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!