Some Happy Images

Posted in Mixed Nuts on December 17th, 2008 by MadDog
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My automated posting magic is working if you’re seeing this on the 17th. I will be back in Madang tomorrow, if I live through it. Miss Rankin will be history, as far as we’re concerned. I’m going to do a post on her soon. She’s quite a lady and has led an interesting life.

Today, you’re going to see some images that made me smile. They might hopefully do something similar for you.

I took this shot at Carol’s house while a party was raging upstairs. Nobody would think of entering someone’s house here with their shoes on, so they tend to pile up at the door. The bigger the pile, the better the party:

Shoes - the bigger the pile, the better the party

Here’s a shot I got in Sydney. There was a guy there making these wonderful sand castles with candles in them. He was a kind of busker:

Magic sand castle in Sydney

His handiwork made me smile then and still does, every time I see it.

This is the most fanciful piece of architecture that I’ve seen so far:

Dinosaur Escape - Indianapolis Children's Museum

It’s the Dinosaur Escape at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. The ICM is the largest museum in the world dedicated to children, and it’s no kid’s stuff. It’s a major museum with an excellent reputation. When I was a kid, it was all in one house. Now it takes up an entire city block.

That doesn’t count parking.

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Sunsets All Around

Posted in Mixed Nuts on December 16th, 2008 by MadDog
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Yes, I’m still out on Miss Rankin diving rarely explored waters. I’m a regular Jock Koostow. (Yes, I know I misspelled it. It is from humility that I do so.)

If I live through this, I’ll be back on the 18th.

In the meantime, I’ll attempt to entertain you with a (nearly) all-around sunset.

Leaving Tab Anchorage one evening for a night dive, we encountered a fairly common sight here – sunset wherever you look.

Here’s the view to the West where you’d expect the magic:

Sunset in the West

Here’s the view to the South, where colours like this are not so common at sunset:

Sunset in the South?

And here’s the view to the EAST, where you’d not expect to see much at all:

Sunset in the East??

I think that the big anvil-top (Cumulonimbus incus) thunderstorm in the West was causing the barred pattern in the East. Don’t ask me how light bends that way.

I don’t know why I didn’t take a shot to the North. Maybe nothing was going on there.

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Coming Attractions

Posted in Mixed Nuts on December 15th, 2008 by MadDog
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As you may have gathered by now, my ghostly computer is posting these articles in my absence while I’m away on Miss Rankin doing some very interesting dives until the 18th.

Before I left, I started working on photos that I took about six years ago in Vietnam (yes, I’m that far behind).

Here’s a little street-scene teaser from Hanoi:

Hanoi street scene

I’d go back to Vietnam at the drop of a hat. Having escaped it during the war (National Guard – yes, I’m one of those), I was able enjoy it nearly completely. I’ll explain the exceptions later.

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Road Trip!

Posted in Mixed Nuts on December 14th, 2008 by MadDog
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The next few days’ posts are going to be short, because I’m not really here. I’m out on Miss Rankin diving the east coast. I should be back on the 18th. I’ve prepared some brief posts that might amuse you a little until I get back. They’re short, because I only had one day’s notice to get ready to go. That means I had to write eight posts in one day.

Poor me.

Last year I had one of my rare field trips to the bush. A co-worker needed some assistance to visit a group of translators that have fallen on hard times. I think that Chris reckoned that having a “white beard” along couldn’t hurt. The reference is to that of a man who has the stamina to stay alive long enough for his beard to become white. That gains you much status in Papua New Guinea.

Anyway, there had been a lot of rain the day before. I thought you might be interested to see what a fairly ordinary drive through the bush is like.

What you see in front of the car is a road of sorts. It’s now covered by about half a metre of raging water:

Flooding on the Tiap road

Here’s more water coming from the side:

More water coming frmo the side

This is what we really needed instead of a Nissan Patrol:

What we needed instead of a Nissan Patrol - a Water Buffalo

I took these shots on our second attempt to reach Tiap Village. You don’t want to know about the first attempt.

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Risky, Frisky Business

Posted in Mixed Nuts on December 13th, 2008 by MadDog
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Unbeknownst to you, I have departed on Miss Rankin as of yesterday for the final diving voyage of the venerable old lady. We plan to do some rare dives along the east coast.

We’ll be doing “Blackjack”, a B-17 bomber. It’s one of the world’s more famous dives. I’ve been itching to do it for years.

