Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bells & Belles

Gail & I had lunch today with my sons Daniel and Trevor at Jamie Kennedy's Gilead Café in Toronto. Good food and airy ambience. It was a chance to meet Trevor's new girlfriend Megan before he heads back to Montreal and his Master's program in Environmental Science at Concordia.
Simon, Gail, Daniel, Amanda, Trevor and Megan at 507 Queen East
My old office from 1984 to 1993

After lunch we headed over to Dan's girlfriend Amanda's apartment on Queen Street East which just so happens to be where I had my first office/studio for 9 years in the 1980s! It was so familiar - and beautifully decorated in a young and trendy way - but  somehow it seemed  smaller than I remember it.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Galaxy Garden

The Galaxy Garden resides in the Paleaku Peace Sanctuary in Honaunau Hawaii
My friend Jon Lomberg, with whom I recently stayed in Hawaii, has designed and built something unique on our planet, a beautiful garden that reflects the scale and components of the Milky Way, our home galaxy.

The gold sphere represents a magnified Solar System
The Milky Way is so vast that all of the stars that we see with our naked eyes would reside on leaves only a few inches apart in the garden. Our sun and solar system would be but a few molecules wide.

Jon & Simon by the fountain representing the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way
The Galaxy Garden also gives a measure of the scale of our galactic neighbourhood. Andromeda, the galaxy next door would reside about a 1/2 mile away, the local Virgo super-cluster of galaxies would occupy 40 miles of the Hawaiian coast, and the known universe would roughly be the size of Planet Earth!

A 3D cross-view of the Galaxy Garden

Sunday, February 10, 2013


 I went snorkelling with manta rays last night! We floated on the surface and let these enormous but harmless creatures swim up to our lights and cameras. They swam very close letting their huge mouths and bellies slide by us as they scooped up the plankton attracted to the lights.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Kona Snow

Coffee tree in bloom
Today the coffee trees here on the Kona coast of Hawaii have erupted in white blossoms, a yearly phenomenon the locals call Kona snow. It's a beautiful sight and everywhere the air is filled with the sweet scent of jasmine, of which the coffee plant is a member.

Due to the mild climate and rich volcanic soils, Kona coffee is highly prized. I'll be sure to bring some beans home with me!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Kapoho Tidal Pools

Convict Tang in the coral gardens
The Kapoho Tidal Pools on the Puna Coast of Hawaii have the best snorkelling I have ever experienced. The waters are shallow and crystal clear, the corals are huge and colourful and the tropical fish are plentiful and approachable.
Moorish Idols
 Because the waters are shallow I'd recommend wearing an extra "skin" or Lycra body suit. I didn't and paid the price with a few scratches on my arms and legs.

Unicorn Fish
Be sure to take along an underwater camera that shoots video. These images are stills that I made from the HD video I shot.
Line Butterfly Fish

Monday, February 4, 2013

Lava Flows

 Yesterday I hiked out to the place in Hawaii where lava flows into the sea.  At first, in daylight, there's not much to see. Just billowing steam with hints of red.  But as night falls the multiple entry points reveal themselves and put on quite a show!
 The liquid lava oozes slowly downhill, flowing effortlessly across the previous flow that may have been laid down only hours before.
Seeing new land being created and feeling its furnace-like heat is an experience I won't soon forget.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Swimming with Wild Dolphins

 Aloha from the Big Island! Gail & I are visiting friends Jon & Sharona Lomberg this week at their home on the Kona Coast. The calm blue waters are home to spinner dolphins who come to rest during the day in the quiet shallow bays.

 They are called spinners because of their spinning leaps into the air which I watched from the shore. Soon I and a few other curious onlookers were in the water and swimming beside them!

These masters of the sea are not shy, in fact they're quite playful, but this is their time to rest and sleep. Since they still need to rise to the surface to breathe, they let each hemisphere of their brain sleep alternately.

If you should one day find yourself swimming among dolphins, please respect them by keeping your distance. Don't swim at them. Let them swim to you.