Lesser Spotted Eagle with mouse

Lesser Spotted Eagle with mouse

We have a family of Lesser Spotted Eagles (Aquila pomarina) living in a tree a couple of hundred metres from the house. Because of the hot weather, they’re using this time to ride the thermals and regularly fly low over our heads. Their screams fill the valley. This eagle is returning to its nest with a mouse in its beak

Open Air Vestmarka tent review

Open Air Vestmarka tent review

I bought this OpenAir Vestmarka tent in Jysk as a storage/baggage tent just to keep food and rucksacks etc in when we go camping. It was cheap at 15 Euros and has a rating of 450mm waterproofing.

When I got back to the house I put it up just to see what it was like. It was a scorching hot day and I thought the kids could play in it and maybe I’d sleep out in it that night. It only has 4 tent pegs which was worrying and there is no way of fully sealing the front flap, only the mosquito net, meaning it is useless for storing bags as anyone can see inside it.

Within an hour a huge storm appeared – we often get these in the Carpathians. Hurricane winds and lashing rain, lightning and thunder. As usual, the storm passed within another hour or so and I went out to check the tent. The inside was like a swimming pool but at least it hadn’t blown away. Utterly useless. The waterproof rating is a joke.

As a play tent it’s fine but I can understand why it was only 15 Euros. It definitely won’t be coming on any expeditions with me.

Peacock Blenny

Peacock Blenny

This has to be one of the strangest fish I have ever encountered. It was about 20 cms long and was crawling across the rock at the bottom of the harbour using its fore fins like arms or legs. Until I found out what it was (Salaria pavo) I would have sworn it was some type of saltwater salamander. It even had a distinct head and face reminiscent of a seal.

Really creepy, primeval creature. Apparently they’re much sought after by specialist aquarium owners to clean the algae from the side of the tank. I personally wouldn’t want one staring at me from behind the glass. It would give me nightmares.

Photographed with a Dazzne P2 in Croatia.

Octopus

Octopus

One of the most fascinating sea creatures for me is the octopus. I found this small one whilst snorkelling off the coast of Croatia. They’re incredibly complicated and intelligent creatures and I although I ate them when I was young I wouldn’t dream of doing so now. The way they watch you with their eyes is uncannily intelligent. Sadly, the old fisherman who owned the house we rented didn’t feel the same and I watched him bring in two quite large specimens (2.5 kilos a piece) and then proceed to butcher them with his hands (inverting the head sac and pulling out everything) whilst they suckered on to his arms with their tentacles. Tourists want their rubbery soup….

I took this photo using a Dazzne P2 action cam.

Mediterranean Rainbow Wrasse Fish

Mediterranean Rainbow Wrasse Fish

One of my favourite activities whilst on holiday is sea fishing. I picked up the bug for it whilst in Florida (especially pier fishing in the Keys) when I was younger. I’m not really a fan of freshwater fishing as I like watching the sun go down over the sea of an evening (and being bitten alive by mosquitoes) – it gives me time and inspiration to think.

Sadly, the area around Croatia where we were staying has been massively over fished and this is noticeable in the virtual lack of large fish, although there are still plenty of fry about. I caught this beautiful Rainbow Wrasse (Coris julis) but nothing else this year. I had to retire my old telescopic rod last year as the saltwater had rusted it to pieces so this year I tried out a new, much larger telescopic carp rod which my wife had bought me as a present. It was much too unwieldy for the type of fish I was catching and no tuna wanted to take my bait.

Snorkelling in Croatia with a Dazzne P2

Snorkelling in Croatia with a Dazzne P2

I’ve just returned from a week long family trip to Croatia. It was a long drive through Slovakia, Hungary and then all of Croatia but it was worth it. We rented the same house on the sea that we had last year and did much of the same aquatic activities.

This time I took with me a new toy. Originally, I’d wanted to buy a GoPro Hero4 Silver but instead opted for a much cheaper Dazzne P2 as it seemed good enough for my needs and I’d rather save my money for when the new Garmin action cam comes out. Above water I wasn’t impressed with the fish eye effect of the P2 but underwater it shone. Absolutely super underwater video. Well worth the money and I’d recommend it.

The crystal clear Adriatic Sea is the perfect place for underwater filming and snorkeling. My wife and me had a bit of an adventure on the open sea but I can’t talk about that at the moment. I can say though that it was a once in a lifetime and a life changing event. Really cool. More to come…