30 December 2018:
Puerto Chiapas, Mexico:
The Birthplace of Time

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Mexico’s ancient culture reaches back thousands of years.

And there are hundreds of cruise ships heading north or south along the coast each year, looking for places to stop. More and more each year.

And so we have new ports in an old country:

Two small, old ports called Puerto Madero and Puerto de San Benito were redeveloped as a commercial harbor in the 1970s and renamed Puerto Chiapas. And a cruise terminal came along 15 years ago.

And so we are here. There is not much of a settlement at the port, but it does serve as the gateway to the ancient Olmec city of Tapachula, dating from about 1500 BCE. It was at its height from about 600 BCE until 100 of the modern era.

And about 45 minutes from our ship is the archeological site of Izapa.

The ancient peoples of Mesoamerica—centered in and around this area—developed an elaborate time-reckoning system composed of both a 260-day sacred almanac and a 365-day secular calendar.

They came upon that 365-day year perhaps 1800 years before the solar calendar was supposedly “invented” in Europe.

Izapa is along the Izapa River near the base of the Tacaná volcano, the fourth largest mountain in Mexico.

Here is how it looked today:

Izapa certainly is not as well known as places like Chichen-Itza or Tikal in Guatemala (two great Mayan sites). It does not have the monumental pyramids and temples of those sites which were developed later. But in some ways Izapa is richer and more significant.

The site contains many carved Stelae or posts, most of them from the Mayans who succeeded the Olmecs.

We also paid a call at the town of Tuxtla Chico near Izapa.

And there we were serenaded by a marimba band and given a demonstration of the opening of cacao pods, their roasting, and their conversion into the makings of that essential of life, chocolate.

We are headed out to sea now and for the next two days will be proceeding north up the coast of Mexico to Cabo San Lucas. We will celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day aboard ship, and wish all a healthy and happy New Year.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

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

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

29 December 2018:
Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala:
The Land of the Respendent 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 rebirth with a still uncertain future.

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

Inland from the port of Puerto Quetzal lies the huge metropolis of Guatemala City, which would not qualify as one of the more attractive places on this planet. It is a place of grinding poverty, made worse by growling volcanoes all around.

But a bit further is the ancient city of Antigua Guatemala, which is a mostly intact Spanish Colonial city. In fact, the Spanish governed most of Central America from Mexico to Peru from here.

Antigua Guatemala has been damaged over the centuries by earthquakes and volcanoes. But somehow it has managed to maintain an air of dignity and quiet.

I traveled with guests today from the port about 90 minutes up to the old city. Along the way we had to traverse a section of highway that had been destroyed by the eruption of a volcano just a few months ago.

Today in Antigua Guatemala was a Saturday market day and a general festival between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Here is some of what we saw:

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

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

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 December 2018:
Puntarenas, Costa Rica:
Pura Vida

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We arrived in hot and muggy Puntarenas this morning and I went with a group of guests into the rainforest where we jumped off about a dozen perfectly good trees.

We were, of course engaging in the entertainment known as zip-lining. It’s a lot of fun and not nearly as scary as bungee jumping or parachuting.

Strapped into a harness and attached to not one but two separate steel cables above, participants glide through the jungle as if we we belonged there.

Just to make things interesting more interesting, at the bottom of the zip-line course was the Tarcoles River, it’s banks lined with crocodiles. An active imagination might lead you to think they were hoping for someone dropping off the zipline, but we did not oblige them.

Photo by Corey Sandler, copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

Costa Rica, like Panama–and Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico, the United States, and Canada–has ports on both the Atlantic and the Pacific.

There is only one canal, though.

The other countries have done the best they can with roads and railways to transfer products from one ocean to another.

Puntarenas here in Costa Rica was once the country’s principal port, but it was on the wrong side when it came to trade with the east coast of the United States, the Caribbean, and Europe. Over the past century, a railroad and then highways were built to climb up and over the Continental Divide to bring bananas, other agriculture, minerals, and more from one side to the other.

