A Travellerspoint blog

August 2020

First night dive in Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Bluespotted ribbontail ray; the most common ray we saw when diving here, they are capable of injuring humans with their venomous tail spines, though they prefer to flee if threatened

Bluespotted ribbontail ray; the most common ray we saw when diving here, they are capable of injuring humans with their venomous tail spines, though they prefer to flee if threatened

La Galigo; our boat had 11 guests and 16 crew members; my cabin is just above the water line in the red section towards the front

La Galigo; our boat had 11 guests and 16 crew members; my cabin is just above the water line in the red section towards the front

Scorpionfish; this highly venomous species is extremely dangerous because they are so well-camouflaged; that's just another reason to never touch anything when you are diving!

Scorpionfish; this highly venomous species is extremely dangerous because they are so well-camouflaged; that's just another reason to never touch anything when you are diving!

Crocodilefish; in the same family with scorpionfish, this highly camouflaged species typically grows to about 18 inches long; they are carnivorous with their diet based on small fish and crustaceans

Crocodilefish; in the same family with scorpionfish, this highly camouflaged species typically grows to about 18 inches long; they are carnivorous with their diet based on small fish and crustaceans

Longlegged spiny lobster; it was much more difficult to see species on our night dives but they were often very different from those we saw during the day

Longlegged spiny lobster; it was much more difficult to see species on our night dives but they were often very different from those we saw during the day

I thought this was a really cool sea cucumber, but the dive experts on the boat say it's a sea anemone that's just closed for the night; I'm not a fan of night dives but we had some good ones

I thought this was a really cool sea cucumber, but the dive experts on the boat say it's a sea anemone that's just closed for the night; I'm not a fan of night dives but we had some good ones

Clouded lizardfish; this species uses camouflage to wait for their prey and are known to eat other fish; at times, they will bury themselves in the sand with just their heads sticking out

Clouded lizardfish; this species uses camouflage to wait for their prey and are known to eat other fish; at times, they will bury themselves in the sand with just their heads sticking out

Helmet gurnard; the pectoral fins are usually held against the body, but when threatened they can expand their wings (fins) to scare off a predator; the pelvic fins act like legs as the fish walks along the bottom of the ocean

Helmet gurnard; the pectoral fins are usually held against the body, but when threatened they can expand their wings (fins) to scare off a predator; the pelvic fins act like legs as the fish walks along the bottom of the ocean

Midnight snapper juvenile; our dive director was from Singapore and spoke perfect English while the 3 divemasters spoke limited English and the rest of the crew practically no English

Midnight snapper juvenile; our dive director was from Singapore and spoke perfect English while the 3 divemasters spoke limited English and the rest of the crew practically no English

I had my own cabin on the boat and slept diagonally so I wouldn't hit my head on the other bed; when it rained (which was often), I had a serious leak between the bed and the bathroom

I had my own cabin on the boat and slept diagonally so I wouldn't hit my head on the other bed; when it rained (which was often), I had a serious leak between the bed and the bathroom

Posted by VagabondCowboy 19:39 Comments (0)

Squeezing through the slot canyons in southern Utah

President Clinton designated Grand Staircase-Escalante a National Monument in 1996; in 2017 President Trump reduced the size of the monument 47%

President Clinton designated Grand Staircase-Escalante a National Monument in 1996; in 2017 President Trump reduced the size of the monument 47%

Behind me is Dry Fork Canyon which was the first of three slot canyons on my hike; Grand Staircase refers to the geologic layers that rise in stair steps starting from the Grand Canyon and ending at Bryce Canyon

Behind me is Dry Fork Canyon which was the first of three slot canyons on my hike; Grand Staircase refers to the geologic layers that rise in stair steps starting from the Grand Canyon and ending at Bryce Canyon

This is the entrance to Peekaboo Canyon; it was quite difficult to find a way to climb up 12 ft to the entrance but I guess it's a test so that you don't end up in a worse predicament stuck in the canyon

This is the entrance to Peekaboo Canyon; it was quite difficult to find a way to climb up 12 ft to the entrance but I guess it's a test so that you don't end up in a worse predicament stuck in the canyon

Peekaboo Canyon featured cool multiple arches at the entrance; Hole in the Rock Road (the 25 mile dirt entry to the canyons) used to be a historic wagon trail (and hasn't been improved since!)

