African Safari

African Safari in Serengeti and Sabi Sand South Africa, also visits to Arusha National Park, and Nogoronogoro Caldera;

An African Safari is an wonderful experience, and time in Africa involving several safaris is even more amazing. Up at 5:30 every morning and in the trucks for the Game Drive by 6:00 takes some getting used to, but the anticipation of what we will see each day makes the early rising well worth it.

The photos on this page were taken in multiple places; Arusha National Park, Nogoronogoro Caldera and Serengeti National Park all in Tanzania, and Sabi Sands near Kruger National Park in South Africa. The land areas and habitats of the Parks and Caldera are different and there are some differences in the animals one will see, but the wonder at the massive herds, variation in individual species is God’s plan and we can only view in awe.

We easily saw “the Big Five” and I display pictures of them.
“In Africa, the big five game animals are the lion, leopard, rhinoceros (both black and white species), elephant, and Cape buffalo. The term “big five game” (usually capitalized or quoted as “Big Five”) was coined by big-game hunters and refers to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_five_game

Serengeti National Park has UNESCO designation.

The photos are all for sale in the size of your choice.

Yellow Beaked Oxpecker cleaning Giraffe teeth.

Yellow Beaked Oxpecker cleaning Giraffe teeth.

Bukhara Uzbekistan

A visit to Bukhara
Bukhara Uzbekistan (Uzbek Latin: Buxoro; Uzbek Cyrillic and Tajik: Бухоро) Bukhara as an ancient city is a city-museum, with about 140 architectural monuments dating from the 9th to the 17th centuries. People have inhabited the region around Bukhara for at least five millennia, and the city has existed for half that time. Located on the Silk Road, the city has long served as a center of trade, scholarship, culture, and religion. UNESCO has listed the historic center of Bukhara (which contains numerous mosques and madrassas) as a World Heritage Site.
I recently traveled the Stans with Road Scholar. If you would like to go to the Stans and travel that part of the the Silk Road I highly recommend them. Bukhara is an interesting city with a “Surprise Behind Every Corner”. We stayed near a bazaar in a caravanserai, and had great fun shopping and sightseeing. I will show pictures from our trip, and hopefully infect you with the desire to visit this amazing area.

 

Mir-i-Arab Madrassah in Buhkara UzbekistanKalon Minor
 Beautiful monuments,
Beautiful monuments, One of the Oldest is;
Kalyan minaret. More properly, Minâra-i Kalân, (Persian/Tajik for the “Grand Minaret”). Also known as the Tower of Death, as according to legend it is the site where criminals were executed by being thrown off the top for centuries. The minaret is most famed part of the ensemble, and dominates over historical center of the city. The role of the minaret is largely for traditional and decorative purposes—its dimension exceeds the bounds of the main function of the minaret, which is to provide a vantage point from which the muezzin can call out people to prayer. For this purpose it was enough to ascend to a roof of mosque. This practice was common in initial years of Islam. The word “minaret” derives from the Arabic word “minara” (“lighthouse”, or more literally “a place where something burn”). The architect, whose name was simply Bako, designed the minaret in the form of a circular-pillar brick tower, narrowing upwards. The diameter of the base is 9 meters (30 feet), while at the top it is 6 m (20 ft). The tower is 45.6 m (150 ft) high, and can be seen from vast distances over the flat plains of Central Asia. There is a brick spiral staircase that twists up inside around the pillar, leading to the landing in sixteen-arched rotunda and skylight, upon which is based a magnificently designed stalactite cornice (or “sharif”).
About a hundred years after its construction, the tower so impressed Genghis Khan that he ordered it to be spared when all around was destroyed by his men. It is also known as the Tower of Death, because until as recently as the early twentieth century criminals were executed by being thrown from the top. Fitzroy Maclean, who made a surreptitious visit to the city in 1938, says in his memoir Eastern Approaches, “For centuries before 1870, and again in the troubled years between 1917 and 1920, men were cast down to their death from the delicately ornamented gallery which crowns it.
Bakhautdin Naqshband Mausoleum
Camel in Front of Ark.Bolo Haouz Mosque Bukhara Uzbekistan UNESCO siteChor Minor MosqueStatue of Ulugh Beg
Ulugh Beg
Mīrzā Muhammad Tāraghay bin Shāhrukh better known as Ulugh Beg (الغ‌ بیگ ) was a Timurid ruler as well as an astronomer, mathematician and sultan. His commonly known name is not truly a personal name, but rather a moniker, which can be loosely translated as “Great Ruler”

Sample Pictures from 2017 Trips

These are a few sample pictures from our travels in 2017. These are a selection of pictures taken in Greenland, Iceland, Italy, Greece, Wales, Scotland and England. Please check back for Photographic additions in one or all of the visited Countries.

