Photo Essay: Queensland, Australia

As we travelled from Cairns to Brisbane (North to South) we discovered that Queensland is much more than sunny beaches, surfers and adventure parks. There are also endless stretches of straight boring roads, millions of acres of sugar cane and in between — these treasures…

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Exploring A Tiny Part Of The Great Barrier Reef With The GoPro

Snorkeling the Outer Reef of Cairns gave us a tiny glimpse into an uncomparable underwater universe. Our goal that day was to see a sea turtle; we were lucky enough to swim with one. We hope to be back one day!

Please excuse the camera shake. We actually went out several kilometres to get to the Outer Reef. Big waves were rolling in right behind the corals, making quiet snorkeling almost impossible ;)

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Exploring Rarotonga’s Lagoon With The GoPro

[Please click on the Play buttons to view the videos]
1: In the middle of a shoal; literally surrounded by hundreds of goldband fusiliers.

2: Scissor-tail sergeants and butterflyfish circling around me while I was standing in the lagoon, water till the belly button.

3. Curious damselfish attacking my GoPro. The video is a bit shaky because this really made me laugh :)

4: Enjoying the wide frame of the fisheye lens for GoPro selfies during our island roundtrip on the scooter, and while exploring the lagoon by kayak, paddleboard or while snorkeling.

5: This is a slightly longer version of the three videos above including some additional footage of a parrotfish, a pipefish and an impression of how it looks like under water when the sun hits the surface.

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Photo Essay: Rarotonga, Cook Islands

When winter is coming to New Zealand, a Kiwi’s biggest concern is How to make the summer last a little longer.

Top answer: “Fly to Raro, mate!”

No sooner said than done, the waterproof GoPro, Mr ae.i and I found ourselves back in a time travel machine (aka flight VA173, leaving Auckland each Friday at 7pm, arriving 4 hours later in Rarotonga, on Thursday shortly before midnight).

Being a Pacific Island, Rarotonga is all about white beaches, coconut palm trees, and stunning sunsets over a turquoise lagoon. But the island gets mountainous in the centre, with Te Manga exceeding 650 metres.

That peak is where surprisingly many rain clouds get stuck, which supported the creation of a dense forest (I will write up another article about the island crossing through that forest – stay tuned).

So if you find yourself under a grey cloud on one side of the island, grab your scooter and drive 15 kilometres (half way) to the other side. You will likely end up under blue sky and sun. We explored the lagoon each single day; by kayak, paddleboard or while snorkeling. Enjoy our Top 25 Paradise Photos below.

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Weekend Wanderings: Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium

I can’t recall how often I drove past Kelly Tarlton’s ever since I moved to Auckland. Last week I finally went inside the Aquarium for the very first time. Now I can’t recall what took me so long; what a lovely little place!

OK, it’s not the most convenient place for photographers. It’s much easier to capture the sea in the sun instead of moving animals in low light. I actually had to up the ISO to 6,400 for most of the photos below. Yikes.

And I reached a moment when I completely gave up the happy snapping. Me in low light on a conveyor belt leading through the shark tunnel full of moving fish…you get the idea.

A few fun facts: Kelly Tarlton’s aquarium…

  • …is the only in the world where you can see spiny sea horses
  • …is home to New Zealand’s only colony of Antarctic penguins
  • …has been build into former sewage storage tanks of the city

For more fun facts and information about each of the photographed animals please click on the images and read their captions.

If you wonder about the name: Kelly Tarlton was a New Zealand marine archeologist and diver who wanted to make the wonders of the under water world more accessible to the public. Tragically he died only 2 months after the aquarium opened in 1985.

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