In this period of pandemic, musings, longings, dreams, visions of the future, plans become many. The list is getting long. What places should we go to? Where are we going first? Depending on the time of year when its possible to go abroad again, what do we choose and in what order? The next thing I know, I'm sitting for the hundredth time, going through photos and remembering what we've already have done, places, people, experiences... aaa what I long and how happy I am to have experienced what I have allready done.
In the meantime, I make a look back to the first 2 abroad trips me and my husband made with the children when we met a little bit more than 7 years ago. We chose to go to Gran Canaria and Arguineguin for 2 summers.
The children were so small that it felt like a good idea to stay in a large hotel that has everything. We got hold of good price and went to Sunwing Arguineguin Seafront with Ving.
A very nice apartment overlooking the stage and the sea at the hotel. Everything you could possibly need was to find at the hotel and my extra son also tried the hotel hairdresser with good results. Many arrangements for children, food, buffets with different food themes every day, drinks, ice cream in abundance. This was like a dream world for the children. Large and nice pools where we kept most of the waking time of day. And just as much fun every time Lollo and Bernie came walking.
One of the arrangements for children and young people was Mini Melo. They who wanted choosed a song and started to practice, either mime or sing and dance, all depending on what they dare to do. The evening when it is Mini Melo they who was responsible for the event made a really nice arrangement so it should feel like real Mello. The kids was standing on a decorated scene with a jury and stage host, they had a greenroom with snacks and the small performers was standing on the main stage as the whole hotel can see. Our girls could´t find a song they wanted... the choice was simply to sing acapella on both trips.
Youngest sang the first year "Lady" with Björn Skifs and the second year the girls ran together with the song "Hold me" with Nanne Grönwall. Very brave 😊
One day on our first trip to Grancan in 2014, Stefan and I thought we should do something fun and rented a car to look around the island. Said and done, we went away and it didn't take many minutes before the question came "when are we going back to the hotel?". That question then came countless times during the trip while we looked at beautiful views and had lunch at a restaurant that was inside the mountain. After this little fiasco, we chosed not to make a new drive the next time we arrived in 2015, we choose to wait until the kids got bigger and maybe not just want to eat ice cream and hang out by the pool.
The trip in 2015 we took a little walk outside the hotel and find a pool at a diving center. The girls wanted to dive and we decided to come the next morning. The oldest had tried the pooldive at home before but it is new for our youngest. The center had a theory review of what to think about and how it works. Then the girls had to help rig the diving equipment to learn how to do. They had fun and everything goes so well they ended up doing a lot of exercises like taking out and putting the regulator back in the mouth, filling and emptying the mask, somersaults, swimming through rock rings throwing a toyped to each other, telling how much air is left, etc. A really fun morning.
I really liked the hotel in the sense that everything is available, it is bright, clean, there are gyms, daily arranged workouts in the pool, always something to eat that is well prepared, evening entertainment with performance and music where we could choose to sit down by the outdoor dining and watch or on our balcony with direct view to the stage. It was different themes every night. I really enjoyed every evening!
What is minus for me and Stefan who gets a bit restless was that there are not so fun places outside the hotel to walk around, but for the moment it´s okay.
With the benefit of hindsight until May 2020, I have to say that this hotel itself if you do not look at anything outside has been the best hotel so far.
If you are happy to spend most of your time in the hotel area I can really recommend this hotel.
A giant creature that I admired since very little and saw the humpback whale on tv for the first time.
So big, enigmatic, friendly, loving and in its way athletic in its element water.
And their song that means so much more than you still know scientifically today.
There are many stories about how the humpback whale have saved both humans and other creatures from for example shark attacks.
It's great to see these great creatures jump up from the water and hit the surface with their big body.
The humpback whales belong to the bard whales and eat only during the hunting season which is during the summer period, the rest of the period they live on their fat reserves. Depending on the area, they eat krill, herring and other shoal fishes that they stun with their bubbles, rings into a bubble net or strike with tails or pectoral fins. When the humpback whale hunts in pack, they make a bubble net in a large circle where the diameter of the circle can be up to 30 meters. The bubble net becomes like a visual barrier where the humpback whales make the circle smaller and smaller where they finally go up to the surface with an open mouth and catch the mass of fishes. In practical and theoretical terms, a human can easily fit into the whale's mouth, but the pharynx is too small for us to be swallowed.
The humpback whale has something called bards and is comb-like slices that are of the protein keratin, which means that they are not as hard as, for example, teeth in other animals. These discs help to filter the food from the water.
