Thursday, November 28, 2013

One, Two, Three, Wildlife Too Many @ Monterey Bay

One sea lion
Two breaching whales
Three Colliding Jellyfish
Wildlife Too Many

All wildlife pictures above were taken from Monterey Bay, California.

The whales were taken from the boat, while all the other three pictures were taken from the Coast Guard Wharf, Monterey, California. This is one of the popular places in Monterey for kayaking, snorkeling, diving, and well, just simply enjoying the sights and sounds of nature. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Day at the Bay

Instead of going to the beach today and catch some waves to ride, we took a leisurely walk at the bay instead.
Mission Bay, San Diego
While walking along the bay, we stopped to see a boat race.
One of the Boats at the Race

Camera Shy Sea Otter

camera shy sea otter picture taken by ktl

Camera Shy Sea Otter To KTL: " Did I tell you to not please take me a picture? Oh no, I have to cover my face again!"

~photo of sea otter taken by ktl, at: US Coast Guard Wharf, Monterey Bay, California. The US Coast Guard Wharf has to be one of the best places to se wildlife in Monterey.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Rainbow After The Storm

Yesterday's Rainbow, After the Storm 
I was busy Facebooking yesterday, when all of a sudden, I heard some excited sound, calling out to me. :)


I went out of the room, to find hubby smiling so happily. 


Oh, he just knows exactly what is a perfect surprise gift for me! I gave him a hug, kissed his cheeks, took the camera out, and had a good time with the rainbow. :)

"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."
- Dolly Parton -

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Fun Friday: Through The "not so many" Years

Blogging for Fun Friday again! What's great is that it is Friday :) Our theme this week is "yesteryears". However, I lost my childhood pictures. :( I no longer have proof to claim that I was cute when I was a baby. :) haha! All my photos then were in my albums and were neatly filed in my closet. However, they were swept away by a big typhoon that hit our province and flooded our house. I was not home that time since I was in Manila for studies. I could not blame anyone if no one took care of all my things in the closet, because at that time I understand everyone's safety was the priority. We actually lost a lot  of our things in that flood.

Thus, what I am sharing here are some pictures from my "yesteryears" back when I was still in the Philippines. The photos were not scanned, I just simply took pictures of my old pictures using my camera.
Simple Happiness, Forever a Beach Bum :)
Just modeling my newly cut hair :)
Enjoying Life
year 2001- my last full year in Philippines
An how am I now in this new land? 

year 2011
Well, I aged, but aside from that, I believe I still am enjoying the same "Joys of Simple Life". 
Hiking and Geocaching: two of My Simple Life's Pleasures in San Diego
Boogieboarding and Snorkeling are the other two of my  simple life's pleasures, because of life's simple pleasures at the great outdoors, I HAVE NO TIME FOR SHOPPING!!
I have grown to love photography, for photos of me, thankfully, I have a hubby who does not complain each time I ask him to take me a picture :)
"Through the years", life always was and is something to celebrate.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Finding Refuge and Healing In Nature

Though it is heartbreaking to see the wrath and unforgiving forces of nature, but....nature has and will continue to be my haven, my source of rejuvenation, a place where I find healing....calming me down in the midst of turbulent winds and seas.

These may be same old, same places I frequent here in San Diego to take get healing from everyday's toll....but nevertheless, they never fail to bring me a sense of peacefulness, and thankfulness.

My weekend is a routine I know, a routine of finding strength and energy in nature. We planned to hike to a canyon between Gliderport and Scripps Coastal Reserve from La Jolla Shores, but the tide was so high we could not walk on some areas for the waves were crashing right next to the cliffs that we ended up retreading and took a relaxing walk instead on top of the cliffs.
Torrey Pines Gliderport (top) and La Jolla Shores (bottom)

Then, we took a relaxing hike at Lake Poway. 
Lake Poway from the hiking trails

A little boy I met at the trails asked me, " did you catch a lot of fish?" I told him, "no, I am simply hiking." Then, a few yards after passing him, hubby pointed out to me a school of fish swimming.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail

Hiking @ Los Penasquitos Canyon

Last weekend was our first time to hike at Los Penasquitos Preserve and Park. I wonder why we never hiked this trail before. But I am glad that at least we were able to finally find another nature park that feels like an escape from civilization, yet, still is within San Diego City limits and very near the comforts of home. 

