Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Three day weekend

Last week I was surprised to find out that I had Good Friday off from work. The government workers on Saipan all had a 4 day weekend, as Monday was Covenant Day or another C day, not sure. But I was just thrilled to have Friday off. At the last minute, Sarah and I decided to go to Guam, since we had the extra day off. This is Sarah, checking in to Fiesta Guam.

We left Friday morning, and returned Saturday evening, so we had two days to shop. We went to Guam Premium Outlet, K-Mart and Micronesian Mall. It was just fun to shop, girl style, where we could try things on and not be in any hurry. We ate at the food courts, enjoying food we can't get over here. Teri got us all set up at Fiesta Resort in Guam, so we had a nice stay there, and good visit with her. Sarah and I took the trolleys everywhere. It's only $10 for a week, much cheaper than renting a car. Kelli at Jamaican Grill in Tumon. We ate our dinner at Jamaican Grill - mmm, I love eating there. Good food. We had good drinks, too. Sarah had me try the Jamaican Ginger Beer. It was very good. Strong ginger taste, not alcoholic.

Sarah being a good Jamaican Ginger Beer sales girl.

We stopped into a little mini mart on our walk back to our hotel and brought mini bottles of white zinfandel back to our room and drank those out on our balcony while watching the Fiesta Dinner show (that was performing below us). Then I had the luxury of soaking in a bathtub for a while. We both fell asleep fairly quickly after that. I fell asleep watching TV. I was kept up late for two nights in a row from Harry's night dives and guy's nights out, so I was just plain tired after adding shopping all day on that. We thought we might want to go for a swim in the pool at Fiesta, so I bought a new swimsuit during our shopping at GPO. We found one on sale at Loco Boutique, but we never ended up having time for a swim. We really had a great time - good girl chats, girl shopping, and great food. I should get away to Guam with the girls more often.
When I got back from Guam, Harry got me at the airport, ran me home to change my clothes, and we went to Mary Jane and Bill's wedding reception. Their reception was very lovely, I really enjoyed it. Congratulations Bill and MaryJane.
Here's Harry and Katerina, Mary Jane's oldest daughter.
On Sunday morning I went on a dive with Harry and two friends from Hawaii. Don and Lance work in Marine Biology and came out here for meetings. Harry, Don and Lance went diving everyday from Thursday to Monday. They had a great time, but at least two of them looked pretty tired by Monday night. I only joined them for one dive. Sarah wanted to watch 10,000 B.C. at the theater, so we went to see that Sunday afternoon. After that, I caught up some laundry and read a book. Great 3 day weekend!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I love this day - so many people wear green! Yay!
For some awesome sunset pictures, check out Harry's blog for today. Have a fun and happy St. Patrick's day.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bad Hair Day?

When you are underwater, your last concern is usually what your hair looks like. For instance, I'm usually more concerned about whether I just blew snot into my mask when trying to blow out water that leaked into it. If some loose hair hangs over the top of my mask, it is easily brushed aside, so I can see where I'm going. In this photo, you see the slick dive ready hair in a pony tail. Yes, there are a few loose strands, but overall, not a bad look. However, in this photo, you can't be sure what happened. Was she scared spitless? Nah, it was just a turtle. Did she think Alfalfa had the scoop on stylish hair? Did she just descend a little too quickly trying to hang out with the turtle? Hmmm, I guess bad hair days happen underwater, too.
But no bad hair days for this guy, better known in blog world as scaricus no haricus. I think he may have the right idea about underwater hairdos.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Snorkeling in Bali

I was really disappointed on the day that I couldn't go diving because my ear wouldn't clear. While Harry was gone, I decided I could still go snorkeling over the shipwreck. There were a few other snorkelers out there, too. I stayed out until I got cold, came back in to warm up, then went back out again. I took my camera along and got this great shot of ME. Ha. It was fun.
This is a picture of the fish ball looking down on them from my snorkeling spot. Yep, I could still get pretty close to them. And I could still see alot of the shipwreck and all of the divers below.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Bali (6) Ubud

Sunrise in Bali. It was an awesome sight we treasured every morning in Tulamben. I'm thankful for all the wonderful memories from our time there. But I guess it's time to get on to the end of our Bali trip - visiting with Kim in Ubud.

