Trips http://trips.wrightholdings.com Photos of Wright Trips Around the World Mon, 03 Sep 2018 21:10:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Philippines Dive Trip – 2018 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=7640 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=7640#respond

Mon, 03 Sep 2018 21:10:10 +0000 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=7640 Two years ago at the Long Beach, CA SCUBA Show we booked a 10 day trip to Magic Oceans Resort on the island of Bohol in the Philippines and the trip finally came around and off we went for our first trip to the Philippines! Shawn Kimsey joined Red and I on this adventure as my dive buddy and just genuinely great travel partner. We flew Delta to Inchon, South Korea, had a short layover and then Shawn met us for the Korean Airlines flight to Cebu where we overnight-ed at the Waterfront Airport Hotel. (while it is across the street from the airport don’t plan on walking it!) The next day was spent fighting through traffic to get to the port in time for the 2 hour ferry ride to Tagbilaran on the island of Bohol followed by a 2 hour drive to the resort.

The Magic Oceans Resort is the second location for the operation and has only been around for 3 years. The layout, rooms, pool, etc are all lovely, the food was great, drinks cheap and the staff was AWESOME! It was just this year that they installed a dock, previously you needed to wade out to the boats. Well as it turned out we did too as the typhoon surge made them dismantle the dock temporarily. By the end of our trip the seas had calmed down and most of the dock was back in business.

The diving was mixed due to the rough seas which forced us to dive in some limited areas for the first several days. After they calmed down some we were able to go to the south walls. They hadn’t been able to dive there for two months due to the weather so it was a fresh experience for us and the guides as well. The visibility was mixed due to the seas so I shot macro the whole trip and focused on the critters of which there were plenty! Frogfish, pipefish, pygmy seahorses, nudibranch galore and even a pair of sea moths!

Checkout the photos here!

We had two moments of excitement – the first was Shawn being off balance when a wave hit the boat and he broke the railing on the ladder with his head as he got pitched overboard. Quick action by him and the captain resulted in Shawn being ok. The boat took a couple of days to repair so we were down to one ladder. The second event was 20 meter’s down, 15 mins into a dive and the Omniswivel that I had on my regulator violently blew an o-ring, forcing me to surface on someone else’s octo. I always maintain that I feel safer on a rebreather than open circuit as you are just one o-ring away from death on OC and I have all sorts of options on a CCR, turns out I was right. All good, training kicked in and it was uneventful if a bit noisy.

The return trip was the same and the staff of Magic Oceans arranged everything and took care of everything to get us back to Cebu for another overnight and then two long flights home. Katie at Bluewater Travel again helped us with all the arrangements and booking. As I said about last years trip CALL HER!

 

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Indonesia 2017 – Komodo & Bali http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=7516 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=7516#respond Sat, 25 Nov 2017 22:43:21 +0000 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=7516 Once again we journeyed to Indonesia for some of the best diving on the planet. This time to a new corner, Komodo island. In the mid-south section of this massive island nation you get a mixture of water temps from warm and toasty to down right cold. This requires taking a variety of wet suits but that’s a minor hassle for the awesome sea life here!

This trip we joined Frank Van Der Linde and his daughter on the Indo Siren. Frank is the Founder and CEO of Worldwide Dive and Sail, the largest liveaboard dive fleet in the world and the owner of the Indo Siren. Also traveling with Red and I was my new dive buddy Shawn Kimsey for his first trip to Indonesia – yeah I’m spoiling a good third of the world for him by taking him here. The Indo Siren was a great dive boat with a fantastic crew. One of the best liveaboards I have even been on in my 30 yrs of dive travel around the world. I highly recommend it! Katie at Bluewater Dive Travel helped arrange the full trip. She is excellent to work with and has tremendous attention to detail. Call her!

Checkout the photos form the trip!

The other magic of this area is the opportunity to see Komodo dragons! Hold overs from the time of the dinosaurs you can only find them in this part of the world. Amazing predators and a unique site.