Peekaboo Canyon featured cool multiple arches at the entrance; Hole in the Rock Road (the 25 mile dirt entry to the canyons) used to be a historic wagon trail (and hasn't been improved since!)

I couldn't believe people were squeezing through these slot canyons; I might have turned around except I knew it would be dangerous trying to get down from the entrance to Peekaboo Canyon

I couldn't believe people were squeezing through these slot canyons; I might have turned around except I knew it would be dangerous trying to get down from the entrance to Peekaboo Canyon

The area is among the most remote in the country; it was the last to be mapped in the contiguous United States (you can see how my backpack and shorts ended up ripped from the sharp sides!)

The area is among the most remote in the country; it was the last to be mapped in the contiguous United States (you can see how my backpack and shorts ended up ripped from the sharp sides!)

From above it would be easy to miss these slot canyons; this crack in the earth is Peekaboo Canyon; there is no admission charge to enjoy Grand Staircase-Escalante

From above it would be easy to miss these slot canyons; this crack in the earth is Peekaboo Canyon; there is no admission charge to enjoy Grand Staircase-Escalante

The drive from this hike to Capitol Reef National Park featured truly incredible panoramas; since 2000, numerous dinosaur fossils  75  million years old have been found at Grand StaircaseEscalante

The drive from this hike to Capitol Reef National Park featured truly incredible panoramas; since 2000, numerous dinosaur fossils 75+ million years old have been found at Grand Staircase–Escalante

Much of Spooky Canyon is less than 12 inches wide!; it was named Spooky because of how dark it gets and the panic-inspiring quality of its extremely narrow walls

Much of Spooky Canyon is less than 12 inches wide!; it was named Spooky because of how dark it gets and the panic-inspiring quality of its extremely narrow walls

The white band is what you have to hold on to as you rappel down that hole;  it's a decent drop and just one of the many challenges in the canyons

The white band is what you have to hold on to as you rappel down that hole; it's a decent drop and just one of the many challenges in the canyons

The Utah governor just refrained from mandating face masks saying Utahns would do the right thing to protect others and wear masks without being forced to; my observations say the governor is wrong in his thinking

The Utah governor just refrained from mandating face masks saying Utahns would do the right thing to protect others and wear masks without being forced to; my observations say the governor is wrong in his thinking

Lee and Matt visited these canyons several years ago so I had to experience them myself; these slot canyons are so unbelievably narrow!

Lee and Matt visited these canyons several years ago so I had to experience them myself; these slot canyons are so unbelievably narrow!

Posted by VagabondCowboy 21:30 Comments (0)

Cape Town is fantastic city for outdoor activities

A common misconception is that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa (it's actually 90 miles further east); the first modern rounding of the cape was in 1488 by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias

A common misconception is that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa (it's actually 90 miles further east); the first modern rounding of the cape was in 1488 by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias

I maintained a respectful distance from the ostriches whereas a group of Korean girls decided to chase after them while screaming; I was hoping one of the ostriches would get pissed and land a solid kick

I maintained a respectful distance from the ostriches whereas a group of Korean girls decided to chase after them while screaming; I was hoping one of the ostriches would get pissed and land a solid kick

This is the view from Cape Point looking towards the Cape of Good Hope in the background; the winds were so strong that Lee's hat (that never blows off) blew off

This is the view from Cape Point looking towards the Cape of Good Hope in the background; the winds were so strong that Lee's hat (that never blows off) blew off

This monkey at the Cape of Good Hope is illustrating why manspreading is not very flattering and may be offensive to others; of course, his proud pose may signal his opposition to body shaming

This monkey at the Cape of Good Hope is illustrating why manspreading is not very flattering and may be offensive to others; of course, his proud pose may signal his opposition to body shaming

