Excerpt from Wikipedia about Misty Fjord; The area is called "The Yosemite of the North" for its similar geology. Light-colored granite, about 50 to 70 million years old has been sculpted by glaciers that gouged deep U-shaped troughs throughout the monument. Many of the glacial valleys are filled with sea water and are called "canals", but they are not man-made in any way; the walls of these valleys are near-vertical and often rise 2,000 to 3,000 feet (600 to 900 m) above sea level, and drop 1,000 feet (300 m) below it.
The Bald Eagle is a sacred bird in some Native American cultures. It is both the natinal bird and national animal of the United States of America. The figure appears on its Seal. Once you see the beauty and dignity of theirs, you will agree on that. They mate for life. There is always another around when you see one Bald Eagle.
06:00 Safely passed through Seymour Narrows Seymour Narrows is the marine passage between Vancouver Island and Quadra Island and known for strong tidal currents. It is about the 5-kilometer stretch of 750 meters wide. Many captains think it is the vilest stretches of water in the world.
生き物の気配： 静かな海域を航行中、あちこちの水中、水面に生き物の気配が・・・ After entering calm sea area, we saw and felt the sign of living creatures in and on the water.
Soon after the departure, the touch of the air on my cheeks and the colour of the water changed dramatically. Now we enter the intermediate zone between the North Pole and the Equater. Looking back, about 40 days ago, we were around latitude 40 degrees. south.
Predeparture Vancouver Local Show by Le-La-La Dancers of the native tribe "Kwakuwaka'wakw" It is a tribe to played an important role in restoring totem poles in the later days. They kept their own tradition when totem poles were commercially made by many other tribes. They showed us their dance of catching a whale.
Vancouver has a world-famous good park next to the downtown area. Stanley Park, that is. In the Park full of green, you will find an aquarium,restaurants, beaches, rose gardens, mini-golf course, tennis courts, a long trail named Seawall along the sea, plus various facilities for attractions and activities.
Above all things, the totem poles in the square on the way to Brockton Point are magnificent. Just for reference; one of the ASUKA II passengers purchased a modern totem pole of about a tenth size of the tallest one here for US$ 5,000 excluding shipping fee.
We took a Horse-drawn Tour of about an hour in the park. It starts from the station every 30 minutes in the season the fare is CAD 30 .
＊オーディオショップ情報 Info of the audio shop： "hi-fi centre" 578 Seymour St. Vancouver
Back in town, I had to follow a Mr. Headphone-collector's plan to visit an audio shop at Seymour St. as well as in San Francisco. He had an engagement of a visit beforehand.
The shop has several audition rooms, each of which is nicely equipped and decorated in a good taste. After spending hours listening to various kinds of music in a perfect condition in different rooms, we asked for a quotation including shipping and left the shop.
We had late lunch of turkey & brie sandwich at the coffee shop nearby, which was super delicious. We were all ready for Stanley Park!
Right after the arrival, we took a taxi to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. We have crossed over the sea day after day and started missing the scent of trees and plants. That brought us to the Park of rain forest on the Canadian West Coast.
The Suspension Bridge over Capilano River is 137 meters long and 70 meters high from the River. It sways much sideways with the weight of the people. Our taxi driver told us that a man fell over to death off the Bridge just a week before. He tried to grip on the bridge wire, dropped his wallet out of his hand, and he reflexively gave a fatal stretch to his body trying to catch it. The driver gave us a lot of local social information and kind wishes on our trip and cruise.
The air in the Park filled us with enough phytoncide. We went back to the town all refreshed.
07:00 We passed under the Lions Gate Bridge aka the First Narrows into Vancouver Harbour. The city was there waiting for us in the morning light. The harbour's symbolic white sails of Canada Place that I had missed were in sight.
Vancouver is favoured with a mild climate thanks to warm current of the Pacific and the Rocky Mountains shielding the city from the cold continental wind. The people are kind and gentle, and racial stress is next to nothing just like Brazil. Many retired people move in to Vancouver. That I understand very well.
Ships arriving here undergo CFIA's (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) inspection while in the port, that is, of gypsy moth harmful to orchards and forests. They inspect to the velanda walls of each cabin.