Kim has been part of our "family" for quite a while now. She lived in Saipan a few years ago, and spent many weekends at our house. Often friendships made on Saipan become lasting ones. Such is the case with Kim and her family. This is Kim and I after our salon visit. She got a massage treatment and I got my hair braided. It took 4 girls 2 hours to braid my hair. Yep, looks funky, but it was fun to wear for a few days. Harry, Kim and I went to the Monkey Forest for a visit during one of our days in Ubud. We all had a really good time until Harry got bit by a monkey. But that's another story. Maybe he can tell that one on his blog. The monkeys were fun to take pictures of, and very playful.
Very, very playful. Ha. Yep, everywhere Harry goes he seems to catch things in the act - nudibranchs, monkeys, shells, etc.

I guess that explains why we saw plenty of baby monkeys this time. Very cute little guys.
I took a turn at feeding them bananas. . .. . which led to a slightly closer encounter. He eventually climbed on top of my head, but was very gentle about the whole process.

Yes, they really seemed to enjoy people's heads - especially bald ones. This guy was playing the drums on Harry's head, and pausing to check for bugs.
Well, after a day of monkeys and shopping, we went back to our room, changed into our suits and relaxed in the pool for a while. It was so refreshing after walking around in the markets, bartering for prices and carrying our packages back in the heat.
We also took a few watermelon juice breaks. There is nothing quite so refreshing as an ice cold glass of watermelon juice. Harry took some time to catch up his journal. He kept a written log of our whole trip. It's great reading.

I guess I'll close the story of our Bali trip with this peaceful picture of the night lamp in Tulamben. I have not even scratched the surface of all the joys, blessings and many wonderful moments of our trip to Bali. I will always be thankful for this experience.

Friday, March 7, 2008

BALI (5) Diving in Tulamben Part Three

Our dive guys asked us if we'd like to try a boat dive. I guess he was worried we'd get bored with the shipwreck and leave sooner. There was no reason to worry, but we told him, sure we'd love to try a boat dive. So he got his friend to bring down his fishing boat and take us to another site that was good for macro diving. This place had alot of nudibranchs, so it was a good spot for Harry to shoot some pictures.
We really enjoyed the boat ride to the site. It was the coolest boat, and gave us a closer look at the scenery along the shoreline. We saw some new bamboo construction, big fancy resorts, fishing bases, and a woman walking her 3 cows down the beach. Harry really wants one of these boats.
Since Harry was busy with all the nudibranchs, I struck up a friendship with this guy and his traveling cleaner fish. He followed me around for quite a while. I was having trouble clearing my left ear, so headed in early and waited for Harry at the boat. I had to stay on shore for a whole day after that dive, but got back in the water the next day for a shallow dive along the shoreline to see the Coral Garden.
Here I am, ready to head out to the fishing base, where our dive guys dropped us and our gear off. We swam back to our dive site from the drop off point.
The drop off was right in the curve of the shoreline in this photo.
Along the way, I saw Nemo and his buddies, and a big blue tang, and some amazing coral and other large fish (I don't know their names).
We also saw several cowries. Harry went back and got several great photos of the cowry with it's mantel out. Just awesome.

After our dives were done for the evening, we would walk into "town" and find a restaurant to eat in. On our way we always met up with this dog (later known as bracelet girl) who followed us the rest of the way down the road. She was very friendly. One time when Harry was looking down at her paw, he noticed her bead bracelet. (her left front paw) We looked for one for Emma, but never found any. It was a multi-colored small bead bracelet. Very stylish. Our trips to "town" always ended up with a stop for watermelon juice . This time Harry is showing off his shapely girl stirring stick.
Lest you forget where you are, there are handy signs posted. I thought Dawn could truly appreciate this one.
Sometimes we walked to "town" via the shoreline on these handy "sidewalks". When the sidewalk quit, we just took the path through the trees.

Yes, diving in Tulamben was a memorable experience. We loved every minute of it. Puri Madha was the name of our dive accomodations and dive shop. In this picture I'm holding Harry's cigar while he takes my picture. Nope, didn't sneak a puff. Well, in the next post, we're off to Ubud. Stay tuned.

