- Practice packing - I'm a firm believer in lists, especially when it comes to packing for a trip. Each destination and travel activity is different, so once the basics are packed, what extras do you need for this particular trip? The first week of my Costa Rica vacation will be the Southern Skies Fiesta. We will be staying all week at La Ensenada Lodge, which is comfortable, but it is well off the beaten track. In addition to the night sky viewing, we will be going on a some excursions to see local wildlife. We will need red lights for the night sky viewing, in order to preserve our night vision, so bring rechargabel batteries and a charger. I plan to bring along a full photographic kit, so I can take photos of the night sky from this dark location. I have a new Lowepro bag to hold all this gear, so over the last week, I've worked out how it will all fit in the bag. This bag now weights 30lbs, so I'll have to see if I can carry this on, or if I will have to pack some of the gear in my checked baggage. I also have to practice having this gear on my back and just handling such a heavy and bulky bag.
- Astronomy - I have a list of celestial objects I want to see and photograph while staying at the Lodge. These include some southern sky objects, which we northerners either cannot see at all, are too low in our southern sky to successfully observe, or are too dim to view from our light-polluted skies. Here is my opportunity to bag some of these objects! I have a pair of Celestron 9x63 Ultima binoculars, which are excellent for astronomical observing, and of course I plan to take two digital SLRs and various lenses as well.
- High tech toys - Since I will be taking photographs of the night sky, I won't want to wait until my return to Canada to see the results. This means I will have to carry a notebook computer with me, so I can process the images while in Costa Rica. I have to ensure all the necessary software is installed, the battery in my notebook is in good shape, and all my camera gear is working perfectly. This involves lots of bits and pieces: several types of batteries and chargers, several lenses, a tripod and a couple of heads, a tracking mount, batteries and chargers, and what-not. All this has to be sorted out ahead of time, to ensure it will all come together for me when the time comes to actually successfully take astrophotographs. The only way to ensure this will all work for me is to try everything out first, then practice packing and unpacking - all well ahead of time, so if anything appears to not be working, I have time to fix it.
- Vaccines - As previously mentioned, my doctor recommended whcih innoculations I needed for this trip. Earlier this week, I took his prescription into the pharmacy and picked up the vaccines. I consulted carefully with the pharmacist, since timing the vaccines is very important to ensure I'm fully protected from bugs while traveling. All the vaccines I need are taken orally, so no need to see my doctor before I leave, however I have to schedule taking these drugs right now. As I mentioned in my last blog, some are taken before the trip, some while travelling, and some continue after I return home.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Costa Rica - 3 weeks and counting
I leave for Costa Rica on Feb 3rd, which is only three weeks from now! Some preparations can be done at this point: