips, greys. There were some other fish, and a gigantic potato cod (grouper that no fish would mess with). The sharks ranged from about 5 to 8 feet in size, and were everywhere – some liked checking us out during dives, others liked hanging out where we got back on the boat.

Anyway, they were extremely cool. The sequence begins with their expectation of a meal of tuna head and bits. Eventually, the bucket separates for a toothsome repast.

The closest any got to me was about 18 inches…

No freaking thank you. Nope. Nada. Never. Well, not never: just like skydiving – I’ll do it when I have to, once, and never again. I salute your courage.

 

Just amazing! Don’t let my terror obscure my appreciation of them, of nature, and of your capturing this. I love nature but I fear much of it, wisely, I feel. And sharks, crocs, gators, bears, and large cats are hazards I steer clear of. I’ve seen them close enough in the wild and have heard enough horror stories from my father’s adventures in Africa, Alaska, and South America. And yes, I’m wary of hippos, and, truth be told, beefs/bovines (you see some stampede or charge you sometime, and you’ll approach them a bit differently, I assure you!).

Sydney, Australia
Back the final night for Vivid, a laser light festival held annually in the city.  Various buildings become the canvas for a laser light show of moving expressions. This still shot was from the roof top bar of our hotel.

 

May 28, 2017
Lizard Island, QLD, Australia

This is where Captain Cook put ashore after bouncing up and down on the Great Barrier Reef – it had sufficient elevations to determine a safe path out.  It was a truly gorgeous day…

 

Wow, that’s like a stereotype. Just so beautiful and inspiring!

Thank you so much Comte, and do keep sending more. You are blessed to be able to travel to so many gorgeous places with such access, and are gifted in photographing and recounting your adventures. A deep, sincere thanks!

 

Have a great day everyone!

 

Oh yeah, for those so-inclined, Open Thread! You can continue your discussions here, it doesn’t all have to be about travel, stories, or pictures.






53 replies
  1. 1
    raven says:

    Whew!

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Quinerly says:

    💚

  4. 4
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    Taking off after lunch…

  5. 5
  6. 6
    Eric S. says:

    I’m standing in Wien Hbf at this very minute and a very Austrian looking gentleman dressed in a tailored suit just strolled by with a surf board under his arm.

    My time in Vienna had been too short and too unplanned. I strolled around, saw some things, but have no real feel for the city.
    On the other hand, even granting that everything is better on vacation, I had some of the best spaghetti Bolognese I can ever recall last night.

    In a few hours I’ll be meeting my friend Scottish Don, who I met in Chicago, in Budapest. Trust me, it makes sense.

  7. 7
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  9. 9
    Eric S. says:

    Not the Danube

    There was some confusion on my part. In the background there is a little man made beach and people are eating and drinking and watching the sunset. I went down and had a wine.

  10. 10
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    @Eric S.:
    Love sitting outside by water…

  11. 11
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    A note on the beach at Cape Tribulation – while the water is full of 25 foot long salt water crocs, jellyfish and sharks, you also have to watch the jungle for 25 foot long salt water crocs and cassowaries (gigantic ostrich-like birds that want to kill you with their claws).

  12. 12

    If you’re dying for a time sink and love travel though history, someone on another site that I frequent shared this link; it’s UCSB’s aerial photo collection linked onto a map. I found an aerial photo of the house I grew up in from the same month my parents bought it

  13. 13
    TenguPhule says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes:

    while the water is full of 25 foot long salt water crocs, jellyfish and sharks, you also have to watch the jungle for 25 foot long salt water crocs and cassowaries (gigantic ostrich-like birds that want to kill you with their claws).

    Deathland, land of sharp hungry death, poisonous death, even more hungry death, stinging death and Sheep.

  14. 14
    Eric S. says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: Sounds like a lovely beach. Don’t close your eyes while sunbathing.

  15. 15
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Nice rainbow.

  16. 16
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    Another note on the liveaboard – it was four nights aboard. Ship was about 100 feet long. Every night we’d make hellbent for leather to the next dive site, which made for interesting sleeping. Routine went like this – wake up, crawl from bed for a half a glass of water prior to puking over the seasickness. Dive in order to get some nitrox (higher O2 air – takes special certification and rigid adherence to depth rules, as well as tracking of aggregate time in), as well as some relative stability. Get breakfast, dive more, have lunch, dive more, then dive more or nap. Have dinner, then after dessert, boat gets under way again.

    Repeat each day after.

    Despite the seasickness and no sleep, it was a great experience!

  17. 17

    I’m currently engaged in a major project of scanning old slides, negatives, and pictures from my family history.

    If you have any questions about this, I’ve scanned all of my pictures and I’m in the process of doing them again. The pictures that I submitted were scanned from Kodachrome slides.

