Where Do They Travel? Migration Route

Swimming over 11000 miles (~18000 km), Gray Whales make a round trip from their summer feeding grounds in the cold Arctic to warm waters of Mexico, their calving lagoons. Not just these big mammals but also birds and little insects travel far distances for warmer temperatures, food, and breeding. To visualize their fascinating journey, a migration route exhibit was designed and made for the Environmental Volunteers.

20180808_134414Migration Route Exhibit: Press the blue button to know the migration route for the animal / insect / bird.

Gray Whale – mammal, Monarch Butterfly – insect, Cliff Swallow – a small bird, and American White Pelican – a big bird were shortlisted and studied for their travel routes. Also where and when can one see them in and around San Francisco Bay Area were included.

20180808_134438Gray Whale Migration Route 

The Gray Whales start their journey from Arctic to the warm waters of Mexico around the month of October and arrive off the coast of Baja California around January where they mate. They start their journey north swimming closer to the California coast as they travel with the young ones and avoid deep waters. One can see them from Point Reyes National Seashore, Farallon Bay, Half Moon Bay, Pigeon Point Light House, and Monterey Bay.

20180808_134558Cliff Swallow Migration Route

The Cliff Swallows generally spend 3 months of summer in North America, travel for 3 months to South America, stay there for 3 months and travel the remaining 3 months of an year to return to North America. They travel extra miles by flying over the land instead of sea. They have an interesting route, they diverge in batches and arrive at various destinations from South California to Seattle.  One can see the cliff swallows from May to July at The Environmental Volunteers Ecocenter in Palo Alto, Bayland Nature Preserve in Palo Alto, cliffs along Highway 1, local water bodies like Coyote lake, Almaden Lake, etc.

20180808_134606Monarch Butterfly Migration Route

Each fall (around September) thousands of Monarchs travel from Canada and Northern USA taking different routes to arrive in their overwintering grounds in California, Mexico, and Florida. Here they lay eggs and a new generation starts the journey north as the winter ends. Most fascinating part of their journey is that it takes about 4 to 5 generations to return to their summer grounds. Some of the places in and around bay area to see the Monarchs – Natural Bridges State Park, Santa Cruz; Monarch Grove Sanctuary, Pacific Grove; Ardenwood Regional Preserve, Fremont; Monarch Bay Golf Course and Marina, San Leonard.

20180808_134539 American White Pelican Migration Route

American White Pelicans segregate in two geographic groups – population breeding east of the Rocky Mountains migrate to south and east to winter along the Gulf of Mexico, and those on the west of Rocky Mountains migrating to the Pacific coast. Some of the places to see them in and around the bay area – Bayland Nature Preserve in Palo Alto, Don Edwards Wild Life Preserve, Fremont, Moss Landing Monterey, San Antonio Lake, Monterey.

How it was made?

I ordered a map of North America from Amazon and got it pasted and laminated on a foam board from Staples. Meantime I tried making holes on a piece of waste foam board with a 2 mm drill but the best finish was achieved with a simple nail and hammer.

20180724_124346Trial on a scrap foam board with drill, nail and hammer.

I then searched for LEDs and found a good option in party lighting section in one of the near by stores. Got blue lights for Whales and yellow for the remaining. I tried installing the LEDs on my trial foam board with a simple masking tape.

LED trial back and front

Then all the wholes were punched on the map depending on different routes and the routes were linked with black marker to avoid confusion.

20180730_095550Backside of the map with holes punched and route marked.

20180802_112941LEDs installed at the back of the map.

20180803_155023Cardboard housing for the map

20180806_105534Trial with the cards 

20180808_134414Final exhibit with blue switches

The exhibit is in display at the Environmental Volunteers Ecocenter in Palo Alto.

For EcoCenter visitng hours please refer: https://www.evols.org/visit-the-ecocenter/

 

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Who is visiting us? When? For how long?

They visit us exactly around ‘that’ particular time of the year. Some of them pass by, some stay for weeks and others for months and have babies here. They all are delight to watch, however only some of us know who is visiting us?

A variety of birds, animals and insects visit the San Francisco Bay Area each year. The question was how do we put up this information in a simple, interesting and fun way to make a table top activity for the EcoCenter of Environmental Volunteers (EV)? Some neurons in my brain fired and an idea emerged – Migration Dial.  

