Thursday, August 18, 2016

08.18.16 Sailing races in Boston Harbor

One of the activities I really enjoy is racing. There are Wednesday night races at Cottage Park Yacht Club and weekend races with all sailing clubs in the Boston area.  Last night was a great race - it was a rumble with a lot of really beautiful sail boats participating.

But can you believe it - I did not have a camera last night! Left it on the counter at home. So I am posting a few from my last few races from before I left for Yap. If friends from last night email me any pictures from last night, I will post them later. There is still a fair amount of racing to do this season.

"Shout" is one of our favorite boats because of her very clever spinnaker. Shout raced last night, too.

 2014 weekend races - national competitors. We were sitting up on a hillside on Deer Island to watch the races - a completely different prospective to be able to see all of the action.

Rounding the mark.

Sometimes a little help is needed to extend the main sail and boom. This is Don on Pajama Girl.

"Spirit". I raced on her last night. Great crew and skipper. It was a fun night and they were very kind for allowing me to join them. We might not have won, but we all had a great time.

Beautiful sunsets on Boston Harbor.


Entering CPYC. My Mimi is far in the background.

"Pajama Girl" at sunset. Skipper is Charlie, a very kind man and a very good skipper. One of my favorite pictures taken while I was volunteering on the race committee boat. Working on the RC boat really helped me understand racing and it was a great way to meet other members of the club and helping with an important component of racing. I usually race on Pajama Girl, but she left the dock before I got there. Traffic in Boston is sometimes a challenge. Who am I kidding - it is always a challenge!
Even Fionnegan and Gunnarr got into sailing. Here they are wearing their lifejackets as we went out for an afternoon with a friend Richard. They had a great time and were very good. Sit, stay.
Post sailing beverages are an important ritual, even for the pups.


Monday, August 15, 2016

08.14.16 Beautiful summer morning

A beautiful early morning on the Concord River. No one else on the water. Peace and quiet and calm waters and a very gentle breeze. Saw an osprey, several great blue herons, and a few other common birds and a couple of turtles sunning themselves on a logs on the river edge. The turtles are fun to watch as they stretch their necks out to enjoy the morning sun. I try to be very quiet as the kayak slips close to the logs so I do not disturb them.

Enjoyed the quiet time alone and this was one of those rare times when I am at home that I do not have 8 paws with me. Although when I took the kayak off the car wen I came home I think Fionnegan and Gunnarr figured out there were left behind while I was out having fun! They had gone out last year with me and as predicted, Gunnarr was afraid and actually jumped out of the kayak in the middle of the river and he had to swim to shore while Fionn had a great time sitting in the cockpit with me. They both had lifejackets and a very heavy leash so Gunnarr was never in harms way. I held on very gently but let him swim to shore on his own steam. He did a great job swimming but I picked him up by the lifejacket when we got to shore and said - OK let's try this again - sit, stay. He did better the second time. So when they saw the kayak on the car, I suspect they wanted to go again. Maybe next time. Maybe!

Later in the afternoon I took them on a nice, cool walk in the woods so they could get some exercise. Fionn got tired and I had to carry him for a while. For every walk, I also judge how far we will go by how likely I can carry them back to the car if they tire. Sometimes when one wants picked up, the other one will want up, too, and I have to carry both of them. Today, Gunnarr walked right by my - such a  good boy.

How do you like the bright pink kayak? Motor boats should be able to spot me a mile away!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Wildebeest - spare parts

The wildebeest (gnu) is a really curios animal and frequently is found feeding with zebras. While fairly common, I do enjoy watching them very much, even when others start to become tired or "used" to seeing them. A while ago a ranger  had told me the story of how God created the wildebeest and I found the story online. Hope you enjoy this characterization of one strange looking animal.

"I heard a Kalengin man once say that God created the wildebeest last using leftover parts from five animals. He said that God used:
- the horns of a buffalo,
- the head of a locust,
- the body of a cow,
- the tail of a lion and
- the legs of a goat."
Can you see these characteristic features in the wildebeest?

These lions had their eyes on the wildebeest as their next feast.

He finally picked up their scent and fled. The single animals, the very young and the old and sick are common prey for the lions. This wildebeest appeared to be quite healthy and watching him run was a real treat.

Here is us, now very much aware of the lions stalking him.

But as intrigued as I am with the wildebeest, I do find the zebra to be an all time favorite. Each zebra has a unique stripe pattern, and I am always checking to be certain no two are identical!


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

July visit to Pilanesberg National Park

This was a beautiful park only about 2.5 hours north of Johannesburg. I stayed at the Ivory Tree Lodge and the lodge is beautiful. And the food was delicious. When I arrived, Simon, one of the local elephants, had just entered the grounds of the lodge and had to be lured out. He entered near the room where I was supposed to stay, so they gave me an upgrade to pure luxury!

And I was able to see the big five - lion, buffalo, rhino, elephant and leopard. As a matter of fact, we saw two leopards and a black rhino as well as many white rhinos. What a treat. I am still a bit partial to zebras and wildebeasts, and we also saw many giraffes.

Here are a few pictures.

Vervet monkey grooming.

A thrush by my room.
Rhino crossing the road.
Wildebeest (gnu).


Simon, the local elephant.

Impalas grazing.

Yellow billed ducks at sunrise.

Sacred ibis.


Bird and animal watching at sunrise.

Black back jackal.

We had a flat tire along the way. Our ranger Marnu changed the tire while another kept watch, mostly along the road to keep him out of danger if a wild animal approached.


I followed this bird as he hopped from branch to branch trying to get a photograph. Finally - got him!

A baby rhino with his Mom.

Marnu, our ranger, in his office. No computer, no telephone. Just pure wonder and beauty.

Will someone get me a drink! A little girl was worried the monkey would drink all of the wine!

The monkeys like sugar from the packets and jelly, too! They got into everything on my last morning there. Can you imagine monkeys and little birds (who cleaned up after the monkeys) on a sugar high!

Beautiful paintings in the lobby of the Ivory Tree Lodge. I would really like to find the artist (Barb P Coner).

An absolutely beautiful room.

A bath with a view. What luxury!

An outdoor shower.

A great place to sit in the afternoon and watch birds.


Buffalo grazing in the field quite a distance from the jeep.

The park in Pilanesberg.

He was a very long way off.

Marnu, wildlife park ranger.

Baby zebra.

Lions hunting a wildebeast. He was far enough away that he was able to run away.
A leopard on the prowl, crossed the road in front of the car. Amazing.