02.08.10

Tongariro Alpine Crossing – Conquering Mt Doom

Posted in Landscape, Nature, People, Travel at 4:52 pm by Warren Williams

My friends and I decided we needed a larger challenge to conquer, than just a small Waitakere bush walk. We’d been talking about re walking the great Tongariro Crossing over the past couple of summers, but only just managed to put into action. Road trip ahead, as we tested Pete’s new wagon. We bunked down in National Park for two nights, whilst spending much of the time trekking over the mountains of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom), and Ruapehu.

Lake Taupo
Lake Taupo from the southern end

Tongariro from car
First sight of Tongariro coming from Taupo and Turangi

Chateau Ruapehu
Bayview Chateau Tongariro (nestled on Mt Ruapehu)

Chateau Golf course
Bayview Chateau Golf Course – New Zealand’s highest course


Road tripping with Mark, who previously ascended Cradle Mountain, Tasmania with me


Pete’s new car – too bad about the motor?


From one of the stream crossings driving up Mt Ruapehu

Driving Mt Ruapehu
Zooming upwards on Mt Ruapehu – North Island’s tallest mountain and volcano, at 2,797 metres

We parked late in the evening at the Bruce carpark, and found the place deserted. Free roam of the mountain! We ventured up around 1km up the rocky slopes, as the temperature quickly dropped.

Ascending Mt Ruapehu
Mark, Warren, Kat & Pete against the barren rock of Ruapehu

Strangely, the clouds around us descended beyond our elevation, revealing the glowing sunset across the west. Was quite amazing to witness a sunset with a cloud base lower down.


Amazing light being filtered around Ruapehu


Defining ridge lines on Ruapehu


Various volcanic rocks and high altitude plants

The following morning, we had to wake at the crack of dawn to catch the shuttle to the start of the great Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Witnessing an amazing sunrise across all three mountains certainly made it worthwhile.

Mt Doom Sunrise Lord of the Rings
Sunrise over Mt Doom

Sunrise over National Park
Sunrise from National Park / SH47 intersection

Amazing New Zealand Scenery
Amazing New Zealand Beauty

Arriving at the Mangatepopo carpark, we were now ready to tackle the 19.4km long mountain crossing.


First steps along the 19.4km long Tongariro Crossing


The intital track starts deceptively easy!


Great view of Mt Ngauruhoe

Tongariro Crossing Boardwalk
The final 1km stretch leading to the saddle, connecting Tongariro and Ngauruhoe.
This section was the hardest, with a steep incline, and noticeable difference in breathing

Mt Doom and tussock grass

The camera was put away for the next 45min as we climbed the Mangatepopo Saddle


Success!


Following the Saddle, we drop again, in the enormous South Crater of Tongariro, before climbing one of the ridges offering great views


Sheer cliffs, along the ridge


Climbing out of the South Crater, with cloud cover blocking one side of the mountainside


Reaching the Tongariro Summit, at 1,967metres


From Tongariro summit, peering into South Crater

Mt Tongariro 360 degree Panorama
360 degree panoramic from the additional Tongariro Summit walk


View looking down to the Emerald Lakes and Red Crater


View down the fun scree slope, with Blue Lake in the backdrop (perfect place to moon jump)

Emerald Lakes - Tongariro
One of the Emerald Lakes, caused from leaching minerals

Emerald Lakes, Tongariro


Tongariro Emerald Lakes


Further views of the Emerald Lakes, with steam rising from the ridge


Low cloud cover at the Ketetahi Hut (well, over 1,400m isn’t exactly low!)


With some much needed Red Bull


And away with the camera it was, as the rain came down for our last hours walk downhill.


Dusk over Mt Ruapehu and the winding highway

The following morning we made the short walk to to the lovely Lake Rotopounamu – an easy walk, however we were all suffering from fatigue and muscle pains after a full day of walking the previous day.

Lake Rotopounamu
Lake Rotopounamu


Mark, chilled out

The drive home was non eventful, although we did try our luck at the Hole in One challenge on Lake Taupo. Out of 25 balls, I managed to land 6 very close to the hole on the floating pontoon, 102metres out.

01.05.10

Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Posted in Animals, Landscape, Nature, People, Travel at 4:00 pm by Warren Williams

The final day of an amazing trip through Mumbai and Goa had arrived, so after a little research, decided to take Angus to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in northern Mumbai. It is the largest urban park in the world, encompassing 104Β km2. It is said to be the lungs of Mumbai, as it purifies much of the air polluition. Within the park you can catch a bus to see lions and leopards, whilst also venturing 6km along the park to the amazing Kanheri Caves. These 109 caves were built over 2,100 years ago, by Buddhist monks, into the solid hard basalt rock.

