James Seith Photography’s photostream on Flickr.Emerging after decades of inept and corrupt military rule, Myanmar is not yet been fully discovered by masses of tourists with smartphone. Incredible history and culture preserved, one can ride a bike into the rice fields to hundreds of 1000 year old temples within minutes of Bagan and climb right up. Unprotected, some 3000 of the original 10,000 built between the 9th and 13th centuries, one only hopes that now UNESCO can come in and help protect these important sites.
Redwood Trees—An American Treasure. The Jedediah Smith State Park in Northern California. These trees, found only in the US, grow in a 400 by 15 mile area starting near San Francisco. 30% of their moisture requirements come from fog. Many are 2000 years old!
Trinidad Bay Fishing fleet, Trinidad, California
Walking in a Volcano, Deception Island, Antarctica
A walk on the hot black sands in Whalers Bay, Deception Island, just off the Antarctic Peninsula, is to enter another world—both physically and historically. The steam still rises off the sand 44 years after the massive eruption that destroyed Chilean and British stations. Now abandoned, one can land by zodiac and walk the beaches—even swim in the water close to shore heated by the underlying volcanic activity. More on the history below.
Deception Island is an island in South Shetland off the Antarctic Peninsula that has, ironically, one of the safest harbors in Antarctica. The island is the caldera of an active volcano, which caused serious damage to the local scientific stations in 1967 and 1969. The island previously held a whaling station; it is now a tourist destination and scientific outpost, with research bases being run by Argentina and Spain. Various countries have previously asserted sovereignty; it is now administered under the Antarctic Treaty System.
The center of the island is a caldera formed in a huge eruption which has been flooded by the sea to form a large bay, now called Port Foster, about and 5.6 miles long and 3.7 miles wide. The bay has a narrow entrance, just 755 ft wide, called Neptune’s Bellows. Adding to the hazard is Ravn Rock, which lies 8.2 ft below the water in the middle of the channel. Just inside Neptune’s Bellows lies the cove Whalers Bay, which is bordered by a large black-sand beach.
Since the early 19th century, Deception Island was a favorite refuge from the storms and icebergs of Antarctica. It was first used by sealers. The volcano has destroyed most attempts to maintain permanent facilities. In 2000, there were two summer-only scientific stations, the Spanish Gabriel de Castilla, and the Argentinian Decepción Station.
In 1906, a Norwegian-Chilean whaling company started using Whalers Bay as a base for a factory ship, the Gobernador Bories. Other whaling operations followed and by 1914 there were 13 factory ships based there. The station did not process whale blubber, which was done on the ships, but boiled down the carcasses in large iron boilers to extract additional whale oil, which was stored in iron tanks. Whale oil prices dropped during the Great Depression, making the station uneconomic and it was abandoned in 1931. Forty-five men were buried in the station’s cemetery, but the cemetery was itself buried by volcano eruption in 1969.
The British established a permanent base on Deception Island on 3 February 1944, as part of Operation Tabarin. This was occupied until 5 December 1967, when a volcanic eruption forced a temporary withdrawal. It was used again between 4 December 1968 and 23 February 1969, when further volcanic activity caused it to be abandoned.
In 1969, a violent volcanic eruption demolished the Chilean stations Pedro Aguirre Cerda and Gutierrez Vargas. Remains at Whalers Bay include rusting boilers and tanks, an aircraft hangar and the British scientific station house (Biscoe House), with the middle torn out by the 1969 mudflows.
Goslings at Green Spring Gardens
A former dump truck succumbs to nature
Goslings at Green Spring Gardens
The Natural Beauty of Dead Horse State Park, Utah
Ducklings After a Swim. Spring at Green Spring Gardens, Virginia