Travel Theme: Round

By Vladimir Brezina

Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge this week is Round.

Round or square—which do you think will last longer through the coming storms?

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Execution Rocks Light, Long Island Sound

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Thacher Island Twin Lights, Cape Ann, Massachusetts

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Romer Shoal Light, New York Harbor

There’s a reason why most lighthouses are round.

On the other hand, Old Orchard Shoal Light, a round lighthouse similar to Romer Shoal Light and just a few miles away from it in New York Harbor, was swept away by Hurricane Sandy.

And the square keeper’s house of Execution Rocks Light, which survived Sandy just fine, is being converted to a Bed & Breakfast, which will probably ensure it a long life…

Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top, Take Two

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is On Top.

At the Dry Salvages, off the coast of Cape Ann, Massachusetts, it’s not just birds

On top of the Dry Salvages

but other creatures, too, that like to be on top…

Typical local scenery
Hello there!

Other birds on top were here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is On Top.

There’s a law in Florida that every post must have on top of it a pelican.

Pelican on top 1
Pelican on top 2
Pelican on top 3
Pelican on top 4
Pelican on top 5

More creatures on top are here.

Everglades Challenge, Segment 4: Indian Key to Highland Beach

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

← Previous in Everglades Challenge

Across Chokoloskee Bay

Start: Indian Key, Ten Thousand Islands, Wednesday, March 5, 2 AM.
Finish: Highland Beach, Thursday, March 6, 3:30 AM.
Distance: 40 nautical miles (46 land miles).
Paddling time: 19 hours.
Stopped time (Chokoloskee, Everglades City…): 6.5 hours.
Average paddling speed: 2.1 knots.

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The Last Seal of Winter

By Vladimir Brezina

We saw plenty of wildlife—dolphins, turtles, sharks, birds—last month in Florida. But no seals.

So yesterday we paddled down to Swinburne Island, where seals have never yet failed us, during the winter months. But spring is now, finally, upon us, with temperatures warming dramatically—time for the seals to return north, to their summer homes in Maine and Canada. We may have left it too late…

We paddled around Swinburne a couple of times, sat and scanned the water, waited expectantly… Nothing.

Then, just as we were about to leave, a lone seal head popped up.

The last seal of winter…

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Monument.

… there is an attraction, a special charm in the colossal to which ordinary theories of art do not apply.

Gustave Eiffel

He had a point there. It certainly applies to Eiffel’s own Tower; in fact I believe that was his answer to those who questioned why his tower had to be so big. And it applies to Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty, which would be an unremarkable sculpture if it weren’t for its monumental scale—

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And here are some other monumental sculptures, beautifully scattered in a monumental landscape of hills, forests, and fields, in the Storm King Art Center, about an hour’s drive north of New York City—

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We found ourselves there, almost accidentally, in late November 2012. The raw strength of the sculptures fit well into the bare landscape. But no doubt the sculptures will also complement, in a different way, the fresh green leaves that will soon cover the trees all around them. We’ll have to go back this Spring…

Of course, the monumental scale can also be misapplied—

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Travel Theme: Clean

By Vladimir Brezina

Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge this week is Clean.

Many are incredulous that the waters around Manhattan are clean enough to swim in.

But it’s true.*

MIMS 2012
MIMS 2012
MIMS 2011
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MIMS 2013

These are photos from the last three years of the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, a world-class, 28.5-mile swim around Manhattan, organized by NYC Swim every June or July. (Stories and more photos are here, here, and here.) This year on June 14, June 28, and July 12!

*Of course, you should still probably get your shots first ;-)