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Archive for the 'Camera Critters' Category

Oh, Give Me a Home Where The Buffalo Roam!

Camera Critters

I took this photo of bison in Yellowstone National Park. They’re very big up close and dangerous, yet many of the tourists we saw were busy stalking them with digital cameras.

Bison_YellowstoneNP

To view more animal photos visit Camera Critters

I’m Shy. You Didn’t See Me.

Camera Critters

We came across this deer while walking in Mt Rainier National Park.

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To see more animal photos visit Camera Critters

Fancy a Chat?

Camera Critters

I took this photo at the Sydney Easter Show earlier this year. This alpaca had a long conversation with me. I’m not sure what he was saying, but he was certainly cute with his tufty ears.

Alpaca

To visit more animal photos go to Camera Critters.

Snorkeling with Sharks and Stingrays in Moorea

Camera Critters

I interviewed Mr. Munro this week about his recent experience snorkeling with sharks and stingrays.

Moorea

What made you decide to snorkel with stingrays and sharks?

Moorea is a small but beautiful island. We could either explore the island or do some sort of water activity. When I read about swimming with sharks the theme music to Jaws came to mind. The stingray part of the excursion sounded just as dangerous. Steve Irwin anyone? In the end I decided you have to take risks occasionally because you can’t stay wrapped in cotton wool all your life. Besides, I could have fallen off my bar stool or slipped on the wet deck…

Tell us a little about the experience. Were you apprehensive?

Apprehensive was an understatement! I finally gathered courage and entered the water with my snorkel gear. It felt as if I were getting into a tepid bath. I still wasn’t too sure, but it seemed okay, then the guide started throwing dead fish into the water. I thought he was mad. Then I realized he was “on” the boat and I was in the water. I decided perhaps I was the idiot!

How close did you get to the stingrays and sharks?

Stingray

After the fish throwing things happened quickly. A stingray glided past, then another one. They wanted to play, swimming right up and over me, wanting to be stroked and rubbed. I was so excited I forgot about the sharks. That was until something caught my eye, heading straight for me through the clear water. The problem with wearing goggles is that everything is magnified. The shark looked enormous. It was actually only one meter in length. There were about six or seven black tip reef sharks circling, deciding if I was on the menu or if the guides’ dead fish were more appealing. I’m happy to say the latter seemed more popular for a snack. Being surrounded by stingrays and sharks, I was overcome with a sense of euphoria, not fear at all. The sharks kept a respectable one or two meters distance all the time.

Mr Munro and Shark

Snorkeler and Shark

Black Tip Sharks

What else did you see during your time snorkeling?

There was a lot of other sea life around – lots of different fish – and coral, but the coral wasn’t that exciting. I was very fortunate to follow a moray eel for about a hundred meters as it went from rock to rock looking for and eating fish. That was almost as exciting as the sharks!

Fish and Coral

Moray Eel

Would you recommend this experience to others?

I’d put this experience up there at about number three or four on my list of life experiences. Seeing the gorillas in Rwanda is number one on my list. I really enjoyed my swim with the sharks and stingrays, so if you get a chance to visit Moorea … do it!

To see more animal photos visit Camera Critters.

Baby Animals…Aw, aren’t they cute?

Camera Critters

There’s nothing cuter than baby animals. I’ve posted these before, but I thought I’d repost them together as a set.

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This is Patch Adams, the puppy we fostered for the SPCA. He’s now adopted out and is hanging out with his new owners.

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This is Bugs. He was weaned about six months ago and has left the farm to live with his new owners.

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This is Thursday, named because this was the day she arrived at the farm. Someone dumped her and she made herself at home with my sister. She’s growing well and is a cutie. The little green ball isn’t doing as well. My sister stood on it and broke it!

To view more animal photos visit Camera Critters

Helmet Dive in Bora Bora

Camera Critters

This week I thought I’d combine my Camera Critters photo with a story about our visit to Bora Bora.

Helmet Diving in Bora Bora by Shelley Munro

One of the fun parts of travel is the planning of a holiday. There’s the research, both online and in books, the correspondence with travel and tour operators and the detailed discussions at home with my husband. Should we or shouldn’t we?

My husband, in particular, loves the planning part of our overseas trips. This process starts months ahead. First we decide which part of the world we’re going to explore, we look at our budget and then it’s the research.

Our latest trip was a Pacific cruise on board the Dawn Princess, the Love Boat from the old TV series. There were stops at Tonga, Rarotonga, Tahiti, Hawaii, Samoa, American Samoa and Fiji. Once we’d booked our trip and put a countdown graphic on our computer, it was time to decide what we’d see and do at each stop.

“Let’s do this,” my husband said one day.

