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roaming the world and enjoying the scenery...

Last Diving off Gili Trawangan

Our final spring break in Indonesia, and we went to one of our favorite places for a week of diving and relaxation.

Diving in Bali – October 2014

We headed to the tropical paradise of Bali for our autumn break, and spent a few of those days on the north shore diving. We’ve been to this area several times before, but not for diving. While we didn’t see the huge schools of fish that we’ve encountered in other places, we did come across plenty of colorful mini-reef life that kept our eyes occupied and our camera busy.

Flores – Spring Break diving

We headed to the Indonesian island of Flores for a week in the sun. One of our “must do in Indonesia” items was to see Komodo dragons in the wild, so that was the impetus for this trip. The first pictures, however, will be from our diving adventures. We left from Labuan Bajo and went under the sea on 3 days (only 2 with a working camera!), and saw some wondrous stuff.

Diving pictures from Bali

This is the same set that I put on Facebook here, but I’ll also put them on the blog for a “permanent record!”

Swimming with the fishes

Just a quick post of some pictures from our underwater adventures. I borrowed an underwater camera from a colleague, but discovered on arrival in the islands that there was no memory card! Luckily, one of the diving instructors has a side business of taking photos for groups that he takes out, so on our last dive we had a “professional” shooting us. I played around a little bit in Photoshop on these with the colors and such, but they still don’t do the underwater world justice.

Just a bit of informational interest here – the turtle that we saw was an endangered Hawksbill turtle. It was actually a rare dive or snorkel during our visit (I think once out of all our time in the water) that we didn’t see at least 1 turtle. Our record was 4 during one bit of snorkeling!

Enjoy the shots (which are in a random order), and we will be out of touch (again) for the next week as we travel to Yogyakarta, Indonesia’s cultural capital!

Geckos and insects and fish, oh my

Strange animal partner week continues here at the ole Stutz blog, as we have two more great tastes that taste great together. Our fish tank has a new resident, albeit one who lives under the aquarium (we have it on a couple pieces of wood to try and minimize water damage to the table it is on).

We’ve noticed him coming out at night – at first he would just sit on the ledge below the tank and watch the fish swim around. Eventually he began climbing on the glass itself, but we’ve never seen him making any kind of “I’m going to eat you” movement towards the fish.

Internet searches have pretty much yielded the consensus that these household geckos don’t eat fish, but Susan is convinced that he is trying to do just that. She also thinks he is too skinny and is starving to death – apparently he is incapable of going somewhere else for dinner?

My guess is that he likes the warmth of the tank (and the vibration from the bubbles?) or else hunts bugs that are attracted to the light inside. The only flaw in this thinking is that the light is turned off at night, and we’ve never seen him doing any kind of hunting at all. So who knows what is on his mind?

Maybe he just wants to adopt some of the fish and take care of them – another Mumbai cross-species love affair in action?


(No, that’s not a picture of Oktoberfest)

In the past week, after our return from Goa, things have been moving at a lightning pace.

At school, we’re getting ready for the week without walls trips coming up next Monday, organizing community service projects with local NGOs, preparing for a family fun day in December, getting Mathcounts up and running, and writing report cards (due tomorrow).

At home, our single female platy (fish) had babies, so now there are orange fry to go with the black (mollies) and clear (guppies) ones in the tank. There was another festival this past week in town – that is where the picture is from. If you want to read more about it, check out the blog of a teacher that we knew in Belgrade who moved to Chennai, India this year…

But the real theme of the weekend was Oktoberfest. Saturday night was our big shindig – check out the online invitation. We partied and drank and talked and did the chicken dance until the wee hours. Some things that were new that went well this year: India sauerkraut is great and the homemade pretzels were a hit! And something that I wanted to get but could not find in Mumbai (to get over the summer for next year?) – kazoos for kazooing along with the oom-pah-pah music!

And that’s all I’m going to say about that. After all – what happens at Oktoberfest stays at Oktoberfest!! Plus we didn’t bring our camera up, so we’ll have to see what incriminating photos our party guests took.

Today it was all about a week without walls meeting and rooftop birthday party. It is great to see parents hanging out, with all the kids running around, drinking beer left over from the night before. Great times!


Susan put her foot down the other day when the kids came back from a quick trip to the local bakery. It seems that one of the neighboring apartments has a woman who rescues cats, and she has literally (ha ha) four mother cats with babies ranging between 8 days and 2 months old. Alea and Breck spent close to an hour with them, and then came home with pleadings for a pet kitty. Momma was having none of that.

So I did the next best thing. Without getting Susan’s permission As a fun surprise for Susan, I ordered an aquarium from a local aquarium shop, and had it set up last weekend. When the owner came to set it up (everything here is delivered right to your doorstep), he also brought some fish. He described one of the black mollies as “loaded,” which we soon discovered meant “pregnant.” Within 2 days we had more than 20 baby black fish (and 2 mixed colored ones as well) swimming around the tank. We took some of them out to protect them against attacks from the larger fish, but never saw any indication that we needed to worry about that.

Several of the science teachers at school have fish tanks, and one of them had baby guppies, so we arranged a ‘prisoner exchange.’ I brought in some of the black mollies and took some of the guppies, so now we have a mix of different babies swimming around. The fish do a great job of hiding in the rocks and then ascending to eat and play when we put food in.

Of course, all this fun and games is quickly coming to an end as we run up against the hard brick wall of the nitrogen cycle. We’ll have to wait to see which of our finny friends come from a deep enough end of the gene pool to survive the mistreatment of having to live in a newly-set-up-tank. We’ve started taking losses just in the past few days, and the cloud of babies that appears to get fed has thinned considerably. Oh well, we didn’t really want all those fishies anyways…