A Travellerspoint blog

May 2021

With so many amazing museums, DC is a great destination

I had a gorgeous day to walk around the Tidal Basin and admire the different memorials; I wondered if President Trump had ever read the timeless and patriotic words written at each of them

I had a gorgeous day to walk around the Tidal Basin and admire the different memorials; I wondered if President Trump had ever read the timeless and patriotic words written at each of them

The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool is 2029 ft long and 167 ft wide but is only 30 in deep; it was here in August, 1963, that Martin Luther King Jr. gave his I Have a Dream speech, delivered to a crowd of 250,000 people

The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool is 2029 ft long and 167 ft wide but is only 30 in deep; it was here in August, 1963, that Martin Luther King Jr. gave his I Have a Dream speech, delivered to a crowd of 250,000 people

The National Museum of African-American History and Culture is one huge history lesson and includes iconic images like this photo from the sit-in at the Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro

The National Museum of African-American History and Culture is one huge history lesson and includes iconic images like this photo from the sit-in at the Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro

The Phillips Collection, opened in 1921, is America's first museum of modern art; featuring a permanent collection of 3,000  works by American and European Impressionist and modern artists, the museum was a pleasant surprise

The Phillips Collection, opened in 1921, is America's first museum of modern art; featuring a permanent collection of 3,000+ works by American and European Impressionist and modern artists, the museum was a pleasant surprise

There are 91 stations in the 117 mile Metro system in DC; it's the second busiest rapid transit system in the country after NYC with almost 200 million trips per year; fares vary based on time of day and distance traveled

There are 91 stations in the 117 mile Metro system in DC; it's the second busiest rapid transit system in the country after NYC with almost 200 million trips per year; fares vary based on time of day and distance traveled

On April 14, 1865—just five days after General Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House— President Lincoln and his wife attended a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre where he was shot by John Wilkes Booth

On April 14, 1865—just five days after General Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House— President Lincoln and his wife attended a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre where he was shot by John Wilkes Booth

This is the revolver John Wilkes Booth used to assassinate President Lincoln; Booth, a Southern sympathizer, jumped from the Presidential box and escaped the theater through a rear door; he was killed 11 days later in Virginia

This is the revolver John Wilkes Booth used to assassinate President Lincoln; Booth, a Southern sympathizer, jumped from the Presidential box and escaped the theater through a rear door; he was killed 11 days later in Virginia

The Memorial Wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial contains 58,320 names and directories containing all of the names are located on nearby podiums at both ends of the monument where visitors may locate specific names and their location on the wall

The Memorial Wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial contains 58,320 names and directories containing all of the names are located on nearby podiums at both ends of the monument where visitors may locate specific names and their location on the wall

The National Museum of African American History and Culture was opened by President Obama in September 2016; this was my first chance to visit the enormous facility (several levels are below ground) in which you could spend all day

The National Museum of African American History and Culture was opened by President Obama in September 2016; this was my first chance to visit the enormous facility (several levels are below ground) in which you could spend all day

Since its dedication in 1993, the US Holocaust Museum has welcomed 40 million  visitors, including 99 heads of state and 10  million school-age children; although not part of the Smithsonian, admission is still free

Since its dedication in 1993, the US Holocaust Museum has welcomed 40 million+ visitors, including 99 heads of state and 10+ million school-age children; although not part of the Smithsonian, admission is still free

When the Renwick Gallery was built in 1859 it was known as the American Louvre; now part of the Smithsonian (and free), it focuses on American craft and decorative arts from the 19th to the 21st century

When the Renwick Gallery was built in 1859 it was known as the American Louvre; now part of the Smithsonian (and free), it focuses on American craft and decorative arts from the 19th to the 21st century

The Castle was the first Smithsonian building and opened in 1855; today it houses administrative offices for the Institution's 19 museums, 21 libraries, 9 research centers, and zoo which see 30  million visitors each year and admission is always free

