3 March 09 (00:15 am)

This is the second night in a row I could not fall asleep.  The clock is ticking and the days are rushing and before I know it, it’s time to leave. We are preparing to pack our entire household and put everything in storage for a year. Our WWF Coral Triangle Photo Expedition is about to begin.

And where does all the packing start?

With our slides.

Culling slides out of 6 filing cabinets

Culling slides out of 6 filing cabinets

6 filing cabinets full of identified captioned and scientifically named slides – a life work of 20 years for Yogi, probably half the image library shared by me. It is a milestone. We are culling. Throwing away at least 70 percent and keeping the rest tightly bound and to store in small plastic boxes.

Bleach bath of discarded slides

Bleach bath of discarded slides

It’s actually quite symbolic, going through all the images, choosing which to keep and which to throw away. It’s the end of the film era. A definite closure. A point of no return to film and all that goes with it. Slide mounts. Slide sheets. 6 filing cabinets. What a life work in films and now it’s time to call it quits.

I’m pretty good at reading signs and in navigating – literally and figuratively. Many signs are flashing now. A hole in the ceiling that started during the rainy season told us it was time to go – to move out of this place. And we have decided.  After 6 years of living in what we call “a cave”, Yorkey’s Knob will no longer be home.  We’re closing shop and off to a new adventure.

Walindi Plantation Resort, Kimbe Bay Papua New Guinea

Walindi Plantation Resort, Kimbe Bay Papua New Guinea

Last year when we were in Walindi Plantation Resort in PNG, I received two major bits of news. First one that the book I was producing called the Great Barrier Reef Undersea Experience was to be finished immediately in December and my services were no longer required.

The second massive news was the WWF Global Photo Network was commissioning us, the Freund Factory, to photograph the Coral Triangle. The Undersea Book was documenting the work and passion of a wonderful boat in the Great Barrier Reef that did research and dive tourism with great results. Sadly, the company folded and it was an end of an era. A sure sign for us to move on.

And now, we close one chapter and open a new exciting new one – an expedition back to familiar grounds and familiar Asian faces. Planning for this trip is a magic trick of quickly activating friends in the dive industry strategically scattered throughout the Coral Triangle. That’s a sign.

With a trip by Yogi to Germany in January to attend the Dusseldorf dive show called the Boot, the dive itinerary quickly filled our entire year. Then with meetings with WWF International in Gland, Switzerland, the communication plans slowly took shape and the direction this expedition was taking became clear.

Before retiring for bed, I cleaned the dishes and did last minute housework and realized I will not do housewife chores for the entire duration of the expedition! I’m back to being a producer and interestingly, a social scientist. What a wonderful thought.

No need to clean the house, pick up dirty laundry, and wash the dishes. But I will miss cooking. But then I shall be eating!  Asian food from the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia!

A mess of thoughts pass through my mind and I have to keep thinking, pack, pack, and pack. Prepare letters, prepare our minds, our hearts, our friends. Get a mammogram, have Yogi’s health check-up, buy all our medicines and sunblock and book our tickets, get our visas . . .

It all feels like a mountain right now but it is one that is just right for us to climb.  So the signs are very clear.  Now we need a brand new GPS to tell us exactly where we are . . .