UNESCO Patagonian Penguins

I was really torn before our visit to Puerto Madryn in Argentina. We had time to visit either the Península Valdés (Valdes Peninsula) UNESCO World Heritage Site or Punta Tombo Magellanic Penguin Colony, the largest in South America.

The arid Península Valdés

The arid Península Valdés

Both these options presented a rare opportunity. I love UNESCO sites and try to include them whenever possible. But how can you turn down the chance to see a penguin colony?

DSC_5312Our decision was made even more difficult when our stop at the Falkland Islands, where we were going to visit a Gentoo penguin colony, was cancelled because of bad weather.

The closest we got the the Falkland Islands

The closest we got the the Falkland Islands

In the end , we got the best of both worlds, when we got to see a Magellanic penguin colony on the Valdes Peninsula. What a beautiful moment!

DSC_5288Within the Península Valdés World Heritage Site is the Caleta Valdés (Valdes Creek) penguin colony. While nowhere near the size of the colony at Punta Tombo, it still has around 46,500 breeding pairs.

Caleta Valdés

Caleta Valdés

DSC_5361Amazingly, there were only two breeding pairs at Caleta Valdés in the early 1960s. Now that’s a success story!

In the 1960's, this would have been the entire Caleta Valdés colony

In the 1960’s, this would have been the entire Caleta Valdés colony

DSC_5328Where possible, Magellanic penguins like to nest in burrows in the ground.

Penguin burrows at Caleta Valdés

Penguin burrows at Caleta Valdés

A Magellanic penguin in its burrow

A Magellanic penguin in its burrow

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Although they nest on/in the ground, penguins are obviously happier in the ocean.

Time for a swim

Time for a swim

Nearly there...

Nearly there…

Bliss!

Bliss!

DSC_5299DSC_5300Magellanic penguins can reach up to about 28 inches in height and 10 pounds in weight.

A Magellanic penguin

A Magellanic penguin

Penguin portrait

Penguin portrait

DSC_5325DSC_5296DSC_5303Preening is very important for keeping feathers clean and waterproof.

Time for a little preen

Time for a little preen

DSC_5295DSC_5306DSC_5309Magellanic penguins are monogamous, meaning they keep the same partner for several breeding seasons.

Holding flippers

Holding flippers

Preening each other

Preening each other

DSC_5335DSC_5301DSC_5329This post was inspired by the photo themes of Feathers from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Rare from Ben of The Daily Post, and Ground from Dale of Spun With Tears.

Sorry I'm all blurry... I got a bit overexcited!

Sorry I’m all blurry… I got a bit overexcited!

The Great Migration (cover)The first Jaspa’s Journey adventure, The Great Migration, is now available in both paperback and ebook formats from all good booksellers! Click here for more information. The first two sequels are scheduled to be released by Speaking Volumes later this year.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

If you’re the sort of person that loves experiencing wildlife and nature on your travels, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

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Hawaiian Craftsman at Hōnaunau

Back in May, we visited the Pu’uhonau o Hōnaunau National Historic Park on the Big Island of Hawai’i. As you might expect, everything about Hōnaunau was fascinating. Yet one of the high points came as we were about to leave.

DSC_7558The last point on the self-guided tour of the site is a group of Hālau, thatched open-ended structures used for storage, or as workshops or classrooms. In one of these Hālau was local historian and craftsman, Kihe da Silva. He was dressed in the traditional Hawaiian way, patiently carving a lump of coral in the time-honoured manner.

DSC_7553And when I say carving, I actually mean slowly rubbing the coral away with a small stone. It’s a painstaking and meditative process.

DSC_7552Kihe told us that the symbol he was carving represented Kihawahina, one of three sisters important in the mythology of Hōnaunau.

DSC_7555Appeal: All three sisters’ names began with ‘K’, one of the others being Kila. I’ve tried looking up the legend, but have so far had no luck. All I’ve found is a lizard-goddess called Kihawahine (note the slight spelling difference) important on Maui, but I don’t think that’s it. If anyone knows the story, I’d love to hear from you!

This post was inspired by the photo themes of Hands from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.

If you’re the sort of person that loves a bit of history and culture on your travels, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

The Great Migration (cover)And if that’s not enough for you, the first Jaspa’s Journey adventure, The Great Migration, is now available in both paperback and ebook formats from Amazon and other online booksellers! The first two sequels are scheduled to be released by Speaking Volumes later this year.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

 

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The Great Migration Back In Bookstores!

Define ‘Fun’…

How about walking into a bookstore and finding copies of your book on the shelf.

Back on the shelves!

Back on the shelves!

It doesn’t get much more fun than that! Especially after an enforced hiatus of five whole years, following the closure of your original publisher.

Yep, it's really there!

Yep, it’s really there!

But Jaspa’s Journey: The Great Migration is back! And it’ll soon be followed by the first two sequels: The Pride Of London, later this year, and Jaspa’s Waterloo, early next year.

