Trips » Photos of Wright Trips Around the World

In Nov of 2019 we journeyed back to Raja Ampat, Indonesia. A remote region in northeast Indonesia it is difficult to get to taking many days of travel by plane, car, ferry and boat. However the diving is some of the best in the world with abundant reefs and life. This trip reflected that but it also reflected change. When we were last here in 2010 there were probably a dozen dive boats in the whole area if that. Now they number over 200, up from 90 just two years ago. Also Indonesia progresses and that results in destruction of the environment. One memorable dive site from 9 years previously abundant with giant clams had none this trip. My recommendation is get here while you can, don’t wait.

Our journey involved flying from Seattle to Jakarta a day and a half overnight in Jakata, a redeye to Sorong, a day in the hotel lobby, a 3 hr ferry ride to another island and a zodiac ride out to the boat. This time however we brought friends in tow and had 4 others with us. Made for a fun trip and known folks! The boat was the Indo Siren, an awesome vessel and crew that we sailed with in Komodo just the year before on this trip.

Checkout some of the sunsets and underwater photography here.

On our way home we were going to be arriving home Monday of Thanksgiving week. To us that seemed like a was of travel so we extended our “layover” in Tokyo to six days and spent three checking out Tokyo and then taking the Nazomi bullet train down to Kyoto for three nights. An experiment that worked out wonderfully. We loved Japan! Definitely need to return.

Some photos from that journey here.

 

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Ever since our safari’s of 2012 we’ve been itching to get back to Africa and explore more of this rich, diverse, intriguing and mesmerizing continent. Namibia especially fascinated me with it’s miles of massive dunes and unforgiving desert environment where animals have adapted and still thrive. Going so far for one country wasn’t rational so after research we decided to start our trip with a few days in Cape Town, South Africa and then split our time between Namibia and Botswana for safari before ending with a 2 day visit to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

To put all this together is no a simple affair so we needed help. With the very sad death in 2017 of our regular travel planner and good fiend Jim Harlan we needed to find someone new. After our search we ended up back close to home and Ian Proctor, owner of Ultimate Africa Safaris, based in Issaquah, WA. Ian and his folks put together an awesome trip that put us at six different lodges and many different experiences. This involved transiting lodge to lodge by small bush plane and sometimes even a tiny helicopter! Strangely Red had no issue with the helicopter but the small planes were another matter. All in all we had 18 flights on this trip – 10 bush flights, 4 South African Airways and 4 Emirates.

We started our adventure via Emirates airlines through Dubai to Cape Town. I fear I have spoiled my wife forever given 25 hours of Emirate business class travel which we were able to cover with miles/points. We spent four nights in Cape Town to adjust and get ready for safari and to see this interesting city. The people and food were awesome and the scenery lovely. We tried to go see the “air jaws” great white sharks but they didn’t show this year and in fact last year as well, cause unknown but the conditions around the world as we travel continue to shift due to the changing climate.  You can see some of our Cape Town photos here for Brad’s and Red’s can be seen here. (Zimbabwe included in these pages as well)

After that stop over we headed to Namibia and spent 8 nights along the coast at three different lodges starting with Kulala Desert Lodge and the massive dunes of the Namib desert. Towering at up to 388 meters high and going for over 100 km they dwarf you quickly and inspire awe. Notice the photo to the right. Those dots on the ridge are *people*!! 

After the dunes we moved on to Desert Rhino Camp to try and track the nearly extinct black rhino. After several days of hard travel over an unforgiving terrain we found two on two consecutive days. Being solitary and roaming great distances this was a rare treat. From there we moved on to Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp. Here the lions, elephants and other animals have adapted to the desert conditions and the sparse food but still can be found in good numbers. Unfortunately poachers continue to lower their numbers and 7 lions were killed in one night while we were there. It’s terrible the decline of many of the animals in Africa especially in the last decade due to massive increases in poaching. I missed part of this stay as I was down sick for several days and Red went on game drives without me to see the haunting skeleton coast of Namibia.

We ended our time in Namibia in the interior at Ongava Tented Camp. Here we saw much wildlife with the highlight being the white rhino. The 8.5 year drought has made it so they have to truck food in to keep the rhino’s from dying. Red’s photo’s of Namibia are here. Brad’s are here.

