peron point


we've had the german film crew here to film all kinds of dolphin behaviors.  one behavior is the beaching that happens at peron point, a couple of hours north of here driving, or an hour by boat.  basically the dolphins will chase schools of mullet close to shore and then hydroplane their entire bodies up onto the beach and back into the water to catch one and eat it.  it's a very interesting and innovative behavior to see and of course film.  we went up and tried to film on two different days, but unfortunately the beachers decided not to make an appearance either day.  we still had a nice time on the boat and got to see some cool bird flocking.... if flocking is a word.
 ^^frank films the shoreline^^
 the dirt/sand up at peron is very orange-red
^^frank and [german] eric wait for beachers with the camera, but end up with bird footage^^
^^bored waiting for the beachers, andreas demonstrates how dolphins wear sponges on their beaks^^

monkey mia


the return to monkey mia was warm and welcoming, and we hit the ground running.  with plenty of good weather we've been out on the boat a lot, so a few windy days (relax on the shore days) are really starting to sound good.

  it's already been 2 years since we were last here, which is hard to believe, but at the same time it seems that nothing has changed.  the seagulls and crows are still full of drama and make weird sounds all day and the pelicans are still hanging out at the beach looking to steal fish from the dolphins.
 ^^i couldn't resist putting up this terribly unflattering but hilarious picture of the pelican catching water droplets^^

janet gave one of the pre-feed talks the other morning and got lots of rubbing love from some of the beachies (dolphins that come in for feedings every morning)
monkey mia dolphins
monkey mia eric patterson
 ^^and we've already caught up with a few spongers!  hoping to see many more of these guys in the next few months and do a sponging post^^
 ^^the good with the bad. i am not a fan of deadly redbacks lurking around our caravan, but i am a fan of magnum gold ice creams :)  ^^
my love and i are happy to be back on the boat! a german film crew with nat geo arrived and have been out with us trying to get good documentary footage (more on that later).  andreas was nice enough to take a picture of the two of us having some fun out on the water :)



being back in perth was nice.  it felt (and still does feel) like we never left.  the black swans and all of the other crazy birds are still here doing their thing.  kakulas brother's is still hectic but great.  and little creatures is still a perfect dinner spot after a long day of errands.  except this time we met up with jenny to catch up and it was so nice to see what she's been up to since moving from cali to the west coast of this crazy country.

2 years ago, when i first visited western australia, i kept thinking "take pictures, soak it all in, you'll never be back to such a remote place". but now here we are again saying hi to familiar faces, and dolphins, and missing our girls again like crazy.  

this new field season is different though, and i'm excited to get new data, see new baby dolphins, and make new friends.  and who knows how many times we might be back again? :)



we managed to schedule a super-long layover in auckland on the way to perth.  it was a perfect rest stop (air condition and hot showers!) and fun to check out a new country even if just for a little.  after fiji food (which was tasty but not great for the belly) we were thrilled to get a huge breakfast and yummy coffees.  we decided to spend some time in ponsonby, a neat area of auckland, to do some eating and shopping.  hopefully sometime we'll get to go back to new zealand and check out the south island, the little taste we had for now left us wanting more.

honeymoon in fiji - part 2


honeymoon in fiji - part 2, aka: mackerels and mantas and sharks, oh my! 

eric and i love animals and we love the ocean, so snorkeling and diving are on the top of our vacation lists every time.  this trip was no exception and we got to check off some pretty cool things.  i saw my first sharks close up, eric saw his first squid, and we both saw amazing mantas so close you could touch them.

first off: holy mackerel!  i've been waiting to type that since we saw them :)  while looking for mantas we came up on this ball.  have you ever seen so many fish?!  their mouths are open!
Rastrelliger kanagurta
Rastrelliger kanagurta
Rastrelliger kanagurta

then while snorkeling on two different occasions we found ourselves in groups of squid!  they are so beautiful and change into crazy colors.  it was a special treat.

i still have never been able to see sharks while diving, so we scheduled a shark dive!  we saw tons of grey reef sharks that were bigger than eric and a black tip.  i loved watching them swim around so gracefully, although we didn't get super close... next time!

and i've saved the best for last.  manta rays!  wow, they are amazing.  the biggest one we saw was 7 meters from wing tip to tip.  they're majestic like eagles gliding back and forth and doing circles, i could watch them swim for hours.  the visibility wasn't amazing, but that's great for the mantas - there was lots for them to eat.

fiji underwater is awesome.  we were pretty much like this the entire trip.  

honeymoon in fiji - part 1


honeymoon in fiji - part 1, aka: time to relax.

with the honeymoon over, we just can't stop talking about how perfect the trip was from the weather to the places we stayed and the new friends we made.  the first few days were rainy and perfect for relaxing and reading on the porch watching the rain on the waves.  once the weather cleared up we did absolutely nothing but snorkel, lay on the beach, take naps, and eat.  the second half of the trip (a later post) was more of an adventure, but first...
fiji yasawas
fiji yasawas
^^it really is paradise!^^
^^after we learned to open coconuts, we spent a fair amount of time eating ones we'd find on the beaches^^
mara hoffman
there's lots to do on the islands other than eat coconuts though :)  you can enjoy the wildlife like beautiful lizards, giant spiders, all of the dogs that we fell in love with, and my favorite baby goat called nani.
fiji barefoot island
fiji barefoot island
you can also go on medicine walks, take snorkel or dive trips, or just talk to the villagers about fijian history.  below bio teaches me basket weaving from palm leaves.
and of course the evenings are full of traditional fire and other dancing, cooking, drinking, and amazing sunsets.  we had no trouble settling into fiji time.  the villagers were so happy and positive (and musical!) and you come away from them with a complete attitude adjustment.  i left knowing all one really needs in life is the beach, their love, and their dogs :)  
barefoot island yasawas
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