Saturday, April 30, 2011

Friday, April 29th, Santa Cruz & Carmel


My Aunt Kitty and I drove to Santa Cruz and Carmel today, on our first leg of our journey together to San Diego.   The Boardwalk at Santa Cruz was beautiful, and Kitty kept remarking on how it was so clean.  Evidently, Lowell and the Boston area gets dirty often, what with all that winter snow and rain, and few city dollars to repair things.

It must have been an unofficial day off from school, because there were lots of school kids enjoying themselves.  I got to play with the new camera lens we bought for our trip next January to Africa.  It has very good focusing on telephoto, quick action shots.  I experimented with shots with lots of movement, and I'm pleased with the results.  I think we can capture on film those scenes of animals fleeing our jeeps.

Tonight, we had dinner at a restaurant in Carmel (Merlot).  Kitty had rabbit, and I had pork loin.   Hers was excellent, mine had too much fat.  We treated ourselves to ice cream cones after, and had a great walk along the beach at sunset.

Tomorrow, we're headed down the Pacific Coast Highway through Big Sur to Pismo Beach.  I've got a reservation at Pismo Sand RV for tomorrow night, and then we'll shoot for Austin (Kitty's son) in LA for Sunday afternoon late.  We'll be parking on the street that night, and heading to San Diego's Mission Bay on Monday.

We're having a lot of fun together.  When my mom left home with me (after Brown Military Academy, where according to Kitty, I was the cutest cadet in first grade), she (Kitty), we sort of lost touch with each other.  Kitty went to school in La Jolla, and I bounced around and ended up in Point Loma.  She knows our old neighborhood much more than I do, and it will be fun to go back with her this week and re-visit it.

For a look at the photos taken today, click on: Friday,April 29th, Santa Cruz



Saturday, April 16, 2011

April 15th, Home Again


A relaxing morning until 10am, then to the town's recycling center to deposit the visit's contributions, then to the Airport to drop off the car, and to the flight to drop off the luggage - and fly home.

With all our experience traveling, can you believe we picked up the wrong Eagle Creek luggage in SF, and brought it all the way to Santa Rosa before we discovered the mistake?  The Troths waited at the SF Luggage Claim until it became clear that the lonely Eagle Creek bag's owners must have picked up theirs.  A voicemail from them was waiting for us, and Pat will drive down to SF Airport tomorrow to return theirs and pick up ours.  And we thought our bag was so easy to spot.  We were in such a hurry to catch the 8:30pm Airporter that I grabbed what I thought had to be ours, and ran.

It even had similar shoes inside when we opened it.  The Troths were very understanding, and we do apologize.

But it is good to be home.  Art and Anne picked us up at the Day's Inn, and have no idea until they read this of the mixup.

There are a couple more photos of this very cute gekko from the Ili Ili Beachhouse this morning at: April 15th, Home Again


Friday, April 15, 2011

April 14th, South Kona, Hawaii


Okay, now for a little history on the last day before we leave.  I can't go to a place, even one as well known as Hawaii, and not try to learn something new about it.  We're staying just south of Capt Cook, a small coastal town on the west side of the Big Island.  So the history lesson is about the big guy.  And big he was (6'4"), a scottish farm boy raised in Yorkshire.  If his sailing and surveying prowess hadn't been proved in the 1750's and 60's while fighting my french ancestors at the Fortress of Louisbourg and in Quebec during the Seven Years War, he would never have been given command of the HMS Ships Endeavor and Resolution.  Contracted at first by the Royal Society to observe and record the transit of Venus across the Sun in the Pacific, he spent most of his time surveying the coastlines of eastern Australia, New Zealand, and the islands of the Pacific.

His second voyage took him further south to find for the Society a mythical continent beneath Australia.  Sailing eastward under the Cape of Good Hope, staying close to Antarctica, he thoroughly explored the waters south of Australia and New Zealand, but found nothing before continuing east under South America and home to England.

On his last voyage, he made for Tahiti to return a young native who had served as an interpreter for Cook on his second voyage.  But the real reason Cook embarked to the Pacific with dispatch was to try to find the Northwest Passage through Canada.  Upon reaching the western Canadian coast, he found both the Bering Sea and the local natives to be unyielding.  He did, however, map the North American northwest coast for the first time and determined the extent of Alaska.

