An eerie phenomenon captured by night trail cam!!…An apparition?…Cannot be explained!!…

Who’s in the garden this morning?

3 wildebeest

4 warthogs

6 bushbuck

3 kudus

47 mongoose

Last night, when Rita and Gerhard stopped by for sundowners, we showed them this series of photos posted here today. With Gerhard’s tremendous experience in aviation, he, too, had no idea what these photos could possibly be and they were as awestruck as we continue to be.

So far, using the trail cam, we have seen several thousand photos taken at night. In researching extensively online, we perused others trail cam photos, never seeing anything similar to what we’ve shown here today. There’s no way we can explain it.

Notice the bushbuck looking at “it.”

Please scroll down slowly, in succession, toward the last photo to achieve the full impact of what we’ve seen. The photos were taken by the trail camera on May 14, as indicated by the sequence of the photos. We entered them here as they occurred. We’d be curious if any of our readers have an idea what this could have been. Please comment at the bottom of the page, if you have any ideas you’d like to share. You may choose to do so anonymously, if preferred.

For a few days, we hesitated to post this, wondering if our readers would think we are totally crazy after staring at wildlife all day and night. But, last night, after Rita and Gerhard left, we decided we’d post them today to see if anyone out there in cyberspace can offer some input.

In reality, we may never know, nor will we ever see this again. Of course, the most astounding photo taken by the trail cam is the last photo, as shown at the end of this post, of the female bushbuck “looking up” when it appears the apparition or whatever it was, drifted up toward the sky, causing the bushbuck to stretch her neck to see where it was going. Oh, good grief! This is quite unusual.

We don’t necessarily believe in ghosts, nor have we ever encountered anything like this. Both of us are very realistic and practical. This is not some effort on our part to sensationalize what could have been a moth or a puff of humidity in the garden that night.

We’ve seen many photos from the trail cam with moths, butterflies and insects passing over the camera lens, never leaving such a profound image. Surely, at night, the bushbuck would hardly stretch her neck to such a degree to follow the flight of an insect when insects are all around them day and night. Plus, as mentioned, we’ve seen such images fly across the lens, looking nothing like any of these.

The bush is filled with wonder and mystery. Regardless of how much we observe the wildlife, we’ll never have a full understanding and appreciation of what they experience, what they feel and their ability, however limited, to communicate with humans.

Perhaps, we’ll simply have to let our curiosity wither away in time and, on occasion, refer back to this post in the sheer wonder of the amazing world around us, some of which we will never be able to explain.

Few captions were added to today’s photos. We’ll let you use your imagination on how you perceive these photos.

This photo astounded us even further.

May your day be filled with wonder and awe.

Photo from one year ago today, May 19, 2020:

A lone tree near the shore on the Kauai Path. For more photos, please click here.

Photos from our new trail cam…What we’ve learned…

Two duikers at night.

When our package arrived from the US through DHL, a few days ago, we were excited that the trail cam we’d ordered from Amazon was inside. Also, my new Fitbit Sense was in the box. We decided Tom would set up the trail cam while I worked on setting up the new Fitbit, both of which presented a few typical set-up challenges.

Finally, we had both pieces of equipment working and I was able to do my first ECG using the Fitbit which had been approved as a reliable device for this purpose by the US FDA (that’s not to say I trust everything they recommend). With a normal result, it did provide me with a little peace of mind, knowing at any time, I can check this on my own.

Most likely, a mating pair.

As for the Campark T-75 trail cam, that setup was a little more time-consuming and still requires some adjustments which we’ll tackle today. After using the trail cam for the first time last night, we realized the first thing we’ll do today, is reducing the number of shots it takes in one night. We ended up with over 5000 photos, way too many to go through each day.

We actually managed to go through all the shots and have included a few of them here today, not necessarily anything unusual from those we see during the day.  No porcupine, yet! But we’re committed to getting a night photo of her and other nocturnal visitors, we may not see during the day. We won’t be using the trail cam during daylight hours, instead, sticking to using our camera and posting those photos in most posts. We’ll post the more interesting trail cam photos.

The same two duikers in the garden at night.

We’d assumed that photo ops would be at a minimum during the busy school holiday week. But, as we sit here now on Sunday close to 1:00 pm, 1300 hours, we’re in awe of how many animals have been here this morning, including two Big Daddies, once of whom stood at the edge of the veranda and barked at us, forcing us to gingerly make our way indoors to give him the space he needed.

This was a first for us. We’re very careful around the Big Daddies. They are huge and dangerous and we take no risks whatsoever. Now, as I write this he has wandered off into the bush, ducking his massive horns as he makes his way through the dense trees and bushes.

We weren’t able to determine which warthog this was.

He ‘tipped” his horns a few times at two young warthogs who seemed determined to antagonize him for pellets. But, they squealed off when he reminded them of his power and strength. The tree he tore down a few days ago has been eaten by a wide array of antelopes and is beginning to look sparse. He meandered over to it this morning but didn’t seem interested in any of the remaining leaves.

It’s amazing how almost every day something new and exciting transpires in the bush. Yesterday, we had a dung beetle rolling a nice-sized ball of dung right next to us on the veranda. The ball got stuck against the edge of the grass and the pool and Tom, using a mop handle, released it for him. Soon, he’s back on his way, happily rolling his ball of dung, hoping to encounter a female in his travels.

