The Great Hypostyle Hall of Columns, in the Temple of Amun at the Karnak Temple Complex in ancient Thebes (modern-day Luxor), is one of the most spectacular settings in all of Egypt. Covering an area large enough to contain all of Notre Dame Cathedral, hundreds of enormous columns tower above the temple grounds. The tallest columns, flanking both sides of a long passageway through the center of the hall, are 122′ feet high. The Hypostyle Hall was completed primarily by Seti I with some additions at the boundaries of the hall by Ramses II. The columns assume the shape of papyrus, and virtually every bit of the surface of each column is covered with hieroglyphics or battle scenes.
The Citadel, also referred to as the Saladin Citadel or Mohamed Ali Citadel, is one of the principal attractions of Cairo, Egypt. Originally built by Saladin in the late 1100’s for protection against invading Crusaders, the Citadel is located on a spur of limestone that is now detached from its parent Moqattam Hills by quarrying. It was the seat of Egypt’s government for centuries. The Mosque of Muhammad ‘Ali Pasha, completed in 1848, sits atop the summit of the Citadel. One of the world’s greatest monuments to medieval warfare, the Citadel houses a number of museums, ancient mosques and other historical sites and is a highly visible landmark on Cairo’s eastern skyline.
Morro Rock, also known as the Gibralter of the Pacific, is an extinct volcanic peak rising 576′ above the ocean on the north side of Morro Bay, California. It was first charted by Juan Cabrillo in 1542. It is now a protected home for the endangered peregrine falcon.
More photos of Morro Bay.
La Jolla is well known for its population of harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardsi), but it boasts California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) as well. When the movable feast of market squid (Loligo opalescens) arrives to lay its carpets of eggs on the edge of the undersea La Jolla Canyon, California sea lions as well as cormorants, sharks and rays arrive as well to eat the squid, which die after mating and laying eggs. These sea lions were perched on some rocks near the La Jolla Caves, sunning themselves between squid foraging sessions in February this year.
More from Skip:
Before our 12 day Ocean Rover diving trip a few of us did a custom 8-day kayaking, jungle hiking trip with Paddle Asia to Khao Sok National Park (remarkably biting insect free!) and to Phang Nga Bay. The former is a vast 165 square kilometers lake created in the jungle about 25 years ago by damming a river. We stayed at the floating bungalows seen in the photos. Dave Williams, who founded Paddle Asia, was our guide and naturalist. This was a fabulous trip and we recommend it to anyone interested in wildlife viewing, especially birds, or adventurous sightseeing. Also included are photos from the island on which we stayed at Phang Nga Bay.
During our trip we saw five species of monkeys, monitor lizards, geckos, frogs, toads, and uncountable species of birds, including great hornbills, white-bellied sea eagles, serpent eagles, and thanks to Dave, no other people during our kayak trips.
Click the image above to see some shots of the kayak trip!
This just in from my good friend and diving partner Skip Stubbs, who has just returned from another of his excellent dive expeditions, this time to Thailand:
We are just back from 12 great days on the Ocean Rover out of Phuket Thailand. This liveaboard diving vessel is in my opinion, hands down, the best in the world and is owned and was designed by Jeroen Deknatel of FantaSea Divers. We had a custom trip with 6 days diving in Myanmar (Burma) sandwiched between three days on each side in Thailand. The diving was quite good, with beautiful colorful reefs with abundant fish and other life, lots of strange small critters and occasional larger animals such as mantas, zebra sharks, and whale sharks..
Timing is everything. We all witnessed mating and egglaying by reef squid and cuttlefish, and even mating octopi at various sites! Must have been the season for cephalopods. There were numerous sightings of such rare creatures as harlequin shrimp, ornate ghost pipefish, seahorses, bumblebee shrimp, frogfish, sea snakes, and mantis shrimp. Of course, I only saw mantis shrimp and sea snakes myself. There were beautiful soft corals, especially in Myanmar, and many species of nudibranchs and mollusks. Some people reported seeing over 60 nudibranchs on a single dive at 3 islets.
This boat and destination can be highly recommended for a dive trip, especially considering all of the other possible sights to see in Thailand and SE Asia.
Click the image above to see some of the stills that Skip captured on his trip!
The original Point Loma lighthouse was built in 1855 and operated until 1891. It was one of the original 8 lighthouses built on the West Coast and was designed in the Cape Cod style common to all of them at the time. East Coast lighthouses were then built on promontories and hill tops so it was natural to do so on the West Coast as well. This was soon realized to be a major blunder: the lighthouses were too high for the weather, above the low-lying fog that is common on the West Coast, and thus not visible to coastal mariners. In 1891 the Point Loma lighthouse was replaced by another one closer to sea level. The “old” Point Loma lighthouse, which has been refurbished to its 1880’s condition, is now the principal attraction of Cabrillo National Monument and offers unobstructed views of San Diego Bay, North Island Naval Air Station and Coronado Island, Mexico’s Islas Coronado and the Pacific Ocean.
More lighthouse photos.
Batiquitos Lagoon borders Carlsbad and La Costa in northern San Diego County. As the lagoon is practically in our backyard we go walking there often, especially in spring when the tadpoles turn to frogs in the little creeks. I have taken my girls running there, in their jogger stroller, at least 200 times when they were little. On weekend mornings you will find many people on the northside trail for bird watching, dog walking, jogging or just killing time.
Black’s Beach, famous for its isolation, surf and fashion sense, assumes a sublime evening glow. Viewed from top of the Indian Trail, north of the hang glider port. A bit of Torrey Pines golf course is visible in the upper right. The beach below was one of my favorite runs when we lived in Del Mar, and I still get down there a few times each year for a run.