The hike here can be as short or as long, depending on anyone's interests. One can hike at the vast open space ( canyon's meadows) or in the rich oak woodland lining the Penasquitos Creek.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

A Time to Help, A Time to Pray, and A time for Rest and Relaxation with Nature

First, I would like to thank friends, colleagues and family here in USA for showing their concern and praying with me for my family's safety. Each time I got text, FB message and email, sending me prayers for my family, I could not help but feel so thankful for all the goodness I feel around.

Thursday, I was a little bit worried too, because my father was not picking my call (unreachable) and not answering my texts ( I knew they had no power). Thankfully, I was able to reach my father Friday, assuring me he was in very good condition, and that our place was spared from the devastating path of Haiyan (Yolanda in the Philippines ), the strongest so far in world's recorded history. Though relieved and thankful my family is safe, still, it's hard not to feel sad for the victims and their families. Some I personally know had lost their homes but thankfully not their lives. It is very hard for me to watch the news, and to see pictures, especially of places which have in some way brought meaningful memories.

I pray for comfort, strength to recover and rebuild to the victims and places that were affected by Haiyan and the other natural calamities that just struck our country. 

During these times, despite feeling sad for the victims, I feel also very thankful for the goodness I see around. Here in San Diego ( where there are a lot of Filipinos), local Catholic Churches have very active fund drive in direct association with Catholic Relief Services to be stewards of the help given for the victims of Haiyan. The local church here is also a key in giving emotional and prayer support to families here in San Diego who still have not heard anything from their family. The Gawad -Kalinga USA based in San Diego, is also very actively organizing relief funds right now for victims of super typhoon Haiyan. If you are called to help but do not know how, please check this link of charitable organizations which assist and help affected areas by recent natural disasters. If you know of family and friends ( or maybe localities) who may be in need of help right now for recovery, you may want to directly send your help to them who directly need help for recovery and rebuilding. I am also happy to learn from the local news that the US military is speeding aid to the Philippines. It is inspiring to see in this very tough times in Philippines the goodness and kindheartedness of people all over, sharing and giving in any way they can.

Having a very long week, both mentally and emotionally, I felt I needed much rest and relaxation therapy. Nature has always been my way of gaining strength and feel rejuvenated. Saturday, we had another date with the fishes at La Jolla Cove. Investing in a warmer wet suit really helped us enjoy water longer.
Snorkeling at La Jolla Cove, November 9 1013

When before, we usually spend most of our weekend on the slopes, this time, we kind of divide our time between the slopes and the water. I will share with you in my later posts, our weekend hikes as well, which we alternate with snorkeling.

Anyway, what was the story from today's snorkeling? Pardon me for this very little story. :)
Girabaldi: "Hey, gotta hide from that lady, she carries something in her hand, I am afraid what she'll do to me!"
Girabaldi: "Ahhhhh, she points that white thing in her hand, but she does not get me!"
Girabaldi: " Hey, lady, what is that you are pointing at me?"
Lady: " A very tiny camera, to take a picture, to have a beautiful memory of you!"
Girabaldi: " Oh, okay, now I can swim freely and safely now. Bye bye!"
Lady: "One smile for me girabaldi, please?"

Black Crowned Night Heron

Black Crowned Night Heron

I want to write something, but sadly my mind is so fried, that I can not write anything substantial :( I just feel so tired, I guess, I am still holding on to summer break :) haha! I am not complaining though, I so love my new  students, they have been angels, and have been really awesome in our first week. But maybe what tires me most is having to combine both teaching and schooling, both lesson planning and doing my own homework, after 2 months of summer break! :) I still am not used to waking up early at 5:30 in the morning.

