Underwater

Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

Posted by on May 28, 2017

An Adventure of a Lifetime

Last year I went to the Philippines with a small group of friends where we boarded the beautiful Philippine Siren and set off for Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in the middle of the Sulu Sea. Our adventure started in Puerto Princesa, Palawan Island. We were so excited as we boarded and the crew greeted us huge smiles of welcome! We were directed to the dining area where we gathered with a cold drink for a briefing. Shu and Ed (cruise director and assistant cruise director, not to mention dive guides extraordinaire) covered all aspects of life on board including diving and dining schedule, where things were on the Siren, and on-board safety. We met the crew and then hustled to the dive deck to put our dive gear together for the first time. For the rest of the trip the crew took care to keep our dive gear ready to go and our tanks filled with nitrox (included in the price).  More…

A turtle swims right up to a diver to get its picture taken.

A turtle in Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park swims right up to a diver to get its picture taken.

 

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Kosrae Village Ecolodge & Dive Resort

Posted by on Sep 10, 2014

For years I have heard from Katrina and Bruce about Kosrae; how great the diving is, how beautiful the island is and how peaceful life is at their resort, Kosrae Village Ecolodge. Finally after booking a trip on the Palau Siren I decided since I was going to be in the area I was going to visit Kosrae.

“I’m going to Kosrae” I would tell people. Where is Kosrae? How do you get there?

I'm Here! Kosrae Village Ecolodge.

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Jellyfish Lake Snorkel

Posted by on Mar 2, 2014

Kathy Snorkels with Jellyfish

Kathy Snorkels with Jellyfish

Snorkeling at Jellyfish Lake.

While in Palau we went to Jellyfish Lake. There are actually seven jellyfish lakes but only one is open to the public, Ongeim’l Tketau. The lake contains brackish water and is filled with rainwater (fresh) and salt water which leaches in through the limestone of the island. The Golden jellies have been in the lake for so long (maybe millions of years) that they have mostly lost their ability to sting. They pulse across the lake in search of the sun and in the middle are present in the thousands! The jellies bump into snorkelers and each other and it is hard to explain the sensation but it feels a bit like being hit by soft Jello.

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Micronesia Here I come

Posted by on Feb 8, 2014

Here I go again, off on another adventure!

On this trip I will be visiting Micronesia, specifically Kosrae one of the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau (Republic of Palau) which is also part of the chain of islands known as Micronesia. Micronesia is comprised of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. People at work keep asking me where Micronesia is so finally I printed a map and put it on a wall in my office. The easiest way to explain the location is to think of Hawaii, then head west almost until you get to the Philippines. There in the middle of the ocean are the islands of Micronesia.

Map of Micronesia Showing Kosrae

Map of Micronesia Showing Kosrae

Palau is known for its SCUBA diving, which is why I’m going of course. I’m hoping to see huge schools of fish, sharks, and reefs covered in a rainbow of colorful coral. Hopefully we’ll see manta rays and turtles also! I’ll be sailing with seven friends on the Palau Siren a beautiful sister ship to the Indo Siren that Randy and I cruised to Komodo National Park in Indonesia on a few of years ago. I’ll be joined by seven friends on the Palau Siren, all underwater photographers, looking forward to diving in the beautiful ocean there.

S/Y Indo Siren

The Indo Siren at Full Sail

But first I’m making a stop at Kosrae Village Ecolodge where I’ve wanted to go for years, ever since I met Katrina and Bruce, partners at the ecolodge and NCUPS members from way back. At Kosrae I’m planning on doing some diving along the stunning reef known for its abundance of marine life and pristine hard corals. I’m also going to do some relaxing, read some books and do some walking around the island to take in the local culture. Generally take it easy and get rid of the stress from the busy fall and winter that I’ve had this year.

Keep an eye on Divermaiden.com where I will be updating with pictures and stories as the internet access allows.

 

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Spend time with your mom – go to Hawaii

Posted by on Jan 1, 2014

Mom, Lisa and I in front of the Kilauea Caldera.

Mom, Lisa and I in front of the Kilauea Caldera.

Earlier this year my mom, sister and I decided to go on a mother-daughter trip to Hawaii. My mom had never been to Hawaii and my sister hadn’t been in years. I had just had my first trip to Hawaii in March and enjoyed it so when my mom expressed interest in going there I thought that would be a great idea.

Originally we had planned on going in early May but we had to cancel those dates and eventually ended up going in October. I had found a couple of good places to stay using Expedia and TripAdvisor and eventually booked us into a condo in Kailua Kona for four nights and a guest house in Volcano for two nights. The condo was perfect, one bedroom with a king size bed and a convertible sofa, which we never did pull out preferring to spread out sheets and blankets on the couch as is. The condo was very comfortable and we cooked dinner there several nights and made lunch and breakfast saving us some money on dining out. Wanting to make the trip special for my mom with the true feel of Hawaii I had booked us into an oceanfront room.  That was a great idea providing us with beautiful sunsets each night. Our last two nights in Hawaii were at a guest house in Volcano, which is a story in itself that I will tell in another post.

