The Satiated Cheetah

The morning started with this beautiful cheetah stalking an Impala.  He then feasted on his prize for about an hour.  This photo was taken after he had had his fill.  His belly was full!

 A Cheetah relaxing in Samburu after his feast

A Cheetah relaxing in Samburu after his feast

I was mesmerized by his beauty and could have watched him all afternoon.  Thankfully, my husband and I had chosen to do a "Private Safari" because I knew I would want the time to just observe and wait, and not be rushing off to the next great thing.  It was definitely worth it.  To see more photos from our safari, visit our Gallery.


The Hiding Hippos!

Attractive fellow, isn't he?  This shot came after we had massive rain that flooded parts of the Mara. In fact, I still can't believe we were able to capture this shot. I don't think it would have happened, had we had another driver, too timid to drive the trails we pursued that day.

Anderson was so familiar with every bit of the Mara, that when we came to a flooded area, he drove right in, knowing where the road was.  What we didn't realize was that the water off to the sides was actually quite deep! We were driving along, not seeing a lot of anything, when all of a sudden, these hippos appear! There were tons of them, swimming around just feet from our jeep.

Thankfully, Anderson knew what he was doing, and we didn't end up swimming with these guys. They're not the friendliest, I must say. But they are fascinating to watch.

Even Leopards Need a Moment

This was quite possibly the biggest highlight of our African Safari, with the lion cubs being right up there with this! To enjoy safari in this location, we chose to stay at Larsen's Camp, which sits right by the river. 

 Leopard spotted in Samburu, Kenya

Leopard spotted in Samburu, Kenya

Our driver was excellent at spotting the local wildlife, and before we encountered this gorgeous leopard, we had already enjoyed a number of other sightings, including an owl, gazelle, rutting impala, and so much more.  (For more photos of this day, feel free to explore our gallery!)

But this fellow...magnificent. I couldn't get enough.  He allowed us to watch him for over an hour.  I wanted to capture every moment and gave my best effort to do so, with both my senses as well as my camera.  Just amazing!

Stalked by a Lion

While you may have imagined for years what it would be like to come face to face with an imposing, stately lion, pursuing unsuspecting prey in his natural habitat, nothing quite prepares you for the bewildering deluge of contradicting emotions that flood through you as the scene unfolds, just steps away.  All that stands between you and this massive, powerful nothing.

 Lion in the Maasai Mara, Kenya, East Africa moments before he attacked an unsuspecting baby water buffalo

Lion in the Maasai Mara, Kenya, East Africa moments before he attacked an unsuspecting baby water buffalo

My husband, Ryan, and I watched helplessly as an abandoned newborn water buffalo we had just befriended unwittingly, began to cry.  His hushed whimpers grew quickly into a loud wail as we tried unsuccessfully to lead him away from the danger we knew was just over the hill, but it was no use.  In moments, we spotted first one, and then two male lions, brothers we had just been photographing with their cubs, stride slowly but confidently toward this baby, their piercing eyes intelligently assessing the situation. He never had a chance.

While we were distressed and wished we had been able to save this sweet creature, we couldn't help but marvel at the strength, grace, and prowess of these two male lions.  Unable to tear ourselves away, we watched for several more hours as they not only devoured their meal, but also kept the females and their cubs at bay.  Only one baby cub was foolish enough to get too close, and he immediately earned his dad's wrath, limping sadly away with nothing to show for his courage.  It was an unforgettable experience!

Starfish, Sting Rays, and Snorkeling

While I tend to shy away from typical 'touristy' activities, I could not resist the temptation to visit Sting Ray City in Grand Cayman with Captain Marvin's. My first experience with these docile creatures was on our honeymoon in Tahiti, where we immersed ourselves in the fascinating underwater world of sharks, sting rays, and yes, even a barracuda! The memory left me longing for more, and Cayman/Sting Ray City did not disappoint.

 Diving into the ocean after swimming with the Sting Rays, our Captain finds these!

