My brother and I are ten years apart, so it’s not like I really had a big brother. Think about it, when I was eight, he left for college. We did have some time together, but I don’t really remember much of it. Regardless, now at an age where sibling relationships take on a different meaning, I enjoy visiting with my brother. He is, at times, an inspiration for me. It seems he never stops as he volunteers with several different agencies, he studies subject matter to become an authority on topic and he continues to give back to the community.
I often notice in my mannerisms, a copy of stance or posture of my brother’s. It isn’t a studied effort, merely an identical action that I recognize as I’m doing it. At times though, I do copy something of his. I had noticed the last time we visited, that he had a feather in his cap. So, I have taken to placing a feather in one of my baseball caps. It is a feather from a Canada Goose.
Visiting my brother, means listening to many of his stories which he tells with great aplomb and gusto. We were talking about birds and those with a great difficulty in identifying; little brown birds and shore birds. I told him about our GAAs. A friend of ours, Alice, has birded for many years. She has even gone to distant locations such as Alaska, to find birds. Consequently, when we spot a small shore bird, we laugh about it being a GAA, Go Ask Alice, bird.
With my mention of Alaska, he asked if Alice had ever seen an Alaskan Kookaburra? You have to understand that in his hat, Dave has a small (4-5 inches) feather; black with a white tip. I responded that I didn’t expect that Alice hadn’t seen the bird in question. Dave went on to explain about this rare Alaskan bird, a bird from which his feather had originated, a story which I shall relate to you now.
It seems during the years in which nations sent forth whaling ships, there was an Australian whaling captain with a heart so big for his native land, that he encouraged his crew to bring aboard a pet; a reminder of the homeland they would be away from of nearly a year or more. On one of the whaling trips, a sailor brought aboard a cage containing a pair of kookaburras.
Upon departing Australia, the captain headed east towards the coast of South America where he caught the Humboldt current and rode it northward. After catching a ride on the northern equatorial current, he transferred to the California current as he headed towards Alaska and the Aleutian Islands, home to the whales he sought. Somewhere off the Kenai Peninsula, a storm rocked the vessel causing various stores and packages to be tossed asunder. One of those items tossed was the cage containing the kookaburras and the pair escaped.
Since kookaburras are not sea birds, they sought the nearest land fall which was the Kenai. Being of hardy Australian stock, the birds found land and immediately began about establishing a nest, breeding and doing those things birds do. Over time, the kookaburras adapted to their new climate and established a small, albeit inbred, community of birds now known as the Alaskan Kookaburra.
Should you in future travels, spot a man resembling me, with a small white tipped dark feather in his cap, know that he is a teller of tales extraordinaire but thoroughly entertaining.
I’ve tried to provide a taste of our tour of the Galapagos. As I wrote previously, each day was full of exposure to the fauna and flora of the islands. Each day was fairly busy, especially if you elected to participate in the water activities, which we did.
Saturday, we were positioned off Isabela Island. The first excursion was to
I last wrote about our snorkeling along the lava of Rábina Island and the things we experience along the way. What wasn’t described were the many sights we saw as Danny navigated us along the coast of Rábina on our way to snorkel.
So let me share some photos of the life along the shoreline
Where were we before Houston, Port Arthur, Texas City, Houston again, Village Creek S.P., Houston (again), and then Natchitoches? I remember, the Galapagos. Let’s go back and see what we were doing.
Carol went snorkeling while I had stitches removed. We had lunch together, and then,
She who must be obeyed, and friends, departing for a deep water snorkel
San Marcos, TX and I’m sitting upright in a chair while a surgeon stitches my head. It seems I had this squamous cell skin cancer on the back of my scalp that needed to come off. So now it was gone and my friendly doc was closing the incision.
“Hey Doc, I just thought of something,” I blurted out. “I’m going to the Galapagos in a few days and I’ll have a chance to some snorkeling. Do you thinks that’s a problem?”
“My first thought is that your timing is impeccable,” he jibed. “My next thought is you don’t really want to get into ocean water with this. When are you leaving?”
“Well, we fly to Ecuador on Monday, then on to the islands on Thursday, so seven… Oh crap, the stitches have to come out in seven to ten days right?”
With a big grin, he responded, “As I said, you’re timing is impeccable.”
“OK,” says I, “I’m thinking the ship has 100 passengers; all of whom will be exposing themselves to some risk. There must be a doctor on board. If not, I guess it will be up to my wife to pull them out. Do you think she can do that?”
“Maybe, just make sure she pulls the knotted end.”
He made certain to tell me there were six stitches, done in mattress pattern, emphasizing that if six were set, six need to be pulled.
Eight days later, we were off Santiago Island. The ship had a doctor and I had met with her about my sutures. She had said this would be a good day to remove them. So, while Carol and friends departed the ship for a deep water snorkel, I headed off to see the doc.
After some initial felicitations, she set about cleaning my scalp. “I thought your wife wanted to do this?” she asked. “She did, but given the choice between this and snorkeling…well I waved as she left in a Zodiac.”
Scalp cleaned, she grabbed scissors and tweezers, or whatever medicos call the neat tools they use, and went to work. The first four went easily enough, just slipping out. The fifth was a bit stubborn, to the point of bringing tears to my eyes. I commented that it seemed stuck and doc agreed, “It happens sometimes when stitches are in too long.” I’ll come back to it. She removed the sixth and then went back to the recalcitrant fifth. With a bit of tugging, it released. Doc cleaned a bit of blood and told me to just keep it clean and allow it to air.
“So, snorkeling will be ok?”, I asked.
“Why not, just clean it when you get back on the ship, and don’t expose it to the sun.”
With that release, I was looking forward to the afternoon snorkel excursion at Rábida Island.