Another formality we have to be careful about is that we can go out freely to the town without any formality at the terminal, but when returning to the ship we must have the baggage checked and immigration formality cleared by the US authorities because the next port is Juneau, Alaska. In this kind of situation, make very sure that you have your passport with you. Otherwise, you will never be able to return to the ship especially on the day like today when two other passenger liners, Island Princess with 2000 people, and Forendum with another 1300 keep the officers busy.
ちなみにこんな本がベストセラーになっています。/ The book titled "47 rules to avoid being killed by medical doctors" is the best selling book in Japan since the end of December '12. They sold 880,000 copies in 6 months.The auther is a medical doctor of the 40-year career in hospitals.
It is a long time since my last post!
I was undergoing the nightmare-like days for the past one month for the first time in my life.
One of my family members was suddenly told by the doctor to be in need of an urgent surgical operation. We wavered with the word "urgent" uttered by the doctor and agreed with his direction of operation.
It took nine days at hospital before the patient came back home. A nightmare arose three days after that. His temperature rose as high as 40℃ /100°F and became uncontrollable. He was hospitalized again and had to spend 20 more days there to fight back obvious operational infection. As he has been a man of physical strength, he could survive this time. But if your family member happens to be physically weak or aged, infection could overwhelm his or her life. We now regret that we were foolishly carried away by the doc's simple one word 'urgent'. Thinking back, there was no such urgency that we did not have time for second opinions at other hospitals.
Sometimes nosocomial infection is more scary than your own disease.
I had led a life of "Leap before you look". Now I realized a real meaning of the original saying.
The temperature dropped drastically to 12℃. My partner 3G was not feeling well and spent a miserable day yesterday. We had gorgeous crab lunch at the Fisherman's Warf restaurant in San Francisco. Probably something did not suit him. By the time we had to dress up for a formal evening, he recovered and enjoyed wonderful dinner table of our newly embarked co-captain, and later a piano concert of Chopin by pianist Mr. Avner Arad. The concert ended in standing ovation and long-lasting applause.
The temperature stayed around 10℃ this day, too. The passengers started to wear winter outfit. Out on the deck, we needed something like a down coat.
The speed of the ship cruising along the east coast of North America is ristricted up to 10 knots as one of the measures to protect whales. While cruising gently, we saw whales spout many times.
Around 19:00, we approached Juan de Fuca Strait, the strait between Canada and America. On the right is Mt. Olympus, America, and on the left is Victoria, the tip of Vancouver Island.
In the evening, I was in the stunning dusk at the cabin balcony with a glass of drink. I thought San Francisco was a beautiful city in the past several visits, too. But the beautyiful coloration this time carried me away into a strange feeling as if I were a part of an exquisite harmony of its nature and artificiality . The time wrapped me magically with a modest and gentle feeling.
We took a bike-ricksha pedaled by a young man from the port to the Union Square. The June breeze was very pleasant under the blue SF sky while going through the empty Saturday Financial Street to the Square. Only 20 minutes and US$30 took us to the destination.
My partner wanted something at a specialty store near the Union Square. But they did not have one and advised him to visit a store in the suburb by taking a muni bus No.38. It was a very first time for us to use a muni bus. At the bus stop, we might have looked bewildering when a San Franciscan lady kindly asked us, "Which bus are you taking?" Then she checked the route, told us to pay two dollars each to the driver, that enables us to transfer as many times as we need in 90 minutes, but not to forget to get a transfer ticket when getting off, and finally made sure of No. 38 when a bus came. We gained confidence and enjoyed muni bus rides transferring a few times, although my partner could not get what he wanted at the suburb shop, either.
We even transferred to Van Ness and went to famous Cadillac Showroom Building [aka Don Lee Building] built in 1921. and took muni bus No.47 to the Fisherman's Wharf. In the evening breeze, we walked back to the ship through Pier 39.
P.S. パートナーのおもちゃ/My partner's toys
My partner has only two ears as other people do.
I always wonder why he needs some tens of them.
