Jellyfish Lake Snorkel

Posted by on Mar 2, 2014

Kathy Snorkels with Jellyfish

Kathy Snorkels with Jellyfish

Snorkeling at Jellyfish Lake.

While in Palau we went to Jellyfish Lake. There are actually seven jellyfish lakes but only one is open to the public, Ongeim’l Tketau. The lake contains brackish water and is filled with rainwater (fresh) and salt water which leaches in through the limestone of the island. The Golden jellies have been in the lake for so long (maybe millions of years) that they have mostly lost their ability to sting. They pulse across the lake in search of the sun and in the middle are present in the thousands! The jellies bump into snorkelers and each other and it is hard to explain the sensation but it feels a bit like being hit by soft Jello.

Golden Jellyfish in the Thousands

Golden Jellyfish in the Thousands

I lost all track of time while swimming gently through the jellies trying to get some pictures, taking my strobe off its arm and hand holding to change the lighting. I also took some video (see link below) but you really need to go there and experience jellyfish lake yourself. Snorkeling in Jellyfish Lake was so cool!

Jellyfish and reflection on the surface.

Jellyfish and reflection on the surface.

How to get there.

Our group was on a liveaboard dive boat, the Palau Siren but you can take day trips to Jellyfish Lake from Koror, the capital of Palau. All trips to Jellyfish Lake will involve a boat ride to Eil Malk island where you climb up and over a small hill. There are steps but they are uneven and often slippery so wear suitable shoes or better yet wear dive booties. At the lake there is a dock where you can put on your fins, mask and snorkel and hop in. Swim (gently) to the middle of the lake where the sun hits the lake to see the most jellies and be prepared for one of the best experiences of your life.

Click here to see my video of Jellyfish Lake.

 

Swim with thousands of jellyfish at Jellyfish Lake.

Swim with thousands of jellyfish at Jellyfish Lake.

 

The jellyfish glow as they swim in the sun.

The jellyfish glow as they swim in the sun.

 

I hope you enjoy the images and the video. Happy bubbles!

Kathy

 

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Micronesia Here I come

Posted by on Feb 8, 2014

Here I go again, off on another adventure!

On this trip I will be visiting Micronesia, specifically Kosrae one of the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau (Republic of Palau) which is also part of the chain of islands known as Micronesia. Micronesia is comprised of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. People at work keep asking me where Micronesia is so finally I printed a map and put it on a wall in my office. The easiest way to explain the location is to think of Hawaii, then head west almost until you get to the Philippines. There in the middle of the ocean are the islands of Micronesia.

Map of Micronesia Showing Kosrae

Map of Micronesia Showing Kosrae

Palau is known for its SCUBA diving, which is why I’m going of course. I’m hoping to see huge schools of fish, sharks, and reefs covered in a rainbow of colorful coral. Hopefully we’ll see manta rays and turtles also! I’ll be sailing with seven friends on the Palau Siren a beautiful sister ship to the Indo Siren that Randy and I cruised to Komodo National Park in Indonesia on a few of years ago. I’ll be joined by seven friends on the Palau Siren, all underwater photographers, looking forward to diving in the beautiful ocean there.

S/Y Indo Siren

The Indo Siren at Full Sail

But first I’m making a stop at Kosrae Village Ecolodge where I’ve wanted to go for years, ever since I met Katrina and Bruce, partners at the ecolodge and NCUPS members from way back. At Kosrae I’m planning on doing some diving along the stunning reef known for its abundance of marine life and pristine hard corals. I’m also going to do some relaxing, read some books and do some walking around the island to take in the local culture. Generally take it easy and get rid of the stress from the busy fall and winter that I’ve had this year.

Keep an eye on Divermaiden.com where I will be updating with pictures and stories as the internet access allows.

 

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Spend time with your mom – go to Hawaii

Posted by on Jan 1, 2014

Mom, Lisa and I in front of the Kilauea Caldera.

Mom, Lisa and I in front of the Kilauea Caldera.

Earlier this year my mom, sister and I decided to go on a mother-daughter trip to Hawaii. My mom had never been to Hawaii and my sister hadn’t been in years. I had just had my first trip to Hawaii in March and enjoyed it so when my mom expressed interest in going there I thought that would be a great idea.

Originally we had planned on going in early May but we had to cancel those dates and eventually ended up going in October. I had found a couple of good places to stay using Expedia and TripAdvisor and eventually booked us into a condo in Kailua Kona for four nights and a guest house in Volcano for two nights. The condo was perfect, one bedroom with a king size bed and a convertible sofa, which we never did pull out preferring to spread out sheets and blankets on the couch as is. The condo was very comfortable and we cooked dinner there several nights and made lunch and breakfast saving us some money on dining out. Wanting to make the trip special for my mom with the true feel of Hawaii I had booked us into an oceanfront room.  That was a great idea providing us with beautiful sunsets each night. Our last two nights in Hawaii were at a guest house in Volcano, which is a story in itself that I will tell in another post.

The view from our 4th floor condo in Kailua Kona.

The view from our 4th floor condo in Kailua Kona.

But the greatest thing about this trip was the three of us getting to spend some time together. We talked about our lives and laughed a lot about things we’ve done in the past. We also made some memories together that will last the rest of our lives. Who could forget the huge manta rays swooping up from the dark water to within inches from us feeding on the krill exposed by the bright lights? There we were, in the ocean, snorkeling in the dark holding onto a “surfboard” as the mantas circled below us over and over again. We could see down their mouths and through their gills. It was an amazing experience!

