29 APRIL 2015
 Cabo San Lucas, Mexico: Land’s End

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Cabo San Lucas is at the bottom of the peninsula of Baja California, lower California in Mexico dangling off the bottom of Alta California, the state of California in the United States.

Cabo San Lucas: Saint Luke’s Cape.

It was given that name by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese who served with the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés before taking his own expeditions on behalf of the Spanish crown.

From about the mid-16th to the mid-18th centuries, the harbor at Cabo was a regular hiding place for English pirates and privateers who would venture out to attack Manila Galleons, the Spanish vessels hauling treasure from China, Japan, and the Philippines back to Mexico for transshipment up and over the mountains to the Gulf of Mexico and from there eventually to Spain.

Once the piracy business came to an end, Cabo was not all that valuable. It was difficult to get to overland, and there was little fresh water available.

But Cabo came back to life at the end of the 19th century when the locals found an industry exporting the bark of the palo blanco­ tree, a form of Acacia. The “white stick” was an ingredient for the tanning of leather.

From pirates to tree bark, next came tuna: lots of the large fish just offshore.

A CABO SAN LUCAS ALBUM

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Today, we are the big fish: Cabo is one of the most successful resorts of Mexico, a truly beautiful place with all sorts of sports. Fishing, swimming, parasailing, shopping.

ONSTAGE ABOARD SILVER SHADOW

Sailing from Acapulco to Cabo San Lucas,  we were honored to be joined by George Sakellario,  one of the world’s great guitar masters.

We have known George for years, always looking forward to meeting like ships in the night somewhere in  the world.

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All photos copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

27 APRIL 2015
 Acapulco, Mexico: Conquistadors, Pirates, and Elvis

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Spanish Conquistadores used the region in and around Acapulco and Ixtapa-Zihuatenejo as a point of departure to explore the Pacific coast, as well as a port in 1527 for the first ships to sail to the Philippines.

With the disappearance of the native population, fields and forests were worked by Spaniards.

This was different from much of Latin America where the Spaniards established colonies of local labor and sometimes slave labor.

As important Spanish assets, the Mexican ports also drew the attention of the pirate and privateer Francis Drake, as well as Henry Morgan and Thomas Cavendish.

For more than 256 years, the annual trade known as the Manila-Acapulco Galleon or the Nao de Chine took place.

Key to the Manila Galleons was the discovery of the northern Pacific tradewinds which allowed ships to sail back to Acapulco from Asia.

Traders in Acapulco bargained for spices, silks, porcelain, ivory, and lacquerware. After the fair, much of the treasure would be carried up and over the Cordillera to Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico.

ACAPULCO’S HANDSOME CATHEDRAL

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FUERTE SAN DIEGO

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Some of the treasures of Asia brought to Acapulco, and the Fort built to fend off pirates

The five-pointed stone Fuerte de San Diego was completed in 1617. Some old guns are still in place.

After the end of the Manila Galleon, Acapulco fell into decline.

Like Panama, it recovered during the California Gold Rush that began in 1849. Many ships stopped on their way to California or on their return trip to Panama for the land crossing there.

More than a few passengers were so taken by the natural beauty of Acapulco that they decided to settle there.

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A peek through a window at an old hotel in Acapulco

And then in 1920, England’s Prince of Wales—the future King Edward VIII—helped launch Acapulco as an international tourist destination.

Then came the celebrities: John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier honeymooned here in 1953. Elizabeth Taylor chose Acapulco for one of her weddings, to Mike Todd in 1957.

Brigitte Bardot posed on the beach. Frank Sinatra was a regular, and even sung about it in one of his signature songs, “Come Fly With Me.”

Since 1934, Las Clavadistas de La Quebrada have lured tourists. The cliff divers work their way out onto ledges in the rock, make the sign of the cross with great drama, and jump into the quebrada or ravine below.

This is a situation where what looks quite dangerous actually is dangerous.

