Sunday, May 1, 2016

Past Trip: London April 2016

London April 16 to April 25, 2016.
The purpose of the trip was to attend The Eldest's Wedding in London where she lives. It may have all started here, in 1993.
Sights:
The Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales theater, some foul language.
Wellcome Collection, Saw 2 exhibits, This is a Voice and States of Mind. Both were good, I enjoyed This is a Voice better.
Royal London Hospital Museum, Small museum, but well laid out.
Old Spitialfields Market. I don't know how some of the vendors make any money. Bought a new Barbour jacket.
V and A Museum of Childhood, A collection of toys kids would have had throughout the ages. We made the visit for the St George's Day concerts, playing were Beacontree Brass Band, a group playing Swedish tunes and a group singing sea chanteys. Could have lived without the Sea Chanteys.
Schott Music, store sells sheet music and books about music. Saw a Contemporary Guitar concert, 3 different artists. Howard Alden was the headliner. Events are listed here.
London Fields Brewery Tour and tasting. Small brewery, good tour, good beer.
Murdock, not really a sight. Had a wet shave here. Was quite enjoyable and relaxing.

Food:
Busaba, Thai food.
Andina, Peruvian. Excellent. Had my first Pisco Sour the national drink of Peru in London.
Chop Shop, on Haymarket in St. James. Not far from the Prince of Wales Theater. Very good.
Bela Vita Broadway, South Hackney London, Italian. Tried to get Sunday Roast at the Dove, but it was packed. Got to hear about the MiniMoon to Cornwall.

Pubs:
The Owl and the Pussycat, Shoreditch
Young's  bitter 3.7%
 The upstairs room set up for the reception.
The upstairs bar. I had one beer here before I realized some were heading downstairs for some real ale. I had a bitter that I can't recall, but the Young's Bitter was a much better Bitter. The Bartenders made some nice drinks, we ran into one of the bartenders on another night and he remembered us.
The Wedding Cake. One layer white, one layer Red Velvet.

Bree Louise, Euston.
We had 4 great pies and some excellent real ales after the Wellcome Collection visit, just a few blocks away. The Young One got a cider/perry. A CAMRA award winning pub, the food was better than I expected after walking in. I'll keep this place in mind for our next visit, we usually visit the Wellcome Collection.

Approach Tavern, near Victoria Park
Oatmeal IPA and a bitter and lunch after the Museum of Childhood visit. A very nice place.

London Fields Brewery, Hackney
Tried 2 cask conditioned ales and 2 keg ales.
White IPA, Shoreditch Triangle IPA 6%, Red ale 4.2% and another I can't recall.
Flight Home




Lodging:

Our first AirBnB experience was good, the flat in Shoreditch was clean and spacious, though the table and counters were black and showed every finger mark. We had 2 bedrooms, and 2 and a half baths. Close to a bus stop, an Overground station and there were lots of restaurants in the area.

Expenses:
4 adults, 8 days
1USD = 0.66GBP

Sunday, April 10, 2016

April Flowers

Have not put up any flower photos lately, but there have been plenty.
The Heaths and Heather have been pruned, the garlic still has more to go before harvest time, some herbs were planted today and spinach and lettuce was planted a week ago.

Current Blooms:
 Planted these 2 Hyacinth last fall not realizing they would match the Periwinkle.
 Azure Bluets, these delicate plants have lasted very well though out the years. Their light blue color has faded since they first bloomed.

 Had lots of these Winter Aconite this year.




Beers in the Fridge:
Shiner Bock, 4.4% ABV, 13 IBU, just ok, no need to get again. Thin, sweet, bland.
Brooklyn 1/2 Ale (3.4% ABV,) Very nice. Will add this to the rotation.
Weihenstephaner Heffe Weissbier (5.4% ABV, 14 IBU) Made at Bavaria's oldest Brewery. The Eldest and her mann visited and had a good time. Would buy this again.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Antarctic Landings 2016

The Antarctic, January, the Year of our Lord Two Thousand and sixteen.

For the first 3 days off the coast of Antarctica we saw no other ships.
The weather every day was variable, but the thermometer readings were consistent, hovering around 0 degrees Celsius every day.

Locations listed below are shown using Latitude and Longitude in degrees and minutes. A degree and minute of latitude stay constant at 69 miles per degree and 1.15 miles per minute. Longitude degree and minute distances decrease as the distance from the equator increases, lines of longitude meet at the poles.

The Antarctic Treaty provides site guidelines for the Historic sites located in the Antarctic here. We did not visit them all.

