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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Living Things We Have Known... and Those We Will Come to Know on Our Voyage

 I am sitting in front of our glowing fireplace (cuz it's so darn cold outside - yes, lots of new snow overnight even as we come to the end of March, 2011!!) cuddled up with our two puppies, Nessie and Harley:
Nessie, Princess of the House... sorry, of The World (she just corrected me)... our 11 year old Min Schnauzer cross
Harley, our 15+ year old Tibetan Terrier cross... and Nessie's slave boy

and thinking about Joey (or Joe Doug - play on Joe Dog- as he has come to be known in Prince George where he is now looking after Min and Nick - he has started up his own "Joe Doug" facebook page so you too can get to know him albeit virtually!) here in our 101 year old house in Calgary.
Bill in his own personal heaven snuggling with Joey (7 year old Black Lab) and Harley.
 Above is Joey (aka facebook Joe Doug) out and about in the woods.

Below is a little action clip of Harley and Ness out for a lovely run on Quadra Island.
   I am thinking about how sad it is that we will be leaving them behind when we head "over the horizon".  We know that lots of people do take their pets with them cruising and, for them,  it is quite a successful experience.  We have decided that this little trek will be challenging enough for us to stay safe and sound let alone worrying about little ones.  No thanks, not for us!

Living Things We Hope to Come to Know... during our Voyage through the South Pacific:

We are, however, looking forward to meeting up with some new animals including tropical birds, fishes, ocean and land mammals and a variety of other creeping, crawling, swimming and flying things!

 In the Marquesas we are hoping to catch a glimpse of some of their endangered endemic species:

Marquesas Palm trees

Marquesan Ground-Dove

Adult Blue Lorikeet  ARKive - Blue lorikeet photo - Vini peruviana - G21941


Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) 

Variable Oystercatcher in black phase (Haematopus unicolor)      

 Although very beautiful some of the introduced species, both flora and fauna are taking over the environment of the endemic species and threatening the existence of not only the natural plants but also the birds and animals who live in French Polynesia and Hawaii.  One of the most invasive and worrisome plant species is the
Velvet tree, Miconia
Scientific Name: Miconia calvescens (aka: Cyanophyllum magnificum, Miconia magnifica Triana)

Threat(s): Miconia calvescens is considered to be the most highly invasive and damaging of alien plant species in the wet forest areas of the Pacific islands.  As a result of Miconia calvescens' invasion of Tahiti and the Society Islands, French Polynesian ecologists estimate that between one quarter to one half of all endemic species are at risk of extinction.   The plant forms dense thickets that take nutrients from the soil and block sunlight from reaching the forest floor, so that few plants under its canopy can survive.  It thereby deprives native birds of the plants they need to survive.  In addition, the species root system is superficial and tentacular, which is believed to contribute to landslides. Tahitians call Miconia calvescens the "Green Cancer," and in Hawaii it is referred to as the "Purple Plague."  Miconia calvescens was declared a noxious weed in the State of Hawaii in 1992.  
Retrieved from 

Here are some other interesting species of living things that we are hoping to see (make sure you click on the videos):

Common Seahorse
 Above is a clip of the Common Seahorse underwater - we hope to do some diving and snorkelling and see sights such as these!

Southern Giant Clam (see the video of it directly below)

 Above is a great video clip of a Southern Giant Clam... Wow!

Above is a video of a Thresher Shark close up... YIKES!- note the long tail that he uses to stun his victim!
Huge Whale Shark feeding - incredible footage from

Campbell Albatross in flight

Campbell Albatross chick begging for food from parent

Acropora florida on coral reef

Albacore Tuna on our fishing lure!  Mmmmmm... Ahi!!

Bigeye Tuna alive and well and heading for our hook!!

Blainville's Beaked Whale breaching
Bigeye Tuna after they found our hooks!!  More Ahi!!

Blainville's Beaked Whale surfacing

Brown Booby in flight

Coconut Crab on palm trunk

Audubon's Shearwater


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sing a Song on Terrwyn

Lately we've been thinking/researching/learning all about the music we will be playing while on our voyage.  I have been concentrating on learning how to play the classical guitar... with Bill as my very talented teacher.  It's coming along, but I really have to do a lot of practising to ever hope to become even close to where Bill is... oh well, must persevere!  We will be taking one of our guitars on Terrwyn so I'll have lots of time to practise (those 4 hour watches can really drag without something to do).

Bill, on the other hand, has become very interested (read obsessed) with ukuleles...

and since Hawaii is the home of ukeleles...

and Hawaii is in the South Pacific where we are heading (although we will be skipping Hawaii)... then it makes sense that we need to learn how to play the ukulele and serenade all of the locals in French Polynesia, Cook Islands and Tonga!

Interesting info from Wikipedia about ukuleles:
 The name roughly translates as "jumping flea",[4] perhaps due to the action of one's fingers playing the ukulele resembling a "jumping flea". According to Queen Lili'uokalani, the last Hawaiian monarch, the name means “the gift that came here”, from the Hawaiian words uku (gift or reward) and lele (to come). Developed in the 1880s, the ukulele is based on two small guitar-like instruments of Portuguese origin, the cavaquinho and the rajão, introduced to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants from Madeira and Cape Verde.[5]

A great place to go to if you want to learn about ukuleles is at Ukulele Hunt.  This website has everything you would ever want to know about the ukulele instrument, tabs, chords, rhythm and strumming etc. etc. and it even includes a ukulele blog.
Bill has ordered a beautiful new ukulele (correctly pronounced oo-koo-lay-lee) from the famous Kamaka factory which has a very interesting history in its own right...

 We are now continually searching for wonderful ukulele music and, of course, love listening to the King of Ukelele,

Iz (Israel) Kamakawiwo'ole-  try to say that quickly even once! 
Iz (Israel) Kamakawiwo'ole
 He died very young in 1997 at the age of 38 but his rendition of "Over the Rainbow" lives on and is unforgetable and very inspiring...

I am hoping to learn the words and music to this version so that I can sing along while Bill plays it on his beautiful new ukulele! 

Somewhere over the rainbow... or over the horizon...
See you when we see you!

Singing and Playing Ukulele Co-caps Catherine and William
SV Terrwyn