Busy from Morning to Night

3 10 2015

I promised Nathan that I would make plans for only 1 day while we were visiting Santorini.  The rest of the time we compromised on how to spend our time: Drink beer by the pool.  Make twice daily pilgrimages for gelato.  You can guess whose choice was whose.

And so, for our first (and only planned) day on the Greek island of Santorini I had Nathan up and out the door by 8:30AM and we staggered back around 1AM.

Our morning adventures had us meeting up with Olaf Reinen of Shotz Tours for a one-on-one morning of photography and an opportunity to explore an area of Santorini that we wouldn’t have come across otherwise.

He made us realize that no one is ever going to weep at our photos and ask us if they were shot in manual mode, but that the important thing to remember is to get the shot.  Get the shot.  The point was made very clear when he asked what I would do if I was taking a photo of the water at a scenic viewpoint and all of a sudden, behind me, there was a donkey with a monkey on top, and the monkey was juggling fire sticks.  Well, it was clear that of course I would want to get a photo of this crazy sight, because, really, who would believe me otherwise.  And it was also clear, that if I was in manual mode, there was absolutely no way I could react fast enough to get that photo.

And so, with a new perspective, and the additional teachings of using the exposure compensation and histogram functions on the camera, we set off to Emborio, the traditional trade center of Santorini, and the largest village on the island, where we stopped every few steps to take photos because every few steps was something new and beautiful we wanted to capture and remember.

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Locally grown pomegranates

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Around every corner there was another brightly-coloured door, aged corridor, blue-domed church, or vibrant bougainvillea draped over bright white buildings.  We could have spent all day with Olaf taking photos, showing him our histograms like students looking for approval from their teacher, which I guess we were.  But alas…I had plans for the rest of our day.  Only 4 hours of our day were allotted for photography! 

And so we rushed back to our hotel for a quick wardrobe change before we were climbing back up the 100 steps to the main village of Oia to start our next adventure.

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We boarded a 45ft luxury catamaran with 11 other passengers and enjoyed one of the highlights of our trip!

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Six hour sailing tour with Santorini Sailing, with a fantastic crew that took us to swim at Red Beach,  the Hot Springs, cooked us a gourmet meal onboard, plied us with beer and wine, and sailed us into the perfect position to watch the sunset.

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Bronzed from the sun, happy from the wine and sleepy from the salty air, we made our way back to our hotel.  The full moon was casting a glow on the water and lighting our way.

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And then I turned and out of nowhere, a man riding a donkey comes around the corner.  Surprise! I got the shot!

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So maybe it wasn’t a monkey riding a donkey juggling fire sticks…but, I still got the shot!

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Time for a Staycation

26 06 2013

There is just something exciting about packing a bag and leaving the house, not really knowing where you’re going or what you’re going to do.  This time, we packed a bag and knew that we were heading towards the Olympic National Park, but other than that?  Nothing.

So we found ourselves driving along a country road and came across the cutest fence post.  Little birdhouses on every fence post around the yard and up the drive way.  And the best part about that is that they were actually being used – little swallows were hanging around all over the place.

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Down another detour, that turned into a road leading to nowhere but another dirt road leading to who knows because we were too chicken to see where it went.  Correction – I was too chicken, because we were in a rental car, had no cell reception and I had no idea if we were just driving further and further into the depths of the park with no guarantee that it came out the other side.

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And we eventually made it to Hurricane Ridge.   I did my research, looked at the webcam and saw mountains and mountains of snow.  So I came prepared with jackets and snow boots and layers galore (similar to my trip to Big Bear Lake, CA).  Well it was 65 degrees at the top of the 5200+ ft elevation, and everyone was running around in flip flops amidst towering walls of snow.  Really a bizarre experience when you’re used to equating snow (especially that much of it) with cold weather.

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After a little bit of calling around, we did end up finding a place to rest our head for the night.  Although spontaneous, I will admit that sometimes it is nice to know where you’re going, but at least we didn’t have to double back, much.

Day Two of our staycation found us jumping out to Ruby Beach that had dazzled us during sunset the night before.  It’s a whole different feel when it’s day time and the water is so still that it shows perfect reflections of the sea stacks, and, oh yes, it shows off the perfect ripples of a skipped stone.

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A short drive from Ruby Beach and a short hike, and all of a sudden we’re in a dense forest with tons of greenery reaching for the sunlight.

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And the reason why you go on a hike is to get to the pay off – to get to that final view that makes the huffing and puffing worthwhile.  Marymere Falls – where the waters of Falls Creek drop nearly 90 feet from a cliff into a small plunge pool near the trail below.

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And after 45 hours, 450 miles, one suitcase, 2 pairs of wet shoes, an elevation of over 5200 feet, and many, many photos, we hopped on a ferry and headed home, needing a rest from our Staycation.   But what a great view on the way home. 

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West Seattle Sea Life

22 06 2013

We watched sailboats skimming the calm waters in Elliott Bay this morning with a backdrop of wispy clouds and I’m in the middle of reading a book about a couple’s adventure to sail around the world together.  The combination of that and the fact that I just came back inside, hot and sweaty from the sun, with my skin prickling with probably  just a little bit too much sun, makes me feel like I just came back from a day of sailing.  It wasn’t too long ago that the best thing to do on a day like today (75 degrees and sunny) was to go for a sail on Lake St. Clair.  Summer tunes, cold beer and fried chicken, made for a great day on the water.  I was good for a 4 – 5 hour sail, any longer than that and I would arrive back at the dock, thankful to be back on solid ground and demanding to be rewarded with an ice cream cone.   But there’s nothing like coming home (or getting back to the hotel) after a day of sailing – fresh air, sun-kissed skin and salty lips.