The Castle was the first Smithsonian building and opened in 1855; today it houses administrative offices for the Institution's 19 museums, 21 libraries, 9 research centers, and zoo which see 30+ million visitors each year and admission is always free

The Old Post Office and Clock Tower was completed in 1899 and it's the third tallest structure in DC; in 2016 it opened as the Trump Hotel where a basic one night stay runs $595

The Old Post Office and Clock Tower was completed in 1899 and it's the third tallest structure in DC; in 2016 it opened as the Trump Hotel where a basic one night stay runs $595

The US Capitol, opened in 1800, is a beautiful building to visit but is closed due to the pandemic; I've visited before and it's great to see the Senate and House chambers as well as the Rotunda and the art throughout the complex

The US Capitol, opened in 1800, is a beautiful building to visit but is closed due to the pandemic; I've visited before and it's great to see the Senate and House chambers as well as the Rotunda and the art throughout the complex

One of my favorite DC museums closed at the end of 2019, the Newseum; with so many free museums, the Newseum's $25 entrance fee discouraged many from visiting what was a museum documenting the importance of a free press

One of my favorite DC museums closed at the end of 2019, the Newseum; with so many free museums, the Newseum's $25 entrance fee discouraged many from visiting what was a museum documenting the importance of a free press

The Jefferson Memorial, completed in 1943, is getting a new roof right now so scaffolding covers the outside; the bronze statue of Jefferson is 19 ft tall and weighs 10,000 lbs

The Jefferson Memorial, completed in 1943, is getting a new roof right now so scaffolding covers the outside; the bronze statue of Jefferson is 19 ft tall and weighs 10,000 lbs

Every December since 1923, the National Christmas Tree has occupied part of the Ellipse, near the White House; with the pandemic, there were virtually no tourists and little traffic but parking was still scarce

Every December since 1923, the National Christmas Tree has occupied part of the Ellipse, near the White House; with the pandemic, there were virtually no tourists and little traffic but parking was still scarce

The 30 ft tall relief of MLK, called the Stone of Hope, dominates his memorial which opened in 2011; the centerpiece is based on a line from King's I Have A Dream speech: Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope

The 30 ft tall relief of MLK, called the Stone of Hope, dominates his memorial which opened in 2011; the centerpiece is based on a line from King's I Have A Dream speech: Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope

Dedicated in 1997 by President Clinton, the FDR Memorial spreads over 7.5 acres adjacent to the southwest side of the Tidal Basin along the Cherry Tree Walk

Dedicated in 1997 by President Clinton, the FDR Memorial spreads over 7.5 acres adjacent to the southwest side of the Tidal Basin along the Cherry Tree Walk

The Lincoln Memorial is in the form of a Greek Doric temple and contains inscriptions of two well-known speeches by Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address and his second inaugural address; the memorial was the site of MLK.'s I Have a Dream speech

The Lincoln Memorial is in the form of a Greek Doric temple and contains inscriptions of two well-known speeches by Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address and his second inaugural address; the memorial was the site of MLK.'s I Have a Dream speech

After being shot at Ford's Theater across the street, President Lincoln was carried to the Petersen House so he could be more comfortable; he died at 7:22 am the next morning

After being shot at Ford's Theater across the street, President Lincoln was carried to the Petersen House so he could be more comfortable; he died at 7:22 am the next morning

This statue of Eleanor Roosevelt at the FDR Memorial is the only presidential memorial to depict a First Lady; Roosevelt served as the first United States Delegate to the UN General Assembly from 1945 to 1952

This statue of Eleanor Roosevelt at the FDR Memorial is the only presidential memorial to depict a First Lady; Roosevelt served as the first United States Delegate to the UN General Assembly from 1945 to 1952

Among those present to observe the Lincoln Memorial’s official dedication in May 1922 was a 78-year-old Robert Todd Lincoln, the only surviving son of the former president; it is visited by 7  million people annually

