Paddle Palawan


Feathercraft Wisper XP Kayak
Feathercraft Wisper XP Kayak

An incredibly clear, multi-hued blue sea dotted with dozens of islands distracted me from my attempt to assemble my Feathercraft Wisper XP kayak.  My eyes kept scanning Bacuit Bay, just outside El Nido, on the northwest end of Palawan Island.  Striking karst formations that typify the landscape displayed an endless series of limestone cliffs leaping from the sea to extraordinary heights. My eyes darted from a frame assembly to a nearby island and back.

Located between the Sulu Sea to the southeast and the South China Sea to the northwest, Palawan is the southern most province in the Philippines.  Palawan consists of more than 1700 islands, nearly 25% of the 7,107 islands that comprise one of the largest archipelagos in the world.  It was designated a fish and wildlife sanctuary in 1967, protecting the sea as well as the virgin jungle that covers the island, making it an outdoor paradise.

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Papua New Guinea - Land on Edge



Cruising the Sepik

Ever since I was in my twenties, I have heard of the PNG Sing-Sing festivals. After over 35 years, I have finally made it to experience one of the truly unique, colorful and honestly human displays of cultures that I could ever imagine. Below is a tale of my adventure and my overall thoughts as I experienced the good and bad of this country. I hope you enjoy this and give thought to going in the near future.

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The Scarboro' Flyer


© Steven Slater
© Steven Slater

As a boy, my Father would take me to our local railway station (before Dr Beeching and his axe), pass through it, and on to visit his friend who worked in the signal box. Many happy hours were spent in this fascinating and atmospheric world, especially if like me you were about five years old. Levers, rods, clanging bells and that unmistakeable smell of years of pipe tobacco, coal fires, oil and grease all mixed up into one heady aroma. An aroma that has never left my senses. One scent of any one part of it and I am instantly transported back to my childhood, holding my Dad’s hand as I wave to the train drivers who slowly passed by our - my - signal box. Thus began my life-long love affair with all things mechanical and especially steam trains.

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Kata ReportIT-30PL Bag


After switching systems recently I found my previous (and not particularly old) camera bag to be too small. It had features that I had grown to love so I went looking for something similar. The larger Vanguard Heralder 38 seemed like the obvious choice, but I always like a change. I did some hunting, narrowed down my options, then took a plunge with the one bag that I couldn't find any online reviews for. So this could be a scoop for TPN!

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Vanguard Up-Rise 38


I bought this bag a good while ago and have used and abused it around the world.  It made a lot of sense to me as a discrete bag that looks more like a courier bag than a camera bag - a massive plus in my mind.  I would have preferred to go even more discrete but couldn't find anything capable of carrying all I wanted for a reasonable price that was more incognito.

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Rhodes, the Colossus of the Mediterranean


© Steven Slater
© Steven Slater

Rhodes, famous for the Colossus, is fifth of the seven wonders of the ancient world and the home of the Knights of St John after their expulsion from Jerusalem. Rhodes is the fourth largest of the Greek islands and the largest of the Dodecanese. Rhodes averages 266 days of sunshine. And Rhodes is my favourite Greek Island. Along with many other mediterranean islands, it's economy has changed from being based on simple agricultural subsistence to one that is totally reliant on tourism. This has been accomplished without too much difficulty. The benefits of Greece's membership into the EU (European Union) are all to obvious. The Island now boasts an integrated transportation and accommodation infrastructure geared towards tourism. Cheap hotels are in abundance and resorts like Faliraki with its twenty-four hour party atmosphere continue to grow in size and popularity. Has the Island changed? Of course it has. Is it for the better? Only the visitor can decide.

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Death Valley in Black and White


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Most people think of Death Valley as a flat featureless desert of parched broken land inhabited by scorpions and rattlesnakes.  I admit I was one of those people until a recent visit changed my mind.

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Panama/Costa Rica: A Photographic Cruise



The National Geographic/Lindblad cruise that my wife and I took in early January, 2012 wasn’t billed as a “Photo Expedition”. However, even though National Geographic offers two different trips, one entitled “Costa Rica and the Panama Canal Photography Expedition” and another simply called “Costa Rica and the Panama Canal”, both are similar. They visit the same places, cost the same, and the daily activities, at least as outlined in the brochure, are identical. While I gather there must be more emphasis on photography on the Photography Expedition, we were fortunate to have an celebrated travel photographer aboard. Christopher P. Baker offered suggestions, gave several presentations, and even critiqued my work. He was a font of information and tips. In fact, the very first day aboard, he gently suggested that I was holding my camera incorrectly – not supporting it properly from below. I’ve been taking pictures for 40 years, and in just one hour I had relearned a valuable lesson.