Back to Key Largo

I’m back in Key Largo for the week to participate in a Coral Restoration dive on Earth Day (Friday).
Monday was my first day back in the water since last June. I was a great day of diving with several good sightings.

I spotted this turtle on Molasses Reef.

The Eagle Rays are back! The dive guides have been telling me the sightings have increased just during the past week or so. It should only get better as we get closer to summer.

We finished the day with a dive at Ball number 16 on Molasses Reef. We were lucky enough to see a good sized nurse shark in addition to an Eagle Ray and a Green Moray Eel swimming in the open.

Seals on Johns Bay – Sunday July 18 2010

I had the photo opportunity I had been waiting for all week for. Sunday morning we went on our last kayak trip of the week. The tide was going out and the sun was shining. It was ideal conditions for seals to haul themselves out on the rocks. I had the Pentax k2000 with the 55-200mm lens and video camera with me in the kayak.

Eileen and I approached using the “small pine grove” island as cover. As I expected, they were skittish and many of them slipped off into the water.

This little guy crawled back up to sun and was watching Eileen as I slowly floated around the end of the island for the photo.

I like the composition of this shot since it has a seal, seagull and lobster buoy.

This is another good shot where I got pretty close to a seal without him getting skittish. Its a nice profile of the seal with a house across the bay in the background.

Pico Mountain Ski Trip

Another Monday and another ski trip adventure. This week I went to Pico Mountain Ski Area in Killington, VT. I had never been there and had always wanted to go. Like many people I had always gone to the larger and more glamorous (and higher priced) Killington Ski Area next door.

As I pass the Killington Access Road I noticed that the peak of Pico is hidden in a cloud.

Exploring a new mountain is always fun. I had both my camera and video camera with me. There was a light snow in the air as I got on the lift. At Pico you need to take the Golden Express Quad first and ski down to the Summit Express Quad to reach the top.

It was kind of strange riding the chairlift up into the cloud covering the summit.

No view from the top today. The top of the Forty-Niner trail is interesting because the trail winds between small islands of snow covered trees.

Using Google Earth helped me to learn a bit more about the view I see at all these ski area. The mountain in the foreground is Deer Leap Mountain.

The body of water visible down the valley on the left is the Chittenden Reservoir.

This is the view north looking at Deer Leap Rock and beyond towards Doubleday Mountain.

The summit stayed in the cloud most of the day with an occasional flurry coming through.

This is the view from high up on the Forty-Niner trail. In the distance is Kent Pond off of Route 100. Behind that is Doubleday Mountain to the left and Shaw Hill to the right.

It was a fantastic day! I really like the nice wide trails and excellent grooming at Pico. The crowds were sparse and I often had the trail all to myself. I will be sure to return to Pico in the future!

The Grapes of Wrath at the Hopkins Center

I went to see a play based on the Steinbeck classic The Grapes of Wrath at the Hopkins Center last Saturday night. The show was excellent! If you have read the book or have been curious about the story I would recommend this play.

It’s a powerful story of a family leaving the “Dust Bowl” of the Midwest hoping for work in the fruit orchards of California and a new life. They arrive only to discover the farm owners are exploiting the workers and paying starvation wages. In addition to the Study Guide I discovered a fantatic overview and analysis Website about the story at While class and economic divide is a major theme in the story, I think there are many lessons about human nature, compassion and family as well.

There will be an 8pm show on February 25-27 and a 2pm show on February 28th, 2009.

Facebook, my latest obsession

I am new to the world of Facebook so I am still on the journey of discovery. A friend that did not know much about Facebook asked me what is was all about. I had to think for awhile before answering, “It is many things to many people with networking and communication as the commen thread.”

I initally made a Facebook  profile to join the AIGA NH/VT group. Once I got a profile started I  started to wonder what other groups were out there. I was glad to find a group had already been started, which I quickly joined. If you visit the and have a Facebook profile (or want to make one) please join the group. It would be cool to see the membership grow. A few people also told me about an Upper Valley (NH/VT) regional group, which I also joined.

I then discovered that Facebook is more than profiles and groups. There are lots of cool Facebook applications you can add to your profile. There are so many of them it takes some research to find good ones. I am learning about many apps based on what people on my friends lists are using. Thanks everyone! In addition to the basic applications they start you out with like Status Update, Photos and Notes, I am checking out applications like:

I am currently comparing WeRead and Visual Bookshelf. More people on my friends list use Visual Bookshelf than WeRead. Anyone have an opinion about which one is better?

I just added Bumper Stickers and Causes to my application list but have not fully expored them yet.  I also just discovered the Facebook Marketplace, which seems popular with everyone on my list. Anyone have suggestions for more applications?

Thirsty Thursday – Tipperary

Cocktails on the Fly
Since the next big holiday is St. Patrick’s Day I thought we should check out a few whiskey drinks during the next month. This week we are going back to Cocktails on the Fly with Alberta Straub, to learn how to make the Tipperary.

1 1/2 oz Irish Wiskey. (Alberta uses Tullamore Dew)
3/4 oz. Green Chartreuse
Splash of Maraschino Liqueur
Splash of Orange Bitters
Add ice and stir
Strain and pour into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a lemon twist.

Be sure to read the Wikipedia article about the Green Chartreuse. It’s a ancient liqueur with an interesting history.