We knew warthogs visit during the night.

We only need to sit here long enough for yet another magical event to take place all the while relishing in the regulars who come to call on a consistent basis. Sometimes, when it’s totally quiet, I begin to wonder if they’ll ever return. Then, to our delight, there they are again, gracing us with their presence in exchange for a tasty morsel or two.

As I write here now, 20 or more mongoose have returned after we’ve already fed them this morning, only a few hours or so ago. We gave them scrambled eggs and bits of meat and bones we’d saved for them. They’ll circle around the house a few times and return, perhaps thinking we “forgot” we already gave them treats, suitable for their diet as omnivores with a propensity for meat. Fortunately, today, we’ve saved a little meat for their second visit.

Always searching for pellets.

Today will be another quiet day. So far, the only noise we’ve heard from holidaymakers was the sounds of adults and kids talking loud and screaming in a pool. After a short while, the noises ended and we were able to enjoy another quiet evening in the bush, only occasionally interrupted by the sound of the roars by lions Dezi and Fluffy nearby. Blissful!

Another shot of the two mating duikers whom we rarely see during daylight hours. They are very shy.

Have a fantastic day!

Photo from one year ago today, April 25, 2020:

Happy caterpillar dancing across the floor! Later on, we learned these caterpillars cause a nasty itch that lasts for days when coming in contact with their venom. We also learned these are Processionary Caterpillars who form a train and crawl up walls, verandas and form a train across the garden. Not so cute after all. For more from the year-ago post, please click here.

Tropical Cyclone Eloise heading this way?…Photos of our house in the bush…

Love Bird's Nest
View of the veranda and pool at Love Bird’s Nest, our home in the bush.

From this news article from last night and all over the local news the past few days, apparently, Tropical Cyclone Eloise may be heading this way. Currently, it’s hammering the nearby country of Mozambique, a mere 30 km, 18.7 miles from us, a half-hour drive.

Will it reach us, such a short distance away? It may, but we suspect we won’t get the brunt of it. With a delicate infrastructure here in South Africa such a storm could leave us without WiFi and power for days, if not weeks. If, for this reason, you do not see us here in a few days, you can rest assured this is the reason we aren’t online. Please be patient and we’ll return as quickly as possible. In the interim, we aren’t worried and are not taking any special precautions.

This morning, while reviewing the many comments we receive overnight, our regular readers, Caro and Peter, who’ve been interested and supportive of our travels, wrote to us, requesting we post photos of our current bush house. We’ve been planning to do so in a future post, but, I suppose now is as good a time as ever.

The photos we’re sharing today are those we’ve borrowed, from Louise’s website, found here. The listing for this house, named Lovebird’s Nest is found here. If at any point, you are considering a visit to Marloth Park, please feel free to contact Louise for one of her many fine holiday rentals and the best “guest satisfaction” in the world. Plus, she and Danie own the only information center of its kind in Marloth Park, rife with information about rentals, activities, dining, and more.

For the link to the Info Center, please click here. Their air-conditioned office is welcoming and comfortable utilizing all safety protocols for Covid-19. Their years of experience in this area by owners, Louise and Danie, are unsurpassed. Even during these challenging times of Covid-19, a visit to Marloth Park may be the perfect holiday for singles, couples, and families. Besides, making friends, is easy and seamless in Marloth Park, even for the single traveler.

XMA Header Image
Exterior photo of the Info Centre in Marloth Park.

There is a fun-packed water park within the perimeters of Marloth Park, ideal for kids and families. See the link here for Bushveld Atlantis or contact Louise for more information. The prices for services, events, and activities are the same at The Info Centre as you’d find on your own, but you’ll have the benefit of Louise’s professional guidance and recommendations to ensure the activities you choose are suitable for your needs, desires, and safety requirements. Louise can also be reached: info@marlothkruger.com.

I’d like to mention that Louise’s husband Danie is a home builder of exceptional quality, creativity, and reasonable prices with outstanding references and homes he’s built that he can show prospective buyers illustrating the integrity of his work. He can also be reached at this email: info@marlothkruger.com or by phone: +27 0836559165.

We wandered indoors around 8:00 pm, a little earlier than usual, with the mozzies on a rampage for a taste of my vulnerable flesh. Although I thoroughly load up on repellent with DEET several times a day (the only repellent that protects me) and especially at dusk and in the dark, it became impossible for us to continue to be outdoors. Some nights are worse than others. Tom never gets bit or needs to use repellent. Go figure.

Today, after uploading this post, we’re heading to a house close to the Crocodile River where a woman is offering “free bananas” for anyone who’d like to come to get them. Most of the wildlife love bananas. So, off we go, before too long.

We have no big plans for today. Most locals are staying away from the restaurants due to Covid-19, although many have set up outdoor dining that is safe and suitable. Also with the sale of alcohol banned for several more weeks, many prefer to dine at home.

Today is day #10 of our self-imposed quarantine. Only four more days to go. But, even then, we’ll continue to be cautious about socializing and getting out, so it may not be much different than it is right now. In any case, we’re content and continue to be grateful we made it here to Marloth Park, our own little slice of Heaven.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, January 23, 2020:

Photo of Tom and his four sisters with whom we visited one year ago staying in Apache Junction, Arizona for almost two months. Two of his sisters weren’t able to travel to Arizona). From left to right (back row); Colleen, Tom, Mary Ellen with Rita, and Margie (front row). For more from that post, as we prepared to leave Arizona for India, please click here.

