"Grumpy Diver's Travel Highlights" GrumpyDiver's Profile
Grumpy Diver? Well I've been known to be grumpy and I have done a fair bit of scuba diving, so the name seems to fit. I haven't been diving nearly enough over the past few years, so another reason to be grumpy.
These pages aren't really about diving, they cover my other "passion" - exploring the world. I've had the good fortune to see some amazing things - watching a couple of lions hunting a water buffalo in Africa, standing in King Tut's tomb in Egypt, walking along an unrestored part of the Great Wall of China, diving a sunken U-boot off the American coast, standing at the foot of Mt Everest, getting within about 5 or 6 metres of a herd of Borneo Pigmy Elephants, spending half a day hunting with the Bushmen in the Kalahari just to name just a few. I've even been chased away by a macho elephant in the wild; and have the video to prove it!
As an avid photographer and videographer, some images and short video clips of recent trips are posted here.
We have just returned from a two-month long trip through South Asia; Bhutan, Northern India and Nepal. We had an absolutely amazing time. I am going to work on updating my travel pages as I have time.
This image is the famed Tiger's Nest Monastery, near Paro, Bhutan. We started the 900m climb over around 2km early in the morning and everything was cloud covered. Roughly half way there, we caught a rather unusual view; the monastery poking through a hole in the clouds.
In 2004 we had the pleasure of visiting Tibet for a couple of weeks. When you are that close to Mt Everest, it's difficult to resist getting out to see the famous mountain.
We were told that the view from the Chinese side was far better than from Nepal. Based on what we saw, the view we got would be hard to beat.
The only downside was a distinct lack of oxygen. We literally were only able to get around at about 1/3 of our normal speed and we had a headache for the entire two week period we were at altitude. The point I am standing at is at over 5200 metres . Only another 3648 metres to go to reach the summit!
Perhaps not - this is as close as we would get to the "roof of the world".
This sparsely populated country in Southern Africa offers so many things to see. The gigantic sand dunes in the Namib Desert, the Bushman, Himba and Herero people and of course the wildlife in Etosha National Park.
Unlike Eastern Africa, the infrastructure does support independent travel. A truly amazing place!
I felt like a giant beside these Rungus people from North-Eastern Borneo. This is one areas where some people still live in traditional wooden longhouses. We had the pleasure of visiting a real longhouse and buying some of the Rungus beadwork and then spending a night in a longhouse that was set up as a hotel for tourists.
Good food and entertainment, we spent time chatting with some of the school children who wanted to practice their English.
A few weeks before heading off to Borneo, there is a nature program on TV talking about the rare and endangered Borneo Pigmy Elephant - only 2000 left. Okay, so it goes on our "must do" list.
We head off into the rain forest by boat from Sandakan along the Kinabatangan River and our guide tells us - "not a chance". The elephants wander up and down the river to feed and they are seen perhaps two or three times a year. Often in the distance in inaccessible places.
So much to everyone's surprise, we run into a heard of 30 of so grazing along the river's edge. Talk about a photo op! Everything from an old bull male to a number of youngsters. We stayed and watched until it was almost dark.
Talk about an experience of a lifetime!
Forget Ankgor Wat, some of the other temples at the Ankgor complex are a lot nicer. The Bayon with the many faces, the unrestored and jungle covered Beng Mealea and Ta Prohm, with the structures overgrown with tree roots was one of our favourites.
How about a nice "Tomb Raider" pose?
One of the most exotic places that we have ever visited is the Omo Valley, in the extreme south-western part of Ethiopia, not far from the border with Kenya and South Sudan.
This is a tribal area, where AK-47 toting warriors mingle with women with lip-plates and other very unusual body decorations. It is not a comfortable place to visit, but well worth the visit to see these people still living in a traditional pastoral setting; their wealth measured by the number of cows that they own.
Sometimes you can do exotic trips in your own country. S'Gung Gwaay is an abandoned Haida Indian village on the South-West corner of Gwaii Haanas National Park on Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands), in British Columbia, Canada.
This is truly a magical place. On those rare days when the sun is shining, and the light penetrates the old forest, the spirit of Haida Gwaii seems to come to life. It's not an easy place to get to - you have to either fly in or take an 8-hour ferry ride from the mainland.
These totem poles are well over 100 years old. The village of S'gung Gwaay was abandoned in 1885, after a smallpox epidemic devastated the population. Most of the totem poles in museums around the world came from Haida Gwaii.
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