The aurora started on April 8, a green glow behind the clouds. On April 9 we had a full blown Magnetic Storm firing solar particles into the atmosphere and creating a beautiful Aurora. Continue reading Magnetic Storm Warnings
The “Blessing of the Fleet” is one of those small town Sitka rituals that mark our seasons. It is on Palm Sunday, a time to stop and remember all of those who our community has lost during the past year, … Continue reading Blessing of the Fleet, 2022
Joy and comfort comes from small things. They can bring flashbacks, memories of a different place and time. Like the flashbacks triggered by a small luxury, a bar of soap. I lived in a shipping container when I worked in … Continue reading A Bar of Soap
There are two pages to this PDF. To see the second, which is a group of current family pictures, please move your curser over the foot of the letter and you can navigate to the second page. Since the collage … Continue reading 2021 McClear Family Christmas Letter
This was the year we were going to bring our kids and grandkids to visit European Christmas markets. We had planned to base in Bratislava, where we used to live, and hit markets in Blava, Budapest, and Vienna, and perhaps … Continue reading Missing Europe’s Christmas Markets? Take A Virtual Tour
This is one of those “milestone” birthdays. 75. And I’m happy to still be here during this second year of the pandemic. Breakthrough COVID caught me. It landed me in the hospital but couldn’t hold me. I’m still hare and … Continue reading 3 Memorable Birthdays, Thoughts on Turning 75
An easy day trip from Baku takes you to the Absheron Peninsula. Here you will see the shrine of Mir Movsum Aga, a mausoleum for a holy man and a favorite burial ground for Baku’s elite. You will also find … Continue reading The Absheron Peninsula.
Soviet Town is one of the four cities in Baku, the others are Boomtown, the fantasy Art Nouveau town of the oil barons built between 1880 and the Soviet Revolution, Old Town, the traditional Silk Road caravan transshipment city, (It … Continue reading Baku’s Soviet Town
Baku’s Boomtown was built by the oil barons when the 19th century turned to the 20th. It is a fantasy land of Art Nouveau with Arab, and Persian touches. To read my 2004 letter from Baku, which has more information, … Continue reading Boomtown Baku
In Baku’s Oldtown you have a great selection of carpets. And of course there is always a cup of tea while you haggle. (Pictures from 2004) To see more pictures of Baku’s Old Town click here. To read my letter … Continue reading Oldtown Baku, Carpets and the Shah’s Palace.
Old Town Baku is the traditional silk road city with its caravansary, where the caravans stopped, and people rested and traded. There were also the docks on the Caspian Sea where goods were off loaded from Turkistan and the Volga … Continue reading Oldtown Baku, 2004
Suzi and I visited Baku, Azerbaijan on a long weekend from T’bilisi in spring 2004. Since we took the pictures in these posts Baku has hosted the Eurovision contest and has seen a lot of changes. This is kind of … Continue reading Baku 2004, Flashback.
A crossing is not a cruise, I know that, but where else do I file these blog posts? Crossings were the main way folks got to Europe before 1958. That year more people crossed the Atlantic by air than by … Continue reading Crossings
We arrived in Cobh (The Cove of Cork) four days before the SS America sailed. Most Irish immigrants immigrating in the 19th century sailed from this port when it was called Queenstown. Grandpa was tired after a summer traveling around … Continue reading Double Crossings, Westbound.
I laugh looking at the picture now. In 1961 my grandfather and I were heading for Europe on the SS United States, the “Big U”. Our luggage was checked and would meet us in our stateroom. Grandpa was carrying his … Continue reading Double Crossings, Eastbound.
Thirty two years ago our lives changed forever. The Berlin Wall fell. Our family had been in Berlin the summer before and the wall looked permanent. We went back the next summer in time to see streets opening in the … Continue reading Walking the Line Between Hope and Despair.
Last night we had a magnetic storm, that triggered a major aurora that danced for more than 5 hours. I watched better than half of it, starting at about 9:30. Often the aurora were in constant motion, flashing not only … Continue reading Is the Aurora Plural or are they Singular?
When I was little grandma and grandpa took me on excursions. Our favorite was our annual trip on the “Liberty Bell.” It was an excursion boat that left Exchange Place in Jersey City, called at Manhattan and sailed past Coney … Continue reading My Inauspicious First Cruise, 1957.
After a pandemic induced hiatus Alaska Day returned, in limited form, to Sitka. Alaska Day Commemorates the day that the Russian Flag was lowered, and the American Flag raised over Castle Hill (Noow Tlein in Tlingit) and the United States … Continue reading Alaska Day, 2021
Sunday, October 17, folks gathered on Noow Tlein (Castle Hill) to commemorate Reconciliation Day. Reconciliation Day is an attempt to recast Alaska Day. They gathered a day early because on Alaska Day, October 18, the hill was filled with military … Continue reading Reconciliation Day, 2021
Our rainforest is not where you would normally go to see fall colors. We are not New England or the Blue Ridge. Naturally most of the color we see is the alpine tundra, rust and yellow on the mountains. But … Continue reading Southeast Color
Autumn is Southeast is normally a miserable time. Statistically it rains 29 out of 31 days in October. It’s the beginning of stormy season. On October 1 we clocked 75 mile an hour winds at Sitka airport and about 2 … Continue reading Autumn in Southeast (2021)
This is the hardest post to write. I mentioned COVID fogged brain in my last post. I missed the final dinner, although they brought a delicious Beef Wellington to my stateroom. I also missed the final slide show and farewell … Continue reading The COVID Coda
After leaving Kake we headed home toward Sitka. We turned from Fredrick Sound into Chatham Strait and then into Peril Strait. Peril Strait was not named for any navigational hazard but because it is where many people died of paralytic … Continue reading A Coda With Whales.