 I am usually drawn to black crowned night herons because they look so unusually focused. The stare is so deep which reminds me of a person in deep meditative thoughts. Unlike most birds where if I come a little bit closer, they would fly away, but the night herons usually would show unperturbed with my presence. Its  focused on what is down the water can not just be disrupted. Night herons are known to be patient hunter, they stand quietly for very long periods of time waiting for a fish or frog to pass by. Sadly though, they also raid the nests for the young of other herons, terns, and gulls for their foods. :( 

Common places where these birds can easily be sighted in San Diego are:
Famosa Slough
Wild Animal Park
Lake Murray

Friday, November 08, 2013

Horseshoe Bend, Page, Arizona

Horseshoe Bend
We probably have to go back to this place again for better pictures, since when we went here last spring, it was just not the right time to take pictures. Frankly, I failed to do enough research about Horseshoe Bend since my research on Page was more focused on Antelope Canyon. You can find my post about Antelope Canyon here
After having a grand time at Antelope Canyon, we still had enough time to explore the other interesting places at Page. From Antelope Canyon, we went to Glen Canyon Dam, and made a choice where to spend the sunset, either at Lake Powell or at Horseshoe Bend. Both places are magnificent, and we decided to stay closer to our hotel, so, we went to Horseshoe Bend. There will be other times anyway as we know we would still go back to this part of Arizona and Utah, which is called the Grand Circle. You can find my Grand Circle itinerary post at my group's blog, The Salitype Society. Those who plan to have a more orderly trip in the Grand Circle, you can check the itinerary and places to see in my Grand Circle Itinerary post
We made our mistake going to Horseshoe Bend close to sunset. Little did we know that Horseshoe Bend at late afternoon is directly facing the sun, thus it was so hard to take pictures with the glare of the sun facing us. Plus, there were a lot of flying insects that would block our camera's viewfinder that taking picture was really a challenge. Thus, we just enjoyed the scenery and imagined there were no flying insects at all. I could imagine however how it would be perfect to take sunrise pictures here!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Joshua Tree National Park, Music and Video

I recently stumbled upon an old album in one of my portable external hard drives. It was from a time when my younger brother visited us in San Diego during his work related trip/assignment at the Bay Area. Though we toured my younger brother to a lot of places in and around San Diego during his short stay with us ( just short since he had to go back to the Bay Area for work assignment ), but somehow, it was the pictures from Joshua Tree National Park that inspired me to make a video of our picture stills.

Words inspired from Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Trees ( with Arms Opened Wide Like in a Prayer of Thanksgiving or Supplication )

Very inspired to make a video of our pictures of Joshua Tree, I chose the song "Desert Sky" by U2 from their Joshua Tree Album. I am a big fan of U2 and I have some of their albums. However, after I completed the video, and uploaded in you tube, I was told I can not use the music because it is protected by copyright law. :( Aws! I am so sorry U2, I am so naive I guess, I did not know I could not use some original music. Thankfully, one of my favorite songs, where the title of my blog was inspired from, allows a re-use to share because Karl Kohlase's goal is to spread the word of Christ in songs. So, here is the video of our picture stills from Joshua Tree National Park, with "Simple Life" as background music instead.

our collection of still pictures @ Joshua Tree National Park during my younger brother's visit
( music courtesy of Karl Kohlase's Simple Life )

I guess I just have to listen to the video I made using "Desert Sky" from the U2's Joshua Tree album at home. 

Monday, November 04, 2013

Snorkeling and Nature Walk Weekend

The joys of simple life..... slowing down to enjoy nature's relaxing gifts.

Weekend started after work Friday. I asked hubby for a Fri-date. My idea of a Friday date or "Fri-date" is not about fancy dining out nor watching a movie, but swimming together with the fishes. It was low tide, and I had a hunch the harmless leopard sharks would be around following their food chain.

Not all sharks are born equal, unlike the other sharks, leopard sharks are harmless to humans

First, they have very small mouth that could only feed on very tiny sea creatures such as crabs, clams, shrimps, and fish eggs.  

Second, they do not bite nor chew their food because they have very small teeth, instead they swallow their foods without chewing at all.

Third, they pretty much are bottom feeders and not interested at all of big fish. The seals and the sea lions are safe with them, as much as humans are also safe with them.
Wonderful Fri-date with the Leopard Sharks at La Jolla Shores

Being surrounded by so many leopard sharks while swimming was one of my best underwater experiences so far. It's just so amazing to be so close to them, almost inch away from them. I actually would have to move away from them since my underwater point and shoot camera ( Panasonic Lumix DMC TS25 ) is not wide angle enough to be able to take them picture when very close. Despite its limitations though, I really love my underwater camera for a cost of $116. I chose Panasonic Lumix DMC TS25 because to get an underwater casing for my dslr would cost me more than $1000, and I am not at that level of taking very serious photography underwater to be swimming with that weight, and oh oh, money! :(  I will have more detailed review probably later.   