Among those present to observe the Lincoln Memorial’s official dedication in May 1922 was a 78-year-old Robert Todd Lincoln, the only surviving son of the former president; it is visited by 7+ million people annually

This is the Presidential box at Ford's Theater where Lincoln was shot; the theatre was later used as a warehouse and office building, and in 1893 part of it collapsed, causing 22 deaths; now it is once again a functioning theater

This is the Presidential box at Ford's Theater where Lincoln was shot; the theatre was later used as a warehouse and office building, and in 1893 part of it collapsed, causing 22 deaths; now it is once again a functioning theater

The National Museum of African American History and Culture has a couple of floors dedicated to the impact on sports, theater, movies and music made by African-Americans; among the many artifacts is this jacket worn by Michael Jackson

The National Museum of African American History and Culture has a couple of floors dedicated to the impact on sports, theater, movies and music made by African-Americans; among the many artifacts is this jacket worn by Michael Jackson

Posted by VagabondCowboy 12:45 Comments (0)

Magnificent Big Island beaches - part 1

Hapuna Beach looked like it could be in the Caribbean somewhere (except for the water temperature); we got our second Pfizer doses here in Kona

Hapuna Beach looked like it could be in the Caribbean somewhere (except for the water temperature); we got our second Pfizer doses here in Kona

This spotted eagle ray was the only stingray I saw off the Big Island; he was seen at 49 Black Sand Beach (aka Honokaope Beach)  which is in a gated community with limited guest parking

This spotted eagle ray was the only stingray I saw off the Big Island; he was seen at 49 Black Sand Beach (aka Honokaope Beach) which is in a gated community with limited guest parking

Lapakahi State Historical Park had a walking trail with information on the background of the area during ancient times; there was no beach here with sharp lava to the water's edge

Lapakahi State Historical Park had a walking trail with information on the background of the area during ancient times; there was no beach here with sharp lava to the water's edge

Hapuna Beach is often considered the best beach in all of Hawaii; the beach has it all with clear water, great sand, plenty of free parking and room for everyone to spread out

Hapuna Beach is often considered the best beach in all of Hawaii; the beach has it all with clear water, great sand, plenty of free parking and room for everyone to spread out

Our last day we snorkeled at beach in front of the Fairmont Orchid hotel ($800  per night); I saw 3 turtles, tons of fish and even a wedding

Our last day we snorkeled at beach in front of the Fairmont Orchid hotel ($800+ per night); I saw 3 turtles, tons of fish and even a wedding

Posh houses lined scenic Kiholo Bay but the water is murky here from freshwater springs; this area was the epicenter of a 2006 earthquake with magnitude 6.7 that did $200 million in damage

Posh houses lined scenic Kiholo Bay but the water is murky here from freshwater springs; this area was the epicenter of a 2006 earthquake with magnitude 6.7 that did $200 million in damage

Reef triggerfish; this historical park is sacred for Hawaiians and you're not allowed to take anything to the water (no towels, bags, etc) and the rule is strictly enforced

Reef triggerfish; this historical park is sacred for Hawaiians and you're not allowed to take anything to the water (no towels, bags, etc) and the rule is strictly enforced

Lee saw several reef sharks during our time on the Big Island but I never saw one; a 10 ft. tiger shark attacked a woman swimmer near the Four Seasons on our next to last day

Lee saw several reef sharks during our time on the Big Island but I never saw one; a 10 ft. tiger shark attacked a woman swimmer near the Four Seasons on our next to last day

The Mauna Kea Resort is the only oceanfront hotel on Mauna Kea Beach; at night, hotel spotlights attract the manta rays to this bay where you can snorkel with them

The Mauna Kea Resort is the only oceanfront hotel on Mauna Kea Beach; at night, hotel spotlights attract the manta rays to this bay where you can snorkel with them

