My Picture of the day: Curacao!

If a velociraptor looked at me with the same geam in the eye that this hungry pair of Iguana are giving me, I’d know I wasn’t long for this world!

One more!

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Enjoy your day!

Playa Lagun: One of the Prettiest Places to Dive on Curacao

Playa Lagun is another one of those great places to dive on Curacao. A lot of people don’t go there because you have to swim way.. out there.. before you go down, or you’ll use up half your air over white chrystaline sands.

So– 9:30 AM we make up our gear at Patrick’s Wederfoort Dive shop and hop in the pickup for a 20 minutes dive up towards the NW end of the Island.  Throw on our gear and walk down through the sunbathers, already beginning to stake out places on this small secluded beach.

Swim out! Glad the water is cool! Here we are offshore 300+ yards looking back.

Jill looks at me, we all look at the cliffs with houses and high-end resorts, Patrick gives an OK and down we go….. 35 ft. down is a sloping plateau loaded with tube spongers, corky fingers, and pillars of coral.

aa

A glass eye snapper just a bit deep to show off his vrightred coloring, brain rose and starlet corals,  a pale phase of a stoplight parrot with a blue tail, a blue male phase of a sergent major,  flowing fungus coral, blue tube sponges, a herd of grunts above some goat fish, a blue wrasse, and finally the Giant Vase Sponge big enough to swallow a person.

Back at the beach an hour later, we stop for a coffee while we get out top-time, pick up more tanks at Patrick’s dive concession at Lagun Resort, look down off the cliffs from above where we have been diving and head for the next dive.  Enjoy!

 

Diving at Pos Spano, Curacao with Eric Wederfoort and my wife Jill

One of the most untouched spots on Curacao for diving is Pos Spano or  Spanish Well, which is only accesible by boat or through a locked gate if you know where to get the key. Eric Wederfoort, probably the most decorated diver and instructor on Curacao can occasionally get groups in to this restriced area!

Pristine white sand beaches, azure blue water and corals that drop your jaw await, along with a plethora of fish and invertebrates like shrimp and crabs.

We went down next to the Elkhorn Corals which jut out of the 8 ft deep water at low tide, and swam out slowly savoring each new type of coral and the fish that accomany it.

20170720_160450  Juvenile Slippery Dicks over white sand, smooth Starlet Coral, Colonies of Yellow Pencil Corals with tube shaped Branching Vase Sponges and branching Sea Rods projecting upwards from crevices. Then deeper are more humps of Star Coral with bright yellow Juvenile Blue Head Wrasse swimming around while forktailed Chromis fill the background. Finally, before we hit the reek proper, we pass over upright plates of Leafy Stinging Corals protecting more juvenile Wrasse, including Juvenile Rainbow Wrasse, beneath which, near the sand you see a Bicolored Damsel. WOW!

Now we drop down further to the waving fronds of Sea Rods surrounded by Brown Chromis Fish. The direction of the waving fronds tells us which way to go as we want to swim against the current until we reach half – tank and still have enough air to come up a bit and get back (Usually about 30 minutes each way for Jill and me. Eric has gills after 50 years of teaching and guiding.). Then Netted Barrel Sponges appear followed by big Orange Elephant Ear Sponges and then from between the leaves of a clump of sparkling Lettuce Coral we see the head of a Golden Tail Moray! Cute? Finally, more Branching Tube Sponges with swarms of Blue and Brown Chromis.

On the way back we scare up one of the BAD GUYS on the reef: A LION FISH imported from SE Asia, released in Florida and now infesting the entire Caribbean! The only reason Curacao isn’t overrun with them like Bermuda, is because the peopel here took an active role in capturing these spiny poisonous creatures and cutting off their spines and eating them in restaurants! 5 years ago we saw 20 – 50 of these fish on a dive and Eric could spear 200 kilos of fish per week to sell for eating. Now we see only 5 fish in a total of 15 dives and Eric says he’s lucky to get 15 kilos a week to sell. That’s just fine with him and also with us.  See the hand in the picture? Don’t do this unless you are an expert! A single sting from the barbs on these fish can put you in the hospital!

