Sea otter.

River Otter vs Sea Otter: You Otter Know

Apparently river otters never got the memo about staying in the rivers. I’m a compulsive explainer. Wait, let me explain: I have worked as an interpretive naturalist for a very long time, and I really love what I do. So when I’m out for a walk, just minding my own business enjoying the fall colours, and something fantastic happens, I tend to kick into explainer […]

Continue reading
Near Oranjestad, Aruba

Aruba: Getting Around Is Half The Fun

Aruba is not like the rest of the Caribbean. One of the great things about traveling by cruise ship is that you can team up with as many people as you like to explore the ports… or you can say goodbye at the gangway and head out all by yourselves. Arriving at the beautiful harbour of Oranjestad, Aruba, we decided that it was time for […]

Continue reading

Autumn Mist Morning

When you walk the same  route every week of the year, you become finely attuned to the passing of the seasons. I spend at least part of every day wishing I had my camera with me—walking by scene after scene, trying to emblazon it on my memory, resolving that next time I’ll have my Nikon. I have been very slow to accept that decent photography […]

Continue reading

The Death of the Digital SLR Camera?

With the advent of truly decent cell-phone cameras, digital SLRs are gathering dust around the globe. The Financial Post this weekend features an article forecasting the demise of the digital single lens reflex (dSLR) camera, and with it, the fortunes of the venerable camera giants Canon and Nikon. Sales are heading south, apparently, with a 10-15% decline worldwide; Nikon’s shares are down a whopping 33% […]

Continue reading
Lower Dewey Lake, Skagway

Going Off-Broadway in Skagway, Alaska

A walk down Broadway, Skagway’s main street, is a bit like visiting Universal Studios. Carefully crafted wooden sidewalks are lined with a-little-too-rustic frontier-style wooden store fronts and “saloons”. Most of them seem to be purveying either jewelry or glow-in-the-dark t-shirts, although you can pick up a pretty sweet ulu knife at more than one shop. I don’t mean to sound cynical—it is a beautiful town, […]

Continue reading
Shawn told us a bit about the local history.

Cruising to Prosperity: Icy Strait Point, Alaska

A down-on-its-luck fishing village reinvents itself. A few years ago I went to visit a friend in a small coastal town in BC, and she described the place as “a little drinking village with a fishing problem.” That description could fit an awful lot of places on the coast, and it’s interesting to see how these towns, faced with sagging fishing and logging revenues, struggle […]

Continue reading
At sea, Alaska

At Sea Again, Cruising

  I never get tired of being at sea. It occurred to me today that this is probably our 35th cruise in five years. I never would have chosen cruising as a holiday style—I’ve always been an independent, off-the-beaten-path kind of explorer. But the work I do on cruise ships is so immensely satisfying, and the ports of call so endlessly varied, that we have […]

Continue reading
Salmon, Ketchikan River

The Salmon Stream, Mortality And Me

They tell me I can cross an Alaskan river on the backs of salmon and not get my feet wet. Here today, I can almost believe it. Today, I’m in Ketchikan, Alaska and it’s not raining. This is not a small thing. I have seen Ketchikan in gentle drizzle and I’ve seen it under sheets and sheets of pouring rain. But I can’t recall when […]

Continue reading

Primordial Splendour: The Hubbard Glacier

Fragments of ice up to ten stories tall began to peel off its face and crash into the sea below. I work as a cruise ship naturalist during part of my year, giving presentations about the wildlife and geography of places like Alaska, the Baltic, and the Mediterranean. It is exciting and tremendously rewarding work, and the luxury of cruise ship life (and the international […]

Continue reading
The streets of Montevideo

The Streets of Montevideo

Montevideo was recently recognized as having the best quality of life in all of Latin America. It seems that everyone nowadays needs a bucket list, that public register of Things You Must Accomplish before you join the choir invisible. I suppose it’s a nice idea—none of us is getting any younger, and it’s good to remember that all the things we dream of doing aren’t […]

Continue reading