This is the friendliest sea turtle I've ever seen as he swam right up to me and circled completely around me checking me out; after slowly doing his 360 he swam off leaving me happy for the experience

This is the friendliest sea turtle I've ever seen as he swam right up to me and circled completely around me checking me out; after slowly doing his 360 he swam off leaving me happy for the experience

From the Pololu Valley Lookout you can often see humpback whales from December to March; there is no coastal road east of here so you have to go inland to Waimea and over to Honokaa before the coastal road resumes

From the Pololu Valley Lookout you can often see humpback whales from December to March; there is no coastal road east of here so you have to go inland to Waimea and over to Honokaa before the coastal road resumes

White-spotted surgeonfish; our guide book said there were unusually tons of fish here with exceptional snorkeling but I didn't think it was any better than surrounding beaches

White-spotted surgeonfish; our guide book said there were unusually tons of fish here with exceptional snorkeling but I didn't think it was any better than surrounding beaches

This peacock flounder wasn't camouflaged very well; when we first arrived at Kapaa Beach Park we were greeted by a passing pod of dolphins (the only ones we saw while in Hawaii)

This peacock flounder wasn't camouflaged very well; when we first arrived at Kapaa Beach Park we were greeted by a passing pod of dolphins (the only ones we saw while in Hawaii)

The Kohala beaches, like Kapaa, are usually much sunnier than the beaches south of Kona because they are not in the cloud/rain shadows of the volcanoes; Kapaa Beach is small and rocky but had good snorkeling

The Kohala beaches, like Kapaa, are usually much sunnier than the beaches south of Kona because they are not in the cloud/rain shadows of the volcanoes; Kapaa Beach is small and rocky but had good snorkeling

Kehena Beach, south of Hilo in the Puna district, is one of the most famous black sand beaches on the island; this hippie hangout was formed in a 1955 lava flow

Kehena Beach, south of Hilo in the Puna district, is one of the most famous black sand beaches on the island; this hippie hangout was formed in a 1955 lava flow

The end of the road on the NW corner of the island is at the Pololu Valley; here you can hike down a steep trail to enjoy a nice black sand beach but swimming is not recommended

The end of the road on the NW corner of the island is at the Pololu Valley; here you can hike down a steep trail to enjoy a nice black sand beach but swimming is not recommended

The saffron finch, native to South America, was introduced into Hawaii in 1965 and has become a common sight on the Big Island

The saffron finch, native to South America, was introduced into Hawaii in 1965 and has become a common sight on the Big Island

We didn't experience any rain during our 2 weeks on the Big Island but Lee came prepared; it's roughly 300 miles to drive around the Big Island and I recommend allowing at least a week to see the many sights along the way

We didn't experience any rain during our 2 weeks on the Big Island but Lee came prepared; it's roughly 300 miles to drive around the Big Island and I recommend allowing at least a week to see the many sights along the way

Papakolea Green Sand Beach was pretty but also hot with some large waves; the beach (near the southernmost point on the island) was very popular but windy with strong undertow

Papakolea Green Sand Beach was pretty but also hot with some large waves; the beach (near the southernmost point on the island) was very popular but windy with strong undertow

Mahai'ula Beach (2 miles north of the airport) is a long crescent of sand that is rarely crowded; when you get tired of this beautiful beach it's only a 20 minute walk to Makalawena Beach

Mahai'ula Beach (2 miles north of the airport) is a long crescent of sand that is rarely crowded; when you get tired of this beautiful beach it's only a 20 minute walk to Makalawena Beach

Makalawena was easily the most scenic beach we visited on the island and the lack of crowds added to the experience; there are no services here so bring lunch and cold drinks for the day

Makalawena was easily the most scenic beach we visited on the island and the lack of crowds added to the experience; there are no services here so bring lunch and cold drinks for the day

Makalawena Beach is as idyllic a beach as you will find anywhere in Hawaii; there's a very rough road to get here and then a 30 minute walk but that keeps the crowds reasonable