I hope to gather enough material for several Niugini Blue articles.

I have written posts in advance and have scheduled them for release, one per day, until my return on Thursday the 18th.

Whether all this is going to work remains to be seen. If you don’t see this, then you won’t know what’s happening and I’ll just have to pick up the pieces when I get back.

That’s the Risky part.

Here’s me on my friend’s big Honda Shadow named Frisky (check out the vanity plate!):

MadDog on Frisky

That’s the bike’s name, not hers. I ride bikes and horses whenever I go to Idaho. I put this shot in because it’s one of my favorite photos of myself, and I hate to do a post without reminding everyone of what I look like.

So, that’s the Frisky part.

Here’s hoping that you see this on the 13th.

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Driving to Work

Posted in Mixed Nuts on December 12th, 2008 by MadDog
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How many people enjoy driving to work each day?

Come with me. It’s only about fifteen minutes. I’ll show you the scenes that I see every day on my way to the office.

A few minutes from my house, as soon as I get off the dirt road, I hit the Airport Road on my way to town. On a good day, I can see the mountains between the trees lining the road. The shadows of the morning sun paint interesting patterns on the tarmac:

Airport Road, Madang

Turning onto Coronation Drive for the scenic route, I can see the Finisterre Mountains across Astrolabe Bay through the coconut trees:

Looking across Astrolabe Bay

A minute further and I’ve reached Machinegun Point:

Machinegun Point, Madang

Around the curve at the end of the golf course, I can get out of the car and shoot back towards the Madang Country Club:

Looking toward the Madang Country Club

If I turn the other way, I catch the top of the Coastwatcher’s Monument over the tops of the trees. This is Madang’s most iconic landmark:

The Coastwatcher's Monument, Madang

Finally, in front of the Memorial Lutheran Church, I can shoot out across the inlet to Karkar Island about seventy kliks away:

Karkar Island from Madang

It’s a comfort each morning to know that no matter what kind of mess I find waiting for me at the office, at least I know that I will have a peaceful, untroubled, and beautiful experience getting there.

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Little Fishes

Posted in Under the Sea on December 11th, 2008 by MadDog
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Fortunately for me, I enjoy taking photos of little things. That’s a particularly happy proclivity when it comes to underwater photography, because we don’t have the clearest water here. In murky water, the closer you get, the better the shot. Naturally, small subjects will yield the clearest shots.

That’s if you can get close enough.

This is a teeny-weeny fish. I don’t know what it is. When they are this small (about1 cm), they are very difficult to identify unless you have a lot of time to dig through the literature:

A very tiny fish

I do know the name of this one. It’s an Urchin Clingfish (Diademichthys lineatus). This little fellow would be about 4 cm long:

Urchin clingfish (Diademichthys lineatus)

The unusual half-vertical head-down swimming position is typical of this species.

Here are two fine examples of one of our most beautiful reef fishes, the Fire Dartfish (Nemateleotris magnifica):

Fire Dartfish - (Nemateleotris magnifica)

These are common on only a few reefs. They must have very specific requirements for habitat. They favour the tops of reefs that are swept clean of sand and small rubble. The specimens above are about 4 or 5 cm long.

This little fishy is a Three Lined Blenny (Ecsenius trilineatus):

Three Lined Blenny (Ecsenius trilineatus)

This is their typical resting position. They like to be out in the sun. Other blennys prefer to hide in holes.

Speaking of hiding in holes, that is the favourite habitat of the shrimpgobys. This one is a Randall’s Shrimpgoby (Amblyeleotris randalii). There is usually a small shrimp that inhabits the same hole. I’ll show a photo of that sometime:


The little shrimpgoby above is about 5 cm long.

These are razorfish. I’m too lazy to look up the taxonomic name:


They appear to be impossibly tall and skinny – like a beanpole. However, if you look closely, you’ll see that they swim with their heads pointing straight down so that they blend in with the vertically branched corals and sea grasses that are their preferred habitat. They are really a long, slender fish, but they swim as if they’re standing on their heads. If you disturb them, they immediately adopt a horizontal position and dart away.

Even little fish can be startling if you get enough of them in one place. In this shot, Carol is rising up through a fish storm to the forward hatch of The Henry Leith:

Carol caught in a fish storm

I could hear her screeching with delight through her regulator. That’s a mark of an experienced diver.

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