The humpback whale swims alone or occasionally in temporary small groups. During the summer period when its hunting, they can gather in larger groups to hunt fishes together.
They usually swim 6-12 km/h, but during their hikes they increase their speed to 27 km/h.
The humpback whale can grow up to 19 metres and weigh up to 40 tonnes (approximately 20 passenger cars). The average length is around 12-14 meters where the female is usually a little longer than the male.
A newborn calf is about 4-5 meters long and weighs about 1300 kg. A whale mother goes pregnant for 11 months and becomes the most common pregnant every two years.
The first thing the mother does when her baby is born is to push her baby up to the surface to get her first breath.
The baby are breast feed for about 6 months and then starts to hunt and eat its own food but have milk from her mother up to the year.
The humpback whale has wart-like nodules spreading over the head and lower jaw that are reformed hair follicles. On the tubers, barnacles often grow, making the tubers even more visible.
Like our fingerprints, the tail and pectoral fins have a personal appearance and pattern, making it easy to recognize individuals.
Sometimes there are people who don't think about the consequences an act can have, or some people do bad things on purpose to be mean.
On my walks I usually try to keep track if there are holes or other things that can be dangerous for animals. Whether it's big or small animal doesn't matter that much!
In this case, someone or some have pulled away heavy concrete caps from 2 wells.
When I look down, I realize that several snakes and a lot of copper snakes have fallen down. It's dry and unfortunately I see that some have not survived.
I call the municipality and 2 guys come who know a little more what can be removed in the holes so that I have the opportunity to fit and get down.
For at least 2 snakes and about 10 copper snakes had a second chance to live on.
Everything gets a little limited during the corona epidemic that prevails. However, we are lucky and able to get out into nature where we do not have to be around too many people.
The weather is really an April weather with great variety, it may as well be overcast and hail as to the next moment become sunshine, windless and really nice. Sometimes I think the weather gods are playing dice :)
Our strategy will be hurry out and enjoy while the sun shines. We packed up the whole family with newly awakened youngsters and a thermos containing sausages, accessories such as bread, roasted onions, cucumber mayonnaise and of course ketchup and mustard.
We went to Björnö and it turned out not to be just us who got the brilliant idea to come here.
There were quite a few cars and people so we chose to go a different way and found a fantastic nice bit of side ways without a lot of people.
Sun on cliffs and sparkling water brings peace to the soul <3
Then we'll take a lovely trip to Italy and the lemon coast.
We stay in a five starhotel, outside Sorrento high up and it is overlooking the sea and there is a small harbour deep in the valley. A winding road between houses, aisles and many stairs, these we will use at least once a day during the trip. The hotel was nice with a nice courtyard, but I do not know what makes the hotel more worth as five star than those who have three or four we have stayed at? The girl at the reception was very nice but there is a man there too who says a lot of strange things that make her have to try to protect and talk away his mistakes and strange claims so that it will not get too wrong. Guess he's related to the owner or something.
However, they were not stingy with prosciutton, but seem to be very proud of it so you could take as much as you wanted for breakfast.
It is my first trip to Italy and I am fascinated by the fact that most of the restaurants is called Pizzeria, pasteria and gelateria.
A Pizzeria can be as much an exclusive restaurant as a simpler little snag.
There are lemon trees everywhere so the name lemon coast is in its full right.
Cool winding roads and long slopes up and down. I am thrilled that the bus drivers are able to turn around on these narrow and winding roads with oncoming traffic. My fitness became much better day by day after going up and down these steps and small slopes several times, every day.
Good chili oil, mozzarella, parma, prosciutto, ravioli, pasta, arugula, sun-warmed tomatoes... it can´t be better.. :) Pasta al dente was not quite as I thought before the trip and have been taught something new.
On a sunny fantastic day we took the boat over to Capri.
The weather was a bit varied but nice enough for us to enjoy and wander around. Here we clearly felt what a difference there is in the mentality towards our little trip to Barcelona. Everyone is happy and nothing is a problem. The Latin translation Pro = before, blem = solution makes sense. And it turned out a little extra when we came to a Pizzeria / restaurant that was full of people and we glanced if we could find a free space outdoors. We quickly realized that it didn't, but at the same time one of the vaitors came and asked if we wanted to eat and we said we could wait and come back when there was room outside. He was happy, took his hands up in the air and " wait, no problem!" and disappeared into the restaurant. A few seconds later he comes out with a table and canvas and everything that was needed and set up for us. I felt like Lady & the Tramp from Walt Disney :) Great day, I want to come again.
