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Orchids

Orchids from near and far. {Click on the underlined Show Picture List to enlarge the photos}

Just a few of the Orchids on Display at the Pacific Orchid Exposition in San Francisco March 2015. The theme of this year’s Exposition was “The Thrill of Discovery”, and it was the San Francisco Orchid Society’s 63 Annual Exposition! Vendors were from many countries such as Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines, etc. There were many miniature orchids for sale, and orchids that had a good scent. The last Orchid Exposition I attended had far fewer miniature as well as scented orchids.

http://orchidsanfrancisco.org

The red stripe orchid was photographed in an Orchid Farm in Costa Rica.

Komodo Island Gallery

Komodo Island Gallery
A visit to the Komodo Island is a chance to see the largest of the monitor lizards, or called Komodo Dragons. Deer are on the island, as well as interesting birds wild orchids and giant spiders. There are many beaches one with pick sand! snorkeling or scuba diving one can see numerous beautiful fish, clams, corals and turtles. A recent article in Sport Diver April 2015 Entitled “Komodo-An Underwater Amazon” highlights many of the underwater treasures. sportdiver.com
The people who live on the island are very friendly and many are tasked as guides as we walk around the island so we are in no danger from the Dragons.


Dragon toenails

Dragon walking

A Dragon walking near the entrance to the Park

Komodo dragons

Komodo dragons

Look at the long Tail

Komodo dragons

Komodo dragons smell with their tougues

Komodo dragon

Komodo dragon

A Komodo Dragon alert and looking around

Komodo Dragon Range
Fast Facts

Type:
Reptile
Diet:
Carnivore
Average life span in the wild:
30 years+
Size:
10 ft (3 m)
Weight:
330 lbs (150 kg)
Protection status:
Endangered
Did you know?
Komodo dragons can run up to 11 mph (18 kph) in short bursts.
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:

Komodo dragons have thrived in the harsh climate of Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda Islands for millions of years, although amazingly, their existence was unknown to humans until about 100 years ago.

Reaching 10 feet (3 meters) in length and more than 300 pounds (136 kilograms), Komodo dragons are the heaviest lizards on Earth. They have long, flat heads with rounded snouts, scaly skin, bowed legs, and huge, muscular tails.

As the dominant predators on the handful of islands they inhabit, they will eat almost anything, including carrion, deer, pigs, smaller dragons, and even large water buffalo and humans. When hunting, Komodo dragons rely on camouflage and patience, lying in wait for passing prey. When a victim ambles by, the dragon springs, using its powerful legs, sharp claws and serrated, shark-like teeth to eviscerate its prey.

Animals that escape the jaws of a Komodo will only feel lucky briefly. Dragon saliva teems with over 50 strains of bacteria, and within 24 hours, the stricken creature usually dies of blood poisoning. Dragons calmly follow an escapee for miles as the bacteria takes effect, using their keen sense of smell to hone in on the corpse. A dragon can eat a whopping 80 percent of its body weight in a single feeding.

There is a stable population of about 3,000 to 5,000 Komodo dragons on the islands of Komodo, Gila Motang, Rinca, and Flores. However, a dearth of egg-laying females, poaching, human encroachment, and natural disasters has driven the species to endangered status.

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/komodo-dragon/

Discovery-

“Real voyages of discovery consist not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island; A descriptive name for an Island, with little question about the driving precautions: DDD Don’t drive Dawn or Dusk.

Yes there are kangaroos on the island, but other wildlife abounds, and remarkable rock formations to view to mention just a little to captivate one on a visit to the island.
We rented a car–no we didn’t drive at dawn, and returned the car before dusk. We did see a car /kangaroo accident on the road though, and a young women calmly calling the patrol, who waved saying she didn’t need our help.
We had a enjoyable time driving around the island with most of our time spent at Flinders Chase National Park hiking around it’s Remarkable Rocks, Admirals Arch, a Lighthouse, and watching lots of New Zealand fur seals at play on the rocks and in the Tasman Sea. The Cape du Couedic Lighthouse built in 1909 is nearby, commanding an amazing view of a pair of coastlines – the western coastline extending from Cape Borda in the north and the southern coastline extending from Cape Willoughby in the east. It sits on a narrow promontory at the most south westerly point of the Kangaroo Island coast and had to be moved further inland years ago to keep it from being flooded.

Our partial wildlife citing included a wild Emu, numerous birds, an iguana identified as Rosenberg’s, the only species of goanna on Kangaroo Island, the island’s largest natural predator. Numerous fur seals in the rocky areas, and seals on the sand on Seal Beach as well as bones from a beached whale.


