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Nik & Whitney, 2008
Wandering through rice paddies in Laos.
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Whitney, 2016
Barracuda. Bazaruto island, Mozambique.

Nik & Whitney, 2008
Monkeys looking for a handout from Nik at Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

Whitney, 2011
This small octopus tried to drag Whitney's foot into a hole while working at the study site on the Ecuador coast.
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Eclipse!!

The Great Solar Eclipse of 2017 crossed the continent, from Oregon to South Carolina, and gave millions of people the chance to witness one of the most awe-inspiring events in the natural world.


Nik's photo of the August 21 eclipse, photographed from Glendo, Wyoming. The star, Regulus, is barely visible to the lower left of the solar corona.
But you had to be within the "path of totality", a narrow band across the earth's surface several thousand miles long but only about 70 miles wide. Outside that band you would only see a partial eclipse, not a total eclipse.

And there is no such thing as a "partial total eclipse", despite the impression blogs and the news media might give. I honestly think that's why so many people misunderstand the utter beauty of the spectacle; they may have seen a partial eclipse in the past that was total somewhere else, and even though they weren't in the path the news kept gushing about it being a total eclipse, so they assume they must have seen a total eclipse and just didn't find it all that impressive.


Posted by Dan 08/29/2017, revised 09/06/2017
(Our kids have grown and are no longer posting blog stories here. Below are some highlights from past posts.)
This Seems Like a lot of Work for a Free Banana



It's been awhile since I've done an ocean swim, and I'm gearing up for IM Santa Cruz 70.3 in September, so Tri Santa Cruz International seemed like a good warmup.

The swim start was located just to the right of the boardwalk and the pier, and though many people had commented that the water was unusually warm and calm (relatively speaking), it was a bit of an adjustment from the comfortable pools and lakes I've been in all summer. Water temp was in the low 60s but I was immediately struck by how cold it was on my face. Eeee! How do the surfers stand it? I needed a little extra time in the water to warm up, which turned out to be fine since the race start was delayed.

This race had an interesting approach to the wave start times. There were just three waves and participants seeded themselves. Wave 1 was for those who would swim 1500 meters in under 24 minutes. Wave 2 was for 24-30 minute swimmers. And Wave 3 was for the over 30 minute swimmers. This would make for a much cleaner start with people being matched by pace, but since the course was two loops, it was still likely to get crowded on Loop #2. When I registered online, I hadn't yet achieved my 23 minute swim PR, and so I figured I was right on the cusp of Waves 1 and 2. I thought about some of my previous ocean swims, many of which didn't go so well, and decided Wave 2 would be most realistic for this race.

As we lined up on the beach, I realized that without all the sub-24 swimmers in my wave, I was likely to be in the unfamiliar position of leading the swim. On the one hand this is great since it means a clear and unobstructed path, but I've become so accustomed to following feet in the water, it was a little disconcerting to have three of the front four guys fall away within the first few minutes of the swim. Wave 1 had a five minute head start on us, so they were no longer in view, and soon there was only a single set of splashing feet a half a dozen yards ahead of me, and no one else to be seen. The course had just two turns, but for some reason, I had trouble keeping count. Alone out there in the morning grayness, I began to second guess myself. Had I turned around two buoys already or just one? Did I miss one? I couldn't remember. Meanwhile the gently rocking ocean water and the aggressively salty flavor in my mouth were starting to make me feel just slightly nauseous. After what seemed like an eternity, I emerged on the beach to run around the beach buoy and return to the water for Lap #2. I glanced at my watch as I ran, and between blurry droplets, I made out what appeared to say 16:30. WHAT?! I was certain I had held a good line out there. And I was certain no one had passed me. Somehow I was headed for a 30+ swim, yet I was at the front of my 24-30 wave? None of us would even come close to the 30 minute mark, I was leading our entire wave to failure! I tried, but couldn't persuade myself to believe that perhaps the second lap would somehow be shorter than the first, so I resolved the issue by convincing myself that I must have just read my watch wrong. But sure enough, when I emerged from Lap #2 and headed toward transition, my watch definitely said 33 minutes. Argh! Why do I suck so bad at ocean swimming?!

(Post race I found out that the reason for the horrendously slow swim times was a mismeasure of the course. The race officials later claimed it was 1800 meters instead of 1500, but I also heard rumors it ended up being 1.3 miles, which is nearly 2100 meters! Oops)

Well, fortunately the swim was over and I had nowhere to go but up, starting with the long run to transition. I had stashed a pair of shoes (legit running shoes, with speed laces, none of this flip flop business for me) near the beach and leveraged my run speed on that T1 run to pass a lot of Wave 1 folks.




Posted by Kimberly 09/01/2015
It Begins

Bangkok is one of those cities that makes an impression the second you get there. However after you get over the smell and the traffic there actually is some wonderful wonders to be found. We were fortunate enough to be staying with a couchsurfer and he acted as our tour guide while we were in the city. Our first day we made our way by train, boat and taxi to Canchanaburi where there is a train bridge.


Jen got over the wonderful wonders quick.


Posted by nik 09/14/2008, revised 09/21/2008
Last week in France

This entry is going to be short too. I'm sorry, but life moves too fast for me to be able to tell you all about everything. But pictures say a thousand words right? So I have a much easier way to present 20,000 words. (See link to France photo album on my home page.)

In summary, I had an amazing, sunny, warm, relaxing week in Bordeaux. I tasted wine, went to the beach, sat in beautiful botanic gardens, and had great Couchsurfing accommodations. Then I took a train back to Paris where I stayed with an American ex-pat family in their beautiful apartment, and had a great night with them: family dinner around the table (4 kids aged 6-18, 2 parents, and me!), out to an incredible hidden-little-secret pub/cave that was very Tavern-esque, saw some really good live jazz-funk, and then caught my flight to Bangkok the next morning.


I stayed with the Schumacher family my last night in Paris. They were so friendly and fun!

So I've met up with Nik in Bangkok, and we've had an incredible first 48 hours here! But those blogs are to come later. For now, I sleep. And prepare for another great day in Thailand.

Posted by Whitney 09/05/2008

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