Monthly Archives: March 2016

Thursday, March 31, 2016, at sea of Uruguay

We’re off the coast of Uruguay, headed to Rio, both engines running smoothly for a total of about 16 knots on smooth seas. On Monday, we docked at Puerto Madryn, Argentina, so that we could have divers extract the fishing lines that had entangled our propeller. The mass must weigh several hundred pounds (some of us are bringing home sections of the line as a souvenir), we feel lucky it didn’t do any permanent damage. The engine started up and everything is running normally, except that we are running behind schedule. We’re happy with the alternative plan though — we’ll spend more time in Madeira and fly home directly from there. We’ll miss our stops in Portsmouth, England and Bremerhaven, Germany, but that’s okay — they weren’t highlights for Barnaby and I, and we’re just grateful to not have the trip completely cancelled, or worse — dead in the water in bad weather. We are at sea and anything can happen.
  During our stop in Puerto Madryn, we visited a Welsh village, Gaiman, that was settled in 1865. This part of Patagonia is desert (really most of Patagonia is very dry and very windy), the Welsh settlers were misinformed as to the nature of the land. They nearly perished the first year, but with promises of support from the Argentine government, help from the local indigenous people, stuck it out and have prospered. Some Welsh is still spoken and many of the Welsh traditions are maintained — including high tea. I’m afraid our diets have suffered, the cakes, pastries, and sandwiches were so delicious that our group ate like we had been starved on the ship (which we have not!). An excellent local choir performed for us, we were especially impressed since their community is so small. It was a lovely day. 
Rio is only a couple of days away, so we’re learning about the culture, geography and diseases. After our doctor’s talk this morning, no one will be swimming at Ipanema Beach this visit.
Nowhere else than upon the sea do the days, weeks and months fall away quicker into the past. They seem to be left astern as easily as the light air-bubbles in the swirls of the ship’s wake.
Joseph Conrad



Barn entertaining me !


Sunday, March 27, 2016 at sea, off the Pampos

Happy Easter! Several things have happened since my last post. Our starboard engine was successfully started. Hooray! We were going at a good clip of 14 knots until at about 5 am yesterday, something happened and the ship slowed to about 13 knots. The bridge noted the slowing but had no explanation. When the sun rose, someone noticed we were dragging some rope or something, and after much discussion, the captain decided to slow the boat, drop a zodiac with some crew, and detach whatever it was that we were towing. They soon discovered we had somehow run across a trawler fishing net and it had caught on the port propeller. Apparently when they slowed the engine, the net was sucked more tightly onto the propeller and stopped it (they say this is very rare!). So now, we’re back traveling at about 8 knots with only one engine working. At this rate, we’ll never make any headway, as until we pass the equator, we’re going against the wind and currents, and if something happens to our starboard engine, we will be dead in the water. Thank goodness we have good weather and a forecast of more of the same. 
The captain altered course and we’re headed for the Valdes Peninsula of Argentina. There is a safe anchorage at Puerto Madryn, where we can hire professional divers to remove this fishing line. We’re told that this area is not known for trawling fishing, but junk can travel vast distances in the ocean and it’s our unfortunate luck to have caught something. 
The scenery in this area is supposed to be gorgeous and there should be a lot of wildlife around the peninsula. There’s also a Welsh community close by (yes — a large group from Wales populated the area in the 19th century). In the town of Gaiman they are still teaching the school children the Welsh language. Our Welsh historian is very excited about making this unplanned stop. 
We’re having a wonderful time listening to lectures, eating far too much yummy food and meeting the lovely people on the ship. Spirits are high. We’ll see what happens and how our trip evolves. 

Friday, March 25, 2016 at sea, Patagonia, Argentia

It’s 2:30 in the afternoon, we’ve just had lunch, Barnaby is snoozing away, and I’m watching the black-browed albatross soar along as our ship sails up the coast toward Brazil. We’re so happy to finally be ensconced in our cozy room and cruising after three days of airports and long flights. 
Last night, our captain announced that one of the ship’s main engines (there are two) is not running (apparently they can’t get it started), so we’re going along at around 9 knots — half the speed we need to maintain our schedule. At this rate, it will take us 9 days to get to Rio. While our captain seems in good spirits, I’m sure he’s very stressed. His crew is working around the clock trying to fix the problem. All of my shipmates seem content, we did just arrive, and we have all signed on for a long ocean voyage. There are terrific naturalists and scholars on board that are lecturing about the ocean, wildlife and history of the area — so there’s no shortage of activities. But this will surely affect our trip, and the longer it’s not repaired, well, we’ll just have to wait and see how it unfolds. I’m glad the weather is gorgeous and we’re not trying to outrun one of those terrible storms this area is so famous for.
We learned today that the Brazilian’s call a glass of beer: “A loura suada” — the sweaty blonde. (That may be what they call me when we arrive. Ha!) I wish my friend Trudy were along, she would really enjoy sharing stories with our Brazilian naturalists. One of them spent many years in Northern Brazil documenting folklore. He said he also spent a lot of time at the beach — studying. I’ll bet!!!

Abby turns 10


Abby on her 10th birthday

Life flies by so fast. It seems like yesterday that I got an email from a friend telling me about a 7 month old papillon that needed a home. 


Abby at 7 months

 At the time, our little dog Theo, also a papillon, seemed to be longing for a pal. We picked up Abby the next week and she’s been an important part of our family ever since. 

Abby and my Mom


Abby and Theo

  Abby loves everyone. She’s a great watchdog and she’s a lot of fun. I just hope she’ll be around many more years!

Hello again.


Abby and Barnaby in Idyllwild

Greetings from Idyllwild. It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted anything to this blog, but since we’re heading out on a crazy long trip next week, I thought I would start it up again. The past year or two hasn’t been wasted. We’ve bought and sold houses, moved a couple of times, had great fun traveling and playing music, but sadly, we also lost both of our moms. I’m finally seeing my mom in my mind, as the beautiful woman she was, not the sad creature that lay dying. I’m happy to have been able to spend a lot of time with her in those last days, but I don’t want to remember her like that. At the end, it took so much to get her to even smile (like a loud rendition of Folsom Prison Blues). She had always had a wonderful sense of humor and laughed all the time, but she lost almost all of her hearing and finally, her will to even listen.

Barnaby’s sweet mom passed a year later, much more suddenly, and having never, thankfully, gone through that wasting away stage. We miss them both so much.


We are thrilled Idyllwild Arts new concert hall has been completed. We attended the first performance, a “soft” opening, it was a wonderful concert. Alumni and students performed a variety of originals and standards in honor of Marshall Hawkins, their beloved teacher.



My sister Ren spent some time in Mexico earlier this month at a yoga retreat. She loved it. Later this year we’re going to do a sisters trip to a spa in Mexico just outside of Mexico City. It won’t be as rustic as her yoga retreat (it includes a massage every day!).




I have to add a recent photo of my sister Lorna. She’s still very happy to be living in Carson City, Nevada. Her daughter Amy is close by, and all of her old friends. Yeah, we spend too much time shopping, but we can’t help it — it’s in the DNA!


I’ll sign off for now. This time next week Buenos Aires and then we head south to Ushuaia, my favorite place to board a ship!