All new photos of the interior of the villa…Making appointments and taking care of business…

The view of the main pool from the master bedroom. These sliding doors and others on the adjacent wall open wide with fine screens to keep out insects. It’s such a treat for us to have screens! The louvered slats above the sliding doors allow cool air to enter the room when the doors are closed.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

This morning at 6:00 am as the clouds continued to roll in.

Since taking the above photo at 6:00 am this morning, the clouds and fog have rolled into a greater degree and we can’t see across the valley at 7:30 am as I sat down to begin posting.  The temperature is in the low 70F’s, (21C) but the humidity is high and everything feels sticky.

Other than the moisture we feel under our feet while gingerly walking barefoot on the somewhat slippery-when-wet tile floor of the veranda this type of weather doesn’t bother us a bit. 

The sauna/steam room is accessible via a door in the master en suite bathroom which also has a door leading out to the veranda to the cold plunge pool.

We have much more to face in the way of inclement weather in the many months to come, particularly in Antarctica and Africa upcoming in the next many months. 

As we observe today’s date of August 9th, we predict we’ll be landing in Mpumalanga Nelspruit-Kruger Airport six months from today or tomorrow, depending on which flight we choose.

This short walk from the sauna/steam room toward to the cold plunge pool for a refreshing event after the heat.

Now, reveling in this peaceful, relatively uneventful period in Costa Rica, as we spend time bird watching over the lush canopy of trees surrounding us, we’re on a mission to get a number of tasks accomplished that we’ve put off for awhile. 

Although neither of us is procrastinators, the nature of our lifestyle often leaves us prioritizing based on its level of importance and/or urgency.  Spending the last over two months in the US, left us little time or motivation to work on some of the project’s we’re mentioning today.

Even this hallway between the living room and screening room has ample closets and decor.

In the past 24 hours, we’ve handled the following appointments:
1.  Friday’s upcoming phone meeting with our accountant in order to get 2016’s taxes completed before October’s due date (we had to get an extension when the box of our documents was lost and later found).
2.  Dentist appointments for both of us on August 21st (a 45-minute drive from Atenas.
3.  A car rental for five days beginning on August 21st enabling us to drive ourselves the long distance.
4.  Found a hotel for the 31-nights in Buenos Aires from December 23, 2017, through January 23, 2018, plus one additional night when the Antarctica cruise ends on February 8th (after which we’ll fly to South Africa as indicated above).

Once the hotel booking for Buenos Aires is wrapped up at the corporate rate, we’ll share the details and the excellent pricing in what appears to be an ideal hotel for our needs over this extended period. 

The villa is not only tastefully decorated but has many useful special areas.

We don’t love staying in hotels for a month or more but we needed to be able to store our luggage since the round trips flights to Ushuaia Argentina where we’ll board the ship, have serious weight restrictions (smaller planes).

As for the dentist appointments, they’re long overdue.  The last time we had our teeth cleaned and checked was in Trinity Beach in July 2015.  Since that period, Tom had an abscessed tooth pulled (a wisdom tooth) in New Plymouth New Zealand in 2016.  At the time we couldn’t find a dentist that did cleaning or we could have had it done then.

This courtyard creates a pleasing entrance to the property!

Not only do we both desperately need a cleaning but Tom’s lost two fillings and I’ve lost one.  Neither of us cares to have more dental crowns so we’re hoping they can refill the teeth. 

Yesterday, we called and spoke and spoke to an English speaking staff member who explained it would be no problem to refill/repair the broken fillings.  They have nine English speaking dentists in the clinic and are highly rated by the expat community in Costa Rica.  This was quite a relief.  We’ll report back how this goes.

Fountain in the center courtyard.

It feels good to finally be addressing these issues.  That’s not to say we don’t have plenty of work ahead of us to get these items wrapped up but at least the ball is rolling after a lengthy period of distractions.

At the moment, Tom’s sitting in the screening room watching US news he found on the TV while I’m comfortably situated outdoors on the veranda on this cloudy damp day.  Perhaps, I’m preparing myself for spending entire days on the veranda as we contemplate doing the same upcoming in Marloth Park.  Bugs?  Snakes?  Heat?  Humidity?  Bring it on, baby!

Plants and flowers in the entrance center courtyard.

Enjoy the beginning of a series of interior photos of this amazing villa in Atenas, Costa Rica!

Happy day to all!

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Photo from one year ago today, August 9, 2016:

Memorial markers at a local cemetery in Phuket Thailand.  For more photos, please click here.

Ah…at last…We made it to the villa…It feels good to be here…All new photos going forward…

The Chicken Run fast food restaurant on the highway in Denpasar. Fast food is common in most major cities around the globe, including many popular chains in the US.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

We were thrilled to see the buffaloes strolling along the beach soon after we arrived. 
Two separate sets of two occurred a few minutes apart.

At 10:00 am, after the buffet breakfast at the hotel drinking very few liquids to reduce the necessity of stopping, we loaded the van and were on our way, first to the market and at some point, an ATM. 

