Page 4 of buddymedbery Travel Blog Posts

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Melbourne » CBD February 2nd 2020

For some time, we have been planning a protracted trip to Australia and New Zealand. Jennie and I came to Oz in 2003, but were unable to see some things, with only two weeks to tour around (one week of our trip was spent on a dive boat trip to the Coral Sea). We have never been to New Zealand. Since Chuck and Lucie had never been to either one, and given the length of the journey, we decided to spend an unprecedented 5 weeks seeing both countries as best we could in that time. We made some choices with an eye on the length of the trip. First, although we had wanted to visit the Ningaloo Reef to see whale sharks and see the oldest living things on Earth, the stromatolites of Shark Bay, we ... read more
Harbour Bridge
Sydney Opera House

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Healesville January 31st 2020

We will be traversing through Sydney multiple times, and so we left after this short visit, headed westward to Melbourne and environs. Bit of a tough start to the morning with an early flight and late night before, but travel allows no shirking. The good thing is that we arrived in Melbourne in early morning and were thus able to make the drive to the Yarra Valley and the Healesville Animal Sanctuary. The Yarra Valley is a well-known wine region (think Napa), but after our visit to the animal sanctuary we drove back to town. There was a lot of traffic in the Valley because there is an outdoor venue there and Elton John was scheduled for that night. (The next day we found out that he had to be rushed for the stage for safety ... read more
Gray kangaroo
Critically endangered helmeted honeyeater

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney » Darling Harbour January 30th 2020

After an abbreviated day the day of arrival in Sydney, we were ready to tackle a somewhat more ambitious agenda, although admittedly with some reservation of energy for attendance at the opera in the Sydney Opera House this evening. Opera is not particularly strenuous, nor was the journey to the SOH, but we were mindful of the fact that our home town is 8 hours ahead of us (actually, technically 16 hours behind us), and that would make staying alert until later at night somewhat more problematic. Just a short walk across a peninsula from Circular Quay is Darling Harbour, but with poor train connections and a need for exercise, we walked there in about 30 minutes from our hotel. One the city side is the Sydney Aquarium, and across a pedestrian bridge over the harbor ... read more
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North America » United States » South Carolina » Charleston September 12th 2018

Growing up in Charleston, a coastal city with large areas that are at or below sea level in elevation, one learns to respect hurricanes. We moved here in 1952, moved away for two years 1954-6, then back here permanently. So we missed Hazel. But we were here for Gracie. At that time we were living in the apartment building on Dunneman Avenue on the Citadel campus. Only the practice football field lay between us and the railroad tracks. At night we heard the poor lion in the small Hampton Park zoo with his coughing roar. Transistor radios were relative rarities, and computers for the home were not yet invented. So what guidance we got was from the television (as long as the station, and we, had power) and from the radio. Radio was mostly AM at ... read more
Hurricane Gracie Charleston SC 092959-Edit

Growing up in Charleston, one becomes accustomed to various airborne effluents that shape in a visceral way your feel of the city. In my youth, we knew that if the wind blew from the north we would smell the paper plant in North Charleston, an aroma which must be experienced rather than described. My high school driving instructor, whose husband worked at the plant, said it smelled like bacon and eggs to her. The MeadWestVaCo plants is still there today, and still perfumes the air with what my father would have called the sweet attar of roses. In the right sun, viewed from the water or the nearby I-526 bridge, the glass front along the Ashley River reflects glints of light from wavelets in the river, putting on an almost psychedelic show. Today, the smell of ... read more

I grew up in Charleston SC. Our family moved here in 1953, moved away for tw years, then returned in 1955 and remained here from then on. It is where I attended primary and secondary schools, lived when school was not in session during my college years, and lived during medical school. Then, in 1976, I graduated from medical school and headed to San Diego for internship. Other than 2 years back here as a medical oncologist, I have lived away during my entire professional career, principally in Bethesda MD area and in Oklahoma City. In September 2016 my wife and I rented a small house in Mt. Pleasant, and now have bought a house on James Island. Coming back to Charleston has caused me to see things differently. I am trying to re-explore some of ... read more

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santiago Island September 1st 2017

Today's activities included visits to Santiago (San Salvador, James) Island at Puerto Egas and then on to the much-anticipated visit to the Natural Habitat Adventures leased private "campsite" on Santa Cruz (Indefatigable) Island. At Puerto Egas we got our first close looks at the Galápagos fur seals. Despite the name, these are actually sea lions. Their fur is thicker than that of the Galápagos sea lions, and thus was more valuable as a pelt to sell. Extensive hunting nearly exterminated these animals in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Their numbers rebounded once hunting was halted, but declined again following the severe El Niño of 1982-1983. This species is more vulnerable to climate variations due to the longer time the mother cares for the pups. The pups are largely dependent on the mother's milk for 18 ... read more
Yellow-crowned night heron
Galápagos sea lion female with pup
Galápagos sea lion pup

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Isabela Island August 31st 2017

All of our activities today were at Isabela. For me, it consisted of three activities: a cruise in the pangas at Elisabeth bay in the morning, and a walk up into the hills at Tagus Cove, plus a panga ride at the same location. There was an afternoon opportunity for a snorkel trip, but I declined. I surmised (correctly, as it turned out) that I would not see anything worth the chill. Elisabeth Bay is the location of the nesting sites of the Galápagos penguins. It is worrisome to see them using such limited nesting sites. WE got our first look at them at this morning's panga ride. (Actually, my second look since I got dive-bombed by two on the earlier snorkel trip, but did not see them above water). We went deep into the mangrove ... read more
Penguin nesting site
Galápagos penguins
Galápagos penguins

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Fernandina Island August 30th 2017

This day was divided between Fernandina and Isabela islands. Fernandina (Narborough) Island is the youngest and most volcanically active of the islands. It began erupting a couple of day after we left. Most of it is not open to visitors because of unsafe conditions, but we were able to visit Punta Espinoza. Our walk was over rough lava and sand through areas of tidal pools. Perhaps the most striking thing of the morning walk was the sea lion pups. We saw them nursing, playing together while their mothers were out fishing, and in one case an adventurous pup tried repeatedly to get to open water, while his mother repeatedly blocked his path. Eventually, she held him down with one flipper as they exchanged words. I am not fluent in sea lion, but I am pretty sure ... read more
Punk iguanas
Nursing sea lion pup

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santa Cruz Island August 29th 2017

Santa Cruz (English Indefatigable) is the second largest of the Galápagos islands after Isabella, and contains the largest urban center, Puerto Ayora. During the night the crew had cruised the boat to Puerto Ayora for refueling in the early morning, and anchored near the fuel station. I walked to the stern of the boat in the early morning and immediately noticed that there was a lot of commotion with pelicans and other seabirds diving under the rear of the boat as it began to move toward the fuel station. It quickly became what can only be described as a feeding frenzy among the birds, who were soon joined by several small sharks and at least one larger (7-8 feet) Galápagos shark. I could only assume that many small fish had gathered under our boat during the ... read more
Feeding frenzy at Baltra
Wet landing
Marine iguana

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