I read the details of something called a helmet dive. “It sounds good,” I said. “But I won’t be able to see a thing without my glasses.”

“You can wear your glasses underwater. The helmet goes over the top of your head. Your hair won’t even get wet.”

“Oh,” I said. I watched a YouTube video with my husband. It did look like fun. According to the site, your head didn’t get wet, no swimming experience was necessary and the excursion was suitable for all ages. “Okay,” I said. “We should do it.” I kept my lingering doubts to myself. I can swim, but I much prefer to keep my feet firmly on dry land.

Before I knew it, we were booked for a helmet dive when our ship reached Bora Bora in Tahiti.

We traveled out to the tour company’s diving platform on a speed boat. That’s when I started to get a little nervous. What if I didn’t like it? To my relief, I wasn’t the only one who was experiencing anxiety.

Bora Bora

Bora Bora is a beautiful spot. The water is a brilliant blue, an impossible color that makes you wonder if the photographer has employed Photoshop to touchup photos. The sun shone and a faint breeze stirred the foliage on the trees. Beneath the surface, we caught glimpses of fish while we waited for our turn to descend into the water.

The helmets are large clear bubbles. Imagine a cartoon spaceman’s helmet—they’re exactly like that. They’re weighted to keep them in place, which means they’re pretty heavy.

Bora Bora

We climbed down a ladder at the end of the platform and waited for the helpers to winch a helmet in place and place it over our heads. I was surprised at the weight. With the helmet over my head, I slowly went down the ladder under the water. Initially, you have to equalize. A couple of the other women had experienced trouble. I was determined I wouldn’t end up the same so I was busy making saliva and swallowing a lot. LOL Probably more than you want to know!

Bora Bora

Under the water was magical. There were loads of fish of all colors swimming around us. A diver and a photographer swam around helping and showing us different things. Lots of different things grew on the rocks and fish darted in all directions. A stingray swam around us, floating around our helmets in a graceful dance.

Bora Bora

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Bora Bora

The current was surprisingly strong, so I was glad of the added weight of the helmet. Walking along the sandy bottom was quite difficult and we all looked a bit silly flapping our arms. With so much to see, the time sped past quickly.

Bora Bora

Bora Bora

One at a time, we climbed back up the ladder and waited for the helper to attach the winch and remove our helmets. It was the first time I’ve ever swum and kept my glasses and hair completely dry.

The helmet dive ended up being one of our trip highlights. It was both exciting and magical seeing fish and a stingray in their natural habitat. I especially recommend a helmet dive to anyone who, like me, has wondered what it’s like to scuba dive. I believe helmet dives are available in a number of places now, including the Caribbean, so if you’re interested in trying one do some online research before you leave home.

To see more animal photos visit Camera Critters.

The Big Red was a Winner

Camera Critters

Phar Lap

This is the skeleton of the champion racehorse, Phar Lap. Phar Lap, which is Thai for lightning in the sky, was a chestnut. He was born near Timaru, New Zealand in 1926 and died in Menlo Park, California in 1932 after eating poisoned grass. He was poisoned on purpose, and rumor states the mob was responsible, carrying out the poisoning to protect their financial interests. Shortly before his death, he won the world’s richest race, the Agua Caliente Handicap in California. He did most of his racing in Australia and loved to run at the front of the field. Nicknamed Big Red, he won 36 of his last 41 races.

Phar Lap’s skeleton is in the Te Papa Museum in Wellington, New Zealand.
His heart is in a bottle in Canberra, Australia.
His hide is in the Museum of Victoria, Australia.

Currently, his skeleton is in Melbourne, Australia (on loan) to celebrate the running of the 150th Melbourne cup, a race that Phar Lap won in 1930.

To visit more animal photos go to Camera Critters.

Hey! Out of My Face!

Camera Critters

This is another photo taken at the Royal Sydney Easter Show. I made a beeline for the alpacas, because I think they’re so cute. The sentiment wasn’t returned. This one didn’t want me anywhere near him.

Alpaca

To visit more animal photos go to Camera Critters

Waiting…waiting…

Camera Critters

There’s a lot of waiting around at a show. Waiting for the judges to come by…waiting for dinner…waiting…

Cattle

This photo was taken at the 2010 Sydney Royal Easter Show. To visit more animal photos please go to Camera Critters.

Sea Plus Horse Equals Seahorse

Camera Critters

My photo this week was taken at the Kona Seahorse Farm in Hawaii. Those elegant fingers are mine. :grin: I love seahorses and think they’re the coolest creature. They fascinate me. Besides, any species where the male has the babies is doing the right thing.

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To see more animal photos visit Camera Critters.