After diving Komodo and the surrounding islands for 10 days we ventured back to Bali and drove up to Amed on the northeastern side of the island. We were staying at Paul and Stacey Tosch’s Villa Candi Matahari. This is a lovely 5 bedroom Villa in a great section of Bali with a wonderful view of the ocean. Easily in the top five of my places to stay and just chill. If you are in Bali you owe it to yourself to get a few nights here.

 

 

 

 

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Antarctica & Patagonia – 2016 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=7376 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=7376#respond Thu, 29 Dec 2016 01:27:22 +0000 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=7376 The trip we had been trying to do since we first started our big travels together has finally come and gone – Antarctica and Patagonia! We had been wanting to go to Antarctica forever but given the cost and distance we didn’t want to go without also seeing Patagonia. We had been in love with that region after seeing Art Wolfe’s coverage of it in his TV series. Our opportunity came when Aurora Expeditions out of Australia, an operation we had visited the high artic with, offered a combo of the two regions with a discount for the package. We lined up some dates and committed. This decision turned out to be an awesome choice. We were blessed with really good weather, traveling companions and guides. We were also back on our boat from the artic, the Polar Pioneer!

The journey down was complicated but doable. Turns out it took longer than my business trips to India due to airport switches and multiple hops. Thankfully the time difference is only 5 hours so at least jet lag wasn’t that big of a deal. The 3am trip to the domestic airport in Buenos Aires with a driver who spoke no English unless it came from AC/DC or Black Sabbath which blasted on the radio and sung along with was an adventure all it’s own.

Patagonia a lovely region with amazing physical sights to see. We did 10 days in the two parks in Argentina and Chile with 4 days of hard hiking. Well worth the effort! The lodges we stayed in were excellent and provided for recovery after the difficult hikes. Lelia, from Aurora, not only guides us for the 10 days she also designed the program originally and did an excellent job!

We came back with a lovely set of images you can enjoy here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel to Antarctica involved 60 hours each way across the Drake Passage in the Southern Ocean, easily one of the roughest sections of water on the globe! About half the boat was sick on the way down with less on the way back. However all was worth it for some of the most amazing sites on the planet! MASSIVE icebergs, glaciers, whales, seals, penguins and the list goes on!

We came back with tons of photos. Checkout our selections: Brad’s Ice, Red’s Great Work and Brad’s Wildlife.

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Galapagos – 2016 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=7066 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=7066#respond Sat, 08 Oct 2016 23:25:32 +0000 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=7066 My third visit to Galapagos but this time was special three times over. My wife, Red, came along and we got to spend a week touring Quito and several islands of Galapagos together.

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Then she continued on for a few more days while I was joined by my two dear friends Alice and Shawn on the dive boat Nortada with Jorge of Galapagos Rebreathers. She got some amazing photos of the blue footed boobies and a lot more of the wild life and scenery. You can see a selection here.

 

For me the diving wasn’t as good a previous years due to lower visibility but the things we did see where very unique. Most divers hope to some day see a Mola Mola, we got to see 15 on one dive! Totally unheard of! These are truly some of the strangest animals on the planet. Also unique to Galapagos are the marine iguana that dive down to eat algae and can hold their breath for up to 40 mins. The every present sea lions were a joy to engage with as well. See more photos here.

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Sailing the BVI’s 2016 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=6987 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=6987#respond Sat, 08 Oct 2016 22:15:49 +0000 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=6987 We finally did it, chartered a sailboat for a week! Along with 5 other friends we spent a week sailing the British Virgin Islands on a Lagoon 450 catamaran. Truly luxury on the water!

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We used Catamaran Company for the charter and everything was easy and smooth. Our boat was “Between the Sheets” a great boat in very good condition but now retired. Highly recommend using Catamaran Company for chartering!

The seven of us got along well all week and remain friends – speaks to the friends!