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Las Clavadistas de La Quebrada. At right, a diver plunges toward the sea below

Speaking of danger, the king himself, Elvis Presley, starred in “Fun in Acapulco” with costar Ursula Andress in 1963. In that film he played a former circus worker who—because of a woman—gets trapped into a dare to dive at La Quebrada.

Elvis did not visit Acapulco for the movie, which was shot almost entirely in Hollywood. And he certainly did not jump off the cliff.

All photos copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

25 APRIL 2015
 Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala: Rebirth of the Resplendent Quetzal

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Guatemala is a place of resplendent beauty, terrible poverty, great history, tragic bloodshed, vibrant culture, and a tentative rebirth with a still uncertain future.

It has balanced on a knife’s edge for centuries.

One of the symbols of Guatemala is the Quetzal, its national bird.

The Quetzal is a reminder of defeat at the hands of the Spanish and a yearning for liberty.

Today it also symbolizes a hope for enduring peace in a place that has seen terrible suffering.

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A street vendor in Guatemala La Antigua

The Resplendent Quetzal—to give its full name—is native to Guatemala, with a close cousin in Costa Rica.

About 14 inches or 36 centimeters in length; the pretty males add a tail streamer of as much as 25 inches more.

A big guy, then, might stretch 39 inches—or one full meter—from stem to stern.

They have a green, iridescent body and a red breast.

Guatemalans describe the Quetzal’s song as a “whimpering pup.”

But there is also a legend that says that the quetzal sang beautifully before the Spanish conquistadors arrived, and he will sing once again when the land is truly free.

At the heart of the country is La Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción: Guatemala City, very much representative of the nation.

It is a wild and somewhat dangerous city—the largest in Central America; some four million people live in and around it.

A bit further inland is La Antigua Guatemala, the old city, begun in 1543.

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La Antigua

The city served as the capital of the Spanish Kingdom of Guatemala, which for more than two centuries stretched from Mexico City to Peru.

All in one place we see vestiges of the Mayans, the ruins of the Spanish and above it all…the volcanoes.

I have visited La Antigua many times and it never fails to thrill. On our approach this morning La Volcan Fuego erupted, just for us. Not a big explosion…just a boom and a cloud of ash. A welcome back to a special place.

LA ANTIGUA, 25 APRIL 2015

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COREY AND THE VOLCANO

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The author, on a previous visit, midway on a climb of the Pacaya volcano

The remnants of its Spanish colonial architecture have been preserved as a national monument.

All photos copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

 

23 APRIL 2015
 Puntarenas, Costa Rica: Living La Pura Vida

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We arrived at our first port in the Pacific on a steamy morning in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. And then it got hotter: 92 degrees,  and if there is such a thing as more than 100 percent humidity,  this must be what it feels like.

We have been here many times,  up in the mountains,  along the rivers,  tothevolcanoes.  Today we stayed local,  slowly making our way around the town of Puntarenas,  a place that does not see all that many tourists. But we know we can count on friendly times amongst the Ticos.

Pura Vida, no matter the heat.

23 APRIL 2015, PUNTARENAS

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Costa Rica means “rich coast.”

Yet another thing that Christopher Columbus got wrong.

First of all, Costa Rica has two coasts: Atlantic and Pacific.

And secondly, Columbus was a guy who believed in wishful thinking.

As we know, he was looking for India when he landed in the Bahamas, and so he called the islands there the West Indies.

And when Columbus sailed through the Caribbean to the dead end of Central America, he was looking for the Panama Canal…or a natural strait through the isthmus.

On September 18, 1502, Columbus set anchor offshore of Costa Rica, and Carib Indians paddled out in canoes to deliver a peaceful greeting.

Columbus was looking for gold, and that’s the “rich” part of the name: there just had to be gold somewhere.

Costa Rica has managed to survive the Spanish Conquistadors, the American filibusters who came south in hopes of annexing Central America, corrupt or venal politicians, United Fruit and its “banana republics” and various other indignities.

Today, the gold in Costa Rica is green. To their great credit the Ticos have decided their future lies in gently making use of the vast ecological treasures of the nation: rain forests, estuaries, mountains, volcanoes, and wild life.

