Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Vacation’ Category

Koala Country

On our last full day in Australia, we drove down to Phillip Island and visited the Koala Reserve and the Penguin Parade.

Here is one of about 20 we saw that day.  Most of the time they are sleeping to conserve energy.  All they eat are eucalyptus leaves.  We were lucky enough to see one moving around.

We also saw the penguin parade, but no pictures were allowed.  This attraction is well worth the drive to see the penguins swim to shore.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Outback Adventure

The day after the Reef adventure, we went on a safari trip deep into the Australian Outback.

Our first stop was a lake and nature preserve.

Here is a picture of some emus standing by the side of the trail.

We stopped for lunch at an old mining town – mostly abandoned now.

The kids got to scavenge at an old marble quarry.

In the same area called Chillagoe, there was also an abandoned old ore and gold mine.

The highlight was the tour of an underground cavern filled with stalagmites (these grow from the floor – and might grow up) and stalactites (these drop from the roof – and have to hold on tight).

On the ride home, we stopped off at the world’s smallest train station in Petford.

We also stopped off at a coffee plantation and the kids got to play with a cockatoo.

The next stop was Port Douglas and the Sugar Cane factories.

Read Full Post »

Great Barrier Reef Adventure

We took a two hour boat ride from the port in Cairns and arrived at the Great Barrier Reef.  This has been labeled as one of the 7 natural wonders of the world.  It is composed of 2900 reefs across 1600 miles on the north eastern coast of Australia.

We all started with a snorkel dive.  The reef is about 10-15 feet below and the visibility is excellent. We were at a reef called Norman Reef, one of the outermost reefs which is surrounded by deep water.

Here is a picture of Annika below.  After a short 10 minute snorkeling lesson, she was off on her own.

Here is one of a maori wrasse fish I was able to capture that swam up along side us.

After the snorkeling, me, Nikhil and Vikram went for a couple of scuba dives.

The boys took to the water like fish!  They scuba dived to 12-15m deep which took them to the bottom of the reef.  We saw turtles, giant clams, clownfish, an eel, sea cucumber and lots of other fish.

We picked a perfect sunny day for our dive.

We returned after a full day of snorkeling and diving.  The next day would take us on an adventure into the outback.

Read Full Post »

Yorkey’s Knob Down Under

I arrived in Melbourne and after a day, we flew up to Cairns which is on the northern coast of Australia and is the entry to the Great Barrier Reef.

Unfortunately, United Airlines lost my bag.  It remained in San Francisco!  I finally received it four days into my trip.  I had to buy some new clothes but fortunately, the stores are very similar to the states – Target, Costco, etc.!  Their allowance for lost baggage is a measly $50 US which doesn’t go too far in Melbourne.

Anyway, after spending a couple of hours buying  some basic necessities, we went to Cardenia to check out the kangaroos and were not disappointed.  Our plans for Philipps Island had to be postponed due to all the coats being in my bag.

The next day, we caught a Virgin Blue flight to Cairns and checked into our apartment on the beach. The weather in Yorkey’s Knob was at least 40 degrees warmer 80-90+ the whole time.  Here is the view from our place – about 200M from the beach.

The water was warm – in the low 70’s.

During the summer months, the jelly fish are a problem and they have a first aid kit at the ready.    Who knew!

The next day, we took a boat to the Reef.  I’ll continue on the next post.

Read Full Post »

Adventure in Melbourne

We just got back from our trip down under.  Anjali and the kids went out a week early and stayed at Madhura’s house.

Here are some pictures from Melbourne.  This first one is a park within walking distance from Madhura’s house.

This is a picture from Mount Dandenong.

Here is a picture with Keya.

Here is one of a parakeet eating spicy potato chips from Nikhil’s hand!

Here is one in Cardenia with some kangaroos behind the gang.

The kids in front of the James Cook historic cottage.

Here is one at the Melbourne Aquarium.

I’ll continue on another post.

Read Full Post »

We just got back from a weekend of camping and hiking in Yosemite.  Nikhil, Vikram and 12 of their boy scout troop joined in the fun.  I had arranged the camp sites and pre-ordered the half dome hiking tickets last February.  This is a strenuous 21 mile hike (from Upper Pines Campground via John Muir Trail) with 4800 feet of elevation gain and took us over 12 hours.

We started our hike at 5:30 AM and started up the John Muir Trail.  Here we are at our first break about an hour into the hike.

Vikram and Shree at Nevada Falls

We were fortunate to see this rare sighting of a bear cub at about the 10 mile mark.  Vikram snapped this shot and we moved along quickly just in case the mother bear was near.

Here is a great shot of the approach to Half Dome.    If you look closely, you will see the trail of people.  The lower half is a rock scramble up the mountain, the upper half is the famous cable hike.

Half Dome Cables

Here we are at the hump right before the cable section.

Finally, we reach the top.   I had all the boys harnessed into the cable with an Alpine Bod harness,  runner and carabiner.

The hike back down the mountain was a bit quicker and had some glorious views of Nevada and Vernal Falls (below).  We had all carried up over 4L of water per person and yet nearly all of us were running out at the end! Once again, it amazes me how many unprepared people we saw along the way with a bottle or two of water in 90 degree heat!

Read Full Post »

China Boom

I got back from my trip to Hong Kong and China.  The most striking thing is the booming economy there.  You wouldn’t know there is a recession here in the states.

Here is a picture from one of the hotels in mainland China.   The smog lingers constantly and the construction continues into the night.

Here is one of an 8 story shopping mall.   One of the malls we visited was all electronics fakes.  Their slogan there is “you make it, we fake it”.

Here is one of the beautiful harbor area looking from Kowloon to HK island.  I visited my friend Todd and also Alka mavshi and Naya kaka who both live in the midlevels area on Hong Kong island.

Here is a picture from their apartment.

Mavshi cooked me a wonderful home-cooked meal which was very nice after being on the road for so long.

On the Friday night I spent there, Todd and his wife Anne took me to the American Club.  It was a wonderful oasis for expats and served some of the best food I had there for two weeks!

A good trip… and I got really good at using chop sticks!

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »