December 2019

As we approach 2020, it is time to look back on 2019. Some of the milestones were our 25th wedding anniversary, Lori turning the big 5-Oh, breathing underwater for ~75 hours, surpassing our 500th dive, and playing hooky in Tahoe while intentionally getting snowed in. Not to be forgotten, our Christmas light show delights the neighborhood (while we fine tune the last 1%).

For Lori’s significant birthday, Mike came up with the great idea for a private tour of Lick Observatory. Our Subaru (which is not designed for the twisty, curvey roads to get there) was packed to the gills with dinner fix’ns for friends and family prior to the start of the formal tour. Our tour guide, Elinor Gates, is the lead staff astronomer and wowed everyone with her wealth of information and extensive experience. The highlight of the tour was looking through the 36-inch Great Lick Refractor telescope (completed in 1888) to see a galaxy 28 million light years away – what we were seeing predated humans on planet Earth! It was a great way to celebrate this half- century milestone.

To accumulate over 75 hours of underwater time, we did just a “wee” bit of diving. In April, it was back to Bonaire, our international home away from home. Bonaire was fun and relaxing, though colder and windier than normal (even Mike was cold). Mike was able to play with his new strobes and a macro lens, and Lori had the opportunity to proof test her hand-built snoot without the rush and restrictions of a resort or a live-aboard. This was our warm up trip before our return to Lembeh Straits, Indonesia to celebrate our 25th Anniversary. We vacationed for 2 weeks at NAD Lembeh Resort, and it did not disappoint. Flamboyant cuttlefish hatching, frog fish fishing for fish, more Nudibranchs than we could find in the Nudi books, and Mike finding 2 mating Blue Ring Octopi were some of the highlights of the trip. On our way home, we lingered in Singapore for 2 nights with a room overlooking the Harbor. Highlights were the light shows, sampling a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar, surviving an unexpected 20-minute deluge, and being surprised with anniversary champagne and dessert by the Singapore Air flight attendants on the flight home.

For side excursions, we took a spontaneous trip to Tahoe with the anticipation of being snowed in. We were stock piled with candles, canned soup, etc. The snow came, roads were closed, power NOT lost, we trekked through freshly fallen flakes, and played hooky from work for as long as we could get away with. On July 20th, for the Apollo 11 moon landing 50th anniversary, we journeyed to Danville where Lori’s parents shared their experiences working on the Saturn V rocket and the Apollo Lunar Command module. It brought back many childhood memories.

This year’s challenge was to compress our camping gear to fit into the cozy confines of the Porsche Boxster. Our destination was Big Basin and the twisty, curvy roads to get there are perfect for the “Toy”. In preparation, we preemptively packed particulars to ascertain bulky or non-essential items. Our Weber Go-Anywhere grill was deemed essential and thus remained. Our large, fluffy pillows were deemed non-essential and jettisoned for inflatables (which are as comfortable as our home pillows). Bulky, obligatory firewood was purchased in situ. Our June trip was a huge success and necessitated only 2 trips to carry our camping kit from car to camp-site – BONUS!!

Work keeps us busy and continues to enable our underwater photography/travel habit (yes, it is a habit). Mike still is at Lockheed Martin, and his job has become busier with increased responsibilities. Lori is still a Program Lead in the Product Life Cycle team, and she continues to encourage the team to take on a more cross Intel view and responsibility. It will be interesting to see what challenges 2020 brings.

The boys, Marleau and Murray, turn 15 this year. After re-reading last year’s letter, not much has changed other than discovering Marleau has a food allergy to soft cat food…human grade tuna is now a daily staple. Marleau pesters Lori for rubs at (or before) sunrise, they both try to convince us that dinner time is at 1pm, and by 9pm, they are encouraging us to go to bed, even though lights out is closer to 11pm…. nothing has changed!

We hope you had a safe, healthy, and wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year! Feel free to email us at or visit us (inluding dive pictures!) at


Mike, Lori, Marleau, & Murray