But it is what happened next which matter to us.  On the way up from Tahiti, Cook became the first European to visit Hawaii.  He sailed into Waimea Harbor on Kauai in January of 1778, and named the archipeligo the "Sandwich Islands" after his sponsor, the fourth Earl of Sandwich.   On his way back home from Alaska, he sailed around the island of Hawaii and into the harbor just north of our beach house.  To his fortune, Hawaiians were celebrating Makahiki, a harvest festival in which the return of a God (Lono) was celebrated, and island circumnavigation was a common practice.  The month-long stay of Cook and his crew must have rocked the cove north of us, and his departure at the end of the ceremony would have been one to witness.  However, the mast on the God's ship broke, and they soon returned to the cove.  Quickly, relations broke down with the locals, and the second departure didn't go as smoothly.  When a group of natives stole a rowboat for its nails, Cook tried to lure a chief to his boat to hold him hostage for the return of the boat.  At the shorebreak, the Chief's wife pleaded for him to stay home, and things got out of hand.  As Cook turned to push his own boat through the surf, a member of the tribe struck him the head and another stabbed him in the back.  Cook was taken, and his death and the disbursement of his body parts has been recorded in many texts of the time.  Hawaiian culture would accept that he was given the burial accorded all Kings, where storage of royalty was treated not unlike our disbursement of bones of Catholic Saints to shrines all over the world.  After a time, some parts were returned to the Ship for a proper sea burial just outside the cove.  An obelisk stands at the Harbor head in memory of Captain Cook.  

We drove Ken and Dianne to the Airport, and then drove down along the coast to the point where in 1819, forty years after Cook's death, a revolt took place after the death of King Kamehameha.  Some in the ruling nobility had had enough of the old ways and the old religion.  The family's separate warrior forces had it out on the lava pictured above, and 300 (including the next King and his mother) are buried in cairns just above the surf.  Before the missionaries arrived to change the lives of Hawaiians, they were making big changes themselves.

There are a few other photos taken today, and they can be seen at: April14th, South Kona, Hawaii

We're flying home tomorrow morning.  Pat will be in her garden on Saturday, and I'm playing in a golf tournament at the Bennett Valley Golf Course.


Gregory and Pat

Thursday, April 14, 2011

April 13th, South Kona, Hawaii


Another day (and one of the last) in Paradise.  Today was the big drive around to Hilo and back.  Our targets were three waterfalls, a garden, and lunch on the eastern shore of Hawaii.  We had included the Mauna Kea Observatory, but had to scrap it due to a gas shortage (ours in the tank, and there being no stations in the middle of the island).

As it turned out, we were on the road for ten hours, and we enjoyed it thoroughly.  The Hilo are is full of green, lush, tropical areas just ripe for hiking and photographing.  The best snorkeling and swimming seems to be the Kona side, but the Hilo side also has its advantages.

Ken and Di are flying to Maui tomorrow, and we'll be staying one more day here and then flying home on Friday.  We've really enjoyed (again) our travels with them, and are planning our trip together to Africa next year.

Thanks again to our other partners, Art Kane and Anne Kain for our wonderful first week in Hawaii.  We look forward to more travels with them too.

To see the many photos we took today, click on: April 13th, South Kona, Hawaii


ps. And for those who reviewed yesterday's post early in the day, check it out again.  I added many more photos later in the day.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April 12th, South Kona, Hawaii


Dianne and I share phobias concerning wasps stemming from childhood encounters, but she is also sensitive to spiders.  I have to admit not looking forward to walking into huge webs (did you see "The Fly"?).    So it as to our great amazement (and some trepidation) that the trees alongside our house contained many versions of a very beautiful spider, which I'm including here.  It's been fun watching their yellow colors seem to get brighter each day, and the large "X"s on their web expand.  They are called "Saint Andrew's Cross".

Our drive yesterday took us to up the coast to have lunch at a huge resort (Mauna Lani), and to many small town antique, book,  and craft stores.  We also went whale watching, and were treated to a breach of the kind that photographers dream of.  However, seeing it as we sped between lava mounds along the road made it impossible to capture.  By the time we got to a turnout, it had gone deep.  We did hike and drive into several great viewing points, and the coast was gorgeous.

Today is a snorkeling day, after breakfast and lazing around for half the day.  But hey, that's Hawaii.

And ... it's Tuesday.  The snorkeling and dinner at Bubba Gumps were both great.  Here's some photos.

To see the photos taken yesterday and today, click on: April12th, South Kona, Hawaii