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Iceland Trip

In August, Anjali and I went to Iceland.  This was a last minute decision to go to Iceland.  I was changing jobs and had a full week before my new gig started.  Iceland had been on our shortlist and the timing worked out great with tickets, hotel availability and the fantastic weather in Iceland at the time.

We started our journey in Reykjavik.  The trip from the airport to downtown is about an hour drive and right away, you can start to see the volcanic terrain of the island.

We spent a night in Reykjavik and did some local sightseeing, before heading out in our rental car along the northern coastline.

The main church of Hallgrímskirkja was right next to our B&B.

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The next morning, we began our drive to the volcanic Snaefellsnes peninsula.

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There were so many beautiful waterfalls along the drive.iceland003 - 1.jpg

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The drive ended at the ocean and the Londragar lava formations.  One can follow the lava flows from the mountain all the way into the ocean.  Fantastic!

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As we drove further into the northern part of Iceland, we ran across a seal “crossing” near Hvammstangi.  The seals were lounging in the sun and there were dozens of them. Look closely – there are three seals in the foreground and six in background.iceland1002 - 1.jpgiceland1003 - 1.jpg

On day 4 of our trip, we made it to the northern city of Husavik.  This is known as Iceland’s whale watching capital.  We took an all day boat tour on a a viking sailing vessel from North Sailing.  I’d highly recommend their tours as you will see from the below pictures.

On the way to the whale site, we ventured past Puffin Island – a natural habitat for the puffin birds.  There were tens of thousands of the birds.

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Finally, we got to the whale site and after about two hours of seeing humpback whales from a distance we finally got “lucky” and had one come up right along side the boat.  What a thrill!  We also saw a number of Minke whales – these whales are much smaller and faster.

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There was one whale that played along side our boat for at least 40 minutes.  According to the captain, this was quite an unusual treat.  Must have been the fantastic weather!

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Definitely the highlight of the trip and ingrained in my memories for life.

From Husavik, we drove a couple of hours inland and saw a pair of waterfalls called Dettifoss and Selfoss. Dettifoss (which is a short distance downstream from Selfoss) is know to be the most powerful waterfall in all of Europe.

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Next stop and a bit further inland is Lake Myvatn. The area surrounding Lake Myvatn has the highest concentration of volcanic and geothermal sights in Iceland.  In a single day, we were able to explore pseudocraters, rock formations, lava fields, see mud pools and steam vents and eventually relax in a volcanic steam bath.

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These are photos from the Hverond Mud pits and Steam vents – a little off the beaten path but so eerie and quite smelly. Definitely worth the drive!

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iceland1022 - 1.jpgAfter Hveraond, we went a short drive to Dimmuborgr Lava formations and explored the natural lava formations.

 

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In the distance, you can see the Hverfjall Cinder Cone.  We spent a couple of hours and hiked to the top of the cone.iceland1024 - 1.jpg

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At the end of the day, we went to the Jardbodin Nature Baths.  It’s the northern Iceland equivalent of the Blue Lagoon Spa.  The water is heated and regulated by the steam vents.  Kind of an odd experience – probably would not go back to do this.

From the Myvatn area, we headed back to Reykjavik to catch our flight back to LA!

What a fantastic, experience and highly recommended!  With less than a week between booking our tickets and beginning on our journey, we leveraged the expertise of a travel planner from Kim Kim.  I’d highly recommend it as our planner Chris McCarty pointed us to so many sights we would not have known about.

Luna doesn’t quite know what to make of the big waves and she approaches them quite cautiously.Puppy16 - 1Puppy13 - 1Puppy18 - 1

Once she wet, she’s all in!Puppy14 - 1Puppy15 - 1

Cute Luna

Luna has been keeping us busy.  She enjoys digging in the yard.Puppy17 - 1Puppy11 - 1

Here is Luna playing with her fried Shelby.Puppy10 - 1Puppy12 - 1

Luna Puppy

We just got a new Golden Retriever and her name is Luna.Puppy003 - 1

She is named after a character from Harry Potter named Luna Lovegood.

She is two months old,  11 pounds and so very sweet.

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She’s got quite the personality so far.

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Mexico Vacation

We just got back from our vacation to Mexico City and Huatulco.

We landed in Mexico City and spent the first few days seeing the sights.  We took a day trip to see the pyramids in Teotihuacan.  These are the Sun and Moon pyramids and we got to climb to the top of both of them.

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The ride back from the pyramids is about an hour and a half and we pass thru the mountain ranges and see the the most colorful houses.