Our regular Butu wasn’t our chauffeur this time. We got another Butu for the long journey to the villa. During our last stay in Bali, we wrote that children born of Balinese have only one of the four possible names. 

Here’s the link to the post with a further explanation about the four names including mention of why we included the above “Sightings on the Beach in Bali” for each post during our stay, repeated daily during these two remaining months of this stay.

Butu couldn’t speak much English. Gede had explained where we needed to shop, a small well stocked grocer that sells “mince” (ground beef). For the period of two months, we had hoped to buy again 10kg, 22.2 lbs.    When we approached the meat counter, the butcher explained he only had 5 kg available. 

As we drove away from the hotel to begin the harrowing four or five hour drive to the villa.

I asked if they could grind another 5 kg. The manager of the meat service came out of the back room smiling and bowing, happy to do pleasure.  That’s the Balinese people for you, always happy to please.

After an hour in the market, finding most of the products on our list and while waiting for the meat, Butu carried the cool box (cooler) inside the store from the van after which Tom packed the meat, streaky bacon and dairy products with ice for the long road trip ahead of us. 

The ground beef was a whopping US $97, IDR 1,278,250, translating to US $4.37 a pound for freshly, ground grass fed sirloin steak! Our total grocery bill was US $420.94, IDR 5,557,058, including most of the other grocery items we’ll use during the two month period.

Our total grocery bill was US$420.94, IDR 5,557,058, including most of the other grocery items we will use over the two month period. 

Note the number of air con units atop this building.    Many of our photographs will feature power lines that are seen everywhere.    I’m sorry I didn’t take the time to remove those. I have software to that effect, but it is a tedious process that I would prefer to avoid. 

Most of the meals they prepare for us average at US $10, IDR 132,015 making our total daily food cost around US $17.52, IDR 231,290, quite the bargain considering we don’t do any of the cooking or cleanup. Having them cook and clean spoiled us so much that it was painstaking cooking in Phuket. 

Anyway, once on the road on a beautiful sunny day, I decided I could distract myself taking as many photos as possible. With the massive amount of traffic, stopping frequently, I was able to open the van window to take shots while we weren’t in motion creating clearer photos. 

On April 30th, when we made the first trip from the airport to the villa the long drive occurred later on a cloudy, rainy day, dark before we arrived. Taking photos during that drive was pointless.

Yesterday was heavenly, perfectly sunny with stunning clear skies. Figuring that searching for photo ops during the entire drive would keep me preoccupied, the time went more quickly than I imagined possible. 

Internet cafes in other parts of the world may be referred to as “chat cafes” as is the case in Denpasar.

Even Tom, who wasn’t happy about the long drive, spent time searching for photo ops distracting him for a while. By 3:30 pm, five and a half hours after we began, we arrived at the villa.

Ribud greeted us upon our arrival with two frosty glasses of fresh squeezed orange juice (none for me, thanks). Shortly later, Gede arrived to welcome us  to see if we needed anything. Of course, we each shared how we’d spent the past two months. In the early evening, he returned, bringing us a loaded SIM card for my phone.

By the time the two Katuks arrived at 5 pm, we’d put all the groceries away, unpacked everything we’d use while here, leaving most of our clothing folded in our individual suitcases.Wearing swimsuits, all day, an occasional tee shirt and shorts, we put a few items in the closets and drawers.

The Ketuts prepared a lovely chicken satay dish with a peanut sauce (no sugar added), the stir fried vegetables we like so much, our usual salad and a serving of white rice for Tom. We were content. 

There was no shortage of elaborate Hindu statues in front of and atop a building in Denpasar, the capital of Bali. It takes a full two hours to drive through the city.

Again, we suggested they have dinner ready each evening at 5:00 pm allowing them to get home earlier to their families.

When we dine at 5:00 pm, they can be out the door by 6:00 pm leaving us to enjoy the remainder of the evening to ourselves. 

Arriving each morning at 8:00 am, after shopping at the open markets, they clean  the villa and do some prep for dinner. That leaves us with the middle of the day to ourselves.

As for my ongoing recovery, the flight day was easy. The four or five hour harrowing drive was tough. At this point, I just can’t sit for long periods in any type of seat. Even after a good night’s sleep, I’m still feeling the consequences of the long drive. 

This morning once the girls arrived, we went for our first walk of the day with a plan to walk the roads in the mornings, the beach in the afternoon when they return. This prevents us from the necessity of closing the big doors and locking the house, especially when we have our digital equipment sitting out.

Apartments and houses line the highways.

Also, it’s cooler during these two periods of the day, making the walk all the more enjoyable without the scorching sun beating down on us. Today, we’ll commence 20 minutes of basking in the sun for a much needed dose of Vitamin D and a little color to our now pale skin after a two month hiatus.

Then, each day we’ll spend time in the pool while I’m especially careful to avoid re-injuring my spine on that same sharp edge as I’d done on June 1st, a full three months ago. It’s been a long and painful period and I’m anxious to have it all behind me.

With the slow Wi-Fi connection here, we won’t be able to post lots of photos each day, but we’ll do what we can. No more than 45 minutes after we arrived, four buffaloes made their daily trek along the beach as shown in the above photos.