Greenland is an interesting country ans has just recently started receiving the tourist trade. I bought a fun t-shirt in Greenland on our first visit that says “Lost in Greenland” such fun!

Venice is great for photography; the Gondolas, the canals, Rialto Bridge and the historic Buildings. Burano Italy is just a water taxi away from Venice famous for its colorful houses, and beautiful lace work. Santorini and Mykonis are beautiful Greek Islands, and very popular with the tourist crowd. Many Chinese women come to Santorini to pose in their wedding gowns.

Wales, Ireland and the Islands off Scotland have many interesting Neolithic sites such as Skara Brae and several Henge sites, Standing Stones of Stennes, and Ring of Bodgar near Kirkwell Orkney.

Classic Cars of Cuba

Two TonedClassic Cars of Cuba
Classic Car Classic Car with White Walls Chevy Classic 1948 classic Car Blue Chevy
Trinidad Cuba Tractor and classic Car The Pink Umbrella Rain on the Chevy Classic Cars Colorful Pontiac

Just a few of the beautifully restored Classic Cars seen in Cuba. These cars are lovingly preserved and maintained. Most seem to have been converted to diesel and many are used as Taxis. I think using the cars as taxis is one way they are able to afford keeping the cars is such good looking condition and so well maintained. The colors of the cars used are not usually indicative of what they were when they were first purchased. It was great fun to take a ride in the cars, bringing back memories. The roll up windows, the radio the steering wheel etc. More pictures of these Classic Cars to follow.

Kyrgyzstan Crafts Games and Monuments

A visit to Kyrgyzstan Featuring Horse Games,Crafts and Monuments

The Kyrgyz people are descended from nomads and are proud of their horsemanship. While we were there we got to experience display of traditional Kyrgyz horse games, including Oodarysh, a kind of wresting match on horseback and Ulak Tartysh a sort of polo played with a goat carcass. Photos of each are featured.

Horse Games

Horsing around in Kyrgyzstan Riding towards the Goal

Horse Games

Reaching for the prize

Arts and Crafts

Arts and crafts of Kyrgyz people has evolved over the centuries. It was formed based on the needs of people’s everyday life, and the nomadic way of life influenced their Customns. Among the major forms of arts and crafts felt art, weaving, patterned embroidery, making of mat, leather products, jewelry, and wood carving.

The art of making felt products is closely related to the dwelling of the nomads, the yurt. Carpets of felt, decorated with ornaments, are called “shyrdaks”. Shyrdak is a very important element in the decoration of a yurt. It is usually located on the floor. Felts for shyrdaks are made ​​from sheep wool, which is tightly rolled and painted in bright colors. Felt is made from pieces of ornament, then they are sewn together to form a beautiful carpet. Shyrdak’s length is usually four meters. width is about two meters. The great meaning in the applied arts has the carpet “ala kiyiz” (kyrg. “motley felt”). It differs from shyrdak that felt pieces are not sewn, but they are rolled to each other.

We purchased a traditional men’s hats, or kalpak in a typical felt design.

Crafts

Model of the typical Kyrygzstan Hat

Embroidery also can be noted as significant craft of Kyrgyz people. Often only women involved in it. They skillfully embroider patterns and ornaments on fabrics, leather and felt. Kyrgyz masters magnificently embroider wall pictures “tush-kiyiz”. Such pictures’ center is usually plain, without patterns, while the sides are framed by the wonderful color ornaments. Pattern embroidery is also common for traditional bags “ayak-kap” and hanging shelves “tekche”.

