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Nik & Whitney, 2008
Rock-climbing heaven - limestone caves Nik and Whitney found in northern Thailand. (See Nik down there?)
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Whitney, 2016
Whitney's research team, sitting down to dinner. Sao Sebastiao Wildlife Sanctuary, Mozambique.

Nik & Whitney, 2008
Monkeys looking for a handout from Nik at Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

Whitney, 2011
Daybreak over the rain forest canopy in Ecuadoran Amazonia.
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Eclipse!!

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.)
Defending the Title in Pleasant Prairie



This was the first time I've ever had to defend a win! That's a whole new kind of pressure.

That, and trying not to be too awestruck about sharing the podium with triathlon titans like Will Smith (Male Overall Winner) and Lauren Jensen (Female 2nd Overall). Over the years, I've watched those two dominate the Wisconsin races, beating out any level of competition, sometimes on sheer guts alone. I remember the very first triathlon I ever did – on my rusty old hybrid – Lauren Jensen was the overall winner that day.

True to the steely resolve she's always shown on race day, Lauren has miraculously come back from a major injury less than a year ago, to - not only participate - but again dominate, leading the women's race at Pleasant Prairie for the first 2 hours.

When I spotted her with a several minute lead on me at the beginning of the run, I was both inspired and intimidated by her grit and determination. Never give up! But my confidence wavered... What if Lauren never-gives-up better than I do? The thought of going head to head with her in a finish line sprint made me immediately nauseous, so I just held my pace, and concentrated on reeling in all the positive thoughts I could grab on to.

It was yet another absolutely perfect day for racing. The wind was low, the rain held off, and temps stayed comfortably in the 60s. The bike course is fairly flat and scenic, and the run course is ideal for me – flat with several switchbacks, so I can keep an eye on the competition. I'd gotten through the swim, bike and transitions relatively smoothly, so it was already qualifying as a successful day.

Fatigue started to crowd its way in, and I worried that my legs might take matters into their own hands (feet?) and stop to walk without my permission. But as usual, my pace seemed to stick, in spite of lurking desires to have a quick little rest in the grass.

Lauren was still some distance ahead of me, still charging forward like a machine. But there was more than a mile left to go. It was looking like it could be close. I've trailed my competition through the finish line at 5 seconds behind, at 7 seconds behind... I know exactly how impossibly far away 7 seconds looks.

...and come to think of it, Lauren couldn't be much more than 7 seconds ahead of me now. I had closed the gap.

As I pulled even with her, I calculated that I had about 4 minutes until the finish line – for 4 long minutes I would have to desperately cling to first place. "Way to go" she said as I passed. However, in my oxygen deprived state, at that fearful moment that you change from predator into prey... I was certain she said "Still a long way to go" and I realized with dismay that I was already at finish line effort, and indeed – there was still a long way to go. All of my practiced self-encouragements gave way to a simple "Go, Go, Go, Go..."

As I finally approached the finish line mats, I knew I couldn't let up until I was safely across them.

"And coming, through the finish line, Robin Goodell!"

I heaved across the finish line, providing the photographers with a most unbecoming panting dog impression as the announcer corrected,

"Kimberly, that was Kimberly just finishing"

Well, close enough.



Posted by kim 06/27/2011, revised 07/07/2011
30 Day Visa

It was immediately apparent that the $25 30 day visa in Indonesia was not long enough so we made an executive decision to stay for 31 days for a mere $20 extra. While in Sumatra we took a night boat to the remote Mentawai Islands south of Padang. There we stayed with a local Mentawai family and enjoyed jungle trekking and experienced traditional Mentawai medicine man rituals. It became apparent why all the medicine men are all so thin and wiry; the rituals go through the night and involve singing, chanting and dancing until you collapse from exhaustion. Then you repeat.

Dancing away evil spirits

Mentawai medicine man dancing away evil spirits


Posted by nik 02/06/2009, revised 02/24/2009
A glorious weekend on Magnetic Island

This past weekend, my roommates Scott and Crystal and I finally went to Magnetic Island for the first time. Affectionately referred to as "Maggie" by Townsvillians, this island is just off the shores of Townsville, a 20 minute ferry ride across the water. I'd heard nothing but good things from everyone who knows Maggie, and let me just say, everyone was right. Maggie Island is an incredible, fantastic place that feels so far from the reality of Townsville. I feel like I just spend my weekend in a completely different part of the world, on an island in the middle of nowhere, where nothing but happiness matters, the people are laid back, the beaches are gorgeous, the hiking trails are awesome, and even the Mexican food is good! And the strangest thing is that as easy as it is to get to the island from Townsville, there aren't many people there. It feels like a secret. There rightfully should be more people, more tourists, more bustle, but no. It's quiet, relaxed, lazy, and you can find yourself on a beautiful beach with no one else on it!


My roommate Scott admiring the incredible views from the top Maggie Island.


Posted by Whitney 05/27/2008
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