I’ve included more photos than usual in this last post from my Indian travels of 2009 & 2010. An amazing trip, that I couldn’t have done without the hospitality of my great friend Angus and his family. Thank you! πŸ™‚


Lioness in the park

Rhesus Macaque Monkey

Rhesus Macaque Monkey


Baby Rhesus Macaque Monkey

School children Kanheri Caves, India

Kanheri Caves, Mumbai, India


Large caves of Kanheri

Kanheri Caves, Mumbai, India

Kanheri Caves sculptures

Kanheri Caves, Mumbai, India


Angus standing against the 7m tall Buddhist statue


Large Chaitya with great Stupa

Kanheri Caves, Mumbai, India
Low light filtering behind the Stupa


Textured Basalt floor


Walkway to more caves on the hill

Kanheri Caves movie
More caves near the top, almost like the set of a movie


View in opposite direction showing the elevation (hard work in the Mumbai heat!)


First attempt at writing with a torch


Angus taking a break in one of the cool caves

Friendly SIS Security India
Our friendly SIS security”guide”


Warren atop the caves and stairs of Kanheri


Angus walking back down the hill from the 109 caves


Spot the monkey?

Deer in Mumbai

Goat incredible balance
Goat with incredible balance, walking on a branch!


Overflowing water tank


Last shot from India

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01.04.10

Return to Mumbai

Posted in People, Travel at 7:30 pm by Warren Williams

I really thought nothing could beat the bus ride from Mumbai to Goa. Well I was wrong, with the return trip even more unbearable! I could have almost covered the length of New Zealand in the same duration of this trip. Alas, I was happy to finally make it, knowing only had another couple of days in Mumbai before being reunited with friends and family in Melbourne and Auckland.

Carpark Mumbai
Carpark around the back of our hotel in Malad West (not sure I’d park there?!)

Mumbai Sunset

Overloaded bus Mumbai India


Common non-AC taxi

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01.02.10

Morjim Birds

Posted in Birds, People, Travel at 8:30 pm by Warren Williams

Our last day in Goa was spent in Morjim after the recommendation from Darryl Baptista, which is home to many thousands of birds. It was also the least visited by other people, which was great news for us! I have noticed more recently, several news articles about the darker side of Morjim. Fortunately we never encountered any trouble during our three weeks in Goa, and would recommend anyone to FLY in and enjoy the cheap food, drinks and sun.

Morjim Local Boy
Local boy walking along the sandy banks


Morjim Fishing Boat

Morjim Birds
Thousands of birds in Morjim

Morjim Boats Lined up
Morjim boats lined up

Low Tide Morjim Birds

Morjim Birds Sunset

Goa Hawk
Hawk on the lookout for smaller seabirds

India Football

Hermit Crab Escape
Hermit Crab escaping

Morjim Swimming


Really great water, much better than Calangute area


Angus in the crisp water

Morjim Sunset Birds Silhouette
Thousands of birds flying north across the setting sun

Morjim Sunset

Morjim Red Skies, Goa

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12.31.09

Calangute Beach New Years Eve

Posted in Astro, Landscape, People, Travel at 11:59 pm by Warren Williams

After spending a week around the beautiful island of Jua, enjoying the villages of Santo Estevam and Marcela on the mainland, we decided it was time to venture back to the beachside apartment for New Years celebrations. Stocking up on food supplies from the Mapusa market, Angus and I were preparing ourselves for the final few days in Goa! Time sure has flown.

Green & red Tomatoes

Green Beans

Mutton ready for the Slaughter
Mutton ready for the chop

Mapusa Market Seller
Mapusa Market Seller – All to keen for a photo

Mapusa Banana Market

Calangute Goa fisherman

Calangute Beach people

Calangute Jetski

Final Sunset of 2009 India
Final sunset of 2009, from Calangute, Goa, India

Angus 2009
Angus farewelling 2009

2009 Dusk

Blue Moon December 2009
Once in a blue moon… two full months within one calendar month

On the strike of midnight, Calangute beach and all the adjoining beaches (Candolim, Sinquerim and Baga), brightly lit up with thousands of fireworks and bonfires to welcome in the Year of 2010. Making this an even more special New Years, a partial lunar eclispe occurred only a few minutes later.

Lunar Eclipse Goa 2009 2010
Lunar Eclipse of 2009 / 2010

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12.29.09

Rural Adventures of Goa

Posted in Animals, Birds, Landscape, Nature, Travel at 3:30 pm by Warren Williams

Returning back to Marcela the following morning, Raju was keen on showing more of the bush in the neighbouring areas, including his own property and yet more fruit! πŸ™‚ It was a great walk, seeing a beautiful, peaceful view of India, as we encountered many various animals and workers in the field.