While we enjoyed watching dolphins following our ship and whales spouting day after day, the ship went on cruising and brought us to San Francisco after 6 days from Acapulco. The scheduled arrival time was 14:00 but the current from the back of the ship was unexpectedly rapid and we were under the Golden Gate Bridge so early as 9:45. We anchored at the Pier 35 at 10:40. The weather was beautiful. There was no sign of noted fog at all.
At 11:10, immigration officers got onboard for clearance of the passengers just as at most of other ports, but not like N.Y. There we disembark and must make a long line in the terminal building for individual checkups of the finger prints, irisea, passports, plus a direct interview with one of the officers.
After all, here in San Francisco, we were free to go out finally around 13:30. How much I miss the days of easier travels before so many hijacks and terrors took place.
Acapulco's local show was the stage of "Mexican Folklorico Festival ". Their bright-coloured costumes and lively Mariachi music was the wonderful farewell show. The time for us to say good-bye to Acapulco, the last port of Latin America, was around the cornor.
I hope you would enjoy the stage in movie by clicking on an arrow on the image.
We heard a lot of local people around the port complaining a downturn of economy. Big ocean liners that used to come to Acapulco have shifted their cruising area to the Caribbean side. They say ASUKA II is the first big ocean liner visiting Acapulco. One of the workers said he was wondering if he should allow one his sons to go to university.
It is the year of the presidential election in Mexico. The upcoming election day is July
1. We got many campaign handouts on the street, which we still keep. Through the impression in the town, We felt that present Mexico State Governer PenaNieto (PRD) might win over President Calderon, who was elected President in 2006 when we visited here last around this time of the year.
We came to know later that Mr. PenaNieto was elected President, who is rather so young as 45.
Mr. Calderon, they say, failed in wiping out drug trafficking, stopping the lowering unemployment rate, and downturn of Mexican Peso. Especially on the process of exercising strong force to get rid of drug trafficking, some tens of thousands died.
I hope new President will be successful in implementing his pledges.
We changed our first plan to visit Taxco, a town of silver mining as we felt a little tired. As we visited most of the tourist spots last time we were here, we decided to enjoy taking a walk in the old quarters of the city.
Zocalo, Central Square, is the place you can see local people's life
People just stop by at the beautiful Cathedral facing Zocalo, the Central Square. In the shade of big trees, people gather・・・people who sell things, buy them, have a break,and there is carefree laughter of children playing. Such ordinary sights of their life never bore me.
In the early morning, around 5:00, Acapulco shaped with thousands of jewelry-like lights started gradually coming closer. At 5:30, a local pilot ship approached our ship to guide us. Entering the port is alway like an overture of a stage special to a cruise. You go out to the deck, and that is the moment we feel through our five senses the different air, sound, scent, from yesterday's. Acapulco's lights are pretty, one of the very best in what I saw.
Mexican Deck Dinner was held in the evening prior to arrival at Acapulco, Mexico, tomorrow. The pool side party site was full of Mexican atmosphere with Mexican dishes and music. We had Mauro Calderón, a Mexican great singer and Los Vagabundos, a trio Mariachi group. Their music brought us to Mexico on the ocean.
We left Puntarenas at 19:00 yesterday and now are cruising off the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica. The east wind is a little strong as always in this area of the sea, but it is fine and the sea is rather calm.
This is the birthplace of El Niño and La Niña. They named the phenomenon of the rise in sea water temperature in the area El Niño as it happens around Christmas. It gives big influence for a long period on the climate of the Oceanian and Asian countries. In Japan we have a longer rainy season and warm winter due to El Niño, and viceversa when the temperature fall invites La Niña.
07：00 ニコヤ湾にあるプンタレナス客船大桟橋入港 Muelle de Cruceros, Puntarenas, in Golfo de Nicoya
About 4-meter alligator in the Tarcoles River viewed from the bridge on the way to Aerial Tram to tour the tropical rain forest from above There were 6 of them。
手塚治虫氏の「火の鳥」のモデルにもなったという世界で最も美しい鳥「ケツァール」に出会えることも・・・と少し思いながらアエリアルトラムの乗って On the Aerial Tram vaguely expecting to see a quetzal, the most beautiful bird in the world, if I am lucky enough
I could not see a quetzal this time, but luckily saw a very rare frog and other birds.
