Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Fishy Christmas!!

Happy Holidays!! Even ugly fish like to celebrate!

Of course, ugliness is in the eye of the beholder! 

Check out my recent article Why are Deep Sea Creatures so Weird and Ugly? to learn more about the fascinating adaptations that allow these creatures to survive and flourish in the cold, dark depths of the deep sea.

Viperfish are uniquely adapted to hanging onto prey with needle-sharp teeth.

Deep sea creatures have some unique adaptations for living in the icy cold, pitch black depths of the oceans far below the photic zone where light penetrates.  They can have fishing lures that glow in the dark, immense teeth to hold onto prey, and giant stomachs. We may consider these adaptations weird and ugly, but they can be key to survival in the oceans depths of the world.

There’s a certain beauty to adaptations that allow these creatures to survive and thrive in the extreme conditions of the deep sea.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with joy and fulfillment.  And less Covid too!


Monday, November 30, 2020

Hello again! Introducing

Hello ... it has been a long time!  Don't these Hatchetfish have exactly the right expression during this Covid pandemic!!?  Haha!  Hope you are keeping safe!

As you would expect, we have not taken any cruises in 2020! Seems like a safer option during these Covid times. I do have several upcoming cruises scheduled for 2021-22 - you can see them listed here.  My wife and I have been busy preparing articles for our new website

You might be interested in some of these articles -- I've learned a lot in researching them, even after 13 years of providing science lectures to thousands of people.

OK - did you know that octopuses can get an erection?  In fact they are the only non-mammalian species able to do so (that we know about).  Pays to have erectile tissue in the hectocotylus!  The same article describes how the Argonaut octopus has a detachable penis!!  

I believe you might find that my article on Irukandji jellyfish is one of the best sources of  up-to-date information available on this tiny yet life-threatening species.  I also delve into the fascinating subject of what it takes to succeed without a brain

Read about Leaf-cutter ants, some of our favorite insects.  They are so cheery and colorful as they go about their work with their parasol leaves held up high.  I was fascinated to learn that their jaws can vibrate up 1,000 times a second as they cut through leaves.  It is not a fair society!  The workers that toil away in the dump are ostracized and attacked if they try to come too close to the nest.

Check out my 360 degree video on taking the cable car to the top of Table Mountain overlooking Cape Town, South Africa.  This is one of the most scenic spots we've ever explored in all our years of travelling the world.

I have tons more fascinating articles up on - please take a minute to check them out.

Wishing you all the best,


PS: My article on the most dangerous bird in the world is a hoot!!  Or squawk?

OK, I can't forget my encounter with a bullet ant - world's most painful stinging insect!


Friday, February 28, 2020

Excellent Snorkeling in the Andaman Sea

On our recent trip we flew from Singapore to Phuket, Thailand to go on an exciting 4d/3n snorkel cruise to the Similan and Surin islands in the Andaman Sea.  Here's a short 6 min video showing some of the highlights.

This was an amazing trip on a liveaboard boat with some of the best coral we've seen in the past 20 years of snorkeling throughout the world.  Owner/operator Ralf does a great job of finding hidden snorkel spots with plenty of colourful coral and fish but without masses of people.  Highly recommended - but definitely not for softies (the exercise mats on the bunk beds take a bit of getting used to).  

The Similan and Surin islands are treasures that need to be protected for all time -- we were gratified to learn that Thailand has protected many of these islands and amazing reefs in National Parks - see Similan Islands and Surin Islands.  If you are using the Chrome browser, you can also check out this Google Earth link for a splendid 3D view of the Surin islands from above.

Unfortunately, the islands are suffering from too many tourists. At one point there were up to 7,000 visitors per day.  The problem of overuse has prompted park authorities to limit the number of tourists in the Similan Islands to 3,325 people a day. 

The ideal time to visit these Islands is December to April when it is the dryer with clear waters making it best time for scuba diving and snorkeling.  You can even stay overnight in one of the campsites with tents and bungalows on Surin Nuea Island.

Thanks for visiting and happy travels!
Cheers, George

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Enhance Your Presentations - Google Earth Updates

Wiluna, WA, Australia - Google Earth View
As many of you know, I'm a frequent user of Google Earth to help enrich my presentations.  The folks at Google Earth have added a lot of tools and enhancements over the past few months to make it even easier to add content.  How many times have you watched a travel video wishing they'd included a map to provide context? -- especially in these days of exploding numbers of YouTube travel vloggers! Well, there's no excuse as far as I'm concerned, now that these excellent tools are so readily available.  (These are tools that we could have only dreamed of when I first started giving slide presentations - back then a dissolve unit between two slide projectors was a BIG deal!)

Here's an intro to an excellent series of videos on a simple approach to incorporating satellite images into your own presentations:

Google has also added a new way of producing animated fly-overs using Google Earth Studio, which works directly in the Chrome browser.  Here's a quick video introduction, the first of a series on using Studio.  In my work, I still prefer to use Google Earth Pro which is a stand alone program that I'm more familiar with.  Pro is a free download, so cost is not an issue.

Here's an excellent intro to Studio from Tava, showing some of the more sophisticated Hollywood affects you can add if you really want to have some fun!

For the simple joy of exploration from your easy chair it is hard to beat Google Earth View.  For a quick intro check out this video:

Google Earth View is also an excellent source for wallpaper, with over 2,000 images to choose from.  But not only do these satellite images make great wallpaper for your computer screen, they can make great full frame slides to use in our presentations!  Check it out!
Niagara Falls, Canada - Google Earth View

Thanks for visiting!