Makalawena Beach is as idyllic a beach as you will find anywhere in Hawaii; there's a very rough road to get here and then a 30 minute walk but that keeps the crowds reasonable

Mahai'ula Beach was one of the gorgeous coves along a stretch in the center of the island's west coast; wear good shows to hike through the lava among the coves (and take a hat)

Mahai'ula Beach was one of the gorgeous coves along a stretch in the center of the island's west coast; wear good shows to hike through the lava among the coves (and take a hat)

Zebra moray eel; it's best to visit Puako Bay at high tide to make navigating the long swim in shallow waters easier; the guide book described an extensive reef here but it was more like narrow tentacles branching out from shore

Zebra moray eel; it's best to visit Puako Bay at high tide to make navigating the long swim in shallow waters easier; the guide book described an extensive reef here but it was more like narrow tentacles branching out from shore

Lee was resting his eyes after lunch at uncrowded (the bay is very shallow with a long swim to get good visibility) Puako Bay; he saw a spotted moray eel earlier at this beach backed by expensive, new homes

Lee was resting his eyes after lunch at uncrowded (the bay is very shallow with a long swim to get good visibility) Puako Bay; he saw a spotted moray eel earlier at this beach backed by expensive, new homes

Orangeband Surgeonfish; Kahulu'u Beach Park is often compared to an aquarium but it is very shallow and tough going at times; once outside the lagoon I enjoyed snorkeling along the outer reef

Orangeband Surgeonfish; Kahulu'u Beach Park is often compared to an aquarium but it is very shallow and tough going at times; once outside the lagoon I enjoyed snorkeling along the outer reef

The crown-of-thorns starfish is a rare spotting in Hawaiian waters; it always seems odd to only see one of a species but with the crown-of-thorns II only saw one on Maui and one here

The crown-of-thorns starfish is a rare spotting in Hawaiian waters; it always seems odd to only see one of a species but with the crown-of-thorns II only saw one on Maui and one here

Posted by VagabondCowboy 06:26 Comments (0)

Philadelphia is a living American history lesson

Completed in 1753, Independence Hall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a place I've visited several times before; the first visit was as a kid with my parents as they took me to see all of the important historic sights in the Northeast

Completed in 1753, Independence Hall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a place I've visited several times before; the first visit was as a kid with my parents as they took me to see all of the important historic sights in the Northeast

Originally rung in the mid-1700s to summon lawmakers to the PA state house, the Liberty Bell has since become a worldwide iconic symbol of democracy and freedom; luckily I've seen it plenty of times and didn't have to stand in the long line to get inside

Originally rung in the mid-1700s to summon lawmakers to the PA state house, the Liberty Bell has since become a worldwide iconic symbol of democracy and freedom; luckily I've seen it plenty of times and didn't have to stand in the long line to get inside

The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, completed in 1864, has been the site of two papal Masses, one celebrated by Pope John Paul II in 1979, and the other by Pope Francis in 2015

The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, completed in 1864, has been the site of two papal Masses, one celebrated by Pope John Paul II in 1979, and the other by Pope Francis in 2015

The grand Beaux-Arts building of the Philadelphia library opened in 1927; the city is home of many U.S. firsts, including the first library(1731), hospital(1751), medical school(1765), national capital(1774), stock exchange(1790), and zoo(1874)

The grand Beaux-Arts building of the Philadelphia library opened in 1927; the city is home of many U.S. firsts, including the first library(1731), hospital(1751), medical school(1765), national capital(1774), stock exchange(1790), and zoo(1874)

Built of brick, white marble, and limestone, Philadelphia City Hall is the world’s largest free standing masonry building; upon completion of its tower in 1894, it became the world's tallest habitable building

Built of brick, white marble, and limestone, Philadelphia City Hall is the world’s largest free standing masonry building; upon completion of its tower in 1894, it became the world's tallest habitable building

The steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art are famous from the scenes of the movie Rocky; there was a constant stream of people running up the 72 steps at what has been declared the second most famous movie filming location in the world (Central Park was first)

The steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art are famous from the scenes of the movie Rocky; there was a constant stream of people running up the 72 steps at what has been declared the second most famous movie filming location in the world (Central Park was first)

This statue of Rocky outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art has become one of the most popular photo ops for tourists; famous people from Philly include Margaret Mead, Dick Clark, Tina Fey, Walt Whitman and Will Smith

This statue of Rocky outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art has become one of the most popular photo ops for tourists; famous people from Philly include Margaret Mead, Dick Clark, Tina Fey, Walt Whitman and Will Smith

Benjamin Franklin Parkway runs from the Museum of Art to City Hall with the modern skyline to the right; we have this city to thank for Biden's victory!

Benjamin Franklin Parkway runs from the Museum of Art to City Hall with the modern skyline to the right; we have this city to thank for Biden's victory!

At its completion in 1829, the Eastern State Penitentiary was the largest and most expensive public structure ever erected in the United States, and quickly became a model for 300  prisons worldwide

At its completion in 1829, the Eastern State Penitentiary was the largest and most expensive public structure ever erected in the United States, and quickly became a model for 300+ prisons worldwide

Opened in 1929, the Rodin Museum houses a collection of nearly 150 objects containing bronzes, marbles, and plasters by Rodin; it is one of the largest collections of Rodin's works outside Paris

Opened in 1929, the Rodin Museum houses a collection of nearly 150 objects containing bronzes, marbles, and plasters by Rodin; it is one of the largest collections of Rodin's works outside Paris

The Washington Memorial Fountain was dedicated in 1897 and features Washington and his horse poised on top of the fountain, facing southeast down Benjamin Franklin Parkway towards Philadelphia City Hall

The Washington Memorial Fountain was dedicated in 1897 and features Washington and his horse poised on top of the fountain, facing southeast down Benjamin Franklin Parkway towards Philadelphia City Hall

The First Continental Congress met at Carpenter's Hall in 1774 and it is the official birthplace of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania;  William Penn, an English Quaker, founded Philadelphia in 1682

The First Continental Congress met at Carpenter's Hall in 1774 and it is the official birthplace of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; William Penn, an English Quaker, founded Philadelphia in 1682

Known as America's oldest (entirely intact) residential street, the cobblestoned Elfreth's Alley is truly preservation at its finest and will take you back 250 years when it was inhabited by tradesmen and their families

Known as America's oldest (entirely intact) residential street, the cobblestoned Elfreth's Alley is truly preservation at its finest and will take you back 250 years when it was inhabited by tradesmen and their families

Born in 1752 to a devout Quaker couple in NJ, Betsy Ross was quite an accomplished seamstress having embroidered shirt ruffles for George Washington in the days before his appointment as the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Army

Born in 1752 to a devout Quaker couple in NJ, Betsy Ross was quite an accomplished seamstress having embroidered shirt ruffles for George Washington in the days before his appointment as the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Army

Benjamin Frankin, James Peniston, 2007; this one ton bronze sculpture is textured with casts of 1000  keys collected by local schoolchildren; it was partially funded by 1.8 million pennies collected by kids from 500 area schools

Benjamin Frankin, James Peniston, 2007; this one ton bronze sculpture is textured with casts of 1000+ keys collected by local schoolchildren; it was partially funded by 1.8 million pennies collected by kids from 500 area schools

Dating to 1744, Christ Church is considered one of the finest Georgian structures in America and is often called the Nation's Church having hosted members of the Continental Congress; for 50  years it was even the tallest structure in the US

Dating to 1744, Christ Church is considered one of the finest Georgian structures in America and is often called the Nation's Church having hosted members of the Continental Congress; for 50+ years it was even the tallest structure in the US

