Final Sailout

Sail out from the final port was a bitter sweet occasion, both because it was the leaving of our last port of call, and because of the head cold.  But sail out was a scenic occasion.  Not only did we pass under the three Forth bridges, but we went past the aircraft carrier “Prince of Wales” in the construction dock, under the Forth bridges, and … Continue reading Final Sailout

A Fortunate Alternate

Rosyth, Scotland, United Kingdom, September 6, 2017:  Rosyth is a former Royal Navy base, now a privatized port.  It’s just up the Firth of Forth from Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital.  While it’s no longer a military base a huge carrier “The Prince of Wales” is being built in her yards. I was feeling badly enough last night that we decided to not set an alarm and … Continue reading A Fortunate Alternate

Orkney Wireless Museum

Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland, September 4, 2017:  What do you do in Kirkwell, Orkney Islands on a wet and windy day? Visit the Orkney Wireless Museum, of course! It is one of those delightfully cluttered and chaotic museums that invite exploration. There are all sorts of radios, and other somewhat related things, like jukeboxes, phonographs, and, WWII memorabilia.    The World War II stuff is … Continue reading Orkney Wireless Museum

A Cathedral Sets its Viking Sails

  Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland, September 4, 2017:  According to our Norwegian Sea Captain, Dag, Kirkwall is from the old Norse meaning “Church Harbor.”  The town is best known for St. Magnus Cathedral but the town was named for the earlier St. Ofav’s Cathedral.  This year Kirkwall is commemorating the 900th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Magnus, Jarl (Earl) of Orkney and the 880 … Continue reading A Cathedral Sets its Viking Sails

Unexpected Sea Day

Kirkwall, Orkney, Scotland, Sept 3, 2017:  As Prinsendam pulled out of Reykjavik the PA chimes alerted us to a message.  It started normally for a sail out with the Captain on mic, “This is your disembodied voice from the Bridge, Captain Dag.”  But there was a tone in his voice that told us that we were in for some bad news, and he delivered it.  … Continue reading Unexpected Sea Day


If you want to get to Iceland before it’s discovered, too late.  While we found the Eastern, Northern and Western fjords of Iceland pleasantly un-trampled Reykjavik, which is a tidy little city, is overrun.  While we were in port we saw 5 other ships, all of them larger than Prinsendam, come in and out.  And that is not to mention all the Icelandair stopover packages … Continue reading Reykjavik

“Become Ocean”

John Luther Adams, a composer who spent most of his professional life in Alaska, won the Pulitzer prize for his composition “Become Ocean” an orchestral piece performed by the Seattle Symphony.  The peace is about the Greenland Ice sheet becoming ocean as the bergs drop into the sea and raise its levels. You can listen on Spotify, it is a powerful and moving piece.  I … Continue reading “Become Ocean”

An Accidental Cruise Port

Aappilattoq, Greenland,  August 29, 2017: Aappilattoq is a village at the entrance to Prins Christian Sund.  Prinsendam called at a few days ago to deliver pizza.  Today we returned.  The Captain had arranged for a limited shore visit.  He set it up so that those who thought themselves physically fit enough collected tickets with a specific time window to go ashore.  The idea was that … Continue reading An Accidental Cruise Port

500 Years and Gone.

Hvalsey, Greenland, August 27, 2008:  For twice if the United States has existed, from the tenth to the fifteenth centuries, almost 500 years, the Norse hung on as farmers in southern Greenland.  Then they disappeared.  There is speculation as to why.  Did they starve when the “Little ice age” set in?  Were they displaced by a people with a better technology, the Inuit who had … Continue reading 500 Years and Gone.

Stone and Man in Qaqortoq, Greenland,

Qaqortoq, Greenland, August 28, 2017:  Walking around Qaqortoq is like participating in a scavenger hunt.  In the 1990s Greenlander artist Aka Hoegh commissioned 18 Norse artists to carve reliefs into many of project is called “Stone and Man” and it is a delight.  You turn a corner and you see a hand print or a face, or a fish or whale.  Sometimes you go by … Continue reading Stone and Man in Qaqortoq, Greenland,

A Fountain in the Center of South Greenland.

Qaqortoq, Greenland, August 28, 2017:  Qaqortoq is three times the size of Nanortalik with half its charm.  It’s the administrative center of Southern Greenland.  It has bright painted houses, like Nanortalik but many of them are apartment buildings.  You may know it by its Danish name, Julianehab.  It does have its strong points like friendly people, public art, the first fountain in Greenland, educational institutions, … Continue reading A Fountain in the Center of South Greenland.

