Thursday, 15 April 2010

Two Sunsets - One Message

This is the wrap up session for the first new mission from Beyond The Launchpad. There were a lot of photographs taken on my voyage across the atolls of the Maldives - and the first of two images here is from my penultimate evening there. A magnificent skyline at the end of the day. This was something I attempted to see every day I was there. It was never the same, despite being in the same place. Yet nothing changed - how can you improve on brilliant?

I came home on 10/04/2010. Days have passed.

And it came to pass that a Volcano should erupt in Iceland. The skies became deserted and the evening was promising a 'lavender Skyline'. I returned home as quickly as possible to make good the opportunity to photograph a skyline here in the UK. My second picture shows the fall of night here at SafeHaven. It's been over a year now that I have been based here and the magnificent view is a good reason I think for it.


So, what have I gained from this journey? A reacquired taste for Strawberries, thanks to Strawberry Cornflakes. Pineapple Curry. Lime Juice. Calm, for now.

If any of you want to see further pictures of the Maldivian mission please feel free to contact me and I'll try to arrange a viewing. Meantime, anticipation for the next journey to grace Beyond The Launchpad grows...

Friday, 9 April 2010

"GEKKO! We've got GEKKO!!" Life on Maldives pt.3

On the penultimate evening here I went Gecko hunting. Gecko are Lizards, whom in some SE Asian Cultures are believed to bring Good Luck, Fortune and fertility. I have sought out these creatures as I find them fascinating to watch, incomprehensible at times but a sure means to control pests, as can be seen as this little fella is eying up Dinner in front of him... The Gecko here are tiny, perhaps around 3 inches in length but move fast and have a high vocal call...
This call is usually prevalent towards dusk and into the early evening, when these usually nocturnal creatures emerge -alertly- into the artificial light and feed on the insects drawn to the light. Gecko in the Maldives are usually to be found on the sides of buildings, seemingly defying gravity. As mentioned this is the first time I've really noticed these cute little critters and on previous visits I saw them virtually everywhere, on occasion within peoples homes. Now, they seem content to being outside...
This more or less wraps up the adventure in the Maldives for 2010. Unfortunately I must report that the opportunity to photograph a Fruit Bat may have passed but I will attempt before I leave to see if I can get something on record. Some more postings to come over the weekend...

Eye of the Storm

First of two today. Last night I went out into a further Electrical Storm taking place around my Island Retreat. A screen capture of the night lights is below:There is a two minute HD video of the event and some other image captures...

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Life on Maldives 2 - the struggle for survival

My second forray into 'Natural History' on the Maldives, my first photo was taken a few days ago at a deserted beach, where by chance I was to come across a Crow, one of the rare Avian Lifeforms that traverse during the day, making some kind of victory dance across the beach. Magnification of this image will reveal it's beak wide open - I wondered what it was doing. The Crow holds kingship of the skyline and treeline during the day, but by night leathery wings take control of the sky, as giant Fruit Bats dominate the Heavens. I have as yet been unable to photograph these creatures in their aerial habitat - but should I do so...

Whilst on the Dawn Patrol this morning I came across another of the diverse land-based lifeforms which frequent the island. This little Lizard had the good nature of pausing to allow me to photograph it and hence the inclusion here. These little beasties come in various sizes but nothing to the size of their ancestory, namely Dinosaur, scale. They are keeping the insect population here in check. Did I mention there are Insects? So far nothing to report of any menacing size or threat capability, but they are organised savengers, picking off carcases (a lot feeding on dead Crabs and the like). Some of the Soldier Ants could pose a significant threat if they were exposed to altering Radiotherapy treatment...


I hope to post another Life on Maldives entry before departure, hopefully including Previous trip favourite (but extremely elusive on this trip!) 'Gordon' Gekko and the Fruit bat in flight. A day or so to go, weather update: some stormy weather last night (crossed from Male to my hideout in an electrical storm: thankfully no power outage...) but nothing to photograph alas. Today clear skies again!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

More Morning Photos

Close to being the perfect reason for waking up in the morning, for the second of today's postings, Daybreak number ten for me here. So far I have observed all but two daybreaks: the first missed because I was too tired to see it (I was fighting to get into the right timeframe) and the second due to unexpected poor conditions (we had rain Monday - I got soaked!). But every day I have disciplined myself to get up and see this and it's something I intend to do until I leave.