And on an end cap, too!

And on an end cap, too!

And for some real fun, those of you who live in Southern Ontario are invited to come down to Chapters bookstore in Kitchener next Saturday (August 20th, from 11 until 5) to meet Rich, the author! It’ll be great to see you there!!

How To Train Your Dragon is some pretty good company. Hollywood will be calling any day now!

How To Train Your Dragon is some pretty good company. Hollywood will be calling any day now!

This post was inspired by the photo themes of Writing from Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack? and Fun! from Michelle of The Daily Post.

Three book bannerYou can follow my continuing, real-life Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.

The first Jaspa’s Journey adventure, The Great Migration, is now available in both paperback and ebook formats from Amazon and other online booksellers! And as said above, the first two sequels are scheduled to be released by Speaking Volumes over the next few months.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

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The Streets of Ljubljana Old Town, Slovenia

Once part of war-torn Yugoslavia, Slovenia is today a beautiful and peaceful country. This is nowhere more apparent than in the historic heart of its capital, Ljubljana.

Ljubljana Castle from the market place in Old Town

Ljubljana Castle from the market place in Old Town

Old Town Ljubljana nestles in an area of flat ground along the Ljubljanica River, watched over by the prominent mediaeval castle atop its hill. This part of the city is characterised by grand Baroque buildings and several unique bridges crossing the river.

Come for a walk with me, and I’ll show you around…

The Dragon Bridge crossing the Ljubljanica River

The Dragon Bridge crossing the Ljubljanica River

Wonder why it's called the Dragon Bridge? (Actually, the dragon is Ljubljana's emblem. You find it everywhere!)

Wonder why it’s called the Dragon Bridge?
(Actually, the dragon is Ljubljana’s emblem. You find it everywhere!)

Don't drink from the fountain? Don't vomit into the fountain?

Don’t drink from the fountain? Don’t vomit into the fountain?

Ciril-Metodov Trg

Ciril-Metodov Trg

Ljubljana Cathedral

Ljubljana Cathedral

Great sign outside Klobasarna sausage shop - yum!

Great sign outside Klobasarna sausage shop – yum!

The Fountain of Three Rivers (under renovation) in Mestni Trg (Town Square)

The Fountain of Three Rivers (under renovation) in Mestni Trg (Town Square)

Ljubljana Town Hall, also in Mestni Trg

Ljubljana Town Hall, also in Mestni Trg

Fantastic old map of Ljubljana painted on a wall of the Town Hall's inner courtyard

Fantastic old map of Ljubljana painted on a wall of the Town Hall’s inner courtyard

The Triple Bridge can be a little difficult to figure out

The Triple Bridge can be a little difficult to figure out

Triple Bridge: Does this angle help?

Triple Bridge: Does this angle help?

Triple Bridge: What about this one?

Triple Bridge: What about this one?

The Ljubljanica River from the Triple Bridge

The Ljubljanica River from the Triple Bridge

Looking along Stritarjeva Ulica (Stritarjeva Street) towards the Town Square from the Triple Bridge

Looking along Stritarjeva Ulica (Stritarjeva Street) towards the Town Square from the Triple Bridge

The Cobbler's Bridge

The Cobbler’s Bridge

Street musicians on the Cobbler's Bridge

Street musicians on the Cobbler’s Bridge

The castle looms above an alley named Pod Trančo

The castle looms above an alley named Pod Trančo

Ljubljana Castle and the Ljubljanica riverfront at night

Ljubljana Castle and the Ljubljanica riverfront at night

Back at the Triple Bridge

Back at the Triple Bridge

Grrr!

Grrr!

This post was inspired by Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge, Jennifer’s One Word Photo Challenge, which this week is Cityscape, and Jo’s Monday Walk, of course.

If you’re the sort of person that loves a bit history on your travels, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

The Great Migration (cover)And if that’s not enough for you, the first Jaspa’s Journey adventure, The Great Migration, is now available in both paperback and ebook formats from Amazon and other online booksellers! The first two sequels are scheduled to be released by Speaking Volumes later this year.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

 

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Catching Big Morning Waves on Oahu’s North Shore

Fine! So it wasn’t me catching the waves. I kept my feet firmly on the beach!

IMG_8968But watching the local experts is a fabulous way to spend your last morning in Hawaii, take it from me!

IMG_8963IMG_8993The skills these amazing athletes demonstrate as they battle the rollers of Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu need to be seen to be believed. In a place where mere mortals like you and me aren’t even supposed to swim!

IMG_9013So do what I did…

Sit back.

Relax.

And enjoy the show!

IMG_8965IMG_8973IMG_8979IMG_8984IMG_8987IMG_9000IMG_9002IMG_9006IMG_9007IMG_9023IMG_9028This post was inspired by the photo themes of Sport from Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack? and Morning from Cheri of The Daily Post.