Our excursions below the Antarctic Circle (66° 33' 39")

Day 1, Tuesday 19:
67°22' S 69°22' W
This was the furthest south we traveled on our trip.
The First Excursion, a Zodiac cruise at 1:15PM was off the coast of Adelaide Island, near where the letter G is on the left of the map above. The goal was to enter Marguerite Bay and cruise north through "The Gullet"(67°10' S 67°38' W), but the Bay was iced in. This Zodiac cruise was the wettest, if you had not been baptized in the morning as we crossed the Antarctic Circle by King Neptune, you got yours now.
The ship as seen from the Zodiac, off the coast of Adelaide Island.
Day 2, Wednesday 20:
AM: 66° 52′ S, 66° 48′ W
Our first landing was on Detaille Island(AT site guide), near Liard Island in map above. On the island was British Antarctic Research Base "W" used from 1956 to 1959. We visited the hut now maintained by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust. The base is now maintained as it was left.
The landing was uneventful, following a visit to the hut, we trudged up to the lookout point to the left in the photo above.


The pantry containing some well known items.
It is said that HP sauce augments the flavor of Penguin very well.
The hut on our return from the lookout point.

PM: Zodiac cruise in the Lallemand Fjord, south of Detaille Island.
On this afternoon cruise we saw a lot of icebergs, there was no snow today, but the clouds were low.



Excursions above the Antarctic Circle

Day 3, Thursday 21:
The French Passage (bottom left of map above) was taken to get to these islands.
AM: 65°14′S 64°10′W
A Zodiac cruise among the Yalour Islands in the snow. Photography was difficult.
PM: 65°10′S 64°08′W
Petermann Island(AT site guide), this was a tough landing up onto icy rocks. It was still snowing in the afternoon, not such a pleasant day, it was hard to see because of the snow.
The 2 landings were 4 minutes of Latitude apart, about 4.5 miles.
A view of the ship from Petermann Island with staff and Adélie penguins in the foreground. The emergency gear is in the lower left of the photo.
This little yacht was in the harbor when we showed up, not something I would like to do.
Once back on board the ship, we cruised north through the Lemaire Channel with low ceilings.

Day 4, Friday 22:
AM: 64°49’S 63°30’W
A Zodiac cruise in and around Dorian Bay, too windy and rough to land at Damoy Point(AT site guide). There are two huts at this location, the Damoy Hut, a British Antarctic Survey(BAS) hut established in 1975 and an Argentine hut, named Bahia Dorian established in 1953.
British hut in blue, Argentine hut with Argentine Flag.

The first ship we saw since arriving, The MS Bremen, sailing for the Hapag-Lloyd cruiseline carrying 155 passengers.

PM: 64º49'S, 63º30'W
Our visit included Port Lockroy(AT site guide) on Goudier Island, and Jougla Point(AT site guide) on Wiencke Island. The Port Lockroy site is also maintained by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust. The site contains a museum, gift shop and post office, Penguin research is also part of the staff's tasks. The responsibility for our postcards(took 8 weeks to arrive) were handed over to the staff at Port Lockroy, our passports received a stamp from the Staff there as well. Further information about Port Lockroy may be found here.
The approach to Port Lockroy, Bransfield House (Base A) is just visible.
The landing at Port Lockroy was a bit tricky. They had missed 12 boats so far this season(November to March) because of weather. In the 2014-15 season, Port Lockroy was visited by 16,742 people(IAATO statistics).


Bransfield House containing the museum, gift shop and Royal Postbox.




A view of Jougla point, our next landing.


The staff hut at Port Lockroy seen from Jougla Point.  
Day 5, Saturday 23:
AM: 64º53'S, 62º52'W
Argentine Antarctic Base, Almirante Brown Station, from 1951 to 1984 it was a year round base, now summer season only. It is on the Antarctic Continent, our sixth continent. A short hike is required to get to a good view of Paradise Harbor.
This is the first building encountered from the landing site.
 Paradise Harbor.
During our landing, there were workers clearing up the remains from the April 1984 fire started by a disgruntled employee. Middle right of the photo.

PM: 64º41'S, 62º38'W
Cuverville Island (AT site guide) was an easy beach(cobbles) landing with a wide swath of snow leading to a steep set of cliffs. All areas were inhabited by Penguins. The Biologists said the distance the Penguin parents were required to travel to get to their nests had very little to do with the success of the chicks. The island has the largest Gentoo breeding colony in the Antarctic.
 This group of penguins were in the protected area.

Day 6, Sunday 24:
AM: 64°44’S, 62°36’W
Danco Island(AT site guide), easy beach landing, followed by a cruise.




PM:
Wilhelmina Bay cruise, north of Danco Island.
We saw Humpback whales.



Day 7, Monday 25:
AM: 64°24’S, 61°31’W
Graham Passage cruise, the passage separates Murry Island and the continent. The scenery was stunning, a highlight was seeing a Leopard seal feeding. Not as gross as expected. A calm and sunny day, nice for a change, but would not have wanted every day to be sunny.





PM: 63°54’S, 60°47’W
D'Hainaut Island(AT site guide) in Mikkelsen Harbor off the coast of Trinity Island. Whale bones and the skeletons of small boats at the easy beach landing site on the northeast side of the island, an Argentine refuge hut is located on the southeast portion of the island. This afternoon the skies turned overcast and the wind started up.


After returning to the ship from D'Hainaut Island, we headed north back towards Ushuaia. The homewards Drake Passage crossing was calm.