[ 'Clown At Home' - Digital Art Photo by BRM ]
In 1979 I decided that my children should go to high school in the U.S. to complete their education. I worked for the owner of Parrot Jungle, Dr. Bern Levine, as a wildlife consultant for a while (at that time he was the owner of 'Pet Farm', the country's largest exotic animal importer) and then finally settled down in South Florida when I got into the importation of plant cuttings from Central America (Caribbean Cuttings & Sunshine Botanicals) for interior foliage nurseries. The tropical plant business kept me busy for the next several years with the running back and forth between Florida, Puerto Rico and C. A. Now I was getting my 'flora education' and loving it. All aspects of nature are fascinating, and the understanding of the plant kingdom is central to understanding the total web of life.
The kids graduated in 1985 and I decided to move on to something new to study and work with - I had already achieved a great deal of knowledge and experience with terrestrials, so what was next? A friend invited me to help start up and operate a marine tropical fish business in Honduras. OK - I have worked with the mammals, birds, insects, plants, reptiles and amphibians. I guess the fish have to be next! There was a Belgian fish importer running the project, and what I did not get from my own research he would be able to teach me on the holding and shipping. They brought in a collecting expert from Florida to teach me that part too. Half way into the project the finances got pulled, but I had become friends with the Florida collector and had an open invitation to work with him back in Miami. So I returned to Florida, where I had the opportunity to learn every aspect of the marine tropical fish business. During that period (1988) I meet my present wife and we put together our own operation - 'Miami Aquatics'. For the next four years we worked our Mom & Pop marine collecting business in South Florida and shipped specimens all around the country.
[ My Wife, Partner & Best Friend - Marine Collecting ]
Then came Hurricane Andrew. Miami was a shambles, and with the restrictions on marine collecting getting tougher, we decide to consider a change of scene. Our vacation plans to Micronesia and Bali had been laid out before the hurricane, so one month after Andrew hit us, we were on our way to enjoy the trip and check out the possibilities for a business on the other side of the planet.
Nothing can prepare you for Bali - everything is so sensual, so beautiful, so appealing. It was a great pick for our vacation. Bali is certainly the most exotic place I have ever experienced - so it was hard to turn down an invitation to work for their largest marine tropical fish exporter, 'Dinar'. They didn't need help with the fish - they wanted me to open a 'Reptile Park'. When they heard about my background in reptiles it was perfect for their plan to open a breeding facility and tourist attraction with Indonesian reptiles and amphibians.
[ Bali Stonework ]
We took a side trip on that vacation to visit Yap Island for a dive with their world famous Manta Rays. Diving with the Rays is other worldly - like a dream. Ever since seeing the Burt Lancaster movie "His Majesty O'Keefe", I have wanted to see this very unique place and the 'Stone Money'. We took some samples of the Stone Money home - made of soap.
We settle in Palau