  18. 18
    satby says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: all the pictures are wonderful, but the videos are icing on the cake!

  19. 19
    satby says:

    @Eric S.: I always wondered who the gold statue was of in those Viking ship commercials 😆
    Have a great time!

  20. 20
    satby says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: glad you enjoyed it. I’d probably be in the ICU after a trip like that!

  21. 21
    Anne Laurie says:

    And here was a picture of a sample of Uranium ore, noted in his handwriting, from 1956. That was the year where he did some work (he was a petroleum geologist) in a uranium mine; I remember his stories of sleeping in the mine which had the feel of a barely-dodged danger as we had subsequently learned how bad radioactive ore could be.

    But it’s so pretty!

    Obviously, like many brightly-colored poisonous bugs / snakes / frogs, visually warning potential predators away…

  22. 22
    rikyrah says:

    Thanks for the stories and the pictures today 😄

  23. 23
    debbie says:

    Just wow!

  24. 24
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Deathland, land of sharp hungry death, poisonous death, even more hungry death, stinging death and Sheep.

    They make up for it with outstanding beer and wine.

  25. 25
    JPL says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: For some of us, we rather sit home and view videos of your journey. Thanks for sharing.

  26. 26
    jayboat says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:
    Thanks for that link… could spend a day or two exploring.

  27. 27

    I, also too, have a terror of sharks. Mind you, deep water scares me period, so it’s kind of moot. I’m not viscerally scared of a lot of animals that freak people out, but sharks scare the snot out of me. To purposely start a feeding frenzy among white and black-tips while being underwater anywhere near seems like madness.

    I’m mostly afraid of stuff normal people aren’t. I am NOT going near any South American jungles. Human bot fly. And between guinea worms, schistosomiasis, filariasis, tsetse flies, and malaria, I’d at least think twice about Africa.

    EDIT -@Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes:
    This is deeply unfair to cassowaries, who you certainly don’t want to piss off, but do not hunt men.

  28. 28
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    All you have to do is have situational awareness and don’t act like prey. For each dive, I kept a constant mental watch on big critters within about 100 feet-and was wary of everything that appeared to be circling but moving briefly out of view.

  29. 29
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Shoulda seen the signage at the ferry landing and the paths. VERY blunt on the dangers.

  30. 30
    Waratah says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: Great photos and videos. The closest I have been to sharks was while we had rented a house on the Gold Coast. We were the only ones swimming and my mother called us out for lunch and as soon as we were out she almost had a heart attack as she looked at where we were swimming and several sharks were swimming in the shallow part were the little ones were. We were no longer allowed to swim there had to walk a mile to where the life savers were. Just want remind every one that Australia has miles of beautiful beaches that are not private, it is an island.

  31. 31

    Beautiful. Nice way to start the day.

  32. 32
    MomSense says:

    WOW!!

  33. 33
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    @Waratah:

    It was a phenomenal time – about a fortnight, counting transit. The things we did up north were really special – did aboriginal experiences at Mossman and outside Port Douglas, took some great hikes in the bush, swam in the river, had a blast going to a bar in Port Douglas and watching cane toad races, got shouted at from the left seat while driving…

  34. 34
    Mary G says:

    What a lovely experience, thanks for sharing your photos.

  35. 35
    Mike in NC says:

    Advise to anybody ever going to Vienna: do not pay 20-25 Euros or whatever the fee is to watch the white stallion rehearsal. The horses trot around for ten minutes pooping in the sand.

  36. 36
    StringOnAStick says:

    We swam with black tipped sharks in the Galapagos 3 years ago, fortunately none too big and no chum was involved or my now reduced issues with water would have reared up to get my attention. We did motor by a manta with a 6foot wingspan while underway to another island – an amazing thing to see, and the huge pod of spinner dolphins that played in the boat wake as we headed home at the end of our last day will stay with me forever.

  37. 37

    @TenguPhule:

    Deathland, land of sharp hungry death, poisonous death, even more hungry death, stinging death and Sheep.

    So it’s Florida with sheep instead of guns.

  38. 38
    ThresherK says:

    @Mike in NC: Pooping in the sand, or playing the time-honoured gentleman’s sport of Lipizzaner-pie bingo?

  39. 39
    GregB says:

    So giving a Chinese company three billion dollars in tax breaks to build a plant in the US isn’t globalism?

    Scaramucci selling his company to a Chinese company isn’t globalism?

  40. 40
    Waratah says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: Looks like you were able to do everything. I have never seen cane toad races just stopped to get sugar cane to suck on. My sister volunteered to chauffeur you while you were in Sydney but by then you were already on your way.

  41. 41
    droog says:

    @Anne Laurie:
    The rare Uranium Falcon.

  42. 42

    @GregB: of course not, there are no Jews involved.