20180723_112113The Migration Dial

migration route n dialInstructions for using the dial

How was it made?

As soon as the idea struck, like always I scribbled it on a piece of paper not to mention the shapes I drew hardly resembled the actual creatures. The diameter of this paper circle was 8 inches or 200 mm.

20180320_144114First sketch of the dial

This was backed with a research and compilation of data on the migration of birds, animals and insects. Around 25 creatures were shortlisted.

Screenshot from 2018-08-17 12-48-54Data for making the dial

From the first sketch it was clear we needed something substantially big, so the search for 20 inch diameter wooden circles began. Another challenge was funds. To make a digital model and then printing would have been way too costly. So we gave a shout to all the volunteers of the EV calling for artists for painting the dial and calligraphy. Toby and Marilyn joined the wagon, and Larry helped us to refine the data for birds. Total 10 creatures were painted on the dial.

Toby sketched the birds on a 22 inch paper circle to verify the scale.

20180403_144612Sketch 2: on 22 inch paper circle

As we rummaged different corners of hardware and plywood stores for our wooden circles, yet another challenge stood in front of us – weight of the circles and cutting the circles from a ply. This time we used technology, not to cut the circles but to search for ready made wooden circles and found them on Amazon. Ordered two circles of 24 inch and 20 inch diameter with 1/8th inch thickness, weighing less than a pound. Marilyn marked the twelve months on the 24 inch circle – the outer dial and Toby painted the 20 inch inner dial. Toby would fondly call it ‘The Sistine Chapel’.

20180403_144631The outer dial

IMG_2196The inner dial, Toby’s Sistine Chapel

The dials were ready and it was assembly time. Never in my life was I afraid to drill a hole in a piece of wood as this time. The ides was to give it a central shaft and nylon bushings for the dials to rotate. The fact that there would be a bolt head or shaft head on the dial was not encouraging. Discussing this over lunch with our friend Timo, rescued us from this disaster. Timo suggested we use rotating table mechanism and here we had one which we simply glued to the wood using a high strength epoxy adhesive.

20180713_073218Two dials and the rotating mechanism (the third dial is an extra;))

20180723_113711The Migration Dial at the EV EcoCenter

Thanks to Toby and Marilyn this project was completed in less than $50!

For EcoCenter visitng hours please refer: https://www.evols.org/visit-the-ecocenter/

Some fun facts:

Monarch butterflies can be seen in the bay area from October to almost February!

Chinook Salmons migrate from the Pacific Ocean under the Golden Gate to Sacramento river upto Redding and back. They change their color from river to ocean and from ocean to river.

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Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

Postcards from Sequoia National Park, Giant Forest, and Kings Canyon National Park (June 2018)

20180619_191557In the land of the giants: Crescent Meadow, Giant Forest

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Largest tree in the world: ~2500 year old General Sherman Tree (center), Photo: Sagar Behere

20180618_163128General Sherman Tree, Photo: Sagar Behere

20180619_103213Life story of a Sequoia tree: A part of the trunk of a Sequoia tree displaying its life, climate and forest fires from 1100 A.D. to 1510 A.D. at The Giant Grove Visitor Center. Photo : Sagar Behere

20180619_103023A conference room at the Giant Grove Visitor Center

20180619_185645Tunnel Log on the way to Crescent Meadow

20180618_143005Hike to Crystal Caves, Sequoia National Park

20180618_135847Crystal Cave entrance

20180618_132230-EFFECTSFormations in the cave

20180619_095829View of the high Sierras

20180619_122319Road to Cedar Grove Village in Kings Canyon

20180619_120049Kings river and the winding road to Cedar Grove Village : View from Junction Point

20180619_140629 A Stellar’s Jay relaxing in Zumwalt Meadow Photo:Sagar Behere

20180619_135525Zumwalt Meadow

A little about logistics: We booked a hotel room in Three Rivers thinking it was just 6 miles from the park entrance and around 30 miles from most of the must see points in the park. However it takes over an hour and some sharp hair pin turns along the 30 mile winding road. We were lucky to get a last minute reservation at the Stony Creek Resort up in the park and that was a big relief. We strongly recommend staying in the lodges or resort inside the park for best experience.

