Monday, December 24, 2018

The 8th Web Based. . .

"Occasionally" Annual Salmon Beach Bulletin

Well, it's 30• outside, there's a fire in the wood stove and a cup of coffee sitting here beside me, so I decided to go ahead and see if I can't get this out to you guys before Christmas! 

Before anything else, I really need to apologize to all of my friends who are veterans; I usually send out a note on Veterans' Day, thanking you all for your service for our country, but this year, I missed it due to an incident that completely kicked my Life sideways; details below, but, "Thank you all!" and I'll try not to miss any more; your sacrifice is truly appreciated by this ol' dude!

This has been a year of changes for me; some good, some not so, but I have to admit to being happy to bring it to a close and see what the new one holds for all of us!  I had hoped to be able to finally see the realization of my dreams of a shoot in Iceland, but it's been put on hold.  My friend and photo-guru, James Brandon (  [check out his portfolio!]), who I've taken a couple of trips with, was unconscionable enough to score a full time job as a videographer for his church, with a full compliment of "bennies" for himself and his family, necessitating the cancelation of the trip.  I'm not giving up though, and hope to be able to maybe tempt him into an 8-10 day trip around the Ring Road, which circles the island; if all else fails, I may wind up heading out by myself, in the next year or 2, but I really have enjoyed the time that I've gotten to share with him. . .

As I've done in the past, I was going to work through the highlights of the year in chronological order, with photos, but as I was working on this yesterday, the afternoon talk jocks on the radio were fussing about people posting pictures that no one was interested in, so, if you're one of those folks, I'll run down the highlights of the year (of which there aren't too many!), and you can skip the photos, when you hit the first one!  If you're here for the photos,  just keep on reading. . .

Aside from the trip to Hawaii, in January, the first and probably most important thing is that I got another "Cancer Free Zone" designation from the oncologist in February; one more, in the summer of '19, and they say they're going to cut me loose!

In May, I took a major step in lifestyle that may add years to my Life; after 2 years of dithering about it, I finally sold the motorcycle.  Since it's a road bike, and that there is another 4 years of freeway construction left in Tacoma, I decided that there was no point in continuing to risk my Life by going out and playing in the traffic, where the drivers are more intent on what's changed since the last trip they made, than paying attention to other vehicles!  I have to admit that I have not suffered 1 day of "seller's remorse"; it was the right decision, that I should have made a couple of years ago. . .

On October 21st, I lost my Angel dog, after 15 years of wonderful, constant companionship, and the only good thing about it was that she was absolutely fine until the last 7 hours of her life.  It was a quick downhill decline, and bless her heart, even though she could barely walk, she managed to brace her butt against my right leg, and made it up the stairs under her own power.

For you guys who have immediate family, you cannot imagine how the death of an animal can have such a devastating effect on a single person, but I can tell you that it completely knocked my Life off kilter; I basically spent the next month burying myself in books; I probably read somewhere around 25 of them, and spent the remaining time watching TV.  I love the kitties, but they are not dogs, and it’s just a completely different relationship, so, even though I’m coming home to 3 little bundles of love, I truly miss the enjoyment of coming home to an animal that pretty much worships me, and isn’t the least bit shy about demonstrating it!  Cats?  Not so much, except for my “soul mate” cat, Kami, who would just haul ass, when I stuck my head out the door, and call for her; I’d see her running down the trail, full out, until she hit the deck where she knew I could see her, and then she’d put on the binders, and slowly stroll the rest of the way to the house.  I figured that she was just demon-strating that she was only coming home because she felt like it!  18 years of that nonsense until I lost her, and I still miss that cat. . .

I started this year with my first trip,  a week in Hawaii with James, and 4 other wonderful people.  One of the perks of going with James is that I've met some truly nice, and funny folks who are also very talented photographers, on both trips I've done with him.  

Unlike most things in my Life, I think that all the arrangements were completed a couple of months ahead of time!  I had signed on for the Trusted Travelers' Program, which lets you slide through the turnstiles at the airport, without taking off your shoes and belt, and unpacking your electronics (computer, cameras, iPad, etc.  Still, 36 hours prior to leaving, I was wound up tight, but sailed through everything and wound up on Kauai, with no hassles, the night before the workshop, which started on the 18th, but the wind was blowing hard and it was raining, and I was too tired to do anything except head straight for bed!  