If our Fri-date was snorkeling with the leopard sharks, our Satur-date was snorkeling with other fishes at La Jolla Cove. 
Snorkeling Satur-date at La Jolla Cove ( that's me above, and hubby below )
La Jolla Shores and La Jolla Cove actually are very near each other, you could swim from La Jolla Shores to La Jolla Cove about 1 mile ( 2 miles round trip). A lot of swimmers do that, but I don't! I am afraid to pass the canyon which takes a sudden 500 ft plunge, reaching depths of up to 600 ft. This abrupt drop in depth and rich marine life is the reason why migrating gray whales can be spotted very close to the shore.

Here's a video I made from Fri-date's and Satur-date's snorkeling. Hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Snorkeling Fri-date with the Leopard Sharks

We had an amazing Fri-date swimming with the leopard sharks. Though the water is a lot colder now, and the wind has some chill too, but, it definitely a lot worth it to be swimming with these amazing harmless and friendly sharks, the leopard sharks. I was like inch close to them, almost could touch them, ahhhh, and like I was practically surrounded by them. Today, was so far my best swimming experience with the leopard sharks at La Jolla Shores. Here are the bigger pictures I used for the collage above.

Leopard sharks are bottom feeders, have very small mouth and feeds only on very tiny sea creatures such as the crustaceans. They have no interest eating big fish because of the size of their mouth. So, unlike the great white sharks, leopard sharks are very harmless to humans. They are not known to attack people. 

Friday, November 01, 2013

Oregon Caves National Monument

Oregon Caves National Monument was one of the many nature parks we visited on our last Klamath Circle of Parks trip. This park is between Crater Lake National Park and Redwood National Park. Oregon Caves is located in the Siskiyou Mountains, and aside from the marble cave, 
there are also four hiking trails through the ancient forest within the park.
The cave tour must be with a guide, the cave is huge that one can get lost here. The fee is $8.50 per person for the tour, however, since we have a National Park Pass, we did not have to pay for the tour. Being close to the many National Parks in the West, we usually just buy the annual pass which is only $80.00, just 4 visits to any National Parks, we already get our money back since most National Parks have $15- $25 entrance fee. Just in Oregon Caves National Monument alone, we would have to pay $34 for the tour if we did not have a National Park Pass. 
My problem with our guide however is we did not really stop for pictures, as a result, my pictures were taken in haste, and with very low light in the caves, it was a challenge to take pictures and not be left behind by the group. We did take stops, but that was to explain about the history and formation of the cave, and though he told us we can take pictures while he talks, but then, all of us in the group were too respectful to take our camera out, whenever he talked. We only took our camera when we had to resume from walking, and those who wanted to take pictures took a quick stop to shoot. It definitely was a challenge having too little time to shoot for pictures and to rush getting back to the group :(
The tour was described in their site as moderately strenuous, however, it actually was not really that moderately strenuous. It included climbing more than 500 stairs and a total climb of 230 ft. In some passageways, we had to duck down and squeeze through very narrow pathway. The tour lasted for 90 minutes. 
Tourists planning to visit the cave must not be wearing flip flops, open toed shoes, sandals, and other considered to be unsafe shoes, otherwise, they may not be allowed entry to the cave. It is for safety, since the trail is so slippery, there ware water inside the cave, and it is dark as well. The temperature in the cave is at 44 degrees Fahrenheit ( 6.7 degree Celsius) regardless of outside temperature, warm clothing is recommended. Like most caves, backpacks, large purses and tripods are not allowed because of low ceilings ( we had to dock down to pass several times ) and narrow passageways. 
According to natural history, the marble rocks of Oregon Caves were once a tropical reef that was pushed under the continental edge to a depth of 12 miles and then uplifted 4,000 ft above sea level. 
Oregon Caves National Monument's unique geology is composed primarily of bits and pieces of ocean crustal rocks. The park is well know for their botanical diversity. Being close to the Pacific Ocean, the region has very comfortable temperatures, both winter and summer.