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DIY: Solar Cooker

Every time I go out in the sun, and get some sun burn, I wonder why we (I) don’t use the solar energy? and this lead me to a frugal way to harness this energy and get some ‘ Do It Yourself’ satisfaction. So here is a solar cooker that I made and cooked ..err..under cooked some rice and veggies. Along with the making of the cooker, sharing some fun troubleshooting methods.

20180517_145105

My solar cooker at work

Material for making the cooker: a big cardboard box (1no.), scissors, cardboard cutter, aluminium foil, black color, brush, masking tape, acrylic sheet, scale, and pencil.

Material for troubleshooting: a sock (washed and cleaned), a shampoo bottle, a broom with long handle, clothes drying rack.

20180601_164139

Material for making a solar cooker

I had a big movers box 2ft x2ft x 1.5ft (600x600x450mm) that I opened for making a prototype for one of my design projects.

20180510_094010

reusing cardboard from my previous design project

I reused that piece of cardboard to make two boxes that would fit into one another such that there is at least 1 inch (25.4mm) gap between the walls of the two boxes. In this gap an insulating material is added, polystyrene (Styrofoam or Thermocol) are used but I wanted the cooker to be eco-friendly, so I used left over cardboard pieces and inserted them in the gap. To make sure the insulation stays in place I used masking tape to stick them to the walls of the larger box. The larger box has a flap that can close the box.

Dimensions of the large box came out to be 23 inch x 13 inch x 6 inch and for the smaller one 18 inch x 9 inch x 6.5 inch(for mm multiply by 25.4, that’s lot of math;))

20180514_191313

Large box with a flap and insulation.

I glued the aluminium foil to the vertical walls of the small box and painted its base with black color. The foil will help reflect the sunlight on to the cooking pan and the black base to help heat absorption.

 

20180514_190509

Small box with black painted base and aluminium foil vertical walls 

I then glued aluminium foil to the flap of the large box which will be the main reflector and then placed the smaller box in the larger one. I then glued aluminium foil over the gap between the two boxes. However as height of my inside box was 0.5 inch more than the outer one, the foil had a slope. Ideally it should be flat or slope inwards. Mine sloped outwards and I suspected that it won’t be good for reflection or insulation.

20180516_142415

The cooker is ready without the acrylic sheet.

With all enthusiasm I wanted to test if it works and hence I placed a steel pan to cook some rice in it but had no glass or acrylic sheet to use as a cover. I rummaged through my book shelf and found an acrylic certificate holder which I split into two and placed over the box. This transparent cover would help to trap the heat inside and that will cook the food!

20180517_145105

Rice being cooked.

I placed the rice in the cooker, covered with an acrylic sheet, adjusted the angle of the reflector flap (flap of the large box) and set it in the sun at 1:30 p.m…..came back at 2:30 p.m. to find that the flap has covered the box, thanks to the wind. At 2:30 I again adjusted the flap angle, this time supported it with a shampoo bottle in front and the building wall at the back. At 5:30 hoping to see a nice steaming rice I checked the cooker and nothing was visible as the water vapor gathered on the acrylic sheet. To my disappointment the rice was as it is, however hot water was the saving grace.

Next day I was determined to complete my testing but probably sun god didn’t want to ruin my faith in my design so soon and hence for the next 12 days he didn’t show up :(.

Finally it was a clear sky on Tuesday 29th May temperature was 24 degree Celsius (75 deg F) and I set out the cooker at 2:00 p.m. This time wanted to steam some guar (cluster beans).

20180529_135410

Guar (cluster beans) being cooked, this time with all trouble shooting in place. The cooking pan covered with a glass lid to avoid water vapor collection on the acrylic sheet, a sock to block a gap between the acrylic sheet and the box, shampoo bottle to maintain the flap angle in front, a long broom stick at the back of the flap (see the green stick) to prevent the flap from falling behind. 

I also placed a thermometer inside the box to see the temperature rise, in case the beans don’t cook.

20180529_135448Thermometer in the box: Humidity 42% temperature 30 deg Celsius at 3:00 p.m.

At around 5:00 p.m. the thermometer was stuck at 88 degree Celsius (190 deg F)and intensity of  the sun was going down.