Banana Tree Goa
Bananas on Raju’s property

Millions of Ants

Dog with Mange
The sad face of a local dog with mange

Caterpillar Goa

Red Dragonfly Goa

King Cobra Nest
Massive King Cobra nest


One of the many tropical birds


Yep, another

Pineapple growing, Goa

Chameleon
Cameleon


Rich Paddy Field


Wilderness adventures, reminiscent of “Stand by Me”

Water buffalo, India
Water buffalo

Water buffalo, India

Stunning Kingfisher
Another stunning Kingfisher

Indian Shack

Paddy field worker

Wasps India

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12.28.09

Marcela, Goa

Posted in Animals, Birds, Landscape, Travel at 9:00 pm by Warren Williams

Located between Old Goa and the road to Santo Estevam, Marcela is a small town where Angus’s grandmother has lived for many years. Her property has its own spring water well, and many fruit trees, which Raju was kind enough to get some coconuts down for the fresh milk.

Coconut

Breaking Coconut

Fresh Coconut
Angus scooping the coconut out

Fresh well water
Fresh spring water from the well


Raju with a crab from a water hole nearby

Crab Goa


10 points for what this is?

Kingfisher, Goa

Rice field, Goa


View from atop water tank in Marcela bush


More rice fields from atop the water tank

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12.27.09

White Sands of Colva and Palolem

Posted in Landscape, People, Travel at 10:00 pm by Warren Williams

After Christmas celebrations, we planned a trip to the beauty of Colva and Palolem beaches. Unfortunately the sun wasn’t shining as strongly as before, and both beaches were very crowded. After waiting around in the evening until sunset, it simply didn’t come! Driving the 4×4 home after dark was certainly a new experience too – driving for almost two hours from the furthest reaches of Goa.

Colva Parasailing
Colva Parasailing

The highlight of the day, was seeing Angus’ nephew, Matthew, experience the sea and sand.


Raju (friend of family from Marcela, Goa) & Matthew

Palolem Sunset Goa
Sun disappearing amongst the clouds

Beach shacks Palolem
Beach shacks Palolem

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12.23.09

Anjuna Flea Market

Posted in People, Transportation, Travel at 2:44 pm by Warren Williams

After hearing about the weekly flea market in Anjuna, we decided to head along on another hot Wednesday. Riding our favourite mode of transport, Rickshaw, we skimmed past the traffic and arrived in the massive field filled with hundreds of market stalls. Knowing there would be large crowds, I left the camera bag back at the apartment, only taking the Canon 1DIII and 85L lens for dreamy shots.

Cow in Calangute

Rickshaw Driver
Rickshaw Driver

Rickshaw Horn
Rickshaw Horn – great importance πŸ˜‰


Escaping the market jam, ventured onto the beach for a restaurant

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12.22.09

Red Vagator Beach

Posted in Animals, Landscape, Travel at 8:25 pm by Warren Williams

Ventured further north to the rocky red coastline of Vagator Beach, before settling down in the evening at Little Vagator Beach. Despite clouding over during most of the afternoon, the sunset shone through amazingly red, complementing the rockface.

Vagator Beach


Yet more cows, near Little Vagator

Flies on Cow

Little Vagator sunset

Little Vagator sunset


Very slippery rocks, where I almost had an underwater experience!

Red Vagator


Warren & Angus after sunset at Vagator Beach

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12.20.09

Shipwrecked Sands of Sinquerim, Candolim & Calangute

Posted in Animals, Landscape, Transportation, Travel at 10:00 pm by Warren Williams

White sands stretch 7km southward from Baga, through Calangute, Candolim and finally Sinquerim. Nestled in the southern end of coastline between Candolim and Sinquerim lies the Merchant Vessel, the River Princess. After running aground ten years ago, it has caused environmental issues, such as rusted shards of steel on the beach. It does however make an interesting photo subject!

Lifeguards Calangute
Lifeguards on duty in Calangute

Fisherman Calangute, Goa, India
Fisherman, untangling his nets

Fresh juice Goa
Selling fresh fruit on the beach of Calangute

Later in the day, Angus and I decided to hire a taxi from Calangute to the River Princess shipwreck. Frustratingly, taxis aren’t metered in Goa, and they usually offer exhorbitant cash amounts up front. Several times the cost than in Mumbai! After finally negotiating a van driver down to just 200 Rupees ($6), we took the 10min trip further along the beach.


More cows πŸ˜›

Cows and stray dogs Goa
Stray dogs give the cows some problems, as we witnessed on various beaches


Whilst other cows must be wary of their own kind

Parasailing Goa
Parasailing across Candolim

Jet Skies River Princess
Jet skis near the stern of the River Princess

Calf Goa

River Princess Silhouette, Goa
River Princess silhouetted


Bow of the River Princess, with the sun setting through the hazy sky

Candolim Beach Shipwreck Animation
Several exposures with the incoming tide

Goa Jump Animation
Jumping fun (shot by Angus)

As twilight set in, I shot a few long exposures with various filters:

Candolim Beach Shipwreck Sunset
No filters


Two graduated ND filters on top (.6 hard and .9 soft)

5 minute exposure
5 minute exposure

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12.19.09

Fort Aguada & Arambol Beach Sunset

Posted in Animals, Landscape, People, Travel at 8:30 pm by Warren Williams

The impressively large Fort Aguada was built by the Portuguese in the seventeenth century, with views stretching across the Arabian Sea. It was rather unbearable walking around here, in mid thirties temperature, and humidity soaring into the 90’s! Definitely the hottest day of the trip.

