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24 September ~ 2019

I love the mountains, especially the freedom of hiking through timberline to the alpine many times each summer. But it's safe to say I am also hooked on the wonders of the sea. Traveling to the sea is special, because it is exotic and a break in my routine of climbing to high places. My future visits to the sea will likely all be around Bunaken or islands nearby in the Coral Triangle. (thinking about Bangka Island, Sulawesi) The other places I have snorkeled don't come close to the diversity of fish and corals I saw at Bunaken. (Florida Keys, Dry Tortugas, Bonaire, Niue South Pacific) A return trip is easier because you know the ropes about the travel times and the connections. (Denver to San Fran; 16 hours from SF to Singapore; overnight in Singapore; 3 hours Silk Air to Manado, airport pickup by Bunaken hotel and ride to Harbour to transfer to Bunaken bound speedboat) I thought about going back in spring 2020, but decided against it, since I don't want to leave my dogs again so soon.

One thing I have mentioned before that really helps on these trips is to be able to call a computer set up in the laundry room where the borders sleep (behind a dog door to the backyard). The computer autoanswers and enables me see and talk to the dogs in real time. The first time I made a call from the dining area at the Happy Gecko Hotel on Bunaken, everyone heard Beau barking at the sound of my voice. It is pretty amazing this setup works from over 8,000 miles away, as long as I have wifi. It definitely kept me from getting homesick, since I had a daily connection to my dogs. I got in the habit of going to sleep at 7:30 pm Bunaken time, getting up at 4am and going down to the dining area to use wifi and say hello to the dogs. (which was 2pm Denver time).

The images below are of a blue sea star, Linckia laevigata , which I had never seen before I went to the Coral Triangle and Bunaken, Indonesia.

A sharpnose sandperch (below), which I saw frequently on the reef. This one is near a Leptoseris stony coral.