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Whitney, 2011
You can't possibly be ferocious with big brown eyes like that! This guy kept Whitney company while working at the research site.

New Zealand, 2012
Kim and Brad, wine-tasting at Mudbrick Vineyard, Waiheke Island.

Nik & Whitney, 2008
Nik, Jochem and Roland suited up and ready to dive off Koh Tao, Thailand.

Whitney, 2011
Vilcabamba, Ecuador. Whitney relaxing after a day of hiking.
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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.)
Tales of a Swim Meet Rookie

This year San Jose was the host city for the Pacific Masters Long Course Championships swim meet.

I've never competed at long course before, but with such a big event coming right to my backyard, how could I resist? It's been a good 7 years since I last showed up at any kind of Masters swim meet (representing the Chicago Smelts in Illinois in 2008, and throwing down my best 31 seconds of freestyle for a team relay, Go Smelts!)

Technically, I'm not a rookie, since I do have some 30 or 40 short course swim meets under my belt, but most of those are in the distant past, and in high school I was a very different type of athlete. I often made a point of letting my coaches know that I was only good for about a 50 yard effort ... Maybe 100 if you're lucky.

This was my high school swim team sign-up sheet. If you do the math, you can see my estimates for the distance events (200 & 500 yard swim) were pretty unambitious ...

I remember one high school meet where both teams were short, and with only 4 girls signed up for the 500 yard Freestyle, all I had to do was complete it, and I was guaranteed to score points for my team. Didn't have to be fast or pretty, but it might help my team secure a win!

I flat out refused.

Too much effort.

How's that for teamwork?

Well times have changed, and these days I'm a bit more enterprising, so I decided to Go Big or Go Home, and I signed up for the longest event they have: the 1500 meter freestyle! I'm an endurance athlete now.

What could possibly go wrong?

Posted by Kimberly 08/01/2015
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

I'm here. I made it. And I'm sweating.

Warm showers are a thing of the past for me. Cold cold cold. I have to get used to being sticky all the time, but aside from that, Townsville is great. The town is really spread out, so things aren't quite as accessible as I'm used to. But the tropical trees and wildlife are pretty cool, and the campus is really pretty. The layout is not gridlike at all, it's just kind of buildings in pods, with little walkways all over, passing through covers of palm trees that sing with all the different tropical birds sitting above.

I THINK I've found a place to live. I'm waiting to hear back, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. It's an amazing house about as close to campus as you can get. For now I'm "couchsurfing" in a house with 3 postgrads that save geckos from under their car 'bonnets.' It's great.

I'll try to keep these posts short. So I'm going to stop here. I could ramble on for days, but until I figure out how I want to do these posts, I will just keep things basic.

So in summary, "I'm here. I like it. It's hot."
Posted by Whitney 02/25/2008, revised 02/25/2008
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