A PUNTARENAS ALBUM

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All photos copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

21 APRIL 2015
 Our Passage Between the Seas: The Panama Canal

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Early this morning, about 6:30 a.m.,  we arrived in Limon Bay in the Atlantic Ocean.

At 4 p.m., we sailed out of Miraflores into the Pacific Ocean.

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Silver Shadow in the Miraflores Locks, 21 April 2015. (From Panama Canal Webcam)

I have made the transit of the Panama Canal more times than I can remember; it never ceases to impress and excite me. Sign me up for a return trip.

The desire for a passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific was a driving force for four hundred years: from the time the Spanish first arrived in the dead end of the Gulf of Mexico in what today in Panama.

The alternatives were not good: a months-long sail down and around the bottom of South America at Cape Horn, or an overland passage up and over the cordillera mountains and through torrential rain, raging rivers, and deadly threats from disease and killer creatures of just about any description.

Ferdinand Marie de Lesseps was a national hero, “Le Grand Français,” the Great Frenchman.

He had successfully led the project to build the Suez Canal in Egypt, in the process enriching thousands of French investors.

De Lesseps was a promoter, an entrepreneur, but not an engineer. He was very good at building companies.

But he declared: “The canal will be built.”

And notwithstanding the rain, the rivers, the mountains, and disease, de Lesseps said his project would be en niveau, sans ecluses. On the level, without locks.

APRIL 21, 2015: FROM THE ATLANTIC TO THE PACIFIC

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The French project began January 1, 1880. It was immediately obvious they were not in the dry sands of Egypt.

By 1885, extravagance, graft, and the unrealistic design for the canal had emptied the company’s treasury.  After eight years, the canal was only about 40 percent complete, and work on dams and locks barely begun.

And now the United States, led by the charismatic president Theodore Roosevelt was ready to reassert itself. The Americans bought the assets of the bankrupt French effort.

The first challenge for the Americans was not one of engineering but instead conquering disease. Clearing Cuba and then Panama of malaria and yellow fever was one of the great accomplishments of medicine and made it possible for massive effort by the United States to build the canal.

A PANAMA CANAL ALBUM

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Today, the canal is nearing completion of a major expansion.

At each end, the final touches are being put on new sets of locks that will allow much larger ships to take the watery elevator up and over the Continental Divide.

On board ship, I give three lectures about the canal and the politics of Central America.

You’re welcome to join me next time.

All photos copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

 

19-20 APRIL 2015
 Cartagena, Colombia: La Heroica

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We arrived in steamy Cartagena in the afternoon and overnighted, catching our breath in one of the most handsome old Spanish colonial cities of the New World.

Cartagena was the Fort Knox, the Las Vegas, the Tower of London: one of the principal offshore gold repositories and warehouses for the Spanish.

And for that reason it came under attack many times.

Colombians call Cartagena “La Heroica.” The Heroic City.

Here are some photos I took on this visit to Cartagena:

CARTAGENA, APRIL 2015. All photos by Corey Sandler

La Popa Monastery

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FUERTE SAN FELIPPE

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Within the Walls of the Old City of Cartagena

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In 1533—35 years after Columbus sailed nearby and almost a century before Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in 1620—Spanish explorer Don Pedro de Heredia founded a settlement he called Cartagena de Indias.

Cartegena of the Indies, to distinguish it from Cartagena on the Mediterranean in southeastern Spain.

In 1513, Vasco Nunez de Balboa and his men walked across the Isthmus of Panama and became the first Europeans to see the Pacific Ocean from its Eastern shore.

The Spanish soon got into the business of conducting trade with Asia from what is now Mexico and California as well as pillaging Central and South America.

Traders brought back spices, silks, porcelain, ivory, and lacquerware. And there was gold.

Much of the Asian treasure was carried up and over the Cordillera to Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico, then reloaded onto galleons through the Gulf of Mexico…the home of the real Pirates of the Caribbean.