BALI (4) Diving in Tulamben Part Two

For our second morning, our dive guy suggested we try a sunrise dive. He told us the bumphead parrot fish come out at sunrise and swim around in the shipwreck. Harry was waking up at 4:oo every morning anyway, so sunrise sounded like a good plan to us. Our dive guy was going to knock on our door at 6:00 a.m., but we were outside long before that. He ended up sleeping in, and not showing up until 6:30 a.m. That turned out to be a good thing, though, as we got to witness this spectacular sunrise.

We did not even know that Lombok Island was across from us for the first day because we could never see it. It was always hidden in some low lying clouds. But when the sun came up, it rose right over the top of volcano, making it look like the volcano was spewing flames. It was an awesome sight, and the only time of the day when you could see Lombok Island.

And true to the word of the dive guy, the shipwreck was loaded with many huge bumphead parrot fish. They were quite a sight, and it was just awesome swimming inside the wreck with such huge fish.

Here is Harry swimming with a bunch of the bumphead parrot fish, and snapping as many photos as he can.

Here was the sunrise from underwater.

Here I am hanging out in the shipwreck, with smaller fish. The bumphead parrot fish were amazing to see and swim with, but I had fun hanging out with all of the fish. There were so many kinds and colors, I could barely take it all in.

Here is a nice shot of a giant clam. They were so colorful and so big.

And here is our faithful dive guy, always waiting with new tanks and freshly rinsed gear. Yes, I have a few more pictures and a little more of the dive story to tell. Stay tuned for part three.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

BALI (3) Diving in Tulamben Part One

Welcome to our bungalow in Tulamben, Bali. The rooms were brand new, with a queen sized bed and a nice porch. They provided a rack outside to dry our towels and swim suits, but they took our dive gear and rinsed it for us and hung it to dry in the dive shop. Great service! Our room came with breakfast everyday. And every night we heard a big gecko calling. Harry was ok with hearing him, as long as it sounded like he was outside.

I had to get a picture of our doorknob. Isn't this great? Yes, we did alot of diving. I did 5 dives and 2 snorkels. Harry did 16 (yep) dives. But I had some time to relax too. I did my bible study and read another book I brought along. This was Harry within 30 minutes of arriving at the dive site. It may have been sooner than 30 minutes. I don't think he unpacked or anything first. The dive guys bring your gear and tank right to the cement ledge for you. You just slip it on and walk about 6 steps, and you are in the water and a few short kicks away from the shipwreck. Yep, it was a diver's dream site. I loved it because I never had to haul my gear more than a few steps. The guy in the background got our gear ready for us every day, or several times a day in Harry's case. Harry shared a couple cigars with him, too. Nice guy.
Harry was showing me this giant clam. You get some perspective of the size next to him. All of the critters seemed bigger than the ones on Saipan to me, the fish, the clams, the coral formations. And the variety was mind boggling, sensory overload. Here is Harry in the middle of the huge fish ball that was out there every day.
Harry is swimming past some of the shipwreck. It was fun to explore the shipwreck, as there was so much to see. I never got bored going again and again. And it was fun to take some pictures down there.
Harry is at a deeper portion of the shipwreck. He liked to check out the bottom and surfaces for nudibranchs. He even taught me how to photograph the nudibranchs. I managed to get two good shots I think.
The first morning it was time for Kelli to get in on the diving. I borrowed Hozumi's dive skin, as the water was just a bit cooler than the water in Saipan. But I was comfortable for all my dives with the dive skin on.
Here I am - great visibility that day, and a perfect photo by Harry. I am checking out the rocks and coral near the shipwreck here.
This is a closeup shot of the fish ball. I got to swim right in the middle of them. They just moved over and let me in. It was awesome. Yep, they were as big as they look in this picture.
Well, I guess I'll close out this segment of the dive story with a photo of one of our dinner companions. This guy and his friend showed up for meal times every day, and were rather noisy about making sure we knew they wanted us to share our dinner. Here he is - guilty of offering theft. Hope there isn't kitty karma.