Diving Santa Catalina


Took the ferry to Avalon from Long Beach in order to see how the fishes were doing. Once we got checked in at the Canyon Inn, I started off with a couple dives at Casino point.

It was a great day for diving. Slightly overcast but not too windy. There were lot’s of the usual Chanel Island critters out. Garibaldis, lobster, sheepshead even a large sheep crab aka spider crab, hiding in the weeds. There was an octopus but something had already made a meal out of most of it. Water temp was very pleasant at around 58F.

Afterwards I was very glad that the Inn offered a free shuttle as I wouldn’t want to hike back up the hill to my room.

More Pics: https://captnemo.smugmug.com/Places/California/Channel-Islands-Trips/Catalina-2023/

Going to the Zoo


Well more like went to the zoo. The L.A zoo in Griffith park.

Our first stop was Kalinka Russian Cuisine for lunch since I didn’t want to pay for over priced food at the zoo. The food was very tasty and it was just a short way from the zoo.

The Zoo is a combination Botanical garden with vegetation chosen to match the animals enclosure.


Near the entrance we watched a harbor seal for a bit before heading uphill (the whole zoo is on a hill so lots of uphill) Passing the Flamingos and reaching the reptile exhibit.

We made our way through various other exhibits and by the time we reached the hilltop near the Elephant enclosures we realized it was getting late as a great many of the animals were retreating inside as it got cooler. After a brief stop to watch the Flamingos being shooed inside by their caretaker, We headed back down and went out in search of our own dinner.

More pics: https://captnemo.smugmug.com/Animals/LA-ZOO-/

Painted Cave

Took a break from the heat by heading to the coast. Island Packers has a combo trip that goes to Prisoners harbor on Santa Cruz Island and then on around to Painted cave. We had a great trip out as the ocean was particularly calm so we were able to see even more dolphins then I spotted on previous trips.

The cave is big enough (approx. 1225′ long) they can drive the whole boat inside it! Dad spotted some interesting Dudlyea growing near the entrance.

Back at the Harbor, we got a little confused since I was used to landing at Scorpion bay and prisoners harbor is a completely different end of the island! We went for a short walk then ate lunch and watched an island fox sneak around looking for leftovers.

All too soon it was time for the trip home. We had a delicious sea food dinner in Ventura before heading back to the heat.

Whitney Portal

I decided to head out this weekend on the motorcycle and escape the heat here in Bakersfield. In hindsight maybe heading into the desert wasn’t the best choice for this but overall it worked out very well. Early morning riding past Tehachapi was nice and cool and it wasn’t till I neared Mojave that the smoke from nearby forest fires clouded the air.

I continued North up through Red rock Canyon and soon I was riding in clean cool air again though as the sun beat down it was getting noticeably warmer. By midday it was becoming hot so I was glad to take a ride up Whitney Portal road. This very steep road soon had me up at cooler climes and I was able to relax near a stream for awhile. I had intended to pop into the portal shop for a bite to eat but there was a considerable crowd up by the trail head/ parking area so I decided to make my way down back towards 395 instead. Progressing along the interstate it wasn’t long before I realized  a. it was pretty darn hot out and b. the air quality was significantly worsening as more smoke flowed out of the forest fires.  The smoggy skies did make for an impressive sunset as I passed back through Red Rock Canyon so I stopped for a few pictures and as I headed towards Mojave a gusty wind started blowing which while it made riding a little uncomfortable did cool things off.

450 miles later I was home, a very enjoyable outing.

See the rest of the pictures HERE

PackSaddle 2016


Waterfall at the creek


Last year I managed a visit up to Packsaddle cave but it was mid summer and I headed up a bit late in the day which made for a too warm trip. Well honestly it was hot but I survived. This year I joined a local hiking group and they wisely headed up early in the morning and picked a weekend when the weather was really very pleasant. I managed to pack extra water and even had some ice left in one of the bottles upon returning to the motorcycle for the ride home.

As evidenced in the photos there was more water present then last year which in turn meant more wildflowers and unfortunately more poison oak but I think we managed to avoid it all.

Hiking across the ridge

Hiking across the ridge




Hiking up the hill

Hiking up the hill, if you look real careful there’s people up near the top 🙂

It was a surprisingly large group, close to 30 people but everyone seemed to enjoy the hike and no one complained that I took my time coming up the hill as I stopped to take just one or two more pictures.



Finally we reached the cave. Here I was disappointed to find my flashes weren’t triggering from the radio transmitters but I did have optical slave as an option so I took a couple shots with that and found that my dive light made a fairly good substitute as well.


flash using optical slave in the cave

dive light

dive light

So at least I got a few in cave pics then it was time to hike back down the hill.

There were still plenty of flowers to photograph on the way back

Mariposa Lilly

Mariposa Lilly

and I got back to the motorcycle early enough to enjoy a pleasant ride through the canyon before heading down to the valley where it was getting pretty warm again.

More wild flowers

More wild flowers