Category Archives: Travel

Cruise Ship Comparison

The cruise ships are back in Seattle.  A year of cruise travel didn’t happen while COVID was raging and no vaccinations were available.  Now they seem to have found a protocol to make cruises viable.  (Not something I would be trying but each to their own.)  When we were down in the city for a weekend, we got to the hotel shortly before one of the cruise ships sailed.  It belonged to the Norwegian cruise line and was a huge thing.  It was not an elegant looking ship but it clearly had plenty of capacity.

It sailed off on its trip – presumably towards Alaska – and a little while later the other end of the cruise ship spectrum showed up.  The National Geographic Venture is not a traditional cruise ship.  They have small vessels that are able to make more specialized trips into restricted spaces that the large cruise ships could never get to.  We have looked at their cruises to Alaska as something that we might want to do at some point.  The season is over for them now so it was not clear what the boat was up to but it couldn’t have looked more different than the Norwegian ship.

Fort Retrospective

Some memories recently came up on Facebook from a visit we had to Spitbank Fort for my Mum’s birthday eight years ago.  I posted on the blog at the time but, looking back on it, I didn’t really give it much coverage.  These days I can get multiple posts out of an event but in those days I was a bit more brief.  Consequently, I figured a few different shots from the visit would be okay to share.

It was a great trip.  We were on the fort for a little under 24 hours.  A boat took us out in time for lunch, then we could explore the fort in the afternoon.  Drinks and dinner were served and then the evening concluded up on the top where the hot tub and fire pit were located.  Breakfast the following morning concluded things and the boat took us back to shore.

The fort only has a small number of rooms so our group had exclusive use of it for the time we were there and you really did feel like you were somewhere special.  It was not a sunny day but it was still nice enough to be out on the upper levels watching the boat traffic around Spithead.  I understand that they forts are currently up for sale so it will be interesting to see what happens to them next.

HMS Warrior

Continuing a theme from some recent posts with preserved Royal Navy ships, I add another part of the Portsmouth historic dockyard.  HMS Warrior was the world’s first iron hulled warship.  See served a reasonable career as a warship but, as was the case in those days, technology moved on fast and she was gradually relegated to lesser duties.  Eventually she became a hulk for storage and then a floating oil jetty.  Restoration was undertaken in Hartlepool in the 80s and she was opened to the public in Portsmouth in 1987.

I have not ever visited her.  I moved away from the area around the time she arrived and, while I have been back there more recently, I didn’t include her as part of the visit.  I have photographed her from a distance though.  Writing this has made me think that I need to visit at some point.  With Victory and Mary Rose in the same area, you might get a bit “shipped out” but I shall have to give it a go some time.

What Is Farmed Here?

Eastsound is the main town on Orcas Island.  As you head out of the town center towards the eastern side of the island, you go along the shoreline of a wide bay.  The tide was out as we drove over that way and there were some frames set in to a section of the beach.  Clearly this is an area which would be submerged at high tide so I assume it is used to farm something.  Shellfish of some sort were what I assumed but I don’t know for sure.  If anyone has any suggestions as to what they might be, please let me know in the comments.

Old Victory Shot

I was searching through my archive looking for some ship shots and the keyword search threw up a few extras that were separate from what I was after.  It included some shots of HMS Victory.  Victory is one of the most famous warships in the UK.  She was the flagship of Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar and he died on her deck as the battle was won.  She survived after her main career was over and sat afloat at Portsmouth for many years before being restored and put on display in a dry dock in the navy base.

I have been on board a few times over the years.  I have some old photos from the film days that I took and also some aerial shots of her and thought I might share them here.  I understand that she has recently undergone a further restoration.  The hull had been sagging around the supports underneath and so she has been repaired and the support system modified.  It is also now possible to go under the hull as part of the visit.  This is something I would like to try when I next have time during a visit to the UK.

Osborne House

I was digging through images for something else and came across some aerial shots I took while flying around the Isle of Wight with my relative and fellow aviation nut, Pete.  We had been flying up to Cowes from the west end of the Island and then turned to go around East Cowes and off towards Ryde.  I grabbed a bunch of shots of Osborne House.  Now managed by English Heritage, it was one of the homes of Queen Victoria.  Not that this is a recommendation for holidaying on the Isle of Wight, but it is where she died.

I think I have shared some photos of it before but these don’t show up in my list of previously posted shots so I thought I would throw these on to the blog to provide some geographical variety and also to cover for the fact that I don’t have a huge amount to post at the moment!

Back to Cascade Falls

On our previous trip to Orcas, we took in Cascades Falls as part of a hike.  We repeated the hike this time but, since we started a little earlier in the day and the days were longer, we didn’t have quite the same pressure to make sure we got back before things got dark.  Consequently, when we got to Cascade Falls, I was able to spend a bit more time taking the diversion down to the river to see the falls from lower angles and get some images and video that I hadn’t had a go at on the previous visit.  While everything was a lot warmer than last time, there had been a fair bit of rain recently which meant the falls still had a good flow coming over them.  As is the way with waterfalls, they look more impressive when you are at the bottom than when you are above them.

Heron Fast Food Joint

I walked out on to the jetty at Olga to look back at the shoreline.  A short distance around the shore was an inlet which had about a dozen herons fishing within it.  They were constantly stalking through the shallows and grabbing at fish as they passed by.  With so many of them there, it must be a productive place to hunt.  A heron drive through (or should that be fly through?).

Competitor Dreamliners

I took this shot at Haneda Airport in Tokyo.  The 787 has sold well with the Japanese carriers – my trip to Tokyo was on a JAL 787-8 and ANA was the launch operator – and with these two airlines competing strongly for the Japanese market, it seemed slightly appropriate that they should both be in this single shot.

Zipair

There is some rationalization underway in the Japanese airline business at the moment.  JAL and ANA are both taking control over smaller operations as a result of the difficulties that COVID has placed upon them.  However, even before COVID reared its ugly head, JAL had created a new subsidiary.  This is called Zipair.  I recently read that it is due to start operations soon which surprised me because I thought I had seen its planes before.  It turns out I saw one of their 787s as it was parked up at Narita when the flight I was on was taxiing in after landing.  I guess that airframe hasn’t had much use yet.