Crafts

Felt Craft and Wool Spinning

Burana Tower and Balbals of Kyrgyzstan

Burana Tower and Balbals

      The present-day name of the tower – Burana, comes from the Arabic “monar”, minaret. Quite a number of legends are bound up with the history of the construction of the tower. One of them has it that a mighty local khan ordered its construction as a refuge for his only daughter, for a prophet had foretold her death from the bite of a karakurt – a poisonous spider. These insects were in profusion in the area. Despite the father’s efforts to foil the fates, the prophesy came true and the daughter perished from the bite of the spider brought inside the refuge together with black grapes.

The minaret of the archeological site dates to the 10-11th centuries. It is among the oldest constructions of this type in the whole of Central Asia. Its original height was about 45 miters, the upper part of it was adorned with a lantern dome with four doorways looking out the four cardinal points. The present height of the tower is 24,6 m; the upper part of it collapsed during an earthquake that took place about the 15th or 16th centuries.

There were major archaeological surveys of the site in the 1920s, 1950s and 1970s. The archaeologists discovered that the town had a complicated layout covering some 25-30 square kilometers. There were ruins of a central fortress, some handicraft shops, bazaars, four religious buildings, domestic dwellings, a bathhouse, a plot of arable land and a water main (pipes delivering water from a nearby canyon). Two rings of walls surrounded the town. The town was located on the Silk Road.

Now the Burana archeological site has become an open-air historical and architectural museum.

The collection of the museum includes real sculptural masterpieces of the medieval fine arts dating from the 6-10th centuries. Many Petroglyphs from the area are also featured

An interesting highlight of the Open-air Museum are the Balbals  (grave markers used by nomadic Turkic peoples who used to roam Central Asia) and Petroglyphs (paintings on stones) which have been collected and placed here from all around the Chu valley.;

Balbals – ancient stone sculptures of Kyrgyzstan. With settling of Turkic tribes on the territory of Kyrgyzstan, appear a new ceremony of burring; in which wildly spread the custom of installation the stone sculptures on the graves. Mostly they made of granite, sometimes from limestone. Also the only flagstones were selected for statues. Sometimes the surfaces were meticulously trimmed, sometimes not.

In its mass the stone sculptures are not the same, scientists distinguish 2 main groups: the 1st group are valued, round sculptures on which clearly traced the proportions of the figures and details: clothes, jewelry, weapon. The 2nd group are flat sculptures, when on the stone the contour line image just a head with the face features, or even rarely the whole figure. The last group is dominated and probably older then the 1st group. Usually the statues represent the Male-stern fighters, rarely female, the faces are mongoloid. In the right hand there is a vessel, on the waist there is a knife or sabre.

Stone sculptures date to 6-10th century and a very few of them to 10-12th centuries. One of the main causes of disappearance was the spread of Islam, as it is known Islam forbid imaginations of alive people, animals, birds.

The stone sculptures were created by skillful sculptors-masons who were the great artists of the time. They could correctly reproduce the proportions of the figure, face features, jewelry. There are also 2 hypothesizes of the purposes these sculptures: the 1st one is what the stone statues represent dead Turks by themselves and the 2nd is what the stone statue is an imagination of an outstanding adversary killed by Turk in the real life, and who has to serve the winner in his next-after death life. Also, in most of the burial places main sculptures were surrounded by a number of smaller rocks that were supposed to represent the number of enemies that person killed during his life so they became his servants in the afterlife.

http://www.kyrgyzstantravel.info/culture/balbals.htm

More Information on the Balbals;

Balbals have two clearly distinct forms: conic and flat, with shaved top. Considering the evidence of Orkhon inscriptions that every balbal represented a certain person, such distinction cannot be by chance. Likely here is marked an important ethnographic attribute, a headdress. The steppe-dwellers up until present wear a conic ‘malahai’, and the Altaians wear flat round hats. The same forms of headdresses are recorded for the 8th century.

The Petroglyphs represent animals such as deer, mountain sheep and wolves as well as sun and person shapes.

On the Silk Road in Central Asia

“Two thousand years ago, caravans of pack animals and traders followed a route west from their home in China over the Steppe of Central Asia and into the fertile valleys of Europe, bringing with them silk, porcelain and spices. When adventurous Europeans traveled the Silk Road in the opposite direction, they came back with knowledge that changed the destiny of Western Civilization. Experience the history, culture and people that link the living cities and ancient ruins lining the Silk Road.”