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By For now! Hope you had a great dive! Enjoy! Rick

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Bones Never Lie by Kathy Reichs

Bones Never Lie (Temperance Brennan, #17)Bones Never Lie by Kathy Reichs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Here’s a really excellent book for those of you who like a bit more of the morbidity/mortality side of the picture as explained and described by someone who has actually worked in the Forensic Anthropology field. Lest you think that this means you only work with the long dead bones, get a grip! This is right down the line of the body, long concealed in the crypt by some murderous psychopath, or stashed a month in the trunk of your car. The details can be a bit off-putting if you have too good an imagination. For me, with a biology background it was very interesting and links to several articles I read in the past about the actual places where researchers study this sort of thing. Someplace like the inside of a fenced off, research facility. Learning things like how long it takes for bodies to actually decay in the open, or when buried in a shallow grave, etc. A bit gruesome, but the story line is excellent! It’s got a truely evil psychopath who obviously has learned how to connect with other psychopaths through the internet. A semi-senile lady in a care center who has the ability to use the internet to a high degree for her own investigative purpses… A good on-going love story with make-up and resolution, and of course, the suspense of who is going to get it next, or what will be revealed when the next back-yard is dug up. One slight error by the author which you might pick up on when it comes to the police trying to resuscitate a dead man, you can’t then be taking photoes of the corpse insitue, because they certainly woudn’t prop it back in the original position just for the photographer. I can live with that, a detail which most readers will never pick up on. Read it, enjoy it, knowing that there really are people like that out there who do these things, both on the crime side as well as on the investigative side. I hope the good gals and guys always win!

View all my reviews

Another Dive in Paradise-Curacao-The Queen Trigger Fish

Just finished another dive this AM at Snake Bay, St. Michael’s, Curacao. Last three days have been a whirlwind. 2 Dives on Thursday, King’s Day Celebrations all over he island on Friday and one dive today with another to be done in about an hour.

After 14 years of diving here you’d think we’d seen all the fish, but no…, there always seems to be another one that pops up as you are cruising through the blue.

Here’s the latest, a Queen Trigger Fish! What a beauty!

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Look Closely! Those eyelashes can’t be beat!

This fish is related to a lot of other trigger fishes, notably the two Hawian reef and lagoon triggerfish which both share the common name Humuhumunukunukuapua’a. Another beauty – Click here for link  

Not to be put off, the rest of the reef came out today with these pics of the day: Corky Fingers, Ocean Surgeon, Four-eyed Butterfly Fish, Blue Translucent Sponge, a lined phase of a Princess Parrot Fish, a herd of Goat Fish with a sneaky Trumpet Fish sticking his head into the photo, and a very nice Porkfish.

Then of course just as we are getting out to the dive buoy tied around the old car axel, Here comes a nice red phase of a Stoplight Parrot Fish to say goodby!

Enjoy your Day! Time to make up my gear for the next dive!

Curacao Scuba Diving the Tugboat Reef: a Weight Reducer? Plus more Deep Pics!

Diving the tugboat is a fun hour’s dive with lots of friendly fish to enjoy. Not deep, but great lighting!

When you are 74 and can still lug you weights, tanks and gear into the water for walk in dives, swim for an hour under water at 75 – 80 degrees F and not get cramps, or use up your air, then you begin to understand how scuba diving is not just a sport, but a calorie burner!

Heres a picture yesterday near the Tug Boat site in Curacao, our Guide Patrick (Divecenter Wederfoort) with my wife Jill in background. Don’t know about the “cat’ in the background. 20170715_133104

Today I looked up Calorie calculations for Scuba Diving. There are a couple of calculators for the average energy used per hour of diving. “FitDay” , “DiveBuddy” , and “ScubaDiverLife” . All qualify their answers because of the many variables: water temp., currents, walk-in versus boat diving, age, suit thickness, etc.  Here’s their take on it!

Basically an hour of jogging will use up about 400 kCalories of energy. An average diver in temperate waters (65F) will use up to 600 kCalories per hour of diving. In tropical waters (75-80F) the diver uses about 350 kCalorise per hour.  On a three dive day, a diver would use over 900kCal. extra in that day, which is 40% more than the average male human sitting around and doing moderate tasks.

WOW! Weight Loss Here We Come! More pictures below!

Ooops! The Caveats! Most divers increase their caloric intake because of the energy use,and some divers actually gain weight because they indulge in massive sugar or carbohydrate binges.