“Kangaroo Island is one of South Australia’s most popular tourist attractions, attracting over 140,000 visitors each year, with international visitors, primarily from Europe, accounting for more than 25% of these visits.Some of the most popular tourist spots are:
Seal Bay with ranger guided walks among basking Australian sea lions.
Flinders Chase National Park which includes Remarkable Rocks, Admiral’s Arch, lighthouses at Cape Borda and Cape du Couedic, and multiple walking trails and camping areas.”

Kangaroo Island is a true wildlife sanctuary. Owing to its isolation from the mainland, the Island has suffered less from the impact of European settlement and retains more than half of its native ‘old-growth’ vegetation – a vast area of some 2,250 square kilometres. Similarly, the Island has been spared the damage done by foxes and rabbits, ensuring the integrity of native bushland. Result? Animal and bird populations have thrived. Today, more than one-third of the Island is declared Conservation or National Park and it has five significant Wilderness Protection Areas. So Kangaroo Island continues to be a special and protected place. Enter and be amazed…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kangaroo_Island

http://www.tourkangarooisland.com.au/experiences

Adelaide

Cruising in the Great Australian Bight off the coast of Southern Australia to our next port of call, Adelaide.

Adelaide;
A great city with lots of green parks and a enjoyable climate. We had two wonderful days here. One day we had a car and drove to Hahndorf, Bridgewater, the McClearn Wine district and ended the evening with a trip to Granite Island to see the Fairy Penguins come in from the sea.

Handorf is Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement in the heart of the Adelaide Hills. This picturesque German village is just twenty minutes out of Adelaide and settled in 1839 by Lutherans fleeing religious persecution in Prussia. We had great fun strolling the streets, and admiring the many special articles for sale.

Bridgewater is a pleasant village nestled in the Adelaide Hills with beautiful scenery and a huge water wheel that was used as a flour mill.

Rolling hills with green fields of grape vines made for an enjoyable drive while visiting a few vineyards in the area.

The Fairy or Blue Penguins (Eudyptula minor) as they are often called, are the smallest penguins in the World. There is a colony on the Granite Island near Adeliade, and we visited the island in the evening to see the penguins come in from the sea to their nests in the nearby rocks. They come in at dusk to try to escape the sea lions and other predators who would kill them.

The second day we drove around the historic areas of Adelaide and North Adelaide, then turned in the car and walked the streets! All along a main street there are wonderful museums. The Governors House was open, and that happens only twice a year so we were honored and toured his house and gardens. We had a special treat at one of the venders on the grounds, Homemade Ice cream made with Native Plant flavoring. UmUm

We visited the South Australia Museum and what a great Museum it is. We could have spent much more time there, but we moved on to the Art Museum. We tried to focus on the Australian Art primarily the Aboriginal Art. We had learned some about this expressive art and quite like some of them. After the Art Museum we walked to the Botanical Gardens. A beautiful area in the city with of course a large variety of plants and bird life. Just watching the ducks and other birds was fun, and it was good to sit down for a bit. All birds seem to be different here in Australia, pelicans are a beautiful white and black, the magpie are also a beautiful white and black. I have seen no sparrows, the most common birds appear to be the cockatoos, galahs and the parrot types To the natives they are pests! One tree in the Botanical Gardens was full of the parrots and we stayed there for some time trying to get the perfect picture. These little parrots are so colorful and were very busy flying from one blossom to the next all in the same tree.

Walking down the street called Rundle Mall a piece of art caught our attention entitled “A Day Out” by Marguerite Derricourt. It includes four bronze pigs who look completely at home on the street; one of them is even rummaging in a trash can!
The artwork was commissioned as part of an upgrade to Rundle Mall in 1999. A public competition led to each of the pigs being named. Horatio is the sitting pig, Oliver is the one rooting in the trash and the other two are called Augusta and Truffles. They are quite cute, and I used a picture of them for a Birthday Card for a friend who collects pigs.

Beautiful art work was also noted on some walls of buildings around town, we did not find out the history behind those amazing pictures.

An interesting building nearing completion we called the pineapple building; later we found out it is The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute.

The ship was to leave Adelaide at 11:30 the second day, but we were tired so came “home” to the ship on the 6:15 train. We had kangaroo and crocodile on the dinner menu. and they tasted great! Kangaroo is the best meat, as it is low in fat. The crocodile was served in a curry.

www.australia.com/explore/cities/adelaide.aspx

https://www.adelaidesightseeing.com.au/must-see-and-do-adelaide-and-s…

www.southaustralia.com

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