The above is the introduction to the Program Summary by Road Scholar about a wonderful educational trip to the five “Stans”. Kyrgystan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

 

“In the heart of the Asian continent, where mighty conquerors and trading caravans once strode the Silk Road, the “seven Stans” weave a carpet of many colors. Prior to 1991 maps showed only Afghanistan and Pakistan. Then came the Soviet Union breakup and the birth of five new nations: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Today, these independent states continue to forge identities amid continuing conflicts.”
http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/seven-stans-photos

  • In the upcoming posts I will present photos taken on our recent trip “On the Silk Road in Central Asia”.
    Some years ago we traveled along the part of the Silk Road in China, perhaps a few of those pictures will also be featured.

 

  • In preparation for this trip I read many books, some Fiction, but mostly Nonfiction including: Raiders from the North by Alex Rutherford, Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan, by Hildi Kang, Shadow of the Silk Road Colin Thubron, Journeys on the Silk Road by Joyce Morgan and Conrad Walters, The Cancer Ward Alexander Sulzhenitsyn, The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk, The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan. All were interestong because I hadn’t read much about the karea. If any of you are interested I would highly recommend the last two, amazing incites and history.
  • Before we left the States we were advised that the Stans produced beautiful Arts and Crafts. We were able to view and purchase examples of this in each country.
    A map of the Central Asia relates the potentially explosive region in which these Countries are located.
    http://www.cntraveller.com/recommended/coast-countryside/guide-to-the-stans/viewgallery/965175

The Stans got their Independence from USSR two Decades ago and the path the countries have taken since the independence is somewhat different. For more reading check your local library.

Kyrgyzstan was the first Stan that we visited. A sign that I photographed in Bishkek impressed me–I have included it in this Introduction to the Silk Road series on my site.

Stonehenge and its Replicas

Stonehenge and its Replicas

Did you know that there are several Stonehenge replicas! I have visited one in Washington State, and one in Western Australia. I visited the original in England, years ago, and by viewing these replicas it is nice to see what the original probably looked like.

On a lonely bluff overlooking the Columbia River and the town of Maryhill, Washington, is a full-size replica Stonehenge. An almost identical copy of the more famous English Stonehenge, it was built by Sam Hill, a road builder, as a memorial to those who died in World War I. Dedicated in 1918, the memorial wasn’t completed until 1930. Hill passed away soon after he finally saw his masterpiece completed. He was buried at the base of the bluff; but, because he wished to be left alone, there is no easy path to his resting place. Pictures of this Stonehenge will follow;

The project began when Hill was mistakenly informed that the original Stonehenge had been used as a sacrificial site. He thus constructed his replica as a reminder that “humanity is still being sacrificed to the god of war.

The dedication plaque on this American Stonehenge reads:

“In memory of the soldiers of Klickitat County who gave their lives in defense of their country. This monument is erected in the hope that others inspired by the example of their valor and their heroism may share in that love of liberty and burn with that fire of patriotism which death can alone quench.”
http://www.legendsofamerica.com/wa-stonehenge.html


Esperance Stonehenge has been constructed on the South Coast of Western Australia.
There are thought to be 66 large, permanent replicas of Stonehenge throughout the world.
It is a full size replica of the original “Stonehenge” in the UK, as it would have looked around 1950BC.
137 Stones of Esperance Pink Granite quarried adjacent to the Beale’s property, in Esperance, Western Australia.
The 10 Trilithon Stones in a horseshoe pattern weigh between 28-50 tonnes each, standing with the 18 tonne lintels to a height of 8 metres.
Inside the Trilithon Horseshoe stands another Horseshoe of 19 Blue Stones.
The Trilithon Stones are surrounded by a circle of 30 Sarsen Stones weighing 28 tonnes each and standing almost 5 metres high including the 7 tonne lintels on top.
Positioned between the Sarsen Circle and the Trilithon Stones is a full circle of 40 smaller stones, referred to as the Bluestone Circle.
The Altar Stone weighs 9 tonne and lies in front of the tallest Trilithon Stones.
The structure is aligned with the Summer Solstice – Sunrise – Esperance WA. The Station Stones are positioned on this line to allow the suns rays to pass through to the Altar. The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year (22nd December). The sunset on the Winter Solstice is (June 21st – the shortest day of the year). This is the same line as the Summer Solstice Sunrise.

http://esperancestonehenge.com.au/
For after hours contact call 90759003 or 0457647325.

