Sunday, February 28, 2010

Quake in Chile

It's nearly 11am in Chile now and I am praying that the people of Chile are able to get through another day. I wanted just to say thanks to all of you who read our blog and for those who sent messages of concern for my family-our family in Chile. Thanks to Facebook, we have been able to hear from some cousins and even some uncles from my dad's side letting us know that Grandma, 97 years old?, is doing ok. I am overwhlemed by the concern you, our friends and family, have expressed. We will keep you all in touch as we hear more from our family.

Symphony in the Park and Shrimp on the Barbie

We had a great day out in the country with Grandma Win and her Grandaughter, Emma, Drew and Josaih. Emma married Drew a few years ago and they have a cute baby named Josiah. Drew plays music with a local orchestra. Today he played in a large park in the country. Later that evening we put a little "shrimp on the barbie". Included is a photo of the shrimp on the barbie. : ) A great day!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Our Welcome to Australia Dinner

From Australia, Melbourne

Our friends Mark and Beck (2nd and 3rd people from the right) are getting married in a couple weeks. Tomorrow I will go with the guys on the "Bucks night"(bachelor party. Mariella will be hanging out with the ladies for "Hens night". We are going for a surf tomorrow morning followed by nine holes of golf then a visit to a pub and an evening BBQ. Should be fun!

Girl and Sunset, Bali

This cute little french girl was dancing around on the beach as the sun set. We enjoyed a final lobster dinner before flying to Melbourne. Bali is on our top 3 list of best places we've visited.

Parting Photos of Bali

Included are photos from a boat an ferry trip from Gili Trawangan to Lombok to Bali. There are also pictures of these weird green blinking beatles. They were sometype of gloworm. The sunsets were fantastic!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Melbourne, Australia

We left Bali last night and arrived safely to Melbourne. We will be staying with our "Australian Family" for the next month or so. Tomorrow will be six years to the day when I first met the Thomas family. They invited my friend Mike and me to live with them while we volunteered for Focus on the Family Australia in 2004. Mariella and I will be living in the campervan in the back yard. We will post some photos soon. : )

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Photos of a Couple Dives off the coast of Padangbai, Bali

The underwater world is brilliant! The picures do not do the place justice. In a few pictures you may be able to spot the pigmy seahorse that is smaller than a fingernail (look closely at the photo with the finger in it). Mariella and I are doing great. Thanks for the prayers. We continue to bless God for the beauty of his creation. It is proper to worship the creator rather than the creation. I just received a hair cut and Mariella is waxing an arm and a leg and maybe the back and stuff. I don't really know. Anyhow...all is well loving every moment of the best year of my life spent with my beautiful bride.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Diving Photos

Gili Trawangan II

I successfully passed the open water dive course! Diving the coral reefs surrounding the island is like visiting a whole new world accessible only by breathing underwater. The diving certification will allow me to go on dives up to 18meter/60 feet. Mariella has joined us on the boat for most of the dives. She snorkeled while we dove for about an hour each dive. She was on the boat with the driver when they found a venomous sea snake in the hull of the boat. Included are some more pictures around Gili Trawangan. We were thoroughly amused by the elementary age children celebrating their last day of school for the week. We watched a swarm of kids run through the center of town and down the pier wearing their school uniforms. Most were not wearing shoes so they kept on running with huge smiles on their faces and leaped off all sides of the pier. The cats around here are pretty lazy. Some photos of the lounging cats are in the slideshow. I also put some photos of a fraction of the animal life we’ve seen while diving. I will post some photos and video footage shot by our dive instructor. Yesterday we saw devil rays, white tipped sharks and a five foot sea snake. Today we saw some lion fish, and a few moray eels. We see a few giant sea turtles on every dive. Fantastic! : ) We head to Melbourne, Australia in 10 days. We are looking forward to seeing our adopted Aussie family. Our English friend Chris has shot a bunch of fish including this 2.5 foot puffer fish we ate for dinner the other night.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Gili Trawangan