We laughed heartily watching the buffaloes, then looked at one another, smiles on our faces to be back in Bali.

For those in the US, have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend.

                                Photo from one year ago today, September 3, 2015:

People, young and old, walk along the esplanade, the walkway along a beach in Australia.  For more photos, please click here.

More photos of the Pulaki Temple in Singaraja…Deciding on which photos to post…To do “good works?”

Tom said, “Oh, here we go again…me wearing another “dress!”  We’ve found that men all over the world wear “skirts” and “dresses” as everyday wear.

“Sighting on the Beach in Bali”

This little hut is located in front of a villa down the beach. A swim platform of some sort?

Often, when we visit a specific site, we may take 100 or more photos. Although I’m still, and most likely always will be an amateur photographer, I rarely take more than one photo of a specific scene unless I want “insurance” for an unusual sighting.

More experienced photographers may take dozens of shots of a similar scene to later spend time sorting, editing and choosing their favorites. I can’t take the time to do this every day or, all of my days would be spent managing photos. Few photographers, professional or amateur, post photos online daily for the world to see on their own websites.

This obvious fellow was gingerly picking over an orange.

Sure, millions, if not billions worldwide (approximate world population of 7.4 billion) post daily photos on social media. At this point, I’ve had little interest in spending more time each day posting dozens of photos on a variety of social media platforms. 

Another adorable mom and baby.

Although, almost daily, I post one or two photos on my Facebook page for friends to see, most certainly as an inducement for them to visit our site. We’d love for even more readers to stop by here each day. Feel free to “friend” me on Facebook by searching for me at Jessica Lyman, Sumbersari, Indonesia. There are many with a similar name. Each time we move, I update our location at some point on Facebook.

The Pulaki Temple is diverse and interesting.

We encourage and kindly ask our readers to help promote our site with their Facebook and other friends if they’d so kindly do so on occasion, as we continually strive to increase our readership throughout the world. 

The monkeys seemed to spend a lot of time in quiet reflection when they weren’t eating perhaps inspired by the spiritual surroundings.

Increasing our readership is not about the potential income which ultimately is minuscule in the realm of things, not even covering the costs of managing our site. It’s about the opportunity to share this somewhat peculiar lifestyle with people all over the world who may find a few minutes of enjoyment or merely satisfy their curiosity as to the ins and outs of our world travel experience.

Adventurists may choose to tackle this hill. Instead, we enjoyed the view and blue sky.

It’s not that we’re all that interesting, but for those who’ve never traveled, for those who’ve traveled a little or for those who’ve traveled a lot, they may find a morsel of information we share appealing in one manner or another.

A nun worked in this caged area intended to keep the monkeys out.
Yesterday, I received a beautiful email from a young Australian man (20’s or 30’s) we met in the Windjammer Café on our latest cruise from Sydney to Singapore. We’d started chatting and he expressed an interest in our way of eating. We’d given him and his partner our business cards hoping we’d touch base sometime in the future. Alas, I smiled when I saw his message in my inbox.
It made no sense to attempt this stairway beyond its first eight steps when they were uneven and precarious, especially wearing the long saris.

As I often do when people we’ve met or readers inquire about our way of eating, I sent him a list of books to read and online resources, suggesting he find a physician he can work with that has had education in new science surrounding nutrition (not all doctors know anything about nutrition and are still promoting high carb, low-fat diets when recent study after study proves otherwise).

Scary-looking statues to ward off bullies and evil spirits.

In his own way, he’ll do diligence and find what may work for him and his lifestyle. But, for us, having the opportunity to point a reader in the direction of all this emerging science in order to encourage them, along with their medical provider, to find a path suitable for their health and needs, gives us added purpose and considerable joy.

The main entrance to the temple.

Our travels aren’t about the seeming hedonistic personal enjoyment lounging in a cabana, living a life of leisure.  Any of our regular readers are aware that our lives stretch far beyond that.

The bell tower.

And, in this life, we’ve been gifted with the opportunity to “to do good works.” However, our humility prevents us from boasting about that which we may do for others along the way. Not everything is a “photo op.” The greatest donation of time and money are those done quietly and/or anonymously without fanfare, “tooting one’s horn” or looking for recognition or accolades.

The staff at the Pulaki Temple provide food for the monkey as an incentive to keep them on the grounds during the day for tourist viewing. Bags of feed were available for sale, but we didn’t want the monkeys climbing all over us, although a few grabbed onto our legs.

The exception to this is when we promote a small, locally owned business that requires online exposure to possibly build a better online presence from our well-intended endorsement.

Blooming plants highlighted the beauty of the Pulaki Temple.

As our friends and family members in the US roll into the Memorial Day weekend, we wish everyone a safe and meaningful long weekend. For the rest of the world, stay safe and be well.

Photo from one year ago today, May 28, 2015:

Part of the “sexiest man aboard the ship” competition was to do pushups. This passenger did the most number of pushups, 66,  and eventually won the competition with his excellent dancing skills. For more photos and details, please click here.

Aging while living a life on the move…Check out these final Green Island photos…

There were many seagulls in the area surrounding Green Island especially when the fish were fed by the staff.

Providing we take care to avoid injuries and happen to be fortunate enough to avoid natural disasters and risks in public or at our home at the time, our biggest enemy is aging. Of course, we’re all aging from the moment we’re born and in reality, aging appears to progress at a regular and consistent pace once we become adults. 

