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Check out this tub/shower in Jerusalem’s 4 star Grand Court hotel.  It only covers half of the opening.  Huh? I found it virtually impossible to avoid a flooded floor after taking a shower.  No matter how hard I tried to … Continue reading

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Playful Dolphin

Playful Dolphin

Another first for me: a dolphin cruise, taken in late February from Marco Island, Florida. This particular cruise combines tourism with research; i.e. every time the boat goes out for dolphin research, the two marine biologists/tour guides take tourists with them and explain what they’re doing and why.   Very interesting.

This particular dolphin was following our speeding boat, playing with us and just showing off.  I was at the stern (rear end of the boat for you land lubbers) trying to hold my camera steady while hanging on for dear life.  We were really moving.

I feel fortunate to get this shot, but missed two of them jumping together while I was changing memory cards.  Oh well, I still have the memory of that thrilling sight.

Thought for the Day:  The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.                                                                                                                                      Eleanor Roosevelt



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Directional Sign

This Way

This Way

I love signs.  I especially like signs that have double meanings in their text or in their surroundings.

This sign, painted on the side of a building, was directing people to the front door of the reception office.  Nothing special about it.  But, with the man walking in front of the sign, the sign came to life, caught my eye, tickled my funny bone and I just had to catch it in a picture.

Yea, Yea, Yea, I know, I have a sick sense of humor.  Deal with it.

Thought for the Day:  I hate it when people use big words just to make themselves sound perspicacious.

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Wanted – Burrowing Owls

Mug Shots

Mug Shots

The search for safe habitat for Burrowing Owls on Marco Island, Florida continues.  This particular species of owls are considered Endangered and everything possible is being done to protect them.  When their burrows are spotted on empty lots a perch is provided and the area around their burrow is roped off in a 20′ square.  Once a birds’ burrow is found, no further development is allowed on the lot.  Very expensive real estate is standing idle to care for these birds.

Because of the hand-made perch (the “hand of Man”), I knew I wouldn’t be able to enter either of these photos in a Nature Category contest, so I created this Wanted poster, with both a frontal and profile picture.   The owls are active during the day, but stand only 8-11″ tall and difficult to spot unless you come across a roped off burrow … provided by Man.

There were two different empty lots in the neighborhood where I was staying, so it was easy for me to spend time on surveillance.   If you’re patient, you can get close to the ropes, but every move is watched closely.

Thought for the Day:  Everything will be owl right.

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Pelican - Florida

Pelican – Florida

Shooting pelicans is fun … with a camera, but not easy to catch them in flight.  Getting a good shot of them bobbing around in the water is fairly easy, but not near as rewarding.

I was in Marco Island the last week in February, on a commercial pier waiting for my dolphin cruise to start.  The pelicans were plentiful — must be a lot of fish cleaning done there.  Pelicans are a lot faster than they look; it took me a while to adjust my panning of the camera to match their speed.  This is the best shot I got, not fabulous, but worth showing for my first attempt.

The dolphin cruise captain arrived before I was ready to quit, but will certainly try this again when I get the chance.

Thought for the Day:  If we all did the things we were capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.                                                                           Thomas Edison

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Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro Crater

Zebra – Ngorongoro Crater

Mt. Ngorongoro was the size of Mt. Kilamanjaro until it blew its top three million years ago, covering the Serengeti Plain with volcanic ash.  The mountain collapsed into itself leaving the largest intact volcanic caldera in the world.  The crater rim is 7,500′ above sea level and 12 miles in diameter; 2,000′ below, the wooded slopes give way to vast grasslands.

Declared a World Heritage Site in 1978, the Ngorongoro Crater is a Conservation Area, where the Maasai (original inhabitants) continue to water their livestock while mingling with an estimated 30,000 animals.  It has been called the most densely crowded game area in the world.

At times I thought Noah’s ark must have just landed nearby.

Thought for the Day:  Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.                                                                                                                                 Henry David Thoreau


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Pole Pole

Mt. Kilamanjaro

Mt. Kilamanjaro

The majestic loneliness of Mount Kilamanjaro casts its spell on you the moment you first see it.  Standing over 19,700′ tall, it is the tallest single peak (not in a mountain range) on the planet.  It’s a bashful mountain, hiding its true beauty behind cloud cover and hazy skies most of the time.  While spending almost two weeks on its slopes and foothills, this is the best picture I got … taken from a moving bus.

Climbing the mountain is not technically difficult; i.e. no special equipment is required, but it definitely takes your full commitment.  The journey takes five days.  If you rush it, try to do it faster, your chances of success diminish quickly.  Pole (pronounced “po’ lay”) in Swahili means “sorry”, but “pole pole”, as the porters say on Mt. Kilamanjaro, means “slooowly”.  Take it easy.

Many African stories, legends and myths include Mount Kilamanjaro.  It certainly captured my imagination.

Thought for the Day:  There are only three real sports: bull fighting, car racing and mountain climbing.  All the others are mere games.    Ernest Hemingway



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Yawning Hippo

Yawning Hippo

Yawning Hippo

Happy hippos?  This might give you a different impression of the chubby cuties depicted in cartoons and children’s literature.  I took this shot at the Tanzanian hippo pool shown here in an earlier blog.  It’s a close-up of the hippo in the center-lower-right part of the pool.

Hippos lay around in the water all day to protect their sensitive skin, so I thought he was just yawning.  Possibly, but more likely, he was protecting his bath (“turf”?).  Hippos congregate in family clans, and the patriarch is quick to challenge other hippos that try to enter their family space

I pity the adolescent male that wants to meet his daughter.

Thought for the Day:  Nature is an endless combination and repetition of a very few laws.                                                                                                          Ralph Waldo Emerson

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