Cruising on the Swan River to Artistic Fremantle, Australia

Black swans are the namesake of the Swan River in Perth, Western Australia

Black swans dot the banks and give the Swan River her name according to the commentary on board the hour-long Captain Cook cruise from Perth to Fremantle in Western Australia (WA). It was a late spring day with a light breeze. The river sailing was smooth and the commentary identified key sights like the Royal […]

Waka Taua (War Canoes) at Waitangi Treaty Grounds in New Zealand

Maori waka taua at Waitangi Treaty Grounds in New Zealand

Walking towards the waka house, we listened as our guide brilliantly narrated New Zealand’s history.  While many say it was discovered by Dutchman Abel Tasman in 1642, the reality is that the Maori people had arrived 650 years earlier. With only 1000 years of history, New Zealand is one of the world’s youngest nations. Our guide told a version of the story I […]

Photo Tour: Cruising into Venice Italy

Cruising into Venice Italy on the NCL Spirit 2

Cruising into Venice Italy is one of those magical travel moments. For us, it was several years ago, and we were on the NCL Spirit. We stood at the bow of the cruise ship, and despite the crowds, looking out it was captivating. I shared my photos of Venice from the ship, but for some reason these remained in my […]

Astoria: Highlights of Oregon’s Northernmost Coastal Community

Rose River Inn B&B in Astoria Oregon

Astoria sits in the northwest corner of Oregon, at the base of the Columbia River. It is the first permanent settlement on the west coast. It’s an adorable city built around the fishing, lumber and fur industries, yet its main waterway holds many hazards. Astoria was our first overnight stop as we began our adventure driving the […]

Highlights of Chicago in a Day

Picasso sculpture in Chicago Illinios

Chicago is one of my favorite cities to visit, as well as being my city of birth. Loaded with fascinating things to see and do, it is impossible to see all the highlights of Chicago in a day. Unfortunately, that was all we had last month, so we made some hard choices. Dividing the city […]

Chicago Architecture: Best Seen from the River

Chicago skyline as seen from a river tour

While Chicago hasn’t been my home for over 30 years, Chicago architecture still fascinates me. Considered the birthplace of the American skyscraper, Chicago’s eclectic architecture can best be enjoyed from the river. We chose a Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady Cruises. Even before we pulled away from the dock, our […]

Sunken ship – #AtoZ Postcards of New Zealand

Sunken Ship on Okoromai Bay in Auckland, New Zealand

S is for sunken ship. Practical Information:  This ship is one of three that were sunk on purpose to create a shelter inside Okoromai Bay on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. The other two are deeper, not visible, and not that near. It can only be seen at low tide, and the photo was taken at a king low […]

Ocean Sailing – #AtoZ Postcards of New Zealand

Ocean Sailing? In days past, today this boat just goes out from the Auckland Maritime Museum

O is for ocean sailing . . .  or offshore fun. Practical Information:  This is the Ted Ashby, a ketch-rigged deck scow. It sails nearly everyday from the Auckland Maritime Museum. As an island nation, people arrived here via ocean sailing. It’s only in modern times that there are alternative forms of transportation. The Auckland Maritime Museum […]

Inlet – #AtoZ Postcards of New Zealand

An inlet along the northern coast of New Zealand

I is for inlet. Practical Information:  There is over 14,000km of coastline in New Zealand. This inlet is one of 1000’s of beautiful and peaceful spots. I captured this shot through an open window at Mangonui Fish Shop in Northland, a popular spots for fish and chips on the North Coast. The shot was taken looking out towards Doubtless […]

Auckland Boat Show: Both on and off the Water

Auckland on the Water Boat Show 2015 - New Zealand

I never thought it would happen. Yesterday I fell in love with a catamaran at the Auckland Boat Show. Sleek, sexy and welcoming, she is large enough to live aboard, yet her rigging is compact enough to allow her to sail single handed. Best of all, I can see 360 degrees from the helm. At […]

Photo: Cliffs at the Golden Hour in Okoromai Bay, Auckland

Golden hour on Okoromai Bay, Shakespear Park, Auckland New Zealand

Golden hour* on a cloudy night, the last bit of sunlight sneaking through and lighting up the cliff:   *Just before sunset the colors get softer and redder. Photographers call this the golden hour. To improve your golden hour photography check out these 5 Tips for Golden Hour Photography from the Digital Photography School. Last […]

Yacht Racing in the City of Sails: Auckland New Zealand #AtoZ

Look forward while yacht racing

If you know me I am sure you guessed that “yacht racing” would be my choice for the letter Y.  It was almost “B” for boating, but I didn’t want to confuse my passion for boats without a sail (Sorry Sandee).  Besides, my theme is Amazing Auckland from AtoZ and Auckland is the “City of […]

