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Whitney, 2011
Along Whitney's hike through the Mindo cloud forest of Ecuador.
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New Zealand, 2012
View from inside our room looking out at the private deck and forest. Woodlands Motel, Kerikeri, New Zealand.

Nik & Whitney, 2008
Nik and Whit heading toward another rock-climbing adventure outside Krabi, Thailand.

Whitney, 2011
This Black Caiman in Ecuadoran Amazonia was leery of Whit's boat as it drifted by.

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. Here now, below, are some highlights from past posts.)

The Inaugural Wisconsin Milkman 70.3 Triathlon



Wisconsin is known for having some pretty extreme weather conditions. I remember one summer night without air conditioning, when I tried to sleep snuggling a 7 pound bag of ice. Within 2 hours, there was nothing left but a hot puddle. The Polar Vortex of 2014 ushered in days so cold, you could throw a pot of boiling water into the air and it would instantly turn to snow.

But when I arrived in Madison a few days before the Wisconsin Milkman 70.3 Triathlon, I was greeted by the very best the city has to offer. In the mid 70's, with low humidity, it was the postcard version of the city, flowers blooming, lush green trees and breezy, sunny perfection.

I visited with friends, swam in the lake, biked through the Arboretum, lounged on the Union Terrace, and I realized how much I missed this fantastic town.

When Sunday race morning arrived, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for just being there on this most gorgeous of summer weekends, enjoying the fresh air and uncluttered roads. I felt lucky to participate in this inaugural race. Four years ago it was a dream that the Race Day Events team talked excitedly about, and now here it was, a dream come true. Finally, a 70.3 in Madison!



Posted by Kimberly 07/04/2016

Traveller Beware!

Thailand is generally considered to be a safe country for travellers to visit, but if you plan a trip to Thailand it would be wise to avoid the island of Ko Tao. You wont find this in your Lonely Planet but many tourists who venture to Ko Tao never return. The island, considered to be one of the best places in Asia to get scuba certified, is packed with over 40 dive companies and the instructors and divers that go with it. All on an island small enough to walk across in an hour. Nearly everyone on the island is here to dive, and to party, and everyone does alot of both. If you're not familiar with the dive community, they are the most laid back, fun people you'll ever meet. By diving or enrolling in a course you immediatley make friends and get plugged into the local scene. The problem? The island drags you in. Countless many people have the same story; 'Yeah, I came here for a week long vacation and never left..' Within 6 hours of arriving it was plain that our original 1 week target was totally unrealistic.

Posted by nik 09/21/2008

Me gusta mi linea de trabajo!

After earning my degree in ecology and applying my knowledge to projects in various fields of research, it has become very clear to me that a) I love what I do, and b) I want to do what I love. Ecology, however, has many different branches. There is a myriad of directions to go in. While most of my education and experience has been within terrestrial ecology, I began to feel that I wanted to see what marine science was like. Part of my reason for seeking out this opportunity with a marine ecology student was to investigate the question, "Is this where I want to be?"

Well. So far... I'm thinking this isn't a bad place to be!


Peeking into tide pools and seeking hidden treasures

I have now returned from what was my first week "on the job," out at the coast of Ecuador. I am assisting a masters student of USFQ (Universidad de San Francisco Quito) in his marine ecology field research of intertidal invertebrate communities. So essentially, I spend one week of every month out at the coast, splashing around tide pools and looking at cool creatures hidden underneath rocks and shells. And when we've done all our work and the tide has come in? Well, we might as well jump into the warm blue waters and play in the waves, right? Correct.


Brittle star we found under a big rock. They get their name from their propensity to break very easily.

This past week was actually a very light work-load relative to what it typically will be, so it served as a nice introduction to the ecosystems I'll be working in for the next few months. It was a great opportunity to see the Ecuadorian coast, as well. This experiment has sites at multiple locations up and down the coastline, so I got to visit an array of beaches and towns, and try a variety of region-specific culinary treats. And all the fresh seafood I could eat!

The sun shines bright, the water is warm, the creatures are a-plenty, and the food is delicious. And if necessity calls, it's not hard to find a hammock to dangle in while the sun slips down into the big blue puddle. Not bad, I say. Not bad at all.

Photo slideshow: http://s470.photobucket.com/albums/rr68/GoodellsRule/Ecuadorian%20coast%20-%20First%20week%20in%20the%20field/?albumview=slideshow

Posted by Whitney 01/28/2011, revised 01/28/2011