New Zealand Birds

New Zealand Birds

 

New Zealand Birds

When humans arrived in New Zealand about 700 years ago the environment changed quickly. Several species were hunted to extinction, most notably the moa a giant flightless bird, (Check out http://www.bagheera.com/inthewild/ext_moas.htm) and harpagornis (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haast’s_eagle). The most damage was caused by habitat destruction and the other animals humans brought with them, particularly rats – the Polynesian rat or kiore introduced by Māori and the brown rat and black rat subsequently introduced by Europeans. Mice, dogs, cats, stoats, weasels, pigs, goats, deer, hedgehogs, and Australian possums also put pressure upon native bird species. The flightless birds were especially sensitive.

Consequently, many bird species became extinct, and others remain critically endangered. Several species are now confined only to offshore islands, or to fenced “ecological islands” from which predators have been eliminated. New Zealand is today a world leader in the techniques required to bring severely endangered species back from the brink of extinction.

During the early years of European settlement many bird species were introduced for both sport and for a connection with the settler’s homelands. New Zealand had a starkly different appearance to the countries from where the settlers came.

A wonderful place to visit near extinct birds is Tiritiri Matangi an Island off the NZ mainland. The following is from their website, and most of the bird pictures are also from the island.

Tiritiri Matangi Island

is a wildlife sanctuary and one of New Zealand’s most important and exciting conservation projects. It is located 30km north east of central Auckland and just 4km from the end of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. A hundred and twenty years of farming had seen this 220-hectare island stripped of 94% of its native bush but between 1984 and 1994, volunteers planted between 250,000 and 300,000 trees. The Island is now 60% forested with the remaining 40% left as grassland for species preferring open habitat.

In conjunction with this planting program, all mammalian predators were eradicated and a number of threatened and endangered bird and reptile species have been successfully introduced, including the flightless takahe, one of the world’s rarest species, and the tuatara. There are few places in New Zealand where you can readily see and walk amongst so many rare species.

The project is managed by the Department of Conservation in conjunction with the Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi Incorporated.

http://www.tiritirimatangi.org.nz/
http://www.bagheera.com/inthewild/ext_moas.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haast’s_eagle
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birds_of_New_Zealand
A book on New Zealand birds–http://www.whitcoulls.co.nz/native-birds-of-new-zealand-5955027

Galapagos Islands

A visit to the Galapagos Islands is an amazing experience. Here are a few pictures from our recent trip. Some of the wildlife on the Galapagos are found nowhere else in the world, and vary even from island to island within the Galapagos area. For instance one type of iguana are found on one island, and not on others. The huge tortoise that has been found to live over 100 years, are found on one island and not on others.

The Galápagos Islands

a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, is a province of Ecuador, lying about 1,000km off its coast, and considered one of the world’s foremost destinations for wildlife-viewing. Its isolated terrain shelters a diversity of plant and animal species, many found nowhere else. Charles Darwin visited in 1835, and his observation of Galápagos’ species later inspired his theory of evolution.

The Finches : Darwin’s finches

Darwin’s finches
Bird
Darwin’s finches are a group of about fifteen species of passerine birds. They are often classified as the subfamily Geospizinae or tribe Geospizini. They belong to the tanager family and are not closely related to the true finches. Wikipedia

Kicker Rock (a.k.a. Leon Dormido), a vertical tuff cone formation that juts up nearly 500 feet from the sea.
The view from the summit of Bartolome Island
Area: 17,375 mi²
Population: 25,000 (2010)
Capital: Puerto Baquerizo Moreno

Geologic History

Galapagos is located on the Nazca tectonic plate. This perpetually moving plate is heading eastward over the Galapagos hot spot and has formed the chain of islands. The islands were formed through the layering and lifting of repeated volcanic action. This geographic movement is correlated to the age of the islands, as the eastern islands (San Cristóbal and Española) are millions of years older than the western islands (Isabela and Fernandina).

