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Whitney, 2016
Low tide at the Coastal Wildlife Sanctuary, Sao Sebastiao, Inhambane, Mozambique

Whitney, 2016
Snorkeling at Vilankulos, Mozambique.

Nik & Whitney, 2008
Great scenery, great rock-climbing in Laos.

Whitney, 2011
Low tides on Ecuador's coast.
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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.)
The Things We Deserve

Winter for me means a lot of training, but there isn't much to talk about in the way of races. However, an incident in December got me thinking about how people treat each other, and some of the common attitudes within the triathlon community, but also in society in general. Admittedly, I can't keep pace with Twitter, so this commentary would have been a lot more relevant three months ago, but sometimes it seems like the immediate and impulsive nature of social media doesn't really allow for deeper introspection. I hesitated for a long time before posting this because the story was no longer current, but as time went by, the themes stayed with me. I became more aware of my own tendency towards quick judgment, and I observed all around me the persistent habit of categorizing strangers as The Deserving or The Undeserving, usually based on completely arbitrary distinctions or inaccurate perceptions.

Here is what went down in December:

Danielle Dingman, a talented young athlete who is relatively new to triathlon, qualified for her pro license last season. Faced with typical financial barriers as an unsponsored rookie, she opted to launch a GoFundMe page where friends, family and perhaps even anonymous donors could help her pursue her dream of a career in triathlon racing.

Apparently, this rubbed some people the wrong way.

Brad Culp, a writer and former Editor in Chief for Triathlon Magazine, was quick to condemn this move with the sarcastic tweet "Go Fund Yourself." He pointed to prominent athletes whose early years were consumed by long hours devoted to (high wage) careers that ultimately enabled financial freedom without the help of a "handout." He further expanded on his rejection of Dingman in an article on the TRS website, and other pro athletes chimed in, affirming his stance.

There was a compelling element to Culp's argument, as he presented Dingman as a self-absorbed, dreamy millennial who hoped success would land in her lap. His stereotype appealed to the part of the psyche that says, "Yeah, you know what? I've had to make sacrifices. Why should you get anything for free?" By leaning on that American cliché of "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps," he taps into the familiar tendency to indulge in moral superiority, looking down upon the lazy and undeserving. Indeed, I've observed that often when people debate, they seem more preoccupied with attempting to prove "how hard I've had to work," than they are with actually making a salient point. In some convoluted way, invoking hard work is universally expected to lend credibility to your opinions.

Posted by Kimberly 03/06/2018
Cambodia to Malaysia, Via Thailand

Well, I was gonna write all about the rest of Laos and Cambodia but I've fallen dreadfully behind so let's take up from our reentry into Thailand.

This time through Thailand began with a 24 hour trip from Siem Reap, in Cambodia, all the way to Krabi, with a brief stopover in Bangkok long enough to arrange the next leg. Krabi is well known for its world class climbing. The small beaches in Krabi are isolated from the mainland by towering Limestone cliffs.

Rock climbers paradise

The main beaches are Aow Nang, the busy primary stop accessible from the mainland, Railey East and Railey West, two beaches on the peninsula and accessible by boat, and Ton Sai, a tiny cove that can be accessed by boat or from Railey at low tide. Aow Nang is used as a jumping off point for the islands in the area or to catch boats to the other beaches. Railey's beaches have excellent climbing but are dominated by expensive family resorts and the families that go with them. Ton Sai is wonderfully removed from the resort beaches and far cheaper. The result: Ton Sai abounds with rock climbers from around the world; it is to rock climbing what Koh Tao is to diving.

The first day we were able to rent gear and enjoy some of Krabi's epic climbing at Ton Sai, a short walk from our bungalow. By the end of the day we could feel the effects through our unconditioned arms and opted to make the next day a day of rest.

Posted by nik 12/03/2008, revised 02/06/2009
Last week in France

This entry is going to be short too. I'm sorry, but life moves too fast for me to be able to tell you all about everything. But pictures say a thousand words right? So I have a much easier way to present 20,000 words. (See link to France photo album on my home page.)

In summary, I had an amazing, sunny, warm, relaxing week in Bordeaux. I tasted wine, went to the beach, sat in beautiful botanic gardens, and had great Couchsurfing accommodations. Then I took a train back to Paris where I stayed with an American ex-pat family in their beautiful apartment, and had a great night with them: family dinner around the table (4 kids aged 6-18, 2 parents, and me!), out to an incredible hidden-little-secret pub/cave that was very Tavern-esque, saw some really good live jazz-funk, and then caught my flight to Bangkok the next morning.

I stayed with the Schumacher family my last night in Paris. They were so friendly and fun!

So I've met up with Nik in Bangkok, and we've had an incredible first 48 hours here! But those blogs are to come later. For now, I sleep. And prepare for another great day in Thailand.

Posted by Whitney 09/05/2008

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