The Gallery: Light

This is another shot taken on my Honeymoon as was my last entry for Tara Cain’s Gallery.

This one is from one of the Galapagos Islands. Their main claim to fame is in being one of the most important locations for Charles Darwin in his formulating the Theory of Evolution. So I guess for Creationists it must be one of the most evil places on Earth!

For lovers of nature like me it’s more like Heaven on Earth. The landscapes are often other-worldly, bizarre. Wildlife there is unique, not least in the way that animals are grouped together unlike anywhere else on the planet. One minute you’re admiring beautiful flamingoes in a lake, soon after you could be watching penguins swimming around on a rocky coast lined with cactii, where iguanas are sunning themselves in between diving into the sea for food. Birds with bright blue feet dive-bombing the surf in unison, nesting birds with red balloons for throats trying to attract a mate, albatrosses dancing with each other, brightly coloured crabs, flying fish, groups of playful sea-lions as friendly as puppies, giant tortoises. A weird & wonderful place!

So of course my photo features no animals at all – unless you count me – on a beach that probably isn’t that unusual. But trust me, it’s from one of the Galapagos Islands.

And where are the rest of the party we were travelling with? They’d been rafted out to some nearby rocks which were great for snorkelling. I’d been left behind, probably because I’d lost something. That happens a lot. I’d asked our guide on the beach if maybe the raft could be sent back, but he just said: “Just swim there”. It was quite a way out!

I’m not a strong swimmer, mostly because I am one of these odd people who doesn’t float, at least not enough to keep my mouth above water. So I hate & avoid being in water over my head. But give me a good snorkel & mask & a decent pair of flippers & I instantly become Aquaman! Or at least Aquaman’s Uncle – you know: the one who turns up at weddings, drinks too much & dances very badly…  

So swim there I did, & it was great. I came across creatures I wouldn’t have otherwise, notably a couple of turtles who I managed to get really close to before they dived too deep for me to follow. The hardest part in fact was trying to get onto the ladderless raft from the sea!

Back to the Theme: what I like about this photo is the Light. Shooting against the sunlight has made the foreground appear a lot darker than it really was, partially silhouetting the subject while he sits in a finger of light sparkling on the surf ahead & on the sand behind.

I’ve always loved this photo; as well as capturing a great memory it to me is really atmospheric, peaceful, happy.

To achieve True Enlightenment, or at least to see some great pictures & posts about Light, go to Tara Cain’s wonderful Gallery at her ‘Sticky Fingers’ blog. Just click the pic:


The Gallery: Landscape

Machu Picchu, ‘The Lost City of the Incas’, Peru

This was taken on our honeymoon.

Retiring to an idyllic beach resort for sunning, swimming, & other things that might be considered the norm for honeymooners? Not us. Nah, instead we decided to do what each of us would regard as a trip of a lifetime. A cruise around the Galapagos Islands: her choice. A river cruise & stay in the Amazon Rainforest: a joint choice. A cruise then overnight stay with a local family in Lake Titicaca:  not our choice, just part of the package. Climbing the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: my choice.

While there I spent the coldest & one of the worst nights of my life on the homestay. I got altitude sickness, had to be given oxygen & almost pulled out of the Inca Trail trek.  I was later mugged & had my wallet & passport stolen. My digital camera broke. In the Amazon I was nearly eaten alive by the local horseflies, hungry for my sweet blood. Finally I nearly missed my flight home trying to get a temporary passport from the unfuriatingly frustrating Peruvian bureaucracy.

But would I still go if I knew what was ahead? In a heartbeat! It was wonderful.

Machu Picchu was as magical & magnificent as I had expected. In the time of the Incas it was only accessible by long, narrow & often treacherous mountain paths reaching altitudes of up to 4300M (nearly 3 miles) above sea level, of which the Inca Trail is one.  It appears to have been a special city, used for ceremonial / royal / religious purposes. To this day no-one is really sure, & this aura of mystery still surrounds this wonderful place. Whatever its purpose it is & always will be special, one of the great locations of the world. I feel very privileged to have had the chance to go there.

This was written for Tara Cain’s wonderful Gallery at her ‘Sticky Fingers’ blog. To have a look at the other posts there just click the pic:

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Me, But Were Afraid To Ask

Apparently there’s been a big old game of tag going on in the blogosphere tonight while I haven’t been paying attention.

The idea is to list “7 things you never knew you wanted to know about me”

I’ve been tagged by the lovely Mañana Mama, who seems to think that my 7 will be more interesting than hers. Not sure why; I may have to disappoint…

So anyway, here goes:

1) I hold a New Zealand sprint record that will never be broken: under-14 boys 100M. They changed the age criteria just after I set the record (11.7 sec’s in case you’re wondering).

2) I played club rugby as a right winger, & scored lots of tries. Our First 5/8 (fly-half) went on to play in the New Zealand All Black team who won the first ever Rugby World Cup. On the wing – MY POSITION. He wasn’t even fast back then. Probably because I stopped growing (vertically) at 14 & he didn’t. I’d hate him with a deadly passion, but he seems like a decent guy.

3) I got married in Brighton Pavilion. By a happy coincidence so did my wife.

4) I am afraid of heights. Probably dates to when I was a young boy & fell off the asymmetrical bars at a gymnastics club.

5) It was therefore the obvious thing to honeymoon by walking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, climbing to over 4000M (that’s 4 Kilometres – UP). Plus cruise around the Galapagos Islands, stay overnight on an island in Lake Titicaca & spend several nights in the Amazon Jungle. I got mugged, losing my passport & wallet, got severe altitude sickness, was partially eaten alive by horse-flies & nearly missed my flight back home. It was great! I wrote about it briefly, with a couple of photos, here.

I was hoping to use an Inca Trail photo for Tara Cain’s Gallery on the theme of Mother Nature. But 1) it’s analogue (my digi. camera broke), & 2) I can’t find it. 😦

6) I have a fractured left collar-bone (clavicle), a ruptured tendon in my left shoulder, a detached tendon in my right bicep & arthritic fingers. And I’m not even that old – honest!

7) I have a scar on my palm where I nearly severed my thumb trying to open a tin with a knife. A World Cup had just started so I was in a hurry. I also have scars on an inner elbow (bike accident) & knee (surgery after a rugby injury). No photos, sorry…

Still reading? Well done!

So now I have to nominate some other bloggers. I think we should get some more of the boys in, so I’m going for:

Mr Baby Food & Diesel,

Him Up North &

Dan at All That Comes With It. YOU’RE IT!

Also, because she has obviously had an eventful life, & because she asked so nicely, fellow parent of twins Mari from Mari’s World 🙂

You know who I’d really love to hear from though, but it’s probably a long-shot:  the weird, wonderful & (in)famous Bloggess. Here’s hoping…

UPDATED: I’m delighted to be able to say that I’ve found the Inca Trail photo I was after & have had it & the others in that roll processed digitally. I hope to make my contribution to the Mother Nature Gallery tonight (Friday 21st). I’m doubly pleased about this as they are some of the best photos I’ve ever taken 🙂

UPDATED: A day later than planned, my Gallery post is here