The view from our 4th floor condo in Kailua Kona.

The view from our 4th floor condo in Kailua Kona.

But the greatest thing about this trip was the three of us getting to spend some time together. We talked about our lives and laughed a lot about things we’ve done in the past. We also made some memories together that will last the rest of our lives. Who could forget the huge manta rays swooping up from the dark water to within inches from us feeding on the krill exposed by the bright lights? There we were, in the ocean, snorkeling in the dark holding onto a “surfboard” as the mantas circled below us over and over again. We could see down their mouths and through their gills. It was an amazing experience!

Night Snorkel with Feeding Manta Rays

Night Snorkel with Feeding Manta Rays

On other days we walked through historic sites where ancient ruins mapped out villages, we walked down long trails to beautiful waterfalls and we went snorkeling in protected bays in one of which Mom and I saw a turtle! We drove to the southernmost point in the United States where the water was the blue of the sky only 10 times more saturated, and the shallow water a beautiful aqua color that I can’t find words to describe. Hawaii is beautiful and we enjoyed every moment. And who could go to Hawaii without shopping. I can tell you that several Christmas presents were purchased on the trip.

Lisa and Mom at the Southern-most point in the United States.

Lisa and Mom at the Southern-most point in the United States.

But being on vacation in Hawaii wasn’t my only reason for this post.

While we were on the trip I noticed how my mother was starting to seem a little frail. Well, maybe not frail; but I had always thought of her as so strong. She is still healthy and actually quite strong for her age, but by being in close contact with her for a week I realized that she is aging, and slowing down a bit. After I came home I knew that I wanted to spend more time with her. So more mother – daughter trips will be planned. Parents; and grandparents are special people that sometimes as we grow up and live our own lives we don’t see or talk to them as often as when we were younger. But this is the time when we should be spending time with them, if not in person then on the phone, on Skype or Facetime, with emails and letters. Don’t miss out on spending time with your mom or dad or your grandparents, take them on a vacation…

Or, just give them a call to say hello and I love you.

The Three Glamorous Snorkelers!

The Three Glamorous Snorkelers!

I love you mom!

 

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Monterey Dive – Jellyfish and Anemones

Posted by on Jan 23, 2013

On Saturday I dove with NCUPS at Wharf II. We were a bit concerned because it was the same weekend that the big surfing competition, Mavericks, was scheduled to take place just a little farther north on the coast. But off we went into the water and it was beautiful! The vis was great for under Wharf II and there were jellyfish everywhere!

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NCUPS September Minicomp Entry

Posted by on Sep 18, 2012

Underwater 3D with Mark Blum

Friday night was the NCUPS (Northern California Underwater Photographic Society) meeting. The featured presenter was Mark Blum showing his underwater 3D images. That’s right underwater 3D! The images were great and I learned all about how he creates his images using a rig with two DSLR bodies attached to one lens (which can be changed out depending on what he wants to shoot) then put into a large housing the whole thing weighing around 50 lbs! We all got to wear the funny glasses which are polarized and each side blocks out the polarized light from the other side allowing the image to display in 3D. If you look at it without the glasses it just looks blurry, like motion blur. The images were taken in the Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. The strange underwater creatures there looked really amazing in 3D! I wish I could show you one on this blog but if you want to see them you will have to go to one of Mark’s presentations or buy one of his specially outfitted 3D books. Visit Mark’s website for more information.

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Monterey Underwater Wave Rave

Posted by on Sep 15, 2012

 

Metridium Anemones

Metridium Anemones

On August 25 I got a group of divers together to participate in a Wave Rave, an event held to show support for our oceans, help stop shark finning and stop poaching. Organized by Sea Save Foundation, Wave Rave is a global event to unite for a common purpose – celebrate the ocean!

We had fun diving out to the Metridium Fields, seeing lots of jelly fish while we were out there and enjoying the marine life in the kelp forest and sand on our way. On the shore we enjoyed meeting some new friends and hanging out with some old friends and spreading the word about the issues our oceans face.

Here is a video with highlights of my dive that day!

Visit the Sea Save Foundation website to find out how you can help your ocean.

 

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Diving with Video Lights – Sony NEX5 and Luna 4 Video Lights

Posted by on Aug 18, 2012

Last weekend was the Monterey Shootout, a three day event where underwater photographers meet in Monterey, California to shoot (still photography and video), process and submit their work to be judged. On the last day, at the awards ceremony, the winners are announced and incredible prizes are given out to the winners. I’ve participated in this event since the late 1990’s.

This year was special for me because I was going to shoot with the system I put together using the Aquatica NEX5 housing that I won at the competition last year!

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NCUPS Monthly Minicomp Entry

Posted by on Aug 11, 2012

I’m a member of the Northern California Underwater Photographic Society (NCUPS). Some of you may know this already. Every month at the membership meeting the club holds a minicomp. Minicomps are photo competitions that are open to members in good standing who are present at the meeting, where only one image per member is allowed of a subject that is announced in advance. The images are collected during the break and judged by the audience (everyone can judge not just members). The prize is $30!

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