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Alaska – Part 3

November 26th, 2019

Our continuing saga on a small ship in a large state…

It is still day 4 of our adventure and we have now moved all the way to the Northern end of the Seymour Canal, not far from where we were on Day 1. We are going to visit Park Creek, a bear sanctuary, not to rehabilitate them, but just an area that provides safety for them.  The rangers have interacted with the local bear population for many years, and quite a few bears have their own name; the bears are left alone as much as possible, but are used to human presence and do not see it as a threat.  We took the dinghy to go ashore and just as we were talking to one of the rangers, this is what we saw coming towards us.  That is when I remembered I forgot my bells!

Mama Bear with two cubs, slowly coming along the shore to where we were.  The rangers did not panic, so I figured we were safe.  They kept on coming very close to us, but then followed the shore to our right, without taking a second look at us.  We will encounter her again.

The cubs just followed Mommy.

Our valiant vessel parked in the sound waiting for us.  She is such a beauty, I have to show more pictures.

After a very short walk, we came to a river where the salmon are running.  Mama bear is now fishing for herself after she provided fish for her two cubs.

She jumped on a salmon and immediately started to eat. Continue Reading »

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Alaska – Part 2

October 22nd, 2019

Continuing where we left off the first episode at the end of Day 2 we arrived at Ford’s Terror where we were not alone.  As we approached our anchorage for the evening, another boat was already there – crowded!

We went for another walk near narrows on a rising tide.  We had no problems landing from the dingy on a pebble beach – after our walk, and after the tide rose a bit more, we had more problems getting back onto the dingy as there was no beach left.

The walk was very nice – and we did not see bears, maybe because Kristin kept yelling “Hey Bear” – I have already shown you a picture of Kristin fully equipped for our defense, but she took no chances.

We were walking through beautiful scenery – this is a view of Ford’s Terror from land.

Time for portraits!  Behind is the narrow inlet that leads to the rest of the bay.  With the rising tide, the water was violently flowing making a roar, which you cannot really see or hear on this picture.

More spectacular views along the way

I liked this little pond reflecting the mountains and trees.

At the end of the walk, as we were wainting for the dingy to take us back to Catalyst, we saw a few curious harbor seals

Later in the evening, when the tide reached its highest point, we took a dingy ride around the whole bay and into West Arm Anchorage. Unfortunately it was raining the whole time so there are no pictures of that. Continue Reading »

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Baton Rouge 2019, and memories of 2005 and 2006

May 12th, 2019

We went to Baton Rouge in January of 2019 for a short visit, mainly to go see friends we had not seen in several years.

It was great to see a lot of them and spend time remembering the times we had spent together while we were living in Baton Rouge.  Bee and I did not live there at the same time, but we did make some of the same friends and her friends have since become mine, and my friends have become hers.

On the last day there, we received an offer that was too good to pass up.

But for that, I have to first go back to a few years ago, quite a few years ago.

In 2005, Jon introduced me to the Krewe of Yazoo.  I had heard of them, but never actually thought I would have a chance to join.  All I knew was that this is a group of people who make fancy costumes and then parade around Baton Rouge pushing lawnmowers.  In 2005, I helped to build the costumes and I paraded around Baton Rouge, but without a lawnmower.  Here is my costume that day:

I had used that as my Christmas Card in 2005!  Actually, we had built 42 chicken costumes in all.  Here is a family portrait:

Since I did not have to push a lawnmower, I had a lot of freedom during the parade to move around. I was able to meet the crowd and get the full atmosphere of the day.  I took this ‘action’ shot of the Krewe dancing with the lawnmower, and the banner indicating our theme for that year.

You can see that this is a popular parade, with a lot of people watching.

My favorite picture, however, is this one of Lee (the costume designer) and me during the parade.

I stayed friends with David and Lee, who run the Krewe (they ave been doing this for over 30 years).  Lee creates amazing costumes and David chooses the music and creates the choreography. Continue Reading »

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Costa Rica – Part 5: Tortuguero (2)

May 4th, 2019

We continued our exploration of the Tortuguero area with another wonderful day on the rivers that criss-cross this part of Costa Rica.

We saw a Cormorant drying its wings, but not its tail.

We then ran into a pair (mother and child) of spider monkeys.  Initially they were just being monkeys and taking care of business.

The mother was eating flowers while the kid appeared to be playing around in the trees while eating what appears to be a carrot.

But then the mother made a gesture which caused the kid to jump on her back.  Here, our guide told us she was preparing to jump. So I was prepared to take lot’s of photos.

She got to the end of the branch and just stayed there for a while.  I love the determination on her face!  The kid does not want to look… Continue Reading »

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A Week-End in Murano

March 5th, 2015

Bee and I go away each year for her birthday.  In 2014, I surprised her by signing us up for a walking (trekking) tour in the Dolomite mountains of northern Italy, something she had said repeatedly we should do.  That trip was already published on my blog last month.

Our trip started on Sunday from Venice and since there is a late flight from Brussels to Venice, we decided to leave after work on Friday.  We would arrive very late, in August, at the airport and I did not want to have to fight the crowds in Venice itself.  Looking at the Vaporetto Line from the airport into Venice, we noticed that the first stop was in Murano, and thus decided to stay there instead.  It would give us one full day and one half day to wander around before we had to meet the rest of the group.  We did not go to Venice itself at all on this visit.

Early Saturday, we started to explore Murano, which I knew a little from my previous trips to Venice and always enjoyed.  However, the previous visits were fleeting since I was staying on the ‘main’ island and I was looking forward to spending more time, and especially the evening in Murano as well.

Throughout the island there are glass statues, or monuments from local artists.  I particularly like the contrast between the very modern Glass Comet (the sculpture is called La Cometa di Vetro by Simone Cenedese) and the 19th century clock tower built on the foundations of a much older 12th century church steeple, long gone along with the church.

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Around the corner, we ran into a lovely old house – what I like most about Murano is that it still has a human scale and feels suburban compared to Venice.  This old house is surrounded by a garden and a majestic garden gate – you would not see something like this in Venice any more.

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The back of the Chiesa dei Santi Maria e Donato (Church of the Saints Mary and Donato) – this is one of the oldest churches in the Venice lagoon, originally built in the 7th century with known restorations in 9th and 10th centuries, possibly some even later.  Known for its 12th century mosaic floor.  It houses small bones from St. Donatus of Arezzo and larger bones from a ‘dragon’ that the saint is reported to have killed.

The back of the church has a definite Moorish look, and so do the decorations inside.

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The garden in the back of the Glass Museum gives a good view of the Campanile of Santo Donato (short name for the church above!)

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A typical canal in Murano – this is suburbia – there is a three boat porch in front of every house – sorry, no cars. Continue Reading »

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