Bears and Volcanos of Kamchatka

At sunrise we find a large pile fresh dung, only 5m from our tents. While we pack, we keep an eye out. Then we see it; a Kamchatka brown bear on the opposite river bank. The bear  starts to fish, at the spot where we caught two trouts last night. As if we are not there, the bear crosses to our camp’s shore. As we enter our rafts, the curious bear is less the 5 meters from our camp. Continue reading “Bears and Volcanos of Kamchatka”

PADI Rescue Diver at Malapascua

At 6m depth, I turn around and see her. Michi is drifing on the bottom, not breathing. Three strong kicks, I am with her, grab her and bring her up to the surface. Mask off, regulator off and start rescue breathing.

Luckily, this is just a scenario in the Rescue Diver course and Michi is fine (exept for some bruises and some water in the lungs from my not yet perfect rescue attempts).

We are back at Malapascue for an intense dive training session with Thresher Shark Divers.

Here is the full story.

Continue reading “PADI Rescue Diver at Malapascua”

One Day in Paris – Tianducheng

The familiar silhouette of the Eiffel Tower is clearly visible against the gray sky. Streets are lines by typical Paris architecture. Only the Seine is about 9,000km away. We are in Skycity in Tianducheng, a suburb of the City of Hangzhou.

The Chinese Eiffel Tower yeas built 9 years before world leaders came to Hangzhou for the G20 summit. For what reason? None apparent, other than for Chinese couples to take wedding pictures. Continue reading “One Day in Paris – Tianducheng”

Zhangjiajie – A visit to the Avatar Mountains

Zhangjiajie – world famous as the Pandora Mountains from the movie Avatar – is a stone forest with needles of quartz sandstone which reach up to over 1.000m. Despite all warnings, we decided that it is the place to go over the May holidays and we – the brave – were rewarded by small crowds, magnificent views and thigh pains worse than almost anything we have ever experienced.

Continue reading “Zhangjiajie – A visit to the Avatar Mountains”

Diving with Manta Rays in Thailand

The Manta Ray glides above us, then circles around. We can almost touch it as it gently lifts its wing and drifts into the void of the Andaman Sea. Its our third sighting in two dives. These waters are teeming with life, from the giant Manta Rays to small boxer shrimps and sea horses. All this has been made possible by a diving accident that dispelled Michi to the deck of the Somboon 4.

Continue reading “Diving with Manta Rays in Thailand”

Winter in Mongolia – a dog sledding adventure

Our sled glides over enless snow-covered rivers  underneath the wide Mongolian sky. The only sound is the panting of our 12 sled dogs. The high sun lets the thermometer climb to -20°C. Suddenly, with a bang, the ice gives away and  our sled tumbling into the river below. We get back on our feet in the shallow riverbed and quickly climb out of the water. Within seconds, our drenched clothes freeze solid. Luck for us, as not only is the ice a good insulator but also the next Ger with a warm fire is an hour ride by dogsled and Russian army jeep away. Finally, we reach the Ger and painfully defrost our toes. Continue reading “Winter in Mongolia – a dog sledding adventure”