Monday, August 31, 2015

And I'm off!

I am looking forward to this trip.  I am hoping to get a LOT of diving in.  This is the first trip I've taken in a long time where I didn't NEED it.  I'm not stressed at work and summer just ended so it seems and unlikely time to take a month long vacation... but I LOVE Graham's Nudibranch focused trips, so I made this happen!

Here is my travel fashion.  I don't think anyone at my gate even knows what a Nudibranch is.

I keep thinking that I have forgotten something.  This underwater photography thing is so tricky.  If I forget one little thing, I could be out of business.

I cannot wait to have Mie Goreng (fried noodles) every morning for second breakfast. It is my absolute favorite.

I’m looking forward to meeting the scientist who is on our trip and Ali whom I've heard so much about.

I think I’m going to be the least knowledgeable person about Nudibranchs on this trip.  I can’t wait to talk about them all month and learn.  When I get back, I really do want to finish up the Nudi wall in my condo and get so many more up there.

After a 14 hour flight from Chicago to Seoul and another 7 hour flight from Seoul to Bali, I landed in Denpasar around midnight.  The flights were easy peasy on Korean Air.  The cabin is so pretty as are the flight attendants.  They wear these light blue and off white combinations and these crazy bows in their hair that is really stiff and big.  I swear if I wore one of those, I’d poke an eye out of someone.

When I got to the Harris Tuban hotel, they didn’t have my reservation.  They tried to check me in as David Mc something.  I forgot all about the Indonesian culture.  Even if something is completely wrong, they try to make it right in order to make you happy in the moment.  So weird.

I went to the pool for the morning and caught some sun while reading To Kill A Mockingbird (so I can read the new Go Set a Watchman).  I haven’t read that book for 30ish years.  It’s really good novel actually.  I also tried to read “The Underwater Photographer” to brush up but I couldn’t really get into it.

The rest of the day I just ordered in room service and was alone.  It was pretty nice actually.  I slept a ton.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Round five of Sea Sluggin' in Bali is sure to be a total knockout

I'm Bali Bound on Saturday for some Sea Slugging. 

Round 5 is sure to be a total knockout!  

This will be my fifth trip to Indonesia:
     1 - January 2006 with SCUBA Seraya
     2 - February 2011 with Wakatobi / SCUBA Serarya / Maluku Divers 
     3 - October 2012 with on Cheng Ho / Villa Markisa 
     4 - February 2014 with on Cheng Ho

There's magic to be found.  I cannot get my gills wet.

Just please, whatever you do... don't call me an "EPL".  The last time I was there I heard that forty-something year old single women traveling alone in Bali are called "Eat Pray Love" travelers (EPLs).  I must say, I did like the novel and watched Julia Roberts in the movie, but I really don't see myself as an EPL'er.  I'm not wandering through Indonesia trying to find myself... I've found my mermaid self and I'll be underwater my whole trip.

This is my third trip with diving4images and Graham Abbott where we seek and photograph nudibranchs and critters.

September 1-12 onboard Cheng Ho
September 12-23 at Villa Markisa 
I'm flying Korean Airlines on Saturday.  Luckily, it's not any of the airlines getting lost lately in that neighborhood.

I'm just a little worried I'll be apologizing the whole time on behalf of Americans and Chicagoans for that crazy Heather Mack.  If you've been living under a rock, she's the young girl who traveled to Bali with her boyfriend and mom.  They got in a fight, killed the mom, chopped her up into pieces, shoved her in a suitcase and tried to put the suitcase in the back of a taxi to get away with it all.  She got caught and both she and her boyfriend faced a firing squad.  It turns out she's got a $1.56 million dollar trust fund but she doesn't have access to it until she is 30.  She called her uncle to get special permission to access it so that she could obtain legal defense.  So can you imagine that phone call?  Hi uncle, I just killed your sister (my mom) in a foreign country but I'd like access to the trust fund money in order to get out of these pesky murder charges.  Because she was pregnant, she and her boyfriend got a 10 year prison sentence instead of the firing squad.  She has her baby now behind bars and was recently filmed partying in prison.  Ugh.

I'll do my best to represent the not-so-ugly side of Americans traveling.

I know many of the group will be international. Graham is English and living in Bali, Christiane is German and the owner of Villa Markisa (she will be with us on the Cheng Ho portion of the trip too). Pirjot and her husband Francis are coming from France.

A Nudibranch expert Bernard Picton (whom I believe is English) will be joining us on the trip! I'm so excited to hear him talk about this fascinating creature. I've also heard that Alicia Hermosillo (I believe she is from Mexico) is coming too. She is very well known and popular in the Nudibranching community, so I cannot wait to meet her either.

We are a funny group of sluggers from many different walks of life who have the time, money and interest to want to go on four long dives a day looking for these tiny little sea slugs. We photograph these butterflies of the ocean and argue about the latin name identification of each one... always fascinated by seeing something new. It's a special fraternity that I'm so honored to be a member of.

Let the countdown begin!