One day we rented a vespa and set out on the surrounding roads to Positano, strange and cool that you can build a city in this way in a mountain gorge. I think I would feel a bit exposed to live like that for a long time but amazingly beautiful when the sun is on. It felt very idyllic and we stayed there for a while and walked around and ate some food while we was looking at the amazing view… Very beautiful!
What we noticed was that during holidays such as Sundays almost everything is closed and there was not to much to see more than the view and we are a bit restless and took the train into Sorrento. There it was more up and running and we discovered when dusk came how everything was lightning up and shops and restaurants in the narrow alleys blossomed fully. It was cozy and we found a small nice restaurant in a alley that we returned to other evenings that had absolutely amazing Ravioli. We brought in several small plates of mozzarella, arugula, tomato, parma and had to raviolin... Buonissimo!!!
We took a day trip to Pompeii. It's a bit exciting when you've seen pictures and read about it so many times. A little mixed feelings... fantastic architecture, heavy energy and an enchantment of what nature can do once it decides, then we are very small.
Nice day and I'm glad I've seen the place...
An incredibly nice trip, nice people, good food and great experiences.
Here I want to go again and next time I want to live inside Sorrento so you can walk to everything.
Every minute, a truck filled with plastic waste is tipped into our seas.
It can take up to 100 years for a plastic cup to break down.
When you dive it's not just beautiful bottoms and amazing animals you get to see, hidden under the sea it's more than that.
One serious littering is called ghost nets and is a really big problem in our seas. In all times, man has chosen to dump all kind of things in the sea in the belief "If it´s not visible it does not exist" and the problem is out of the world, at least for the moment! Now we all know that this is not the case and, after generations, it has become a serious problem.
There are many forms of littering. Chemicals, leaking boats, plastics, objects, etc.
A serious littering is what we call ghost nets and is a really big problem in our seas.
It is abandoned fish nets in which it sticks fish, birds, whales, seals, turtles and other marine animals.
These nets are made of nylon and other synthetics and can drift around for years in the sea and cause enormous damage.
It can take up to 600 years for nets and traps to break down when it's made of plastic, meaning it's death traps with a prolonged and painful death with suffocation or starvation for many animals.
The fishing industry loses or leaves approximately 640 000 tonnes of equipment each year in the sea.
(Or 52,000 dubel-decker buses filled with fishing equipment).
Those who fish illegally dump their nets to not be detected.
More than 100,000 animals die or are injured each year because of nets and fishing gear they get stuck in. Documented is the damage to 270 marine species stuck in plastic or ghost nets.
In addition to getting caught in the nets, fishing cages, ropes, etc. you got micro or nanoparticles of the plastic material when the nets starts to break down. These particles the sea creatures believe is plankton and they eat the plastic, which in turn are eaten by other larger animals and somewhere in the chain it is eaten by us humans, which makes the plastic follow along throughout the food chain.
Microplastics have become a huge problem. ... there is also the slightly more invisible primary microplastic found in cosmetics, detergents, personal care products. That is washed off and goes straight out into our waters.
Eight million tonnes of plastic end up in the oceans every year. Every minute, a stuffed truck with plastic waste is dumped into the sea.
Only 14% of the world's plastic is recycled today and 46% in Sweden are recycled from plastic packaging.
It doesn't just get dirty in the oceans, the animals think it's food.
It is difficult for a turtle, for example, to tell the difference between a small plastic bag and a jellyfish.
The result is devastating when animals eat plastic and rubbish. It will be a slow and painful death because plastic can not be broken down in the stomach. Dead whales with up to 40 kg of plastic have been found in their stomachs.
(Source: SVT – News 20 November 2018) In the stomach of a dead sperm whale in Indonesia, it was found: 115 plastic cups, 4 plastic bottles, 2 flipflops, 25 plastic bags, 19 pieces of hard plastic and 3 kilos of plastic wire.
According to a report, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia currently account for 60% of the plastic debris found in the oceans.
Debris that sticks so the animals get deformations and deformities fatally or that causes them to starve.
In several parts of the world there are huge swaths of plastic in the water. In the Pacific Ocean north of Hawaii there is a plastic vortex larger than the state of Texas.
Plastic swirls are found in several places on earth where plastic gather togheter from different countries.
If you look at how long it takes for different materials to break down, you also understand the seriousness of garbage ending up in the water and nature where animals eat the dangerous waste.
We can help to dispose our garbage in bins but also with opting out of products with plastic against items that are used more than once to reduce waste. If you see debris in nature pick with you and throw in the right place, if everyone takes a little here and there it will be a lot together.
sources and photos:
World animal protection
Since it will take a long time to travel abroad at the moment, the diving craving is getting a little too big.