The green cast from the coral below created the water’s pretty color.

Recalling our own differences between ages 30 and 40, 50 and 60 and now that we’re both in the ’60s to ’70s decade, it all seems to have progressed similarly, unfortunately, all downhill.

All the exercise, healthy diets, and lifestyle changes can’t stop the progression, although it may slow it to a degree. Although, if one is lucky, the progression may not be as evident on them as on others for the sake of appearances. However, what’s going inside the body is another matter.

Although there were a number of boats conducting tourist activities around the island, it wasn’t as crowded as we’d expected.

For most of us, as we age, our appearance becomes less and less important. Being alive and well becomes of the ultimate significance. We do our best to show the world a pleasant appearance, through whatever means suits us whether its’ a mustache, haircut, or close shave for men or makeup (or not) and certain hairstyles for women.

To a degree, most of us make some sort of effort whether it’s wearing a clean tee-shirt and pair of jeans or an entire put-together outfit that makes one appear to have stepped out of a magazine advertisement. 

The seagulls went wild when the fish were fed by the staff in order to give the visitors a show.  They explained they monitored the amounts they fed the fish to avoid them becoming complacent in their search for food. However, with these multiple daily feedings, complacency may have been unavoidable.

It’s all a matter of personal choice and who has a right to comment or complain about the decisions of others in this area? As we live in a world desperately attempting to love and accept each person, regardless of their appearance, we find we still have a long way to go.

Will the future bring “designer babies” with perfect features or will we all meld into a level of total acceptance finding beauty in all of our differences? When we lived amid wildlife in Africa, we observed even the most peculiar of animals with admiration regardless of their snarly looking faces, unwieldy tusks, and unkempt sprouts of coarse and wild hair. 

Few tourists spent time at the beaches at Green Island from what we observed during our half-day visit.

I speak of the ungainly warthog, which some may consider as one of the ugliest creatures in the wild.  And yet, when we saw those unruly faces, we felt admiration and warmth in our hearts, not over their looks but over their playful demeanor. Would that we could feel such admiration and attraction for one another regardless of our appearance.

As it relates to aging, the inevitability of it all becomes more evident to me as I approach 70 years old.  It was only yesterday I was in my 30’s and yet, here I am, happier than I’ve ever been wondering how long this amazing life will be able to continue with aging knocking at my door, the same aging knocking at your door.

A few of the beaches had lifeguards on duty and yet few visitors hung out at the beach.

This all came to my mind on Thursday as I completed three loads of laundry, spent hours in the kitchen making various foods for our way of eating, cleaning and dusting the house, never asking Tom for help while he sat outside on the veranda. 

He was happily content researching his family tree, never aware as to what was going on inside, other than when I asked him to put the freshly washed tight bottom sheet back on the mattress and walk the garbage down the steep hill to the bins. He’d have easily helped me with anything else on the agenda, had I asked.

Tom walking on the pier checking the sea for signs of life, carrying our huge unnecessary bag loaded with towels, ice tea, extra camera batteries, etc. We could easily have gotten by without the bag and its contents, putting everything we needed in our pockets. Since I no longer own a handbag, Tom usually carries my few items in his roomy pockets.

But, like him, I was happily content busying myself inside doing household tasks I’ve always seemed to find rewarding for some odd reason. 

As I did the work, periodically I checked my Fitbit device hooked to my shorts, wondering how many steps I was taking in my frenzy of activity. It was less than I’d anticipated in this relatively small house at a total of 5800 steps for the day, a far cry from my goal of 10,000 steps hardly reached most days in this life unless we’re out for a long walk.

There were hundreds of these birds in the visitor’s shopping area where there are scraps of food offered by tourists, not a good idea when “people food” can be harmful to birds.

For the first time, as I whizzed through my day, I began to wonder if I will be able to keep up this pace in 10 years. Will I still have the energy and ability to move relatively freely from one task after another? Will the bit of exercise I get and walks we take be enough to see me through these upcoming years to allow me to continue to perform these tasks.

Seagull amid flight in the breeze.

One could say since I’m five years older than Tom, that eventually he can do it all. As much as I’d like to think he could and would, it’s not likely he’ll be motivated to make the low carb, grain, starch, and sugar-free muffins or the delicious mushroom casserole we’ve been enjoying as a side dish recently.

Yesterday, with the house clean and laundry done (except for the daily one load of bath and kitchen towels), I found myself on a new reign of activity while I prepared two free-range chickens with vegetables (great leftovers for tonight) to begin to roast at 4:00 pm, baked a batch of our favorite macaroons, made a salad, cleaned fresh green beans and folded the one load of wash.

As we waited for the Rocket Reef (boat) to arrive at the pier to return us to Cairns, the seagulls gathered around us.

(We can’t purchase “take away” meals when none of the options are suitable for my way of eating. Dining out is challenging at best. Instead, we cook all of our meals, many simple meals prepared in short periods and others requiring more time and effort).

All of this type of activity is commenced after typically spending my entire morning preparing the daily post, often not finishing until close to noon. Don’t get me wrong…I love doing posts. 

This scene reminded us of the many ports we’ve visited over these past years.