Riverhead Tavern, Red Boats, and a Relaxing Afternoon #AtoZ

The Red Boat leaving Riverhead Tavern, Auckland, New Zealand

An afternoon at Riverhead Tavern is about the journey, as much as the destination. My adventure started in Auckland, where I boarded the Red Boats for a 90 minute leisurely cruise on a river system I had yet to explore (see the map below). We traveled on the calm waters of the upper Waitamata Harbour […]

G is for Gantry – AmaZing Auckland #AtoZ

Gantry crane at the main Port of Auckland, New Zealand

The huge gantry cranes at the Port of Auckland carefully transported a container with all our belongings from ship to shore nearly 12 years ago when we immigrated to New Zealand. It was one of many, in fact in 2014, Auckland handled 610,822 containers. Very few have personal belongings. New Zealand top exports include: Concentrated Milk […]

The Big Reveal of My 2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge Theme

Sunset on an Auckland Beach

Last May I was hiking through one of the Auckland Regional Parks when I came upon something really unusual. Fortunately there was a sign, so I learned that this mystery started with the letter “U”. It was at that moment, nearly a year ago, that I knew my theme for the 2015 A to Z […]

Volvo Ocean Race Around the World – New Zealand Stopover

Crossing the start line at the Pro-Am during the New Zealand stop over of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Auckland knows how to throw a party, and I could feel the excitement in the air as I approached.  First there was information about the race, then the live music,  but I was too excited to stop and read much. I just wanted to see the boats.  A few more steps and there they were, […]

Weekend Travel Inspiration: Sail Away

sail away, tall ships sailing in Auckland harbour, New Zealand

What inspires you to travel? Is it dreams, photos, or just an opportunity to sail away . . . “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade […]

Dangerous Duties: Dangers of the Sea at Auckland Maritime Museum

Climbing up the mast of the Breeze at Dangerous Duties and the Voyager Maritime Museum in Auckland

This past weekend the Voyager Maritime Museum in Auckland had a special open day dedicated to the most dangerous duties at sea.  The highlight for my teen was getting an opportunity to climb up the rigging on the Breeze. There were many different rescue boat and life boats present. Thinking about spending any time in one […]

On Board Steinlager 2 – A Bit of New Zealand’s History

Staning at the helm of Steinlager 2, winner of 1989/90 Whitbread Around the World Race

We all have our heroes. Sir Peter Blake is one of mine. Maybe that’s why I was so exciting to step aboard the Steinlager 2. It’s his boat. Well, technically it’s New Zealand Sailing Trust’s yacht, it is Sir Peter Blake who skippered to an unprecidented victory, winning all six legs of the Whitbread Round […]

Living the Dream at the Auckland on the Water Boat Show

Auckland On the Water Boat Show

It’s easy to visualize my life as a multi-million dollar super yacht owner whilst I standing on-board a $5 million dollar vessel. It’s not mine, however, the fantasy is made so easy at the Auckland on the Water Boat Show.  With nearly 200 exhibitors and over 200 boats, it’s easy to live the dream in […]

Photos: Dragon Boat Races in Gulf Harbour, New Zealand

Drummer on dragon boat

My generally quiet town of Gulf Harbour hosted dragon boat races last weekend. The last time I saw a dragon boat was at the Summer Palace in Beijing, China, although that one was quite touristy and not human powered. Imagine my surprise to have actual dragon boat races on the next bay over from my […]

Photos: International Mine Countermeasures Exercise 2014 in Auckland

international mine countermeasures exercise

Pretty cool to have the New Zealand Navy on the beach by our house for an international mine countermeasures exercise and Diving Exercises. The letter from the navy stated: “The exercise will involve 600 personnel and five ships from 14 nations and will test our ability to respond to a humanitarian emergency in the Pacific.” Army […]

Auckland: Dusk to Darkness – A Night Photography Workshop

night photography

Auckland is nicknamed the City of Sails for good reason. It’s estimated that one in four Aucklander’s have a boat. I am not sure if we really count, as we currently only have kayaks and a dinghy. (I race on a friend’s yacht.) Thursday night I took an amazing night photography workshop from Three Little […]

Whale Watching in Hoonah – Alaska Cruise Port Icy Strait Point

AK - Hoonah 647

Whale Watching in Hoonah will probably be the highlight of this 2 week Alaska adventure we are enjoying. I know everyone who takes a whale watching trip here in Icy Straight Point will see whales, but I really believe our trip with Hoonah Travel Adventures gave us far better opportunity than those who chose an […]

Rainbow Warrior Tour and a Greenpeace Joke

greenpeace rainbow warrior

Yesterday I had a Rainbow Warrior tour onboard the Greenpeace boat as she was docked in Auckland. Greenpeace’s new Rainbow Warrior sailed into Auckland’s Princes Wharf on Friday.  We could see her huge sails off in the distance as she went by our home.  She is open to the public for free tours again today before she travels […]