Diving into the ocean after swimming with the Sting Rays, our Captain finds these!

But...I had yet to see a real starfish (or are we now referring to them as Sea Stars?). For whatever reason, I have always been captivated by starfish. Not only are they gorgeous, but their ability to regenerate really intrigues me.

I was thrilled when we unexpectedly encountered a few of these unique marine creatures while snorkeling. Our guide effortlessly dove to the bottom of the sparkling, crystal clear Caribbean Sea and emerged with several colorful, perfectly shaped, starfish. It was the highlight of our snorkeling trip.

Quick Tips: If at all possible, try to visit Sting Ray City while the cruise ships are not calling in port. I think you'll enjoy the experience much more. Also, if you enjoy snorkeling as much as I do, then definitely consider this tour. The snorkeling spots we were taken to, the Barrier Reef and the Coral Gardens, rivaled some of the most gorgeous snorkeling destinations we enjoyed while in Tahiti. Don't miss it!

Rare Volcanic Eruption on the Big Island

How do I attempt to describe a totally unexpected, rare experience that will forever remain a precious memory? I'm not sure but I'll venture to give it a try.

I just returned from the Big Island of Hawaii, where I spent a week attending conferences, inspecting resorts, and networking with suppliers. We were also treated to a few special activities like Ziplining over Akaka Falls and a Twilight Volcano Tour.


Our Volcano Tour was hosted by Hawaii Forest and Trail. Our spectacular guide, Mark, generously shared his love and passion for the Big Island with our group. We learned about Hawaiian culture and myths, the diversity of the islands, and so much more.

When it came time to finally experience our Twilight Volcano Tour, Mark went above and beyond to make sure we were comfortable (yes, those warm jackets made a huge difference) and had everything we needed, hot chocolate included. His offer to me of a tripod for my camera was more prescient than any of us could have realized at the time!

We were cautioned not to get our hopes up too high, as the volcano had last erupted in 2008. At best, we might see a light red glow. At worst, we might not see anything but cloud cover. We arrived early enough to find our ideal viewing spot, and were excited to glimpse the red glow, brightening by the minute.

Without any warning, however, we were shocked when the volcano began to erupt! It was a rare and beautiful moment, captured here forever. What a memory!

Wailea Falls & Basket Weaving, Kauai

Waterfalls mesmerize me. Don't ask me why, they just do. So of course, while exploring as much as we possibly could while on Kauai, we trekked over to Wailea Falls, infamous for the opening scene in Fantasy Island.

It was an easy "trek" considering we were able to drive right up to it. It's beautiful and very accessible, found just off Maalo Road and Highway 583. I have to admit, though, that I was very tempted to break the rules and hike down. It's difficult to observe the beauty of a majestic waterfall and not get much closer.

What I also enjoyed at Wailea Falls, however, was meeting this gentleman, a very proficient basket weaver. He was perched carefully on a rock at the side of the road across from the Falls. It was fascinating to watch his fingers twist and turn, skillfully entwining the coconut palms together. I would have loved to engage him in conversation, but unfortunately, I was not the only explorer there that day. I had to content myself with solely observing his craft and listening to his soft-spoken responses. Maybe one day when I return, I’ll be able to find him again.

The Dramatic Garden Isle - Kauai

I knew Kauai was supposed to be spectacular, but nothing prepared me for the emotional response I would have when setting eyes upon it for the first time.

Unless you've been there, it's difficult to describe the sentiments that flood through you as you take in the lush, flowery landscape, the majestic cliffs and mountains, the vibrant colors surrounding you.

What made it even more spectacular was the interchange between gorgeous sunlight and misty rain. The effect was quite breathtaking, and that is a word I rarely bestow unless truly deserved.

This photo was taken on day one of our vacation, after leaving the Lihue Airport and heading to the North Shore. It was an unexpected yet memorable first encounter that has left a lasting impression.

Source: http://dramatic-kauai