Sunset Gathering at the Causeway

Every month or so, a group of us gather at the Sanibel causeway for sharing, caring, sunsets and fellowship. Click on any image to see a larger version.


We are members and friends of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers, http://www.uucfm.org/.
Photos (c) John Swank.

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Mothers Day 2015: A Whale of an Adventure

Mothers Day finds me reflecting on an experience Elaine and I shared just a few weeks ago.

We were traveling a long way from home and came across a group of new mothers and their babies.  We found them enormously attractive.

Elaine loves to hold and talk to babies, and I love any opportunity for a good photo.

But we were the interlopers and stayed a respectful distance away.

In just a little while, one of the moms brought her baby close to us. She didn’t say anything, but seemed to encourage us to pat the young one and had no objection to my camera.

Pretty soon others joined us. They seemed to be as curious as we were and to enjoy the encounter.

Elaine didn’t get to hold the babies but did get the pat them, kiss them, and put her hand in one’s mouth.  I got some photos and I believe we all had a great sense of connection.

Happy Mothers Day to all who have the title officially, and to all who help support this interconnected web of life we share.

Grey Whale Group

Grey Whale Group

Watchful Whale

Watchful Whale

Grey Whales, Cow and Calf

Grey Whales, Cow and Calf

Mom and calf

Mom and calf

WCloseWhale

Blowhole

 

Below the Surface

Below the Surface

Balleen

Balleen

Notes: This encounter took place in a protected area in Mexico as part of a small group eco tour. Only a few boats are allowed in the preserve at a time, all piloted by licensed personnel. All wildlife was treated with a great deal of respect. Many thanks to the professionals who conducted this tour, and to our fellow searchers.

Here is a link to the tour operator: http://www.bajawhales.com/.

ANOTHER GREAT DAY AT DING DARLING NWR

For the second year, Elaine and I were pleased to offer a guided birding/photo tour of our favorite National Wildlife Refuge at our church auction. Four other members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Myers joined us for fun, fellowship and adventure. We saw 25 species of birds in a few hours, and had many photo opportunities.

 

Yellow crown night heron

Yellow crown night heron

Reddish egret preening

Reddish egret preening

One white pelican, many willets

One white pelican, many willets

Little blue posing, no zoom required

Little blue posing, no zoom required

Pileated woodpecker near exit

Pileated woodpecker near exit

White pelican landing, cormorants ignoring

White pelican landing, cormorants ignoring

Osprey taking off

Osprey taking off

Yellow crown night heron watching the watchers

Yellow crown night heron watching the watchers

Here are the 25 bird species we were lucky enough to see:

Reddish egret, great egret, little blue heron, tri-colored heron, white ibis, yellow-crowned night heron, pie-billed grebe, red breasted merganser, double crested cormorant, white pelican, brown pelican (on causeway), willet, spotted sandpiper, bald eagle, shortbilled dowitcher, dunlins, osprey, pileated woodpecker, roseat spoonbills (fly over), royal tern, fish crow, mourning dove, Eurasian collared dove, red-shouldered hawk, northern cardinal.

There were other critters and plants to see as well:

 

Tree Çrab

Tree Çrab

Needle nose fish

Needle nose fish

Flowers by the education center

Flowers by the education center

 

Mangroves, critical to our ecosystem.

Mangroves, critical to our ecosystem.

 

 

 


							

Galapagos Final Day: Overview

We had seen and done so much on the first six days of our September, 2013 National Geographic/Lindblad expedition to the Galapagos.  With one more day remaining, could we keep up the excitement and the pace?  The answer turned out to be: most definitely.  Here was our program for the day.

Elaine and I were fortunate to be able to visit the beach with the first group, at low tide.  That meant we could go to Prince Phillip’s Steps (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genovesa_Island) at high tide.  Some who went there first were not able to make it up the steep steps; fortunately, we were able to do so. Here is a preview.

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Galapagos Day Six: Mishap and New Point of View

Continuing my recap of our Galapagos adventure in September, 2013.

These were our scheduled activities for September 19:

Unfortunately, I had a slight mishap and banged up my knee before the morning hike. So I got a quick ride back to the ship. I didn’t need any stitches, but missed the hike and snorkeling. Did get the zodiac tour and glass bottom boat experience — and some extra time to take photos onboard the ship.

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Please also visit my Facebook photograph page, http://www.facebook.com/frameworthy. You do not have to belong to Facebook to enjoy it.
I highly recommend the Floridawoman blog by Elaine Swank, http://ewswank.wordpress.com/ and Run-On Sentences by Hope Swank, http://hwswank.wordpress.com/.

Day Five in the Galapagos: Santa Cruz Island and Daphne Major Islet

September 18, 2013

Our fifth day’s adventure began with a walk on “Dragon Hill” on Santa Cruz Island.  More amazing flora and fauna, including more flamingos, this time quite close.  Then more deep water snorkeling — this time the water was rather rough, but I got to try out my underwater camera again. Then extended zodiac rides and a shipboard cruise around Daphne Major Islet.  In the evening: champagne on the bow, a stunning sunset, dolphins by the hundreds playing in our wake, and a full moon.  I’ve included the daily program at the end of the gallery.

Hard to imagine a better day, but we were not though with the Enchanted Islands yet.

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Fourth Day in Galapagos Day, Part 2

September 17, 2013: In our walking tour of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos, Elaine and I were fortunate to come across a hidden “Artful Walkway” full of new and repurposed ceramics.  A fun diversion.

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Later, as a group, we explored a lava tube then had lunch at a fantastic open air restaurant in the highlands, not far from where we observed tortoises in the wild.  We also visited a small sugar cane farm, where some of us replaced the donkey that usually turns the press to extract the juice.  We observed the boiling and distilling process that ultimately resulted in “jet fuel” which we got the sample.

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Back aboard ship, we enjoyed an evening of music and dancing, thanks to a talented local troupe, Iguanos Galapagos. Quite a few of us brought back cd’s — a real treat to listen to as we record our memories.

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