In the early years of the 20th century icebergs from Antarctica were occasionally sighted from Cape Point; the light of the new Cape Point lighthouse is the most powerful on the South African coast, with a range of 63 miles

In the early years of the 20th century icebergs from Antarctica were occasionally sighted from Cape Point; the light of the new Cape Point lighthouse is the most powerful on the South African coast, with a range of 63 miles

The hike up Lion's Head is the most scenic in Cape Town because you always have views of Table Mountain, the city or the Clifton beaches; it seemed more difficult than when I did it 3 years ago

The hike up Lion's Head is the most scenic in Cape Town because you always have views of Table Mountain, the city or the Clifton beaches; it seemed more difficult than when I did it 3 years ago

The first part of the hike up Lion's Head is a gradual ascent up a nice trail but then you have to scramble up rocks, use metal staples or a chain rope to reach the summit

The first part of the hike up Lion's Head is a gradual ascent up a nice trail but then you have to scramble up rocks, use metal staples or a chain rope to reach the summit

Along with other hyrax species and the manatee, the rock hyrax is the most closely related species to the elephant!; this one was atop Lion's Head but they are common in rocky areas of South Africa

Along with other hyrax species and the manatee, the rock hyrax is the most closely related species to the elephant!; this one was atop Lion's Head but they are common in rocky areas of South Africa

Lion's Head is covered in fynbos (indigenous Cape vegetation) that is endangered and found nowhere else; the hike up Lion's Head is especially popular on nights when there's a full moon

Lion's Head is covered in fynbos (indigenous Cape vegetation) that is endangered and found nowhere else; the hike up Lion's Head is especially popular on nights when there's a full moon

The area around Cape Town has become famous for its vineyards; Stellenbosch, 30 miles east of Cape Town and the nation's second oldest city, is the center of the country's wine industry which makes one billion liters annually

The area around Cape Town has become famous for its vineyards; Stellenbosch, 30 miles east of Cape Town and the nation's second oldest city, is the center of the country's wine industry which makes one billion liters annually

Our favorite beach near Cape Town was Clifton's 3rd Beach; there are four beaches in the town of Clifton and are simply numbered; the water was cold and the surf rough so no swimmers

Our favorite beach near Cape Town was Clifton's 3rd Beach; there are four beaches in the town of Clifton and are simply numbered; the water was cold and the surf rough so no swimmers

This is Lion's Head as viewed from Clifton's 3rd beach; Lion's Head is 2195 above sea level and received its name because the Dutch thought the mountain resembled a crouching lion

This is Lion's Head as viewed from Clifton's 3rd beach; Lion's Head is 2195 above sea level and received its name because the Dutch thought the mountain resembled a crouching lion

The Cape fur seal's main predator is the great white shark; this species is an inquisitive and friendly animal when in the water but on land they are far less relaxed and tend to panic when humans come near them

The Cape fur seal's main predator is the great white shark; this species is an inquisitive and friendly animal when in the water but on land they are far less relaxed and tend to panic when humans come near them

Clifton's 3rd beach is the nicest beach close to Cape Town; the sand was ideal but I didn't anticipate the extreme tidal range well (just ask my soaked beach towel)

Clifton's 3rd beach is the nicest beach close to Cape Town; the sand was ideal but I didn't anticipate the extreme tidal range well (just ask my soaked beach towel)

When Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden was founded in 1913 to preserve the flora native to the South Africa’s territory, it was the first botanical garden in the world with this ethos

When Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden was founded in 1913 to preserve the flora native to the South Africa’s territory, it was the first botanical garden in the world with this ethos

The leopard tortoise is the fourth largest species of tortoise in the world, with typical adults reaching 16 in and weighing 29 lb; a very long-lived animal, the leopard tortoise reaches sexual maturity between the ages of 12 and 15 years

The leopard tortoise is the fourth largest species of tortoise in the world, with typical adults reaching 16 in and weighing 29 lb; a very long-lived animal, the leopard tortoise reaches sexual maturity between the ages of 12 and 15 years

Posted by VagabondCowboy 00:29 Comments (0)

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