Cartagena became the central warehouse for the treasures that came from Asia and much of the gold and silver taken from the Americas.

And it also became one of the principal targets of the real pirates of the Caribbean.

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Spanish King Philip II, known as “the Prudent,” did not like losing his stuff to pirates and privateers. And so he hired Europe’s foremost military engineers to design and build Fuerte San Felipe.

The massive network of seven forts and defensive walls average 40 feet high and 56 feet thick. It became Spain’s largest fort in the Americas.

Today the heart of old Cartagena is a labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets that open onto broad formal plazas. Street names change from block to block.

It might remind you of Istanbul, or Mdina on Malta. But instead of Muslim calls to prayer, it’s salsa and vallenato music all the time.

Cartagena’s history includes the sad story of slavery, the cruelty of some of the Spanish including a branch of the Inquisition, and more recent devolution into narcoterrorist chaos.

A CARTAGENA ALBUM

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After many years of neglect, Cartagena—the jewel of the nation—has been reborn.

For those who have a bit of money, the city is a Caribbean playground: A wild party in a place of great culture. They call it rumbeando.

“Partying, dancing all night, getting drunk, waking up early to go to the beach, then doing it again.”

All photos copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

16 APRIL 2015
 Fort Lauderdale, Florida: California Bound

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

California, here we come.

We begin a new cruise today, headed toward the north coast of South America at Cartagena, Colombia and then through the passage between the seas to the Pacific Ocean.

I’ve been through the Panama Canal more times than I can remember, and I look forward to the trip again and again. Especially coming from the Atlantic side, the sight of a large cargo or cruise ship sitting 80 feet above you on the top step of a watery ladder is something you do not forget.

After we reach the Pacific, we will turn north and make calls in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, and then arrive in California: San Diego and finally the spectacular city of San Francisco.

Welcome aboard.

Here’s our plan:

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IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

14-15 APRIL 2015
 Nassau, The Bahamas: A Bit of Everything

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

The Bahamas is an independent nation whose name may have come from a Spanish phrase.

The name of its capital, Nassau, derives from a German city.

They drive on the left side of the road, and speak the Queen’s English—more or less—because it was an English colony for 255 years.

Their closest major neighbor is the United States, as near as 55 miles away from the westernmost of the Bahamas islands, and their currency—the Bahamian Dollar—is directly tied to the value of the American buck.

Oh, and it is also the site of the lost city of Atlantis—at least that is what the owners of the large hotel, water park, and casino on Paradise Island across the harbor from where we will dock—want you to believe.

We arrived in early evening on 14 April and will overnight here, departing on Wednesday evening.

To our guests who are leaving us tomorrow in Fort Lauderdale, I wish you safe travels and look forward to sailing with you again somewhere in this wonderful world.

A NASSAU ALBUM

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CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL

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THE QUEEN’S STAIRCASE

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For more about Nassau, see my blog entry from earlier this year when we visited aboard Silver Cloud.  http://blog.sandlerbooks.com/?p=2779

All photos copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

 

10-12 APRIL 2015
 Hamilton, Bermuda: Bermy in Shorts

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We have successfully completed the eastbound leg of our Bermuda Triangle, arriving in Hamilton in the Islands of Bermuda for a three-day stay. Friday and Saturday were nonpareil days, a rich blue sky and near-summer temperatures; Sunday was merely beautiful with a few showers–enough to remind us that Bermuda is real and not a dream.

Bermuda consists of about 181 islands and islets, some not much more than sand dunes. In total, about 53 square kilometers or 21 square miles of land. All of the major islands are aligned on a hook- or claw-shaped axis, connected by road bridges.

But e pluribus unum: out of many, one.

The archipelago of Bermuda consists of the high points of the rim of the caldera of an underwater volcano, part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

HAMILTON

Photos by Corey Sandler

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THE DOCKYARDS

Photos by Corey Sandler

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The top of the seamount has gone through periods of complete submergence, during which its limestone cap was formed by marine organisms, and during the Ice Ages the entire caldera was above sea level, forming an island of approximately two-hundred square miles.