OK, so it’s like a lot of get trim quick stuff moderation in all will probably do most of us better than thinking we have a one style fits all.

Now to the best pics for Yesterday!

20170715_133558Down to wreck with a yellow tail snapper

 

Sponge with School Master resting inside

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Goatfish near rudder

  Anemone!

                Off into the Deep!          Beats Curling!

Enjoy your day!

Glories of Curacao 2018

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The Island of Curacao, one of the former Dutch Antilles, is a gem often overlooked by Americans looking for a week or two in a foreign country but afraid to travel beyond the English speaking world. You’re in luck! Most Dutch people and all of the schools in Curacao teach English along with Dutch and the local lingua franca, Papiamento, from about age 12 through high school. With tourism as the main industry, it’s not uncommon for locals to speak up to 5 languages fluently.

What to do? Great Food and resaurants, Great shopping in duty free areas, Old Plantation Houses to visit, Natural Caves, Fishing expeditions and more :

Not your bag? Try Diving in some of the best places on earth and with some of the friendliest instructors and guides!

Float in sublime warm water! Learn about the fish!

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Porcupine Fishballoon fish - CopyFlounders, Porcupine Fish, Balloon Fish, you’ll see them all here.

A wonderful paradise Island

ENJOY!

 

 

Book Review: Harry’s Game by Gerald Seymour

Harry's GameHarry’s Game by Gerald Seymour

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Seymour is in his groove with this one and once again he’s got it right with his characterization, situation and the plot. War isn’t really about our morals and higher values, Queen and Country, Mom and apple pie and making the world always a better place. War is like that highschool rugby, hockey or football game, only with weapons that are just a bit more nasty and deadly. I like the way Harry puts it several times during the book when he explains the “Why?” of his situation and the hunt to kill the IRA assassin of British Social Services Minister, Mr. Henry Danby. “They put the glove down—-to make us react and see how effectively we could counterattack. —- We have to get the man and the team that did it—-or they’ve won.” The words ring so true as we look at the selection of our military officers, the men and women who didn’t know when to quit on the field even when they were in that soccer game and down two goals. The Americans see it in the strategy of the Vietnam and Iraq wars. The Brits see it in Malaysia, Dunkirk and the Kyber Pass. The collateral damage doesn’t really matter to those who are in the driver’s seat. You lose a man or 50? “He’s already had the MC—we could make it a bar to that—- personally I would favor the OBE—-the George Cross is a bit more than we usually give in those circumstances—” This is a book we need to ponder. One that should be discussed in our war colleges on the why, or is it still a part of JFK’s “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you—-” Read it enjoy it, but internalize the message. That’s what makes Gerald Seymour a great author.

View all my reviews

Touch Screen Snapshots of Book: Beachcomber Seashells of the Caribbean

Here’s a great little touchscreen app. that I developed for my book: Beachcomber Seashells of the Caribbean. I call it:  Shells Caribbean Book snapshotsBook Cover Front 22Feb14-1 . It will show you some of the contents, pictures, diagrams and keys for the book which is generally sold as an e-book, but can also be purchased in paper form See my author site.  This app. is touchscreen in operation so whenever you find a “blue” icon or line, you can touch it and go to the menue or key.  With the Keys, you can touch the pictures and go to that section of the book that shows the actual individual shell pictures and the descriptions. Lots of see here, Hope you enjoys it!  The e-book is not touchscreen, but works the same way. I have the whole book in this app. form, but haven’t found anyone to publish it yet. 

 

 

Monterey CA Aquarium

Visit the ethereal world of our Pacific Ocean with a trip to the fabulous Monterrey CA aquarium! I was blown away by what you can see, touch, read, view and even taste or smell in a couple of full days of visiting this marine biological wonderland. Plan to spend at least one full day at this attraction. Fortunately you can leave and come back with a single day’s entry to get out and enjoy the great food in the district around the building.

Visiting the central 50 ft. tall centerpiece container will take you an hour at least. Check out the massive central column of water 50 ft. tall with ocean going fish, massive kelp beds and even divers swimming freely.  A occasionalshark will glide by as you are mesmerized by the swarming fish balls with 1000 synchronized individuals.