こちらでランチ いつかゆっくり訪れたい場所の一つ ガージョ・ピントが美味でした。
Lunch at Marriot Resorts Hotel Los Suenos with a beautiful beach, an international yacht harbour, and a golf course, the place I would like to come back some day
海岸からのわれらがASUKA II Our ship, ASUKA II viewed from the beach side
桟橋と陸を結ぶトロリー A trolley to connect the landing pier and the peninsula
Japan has learned a lot from Costa Rica, first of all, ecotourism as well as many other countries have. Costa Rica is very advancing in this field. Thirty percent of its land is covered with green and has 5 percent of entire world fauna and flora. It has 850 species of wild birds, 200 species of mammals, 110 species of bats, and 137 species of snakes, the serums produced out of 22 species of which are exported. The land is home for some 30,000 species of living things.
What made me very jealous of them, though, was when I came to know that a big box of mangos cost only US$3.
We, the Japanese Diet introduced electoral system of single‐seat constituencies and proportional representation from Costa Rica, although the content is pretty far from that of the Costa Rica’s original concept. Costa Rica’s population is 4,300 thousand and the number of the assembly representatives is 45, while Japan has 722 to the population of 120 million.
Costa Rica has no armed forces and is a nutral nation. Instead of spending tax for arms, they spend it to enrich the content of education and welfare. As a result, education at public schools and universities, and welfare expenses are free. Literacy rate is high and that invites many high-tech industries to the country. Intel is one of them. Accordingly the jobless rate is very low and the economy is stable. They do not have to worry about the outbreak of a coup d'etat. But every country has a headache. For Costa Rica, that is an increase of drug-trafficking and drug abusers in the area of its capital city San José.
We passed Balboa, the Pacific-Ocean-side gate city of the Panama Canal yesterday evening, and are heading northward to Costa Rica. The Pacific Ocean is so big as 180million square kilometers, 35% of the face of the earth and 50% of the entire ocean area. Vasco Balboa, a Spanish politician and explorer, discovered the Pacific Ocean in 1513. Balboa called it "South Sea" at first, but Ferdinand Magellan named it "Pacific Ocean" later.
Brown boobies have started flying around our ship soon after we entered the Pacific. These wise birds make our mast and the high poles their temporary home and catch fish. They know well that the sound of a big ship's engine induces the movement of fishes. We enjoy watching them for some time, probably up to San Francisco.
ここがネックになって大型船舶が通行不可のゲイラードカットにて At Gaillard Cut that is the bottle neck point to make a large-scale ship impossible to use Panama Canal
We have no classes and no events all day today. The Canal transit itself is the biggest event. Our staff who support our daily life accordingly have some time to enjoy the Canal. How nice to see them enjoying a moment of break.
でもブリッジは気を抜けない一日 / Besides, the Bridge doesn't have a moment to relax.
中米と南米を繋ぐセンテナリオ橋Centennial Bridge to connect South America and Central America
太平洋に向け高度を下げるオペレーションをするペデロミゲル閘門 Pedero Miguel Locks to lower a ship toward the Pacific Ocean
Because of easy land access, Pedro Miguel Locks always have many tourists to see ships in transit
太平洋に一番近いミラフローレス閘門 こちらも見学者がいっぱい！ Miraflores Locks, the nearest to the Pacific Ocean, is also full of tourists!
アメリカ橋 The Bridge of the Americasセンテナリオが2004年に完成するまでパンアメリカンハイウエイの一部として南北アメリカ陸路を繋ぐ唯一の橋であったアメリカ橋 この橋をくぐると2か月ぶりで太平洋へ。
The Bridge of the Americas, an important part of Pan American Highway, used to be the only one bride to connect North and South Americas up until the completion of Centennial Bridge in 2004. Passing the Bridge of the Americas, we came back to the Pacific Ocean after 2 months.
か くして17時04分パナマ湾に放たれたASUKA IIの長い一日でした。
Thus ASUKA II was released in Panama Bay and finished a long day of transit at 17:04.
It does not take an expert to see that the environment of Panama Canal is a treasure-house of plants, and living things. It would be a miracle if expansion of the world distribution benefited by the new Canal and nature can coexist in a well-balanced condition. May this treasure-house be kept as it is!