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Cora – True Bird Lover

This is our last blog entry from our ‘coming-of-age’ trip with our granddaughter, Cora. We have visited South Australia looking for penguins and koalas and more and now we have seen bits of the Great Barrier Reef and Queensland’s tropical rain forests. This last entry summarizes a day that reprises a visit Leslie and I […]

Near the End of the Road

The Daintree River in North Queensland marks the beginning of the end of normal tourism in Queensland. A little ferry pulls you across the river via a cable and soon the paved road ends. We crossed the river, enjoyed some uniquely tropical fruit flavored ice cream, looked around a bit and then returned to ‘civilization’. […]

On Alert at Thala Beach Nature Preserve

A giant Golden Orb Spider with a strong and elaborate web hanging out on our porch….  A hairy tarantula molting near the path to the lodge….  A pair of Tawny Frogmouth birds roosting quietly and camouflaged during the day, but noisily in the dark near our treehouse-style cabin in the forest at night…. Avoiding two […]

Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef

We took a high-speed catamaran about 1.5 hours offshore of Cairns to snorkel on Opal Reef at three different sites. We wore wetsuits, making it very difficult to dive down because we did not have weight belts. We enjoyed each site with its different types of soft and hard corals. Cora used her underwater GoPro […]

Hopping Around Kangaroo Island

We (Cora’s idea and typing) are trying something different for this post, being that there will only be photos and captions located at the bottom of most pictures. Enjoy! Australian Sea Lion colony at Seal Bay Conservation Park – The self-guided day walk at Hanson Bay Nature Reserve – The nocturnal walk – “Remarkable Rocks” […]

Visiting New Friends

After two days on the Great Ocean Road and in the Eucalypt forests, we violated all Australia travel rules and overlooked many overlooks . We drove and drove through extensive sheep farms and croplands with weird storage silos. Eventually night fell, yet we continued on – watching for (actually hoping against hope for failure) kangaroos […]

Driving the Great Ocean Road

After more Little Penguin watching in St. Kilda, we got our rental car and headed out. It takes two people to drive: one to steer and all that, and one to make sure that our mantra of “Drive left – look right” is being followed. Two hours from Melbourne we came to an excellent fruit/cheese/vegetable […]

Australia 2019: Part One – Meandering in Melbourne

We have arrived in Australia with our almost-13 year old granddaughter, Cora. Our quest, Cora’s actually, is to learn about native Australian wild animals. We flew west and south with the night inside the Earth’s shadow for 16 hours, flying direct from Vancouver to Melbourne. We had a hotel just two blocks from the beach […]

First MailChimp Test

Greetings you long-suffering subscribers. This is my first test of the new notification software. I am keeping my fingers crossed that all of you who subscribed, often years ago, will get a notification from MailChimp. And, those that have unsubscribed from the nasty feedproxy web site will no longer get emails from that quadrant. I […]

We are off to Australia – June 2

As some (many?) of our subscribers know, I have been struggling to get the notification of a new blog post working for those who have subscribed to our blog. I am moving away from something called feedburner and toward something called mailchimp. The email announcing this new blog post is supposed to be coming from […]

Ode to the Sonoran Desert

Note: If your mouse is on or even beside a gallery image, the gallery will stop rotating! Ode to Canyon Hiking in the Sonoran Desert Leslie Veirs April, 2019 Arizona sycamores twist and turn,bleached white with geometrically patterned barkabove ephemeral stream beds. Always watch where you step.Septuagenarians don’t want to fall, so use trekking poles […]

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 […]

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