Fort Aguada, Goa

Later in the day as the heat slowly faded, we all ventured up to the northern reaches of Goa, to the popular tourist beach of Arambol. Another surprising experience, with thousands of people around, along with the odd cow walking along the sands – something I hadn’t seen in photos whilst researching Goa.

Arambol Cows

Cosy Cow Lounger
Sunbathing

Close up cows arambol

Cow silhouette

Arambol Boat, Goa


Stray dogs


Angus, using one of my spare cameras, capturing the orange hue sunset

Arambol Sunset, Goa


Angus and the reflecting sunset

Angus Gomes

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12.18.09

Panjim Fish Market

Posted in Animals, People, Travel at 1:52 pm by Warren Williams

After spending a couple of days around the beautiful Sant Estevam village, Angus and I decided it was time to spend some time in the apartment in Calangute, cooling off from the extreme heat with the neighbouring sea. We stopped in Goa’s largest city – Panjim (also known as Punaji), for a quick wander, coming across the pungeant fish market.

Fish Market, Panjim, Goa

Following the walk, we ventured off to the busy party town of Baga, near Calangute to have some refreshing drinks and a late lunch.


Matthew, and his milky drink


Adorable πŸ™‚

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12.17.09

Giant Golden Orb Spiders

Posted in Animals, Nature, People, Travel at 9:03 pm by Warren Williams

We took an hours drive to the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, only to find it was shut on Thursdays! Just nearby we had noticed the Pascoal Spice Farm – offering a view of the spice plantations and a restaurant set amongst some tropical forest. After a massive meal of chicken, fish curry rice and various drinks, we decided to wander amongst their walkways to burn off the food. Early on the path, we came face to face with this monster of a spider.. the size of a hand, it looked rather intimidating but was in fact quite harmless – something I only found out after shaking nervously a few inches away.

Golden Orb Spider India


Shooting underneath, I was sure it was about to launch an attack

Golden Orb Spider India

Golden Orb Spider India


Angus and his nephew, Matthew

Jua Bridge, Santo Estevam
Jua Bridge, to Santo Estevam – the alternative longer route

Sant Estevam


Friendly villager of Santo Estevam, selling fried potato and samosa

Fried samosa Goa

Goan 85L
Another villager awaiting her order

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12.16.09

Breaking free into Goa

Posted in Architecture, History, Travel at 9:12 pm by Warren Williams

Following the awful bus experience, it was a great relief to finally make it into Goa. Despite the traffic still being rather busy, the air was noticeably clearer, and able to see distant objects, rather than thick haze. After hastily getting off the bus in Mapusa, we were whisked away in the great comfort of an air conditioned 4×4. Angus’s father was kind enough to drive us by the scenic areas, including Calangute showing off the apartment we would be spending some time in, before driving through Old Goa. One of the main features of Old Goa is the Basilica of Bom Jesus, which is over 400 years old, making it one of the oldest in India.

Car ferry to St Stephen's
Just beyond Old Goa, along one of the country roads is a small car ferry servic, which took us from the mainland to the island of Jua and the mostly Catholic village of Santo Estevam.

Gomes Residence, Goa
The Gomes residence in Sant Estevam – Great homely large home πŸ™‚

Sant Estevam
Walking adventure around Santo Estevam

Blue skies of Goa
Clearer blue skies, and clean water!

Sant Estevam Pigs
Got Bacon!

Weathered roof tiles

Two contrasting crosses
Two contrasting crosses

Abandoned house

Abandoned house
Under the still prevalent Portuguese Laws, the historic homes cannot be destroyed. Only passed through the generations, with more recently over the past century many emigrating overseas leaving the houses to slowly deteriorate and add a great feel.

Abandoned house in Sant Estevam, Goa, India
Old furniture through the walls


Old front door

Abandoned house in Sant Estevam, Goa, India
Shooting from the side door which is sitting ajar – this house was simply amazing!

Later in the evening, Angus and I took a walk up the hill of Jua to see the Statue of Sacred Heart / Shine to Christ the King

Statue of Sacret Heart
Waren & Angus atop the monument

Ruins Sant Estevam
Fort Ruins atop the hill of Jua

Jua Sunset, Goa
The Fort of St Francis Xavier – built in 1668

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