20180529_181034

The under cooked beans 😦

Finally at 5:30 with no change in temperature I took of the beans. The beans were under cooked but the water was hot enough to dip a tea bag.

Still waiting for the Sun to be intense as my cooker looks promising. It raised the temperature from 24 to 88 deg Celsius, though not enough for cooking the cluster beans but good enough to make a guar flavored tea 😉

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‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ in Sanskrit

Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar was introduced to me by my little niece and the book has been one of my favorites. Translating the book in Sanskrit was lot of fun and learning opportunity.

Without the guidance of Shri. S.L. Abhyankar Mahoday, I would not have even thought of attempting the translation. He has been kind to correct my innumerable errors and answer all my queries.

20180220_131732

एरिक् कार्ल महोदयस्य बुभुक्षु: कीट:

चन्द्र्प्रकाशे एकस्य पर्णस्य उपरि एकंलघुम् अण्डं स्थापितम् आसीत्।

20180220_132243

एके भानुवासरे प्रभाते सुर्यस्य उष्णेन अण्डम् अरुजत्। अण्डात् एक: लघु: बुभुक्षु: च कीट: बहि: आगतवान् ।

भोजनस्य अन्वेषणम् आरभितवान्। मम् बुभुक्षा अस्ति इति चिन्तयति।

सोमवासरे / इन्दुवासरे स: कीट: सेवफलस्य एकं भागं छिन्नं कृत्वा खादितवान्। तथापि स: बुभुक्षु: आसीत्।

मङ्गलवासरे / भौमवासरे स: द्वे अमृतफले खदितवान्। तथापि स: बुभुक्षु: आसीत् एव।

बुधवासरे / सौम्यवासरे स: त्रीणि आम्रफालानि खादितवान्। तथापि स: बुभुक्षु: आसीत् एव। (Here I have written mangoes instead of plums used in the original text).

गुरुवासरे स: चत्वारि तृणबदराणि खादितवान्। तथापि स: बुभुक्षु: आसीत् एव।

20180220_132550

शुक्रवासरे स: पञ्च नारङ्गफलानि खादितवान्। तथापि स: बुभुक्षु: आसीत् एव।

शनिवासरे स: केकमिष्टान्नस्य एकं भागम् एकं पयोहिमम् एकां कर्कटीम् एकां रोटिकाम् एकं चकलेहम् एकम् आलुकं खदितवान्। रात्रौ स: कीट: उदरे पीडाम् अन्वभवत् ।

अनन्तरं स: बुभुक्षु: कीट: एकं पर्णम् अखादत्। किञ्चित् स्वास्थ्यमन्वभवत् ।

इदानीं स: कीट: लघु: नासीत् । स: गुरु: संजातः च आसीत् ।

स: स्वं परित: एकं गृहं निर्मितवान्। तत् गृहं कृमिकोषं इति। स:कृमिकोषे सप्ताह्द्वयं स्थितवान्।

अनन्तरं कृमिकोषे रन्ध्रं कृत्वा बहि: आगत: – एक: सुन्दर: पुष्पपतङ्ग:।

Thank you  Ms. Rachel Hass from Mr. Eric Carle’s office for the permission to put a few pictures of the book with the translation on my blog.

For Sanskrit studies, Shri. Abhyankar Mahoday’s blog   – https://simplesanskrit.wordpress.com/ is a very useful resource. His scientific explanation makes the study of the language very interesting and enjoyable.

 

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हमखास झोप येण्याचे उपाय (मोठ्यांसाठी)

जस हिंदी चित्रपट सृष्टीत काळाप्रमाणे वेगवेगळ्या हिरो हेरॉईन ची craze असते (राज कपूर ते रणबीर आणि नर्गिस ते माधुरी आणि आता दीपिका) तसेच देव देवींची पण craze असावी. कधी विष्णू कधी शिव, गणपती तर कधी शनी महाराज आणि संतोषी माता. आज पासून पुढे दोन -चार वर्षात कोण चित्रपटसृष्टीचा super star असेल माहित नाही पण सगळ्यात जास्त फॅन फोल्लोविंग म्हणजे आराधना एकाच देवीची होणार हे नक्की! ती म्हणजे – निद्रा देवी.