To date, our daily post never feels as if it’s a chore. Then again, neither do the household tasks as long as good health continues and I’m able to continue to perform these daily tasks. Is it inevitable that one slows down in their 80s or even 90s?

We left friends behind 10 years older than I, still able to keep a pace comparable to mine. They remain an inspiration. Aging is not an illness or condition. It is a fact of life that faces every single one of us. How we choose to live through that process whether we have limitations or not, is truly our choice.

We couldn’t imagine what an eskie is when we read this sign.  Once home, we looked online to discover it’s a cooler or “chill box.”

Putting negative thoughts behind me after allowing them to fester for two days, today I awoke with a fresh perspective. No more worrying about my ability to be as active in 10 years as I am today. Instead, I choose to embrace the moment and the imminent future. 

Good grief, we’re on our way to Fiji in nine days! 

                                            Photo from one year ago today, August 29, 2014:

It was one year ago today that we posted this taxidermy kangaroo photo from our visit to the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, UK. Now, we can drive down the road to see live kangaroos. How ironic. For more museum photos as we wound down the time in the UK, please click here.

The progression of a sunrise over the Coral Sea…Pinching ourselves…Not used to it yet! TV in Australia…

Tom’s first photo of sunrise over the Coral Sea at 6 am this morning. 

A few days ago while we were busy with our record-keeping flipping between screens on both of our laptops, a wildlife show flashed on the TV. Australian TV offers a constant stream of interesting documentaries of both its own continent and that of other continents which when we staying in we often keep running in the background.

Quickly, the scene began to change.

It was from watching documentaries that we’ve been inspired to visit many parts of the world. It was in 2004 that we watched a documentary on the Great Migration that stuck in our brains. It was nine years later that we found ourselves in the great Serengeti and the Maasai Mara in Kenya. 

He said it changed in seconds, not minutes.

We must admit that while I’m preparing the daily posts and Tom’s busy searching for future travels we keep the TV turned on to Australian news and documentary type shows. Without cable TV and only an antenna at our rental, there’s no BBC, US news, or world news on any of the channels here, although on occasion the US Today Show will pop up for no reason at all. 

TV programming by antenna only is lacking, to say the least except for the few treasures we’ve stumbled up. We were warned about this by our shipmates on the last cruise.  Most often one can only find “footy” (football/soccer in Australian talk), old reruns of MASH, and a few tiring game shows. 

Tom doesn’t usually capture amazing shots such as these.  I’m impressed!

We seldom, if ever, sit down to watch the TV itself. It’s only at night after dinner that we watch a few of our favorite shows. Instead, as we’ve mentioned in the past, we feel lucky when there is a flat-screen TV into which we can plug my laptop via an HDMI cable to watch a few favorite downloaded shows. In a few past vacation homes, we had no TV at all and we were content to watch the laptop’s 15.6″ monitor.

At present, we’re watching “Breaking Bad” (starting season three tonight) having recently completed the fabulous seven seasons of Sons of Anarchy, an all-time favorite. Also, we love BBC shows, recently completing Poldark and Crimson Fields, both amazing shows recommended by our friend Liz in Bristol, UK.

By the time I walked out the door, it had already changed this much.

Let’s face it, we’re just like most people who wind down at night to engage in a number of favorite pastime activities such as read, listen to music, drink wine and/or watch a few shows. We all need some “downtime” and the fact that we live a life of travel doesn’t change that fact. 

He handed me the camera, but at that point, the magical scene was nearly gone.

By evening, especially after a good meal and cleanup, we have no interest in searching for new places to visit in the future and our brains aren’t working well enough to maintain record keeping or handle financial matters.  Those tasks are best served during the day when we’re most alert.

What we’ve found most peculiar about Aussie TV programming is the fact that shows don’t necessarily start “on the hour or half-hour” and aren’t necessarily on at the same time each day or week or, on at the time listed on the online guide. One can easily miss a favorite program if counting on the next episode occurring on the same day and time a week later. 

Tom had already captured the very best of it.

As a result, we’ve made little effort to watch any Aussie produced shows other than documentaries that pop up on occasion when we happen to take notice. As mentioned a few days ago, we’ve loved David Attenborough’s documentaries but, there are numerous documentaries about life in Australia, the Outback, and travel around the continent.

Many of these shows we’ve stumbled upon have inspired us to visit various beaches, book more Australian cruises, and consider returning to Australia during the gaps in our itinerary as shown in yesterday’s post. 

Mountains and the sea are a perfect combination here in Trinity Beach.

The Australian documentaries are beautifully produced and give the viewer an appealing perspective of this vast relatively low populated continent. With its 23.5 million residents (2014) and size comparable to the US with its 319 million (2014), Australia relatively unpopulated for its size with most of the population residing near the perimeters closest to the sea.

Watching an occasional documentary has inspired us in many ways to further appreciate this unique continent.  I supposed we could say that most continents we’ve visited thus far are unique in their own ways for their terrain, lifestyle, and of course, their people. 

The beauty of the sunrise wafts away.  The beauty of a new day just begins.

Yesterday, we took a drive with more good photos to share over the next few days. Tomorrow morning, we’re off to Tom’s medical appointment and my final test results. Since he won’t be able to have breakfast before we leave due to upcoming blood tests, we plan to go out for coffee and breakfast in Trinity Beach by the sea, weather permitting. Photos will follow.

