Finally above water. And Flying.

The last few weeks I’ve felt like I’m underwater. It’s been hard to get a really deep breath. And impossible to sigh. Too much going on, particularly on the work front. But finally it’s slowing down. On Sunday I was able to sit down and dive into my pictures (fair warning: they are many). I had to find out what I’ve been up to between all the Sundays that have flown by in a flash. And, indeed, I’ve been underwater for real. For the first time in years. Here’s the proof.

However, I wouldn’t bank on a career as an underwater photographer. For obvious reasons. But as I’m flying north and more north today, it warms my soul to look back at pictures from a short cruise to Bahamas with my friends last month. That was so much fun. And food, I might add.

During the first day at sea, we had time to examine our ship, the Enchantment of the Seas. And there was much to explore, from vast sundecks, solariums and common gathering places to bars, restaurants, entertainment venues and shops. Plenty of programming too. Anyone so inclined could easily put stress right back into their lives and run from one event to another. Not me and my friends. We wanted to relax and enjoy the sail. Lagom is best as we say in Sweden. Life onboard was full of small delights, such as the ‘animals’ I would find in my cozy stateroom waiting for me on the sofa or on the bed every night.

Our first port of call was Nassau, the capital of Bahamas. It seemed to be the port of call for some other ships as well. I suspect this scene gets repeated many times each week.

I had been there twice before, but coming from the north I had spent my days mostly on the beach. This time was different. We set out to discover the city. We started off by visiting Fort Charlotte (est. 1788) situated on a hill above the town. It certainly was a great place to spot enemy ships approaching from the ocean. Luckily we were only approached by an army of vendors.

Quite unexpectedly, we spotted Christopher Columbus.  In October 1492, he sighted a Bahamian island (probably the Watling Island) and believed he had arrived in East Asia. Poor man. He went ashore and claimed this Asia for his sponsors in Spain. Sponsorship is quite an established phenomenon.

We also visited the John Watling Rum Distillery. It was a tasty experience. The Pina Colada we were served didn’t leave much to desire…other than perhaps a more generous serving.

On the distillery grounds I finally got an opportunity to ‘shoot’ some birds. Two handsome roosters were touring the front yard.

I also discovered that the flower and fruit trees along our route matched the many colorful buildings in town…

… and that the little barrier islands out in the sea were, indeed, very Caribbean.

We also visited the Paradise Island, just over the Sidney Poiter Bridge from Nassau, famous its trademark hotel, the Atlantis.

We politely declined the offer to stay at the Michael Jackson Penthouse Suite for the bargain price of $25,000 a night. We simply couldn’t stay for the required minimum of four nights as we had to head back to the ship. But I have to say the hotel is quite impressive. Both outside and inside. The massive aquarium was definitely worth a visit.

Our second port of call was Cococay, a tropical island less than a day’s sail away from Nassau. That day was all about relaxation. On the beach, in the water and underwater. 

The only wildlife, in addition to some seabirds, I spotted on the island were iguanas. Several families with parents, kids, aunts and uncles.

That was a fun little cruise which still warmed me when I had to go to chilly NYC shortly after coming home. My week there was filled with meetings, but I got one free afternoon. I decided to play tourist…and take pictures.

I started at the 911 memorial and museum. That visit was a stark reminder of that sad and chaotic day in 2001, which I had experienced in Washington D.C. All my memories from that horrible day came back.

While there, I decided to visit the Observatorium at the new World Trade Center One. The views from up there were fantastic. 

I rounded up my afternoon on a cruise around Manhattan. The city appeared softer and somewhat more … human in the warm light of the setting sun.


And I really wanted to see Lady Liberty again. It had been quite a while, but I still remembered the steep staircase up to her crown. Now I admired her from the water. Amazingly, she  doesn’t seem to age like the rest of us.

Okay. After a work filled couple of weeks at home onto the next adventure. Right now I’m in the windy city waiting for my next flight over the big pond to celebrate the holidays with family. I’m hoping to exchange the warm holiday lights at home to a white Christmas.

Thank you all for heart-warming friendships here in the blogging world. I wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas and lots of blessings in the new year. 

Help! Where was I?

The answer is here, there and everywhere. And I don’t even know where to begin. Perhaps warm greetings from a chilly NYC, where I’ve worked this past week, would be in place?

I can’t believe I’ve been away from here for over six weeks. Various adventures near and far with my friends visiting from Sweden have filled my days… sprinkled with some necessary work sessions. And then a completely unnecessary bout of severe cold kept me ‘lying flat’ for days. But now I’m upright and on the go again. Feeling thankful for it.

Our nearby adventures included, of course, the salt marsh. This past month that little village has been lively. Many migrating birds have made a stopover there to mingle with the locals.

The Mayor has tried to keep peace among the sometimes unruly crowds, but despite his watching eye, the Clown (aka the Reddish Egret) got into trouble. It started innocently enough. A Wood Stork was trying to catch a fish. But the Clown got upset and flashed his red hair… and that was it!

The larger bird went into attack. And the Clown had to flee!

That was the first time I have seen him retreating. Ever.

He had met his match and settled on a small islet. He was sulking. Or maybe mulling over what just happened.

That day the marsh had more than fifty visitors. Birds everywhere. Some were flying…

Others were running…

Many were fishing…

One or two were dreaming…

Or just mingling and giving speeches…

Mama Sandy was, as always, only watching the nest and the skies. She couldn’t be bothered with the crowds. She knows they come and go.

One day my friends went for a walk with Dylan when I had to take a break … for work. And Tony spotted something special. Sandy had allowed Stanley to the nest although the nesting season was still more than a month away!

I hadn’t seen Stanley for a couple of weeks, so perhaps they had an argument and he’d gone away for a while? To let it cool down. And when he finally returned and brought her a fish as a sign of reconciliation, she allowed him to perch on the nest. Here is the proof. Thanks Tony!

And after that they have been flying a lot together. The other day when I was trying to work while battling a bout of bad cold, they flew several times past my office window.

And one morning I saw them working together. They were chasing a huge Bald Eagle away from the salt marsh. I had no camera, but Dylan is my witness. They took turns to dive on the back of the eagle until it got tired and flew to the other side of the bay where it lives.

But I spotted a juvenile Bald Eagle on one of our trips to Taylor Park. It was trying to fish, but gave up after several unsuccessful attempts and flew back into the forest.

My friends liked Taylor Park too. So many birds always show up…
…just to disappear like magic.

And it is quite a thrill to spot a gator lurking around and looking at you…

We got to see many more of them on an airboat ride with Captain Duke we did in the central Florida swamps.

In fact, we were guests in their very special world.

We spotted numerous huge old ones in and out of the water…

And deep in the swamp, we saw a baby gator who had dared to come out of the nest hole all alone.

It was a great journey through the St. John’s River swamps, or the ‘real Florida’ as our captain put it.

Of course we spotted lots of birds as well, but it was not easy to capture them on camera while speeding through the waters.

It was an adventure deep into nature my friends appreciated.

Although they flew back home a couple of weeks ago, you can still participate in more adventures right here in the coming weeks.
Thank you for coming along to the salt marsh, the Taylor Park and to the central Florida swamps. Have a great weekend. Lady Liberty says hi.