लहानपणी ‘निद्रादेवीची आराधना’ नावाचा धडा माझ्या मोठ्या बहिणीच्या पुस्तकात होता. आमच्यावेळेस नेमका अभ्यासक्रम बदलला, त्यामुळे फारसे काही आठवत नाही. मात्र अधूनमधून बहिणीच्या अभ्यासात ढवळाढवळ करताना धड्याचे शीर्षक फारच मनाला भावले होते. आता असे वाटते कि धड्याच्या लेखकाला खूप दूरदृष्टी असावी कारण आज काल लहान मुलांना झोपवण्यापेक्षा मोठ्यांना ‘झोप येत नाही’ ही जास्त कठीण समस्या घराघरात दिसते आहे.

लहान मुलांना तरी गोष्ट सांगून, रागावून नाहीतर मारून मुटकून झोपवू शकतो पणमोठ्यांच काय? असे जर मोठे तुम्ही असाल किंवा तुमच्या घरात कोणी असतील तर त्यांच्या साठी हे हमखास झोपेचे उपाय (कुठल्याही अतिरिक्तपरिणामांशिवाय = कुठले ही side effect नाही)
Article Illustrations - Page 17
हे उपाय नीट वापरल्यास कुठे ही निद्रादेवी प्रसन्न होईल, झोप येईल याची १०० % खात्री.
सगळे उपाय कसे वापरावेत याची सविस्तर माहिती प्रत्येक उपायांच्या खाली प्रक्रिया, पारियाय, आणि खबरदारी अश्या तीन टप्प्यात मांडली आहे. उपाय करण्याच्या आधी तुम्ही बिछान्यावर / पलंगावर/ कुठेही झोपlयच्या इच्छेने डोळे बंद करून निजला आहात किंवा बसला आहात हे पूर्वपक्षीत आहे. (प्रवासात निजता येत नाही आणि बसल्या बसल्या झोपावे लागते)

१. एक ते हजार अंक मोजा.
उपाय प्रक्रिया : शंभर नंतर एक नाही एकशेएक, एकशेदोन …दोनशे, दोनशे एक…नवशे नव्याणनवं, हजार असे मोजावे. जास्तीत जास्त एकशे साठ ला झोप येईल.
पारियाय: मराठीतच गुण आहे अस नाही हे अंक कुठल्या ही भाषेत मोजले तरी चालतील.
खबरदारी: लक्षात असू देत कि हा झोपेचा उपाय आहे, हजार पर्यंत मोजण्याची परीक्षा नव्हे तेव्हा अति लक्ष देऊन जागून हजार पर्यंत मोजू नका.

२. मनातल्या मनात स्तोत्र म्हणा
उपाय प्रक्रिया : तुम्हाला जे स्तोत्र येते ते मनातल्यामनात म्हणत राहा. रामरक्षा, अथर्वशीर्ष असे मोठे स्तोत्र म्हंटले तर बहुतेक अर्द्यातच झोप येईल पण शुभंकरोतु असेल तर ५ – ६ वेळा म्हंटल्यावर झोप यायला हरकत नाही. शक्यतो मोठे स्तोत्र म्हणा.
पारियाय: स्तोत्र येत नसतील तर आरती म्हंटली तरी चालेल. ते ही येत नसेल तर कुठल्या ही चित्रपटातल गाणं म्हंटलं तरी चालेल. अगदी हिमेश च गाणं सुद्धा चालेल.
खबरदारी: चित्रपटातल गाणं म्हणार असाल तर ते मंद लयीच, मृदू शब्दांच असावा, देवाच असल्यास उत्तम पण selfie ले ले सारखा असेल तर हे गाणं झोपेचा उपाय आहे आणि गणपतीच्या मिरवणुकीत नाचायची प्रॅक्टिस नाही हे लक्षात असो.