Most of the islands have a distinctive conical shape that is often associated with volcanic action. The mountainous islands have been formed through continuing eruption, building layer upon layer. Due to this volcanic formation, the islands are characterized by many steep slopes, with heights ranging from a few meters above sea level to more than 5000 feet above sea level.

Each major island, with the exception of the largest island, Isabela, consists of a single large volcano. Isabela was formed when six volcanoes joined above sea level. Geologically, the Galapagos Islands are quite young, probably no more than five million years old. Some of the westernmost islands, which are the most volcanically active, may only be hundreds of thousands of years old and are still being formed today.

www.galapagos.com
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galápagos_Islands

Geologic History

Blue-Footed Boobies

Blue Footed Boobie and a chick

Frigate male

Frigate Male with inflated Gular

Male Frigate with mate

Male Frigate with mate

Galapagos Penguins see on Galapagos

Galapagos-Penguins


Land Iguana seen on a Galapagos IslandYellow Galapagos bird on a Galapagos Island
Male Frigate with mate seen on a Galapagos Island

Male Frigate with mate

Nasca Boobies seen on a Galapagos Island

Nasca Boobies

Sally Lightfoot Galapagos Island

Sally Lightfoot

Sea Lion babies seen on a galapagos Island

Sea-Lion-babies

Blue-Footed Boobies on a Galapagos Island

Blue Footed Boobie and a chick

Land Iguana on  a Galapagos Island

Land-Iguana[/caption

]view on San Cristóbal Island a Galapagos Island

[caption id="attachment_4671" align="alignright" width="300"]Baby-Nasca-Boobie Baby-Nasca-Boobie

Blue Footed Boobie

Blue-Footed Boobie head

male-Frigate bird

Frigate-Wings-up

Frigate-Wings-up

Frigate-Wings-wide

Frigate-Wings-wide

Young-Frigate-bird

Young-Frigate-bird-trying-his-wings

Sea-Lion-baby

Sea-Lion-baby

Sea Lion babies

Sea-Lion-babies

Galapagos Sea iguna

Sea iguana on sand

Galapagos lava lizard

Red Faced lizard

Glalapagos Mocking bird

Mocking bird

Glalpagos Sea iguana

Sea iguana with a Blue back

Galapagos Lizard

Galapagos Lizard

Galapagos Sea Iguana

Sea Iguana

Pelican of Galagagos

Pelican of Galagagos

Galapagos Islands

Turtle

Turtle

Birds of Australia

Birds of Australia

Kukaburro

Kookaburro

Please enjoy viewing Kookaburras, Tawney frog mouth, black and white pelicans, pink Galahs, cockatoos (as pests) lorikeets, white ibis, penguins,and other interesting birds. The fairy Penguins are also called Blue Penguins, and they actually have a blue look to their fur. They are the smallest penguins in the World. The Kookaburras were very exciting for me to see and hear. I heard them first, and actually recognized the “laugh”,then later saw several pairs flying around quite close to where we were in Yanchep National Park. The pink Galahs were also a delight to see, but we did get a bit tired of them as they are very noisy. I had never seen nor heard of a bird called the tawney frogmouth, so another new Australian experience. It is often mistakenly thought to be a type of owl and is found throughout Australia mainland and Tasmania. Luckily we did not meet any cassowaries in the wild, but as we walked through the rainforest we kept a look out!

4 Galahs

Flying galah

Australian Wood Ducks

Banded Lapwing

Blue winged Kookaburra

Giant Penguin

Zebra finch

Zebra finch at Uluru

 

Orange-beak

Sea-Gull

Olive-Backed-Sunbirds

2-Fairy-Penguins

Myna-bird

Water buffalo and Australian duck

Australian Hawk

Cockatoo posing

Cockatoo posing

Lorikeet

Lorikeet

Cockatoos eating off picnic Table

Cockatoos eating off picnic Table

Emu in the Wild

Black & White Pelican

Black & White Pelican

White Ibis

White Ibis

White Ibis

White Ibis

Cockatoo

Cockatoo

Flying Cockatoo

Flying Cockatoo

Australian White Ibis

Australian White Ibis

Tawny Frogmouth

Tawny Frogmouth

Whistler Ducks

Whistler Ducks

Cassowary

Cassowary

Cassowary

Cassowary

Cassowary

Cassowary

Cassaway

Orchids at Pacific Orchid Exposition

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 Society’s 63 Annual Exposition! Vendors were from many countries such as Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines, etc. There were many miniature orchids for sale, and some that had a good scent. The last Orchid Exposition I attended had far fewer miniature as well as scented orchids. A beautiful display and a wonderful place to visit.
The Orchid Exposition is an Annual event maybe I’ll see you there sometime!