Hello! Here are some photos of our stay in Ubud. Many homestays and restaurants were located in or next to rice fields, making for some pretty great scenery where we ate, walked and slept. We visited “monkey forest” in Ubud. Mariella continues to handle the animals. She won’t listen to Sean Michael’s warnings or my own. To her defense, these monkeys approached her without much coaxing on her part. Dewa, our new friend in Bali, was awesome! Thank you for driving us all over Bali and taking us to the good roadside restaurants. Dewa also showed us a great beach located in Padangbai where we caught a boat to the small island we are currently on. We left the paradise of Bali for the paradise of Gili Trawangan. It is oh so gorgeous. Mariella wakes up each morning and walks around the island with some friends we’ve met. It takes them about one hour to get around the island walking briskly. Photos of Gili Trawangan are near the end of the slide show. We are staying in a bungalow near the beach for $11 a night including breakfast. Wow! Mariella and I are blown away by the sea life. We’ve seen a bunch of giant sea turtles and rays with blue leopard like dots. I have seen a reef-shark and a few bright greenish blue lobsters. I think my co-worker, Rachel Zaragoza (a diving enthusiast) would be happy to hear that I am working on my open dive certification. While doing the certification we will go on four dives over four days of training. Breathing underwater is great! Our stay in Gili Trawangan is better because friends we met on Bali have gathered at the beachside bungalows we are staying at. We are overwhelmed by the natural beauty that surrounds us.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cruising Bali

A few days ago we said goodbye to the wonderful children at the orphanage. We woke up early in the morning and waited by the front gate and said goodbye as they departed for the day. Some kids walked to school while others were picked up by their friends on motor bikes. There are so many young kids driving these things! Later that morning we were picked up by Dewa our new Balinese friend. Our friends Charlie and Christy connected us with Dewa. Charlie and Christy have a business in the states called High Sierra Wood Carvings ( All their products are hand made by Balinese craftsman. I recommend checking out the beautiful carvings on the website. Dewa manages the Bali side of the business. We rented a car for a few days and Dewa showed us around this gorgeous island. We made our way through the town of Ubud, known for its artistry and rice farming, our home base. From there we drove East Lake Batur and Batur Volcano. Then we drove to the north part of the island to the town of Lovina where we hoped to swim with the dolphins. I (Craig) went for a swim, but no dolphins were seen with the exception of the statue. Later we went for a dip in the hot springs. The next day, February 5th, Dewa took us to the East Coast to snorkel at Tulamben. This was a highlight for Mariella and I. Off the shoreline is the coral encrusted wreck of the U.S. cargo ship “Liberty”. We snorkeled with all kinds of beautiful fish. We were blown away by the creative beauty of the neon blue fish among others. While we were swimming around the wreck a massive school of bright silver fish a couple feet in length engulfed us like a cloud. The schools of magnificent fish were above us, below us and on all sides. Crazy! The fish were not scared by our presence and were within arm’s-length. Side note: When in Bali, prepare to meet some “polici” with motive to extort money, without shame from locals and tourists alike. We’ve grown to dislike the police corruption. During the past couple days of driving we’ve been stopped by police who just point cars to the side of the road and ask for money. There is no law being broken they just demand money. People just give them the money they ask for. It is ridiculous. The sums of money is usually not large, but significant for the Balinese people. These police are making a ton of money. One police officer was sitting in a parking lot where we were having lunch. When we got in the car it was pouring rain. Instead of coming to the window to ask for money he told the parking lot attendant to get money from us. We had to pay for parking and pay the lazy corrupt cop who was sitting under the shelter of an awning. Other than the Police incidents, Bali is great. We are having the time of our lives. We like hanging out with Dewa learning about the Balinese culture through his knowledge and experiences. The conversation is seasoned and fruitful. Thank you Dewa! Tomorrow, the 7th, we hope to leave Bali from the east coast town of Padangbai where we will head to the island of Lombok and then to the Gili islands. We’re not sure what internet connections will be available. We’ll keep you posted as we can. Many blessings!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hanging out with the Kiddos

We are having fun with the youth at the orphanage. There are about 48 young people at the orphanage with an age range from four years to twenty years of age. The kids go to school during the day so we usually hangout with them in the afternoon and evening. We've been taking the moto to the beach while the kids are at school. Here are some photos of the wonderful children.