The dawn of a new day.  We’re grateful for every day we’ve been given.

For today, we couldn’t resist posting these sunrise photos Tom took this morning when getting up before 6 am.  I heard him go outdoors and I followed shortly but by the time I got outside, the amazing sky had begun to wane. The more intense photos shown here today are his and mine are the less than vibrant batch. 

Have a lovely Saturday or Sunday, wherever you may be!

                                              Photo from one year ago today, July 19, 2014:

While in Madeira one year ago, we visited one of the other rental homes owned by our landlords, Gina and Carlos. As we toured the beautiful house, our eyes were glued to the many works of art on the walls including this above needlepoint made by Gina’s mother and aunt. As a result, we posted photos of many of these works which can be found by clicking here.

Photos keep comin’ and comin’ of these past weeks…Beautiful beaches…

Many of these photos were taken at varying times of day with varying cloud cover.

When my sister Julie visited us for eight days my goal had been to take her to see some of our favorite spots on the island many of which are within an hour’s drive of Princeville.

This couple strolled along the beach.

We’d discussed heading south to Lihue and then Poipu Beach. After Tom and I had visited the southern and western coast over my birthday spending a night at the Kauai Sheraton at Poipu Beach we’d been somewhat disappointed when dense clouds impeded viewing Waimea Canyon, a common occurrence.

The combination of lush greenery, water, and sand create a pleasant scene.

I wasn’t as excited to show her the southern part of the island when it was equally cloudy during most of her eight-day visit. After all, this is the rainy season in Kauai. Luckily, Julie wasn’t at all disappointed with the weather when the sun only managed to peek out on occasion. 

Often beaches are lines with trees proving shade for those beachgoers needing protection from the sun.

She agreed the day trip to the southern coast could better be accomplished the next time she visits Kauai and, after this exceptional visit, she’s certain she’ll return in the future, most likely without us. We still have a lot of world to see and returning to Kauai, as much as we love it, is not a part of our upcoming itinerary.

The “wet” tunnel at Tunnels Beach is not open for swimming.

Thus, by staying within an hour’s drive from our home, we visited many of the sights Tom and I had already explored. However, a repeat visit didn’t prevent either of us from taking many photos often on overcast days, often in the exact locations, I’d previously seen.

I had no concern about being bored seeing these same beaches, same overlooks, and the same scenery. As I’d mentioned in a previous post, when you love someone, nothing is more exciting than sharing a favorite scene or location. 

Kealia Beach in Kapaa. 

As a matter of fact, there this one spot as we approach Princeville on the Kuhio highway where there is the most beautiful forest of trees we’d ever seen. Sadly, there weren’t any available spots to stop to take a photo. The photo is either taken through the windshield or not at all.  Each time we’ve driven through this area, our mouths are agape in awe over the stunning views. The trees remind Tom and me of the flat-topped acacia trees in the Masai Mara where we were on safari almost 18 months ago.

A small area of the expansive Anina Beach which is our favorite.

I contemplated whether or not to post the photos of these same locations I again visited with Julie. However, with her skills as a TV producer and her keen eye, she presented a new perspective in her observations of the scenery, which I easily incorporated into my new photos. 

A view of Hanalei Bay from our area in Princeville.

Over the next several days we’ll be presenting the photos, although Tom and I will continue to visit new locations, photos from which we’ll soon be sharing. Today is the exact date that in two months (of the four months we’re spending in Kauai) that we’ll depart the Hawaiian Islands to head to Australia by cruise.

Kealia Beach as seen from the Kauai Path in Kapaa.

Plus, it was one year ago today that we began to post the “one year ago photo” at the end of each post to aid our new readers in “catching up.”

The beach in downtown Kapaa.

And yet, there hasn’t been a single day when I’ve struggled with what to post the next days, what photos to share, what stories to tell. The island of Kauai is a never-ending photographer’s paradise, even for a novice like me.

Swimmers are the Hanalei Beach on a cloudy day.

With an exciting tour scheduled today which was rained out last Friday, which we’ll share this week, we find ourselves excited for that which is yet to come on this glorious island.

Although most beaches in Kauai are sandy a few have areas are rocky.

Last night, we had another fabulous evening with new friends Brenda and Pat at yet another repeated experience, dinner at Bouchon in Hanalei Beach which proved to be another equally great dining experience for both food and service. We love consistency and we’d loved having the opportunity to share it with our new friends who’d yet to try the restaurant.

Have a tremendous Tuesday!

                                             Photo from one year ago today, March 24, 2014:

We chose not to ride in one of these horse-driven buggies.  It saddened us to see the horses working in the extreme heat and some suffering from injuries.  As a result, we walked everywhere we wanted to go, such as to the pharmacy, the ATM, and restaurants in the Medina. Madam Zahra purchased food and prepared all of our meals leaving us little need to grocery shop other than for nuts for snacking. Once every few weeks, we hired a taxi to take us to the closest grocery store at a cost of approximately $15 round trip. We weren’t interested in the pricey nuts in the carts in the Medina after seeing them sitting out all day in the heat of the sun, surrounded by flies.  Those from the grocery store were reasonably priced and fresh. For details, please click here.