Category Archives: Indonesia

Wild orchids on our street

There is an orchid species blooming in all the trees around our house.  It has big bunches of small, fragrant, white flowers.  So nice!


Growing orchids

We have a few orchids that we were gifted when we were in North Sulawesi.  They have been up on our verandah and tree for a few months now.  A few of them are starting to grow, so I thought to document the growth here.  Can’t wait for them to start blooming!

July 2017

North Sulawesi getaway

Fareea and I have a long list of places we want to visit in Indonesia.  They range from national parks to volcanoes to cultural events.  Its such a vast and diverse country, I can’t imagine seeing it all.  A few weeks ago, I made a visit to some of WCS’ project sites in North Sulawesi province.  It was amazing going to the islands between Indonesia and Philippines.  Some of them were the original Spice Islands with nutmeg and mace and other spices growing there still.

At the end of the trip, Fareea came to meet me in North Sulawesi and we enjoyed a few days of diving in Bunaken National Park for diving and at Tangkoko National Park to see some birds and endemic monkeys.

North Sulawesi with markers on Bunaken National Park and Tangkoko National Park

We had 4 days of diving in Bunaken National Park.  Each day we took a 30 minute boat ride from the resort on the mainland over to the park.  The park has a few islands, including one amazing volcano and lots of amazing reefs with deep drop-offs and big underwater walls.  We saw turtles, corals, gorgeous reef fish, a few sharks…. and on a couple of the passages over to the islands, pods of 50+ dolphins!

Bunaken National Park and the breakfast view from the resort.

Tangkoko National Park is a small park at the northern tip of the island.  We spent two nights, hiked more than 20 km in one day, and saw all the top birds of North Sulawesi!

Buzzed by dragons

I’m sitting on our front porch, having my morning coffee, listening and watching for birds, when…. suddenly….. whooosh! And…..whoosh!

One, then another lizard swoops past and lands on the tree in our garden, just 3 meters from me! Flying lizards! Actual dragons! (Never mind that they are less than 10! Ha ha)

Learn more here:

If only I could get a shot like this!


Broaden your horizons…… How many high school seniors write that in their Yearbook?  (Do they even still have Yearbooks?)  Travel is supposed to broaden your horizons.  If that is the case, I must have super broad horizons!  I AM getting broader…. but…..

I find myself really liking the panorama function on my iPhone, so I take them quite often.  Here are the ones that are my new (office) laptop.


Uluwatu, Bali sunset

Uluwatu, Bali sunset

The bane of my life - conference rooms.  :-)

The bane of my life – conference rooms. 🙂


Banda Aceh river at sunset


Small fishing port on the west coast of Aceh province. In December 2004, this was wiped out by the earthquake and tsunami


Lagoon on the coast of Aceh’s west coast. Stunningly beautiful place.


Shark catches. Can we ever make this sustainable?


Traditional fishing port in Lombok, Indonesia


East Lombok Marine Protected Area – no tourists. Yet.

East Lombok MPA

East Lombok MPA

WCS All Staff Retreat

Its time for another All-Staff-Retreat!  The dreaded 3 words.  Six a.m. group yoga.  Team building exercises that involve hugging people you’d rather disembowel.  Endless sessions of navel-gazing, developing strategies that will be immediately ignored, and feedback sessions that never result in any changes.

That was what welcomed me at WCS.  Those three words.

But, WCS is not the monochrome bear that I used to work for.  Its not even the potholder.  This is a whole new alphabet.

And our All Staff Retreat was a different animal.  We needed to get away and get to know each other.  I am new here, but apparently I am not the only one.  Others have only been around for a few months.  We are growing.  So….. we went away (all 170+ of us) to one of the most historic cities in Indonesia to get to know each other.

Of course, we had some group sessions.  We had some plans for some team building.  But we also had a cool train ride across Java. We had trips to not one, but two (two!) World Heritage Sites (there are 8 World Heritage Sites in Indonesia, so… 25%!), and the chance to meet people from Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Lombok, Sumbawa, Pulau Rote and more….. the WCS Indonesia Program is as diverse as the country itself.