The Bond, Jim West, 2018; boasting 2000  outdoor murals, Philadelphia has been called the mural capital of the US; Philadelphia is also home to the first Thanksgiving Day Parade (1920)

The Bond, Jim West, 2018; boasting 2000+ outdoor murals, Philadelphia has been called the mural capital of the US; Philadelphia is also home to the first Thanksgiving Day Parade (1920)

The National Constitution Center opened on July 4, 2003, joining other famous sights in what has been called America's most historic square mile; Philadelphia is the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2019 estimated population of 1,584,064

The National Constitution Center opened on July 4, 2003, joining other famous sights in what has been called America's most historic square mile; Philadelphia is the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2019 estimated population of 1,584,064

Benjamin Franklin was laid to rest in Christ Church Burial Ground and it has become a tradition to toss pennies onto his grave; the historic part of Philadelphia sadly has a large problem with the homeless

Benjamin Franklin was laid to rest in Christ Church Burial Ground and it has become a tradition to toss pennies onto his grave; the historic part of Philadelphia sadly has a large problem with the homeless

Posted by VagabondCowboy 00:27 Comments (0)

Diving with manta rays was highlight from Big Island

Diving and snorkeling with the manta rays is big business with companies booked solid for weeks in advance; Lee and Matt did the night snorkel with the mantas at the Sheraton near Kona which was the first place to offer such an activity on the Big Island

Diving and snorkeling with the manta rays is big business with companies booked solid for weeks in advance; Lee and Matt did the night snorkel with the mantas at the Sheraton near Kona which was the first place to offer such an activity on the Big Island

A dozen boats gathered in the bay next to the airport for the nightly show; the tour companies place underwater lights here to attract the plankton which then attract the manta rays

A dozen boats gathered in the bay next to the airport for the nightly show; the tour companies place underwater lights here to attract the plankton which then attract the manta rays

The Big Island is home to 200  reef manta rays which tend to live in shallower, coastal areas compared to their larger relatives, the oceanic manta rays

The Big Island is home to 200+ reef manta rays which tend to live in shallower, coastal areas compared to their larger relatives, the oceanic manta rays

Each manta ray has a unique pattern (like zebras) and have been given names; even though mantas exist around each Hawaiian island populations tend to not move between the islands

Each manta ray has a unique pattern (like zebras) and have been given names; even though mantas exist around each Hawaiian island populations tend to not move between the islands

Manta rays have a long, whip-like tail but don't have a poisonous stinger; mantas can live 50  years but moms only have one pup every 2-3 years

Manta rays have a long, whip-like tail but don't have a poisonous stinger; mantas can live 50+ years but moms only have one pup every 2-3 years

The manta rays would swim towards us with their huge mouth agape; reef mantas are a vulnerable species (despite few natural predators) because of overfishing, late age for sexual maturity and long gestational period

The manta rays would swim towards us with their huge mouth agape; reef mantas are a vulnerable species (despite few natural predators) because of overfishing, late age for sexual maturity and long gestational period

My photos don't do justice to our experience but you can see professional photos of our dive (take by our divemaster) at https://aliveunderwater.zenfolio.com/p903277166

My photos don't do justice to our experience but you can see professional photos of our dive (take by our divemaster) at https://aliveunderwater.zenfolio.com/p903277166

The water got chilly after not moving for 45 minutes despite wetsuit; I'm surprised more tropical destinations around the Indian and Pacific Oceans don't have this type of activity since you just need portable, underwater lights to attract the plankton

The water got chilly after not moving for 45 minutes despite wetsuit; I'm surprised more tropical destinations around the Indian and Pacific Oceans don't have this type of activity since you just need portable, underwater lights to attract the plankton

The manta rays would fly over us from behind and brush against top of our heads; we'd also get hit by their wings as they turned right in front of us which was so cool

The manta rays would fly over us from behind and brush against top of our heads; we'd also get hit by their wings as they turned right in front of us which was so cool