३. मुचकुंद ऋषी
उपाय प्रक्रिया: मुचकुंद ऋषी या नावाचा जप करावा डिड दोन मिनिटात झोप येईल, हे ऋषींना मिळाले वरदानच आहे कि जो त्यांच्या नावाचा झोपताना जप करेल त्याला लगेचच निद्रा देवी प्रसन्न होईल. जिज्ञासू वाचकांसाठी मुचकुंदांची गोष्ट या दुव्या वर – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muchukunda
पारियाय: मुचकुंडांसारखे वरदान तर कोणाला मिळालेले आढळत नाही. तरी पर्याय म्हणून, हरे कृष्ण हरे राम, पांडुरंग, ओम नमः शिवाय असे तुम्हाला आवडतील ते जप केले तरी चालतील ३-४ मिनिटात झोप यायला हरकत नाही. प्रयोग म्हणून स्वतःच्या नावाचा जप करावा आणि किती वेळात झोप येते हे आम्हाला कळवावे.
खबरदारी: वरिष्ठाधिकाऱ्याच्या (bossच्या ) नावाचा जप करून झोपेत भयानक स्वप्न दिसलीत तर तो side इफेक्ट नाही पण main इफेक्ट आहे त्यामुळे सावधान.

४. चार अंक मोजत श्वास घ्या, सहा मोजत सोडा
उपाय प्रक्रिया : सोपे आहे – चार अंक मोजत श्वास घ्या, सहा मोजत सोडा आणि हीच श्वासाची लय चालू द्या.
पारियाय: कितीही अंक मोजत श्वास घेऊ -सोडू शकतात पण पुन्हा पुन्हा तसाच श्वास घ्यायचा आणि सोडायचा. असे नाही कि आत्ता ३ अंक मोजत घेतला आणि नंतर ४ अंक मोजत.
खबरदारी: हा रामदेवबाबाचा प्राणायाम नाही त्याचमुळे श्वास पोटातून घ्याचा, छातीतून कि घशातून या विचारांमध्ये रात्र जागवू नका.

आता उपाय माहिती झाले तर झोपेची वेळ झाली कळण्यासाठी मोबईल वर गजर लावा !

अस्वीकरण (Disclaimer) : हा लेख थोडा मनोरंजक व्हावा म्हणून थोडा विनोदभावाने लिहिला आहे, कुठल्या गोष्टी पटल्या नाही तर विनोदाचा भाग म्हणून सोडून द्याव्यात. त्याच बरोबर स्तोत्र म्हणायला पारियाय म्हणून चित्रपटाची गाणी असे लिहिल आहे. त्यात कुठल्याही धर्म / पंथाचा विषय नाही, तो केवळ एक वैज्ञानिक दृष्टिकोन आहे कि कुठल्याही एका गोष्टीवर मन एकाग्र केल्यास मन शांत होते आणि झोप येते. झोप न येण्याच कारणच मुळात अशांत मन असावे.

 

 

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Postcards from Everglades, Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas

South Florida (November 2017) – Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, Dry Tortugas National Park, Biscayne National Park, Key Largo, Key West

We had to had to had to see Everglades National Park thanks to this TED talk by Mac Stone – https://www.ted.com/talks/mac_stone_stunning_photos_of_the_endangered_everglades

(Do see the video as our photos are no where close to capturing the true beauty of the national park).

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 Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center – Everglades National Park

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Alligator: Everglades National Park

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Color contrast: Different colors of grass and water on the way to Flamingo Visitor Center

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Cypress Swamp : Kirby Storter Park, Big Cypress National Preserve (we saw turtles at this location and manatees at the Welcome Center).

20171121_112217Center Stage: An egret amidst the cypress trees, Big Cypress National Preserve

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Turkey Vultures 

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A heron overlooking the Atlantic, Biscayne National Park

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Key Largo (Scuba dive to see the coral reef)

20171124_113547 Highway that connects the Keys

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Key West

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20171123_140827Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas National Park

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Inside the fort

20171123_135958Inside Out : From Fort Jefferson

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Dry Tortugas National Park (excellent snorkeling site)

Day 1: From San Francisco – Miami, Miami – Homestead (Stay); Day 2: Homestead – Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center – Flamingo Visitor Center Everglades National Park – Biscayne National Park Visitor Center – Homestead; Day 3: Homestead – Tamiami Trail (Miccosukee Village – Shark Valley Visitor Center Everglades – Big Cypress Preserve – Everglades City – Chokoloskee) – Key Largo (stay); Day 4: Scuba Diving with Sea Dwellers from Key Largo at Molasses reef and French Reef – Key West (stay); Day 5 : Key West – Dry Tortugas National Park – Key West (Stay); Day 6: Key West – Miami – San Francisco

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