Friday, December 16, 2011

Autumn in Matsuyama, Japan

I arrived in Matsuyama on the island of Shikoku in Japan a few weeks ago and here are some photos of autumn.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mexico and Belize

In Mexico I traveled through the states of Yucatán and Chiapas in the south visiting Mérida, Maya ruins at Chichen Itza, Maya ruins at Palenque, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Maya ruins at Tulum, and Playa del Carmen. San Cristóbal de las Casas was a place I particularly liked and certainly recommend it! Also, back in 2008 I spent a month traveling in Mexico going to Mérida, Maya ruins at Chichen Itza, Maya ruins at Uxmal, Maya ruins at Kabah, Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende, and Guanajuato. Mexico is a wonderful country to travel in and I think lots of people would enjoy going there. I am not a fan of the big resort areas such as Cancún and Cozumel though.

On this trip to Mexico one of the things that was really fun to do was swim in 3 cenotes in the countryside outside of Mérida. The underground cenote pools were deep, very clear, and such beautiful blue water! To get down into the first one it was just a matter of walking down some rather steep wooden steps, the second one you had to go through a hole in the ground and then down some very steep wooden steps in the dark, and the last cenote there was just a wooden ladder descending down into a hole in the ground. The blue water in all 3 was beautiful and the experience of swimming in these underground pools of crystal clear water with just some sunlight coming through holes way up in the ceiling of the caverns was wonderful and mysterious.

In Belize I was in San Ignacio and Caye Caulker. Belize has more of a Caribbean vibe than a Latin American vibe. Also, the first language is English so makes things a bit easier. :-)

I went with a spelunker (caving) guide to explore the spectacular, huge Acton Tunichil Muknal cave. The caving was fantastic!!! Although most of the time was in water that varied from up to our chests to up to our knees there was one part that was well over our heads so we had to swim carefully keeping the helmet with light out of the water. Some tight squeezes and lots of clambering over big, slippery rocks and climbing in total darkness except for our helmet lights. One place was very narrow and in water up to your chest and you had to go in sideways and then turn your head to the left, tiptoe a bit, and then carefully pass your neck (the narrowest part of your upper body) through a very narrow channel in order to pass through -- all in the dark. It was funny trying to get your head, body, and neck in just the right position in the dark and trying to keep your footing so you wouldn't hang yourself. :-) Way back in the cave there were many Mayan artifacts and some skulls that archaeologists have left in place (can't touch, of course). Then at the last point we went to there is the complete skeleton of a young woman who was sacrificed there about 1200 years ago. I guess it took us about 4 hours. The entrance to the cave in the dense jungle with a clear stream of water flowing out of it was just otherworldly. It was about an hour hike through dense jungle and wading across shallow rivers to get to the cave entrance and then the same hike to get back out to the place where the van was parked. Just 5 of us plus the wonderful caving guide. Unfortunately, it was impossible to carry and use a camera while caving so I have no photos. :-(

Caye Caulker is a small island off the coast of Belize that I was at and there was no relief from the mosquitoes, heat, and humidity. Room had a fan, but no aircon and each night the electricity went out (for different reasons -- flaky system) so no fan, no breeze, room with mosquitoes too, and no water for a cool shower since water pump needed electricity. My room was on the hot side of the building too -- was baked by the blazing, hot sun all afternoon. First night absolutely no sleep, second night maybe a couple of hours in total in bits and pieces, third night the electricity stayed on all night and maybe got about 4 hours in total of sleep. I was happy to leave Caye Caulker. :-)

Well, if you are interested and have a chance please take a look at my photos!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Guatemala Trip

I have the Guatemala trip photos in the Guatemala photo gallery on my website now so if you are interested please take a look! I am still working on my Belize and Mexico photos, but I hope that I will have them on my website in a few more days. While in Guatemala I was at Panajachel, Lake Atitlán, Chichicastanega, San Pedro La Laguna, Santiago Atitlán, Antigua, Tikal, and Flores. The highlands were probably my favorite and they were also a bit less hot and humid too. It was a cool trip!

One really interesting experience was when I rode on three "chicken buses" going from the town of Chichicastanega to the town of Panajachel in the highlands. The first bus was so crowded that I was standing right next to the driver with one foot on one side of the stick shift and the other foot on the other side. I was trying not to interfere with his driving on the bumpy, winding mountain road. I was doing all I could to just hang on and keep from falling on him on the curves or falling through the windshield. :-) Later had to transfer to 2 more "chicken buses" at Los Encuentros and Sololá. They were less crowded so I could get a seat. The rain was pouring down during the ride on the 2nd bus and I was praying we wouldn't go over the edge of a cliff or turn over. :-)

Also, the Mayan ruins at Tikal were really cool! Well, actually it was very hot and humid in the jungle, but you know what I mean. :-) Arrived at Tikal about 4:15 AM and we hiked through the very dark jungle using flashlights to get to Temple 4 pyramid. Then climbed way up to the top to sit in the cool breezes and watch the mist hanging over the whole jungle below. Not much of a sunrise because of the mist but for me the mist was better -- very mysterious. Then spent the next several hours wondering around in the jungle and visiting many of the most impressive ruins at the site.

The photos are in the Guatemala photo gallery:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Me shooting the outrigger canoe races

I didn't realize it at the time, but my wife on the beach took a few photos of me while I was shooting the outrigger canoe races on July 4th.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Waikiki Independence Day Outrigger Canoe Races

Yesterday for the 4th year in a row (somehow I missed seeing it in 2007) I was down at the beach for the annual Independence Day Outrigger Canoe Races in Waikiki, Hawaii. I have added some new photos to my website so please take a look! The 2011 photos are at the end of this gallery and they have the 2011 label on them. It was a fun day! I was wading out in the water, sometimes up to my chest, and getting close for most of the shots. Of course, I was careful and the camera remained dry, but it meant raising it above my head sometimes. I was using my Canon 60D + Sigma 10-20mm and all these 2011 photos were taken at 10mm.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I took a stroll along the beach yesterday and sat down in the shade to drink a Diet Coke.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Afternoon in Waikiki

Afternoon at the beach in Waikiki.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Back to Makupu'u Beach

We went back out to Makupu'u Beach on another beautiful day.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

View of Waikiki from the top of Diamond Head

Climbed to the top of Diamond Head Crater again on a beautiful day. Here is the view of Waikiki from the top of Diamond Head.


This tree is at Moanalua Gardens in Honolulu and it is the famous tree in the Hitachi commercial. Many Japanese tourists go there everyday and Hitachi also put a sign at the park. Here is the old Hitachi commercial:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Makupu'u Beach

Makupu'u Beach on the windward side of Oahu is beautiful.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pearl Harbor Arizona Memorial

We went out to Pearl Harbor again and here are some photos of the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial and U.S.S. Missouri.