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Then go upstairs to the touching and tidepool areas and look at the plethora of five armed predators that crawl over the bottom, feeding abalone, corals and nudibranchs all within easy eye and photo range. Wow!
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Even stingrays are there to pet!

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Then around the corner is a shore birdbeach with the live birds nesting and feeding as if in the wild!

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Take a break bywalking outside to see the penguines, giant sea otters and sea lions and after some fresh air head back  in to see the Jellyfish aquaria. Gravity defying shapes and sizes of all colors.

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At the end of the day head on down to Fisherman’s wark not far away and have a fabulous meal with a dessert that is fit for a king or queen.

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Enjoy!

Updating my Blog – That Spring Cleaning Urge!

About once a year I look at my old Blogspot and realize that I can do it a bit better once more based on having learned a few new tricks which is still possible for this 74 year old- “Old Dog.”  Hope you like the format a bit better and I will now be going through to update all of my old blogs to git neatly into each heading on the front page so that you can access them more easily.

Of course this also means reviewing what I’ve done on “Rough Enough,”  “Beachcomber Seashells of the Caribbean,” “The Ghosts of Ukuthula,” and both my Amazon and Weebly Web Sites.

Civil War History                     Caribbean Seashell Key                     African Adventure Novel

Featured Image -- 4715                          Book Cover Shells Front-1                                51b5coymmBL

All still available at my Amazon Site – Simply Click  Right Here!

Enjoy! Happy Easter

Book Review: Beyond Einstein by Michio Kaku and Jennifer Thompson

Beyond Einstein: The Cosmic Quest for the Theory of the UniverseBeyond Einstein: The Cosmic Quest for the Theory of the Universe by Michio Kaku

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For years I have followed the Cosmic Quest to unite the physical laws of the universe. In many ways, the story is as strange as Science Fiction for those scientists exploring the realms of electromagnetic, gravitational, the strong nuclear and the weak nuclear forces.
The difficulty for mathematicians and physics in trying to explain and unite these four forces to us lay-folk arises because there seem to be two separate universes. One governed by Newton and Einstein’s familiar laws, and another universe which is weirdly strange and unpredictable and which is explained by quantum mechanics. Because we humans like predictability, we are often baffled when our cozy world has something that doesn’t fit our experiential knowledge base. That’s what this book is all about.
Newtonian Physics and Einstein’s work explain are a predictable universe. We have mathematics describing how bodies in our predictable world are affected by gravitation and electromagnetic forces. They move, fall and exist in a macroscopic universe which we mostly see and deal with on a daily basis.
On the other hand, the more we studied the muinute particles making up the nucleus of atoms, the more evidence we found that some non-predictable forces and particles govern our universe at that sub-atomic level which we cannot see and thus must infer by rather exotic experiments. Then we have to give a pictorial explanation of what we saw to think we saw to our general public. Thus it needs to be explained how a particle can appear out of seemingly nowhere travelling at the speed of light, disappear into an invisible hole and reappear in a totally new location or two different locations at the same time. It’s not neat and tidy and disturbed Einstein for the last years of his life.
We could write all of this off as ‘poppycock’ except that is is the science that allows us to solve real-world problems and develop new technology which was previously undreamed of. We know quantum mechanics works and explains something going on in the universe because it allows us to develop atomic level machines, computers, memory chips, touch screens …. and a technology that will hopefully take us to other stars or even other universes.
Kaku and Thompson’s explanation of the flavors of string theory and dimensions beyond the four with which we daily associate allows us to begin dreaming the dreams of multi-universes that reach beyond our own with sizes that can be both immense or microscopic at the same time and may be unified through 12 dimensions in the same manner that a Mobius Strip is unified in two dimensions and a Klein Bottle is unified in three dimensions. It truly boggles the mind!
The book ends on a positive note that Super-string Theory will ultimately lead us to the Theory of Everything. Of course, when we get there, will we be prepared and able to make that jump from being upright apes to being a Class I civilization controlling the earth, and then make the jump to a Class II civilization controlling our solar system and finally make that jump pre-saged by Isaac Asimov of becoming the Class III civilization that can harness the galaxy and beyond. Will we do it in biological form or will our dreams have to enter the thinking realms of the computers we are now developing? Who will be lifted up and who will be left behind?

View all my reviews

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