Bermuda is on the western edge of the Sargasso Sea, an area of that collects surface-floating sargassum seaweed in a gyre or circular current bounded by the Gulf Stream on the west, the North Atlantic Current on the north, the Canary Current on the east, and the North Equatorial Current on the south.

GIBBS HILL LIGHTHOUSE

Photos by Corey Sandler

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Without any significant manufacturing and not much in the way of agriculture, Bermuda nevertheless has one of the world’s highest GDP per capita: Number 6 or 7 on the World Bank and United Nations lists.

That’s not to say that everyone you meet on the street or the beach is fabulously wealthy.

Bermuda’s economy is based on offshore insurance and reinsurance, and on tourism.

We eat so well aboard ship, but somehow we all become peckish when ashore.

Among Bermudian favorites: The traditional Sunday breakfast of salted codfish, boiled with potatoes.

Or, Hoppin’ John, a simple dish of boiled rice and black-eyed peas.

Shark hash is a delicacy; better to eat the shark than the other way around.

You’ll also find traditional British Pub fare.

Bermuda Bananas are small and sweet, often eaten on Sunday mornings with codfish and potatoes.

Bay grapes were introduced as a wind break, and now bay grape jelly is a delicacy.

Local fish include tuna, wahoo, and rockfish.

Fish Chowder seasoned with sherry pepper sauce and dark rum is a real treat.

And Bermudians are rather fond of mayonnaise: on their hot dogs, their beef pies, their peas and rice. They put mayonnaise on their mayonnaise.

It’s almost impossible to avoid, so I’d suggest you just go with the flow.

All photos copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

8 APRIL 2015
 Norfolk, Virginia: Sailing Into the Story of the United States

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

In the early morning, Silver Shadow entered into the outer reaches of the largest bay in the United States.

Chesapeake Bay is an estuary surrounded by Maryland to the North and Virginia to the South. To the east, the long finger of the Delmarva Peninsula serves as a protective barrier from the Atlantic Ocean.

The protective barrier forms a “roadstead” or “roads”, a body of water sheltered from rip currents, spring tides or ocean swell outside a harbor. The barrier acts like a natural breakwater, allowing ships to lie reasonably safely at anchor.

One of the gems of the region is Colonial Williamsburg, a 300-acre town brought back to life in the 1930s. In peak season about 15,000 interpreters work in the former capitol, governor’s palace, and other structures.

I’ve been there many times, and never lack for new experiences and insights. I went with a group of guests for the day.

Here’s an album of photos from Williamsburg.

A COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG ALBUM

WIthin the capitol:

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At the Governor’s Palace

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Around Colonial Williamsburg

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All photos by Corey Sandler

THE CITY OF NORFOLK

The city of Norfolk is in the outermost harbor of Chesapeake Bay.

Navigable for nearly its entire length, oceangoing ships can reach as far as Baltimore. Its widest point is just south of the mouth of the Potomac River, about 30 miles or 50 kilometers away.

More than 150 rivers and streams flow into the bay’s 64,299 square mile (166,534 square kilometer) drainage basin.

The headwaters of Chesapeake Bay are about 200 miles or 300 kilometers away, in the Susquehanna River which transects the state of Pennsylvania from its source in Central New York State.

The word Hampton honors one of the founders of the Virginia Company of London, Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton.

The first colonists arrived in 1607 when English Captain Christopher Newport landed at Cape Henry along the Atlantic Coast in today’s Virginia Beach with three vessels: flagship Susan Constant, the smaller Godspeed, and even smaller Discovery. They moved on, seeking a more sheltered area.

The Virginia Colony, which took hold at Jamestown on the banks of the James River in 1607, was the first permanent English colony in the New World, basically the first English colony anywhere.

To some historians, this was where the British Empire began.

The second English colony was at Bermuda, where we are headed next. One of the relief fleets for Jamestown, including the ship Sea Venture, was forced to seek shelter there in June of 1609 after running into a strong storm offshore.

The bones of that story lie within William Shakespeare’s play, “The Tempest.”