If you’re the sort of person that loves getting outdoors on your travels, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

And if that’s not enough for you, the first Jaspa’s Journey adventure, The Great Migration, is now available in both paperback and ebook formats from Amazon and other online booksellers! The first two sequels are scheduled to be released by Speaking Volumes later this year.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

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Roller Coaster Madness!

I have to admit that today’s post is a little bit of a cheat, since most of the photos were taken of Rich & Sue, not by Rich & Sue. But with Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge being Smiles, I saw an opportunity to finally dust off the photos Rich & Sue have collected of themselves on roller coasters over the years.

You don’t get smiles much bigger than these!

Air at Alton Towers (2002): My first ever theme park

Air at Alton Towers (2002): My first ever theme park

Oblivion at Alton Towers (2002): Don't Look Down!

Oblivion at Alton Towers (2002): Don’t Look Down!

Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point (2009): That's Rich's brother, Stu, and our friend Ali sat in front

Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point (2009): That’s Rich’s brother, Stu, and our friend Ali sat in front

Sheikra at Busch Gardens (2010): With our friends Jamie and Lori

Sheikra at Busch Gardens (2010): With our friends Jamie and Lori

Top Thrill Dragster, Take Two - literally (2010): This time we're sat behind our friends Björn and Linnéa

Top Thrill Dragster, Take Two – literally (2010): This time we’re sat behind our friends Björn and Linnéa

And just in case you were wondering, although you can’t see me in any of these photos, I assure you, I am there in Rich or Sue’s pocket… And my smile is broader than anyone’s!

Me in front of the Top Thrill Dragster (best roller coaster ever!) at Cedar Point

Me in front of the Top Thrill Dragster (best roller coaster ever!) at Cedar Point

If you’re the sort of person that loves a bit of adventure on your travels, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

The Great Migration (cover)And if that’s not enough for you, the first Jaspa’s Journey adventure, The Great Migration, is now available in both paperback and ebook formats from Amazon and other online booksellers! The first two sequels are scheduled to be released by Speaking Volumes later this year.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

 

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Boscastle Harbour, Cornwall, 12 Years After The Floods

The craggy Cornish coast is littered with tight rocky inlets and narrow river mouths. One of the most famous is at Boscastle, where the River Valency carves its confined route to the ocean.

Narrow entrance to Boscastle Harbour

Narrow entrance to Boscastle Harbour

Boscastle Harbour is a beautiful, rugged spot under the protection of the National Trust. In the summer it hums with visitors, but we were lucky enough to have it all to ourselves one wet morning last December.

Boscastle Harbour in December 2015

Boscastle Harbour in December 2015

In August 2004, Boscastle hit the headlines after terrible flash floods ripped through the lower village and harbour. The damage caused by this freak event was almost indescribable. Amazingly, although over a hundred people had to be rescued by helicopter amid the chaos, not one person was killed or seriously injured.

Boscastle during the 2004 floods (photo copyright Mark Pearson/REX)

Boscastle during the 2004 floods (photo copyright Mark Pearson/REX)

Over ten years on, Boscastle has been restored to its picture-postcard serenity. Today, walking beside the river to the breakwaters protecting the narrow harbour entrance from the unforgiving Celtic Sea, it’s hard to believe the destructive torrent that swept through this confined valley from the other direction, little more than a decade ago.

The building on the left is the one in the centre of the photo above

The building on the left is the one in the centre of the photo above

All the land between the river and the houses in the background was washed away during the floods

All the land between the river and the houses in the background was washed away during the floods

Most of the low lying ground in this photo has been restored since the floods

Most of the low lying ground in this photo has been restored since the floods

A narrow street in Boscastle

A narrow street in Boscastle

Today Boscastle is peaceful (if still damp)

Today Boscastle is peaceful (if still damp)

The harbour

The harbour

Boscastle Harbour is still picturesque, even on a dreary December day

Boscastle Harbour is still picturesque, even on a dreary December day

Boscastle Harbour inner breakwater

Boscastle Harbour inner breakwater

The outer breakwater from the inner

The outer breakwater from the inner

Mouth of the River Valency, just beyond the breakwaters

Mouth of the River Valency, just beyond the breakwaters

Me on the inner breakwater

Me on the inner breakwater

This post was inspired by the photo themes of Narrow from Ben of The Daily Post and Waterfront from Nancy Merrill Photography, not to mention my second contribution to Jo’s Monday Walk this week.

Out-take: it was a bit windy down on those breakwaters!

Out-take: it was a bit windy down on those breakwaters!

If you’re the sort of person that loves visiting beautiful and historic places on your travels, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

The Great Migration (cover)And if that’s not enough for you, the first Jaspa’s Journey adventure, The Great Migration, is now available in both paperback and ebook formats from Amazon and other online booksellers! The first two sequels are scheduled to be released by Speaking Volumes later this year.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

 

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