Isle of Shoals

Isle of Shoals

The Isle of Shoals is a collection of more rocks than islands straddling the borders of Maine and New Hampshire. About six miles off the New England coast, it's home to a colony of harbor and grey seals and considered one of the best sites in the world for diving with seals and sea lions. So naturally and to our dismay, most of the summer local charters had booked up long before we had any inklings of this secret pinniped haunt so close to home. But with a bit of luck, we found Bob and Jeanne Foudriat, an absolutely lovely couple who just recently started running a boat charter (Cyntillation Aquatics) out of Newington, NH. And they had room. 

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Bonaire 2017 Part II

Bonaire 2017 Part II

The Lake itself was beautiful: a white sandy "lake" separating the double reef system, connected by coral bridges, and brimming with life. We saw tarpons, a Southern stingray, a big tiger grouper, but the highlight, at the top of the outer reef, was this black cloud that materialized out of nowhere. As it caught up with each of us, we each in turn realized that we were about to be subsumed by an incoming, house-sized bait ball of bogas being chased by horse-eye jacks.

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Bonaire 2017 Part I

Bonaire 2017 Part I

Oil Slick is one of our favorite sites from the previous trips. The reef starts almost immediately from the rocky, critter-filled cliff that lines the iron shore and entry is via a GIANT leap straight into the ocean. Chewie may have given everyone a heart attack with a near-stumble on the cliffs while putting on his fins. For the less adventurous, there is a metal ladder that can used for both entry and exit. It's a very short swim to the drop-off and mooring buoy. Sightings here: creole wrasses, parrotfish, eels, shrimps, drums, and so many sweepers under the ledges. 

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Chasing Lights

Chasing Lights

Without a doubt, one of our most magical memories together was watching the night sky light up with the swirling and snaking green tendrils of the aurora. It was a sight that cemented our love for Iceland and ensured that we'd return time and again. We've often said to each other that if ever a favorable aurora forecast (more on that later) coincided with cheap airfare, we'd hop back over for a quick weekend jaunt. It's been over 5 years since, with a single summer visit to Iceland in between (although Ann will gladly remind me of her layover without me). And then it happened. Kp 4-5. $270 roundtrip. It was time to return to the land of Ice and Fire. 

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Christmas in Paradise

Christmas in Paradise

“Valpo” is a bit of a mess. But it’s a lovely mess. Garbled plazas masquerade as junctions, from which one-way roads, unpaved paths, and pedestrian stairs sprawl in organically chaotic ways. They elude directions, defy gravity, and lead the bewildered tourist on a trippy ramble up and down an Escheresque universe of colorful hills.

Today is Christmas, and just about everything is closed. It doesn’t matter. We’re here to admire the street art.

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