James picked me up around noon the next day, and we headed for the house where we stayed.  The rest of James's "crew" was comprised of Barb, Julie, Ruth, and David Archer (jazz guitarist and photographer extraordinaire: ), and we all seemed to "gel", immediately, just like the guys in Banff, last year.  (If you want to  skip the commentary, if you click on the photo, it will "blow up", and you can just page through the photos; I promise I wont take offense!  🤫)  Here's the view from the front porch:

The woman who cooked (boy, is that an understatement!) was named Than (sp?) and she was absolutely a gourmet chef; I wound up trying to talk her into coming back to Salmon Beach, going so far as to propose to her!  🤣 James had talked about her before we got there, and she certainly lived up to the hype, feeding us incredible breakfasts, lunches and dinners that could have come from a 5 star restaurant, no matter how early we left, nor how late we got back.

The first morning we headed out to Hanalei Bay, and unlike Banff, where we were usually outside by 5 a.m., we got there about 7:15:

Try as we might, we couldn't spot Puff The Magic Dragon, but the peacefulness and quiet helped to assuage the disappointment!  

1 p.m. found us at Secret Beach, and, despite the fact that I've lived here at The Beach for the last 54 years, I've never seen the water such beautiful colors!

And looking in the opposite direction:

Sunset, that first night at Ke'e Beach was spectacular, and I'm not sure which of the "wave" photos below I like best, but they definitely filled out part of my wish list for photos!

The second morning found us at Moloa'a Bay, and I was fascinated by the "herd" of smooth rocks all kind of headed in the same direction; even the rocks at Peggy's Cove in Nova Scotia, although smooth, were not polished like this:

And by sunset, we wound up at Spouting Horn:

If you look closely at the image below, someone decorated the right side of the stump with some pooka beads!

And as the sun went down, looking 180• from where I took the photo above:

I'm not sure, but I think that our 3rd day was probably the longest, and it was the only day that Than didn't greet us with a sumptuous breakfast (crepés, bacon, eggs, home made pastries, Hawaiian sausage, coffee. . . Hey James, I'm ready to go again!), because I think that this was the morning that we hit the road about 5:30, and sunrise was high, and far away from the water, at Koke'e State Park:

We had some time to kill before our sunset cruise, so we headed back toward the water, and James, ever the adventurer, took us far off the beaten track (nice that we had a 4-wheel drive van!), where I scored 2 obligatory shots:

I'm not sure where they hide those huge waves that we see photos of, but they weren't here, so we headed back into town for some lunch, and then got on a big catamaran sailboat, like the one below,  and headed out for some spectacularly rugged coastline.  Dinner was served on the boat, and was as wonderful as the scenery!

5 minutes from docking, at the end of the trip, "Quigley luck" struck, once again, and out on the deck, as I stood up to go put my stuff away, Poseidon decided that I needed to make a sacrifice, and before I had a chance to grab it, a gust of wind snatched my Tilley hat (given to me by my best friend, about 4 years ago), off my head and after one skip off the edge of the deck, delivered it into the depths.  Man, I was sooooo bummed! Since I've been "follicly challenged" most of my life, James took us off on a little side trip, and found a Tilley Hat store, where I replaced it, to protect me ol' bald beanie!

The 5th day found us winging our way over to The Big Island, where the weather and the scenery changed from pastoral to dramatic!  Where the rain on Kauai was pretty gentle when it put in an appearance, on Hilo it was hard and accompanied by pretty heavy winds.  That night we drove up to Halema'uma'u Crater (part of the Kilauea volcano) where we got to see the lava roiling in the crater; something that James had never seen, although this was his 4th or 5th trip.  I was amazed, when I loaded the photos onto the computer and saw this:

Perhaps the "evil face" was a sign of the destructive energy that Kilauea was about to unleash on the island, about a week after we departed?  In the next one, you can see the beauty of the sky and stars, showing up behind and above the vog. . .

The next morning, we greeted the day at Laupahoehoe Point, where the rocks were totally different than the smooth stones on Kauai:

and if I remember correctly, we got chased out of here by an incredible storm that blew in and drenched me (the last one back) before we could get our stuff picked up and get back to the car; it only lasted about 20 minutes or so, but we decided it was time for breakfast. . .