  43. 43
    ExpatDanBKK says:

    Hi there, long time lurker, VERY infrequent commenter. But I guess that my old comments from before the site revamp don’t count, so throwing something out there again…

  44. 44
    ExpatDanBKK says:

    Mainly because my pix got kicked back (rather timed out, but…)

  45. 45

    @ExpatDanBKK: IIRC the comment has to be in the last year…

    Maybe try uploading them in smaller, thematic batches?

  46. 46
    eclare says:

    Love the pictures of the cool blue water, both ocean and river, from here in very inland, very hot Memphis. Thanks for sending!

  47. 47
    Yarrow says:

    Very cool photos. Thanks for sharing. That last photo just makes me want to move there. Gorgeous.

  48. 48

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes:
    I’m sure. I bet they have all kinds of “It’s a big bird. I’m going to boop it!” problems. Hardly anyone does that to bears.

  49. 49
    J R in WV says:

    They have trouble at Yellowstone with people thinking the Buffalo are big fuzzy babbeys you can go up to for a selfie and a scritch. Then they are triggered by something and break into their 30 mph stampede and tromp one into the ground. They are NOT tame, and NOT your friend, even if you are a vegan.

    Every sign in the park has an addendum to tell everyone just exactly how dangerous the buffalo are, and warn everyone to stay away from them and not to make any sudden moves near them, and tell you what the death tool was last season, a surprising number to us every time.

    I did some scuba diving and much snorkeling around Key West when I was in the Navy. I bought a tank, regulator and weight belt for $75 from a shipmate who was raising cash. My chief was well acquainted with another chief at the Diver’s School, who took a look at the regulator and made sure it was safe.

    I once saw a ray that looked to be the size of our 17 foot motorboat rise out of the ocean quite near the Key, if someone had been watching from their hotel they could have seen it. We saw the occasional shark, but nothing like the photos this morning. They were never regarded as a danger in the area, but the barracuda were omnipresent and very scary.

    Much more aggressive than sharks of the area. I loved the coral out on the reef, and being able to soar in the cliffs and canyons of multi colored “rock walls” with tropical fish, parrot fish I think, colored sea fans, the whole environment was like being on a completely different planet, a beautiful one.

    Once a friend and I went out on a somewhat poor day for it, because we had been planning it and wanted to do it so much, there was a fairly big swell, the water was more murky than we were used to, but we did it anyway. After falling off the boat we swam away, south toward the reef, and we came to a huge school of barracuda which ignored us pretty much completely.

    So we turned away and swam ENE away from them, and in just a few yards, there was a swarm of them again, so we swam NW away from both schools of fish, and there were MORE of the Dammed things… 4 to 6 feet long, silvery shiny, if you weren’t a little worried about their reputation for flashing into attack they would have been quite beautiful. We headed back into the boat, had enough of rough murky water full of barracuda for one day.

    Later on talking to old timers we discovered that it was spawning season for the big ‘cuda, and they were not going to pay any attention whatsoever to divers as they were too engrossed with each other, which was good to know… still not a fun day for a dive, just too bad out. I would have been far more disappointed if I was into hundreds of dollars to pay for a bad day in the water, we were out $20 to rent a little motorboat from the EM club.

    I cadged air from the coasties since I wasn’t certified. It’s hard to get into trouble with one 72 tank in water that’s mostly only 30 feet deep, no decompression timing needed. I DID read the USN Diver’s Manual a couple of times, which is how I learned that 30 feet and an hour was a perfectly safe combination. A single 72 cu ft tank is only good for an hour anyway. No wet suit, no buoyancy compensator (I don’t think they had been invented back then anyway) no dive computers, no nothing, really. Just the air, fins, snorkle, mask and weight belt… and a not very sharp knife in case you got tangled up in something. All that gear went into the landfill when we tore down the old farmhouse, it was just curios by them.

    I would like to become certified and do a dive when we travel to oceanic places, but don’t know if at 66 I could become strong enough to pass the requirements. To see the reefs and tropical fish again, revisit my boyhood. I was literally not yet old enough to buy booze back then. My ill-spent youth carrying and playing a tuba gave me great air capacity and the Navy made me strong, but that was long, long ago….

  50. 50
    J R in WV says:

    @J R in WV:

    A little Google shows me that the first recreational buoyancy compensator was introduced in 1970, and I was diving in 1971, so not around at all at the time. Just lead weights on a belt. Pretty primitive I guess… but we liked it.

  51. 51
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    Toying with link to the Reef Report from our trip.

  52. 52
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    ExpatDanBKK says:

    Dealing with Trump et al as an American expat = Bloody Marys on the veranda but not in a good way. I seriously wake up and dreadfully check Twitter to see what he has done overnight…I hate this!

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