Birds (and more) from a brief trip to the Dominican Republic

In early June I flew to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, for a friend’s wedding at a resort on the coast north of the city. Naturally, despite the limited time there and the schedule for the wedding, I made some time for some bird photography, with little regard for the amount of photography equipment I had to haul along with me.

At the resort there was a small eco-park, which was well populated by native, wild birds. These birds being accustomed to human presence, getting these photos was not especially challenging, but it was certainly fun!

Click on the photos if you want to view them in fullscreen (and use the arrow keys to move through them).

Antillean mangos were around if you paid attention, but there weren’t all that many flowering plants around, so I only saw a few:

Continue reading

Sailing the Sea of Cortez, January 9th-12th

Back in November, Davina (one of my closest friends) told me she had a companion fare on Alaska Airlines that she needed to use before it expired. “We should go to the tropics somewhere!” Between looking at airline prices and considering our activity options, one thing turned into another and within a few days we were inviting friends along and talking to charter companies about our bareboat options.

After a few false starts and some last-minute “oh crap, we can’t actually go on this” cancellations, we firmed up our crew list (me, Davina, Emily, Ben, Diana, and Shawna) and found a boat at a cheap price: a 41′ Morgan “Out Island” ketch. It was an older boat, mid-70s (1976 I think), but the price was right and the charter company was happy to help us with transportation to and from the airport. Within a few more days we’d all purchased our tickets to San Jose del Cabo and arranged our ride from the SJD airport up to La Paz, a beautiful coastal city where the sailboat resided in one of La Paz’ marinas.

Continue reading

Sailing in the San Juan Islands: Labor Day Weekend, 2015

As discussed in previous posts (primarily the route plan), this past weekend I took nine of my friends with me on a sailing charter trip in the San Juan Islands, north of Seattle. I’d lived on Orcas Island from 1990-1992 as a child while my dad was the pastor of Orcas Island Community Church, and hadn’t been back since. But let’s back up a bit to the beginning of the trip and talk about the yacht.

s/v Christelle

The yacht we’d chartered was the s/v Christelle, a 2001 Beneteau Oceanis 50 (yes, a 50 footer!) out of Anacortes, WA. She was clean and fairly well equipped, with four cabins (two doubles and two twins) as well as a two-bunk crew cabin in the bow (with the windlass controls inside). While not a very good layout for a live-aboard cruiser (too many cabins, too little non-cabin space), she was ideal for a short charter, and was very easy to sail and motor around the islands.

Continue reading


Hummingbird overload at Discovery Park

This past weekend (June 13th & 14th) I spent each morning at Discovery Park, arriving before 7am each day to coincide with the peak of activity by small birds. Specifically, I went looking for rufous hummingbirds before they begin migrating south to Mexico in the next two months.

What ended up happening (after a nice person in the park told me where he’d seen dozens of hummingbirds buzzing about) was probably the two best days of hummingbird photography I’ve had yet. More importantly, it gave me a lot of practice shooting these tiny, fast creatures, as well as an idea on an equipment modification I could make that I’m going to have to try to fabricate (possibly with the help of a 3D printer) which, if I end up doing, I’ll detail in a future blog post.

Continue reading

British Virgin Islands 2015 Trip – Part 4

Wednesday was our “down-time” day where we weren’t sailing anywhere, had no solid plans, and folks were allowed to do what they liked. Per the previous entry, a number of us had signed up for a snorkeling trip, which started at 10am. Several of us had also signed up for the “Out of Bounds Hobie Cat Adventure,” and I’d made arrangements to meet with the local kite-surfing instructor for a lesson in kite surfing.

There won’t be many pictures in this post–during this relaxing day I didn’t carry my camera around much, partially due to all the in/on-the-water activities.

Continue reading