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Off to Arizona – Nature at the border with Carol and Dave

For ten days, starting April 9th, 2019, we are exploring the mountains and deserts of Southern Arizona, camping with our Boulder friends who have much experience here. Note to readers— this blog has a number of galleries of photos. Photos will move one to another IF YOUR MOUSE IS NOT POSITIONED ON THE PHOTOS. You […]

Raiding Northward – August, 2018

(Note: you can click on the small photos to enlarge them. Use your back button to return to the blog.) On Saturday, August 18, 2018, we untied the dock lines and headed north on Cat’s Cradle. Our goal: Catch up with Scott and Cora, now 12, and ‘assist’ in their competition in the Barefoot Raid […]

Antipodean Adventures – “Forest Bathing” in the Blue Mountains

In 1839, Charles Darwin spent two weeks on the Blue Mountains which are about 100 kilometers west of Sydney. He traveled by boat and then horseback. When he got to this view he wrote: (Works of Chas. Darwin, vol. 3) “An immense gulf is unexpectedly seen through the trees… This kind view was to me […]

Antipodean Adventures – Sydney : Tap-on, Tap-off

The Opal card brings you Sydney! Just “top up” and then “tap on” when you get into a bus or train or ferry. At the end of the trip, “tap off” when you leave. In our first adventure, we didn’t “tap on”. At the end of the short ferry ride, we had to “tap off”, […]

Antipodean Adventures – Sailing in the Whitsunday Islands

Eight stalwart folk have flown to the opposite side of the earth to sail for 10 days among the Whitsunday Islands that are inside The Great Barrier Reef National Park in northeast Australia. Four of us (Val and Leslie and Mark P. and Cinda of San Juan Island , plus Ron and Kathy and Mark E. […]

Cheetahs and farmers –What should be done?

Our last days in Namibia were spent considering the future for cheetahs. The big cats are the fastest animal on earth, being able to run in bursts as much as 120 km/hr. They can reach such speeds for 20-30 seconds. Then they have to capture their prey, often fleeing antelope, or stop as they quickly […]

On to Etosha – A wildlife haven

Etosha National Park is in northern Namibia near the border with Angola and is centered around a 5,000 square km salt flat called Etosha Pan. Along the southern edge of the pan, there is a necklace of water holes connected by dusty roads.  Some are natural and some are supported by solar-powered pumps. Driving on […]

Hints of our past in Damaraland

Leaving Swakapomund by car, we travel north and east over a featureless plain until, after some hours, the most mountainous region in Namibia slowly comes over the horizon.  Hardly a car meets us and no one overtakes us. In the mountains we see more and more groups of the sleek Springbok antelope. Eventually small scattered […]

Swakopmund Extremes

Quad bikes roaring over the desert is so not Veirs-Reese, but here in the adventure capital of Namibia, we have to give them a try.  Leslie prudently declines and heads downtown in search of Namibian art and artifacts, even though she had gone through all the work to put this activity into our schedule. So, […]

SEA to Swakopmund

Leslie, Val and grandson Liam (almost 14  years old) left Seattle in the  early evening, and 8 hours later it was afternoon in London. We had a 9 hour layover which gave us enough time to ‘do’ London! We took the fast (i.e. expensive) train to Paddington and then the tube to Trafalgar Square. We […]

Tent Camping with Grand Kids

For 5 days last week we camped in Beacon Rock State Park with Laura and Tucker’s kids.  Tennessee is 7 and Oz is 4 and the four of us piled our camping gear into the Prius and headed out for some unstructured play time in the woods.  We found Beacon Rock State Park on the […]

Friday Harbor Sailing Club cruise to Barkley Sound and the Broken Islands

On May 15, 2017, Leslie and Val on Cat’s Cradle headed ‘out to sea’ to visit a complex archipelago on the southwestern side of Vancouver Island. This is a diverse group of islands within which there is good protection from the prevailing northwest winds and swell from the northeast Pacific Ocean. But, to get there […]

Three colorful fall walks in the North Cascades

For three days this late September, Eric and Val car-camped for three nights at Colonial Creek Campground just on the north side of North Cascades National Park.  With this as a base we took three long hikes that ascended to elevations above treeline.  Well maybe they were not all that long — about 6 miles […]

Olympic National Park – Exploring 3 Ecosystems

On a sunny day in mid-September, Lynne, Robin and Leslie headed off on a 4-day trip to Olympic National Park for their annual hiking getaway.  We had rented a conveniently located cabin near Forks, WA, and were looking forward to a day in the Hoh Rain Forest, another day doing beach hikes at Third Beach […]

Fun with Family and Friends in Desolation Sound

Sometimes people just have a bad day, and this must have been the case one June day in 1792 when Capt. Vancouver arrived at the northern end of the Strait of Georgia.  Vancouver’s two ships had been searching for the “Northwest Passage” without success and with much travail in the often cloudy and foggy numerous […]