Jamestown was rescued when a new group of settlers and supplies, some from the relief fleet in Bermuda, arrived in 1610. Jamestown Settlement is about an hour north of Norfolk by car, not far from Colonial Williamsburg.

The Virginia Colony began to sustain itself and grow. In 1640, the English had begun the import of slaves to the colony; by 1660 it was at the heart of the plantation system there and elsewhere.

By 1775, Norfolk was perhaps the most prosperous city in Virginia, an important port for exporting goods to the British Isles and beyond.

When the American Revolution was fully underway the next year, Norfolk was a strong base of Loyalist support.

Lord Dunmore, the Royal Governor of Virginia, fled from the colonial capitol of Williamsburg and attempted to reestablish control of the colony from Norfolk.

On New Year’s Day, 1776, Lord Dunmore’s fleet of three ships shelled Norfolk for more than eight hours. The damage from the shells, and fires started by the British and by the rebels destroyed more than 800 buildings, almost two-thirds of the city.

Dunmore was eventually driven out, ending more than 168 years of British colonial rule in Virginia.

The American Revolutionary War essentially came to an end in 1781 at the Battle of Yorktown, less than an hour north of Norfolk, short of Williamsburg.

NORFOLK BLOG Yorktown Surrender

A combined force of American Continental Army troops led by General George Washington, marching together with French Army troops led by the Comte de Rochambeau defeated a British Army commanded by Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis.

This was the last major land battle in North America.

I am in NO way making an excuse for slavery. But the end of the import of Africans combined with crop failures from overworked lands brought about the collapse of the economy.

In early 1861, Virginia voted to secede from the Union.

In the spring of 1862, offshore of Sewell’s Point Peninsula, the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia engaged in perhaps the most important naval battle of the Civil War, the first conflict between ironclad vessels.

The battle was part of the Confederate effort to break the Union blockade, which had cut off Virginia’s largest cities, Norfolk and Richmond.

The Virginia had been built on the reclaimed hull of a former Union ship, the Merrimack.

And so the Battle of Hampton Roads is often also referred to as the Battle of the Monitor and the Merrimack, using the original names of the two vessels.

A NORFOLK ALBUM

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The Chrysler Museum of Art, and the battleship Wisconsin in the harbor

In 1907, the tercentenary of the Virginia Colony was celebrated in Norfolk with the Jamestown Exposition. By 1917, as the U.S. built up to enter World War I, the Naval Air Station Hampton Roads was constructed on the former exposition grounds.

The largest Navy base in the world, Naval Station Norfolk, is also one of NATO’s two Strategic Command headquarters.

A SHOUT-OUT TO MOREHEAD CITY

Our original itinerary had Silver Shadow making a call at Morehead City, a not-often-visited port on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast The tourism and business people there, and in neighboring Beaufort, were excited at the prospect of our arrival. It might have been the most significant event since the killing of Blackbeard the pirate just outside of the port at Topsail Inlet.

Alas, the night before we had a minor technical problem before departing Charleston and the wait for repair and certification forced a cancelation to the Morehead City call. We hope for a second chance some day.

All photos copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

 

6 APRIL 2015
 Charleston, South Carolina: War and Remembrance

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

After years of arguments, threats, and political maneuvering the American Civil War started here.

On this visit to Charleston,  I went with a group of guests to visit the fort in the harbor.  The import of the fort is huge,  but its size is surprisingly small,  one of a number of installations on islands and sandbars in the Cooper River.

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Scenes of Fort Sumter.  Photos by Corey Sandler 

On December 1860, South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union. On January 9, 1861, cadets from The Military College of South Carolina, also known as The Citadel, opened fire on the Union steamship Star of the West entering Charleston’s harbor.

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The Chapel at The Citadel

The ship was carrying relief supplies for the Federal garrison at Fort Sumter. The captain got the message and left in a hurry: the first organized shots of the U.S. Civil War.

South Carolina, like most of the Southern States, had an economy that was fully dependent upon slave labor.