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/

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

Yanchep National Park

Yanchep National Park

The Port for Perth is Fremantle; Lots of interesting things to see in the both Fremantle and Perth as reported in the previous
Post. Perth has a very interesting Bell tower, and a beautiful Park on a hill. Our favorite place to visit was nearby
Yanchep National Park.

Yanchep National Park is home to western grey kangaroos which can be seen in abundance early and late in the day. At other times they shelter from the sun so you might be lucky enough to see them resting in shady areas. – See more at: http://parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/yanchep#sthash.XwLVgABD.dpuf

Stroll along the 240-metre koala boardwalk to view one of Australia’s favorite native animals in a natural environment and learn more about these fascinating creatures. – See more at: http://parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/yanchep#sthash.XwLVgABD.dpuf

More than 400 caves have been recorded in the park, and there are many ways you can enjoy them. Crystal Cave, Adventure Caving, Cabaret Cave each offer contrasting experiences. – See more at: http://parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/yanchep#sthash.XwLVgABD.dpuf
We visited Crystal Cave.
The flies were a constant presence in our faces and the fly netting masks were a great buy!


http://parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/yanchep
http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Australia_and_Oceania/Australia/State_of_Western_Australia/Yanchep-1867496/Things_To_Do-Yanchep-TG-C-1.html
http://www.about-australia.com/attractions/yanchep-national-park-crystal-cave/

http://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/
http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/animals/TheAustralianMagpie.htm
http://www.anbg.gov.au/banksia/

Circumnavigation Australia; Fremantle



The next stop on the Circumnavigation of Australia;
Fremantle is a city in Western Australia, located at the mouth of the Swan River. Fremantle Harbour serves as the port of Perth, the state capital. Fremantle was the first area settled by the Swan River colonists in 1829.
Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia. It is the fourth most populous city in Australia, with an estimated population of 1.97 million living in Greater Perth. Wikipedia

We were able to spend three days in this area; first visit was to Fremantle and their UNESCO Prison.

Fremantle Prison is a former Australian prison in Western Australia. The 15-acre site includes the prison, gatehouse, perimeter walls, cottages, tunnels, and prisoner art. The prison was one of 11 former convict sites in Australia inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010 as the Australian Convict Sites.

The prison also called Fremantle Goal, was built by convict labour in the 1850s, and transferred to the colonial government in 1886 for use as a gaol for locally-sentenced prisoners. It closed as a prison in 1991 and reopened as a historic site, designated as UNESCO site in 2010. It is now a public museum, managed by the Government of Western Australia with daily and nightly tours being operated. Some tours include information about the possible existence of ghosts within the prison. There are also tours of the flooded tunnels and aqueducts under the prison.

Komodo Island Indonesia

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Komodo slideshow

Komodo Island

Next stop on the Circumnavigation of Australia was a stop on Komodo Island.— Yes Komodo is in Indonesia, but it is very near Australia, and in ancient times was probably connected! We toured the Island again, yes we toured it in February but it was great to tour it again. This time we added snorkeling on a pink sand beach. Enjoy the slide show, and to see more Komodo Dragon pictures in the Post of March 16 2013.

Komodo Dragons on Komodo Island Indonesia

https://fordsfotos.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Komodo-slideshow.pdf

Darwin Australia

Darwin Australia: the next stop on the Circumnavigation of Australia

Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory, Australia. Situated on the Timor Sea. A very popular tour out of Darwin is on the Adelaide River to see the Jumping Saltwater Crocodiles. They really aren’t “salt” water crocs as they live in fresh water of the Adelaide River, but they do jump for their food, whether from the cruise boats or in nature. The Whistling Kites and Sea Eagles are often seen when the cruise boats are out to view and feed the crocs in hopes that they will also get some food that the crocs leave behind.

In some areas the crocs become a danger for people, and every year a few people are killed by them.