Sunday, July 17, 2011

Diving at Turks and Caicos

After spending a week lazing about in Ontario, we flew down to Turks and Caicos to check out what we heard was the best diving in the Caribbean.

This Eastern Kingbird (?) followed us there.  We saw it just a few days in Ontario just a few days prior

The island has been, on and off, the subject of parliamentary interest as various MPs proposed annexing the currently British territory with Canada.  Unfortunately for Canadians, the closest it came was a private member's bill in 1974 that was rejected.  On the resort a third of the staff seemed to be from Canada (Quebec, mostly) so there was no shortage of Canadian spirit.

Taking shelter by the pier

We spent most of our time at Club Med - an all-inclusive resort that is perfect for people who like trying new things.  We had included instruction of windsurfing, sailing, snorkel trips, and flying trapeze and could generally enjoy those out as much as our sunburnt skin could endure.

30 minutes after this photo was taken I had to be rescued by motorboat from drifting too far offshore. My memory of a year-old lesson in windsurfing had a big hole in the part, "where to position your feet"
The real reason we came this far (we didn't meet anyone else whose commute came even close to the 15 hours it took for us to get home) was for the diving.

Blue chromis

We were a bit disappointed with shark sightings.  This is the closest we came, just a silhouette of a Caribbean reef shark disappearing into the blue 

French angelfish with porcupinefish
Spiny squirrelfish

Four of a kind (jacks)


Dinner...I mean, spiny lobster

flamingo tongue (a type of gastropod (a type of snail)) on a fan coral

Hawksbill turtle
Meet and greet

Four-eyed butterfly fish


flamingo tongue
And for a video:

After speaking with other divers, we concluded that it would've been better to choose a different dive operator who could take us to the lesser dived southern and western part of the islands.  The diving wasn't just wasn't great, and our hopes were pretty high.  We had a great time with the other guests as well, most of whom were activity-minded like us.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Canada Day weekend - crowds of a different type

In the city, Canada Day weekend is when one typically spends more time in traffic than usual.  Everybody is out, trying to maximize the time off, and take in the festivities.

I was in cottage country in Ontario for the first time, taking in lake life with camera in hand, watching how the other species celebrates Canada Day.

Redwing blackbird, catching dragonflies on the wing

The tail of a cat waving coyly amongst the rushes

"I was here first," shrieked the redwing blackbird to the eastern kingbird

Female redwing blackbird

It seemed the only times the redwing blackbirds weren't singing was when they had dragonflies in their mouths

belted kingfisher

pumpkinseed sunfish, tanning in about 20 inches of water

Great blue heron

leopard frog


midland painted turtle, feasting on a Chinese pineapple bun I'd clumsily dropped into the water earlier that morning
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Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Email posting to blogger is difficult when the email client doesn't inline the photos for you. This is one of the better underwater photos of the ever-curious sunfish that hid near the dock in about 2 feet of water. The worms that we occasionally used as bait are irresistable to these guys.

Glow bugs

First time seeing these in North America. In daylight, they appear just like any other beetle.

Cottage life

I've been near a lake in Ontario for nearly a week. The birds are constantly singing, the sunfish lazily sun bathing, and the mosquitos patiently waiting at the screen doors for us to emerge.

Being near a lake, there is constant activity. The redwing blackbirds and eastern kingbirds sweep the shallow deltas and inlets on the hunt for dragon and damselflies.