The first settlers were mostly from England, and England’s colonies of Barbados in the Caribbean and Bermuda in the Atlantic.

A CHARLESTON ALBUM, Part  2

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By the mid-18th century Charles Towne had become the hub of the Atlantic trade for the southern colonies.

Mostly because of the lucrative slave trade, it became the wealthiest and largest city south of Philadelphia, the fourth-largest port in the colonies, after Boston, New York, and Philadelphia.

Colonial landowners had experimented with cash crops ranging from tea to silkworms.

Once British colonial planters in the American South discovered rice would grow in that region, they sought enslaved Africans from rice-growing regions of West Africa because of their skills in irrigation, dams, and earthworks.

About 40 percent of the 400,000 Africans transported and sold as slaves in North America landed at Sullivan’s Island in the harbor.

The Gullah are descendants of African slaves who live in the Lowcountry and islands of South Carolina and Georgia. The Gullah people and their language are also called Geechee, which may be related to the Ogeechee River near Savannah.

The Gullah influenced local music and eventually the rest of the country, especially in the early development of jazz.

The geechee dances that accompanied the music of dock workers in Charleston followed a rhythm that inspired Eubie Blake’s “Charleston Rag” and later James P. Johnson’s “The Charleston,” which launched the dance craze of that name in the 1920s.

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In 1925, DuBose Heyward, a white Charlestonian, wrote a novel called “Porgy”, based on African-American life in the fictitious Catfish Row based on Charleston’s Cabbage Row on Church Street.

Dubose and his wife Dorothy made the novel into a Broadway show of the same name in 1927.

And then DuBose Heyward collaborated with George Gershwin and his brother Ira Gershwin to turn his novel into the opera, “Porgy and Bess.”

George Gershwin spent the summer of 1934 at Folly Beach outside of Charleston learning about Gullah and Geechee.

All photos copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

5 APRIL 2015
 Savannah, Georgia: Sherman’s March to Forrest Gump

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Photos by Corey Sandler,  5 April 2015

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Silversea Silver Shadow at the dock on the Savannah River today

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The Talmadge Memorial Bridge in Savannah

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The Waving Girl,   memorializing Florence Martus (1869-1943), who greeted arriving and departing ships from the shoreline here.

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The Old Savannah Cotton Exchange, from 1887.

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The former home of the Savannah Morning News, where Joel Chandler Harris, the paper’s associate editor began writing the Uncle Remus tales.

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Along the river

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Spanish Moss in the morning light

General William Tecumseh Sherman concluded his infamous March in Savannah.

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Sherman’s troops arrive in Savannah

Johnny Mercer picked up some of the rhythms of the descendants of West African slaves who began their work as slaves when they landed here; on some isolated islands and backwaters the Geechee dialect survives.

The founder of the Girl Scout movement came from here.

Paula Deen began her culinary cuisine with a home business called “The Bag Lady” and progressed from there to fame and a bit of disrepute.

And Forrest Gump (or Tom Hanks, to be more precise) sat on a park bench in downtown to recount his memorable but decidedly fictional story for a cinema classic.

Also happening here, and memorialized in a bestselling book and a strange, mostly true film was a notorious murder that involved a cast of characters stranger than anything Hollywood could concoct. The book and movie were “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”

A SAVANNAH ALBUM, Part 2

Photos by Corey Sandler

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All photos copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

 

3 APRIL 2015
 Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Heading for a Bermuda Triangle

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Welcome aboard once again.

Silver Shadow is on her way to an unusual itinerary heading up the southeast coast of the United States to Savannah in Georgia, Charleston in South Carolina, Morehead City in North Carolina, and Norfolk in Virginia.

And then we will make a right turn, heading east for a three-day visit to Bermuda. We’ll complete the third leg of our Bermuda Triangle with a stop at Nassau before returning to Fort Lauderdale in two weeks.

I have it on good authority that the Bermuda Triangle actually used to be a Rectangle…before one side mysteriously disappeared.

Here’s our itinerary, which I fully expect we will complete:

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