Author Archives: george

Cape Kidnappers

untitled-18

Kia ora

On our New Zealand cruise, we visited a special place, Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony. Gannets are large seabirds that are only found in a few places in the world, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and in the North Atlantic (primarily Northern Scotland). Gannets are members of the booby family and can live up to 35 years. Cape Kidnappers is unique in that Gannets typically only breed on offshore islands. Approximately 20,000 birds live here in four separate colonies and have been coming here since the 1870’s. Continue reading »

Posted in Uncategorized

Cruising the South Island of New Zealand

untitled-16

Kia ora

The South Island of New Zealand is the larger of New Zealand’s two islands. While it has approximately 32% more land mass it only has 23% of the combined population. The primary reason for this is the large mountain range, called the Southern Alps , that disects the island (which makes habitation difficult).  Our cruise originated in Australia and after three sea days crossing the Tasman Sea, we finally arrived at the Southwest tip of New Zealand and Fjordland National Park.  The South Island was once glaciated and as the glaciers receded, they carved deep Fjords creating the park. This is an area of approximately 5,000 square miles of spectacular fjords, waterfalls and rainforests that cling to the sides of the mountains. Continue reading »

Posted in Uncategorized

Wildlife Down Under

untitled-3Australia and New Zealand are unique places. They are a long way from nowhere, once being part of an ancient southern super continent that split into Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica. Over 80% of the mammals in Australia are found nowhere else in the world because its isolation, combined with the harsh arid climate, allowed for the evolution of unique species. In New Zealand there were no predators and no mammals until humans arrived less than 1000 years ago. Because of this, an unusual number of flightless birds developed, most notable being the Kiwi. On our trip there, we had the opportunity to visit a number of wildlife parks and sanctuaries including Featherdale Wildlife Park, Serendip Open Range Wildlife Sanctuary, You Yangs Ranges National Park in Australia, Trowunna Wildlife Park in Tasmania, and an active Gannet Colony at Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand. Continue reading »

Posted in Uncategorized

Sydney

untitled-6G’Day Mate

Of all the places on my wish list, Australia was right at the top! There were so many places I wanted to see, the Sydney Harbor and Opera house, the famous beaches of Manley and Bondi, the unique wildlife, snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, visiting Uluru and Ayers Rock , etc., etc. Well I was only able to see a small portion of this on this trip, but what I saw makes me wanting to come back for more! Continue reading »

Posted in Uncategorized

Death Valley

untitled-17

The hottest, driest and lowest place in the US is a land of extremes. I visited Death Valley for a couple of days this past November when the temperatures were more comfortable (highs in the 70’s and 80’s). Located about two hours west of Las Vegas, Death Valley is in Eastern California, a valley between four mountain ranges. The valley runs north and south for 130 miles and is comprised of 3000 square miles of desert, salt pools and flats and sand dunes. The largest national park south of Alaska receives over 1 million visitors a year and came to prominence in the 1849 with the discovery of gold in California. There followed a boom and bust mining history for the next 150 years. Continue reading »

Posted in Uncategorized

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

Twenty plus years ago I was living and working in Columbus, Ohio when the company I worked for was sold. Fortunately, about the same time, a company in Seattle recruited me. During the interview process, I made several trips to Seattle, one of which was a long weekend where I had a couple of interviews but the rest of the time was ours for my wife and I to explore the area. I remember driving to the ferry terminal in Edmonds on that clear, cold December day. The Olympic Mountains, with a fresh topping of snow, were “out” and the scene against Puget Sound was spectacular. We visited several places in the area and ended up at Pike Place Market. I can still remember having a delicious cup of Cioppino at Jacks Fish Spot after which we wandered  the fish markets, vegetable vendors as well as the local craftsmen selling their wares.  I was blown away and this is still one of my favorite places. Continue reading »

Posted in Uncategorized

Year Two

GNewman-10

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Hello everyone

Year two of retirement has been fun with lots of travel to interesting places. When I started this two years ago, I wanted to travel and document these travels on this website with an overall goal of having fun. So far, so good! Continue reading »

Posted in Uncategorized

Iceland

GNewman-28

Last September, on a repositioning cruise from Southampton to New York, we were able to visit Iceland for a couple days. We visited the North and Western parts of the island with a stop at Akureyri, Isafjordur in the North and Reykjavik in the West. While we spent three days there and visited many of the popular tourist attractions, I feel we only scratched the surface of what there is to see and discover.

Iceland is an island located in the North Atlantic just below the Artic Circle about the size of the State of Virginia. It has a population of about 330,000, two thirds of whom live in its capital Reykjavik. It is known as the “land of fire and ice” but is also is a land of contrasts being a frozen artic wasteland in winter and temperate and fertile lowlands in summer due to its proximity to gulf stream and abundant sunshine. Continue reading »

Posted in Uncategorized

Christmas Markets

GNewman-33City squares filled with all things Christmas and stalls filled with beautiful ornaments, the smell of mulled wine, sizzling sausages, gingerbread and other tasty morsels in the air, carolers and brass bands singing and playing carols, German style Christmas Markets are great! We took a river cruise in December on the Danube visiting Nurnberg, Regensburg, Passau, Salzburg and Vienna. Besides the markets, we got to visit some of Germany’s great cities with their medieval castles, cobblestone streets and experience some of their history, it was a great trip. Continue reading »

Posted in Uncategorized

Crossing the Atlantic

GNewman-10-3

After our visit to Ireland and a short stop in London, it was time to make our way back to Seattle. We decided to do something different this time and take a ship back across the Atlantic. We left from Southampton, UK and ended up in New York 16 days later. There were some great port stops on the way and we visited some places we hadn’t seen before. At this time of year (September), these are called repositioning cruises as the cruise companies move their ships from Europe to the Caribbean for winter. The cruises are a good deal from a cost standpoint because the cruise company is “trying to fill seats”. The only real downside is the number of sea days (there were 7 on our cruise).  The North Atlantic isn’t great pool weather at this time of year, but there are plenty of activities on board and just kicking back and enjoying a book is also good. Continue reading »

Posted in Uncategorized