Diving with Dragons: Komodo National Park, Indonesia,
Cuba on the Cusp of Change
Riding with Reindeer: A Bicycle Odyssey through Finland, Lapland and Arctic Norway
Wrangle Island: The Remote Russian Wild Arctic
Tales of the Middle East
Two Months in Low Gear: Bicycle Touring in Ireland and Scotland
Sequim High School Library 601 North Sequim Avenue, Sequim, WA
Suggested Donation $5/Adults; Youth under 18 Free.
Jan. 28 - Namibia: Vast Horizons with Arvo and Christiane Johnson
Life-long adventurers Arvo and Christiane Johnson have traveled to more than 60 countries and Namibia is one of their favorites for the varied beauty of the landscape, friendly people, diverse wildlife, and the feeling that you have it almost all to yourself. They will share images and stories from Richtersveld and Fish River Canyon National Parks, the ghost mining town of Kolmanskop which is being swallowed up by the great Namib Desert, Sossusvlei a forest of dead trees in the middle of the desert, and one of the world’s renowned wildlife viewing areas—Etosha National Park. According to Arvo, “Namibia has a little bit of everything in a big way.”
Feb. 4 - Connecting with Nature in India and Nepal with Lauren and Keith Denton
Lauren and Keith Denton, both New Jersey natives but now Sequimmites, met at a bus stop in Costa Rica in December of 2000. Eight years later, Lauren and Keith spent their four-month honeymoon traveling in India and Nepal. Their show will take you from “the onslaught of people, color, and smells” in New Delhi to the Taj Mahal to camel trekking in Jaisalmer to the hill station of Mussoorie and the tranquil backwaters of Kerala. Throughout all these places and experiences, their appreciation of the natural environment allowed them deeper access to India’s culture.
Lauren says, “Overall, We found Nepal to be more subtle in every way with the exception of the mountain vistas.” The majority of their time in Nepal was spent on a 15-day trek on the Annapurna Circuit where they trekked past stupas and prayer flags and slept in tea houses, slowly making their way from the lowland rice patties up to the treeless snow-covered pass, Thorung La (nearly 18,000 ft)—the high point of the Annapurna Circuit.
Feb. 11 - Diving with Dragons: Komodo National Park, Indonesia,with Burt Jones & Maurine Shimlock
Indonesia is a country of extreme contrasts. Perhaps no place in this vast archipelago exemplifies those contrasts as well as Komodo National Park (KNP). The land can be extremely wet or desert-dry. Within a twenty-mile stretch of ocean, sea temperatures can vary more than 20 degrees. A two-mile walk might traverse grassy savannahs or scale a rough, volcanic slope. Underwater they have finned alongside oceanic manta rays with 15-foot wingspans, and then hovered quietly watching fingernail-size pygmy seahorses forage among branching corals. And, of course, there be dragons here: the Komodo dragon, Varanus komodoensis, the world’s largest monitor lizard, which exists no place else.
Committed to marine conservation, Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock use the art of photography to help preserve life in the sea. Over the past 24 years they have probably spent more than twelve months’ worth of time diving in Komodo, often remaining at their favorite sites for days or even weeks. They were the first to discover a secluded manta ray cleaning station—places where tiny crustaceans that look like lady bugs cluster over filter feeding invertebrates—and Cannibal Rock, one of the top ten dive sites in the world. Maurine says, “To hear about the cannibal, you have to come to the show!”
Feb. 18- Cuba on the Cusp of Change with Stephen Cunliffe
Award-winning photographer Stephen Cunliffe has spent decades photographing wildlife and landscapes, but the opportunity to photograph in Cuba presented him with the rewarding new challenge of capturing people in urban settings. In early 2013, Stephen and his wife Suzanne went on a small group photography trip to Cuba, authorized by the U.S. Department of State as part of a cultural exchange. Besides a lot of camera gear, they took with them a keen curiosity about Cuba and its people, isolated and embargoed for so long by the United States. They visited three distinctly different locations: Havana, the capital; Trinidad, a small and beautiful colonial coastal town celebrating its 500th anniversary; and Vinales, a richly productive agricultural area with some fascinating and massive limestone formations. Come see Stephen’s exceptional photography and hear stories of our southern neighbor on the cusp of change.