Modern Costa Rica has devoted much of its economy to sustainable and green industries and ecotourism. And the country–not quite perfect in its government and social services, but far ahead of nearly all of its neighbors–is doing well,

In fact, they have their own all-purpose expression of contentment: Pura Vida. Think of it as “all is well” or hakuna matata.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

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

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 December 2018:
Christmas in the Panama Canal:
The Path Between the Seas

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

There are few sights more astounding than to approach the locks at the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal and see a huge freighter, containership, or cruiseship floating 85 feet above you at the top of the stairs.

I have made the transit of the Panama Canal several dozen times over the years, and it never fails to impress.

Here is our ship as captured by shoreside webcams today:

And a view as longtime Silversea hotel director Norman Rafelson waved at tourists watching us in the locks:

When it opened in 1914, it was a triumph of human engineering and medicine. It still is.

The canal itself runs for about 50 miles. There are three locks at each end which lift ships to the level of manmade Gatun Lake which floods the Continental Divide to permit a crossing.

The new locks, which are roughly in parallel with the original set, allow huge containerships and other vessels to enter the system. Vessels like ours generally use the old locks, and we all meet in the lake for a procession between the seas.

Here are more photos from previous transits:

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

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

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

23-24 December 2018:
Cartagena, Colombia:
A Hot Place in a Hot Place

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We enjoyed a beautiful afternoon evening and morning at a hot place in a hot place: Cartagena.

We arrived on a Sunday aon the day before Christmas Eve and this city of nearly two million people was in a party mood. Then again Cartagena is almost always in a party mood. They call it rumbeando.

Here are some photos I took in the decorated streets and at sunset as we enjoyed a cold beer and celebrated the setting of the sun.

All photos by Corey Sandler. Copyright 2018, all rights reserved.

Cartagena, La Heroica, was one of Spain’s treasuries in the New World, along with Havana, Cuba.

As Spain extracted gold, silver, pearls, silk, and almost anything else they could move from the Americas and beyond from the Phillippines, China, and Japan, the had to sail their galleons through the Gulf of Mexico past the real pirates of the Caribbean.

Cartagena grew wealthy from that role, and as a result of the massive fortifications put in place by the Spanish.

Today the city is one of the handsomest places in this part of the world, a rich stew of Spanish Colonial architecture, Spanish and indigenous food and music and dance, and the money left behind by modern tourists.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

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

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

20 December 2018:
Going Bi-Coastal:
Silver Whisper from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Welcome aboard. We’re heading out today from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the east coast of the United States to the west coast.

At the time of the California Gold Rush that began in 1849, this sort of journey would have taken months and been an exceptionally dangerous journey.

There were three routes back then:

By wagon train across the vast North American continent, traversing desert and mountains and through sometimes hostile homelands.

By ship from New York, Boston, or the Gulf Coast to a port in Panama or Nicaragua and then a treacherous and difficult crossing of the isthmus to the west coast where a second ship would take travelers up north to California.

Or, the long sea voyage down and around the bottom of South America at Cape Horn and then back up the coast.

None of the options was attractive. Heat, cold, rough seas, insect-borne diseases, unfriendly locals.

All that changed in 1914 with the opening of the Panama Canal, one of the greatest engineering and logistical projects of all time. The canal is still in service, little changed from its original layout; additional sets of wider and longer locks were added a few years ago, like new entryways to an existing highway.

And that is the path we will follow. Silver Whisper, fresh out of the shipyard where she underwent a major facelift, will sail first to Cartagena, Colombia near the top of South America. From there we will pass through the Panama Canal on Christmas Day.

Once we are in the Pacific Ocean, we will head northwest up the coast, with stops at Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; the Mexican ports of Puerto Chiapas and Cabo San Lucas, and then into California in the United States for calls at San Diego and our ultimate destination of San Francisco.

Here’s our plan:

I hope you will follow me here in these pages.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

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

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