“Nearer My God to Thee” and Icebergs

August 27, 2017, Nanortalik, Greenland:  Nanortalik is the southernmost town in Greenland, it has about 1,300 people, which makes it a pretty big town for Greenland.  Lonely Planet says it is magnificent with soaring mountains surrounding the town.  This Sunday the fog hangs pretty low allowing us to concentrate on the village and not the surroundings. Nanortalik was founded in 1797 as a trading post … Continue reading “Nearer My God to Thee” and Icebergs

Prins Christian Sund Redux

I would wager that not many of you have been through Prins Christian Sund.  I would also wager that some of you will never go through the Sund.  If you do it will be different, with changing weather, day to day, and changing climate that may drive some of the glaciers further back away from sea water.  Finally, I take a lot of pics.  The … Continue reading Prins Christian Sund Redux

Pizza Delivery and Old Whalers’ Drawings.

I may be riding on the most expensive pizza delivery truck in the world.  We were cruising through Prince Christian Sound in southern Greenland, approaching the village of Aappilattoq, a town of around 200 people.  The Captain came on the PA system and told him we were stopping to deliver pizza and coke to the town.  As boats from the town came out to meet … Continue reading Pizza Delivery and Old Whalers’ Drawings.

Isolation depends on your point of view.

They call themselves isolated.  They sit in the Atlantic between Iceland, Norway and Scotland, somewhere around 50,000 people on 17 or 18 islands.  But to me they are fully connected.  They have weekly ferry service to Denmark, Scotland and Iceland and about 10 flights in and out each day, several a day to Denmark but also to Iceland, the UK, Norway and Spain.  To me … Continue reading Isolation depends on your point of view.

The King’s Farmer

Johannes Patursson is a “King’s Farmer.”  His family has been farming the same land at Kirkjubour in the Faroe Islands for 17 generations, since the Reformation.  Kirkjubour, on Steymoy Island, is a town of a little over 200.   It was founded near a beach where a lot of driftwood ended up, which made the land valuable because the Faroe Islands have no trees.  It is … Continue reading The King’s Farmer

Shetland, No Ponies

Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland:  The Shetland islands, no ponies, but we did see a goat.  He was raising money to buy an infrared camera to be used by the Lerwick Lifeboat Society, the local search and rescue.  We met him in a shop that sells hand crafted soap made from goats’ milk packed in little Shetland wool pouches.  Since we arrived on a Sunday, one … Continue reading Shetland, No Ponies

Closing Campfire and After Party

March 13, 2015 Ft. Lauderdale, Florida The cruise is over and we are back in Fort Lauderdale.  I will probably have one more post after this one to sum things up.  I guess I have been working on USAID projects too long because I always have to write my “lessons learned, best practices” memo.   Right now I am still processing the lessons I’ve learned and … Continue reading Closing Campfire and After Party

Swimming a National Park Service Trail

March 9, 2015 St John, US Virgin Islands Today we swam a national park service trail.  I have hiked and canoed national park trails before but never swam one with my face down in the water.  It is the Trunk Bay coral snorkeling trail. We took the ferry from St. Thomas to Cruz Bay and had a good view of the British Virgin Islands in … Continue reading Swimming a National Park Service Trail

On the Bridge of MS Prinsendam

March 9, 2015 St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Not every Holland America officer likes serving on Prinsendam; at least that’s what our American Express representative tells me.  It has an old fashioned bridge, different from the other ships.  The newer ships have, what airline pilots call, a glass cockpit.  You sit surrounded by monitors and can control everything on the ship with the flip of … Continue reading On the Bridge of MS Prinsendam

Water, Sky,Light and Perspective, Getting Abstract in Barbados.

March 8, 2015 Sailing the Caribbean We are on our way to our final stop, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.  Yesterday afternoon, after taking the course/tour in photo composition we went to the beach and I was playing with my waterproof camera using water, light and perspective to create some abstract images.  I also took some straight out tourist shots.   On the way to and from … Continue reading Water, Sky,Light and Perspective, Getting Abstract in Barbados.

I Take Photography Lessons, Here are the Results.

March 7, 2014 Bridgetown, Barbados. Ronnie Carrington is a photographer, videographer, film producer and poet in Barbados.  He runs photo tours of the island, teaching how to make better photographs.  On the tour bus he lectured on picture composition and the history of Barbados.  Then he took us to places where we would have varied subjects, different textures, and changing light.  Sometimes he pointed out … Continue reading I Take Photography Lessons, Here are the Results.