We drove up to the Mauna Kea summit (over 14,000') in the afternoon, hoping to get in some night time photography, and were treated to a beautiful sunset:

Notice the cars and people in the top one?  I almost got myself in trouble again, with my tendency to wander off by myself, getting lost in the viewfinder.  Now look at the one below:

Notice the lack of people and cars?  I looked up about 20 minutes after the 1st one, and there were no people and no cars, and just as I was scratching my head and wondering, "What the heck. . . ", a park ranger yelled at me to get back to the car, and get off the mountain.  So, it was me running back to the car and the group, who once again were wondering where I was. . .

On the morning of the next to last day, we took a couple of helicopters (doors off!) out for an hour and a half ride, and it was spectacular!  It still blows me away to contemplate a 4,000 foot waterfall, and there were a lot of them!

As we were returning to the heliport, we passed over a pod of humpback whales:

Lunch at the Four Seasons Resort afforded us a view of these bathing beauties:

And for our last night's sunset, we headed out to Wawaloli Beach Park, and Pele's Well:

For a closer look, we moved right up to the edge, keeping an eye out toward the ocean:

And then it was "feet wet time"  (same hole!):

The next morning, we packed up and headed for the airport, and after dropping off part of the crew for early flights, the remainders headed over to the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens, to blow away a couple of hours before the rest of us headed for home.  To say it was beautiful would be an understatement, and these were 3 of my favorite shots from there:

Oops!  And this is our fearless leader, James, keeping a subtle eye on us!

The flight home was as different from the flight to here as it could be!  On the first leg from Hilo to Honolulu, my Trusted Traveler status did not exempt me from being run through the regular routine, and although I was enrolled in the TTP,  I wasn't stupid enough to make a fuss, and I did ask why, and the perfectly reasonable explanation was that the option to pull you out of line was for a "random search" factor; fair play, I guess!

The 2nd leg, from Honolulu to San Francisco was a little. . . ummm. . . "exciting", I guess would be the right word.  About 15 minutes out of S.F., I was extracted from the book on my iPad by the smell of something electrical burning.  I looked around to find everybody squirming around trying to see what was going on, and the flight attendants walking quickly up and down the aisles, also trying to see what was happening.  I was seated right over the front of the wing, and looking through the window on the other side of the plane, I could see flame belching out the engine on the far side!  We came into San Francisco, "hot", no pun intended, and I swear the plane bounced about 10 feet back into the air, on first contact.  When we got stopped, a ways from the terminal, we were immediately surrounded by fire trucks and emergency vehicles:

The guy who took the selfie and the one above that, was about 6'4", and some kind of federal official (air marshal, maybe?), and he wasn't any happier than I was about the whole situation; although we were joking around about it, I think maybe it was a "whistling through the graveyard" thing.

And on the last leg back to Sea-Tac, there was an emergency situation with one of the elderly folk (yeah, yeah. . . I know: "Look who's talking!"), that caused quite a stir, and delayed our deplaning for about 15 minutes, which was no big deal.  Back at The Beach I received a "Welcome Home!" celebration from the "grrrrrrrls", and wound up sleeping with a "3-cat blanket", for the first time in years, and it took Angel about 3 hours to settle down.  No matter how wonderful the vacation, it's even better getting home!

In September, me, my sis and bro-in-law made a 10 day trip down the Oregon coast, and although we only had a total of, maybe, a couple of hours of nice light (unlike Hawaii, where the skies were constantly changing), the clouds hung out for most of the trip.  In Rockaway Beach, just after dinner, the cloud bank broke, and there was 15 minutes of nice light.  I had just come out of the bathroom, looked out the window and saw what was happening, and how small the break in the cloud cover was, so I grabbed the camera and took a couple of shots through the window screen, thinking the camera might not even see it if I focused out on the beach; WRONG!  So I literally ran out the door, down the stairs and out onto the beach and got some great shots.  After the clouds closed back in, I walked back up to the room, put the camera on the bed and looked down to discover that I had neglected, in my rush, to rebuckle my belt or redo my zipper.  Good thing I was the only one out there, or I might have had to call my retired Washington State Patrol brother-in-law to come bail me out of jail on charges of indecent exposure!

So, now you're caught up on what's been going on with me this year, good and bad; hope it hasn't been too boring, and that you enjoyed the photos.  I wish I could turn you all on to some new music, but the truth of the matter is that I'm not finding anything that really plucks my heartstrings, so I guess you're on your own!

My thanks to you all for being my friends, and adding an immeasurable amount of joy to my Life, even though I may only see you every once and awhile, and some of you I haven't seen for years; knowing that you are out there certainly gives me joy!  

I pray you spend the holidays surrounded by the warmth and love of your friends and family.