After transiting for a night through Johannesburg we arrived in Botswana at African Bush Camps – Linyanti Bush Camp. Positioned along a marsh the wildlife was right at our doorstep, sometimes literally with the lions and elephants coming through camp at night. The massive herd of elephants and the two local young male lions were the highlight here.

 

After Linyanti we moved by helicopter to African Bush Camps Khwai Tented Camp at the edge of the delta. Here the elephants and hippos came right into camp, sometimes even during the day! Here the highlights were the leopards and lions. Coming right up to and past our trucks they were an impressive sight!

Red’s photo’s of Botswana are here with Brad’s on this page.

 

 

We ended our trip with a visit to Zimbabwe to see Victoria Falls. Such a very impressive feature of the planet! We end with a two night stay in the lovely 100+ year old Victoria Falls Hotel. The falls pictures are on the pages for Cape Town above.

Our journey home was long, 36 hours, but past quickly while the memories of all we saw and experienced danced through our heads. It didn’t hurt when Emirates upgraded me to first class for free on the last 15 hour flight. My gracious wife said – “enjoy!”.

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So short post and just a couple of photos.  We wanted to do something simple but nice for our 10th anniversary and we found it 5 hours away at Cannon Beach, Oregon. And one of things that made it special was the Stephanie Inn which is right on the beach itself with amazing views of haystack rock and the ocean. The folks there know how to make things special with wonderful breakfasts, setting up beach bonfires and shuttles to town in a Tesla. The onsite restaurant is awesome and the evening cocktails a nice touch.

We also were lucky enough to be there the weekend of the sand castle competition too.

Overall a wonderful time and place. Definitely something everyone should keep on the to do list.

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At the 2018 Long Beach SCUBA show we always enter in most drawings for giveaways. This time one hit and I won a week long dive trip on the French Polynesia Master live aboard courtesy of the Bluewater Dive Travel booth. Given we had a week on the boat but it was a long journey we added a few days at a land based resort in Papeete. It was nice to get a flavor of the local life. The weather on the trip went from lovely and sunny to ‘oh my’ torrential rain and winds. One dive we surfaced into 3m waves, 40 knot winds and driving rain. I still don’t know how the zodiac found us and what a ride back to the boat!

French Polynesia is mostly atolls, hard coral walls, and drift diving in the inflows/outflows of the lagoons of the atolls. It’s not for beginners and the diving restrictions the government puts on the operators dictates more advanced divers. The recommendation is Rescue Certification plus Nitrox and I concur. That being said during slack times Red was able to get some good snorkeling in including the dolphins leaving the divers below to shoot up to play with her the dive master she was with!

We had good shark action in the currents and dolphins came to play as well. I had some camera issues with a flood of my strobe adapter on the first dive so these are all ambient light but the new Nikon D850 is a pretty awesome low light camera so I’m happy with the results.

Check out the gallery here!

 

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I started diving the Bahamas in 1991 and have enjoyed it for many years. Over the last decade my travels have taken me more to the Pacific and in that time new discoveries have been made in the Bahamas. Always a hot place to dive with sharks two special locations were discovered, an area near Bimini that Great Hammerheads frequent daily that we didn’t know existed when I dove there regularly and a special patch of sand, 20 miles north of Grand Bahama Island named Tiger Beach where apex predator Tiger sharks regularly came in. Over the last 10 years or so dive masters have learned how to interact with these animals and even feed them all while allowing divers to observe with no cages or chain-mail. This is not without risk as there have been serious injuries but for those willing to brave it the experience is without parallel.

I’ve been wanting to do it for several years and in November took the plunge! With my wife Red looking on from the boat, ok let’s be fair she was feeding the Lemon sharks above my head while I was down below. Check it out. The experience below was intense, at times I was having to use my camera to shove the sharks away and in the case of the hammerhead keep her exposed teeth away from my face and shoulder. My pulse was definitely pounding! Also there are times the tiger sharks have been known to grab a camera from a diver and carry it briefly away. Given this was my first trip with my brand new camera rig that just added to the anxiety. Overall great experience and amazing photo opportunities. Please take a look and enjoy the journey with me.

Photo spread here!

For those curious the new camera rig is a Nikon D850 in a Nauticam housing and a pair of Ikelite strobes. The lens for the above photos was the Nikon 8-15mm Fisheye with a 1.4x tele-converter.

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