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On Day 3, we went to a small town on the Pacific side of Mexico about a 1 hour flight from the city.  We rented a nice beach house right on the sand on Playa Bocana just outside of Huatulco.

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We had the most amazing sunrise every morning.

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Here is a picture from the pool deck.

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About a 10 minute walk up the beach, there was a reservoir with pink flamingos!

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All day long, we would see the pelicans fishing in the ocean.

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On one of the last days in Huatulco, we went for a river rafting excursion.

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It looks pretty scary but wasn’t too bad.

Check out this amazing photo of an eagle we saw on the river.

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We are now back from vacation and getting ready for school after a long summer!

High School Graduation

Nikhil and Vikram both graduated from Beckman High School in June and will soon be on their way to UC San Diego (both of them).

Here they are in the procession line.

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Here is Nikhil receiving his diploma.

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Here is Vikram after receiving his diploma.

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And finally the boys with their grand parents.

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Annika’s Promotion

Annika is starting high school now.  Here are some pictures from her Promotion ceremony in June.khare-blog-331

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Here she is with Mom and Dad.

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The boys had a practice session this week before the big day next Wednesday.

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Here is Annika with her big brothers.

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High School Prom

The boys just had their Prom.  Here are some pics from the big day.

Here is Vikram with his date.

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And Nikhil with his date.

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Here is Anjali before the boys head out.

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And of course Annika below.

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Christmas Day in the OC

We went out for our annual family picture at a park in Irvine.  khare-blog-004khare-blog-003khare-blog-0071khare-blog-006

Its getting harder and harder each year to get them up for a picture.  Here’s their “serious” pose.

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We hosted Thanksgiving Dinner at our house for the first time in many years.  The Oak family came down to visit.

Here’s the gang enjoying dinner.

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We rented the farm table from Classic Party Rentals big enough to seat all of us comfortably!

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Annika had a race last weekend in Fontana.  This had to be the absolute ugliest course we have run in the 10+ years of races that she and the boys have ever run… and they have been to a lot of races!

Here is the scenic setting!

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There was a graffiti lined cinder block wall on one side and the power lines down the center.

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At least it was spectator friendly!

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Annika ran her first race of the season at Mt. Sac.

Here she is in the 4K running up the dreaded hill.

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And one coming down the hill.

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I went for a ride thru Peters Canyon this morning.  This is the worst year of drought I have seen in the 17+ years we have lived in this area.  This reservoir is normally full and at least 12-15 feet deep.

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This year, the reservoir is barely there.khare-blog-002

The only plant life thriving are the cactus.

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We’re praying for a lot of rain this year!

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Spring Sparrows

Spring is in full bloom and we have several sparrow nests in our back yard.

Sparrow Chicks

Sparrow Chicks

 

Here is their “dad”.

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Here are the chicks waiting for food.

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Picture creds go to Annika!  She has lots of patience (and the pictures to prove it).

 

 

Beckman Prom

Vikram went to Prom last weekend.  Here he is all dressed up with his date.prom-pic-001

prom-pic-002Here he is with all his friends before the big event!

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Sub Six Club

Annika has had a few more track meets in the last month and has been picking up her pace.  Here she is in a 1500m race en route to a new PR of 5:31.

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Blood Moon Sighting

I stayed up late (past midnight) to watch the Blood Moon.  This is a rare full moon eclipse.  It started at about 10PM with the peak “blood” at around midnight and then clearing away thru 2AM.  North America will see a blood moon 4 times between now and September (called a Tetrad).  Miss those and you will have to wait until 2032!

Here is the full moon before the eclipse.  Check out the blood at the end!

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After the moon goes dark, the blood starts to show.

This is the early part of it.  Check out the two white dots (slightly above and to the far right).  These are Mars and a bright star Spica (I believe).

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And finally the complete closeup.

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For those interested, I shot this with a Canon EOS 7D with a 70-300 zoom lens.  I played around with the aperture, ISO and shutter speed  throughout the evening.  The last picture here is ISO 800 at f/6.3 at a 1.6 second exposure.  With the moon at full brightness early in the evening ISO was only 200 at f/11 and 1/80 of a second.  No color correction or other filters were applied…. this is as true as it gets.

This was considerably easier to focus and get some great shots than the Transit of Venus we did in 2012!

 

Bountiful Blue

Spring is in the air and our blueberries are blooming.

khare-blog-6006The hummingbirds are also out in full force.

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Smooth Operator

The kids had some fun dressing up Joey today.  He will do anything as long as there is food involved!

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