Night Snorkel with Feeding Manta Rays

Night Snorkel with Feeding Manta Rays

On other days we walked through historic sites where ancient ruins mapped out villages, we walked down long trails to beautiful waterfalls and we went snorkeling in protected bays in one of which Mom and I saw a turtle! We drove to the southernmost point in the United States where the water was the blue of the sky only 10 times more saturated, and the shallow water a beautiful aqua color that I can’t find words to describe. Hawaii is beautiful and we enjoyed every moment. And who could go to Hawaii without shopping. I can tell you that several Christmas presents were purchased on the trip.

Lisa and Mom at the Southern-most point in the United States.

Lisa and Mom at the Southern-most point in the United States.

But being on vacation in Hawaii wasn’t my only reason for this post.

While we were on the trip I noticed how my mother was starting to seem a little frail. Well, maybe not frail; but I had always thought of her as so strong. She is still healthy and actually quite strong for her age, but by being in close contact with her for a week I realized that she is aging, and slowing down a bit. After I came home I knew that I wanted to spend more time with her. So more mother - daughter trips will be planned. Parents; and grandparents are special people that sometimes as we grow up and live our own lives we don’t see or talk to them as often as when we were younger. But this is the time when we should be spending time with them, if not in person then on the phone, on Skype or Facetime, with emails and letters. Don’t miss out on spending time with your mom or dad or your grandparents, take them on a vacation…

Or, just give them a call to say hello and I love you.

The Three Glamorous Snorkelers!

The Three Glamorous Snorkelers!

I love you mom!

 

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Adobe Photoshop; Available by Subscription?

Posted by on Jul 12, 2013

Adobe DVD’s and boxes go away as Adobe’s Creative Suite moves to subscription.

 

Adobe boxes, a thing of the past.

Adobe boxes, a thing of the past.

No longer will we be buying a box with a DVD in it or buying a license and downloading Adobe software to our computers, ours to use for ever and ever. The model has changed!

The world of photographers was rocked a bit when Adobe announced that Photoshop, in fact almost all of Adobe’s ‘Creative Suite’ is going to a cloud based subscription service. What! Subscription? How much? How does it work? How will we get it? Who thought this up?

These were all questions in our minds.

All this contemplation began for me after getting an email informing me that my Lightroom 5 beta was over. Lightroom 5 was now available for upgrade so I brought up the Adobe store to buy my Lightroom upgrade. Lightroom is one of the few Adobe products not being changed to subscription only. Usually I buy a boxed version but I couldn’t find that option on Adobe’s online store. Now what was I to do?

Like any other red-blooded American photographer I picked up my phone and called Adobe. After being asked to press “1” to have someone call me back in 5-10 minutes (yeah right) and pressing “0” (the smart choice) to be put on hold for the next available representative, I was eventually put through to a very nice person who told me all about the new subscription model and how it was going to work.

Yes, she tells me, the “Creative Suite” is no longer available as application(s) that you purchase once and get a license and that’s it. Anyone wanting to use part of the Creative Suite, now called the Creative Cloud, will have to subscribe. And the prices can be steep depending on how you use your Adobe products.

Pricing Options:

  1. Subscribe to the “Creative Cloud” for $49.99 a month ($29.99 a month if you have a version of Creative Suite newer than CS3).
  2. If you just want Photoshop (now called CC instead of CS) you pay $19.99 a month ($9.99 a month if you qualify).
  3.  The special prices ends July 31, 2013, so if you want to take advantage do it soon.
  4. Any of the applications are available on a month-to-month basis but at a higher price.

Generally, other than Lightroom, I have only used Photoshop… oops I mean CC so I didn’t get information on the whole suite, but I think it works pretty much the same, just more expensive.

How it works and other information:

  • The application is downloaded and installed on your computer (up to two devices) and it resides on your computer, not the Adobe cloud.
  • The application is available on or off-line.
  • Save your work to the Adobe cloud or to your hard drive or to both.
  • Your cloud is able to be shared and has 20 GB of storage.
  • Download either the full Creative Suite or just Photoshop (now known as “CC”).
  • Lightroom is still available as a licensed product as are Elements and a few other Adobe applications.
  • CS6 is the last of the licensable Photoshop versions is still available.
  • Adobe is no longer selling any boxed software on their website or by phone.
  • If you really want a boxed version of Lightroom there are some that were distributed to retailers so check your local Best Buy or other software distributor.

I think I’m going to take advantage of the special for those with a currently licensed product newer than CS3 and sign up for CC only. At the end of my year at $9.99 I’ll switch to the month-to-month plan. I use Lightroom mostly anyway. I might miss the convenience of being able to use CC at will whenever I want to but it seems silly to pay a lot of money for something I only use occasionally.

What are you going to do? Will you:

  1. Subscribe to an annual subscription.
  2. Subscribe month-to-month.
  3. Just use Lightroom or Elements and not use Photoshop at all anymore.
  4. Switch to Apple and use Aperture.

I’m interested to hear what other photographers will do. Send me a comment and let me know.

Disclaimer:  This post was not sponsored by Adobe or anyone else and no free software (or cloudware) was received by the author (unfortunately ;).

 

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