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Nik, 2000
Nik at Lake Mead.

New Zealand, 2012
Monument to the Rainbow Warrior, a Greenpeace ship sunk by French agents in a New Zealand harbor in 1990.

Nik & Whitney, 2008
Nik doing a little kayaking near Krabi, Thailand.

Whitney, 2011
Yep, there are giant spiders in the Amazon jungle.
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The Great Solar Eclipse of 2017 crossed the continent, from Oregon to South Carolina, and gave millions of people the chance to witness one of the most awe-inspiring events in the natural world.

Nik's photo of the August 21 eclipse, photographed from Glendo, Wyoming. The star, Regulus, is barely visible to the lower left of the solar corona.
But you had to be within the "path of totality", a narrow band across the earth's surface several thousand miles long but only about 70 miles wide. Outside that band you would only see a partial eclipse, not a total eclipse.

And there is no such thing as a "partial total eclipse", despite the impression blogs and the news media might give. I honestly think that's why so many people misunderstand the utter beauty of the spectacle; they may have seen a partial eclipse in the past that was total somewhere else, and even though they weren't in the path the news kept gushing about it being a total eclipse, so they assume they must have seen a total eclipse and just didn't find it all that impressive.

Posted by Dan 08/29/2017, revised 09/06/2017
(Our kids have grown and are no longer posting blog stories here. Below are some highlights from past posts.)

Today's New Years Eve 100x 100m swim brought my total swim distance to a record-setting* 403 miles for the year 2019.

And yes, I've actually counted.

In fact, I've kept track of my swim laps for over a decade now, starting with the 134 miles I completed in 2006, the same year that Coach Liz planted the seed of the 365 Club in my brain. That club is exclusively for anyone who can average a mile of swimming per day, for a year. That goal seemed a bit absurd at the time, so I settled for the scaled version, the much less impressive sounding 182.5 Club -- just half a mile per day. Even that was a little too ambitious for me at first, but after six years of steadily increasing my swim volume, I finally surpassed the goal, breaking 200 miles in 2012.

A happy side effect of moving up to the triathlon pro ranks was a significant jump in swim, bike and run volume, and suddenly I found myself hovering dangerously close to that elusive 365 mark. On December 31st, 2017, I hit mile 365 for the first time, coming in just under the wire before the clock reset on 2018. I'm not even sure when I reached 365 the next two years -- perhaps early December -- but I blew past it and just kept on swimming.

So what is the result of these nearly 200 hours per year that I spend listening to the ambient slosh and gurgle of water in my ears? When I looked at it that way, I felt a little sheepish. If I had spent those 200 hours practicing Spanish, I'd be fluent already. If I had spent it carving wooden furniture, we'd have a full bedroom set by now. But instead, I used my time occupying a water-filled box, moving myself back and forth in one of the least efficient modes possible. One might assume that at least I must have gotten much, much better at swimming -- perhaps even twice as fast! But no, I still post roughly the same times I did ten years ago.

There's not much I can measure to assure that my return on investment has been worthwhile. But there are two distinct changes that I've noticed, and those two are key.

The first is that the more I swim, the more swimming I can tolerate. Five years ago, I'd heard of the infamous 100x 100 swim, but I thought it was just urban legend. Surely people weren't actually swimming 3 back-to-back swim practices in a row! But they absolutely were. The first time I attempted 100x 75 at the Walnut Creek Masters' "New Years Day 100 Whatevers," I literally couldn't raise my arms above the water in the final few 75s. Today, I felt like I could've kept going right on past 10k. So there you have it -- I work hard at swimming so that I can work harder at swimming.

The second change that has occurred is this: although I've always thought the pool was nice, with each year that my distance ratchets up, so too does my love for swimming. I love it more than last year. And the year before that. I'm not really there for the miles, or the time splits on the clock ... I'm there for the pure joy of swimming.

And joy is something that can't be measured.

Or maybe it can be?

Here's to the next 403 miles of joy. 2020, bring it on!

* Record-setting for me, not for humanity at large. I have, of course, encountered plenty of swim junkies who might chuckle at the idea of taking a whole year just to reach 400.

Posted by Kimberly 12/31/2019
Nik Bicycles Pacific Coast

After packing some camping gear on his bicycle and hitching a ride to British Columbia, Nik spent part of this summer riding his bicycle from Canada to California.

Nik still lives in Santa Cruz, where he spends time playing beach volleyball and going to school at Cabrillo College.
Posted by Dan 08/15/2007

Viviendo la vida

Una otra semana a la costa, una otra semana de viviendo la vida.

Last week was the April low-tides, which meant another week of intertidal work, sun on my skin, and sand between my toes. I got to see a new part of the coast, as we had to visit some experimental sites I have not yet been to. So we spent a few days in the north of the Ecuadorian coastline, in the Esmeraldas. I loved it! Not as much tourism, just some little sleepy fishing towns, lots of green tropical vegetation, and some of the best ceviche I have had yet, with shrimp pulled in from the sea just a few hours prior to being in my stomach.

You can't possibly be ferocious with big brown eyes like that!

Posted by Whitney 04/27/2011
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