Our one tank dive where we sat on the bay bottom for 45 minutes cost $175; it is the number one ranked activity on the Big Island by TripAdvisor and was my favorite as well

Our one tank dive where we sat on the bay bottom for 45 minutes cost $175; it is the number one ranked activity on the Big Island by TripAdvisor and was my favorite as well

Posted by VagabondCowboy 01:59 Comments (0)

Springfield, IL - home to many Abraham Lincoln sights

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library is run by the state of Illinois and is not part of the National Archives and the other presidential libraries; admission is $15

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library is run by the state of Illinois and is not part of the National Archives and the other presidential libraries; admission is $15

The Old State Capitol of Illinois was used from 1839 to 1876; Lincoln argued before the Illinois Supreme Court often and delivered his House Divided speech here in 1858

The Old State Capitol of Illinois was used from 1839 to 1876; Lincoln argued before the Illinois Supreme Court often and delivered his House Divided speech here in 1858

Lincoln led the nation through the American Civil War, the country's greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis; he succeeded in preserving the Union, abolishing slavery, bolstering the federal government, and modernizing the U.S. economy

Lincoln led the nation through the American Civil War, the country's greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis; he succeeded in preserving the Union, abolishing slavery, bolstering the federal government, and modernizing the U.S. economy

With Stephen Douglas, Lincoln had the most famous political debates in American history; despite his powerful performances in the seven debates, Lincoln was defeated for the Illinois Senate seat

With Stephen Douglas, Lincoln had the most famous political debates in American history; despite his powerful performances in the seven debates, Lincoln was defeated for the Illinois Senate seat

The museum contains life-size dioramas of Lincoln's boyhood home, areas of the White House, the presidential box at Ford's Theatre, and the settings of key events in Lincoln's life

The museum contains life-size dioramas of Lincoln's boyhood home, areas of the White House, the presidential box at Ford's Theatre, and the settings of key events in Lincoln's life

This was the Lincoln family home from 1844 to 1861; two blocks have been preserved and restored dating from Lincoln's time giving visitors a glimpse of how Springfield was back then

This was the Lincoln family home from 1844 to 1861; two blocks have been preserved and restored dating from Lincoln's time giving visitors a glimpse of how Springfield was back then

With 4 candidates running for president in 1860, Lincoln won the electoral college but had less than 40% of the popular vote; Stephen Douglas was second in the popular vote but only won the state of Missouri in the electoral college

With 4 candidates running for president in 1860, Lincoln won the electoral college but had less than 40% of the popular vote; Stephen Douglas was second in the popular vote but only won the state of Missouri in the electoral college

Lincoln wrote his first Presidential inaugural address on the third floor of this building; Lincoln, Nebraska was named for Abe and he appears on the penny, the $5 bill and on Mount Rushmore

Lincoln wrote his first Presidential inaugural address on the third floor of this building; Lincoln, Nebraska was named for Abe and he appears on the penny, the $5 bill and on Mount Rushmore

Willie Lincoln was only 11 years old when he died (probably from typhoid fever) in the White House just 2 weeks after Lincoln's inauguration; only one of Lincoln's four sons survived into adulthood

Willie Lincoln was only 11 years old when he died (probably from typhoid fever) in the White House just 2 weeks after Lincoln's inauguration; only one of Lincoln's four sons survived into adulthood

Defying his prediction that the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, the Gettysburg Address became the most quoted speech in American history; it has only 272 words and lasted just 3 minutes

Defying his prediction that the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, the Gettysburg Address became the most quoted speech in American history; it has only 272 words and lasted just 3 minutes

Lincoln's tomb is just one of the many memorials to our 16th president; the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC is one of the top five visited National Park Service sites in the country

Lincoln's tomb is just one of the many memorials to our 16th president; the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC is one of the top five visited National Park Service sites in the country

Posted by VagabondCowboy 03:42 Comments (0)

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