SCUBA Diving in Sipadan in the Semporna Archipelago in Malaysian Borneo — It was my first time swimming with sharks – they were everywhere, and didn’t seem to care much about us swimming a few feet away. Sipadan dive photos below, including sharks, sea turtles, harlequin sweetlips, school of jackfish, surgeonfish, purple antihas, big eye emperors, yellow mask angelfish, triggerfish, butterfly fish, parrotfish, unicorn fish, and more!
A graceful Sea Turtle swims next to us during our SCUBA dive
(Press SL for Slideshow, FS for Full Screen): Read more...(871 words, 6 images, estimated 3:29 mins reading time)
Photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze captured Hong Kong’s soaring heights in his Vertical Horizon project, which is now an 80-page book of photos from his 2012. The 26-year-old French photographer captures the city’s architecture and vertical angles – all looking up. So cool!
Photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze captures the vertical angles through a wide-angle Sigma lens with a 10 mm focal length. Unlike a fisheye lenses, he says a sigma lens avoids distorting the urban landscape’s straight lines.
An arch-shaped iceberg collapsed – and a couple caught the heart-stopping moment on camera!
A Canadian couple were boating in Newfoundland, filming video of the iceberg when they witnessed the massive collapse. It’s fascinating to witness it, until you remember that for every action there’s a potentially lethal icy reaction. Ahhh!
It’s what happens next that terrified them. In the video you can hear her scream in terror as they suddenly find themselves in danger. In just seven seconds, the vast iceberg suddenly begins to crack, then completely collapses into the water below, causing a huge wave rolling straight towards them.
‘”I think my heart came up, and I swallowed it. I was petrified!” -Wanda Stead
We’ve seen how deadly icebergs can be to even large ships — they were in New Foundland, Canada, which is where the Titanic sank back in 1912. That was due to a collision, but the resulting tidal wave from an iceberg collapse can be just as lethal.
Screenshots of the collapse:
Wanda Stead and her husband tell the story in this CBC article. Screenshots from YouTube. Read more...(160 words, 4 images, estimated 38 secs reading time)
Balut — Would you eat Duck Fetus? They eat Balut in the Philippines, and Balut might be the only food I refused during my entire trip through Asia.
When I’m traveling, I always want to sample the local food, and I’ll try almost everything. I’ve tried guinea pigs (cuy!) in Peru, grasshoppers and scorpions in Thailand, and just about every organ or body party of a cow, duck, or chicken that you can think of in mainland China (including duck intestine, pig brain). Where do I draw the line? Balut – duck fetus. Duck fetus is not for me. I just couldn’t bring myself to try eating Balut, which is a Fetal Duck Egg.
What is Balut? Balut is fertilized duck embryo – the embryo is allowed to grow and mature for about 17 days until it is quite clearly a baby duck. That’s right. A baby duck, with all its baby duck parts stuffed into a shell with the yolk and egg white, now crisscrossed with blood vessels and feather-like growths. Yes, sometimes Balut is even has the beginnings of feathers. At this point Balut is soft-boiled and eaten whole. Read more...(486 words, 1 image, estimated 1:57 mins reading time)
While I’ve never gone snorkeling with so few fish in Malapascua, Philippines, the water was clear and we had a great group and our first ever encounter with a Sea Snake! I’ll post about the Sea Snake soon, but in the meantime, here are some fun pics from our snorkeling experience below.
With hardly any fish and great visibility, we mostly just played. Our international group of friends were from Italy, Sweden, England, Holland, and the U.S.
I’m often asked, is there good snorkeling in Malapascua? If you’re looking for clear water, it’s wonderful. If you’re looking for lots of fish, I don’t recommend. With that said, I had an amazing time!
Imagine being surrounded by Grey Reef Sharks while SCUBA diving – it’s all captured in this awesome 5-minute diving video of Grey Reef Sharks in Nassau, Bahamas, at the Ray of Hope shipwreck. I love the ominous music too. Check out the video of SCUBA diving with these “Apex Predators” below:
Malaysian Borneo – The monkey I saw most often on my trip through Asia was the macaque. Long-tailed macaques are not shy (although sometimes aggressive; be careful!) and that made for some wonderful closeup photos like this one (below) from Bako National Park, an island in Malaysian Borneo.
Another travel photographer said this wildlife shot of a long-tailed macaque (the monkey in the above photo) should be the next cover of Lonely Planet Borneo (Travel Guide). Perhaps! I’m really flattered by the compliment, but I need to thank the photogenic monkeys that were so kind to pose for me.
Getting this photo: Shots like this are challenging, because this monkey didn’t pose for me, and macro shots aren’t compatible with motion and you can’t predict eye contact from wildlife. You need to be in the right focus to have the monkey crisp with the background blurred so it pops. In contrast, I love the composition of the lower photo, but I had to use my zoom so the depth of field is much more flat.
Pronunciation – yes, the correct pronunciation for this monkey is actually Muh-kok. [Giggle giggle] Read more...(263 words, 6 images, estimated 1:03 mins reading time)
I was fascinated by Borneo’s Proboscis Monkeys, not just because of the rare chance to observe and photograph an endangered species in the wild (only found in Borneo), but also because the seem so human-like. Imagine a monkey with a distinctive huge nose (a male proboscis monkey’s nose can reach up to 7 inches in length!) and a pot belly, that often walks upright (rare for mammals) and sits a little like humans sit. Their name, Nasalis larvatus, literally translates to “long nose,” and you can see why (below):
Sometimes Proboscis Monkeys seem so human-like! This proboscis monkey was frantically eating as if he hadn’t eaten for days! Take a look in this video clip from my time in Malaysian Borneo:
Bako National Park also has bearded pigs, which greeted us upon entering the island. So when we heard a typical pig sound later in the day, we were surprised to hear these honking sounds coming from proboscis monkeys.
Orangutans are much more closely related to humans, but the mannerisms of proboscis monkeys made me stop in my tracks and want to observe them all day. And I did. Read more...(589 words, 5 images, estimated 2:21 mins reading time)
Bangkok, Thailand — After using my little backpack traveling around Asia for 3+ months, my day bag started to fall apart. Fortunately I was in Bangkok, which can be an excellent spot to shop for discounts, since nearly everything is cheap. A few blocks from my hotel was a place advertising “authentic travel bags,” which pretty comically tells you that they’re not. Caveat emptor!
My friend and I were laughing about it, apparently loud enough that the salesperson overheard and challenged us. The guy selling these bags explained that you know it’s quality because it’s strong; he then pulled on the material to show that it’s strong, and because there’s a website. Apparently those are the 2 criteria he was told that makes an item legit. I found a Lowe Alpine bag that I liked, and to his credit, the material did appear strong, and did in fact have what looks like a website embroidered on the bag.
In this case they actually made a bunch of bags that say www. com. That’s right, the actually mass-produced bags with “www. com” embroidered on it. See below photo: Read more...(398 words, 1 image, estimated 1:36 mins reading time)