I'm not really much for diving in cold water and today it's 4°C... Brrrrr...
Buut I long so much to dive so Stefan goes to Ecodive and rents bottles and then we take off with our young people at home with picnic basket and divingequipment.
It's sunny and nice weather and the water is crystal clear. It's been a long time since I've appeared in a dry suit, so I feel like a beached whale. Eyebrows are freezing and lips numb. After 10 minutes, I've been numb enough to do well :)
Now it's pretty cozy and manages to reasonably press the camera button. Tiny fishes and something I think might be a dragonfly's caterpillar in a straw.
Lovely day with lots of laughter and nice picnic :)
The moray is a little bit a nerve-wracking creature. I've seen it in all sorts of sizes and colors. I think it gives respect and a little mythical feeling. Some say it is aggressive but I find it very difficult to see as I would assume that every other diver would have been bitten in that case. Usually you swim quite close and also look and take out the camera and take a pic. What many do not know is that the moray is very teachable, are able to become tame and eat out of the hand. Doubtful if I would do that as the risk still increases that hand vs food can be missed, for the moment I am content to watch and photograph.
Knowledge is power, it is said, and likewise knowledge is something that can ward off fear and show how important and beautifiull something is.To give and have a mutual respect for life!
There are 200 different species of moraysk, from the small one at about 12 cm up to the largest species that can be 4 meters long. It is believed that the moray eel is a bit snake-like, but it is a fish and eats crustaceans, fish and squid. It also has a second set of teeth a little further back in the throat that helps to crush or finely distribute certain type of food. Morays is mostly out at night and hunts and in the daytime it is inside a den of some kind.
The morays vision is a little more limited while the sense of smell is incredibly well developed. The teeth are long and needle-shaped and some of the teeth are connected to poison-producing glands. It has a single long fin that runs along the entire back and body. The skin has a mucus condition that in some species is toxic and can cause food poisoning.
The moray opens and closes its mouth all the time and it is to circulate the water through the gills that looks more like two holes on the side of the neck.
They are fertile at about 3 years of age when she lays her eggs in a safe place where the male comes and fertilizes. Then it takes 30-45 days until the eggs hatch. The newly hatched moray eels are called larvae and are a little translucent and live among the plankton for about 1 year. Those who survive can live 10-30 years.
As many animals do in the wild, they find other species with which they can cooperate. One they like to hang out with is grouper because they hunt on different surfaces. The grouper likes to hunt on open spaces and the moray hunt among corals. If, for example, the fish they hunt becomes afraid of the moray, the grouper takes it and if the fish becomes afraid of the grouper, the moray will take it.
I have seen on several occasions the polishing shrimp sitting in the mouth of the moray and polishing and fixing the morays teeths, and the shrimp are very safe. There they live in symbiosis and benefit from each other.
Like all animals, the moray is also needed to keep the balance in our ecosystem.
We take a weekend in Barcelona.
We've heard many people like to go there and thought it seemed like a fun trip, have a good time, relax and look around :)
You can tell it's a little bigger city. We quickly learned that the mentality is a little more ”I dont care”. If I thought I understood the meaning of the word mañana, I had to do a big revaluation this trip.
We stayed in a hotel that had a small room but was very nice. The breakfast was in a small dining room and we got the feeling that they did not want to offer too much breakfast and seranon they were very careful with. You had to ask for a piece!
The first night we were looking for a restaurant where we could eat some tapas. After many restaurants and after reading many menus we realized that we did not find tapas in the way we wanted, it was more or less impossible to find something like that. . But we finally chose a restaurant that was in a small alley, a bit like a tunnel with a lot of small restaurants. It was nice but the staff forgot about us all the time so everything took a very long time.
Usually when we rent a room at hotells we make sure to have a fridge. At this hotel there was one but more like a bar containing refreshments and snacks. We are not really interested in the expensive content but want to be able to buy some own youghurt, water, etc. and took out a lots of stuff and put in our own things and then before returning back home to Sweden we put back the hotel's own products. Exellent ;)
We had some things on the trip that were a bit surprising and that we had some fun at the moment and afterwards because it was so extremely strange.
The first time we would go shopping some food to the fridge, there were 30 minutes left until the supermarket would close. We walked intothe store and was taking what we're supposed to have. When we get to the wall coolers, the guy who works there comes and in front of us he pulls the shutters down in front of the fridge. No more shopping he should go home. We probably looked pretty snoopy.