I reminisce a little to tell you that although we didn’t spend the day on the water, we did spend the day kind of in the water, and enjoyed the crazy life that’s left behind when the tide goes out – and it was equally satisfying.  Today was the lowest low tide of the summer, and the sea life showcased its finest.

We walked around Duwamish Point and walked under the pier to find this little guy.

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We walked along Alki Beach to be greeted by a Bald Eagle patiently waiting to steal some crow/seagull’s meal, and an enterprising Great Blue Heron that coiled up like a spring and caught two fish while we were watching him.

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And then we found the crowds, and the real showstoppers, around the point and at Constellation Park.

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Constellation Park at Low Tide

Purple and orange star fish hiding under rocks and seaweed.

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The Sunflower Star – which freaked me out at first when I saw it showing its underbelly.  But then as we took off our shoes and explored deeper into the water, found out that these little guys were all around us.

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Although we didn’t see any Moon Snails, we did see their distinctive sandy egg collars all over the beach, which looked as smooth as pottery, but are really made out of a combination of sand and moon snail mucus, and can hold up to 500,000 eggs.

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And let’s not forget about the Red Rock Crab.  This guy was trying to bury himself in the sand.

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Essentially, we saw a lot of crazy stuff.  I think the parents were more excited and captivated than the kids were during the family trips that we saw.  Although my thoughts are that these sea creatures are a lot closer to children’s imaginations than to an adult’s reality, so these 18-legged creatures and organisms that look like melted rainbows, are just same ol’ same ol’ for the kids.

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Fish Eggs….or….Masago!

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Mottled Anemone





O’Day on a Monday

30 08 2011





Mayday Mayday!

31 07 2011

This is an old photo of the ol’ Rocky Comfort when we first put her in the water 2 years ago.   Take a close look, I added a few additions to the photo to help illustrate my story for today.

Now, picture a very sunny hot day on Lake St. Claire in Michigan, put me in the spot where Loyd is and imagine that we are just leaving the dock.  With Nathan at the helm, I jump up to the front of the boat to help guide us through the dock poles.  And then…it happened.  If there was ever a reason to make sure that all your lines are organized, now would be the time.  See that ‘arrow‘ and the ‘orange circle‘?  Well, that would be the spot where I got caught up in the jib sheet lines and I fell over board into the lake water.  Yup.  I fell overboard.  And I don’t know how to swim.  It’s okay to laugh.  Obviously I survived and I’ve realized that if I fall out of a boat I know how not to drown.

It all happened in slow motion.  I almost heard the water splash around me before I realized that I had fallen in, but I kicked my legs and made it to the surface.  And then I hung on to the side of the boat, in shock for a little while, until Nathan told me to get my phone out of my pocket (so, if you’ve tried to call me, my phone is drying in a bowl of rice trying to suck out all the lake water).   Nathan tried to hoist me up, but that wasn’t going to work so I paddled over to the back of the boat and hung on to the dock for a while.  I tried to grab onto the dock and lift myself out of the water, but my arms were so weak!  Damn that Insanity work out that I did this morning with all of the push ups! (I actually did think that at the time, and ‘aren’t the Insanity workouts supposed to make my arms stronger?‘).

I did finally make it out of the water with a little help from the swim ladder.  And yes, we did end up going for a sail after I made it back into the boat.  I gave a little wave to everyone as we left the marina, since yes, there were spectators to my hopefully graceful fall overboard.  And if anyone is wondering if Nathan jumped into the water after me, the answer would be “No”, since at that point the boat was floating with no dock lines attached and it didn’t seem smart for both first mate and captain to be overboard with a runaway boat.

To think just moments before I fell into the water I was thinking, ‘I better not sit on the cushions right now since we just hosed them off, I don’t want to get my shorts wet or dirty.’  It’s like I jinxed myself!!

 





The Rocky Comfort – Summer #2

28 06 2010

The first taste of summer in Detroit….





A Year in Review

10 01 2010

A review of my ‘Things To Do’ List for 2009:

–   See a Presidential Inauguration  √

–   Attend the AVN afterparty at LAX in Las Vegas  √

–   Go scuba diving in Mexico and inadvertently act like a dying fish to attract a barracuda  √

–  Learn how to sail without falling overboard  √

–  Live in New York City for 4 months of the year √

–  Pet dolphins

As of December 30, 2009, I had one more item to check off my list – Pet Dolphins.  The original plan was to spend the last few days of 2009 in Corpus Christi, TX on a sailboat amid waters full of frolicking dolphins – THIS WAS MY CHANCE!! 

After one afternoon of sailing, and one night sleeping in the V Berth (note to self: my habit of sleeping diagonally does not work in a v berth), the weather turned and it was cold and rainy so we all packed up and headed to warmer climates.  The closest I got to dolphins was watching them follow our ferry, feeding on the fish it churned up. 

But I am nothing if not determined to reach the goals that I set for myself.   And since we ended up in San Antonio, TX for Dec. 31st – SEAWORLD here we come!

A whole pool full of dolphins frolicking and just waiting for me to come by and pet them (and perhaps toss them a few fish as well).   I was ready to go with 8 fish, ready to feed and pet at least 4 different dolphins.  Well, someone had a different plan for me.  This chubby dolphin (the biggest one in the pool) picked me to be his meal ticket and would not let me go.  I fed him a couple of fish, just barely skimmed my fingertips on his forehead, and tried to move down the pool side to see other dolphins.  Not only did he follow me, but he got mad at me and flicked water at me.  Seriously, I got told off by a dolphin!  But, I did reach my goal and checked off that last item on my list. 

Not only did we spend time with the dolphins at Seaworld but we fed the sealions, and saw the Seamore & Clyde show and Shamu!