Descending into Desolation

We took two nice days to laze around Bull Harbor and Roller Bay recovering from our overnight sojourn.  The rocks on Roller Bay’s long and steep beach are truly remarkable.  Most are nearly spherical and they are graded by the energy of the Northwest Pacific winter storms into small pebbles near low tide and ranging […]

Gingerly winding south – with Puffins and Shearwaters

We slipped away from our G’Sung Gwaii tour after completing our visit to the beach site with all its story-filled poles and headed south. The wind forecast was 15-25 kts from the northwest and we generally wanted to go southeast. So we unrolled our genoa jib and pushed it out with a whisker pole so […]

A Memorable Visit with many Mortuary and Memorial Poles

After two great sailing days, we are securely anchored in Rose Inlet with the wind still blowing. If the weather permits, Friday morning, July 29th, promises to be the highlight of our exploration of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site. For the past week we have been discovering […]

An early morning in Echo Bay lagoon

Leslie’s alarm went of at 5:42 a.m., her old ‘get up and jog with Carol’ before school time. By 6 o’clock we were rowing Pacifico over the flat, reflective water as the rising sun lit the mountains above. We entered the ¼ mile long lagoon around the corner at the head of Echo Bay as […]

Going Gingerly down Hecate Strait – Help, Help, It’s Kelp!

OMG, what a day…..! We experienced the high of visiting the ancient Haida site of K’uuna Linagaay (Skedans) and the low of losing our reading on the depth finder to some kelp stipes and then our 2 hp dinghy motor to the deep blue sea. Our summer of contrasts continues….. We got up early on […]

Modern Haida Culture – as seen through the eyes of a native

Through the Visitor Center in Queen Charlotte City, we were put in touch with Dick Bellis (Skil Q’uas), a 77 year old native born here of a Finnish man and a Haida woman. Dick has had many jobs and experiences over all these years and now spends some time guiding tourists. We hired Dick to […]

On to Haida Gwaii!

The Hecate Strait which lies between Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands) and the BC mainland has a fearsome reputation. When a strong pressure system is around, the waves can become so high that the bottom of the sea is revealed. This would not be where you would want to be! A large portion, […]

Contrasts in The Heart of the Great Bear Rainforest

From the north end of Vancouver Island up to the border with Alaska is 400 kilometers of forested islands separated by thousands of kilometers of inlets and bays and more. This is the largest intact temperate rainforest left on earth: the Great Bear Rainforest. Contained here is untouched forest interwoven with much heavy logging and […]

A Swell Experience: Rounding Cape Caution

July 1: We left Port McNeil in tandem, but not for long, with one of the R2AK racers which had stopped for the night and to examine some of the rig. Very soon they were out of sight and we had a nice sailing wind while in the protected waters between Malcomb Island and Vancouver […]

A Quick and Wonderful trip to Victoria

We took a long bus ride from the northern end of Vancouver Island down to the southern tip at Victoria. This 9 hour trip took us from cool, damp, gray northern isolation to hot, crowded, beautiful Victoria, BC. We met Laura for lunch and a quick museum jaunt and then she went to prepare for […]

Alert Bay and the First Nations

We have spent two nights at the government dock in Alert Bay on Cormorant Island. We found some Internet, some restaurant food, and some old and new totem poles. We visited the excellent ‘potlatch museum’ or U’mista Cultural Center which is filled with outstanding masks, coppers and clothing, all restored to these native peoples after […]

A Visit to OrcaLab

After our visit to the Indian villages that are disappearing into the landscape, we anchored on Hanson Island. This island has been officially incorporated as the southern-most extent of the “Great Bear Rainforest” which names protected coastal rainforest from here all the way north and almost to the Alaskan border. We hope to see much […]

Sailing into the Broughton Archepelago

Almost a week ago we were about to enter the region known as “Johnstone Strait” which has a reputation for nasty winds and waves. Our passage was pacific. After passing Greene Point Rapids and Whirlpool Rapids with nary a ripple in the gently ebbing current, we motored along with no wind down several channels and […]

Running the Rapids!

After leaving Hornby Island, we beat our way northwest for almost 40 nautical miles. We passed close to Mittlenach Provincial Nature Park and debated stopping in a tiny bay called Camp Bay. This island is reported to be a Glaucous Wing Gull nursery, but as we were passing we saw only a few gulls parked […]


Walking the shoreline south from Ford Bay on Hornby Island toward the south end of the island at Norman Point is an other-worldly experience. The shore is composed of layers of sandstone, each of which seems to weather differently under the vigorous assault of waves and wind. This is the northern extent of the strong […]

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