The next event was an evening when we had booked a package with buffet and flamenco show. It was a rainy evening and we were very excited about eating well and watching the show. The place we booked would have 3 sittings and 3 shows. We had booked the 2nd sitting and the 2nd show respectively. The weiter showed us our our table space and we went over to the buffet, there was many things that it is empty of and several bowls that it is running out of. When we we tried a second rtime to get some food we realize it's not filling up. We went to one of the staff and asked if they should fill up soon? He ask what I want to have? But its hard to know when you do not know what they had from the beginning. Time is also running out when the show is about to begin. We are told by another tourist that the last sitting has been cancelled and now they are not cooking any more food. We had to choose to shrug our shoulders and go and watch flamenco, which in itself was nice.
Now it started to feel a bit like the Swedish Stig Helmer movie :)
But it didn't end…
One evening we went to the city to watch a fountain show. It was a nice evening and the show was with colors, music and various water formations. Afterwards we took a walk to look around the city. We found a place not too far from the fountain with an elevator that went high up so you could take a look at the view. We thought it was a great thing and there was a woman with a small table next to the elevator door that you had to pay to get to go up to the top. We paid and went up, it was a really nice view. It turned out to be bigger than we thought and there were several restaurants. We walked around and then there was an escalator you could use to go down and suddenly we are inside a big shopping mal. Now we start giggling and realize how brutally ripped off we have been in a very creative way ;)
The food in Barcelona is hardly worth mentioning, it was boring and tasteless, we finally found a Vietnamese restaurant that had good food and which we could order in a lot of hors d'oeuvres at. The staff were very friendly and helpful.
I loved the trip because it was nice to have time off and it was together with the person who means everything to me and who I have crazy fun with, but the probability that we go back to Barcelona is not so great!
Octopus, where octo is Greek for eight.
The octopus belongs to one of my favorite animals. I always thought they were cool but before I started diving and saw my first octopus, I had not thought so much about them more than that they were very clever and looked cool.
When I first got in touch face to face, I became really curious about this strange creature. I really felt how it studied me as much as I studied it. In those cases we were not too many divers, it was even easier to get a communication. If you were really lucky, they even wanted to touch us. A intoxicating feeling!
I was curious about the octopus's intelligence. I watched videos where octopuses were mischievous with divers and they could even get annoyed at stupid divers who was teasing them and could rip of the divers googles and the regulator get yanked out of their mouths.
I thought one story was extra funny.
It was from an aquarium at a zoo where they had two large aquariums. In one there was fishes and in the other lived an octopus. When the staff arrived in the morning one fish was missing and the next day one more fish was missing and so on. The staff did not understand why the fishes was missing and desided to put up some cameras. The next day another fish was missing and they watched with excitement the night's recording. It turned out that the octopus nicely removed the disc over its aquarium. Slipped out and made his way away to the fish aquarium, removed the disc and fished out a nice tasty fish. Pulled the disc slid back to the aquarium, and softly get back to his tankand had a nice night meal. So hilarious :)
I learned that the only hard thing on an octopus is the beak it has on the underside of the body. The rest of the body is soft and adaptable,the octopus can get through any hole only the beak can fit.
When the octopus is born, they are extremely small, fit on a finger. Unfortunately, they do not live so long, usually 1-3 years. The sad thing is that the female take care for her eggs until they hatch without going outside her nest and dont eat anything. After 8 weeks when her job is done and her children are going to fend for themselves, she dies.
I think the eggs look like bunches of grapes hanging in the nest ceiling.
The octopus has three hearts two that pump blood to the gills and one that pumps to the rest of the body. Unlike the human blood who is red, the octopus has blue. It's because the blood contains the copper-rich protein hemocyanin.
The octopus has incredibly good vision and has memories of things that have happened, recognize sensibility and can use tools. This makes it easy for them to learn mazes and different problem solutions. The suction cups on the arms can feel chemical changes , they can smell and taste with their arms.
When I looked at National Geographic, I learned that the octopus's ink is toxic and can be deadly even to the octopus itself. The ink is of mucus substance and melanin which is the dark pigment you can find in our eye color, hair and skin. Melanity forms the amino acid tyrosine. It impairs the sight, taste and smell of a predator and can even suffocate the predator that wants to eat the octopus. If the octopus does not have time to remove from its own ink, it can also suffocate.
There are many different types of octopus species and they are all in different ways good at camouflaging themselves.
Change the color and shape of the body to blend in with the surroundings. Some are adept at impersonating other animals to look dangerous.
The octopus is an amazing creature that makes you happy to see, experience and deserves all the respect :)
Merry Christmas 2021
Gran Canaria - Arguineguin
Ghost net and plastic...
Romme Alpin- Borlänge