Feb. 25 - Riding with Reindeer: A Bicycle Odyssey through Finland, Lapland and Arctic Norway with Robert Goldstein
Robert Goldstein may live in Seattle, but the world is his home. His second book, Riding with Reindeer, earned him a silver medal in 2010 from the Independent Book Publishers Association annual awards. In the summer of 2007, he flew to Helsinki, Finland, with a suitcase holding pieces of a folding bike. Two months and more than 2,200 miles later, he pedaled his little blue bike with a wagon in tow over the last barren arctic headland before curving down to the edge of the Barents Sea. After surviving storms, long stretches of solitude, and illness, he reached his goal. Like many personal epics, this trip had strange roots and a happy ending. But according to Robert, “the book and my show are really about Finland.”
March 3 - Wrangle Island: The Remote Russian Wild Arctic with Elston Hill
National Geographic called Wrangel Island "one of the world’s least frequented, most restricted nature reserves—a place that requires several government permits to visit and can be reached only by helicopter during winter or by icebreaker during summer." Inveterate world travelers Elston and Jackie Hill were fortunate to be part of a 28-day tour in 2014 with the first Western tourists to ever make this unique land trip in the most northern reaches of Russia.
Wrangel Island is the world’s largest denning ground for polar bears and also supports the largest population of Pacific walruses, and the only snow goose nesting colony in Asia. These snow geese are the snow geese that migrate to the Skagit Valley each winter. Elston and Jackie also had frequent and close encounters with snowy owls, muskoxen, arctic foxes, lemmings and various seabirds. According to Elston, “Wrangel Island is also the last location on the planet where Wooly Mammoths roamed some 5000 years ago and we frequently saw their tusks lying on the landscape.” No stranger to the TJ series, Elston has given multiple previous presentations and we welcome him back to share stories of a remote wilderness few, if any, of us will ever see with our own eyes.
March 10 - Tales of the Middle East with Tom Saffold
In June of 2015, Sequim Middle School Teacher Tom Saffold and his wife Kathy joined their daughter and her husband in Israel, where they were working on a media project for a year. Travel and the accompanying new experiences have always been a priority for their whole family and their kids have continued that tradition. Given the incredible opportunity to have their daughter as a personal tour guide, Tom and Kathy jumped at the chance to explore Israel, Turkey, Egypt, and Jordan. They were able to catch a glimpse of the differences in these countries’ cultures and learn of their incredible histories.
Tom says, “We are so thankful to have been able to travel in the cradle of civilization. Our memories bring faces to mind whenever we hear the news from that area of the world.” Come hear the stories of their adventures, especially some from less commonly visited areas of the Middle East.
March 17 - Two Months in Low Gear: Bicycle Touring in Ireland and Scotlandwith Chris Duff & Lisa Markli
As they trained for their 1,600 mile bike tour through Ireland and Scotland, Chris Duff and Lisa Markli envisioned pot holes, blind curves, flat tires, and camping in the rain for weeks on end. Chris says, “I was right about the rain and wrong about everything else.” But it’s not the rain that saturates their memories, it’s images of pedaling for miles into the highlands of Scotland, tiny Irish villages with old white-washed stone shops, free range sheep sleeping in the middle of the road, camping in farmer’s fields, ancient burial mounds older than Egyptian pyramids, and above all else—the people who enlivened their days. And the ultimate joy was sharing every moment of every day together, as this was the honeymoon they had delayed for nearly10 years. Upon returning home tired, fit, and refocused, they made a promise to never again put off something as fun and rewarding as wandering down the unknown roads of life.