And…. they invited Fareea to come along too.  So nice of them.  🙂

And with no further ado, here are some of the photos.

We got up at 3:45 on a Friday morning to meet at the office at 4:30 to catch a bus to the main train station in Jakarta.  Then we had an 8 hour train trip across Java to Yogyakarta (pronounced Jog-ja-karta).  We had a nice dinner Friday night at the hotel, an inspirational talk from our country program leader (Ibu Yani) and an introduction session where all 170 of us got to say who we were.  Saturday morning had us listening to presentations about our main programs and projects and then we went to the first World Heritage Site.  Sunday we went to the second World Heritage Site, got some shopping in, and then we had a dinner with our ~40 Marine Program staff.

From Wikipedia:

Candi Prambanan or Candi Rara Jonggrang is a 9th-century Hindu temple compound in Central Java, Indonesia, dedicated to the Trimurti, the expression of God as the Creator (Brahma), the Preserver (Vishnu) and the Destroyer (Shiva). The temple compound, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the largest Hindu temple site in Indonesia, and one of the biggest in Southeast Asia. It is characterized by its tall and pointed architecture, typical of Hindu architecture, and by the towering 47-metre-high (154 ft) central building inside a large complex of individual temples.[2] Prambanan attracts many visitors from around the world.[3][4]

Borobudur, or Barabudur, is a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist temple in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia. The monument consists of nine stacked platforms, six square and three circular, topped by a central dome. The temple is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. The central dome is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues, each seated inside a perforated stupa.[1] It is the world’s largest Buddhist temple,[2][3] as well as one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world.[4]

And now some photos…. and videos…..




And miscellaneous photos around Yogya and the train….

And a few videos from the window of our train going back to Jakarta.  Enjoy!

De Koraaldriehoek (The Coral Triangle)

The Coral Triangle got a translation!  It is now available in Dutch!  If you need to fill out your collection, be sure to get this hot-off-the-press edition!



Dreams Come True

When I first started studying at Kyoto University, my friend introduced me to the magic that is Mister Donut (later known affectionately as Donut-san) in Japan.  The donuts aren’t very good.  The shops are a bit old and sometimes kind of grimy.  The coffee is average, at best… but, they offer free refills!  For a student without regular income, that was a major benefit.  So, I spent a fair amount of time at the local Mister Donut at Imadegawa Street.  They always played their own “radio” station with an American, deep-voiced DJ playing mostly American pop.  They had one Japanese song that got played every 30 minutes by a band called Dreams Come True.  It became the theme song for my first few trips to Kyoto and the theme for this post.  You can listen to the song here.  Its catchy.

After several years of working on my PhD, I felt that I was losing my edge and connections professionally and started looking for a job.  In 2015 and 2016 I applied for jobs in (among others) the Maldives, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Tunisia, and New York.  It was my first experience with getting rejected for jobs that I thought I was qualified for.  A humbling experience.  But the waiting paid off and I was fortunate this year to get a job with the Wildlife Conservation Society in Indonesia.

Fareea (the most important part of Dreams Come True for me this year and that post will follow but I don’t have the photos with me now!) and I moved to Bogor, Indonesia 2 weeks ago so I could start my new job as Senior Marine Advisor.  Many people have noticed that Bogor is not near the sea and asked how can I do marine work here.

Its easy.  We have lots of projects and programmes all over Indonesia and the head office just happens to be here.  Its nice here.  Bogor is 265 meters above sea level and therefore much cooler than lowland Jakarta and other areas of Indonesia.  Its lush, green, busy, and lovely.  I think we will be very happy here.

So…. what you’ve been waiting for.  Some photos from our first few weeks.

We are spending our first few weeks in the WCS guest house.  We are hoping to take over the lease at the end of the year, but remains to be finalized.