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Galapagos 2015 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=6976 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=6976#respond Sat, 26 Dec 2015 00:53:54 +0000 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=6976 I was able to do a repeat of the CCR only trip diving Galapagos that I enjoyed in 2013. As always it was awesome! Jorge Mahauad, owner of Galapagos Rebreathers, and Andy Philips put on a great trip. We had tremendous hammerhead and whale shark action including a massive pregnant female on a 360 fly by during our safety stop! Checkout the video!DSC_8437 Here I am with her, I have the yellow bailout tank.

Checkout the compilation video of the trip here. Photos can we looked through here.

I also got to see my first mola mola that came in for a quick pass. Unfortunately I didn’t have the camera for that dive as it was our first checkout dive!

 

DSC_8573Galapagos truly is *the* big fish action location on the planet and diving it with my brand new SF2 CCR was a real treat. The unit is so easy to use and travel with and seems to be completely reliable – this was my first trip on it. DSC_8026

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Tonga & New Zealand – 2015 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=6931 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=6931#respond Sun, 01 Nov 2015 19:06:53 +0000 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=6931 If you haven’t guessed we love animals and the bigger and/or more exotic the better! So swimming with humpback whales and their newborns was high on the to-do list. There are two primary places to do this in the world, the silver banks north of The Dominican Republic and The Kingdom of Tonga in the south Pacific. Given we wanted to do this right and the visibility is so much better in Tonga we oppt’d for there. Thus started a 3 year wait as the boat to do this from, the Fiji based Nai’a is in high demand. Then there was a trick of getting there from Seattle. Given our Fiji Airlines adventures in the past we weren’t going that route. Anything else out of Seattle was a nightmare trip, however it turns out there’s a non-stop from Vancouver BC to Auckland, New Zealand which is a short flight away from Tonga. Perfect now we could see New Zealand too and visit our friend Pete Mesley who runs Lust4Rust._BWW7207The whales go to Tonga to give birth and raise their young for the first few months. Surprisingly the mothers are many time very tolerant of us being in the water with them. The young ones are curious and playful. We had one youngster rocket up from mom and breech right in front of us while we were in the water! Something our guides had never seen. Also something a bit dangerous because he’s still about 12′ long!

Checkout the images of our whales. And some adventures on Nai’a.

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Hobbiton

In our opinion no visit to New Zealand would be complete without a visit to one of the Lord of the Rings movie sets. Yes geeky but a must. For us being on the north island that meant Hobbiton. Was a good time along the way we drove to several other locations on the island with an Aussie friend of ours who flew over to join us. Corrie is an excellent traveling companion who we met in the artic on this trip.   Photos of our time in New Zealand are here.

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Peru 2014 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=6798 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=6798#comments Fri, 28 Nov 2014 23:17:46 +0000 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=6798 Our grand adventure for 2014 started out simple enough, let’s go see Machu Picchu and photograph it for our monument collection. But then as trips in the Wright household usually go it didn’t end up that simple……

Red & Brad at Machu PicchuYou see I didn’t want to go see it the same way everyone else does. It just wouldn’t be us. So we found Mountain Lodges of Peru and their horseback riding option. While a beautiful adventure it was anything but simple or easy. Read Red’s blog for the scoop.

Of course that wasn’t the end of it. Since we were spending that much to get there we needed to see more. So as usual we contacted my good friend Jim Harlan owner of Uncommon Adventures. Jim suggested and put together an awesome itinerary that would take us from ocean, to desert, to jungle, to cities & ruins in the mountains. Three and a half weeks of constant adventure. Travel with us with these images and videos.

Nazca Desert

We started in the Nazca desert along the coast south of Lima. Trying local foods such as cuy and lechon al cilindro. In the desert are the famous Nazca lines. We took a brief overflight to see them. This involves hours of waiting for the weather to clear or not clear. We got lucky and at the last moment the sky cleared and we were off. See our desert and ocean photos here.

Guinea pig - very tasty!

Guinea pig – very tasty!