Flat on my back, somewhere. You'll need to enlarge this to see it, but hidden in the blue is a Cresent Moon, looking down on the bright, bright Earth. In a few days this will be gone, but I have intentions of more photography of the Celestial Body in the future. I think this won't be here though...

Rooftop

The first of two postings today. Here, the view from the top of the Holiday Inn on Male, as seen yesterday afternoon. As you can see, a stunning view. To keep you cultured souls in the know: on the left to sea is an Australian Frigate, which has been there for the past two days. The give away to the origins of the vessel? The big Red Kangaroo on the side of the ship...

In keeping with custom there was no Alcoholic beverage available to me. Instead I was treated to a Cappuccino, probably the best on the island (and that's a shameless plug for the staff in the Holiday Inn). Strangely, as the days wear on the desire for alcohol fades. Has my Abstinence for Lent become a permanent condition for 2010? I'm sure all you reading this will have your opinions...

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Water is Life!

Yes, another daybreak photograph. However, this is not the real news today. I've been kicking dust around on this island in the sun for TOO LONG now, so it was about TIME I got into the Water (why on Earth do you go to an Island if NOT to go into the Water?). So, after several hours in the Sun I decided to cool off under the stars with a dip into the Ocean... As you Launchpad fans know the last time I was in this particular Ocean I made like Samwise Gamgee and nearly sank to the bottom of the Sea...
(which might explain WHY I stay on the Islands.)
This time, with no Frodo in sight to drag me back to safety I did not sink and enjoyed the view of the Stars and Planets whilst floating on my back, including one particular Planet called MARS which just so happens to be in the sky to the West of here. If any Martians were looking on I'm sure they got enough information to stall any further invasion plans from their observation my heroic efforts in the sea - but as you all know from your classical education and (in the case perhaps of one or two of you) from the study of the specimen in the Natural History Museum, Martians are effectively Octopus, with big luminous disc-like eyes, so perhaps they might be more efficient in our seas and at Nighttime...
Just some off the cuff thoughts for you all on Easter Sunday... Our temperature here today was around 30 degrees centigrade and we had good skies.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Crabby Pictures

"You talkin' to me?"


Clearly not - I'm off.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Easterly View

Thursday Morning. Today, for the first time in four days I managed to catch sunrise by rising at 5.45am, some fifteen minutes earlier than usual and despite the cloud cover, I think managed to get some good photos. In a flipside to the previous post I'm adding a few more images as this side is Daybreak side and (did I mention this before?) because it is thirty seconds from where I'm staying at the moment.


Yeap, it certainly pays to wake first thing. My routine is good now: up at Daybreak, circle the island taking some photos, (which usually take up an hour or so,) breakfast, work (today another 2,800 words, sorry I don't think I'm going to get to my proposed 50,000 written before I leave but I think if I get at least half of that I'm doing good), and the afternoon off to catch up with friends and more photos.


The clarity of the water here fails to be captured in my photos, but here you can readily see the reflective nature and near stillness of the water at low tide. As has been mentioned my iTouch has been deployed on this adventure: this morning's delights were tracks from Royksopp's 2009 album Junior, Chicane's 2007 album Somersault and Goldfrapp's 2008 album Seventh Tree.



Finally, no, I haven't forgotten either. I know that some of you wanted more 'hilarious' photos of Rock Lobster but given that the feedback has been substantially worse than the initial run on Beyond the Launchpad I'm beginning once more to question if this is real or a New York State of Mind. If it's the latter, please be advised some real upbeat posts will be issued shortly.
Further details to follow.
(n.b. heck, that's kinda catchy isn't it? That would be good for a Blog name...)