Red and Tapir

Red and Tapir

 

 

 

Next up was the jungle. I had no idea what to expect and oh man were we in for an adventure. It took two days from Cusco just to get to the lodge deep in the amazon. No power, some warm water and Red ended up with cockroaches in her hair waking her up. They call it eco-tourism I call it eco-terrorism. While we got to  see some cool things, such as the tapir and the macaws you see below, I’m not sure I would repeat. Read more about it and see the pictures on this page.

DSC_9787After the long journey back from the jungle to Cusco we got to explore and enjoy this beautiful city and the surrounding countryside and Inca ruins which are everywhere. We visited Ollantaytambo an Inca vestige that was a military, religious and agricultural center. Next stop was the agricultural terraces at Moray, built by the Incas in natural sinkholes on a limestone plateau overlooking the Urubamba valley. We also got to meet some wonderful people. Some from far away and some like this adorable little girl and her puppies right at their homes – see the video below. And then there were the turkeys. 🙂

See more of Cusco, the surrounding area and our adventures here.

 

DSC_9830The last segment of our trip was the one that started the planning – a week on horseback over the Andes and to Machu Picchu. A difficult trek it was peaking out at over 4600m in altitude over 5 days of riding and a full day of hiking. We had the most gorgeous weather and amazing, beautiful scenery!

Seeing Machu Picchu, at first from 4 km away from another mountain top and then from inside at dawn was an impressive experience. It truly is an amazing place!  We had the opportunity to stay at the Belmond Sanctuary Hotel right at the ruins. This is a seriously impressive hotel with access unlike any other. It’s not cheap but it’s worth it and the customer service is stellar.

See a selection of our images from this last section of the trip here.

Overall an amazing trip, a fascinating country, great people, good food and fantastic scenery! Well worth the visit!

 

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Bikini Atoll – Diving the Nuclear Fleet – 2014 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=6292 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=6292#respond Sun, 27 Jul 2014 00:17:15 +0000 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=6292 Many people no longer remember the events of 1946 in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. At the time it was big news, so big in fact that a fashion designer who created a new bathing suit for women named that new creation the bikini because the name was in the news so much.

What was going on was Operation Crossroads – the United States was going to show off it’s nuclear power to the world. In this beautiful paradise they removed an entire people from their home, stripped the island and all the coral in the lagoon and brought in 97 ships. Then with press and dignitaries from around the world on observation ships outside the lagoon they dropped the Able bomb on the lagoon.  A 21 kiloton nuclear weapon. Almost a month later they set off Baker another 21 kiloton nuke underwater.bikiniOver time 28 nuclear tests were done at Bikini. The island remains uninhabitable with it’s people scattered to other atolls. However the radiation levels drop to a point where we could go to the island and dive the wrecks of Operation Crossroads but still can’t eat anything that grows there. If you want to learn more I’d suggest starting here and reading “For the Good of Mankind” and “The Bomb”.

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Those ships make Bikini Atoll one of the most amazing wreck diving locations in the world! Two battleships including the HIJMS Nagato (flagship of the Japanese fleet that attacked Pearl Harbor Dec 7th, 1941), the USS Saratoga aircraft carrier, subs, destroyers and more are easily accessible with gin clear visibility, no current and 86 F water. I’ve done this trip twice, once in 2005 when there was an operation on the island and now in 2014 with Pete Mesley and his Lust4Rust operation on a liveaboard dive boat. Checkout the images from this trip!!

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Air Show – 2012 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=6229 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=6229#respond Tue, 01 Apr 2014 21:31:25 +0000 http://trips.wrightholdings.com/?p=6229 Living in the Pacific Northwest has it’s advantages. One of those is when it’s a beautiful day it’s really spectacular!  We got just such a day for the Joint Base Lewis McChord airshow in 2012.

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We got to see some amazing air craft and spend the day in the sunlight.  This also allowed us to test our new cameras I purchased for our Africa trip.  Red was testing her new Nikon D3200 with Tamron 18-270mm zoon. I was breaking in my  amazing Nikon D800.  See the rest of the images here.

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