Thursday, 17 April 2014

Stavros S Niarchos - A tall ships adventure

Spending a week living on a Tall ship was certainly an adventure that I will never forget! After some training, turning us from inexperienced sailing rookies into full fledged sailors (almost), we set sail from Liverpool and across the Irish sea. Our watch took the sunset shift and the early morning watch, most of which was spent stargazing. 24 hours of gentle sailing later later we arrived in sunny Dublin, which I may cover in a separate blog post. The following afternoon we set sail again aiming for the Ilse of Man, unfortunately, due to rough seas and an unfavourable with direction we had to hand in the sails and change tact, heading back towards Liverpool. The rough seas continued as we headed towards Anglesey in search for a favourable tide. The highlight of this leg was seeing Dolphins playing in the waves by the side of the ship, causing all of those being seasick to pause and watch in wonder. Anchoring just outside of Liverpool gave us the opportunity to complete a social climb to the 123ft high masts with our cameras! The favourable tides arrived with a pilot and tug boat and we were safely guided through a series of locks to our dock. Anyone interested in booking a similar trip should check: http://tallships.org/.


A view out over the Bow sprit

The Foremast.

On board photography lessons in time for the setting sun.

Keeping watch towards Ireland.

The Bowsprit and the foremast.

Our view of the sails while on the sunset shift.

A view from the highest yard arm; the Royal.

The Main mast from the top of the fore mast.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

A road trip of Ancient Greece

While booking my flights back from Israel I noticed that flights via Athens were particularly cheap. I gave my Mum a call and we planned a week long road trip around mainland Greece, starting and ending in Athens, entirely based on what looked pretty on google images. I did most of the driving, allowing my Mum to keep meticulous notes about the driving distances and places we visited.


The soft morning light on the harbour at Nafplio

The sun setting on a street which we only drove down because we were lost trying to find the bridge across the Gulf of Patras

A misty morning on the lake in the town of Ioannina.

The Varlaam Monastery atop a sandstone pedestal in Meteora. 
The Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron. 

The three remaining pillars of the Tholos Temple in Ancient Delphi.

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus, which is part of the Acropolis in Athens. 

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Ranthambore National Park

Possibly my last blog post from Ranthambore (until I go back!) so it's just a collection of photographs that I haven't shared on my blog yet. Although we only spent one week in Ranthambore National Park it was a magical place, that kinda reminded me of the Jungle book, which was topped off by some fantastic time spent with tigers.

The sun shining through colourful Saris at the Ranthambore fort. 

T-24 relaxing in a lagoon.

A peacock portrait.

Two of the guard sat on the top of a wall, looking as comfortable as monkeys.

Sultan looking down on up from the top of a hill.

The beautiful eyes of Sultan in Ranthambore National park.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Sunset over the Canal

The walk along the canal towards Willington in Derbyshire is usually very pleasant. There are nicely painted Canal boats, trees, Willington cooling towers in the distance and people walking very happy looking dogs. At sunset last Saturday it was beautiful! The canal, being a relatively still body of water, creates interesting reflections of the boats, trees and power-lines.

The canal boats lit with the evening sun.

Power-lines and trees reflecting in the canal.

The setting sun reflecting off a set of train lines. 

The dis-used Willington cooling towers,  shot from the bridge over the rail way line.

Swans floating off into the sunset.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

The animals of Ndutu

I've already blogged lots about my experiences in Ndutu, but it's often very focused around the cheetahs and lions there. This posts highlights a few of the other delightful animals seen around the area.


Jackals are one of the few animals that still look cute with the entrails of a carcass in their mouths. 
This one had just manage to snatch a mouthful under the gaze of several Tawny eagles, 
which explains his smile.

A leopard tortoise which had wandered onto the road didn't look too impressed when I lay down in front of him.

I love watching giraffe eat, because they have such long tongues!

Another Jackal also looking pleased about his scavenged lunch. 

A pair of giraffe walking across the marshes of Ndutu.

On our way from Ndutu to the Ngorongoro crater we saw the beautiful sight of a new born zebra foal,
 trying to walk just minutes after birth.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Brussels at Christmas time

It was actually 2 weekends before Christmas when I took the Eurostar with some friends, headed straight for Brussels. We were being looked after for the weekend by our friend Fiona and her boyfriend Ben. Brussels lived up to our expectations, there were chocolate shops everywhere, thousands of types of beers and a lady selling waffles at 2am. We even managed to get all of our Christmas shopping done while having a tour of the city and the Christmas markets.

A small church hidden away amongst the shopping streets.

The view from Grand-Place.

The more modern half of Grand-Place

Mont des Arts at the end of a street including a very large musical museum.

An angel statue close to the Mont des Arts.

Chocolate penguins!

Enjoying a late lunch after some very serious chocolate shopping,

Buildings in the town square lit up as part of the Christmas festivities :)
Many thanks to Fiona and Ben for looking after us. Happy Christmas and have a Happy New year everyone!

Friday, 29 November 2013

Cheetah cubs in training

From a young age cheetah cubs learn to hunt by shadowing their mother. This means that often young cheetah cubs will chase other animals around the plains, just to gain experience, whether they would be considered prey or not. In one morning in Ndutu we witnessed a 7 month old pair of cheetah cubs chase zebra, wildebeest, warthogs, a jackal and several species of birds. Finally their mother caught them a Thompson's gazelle fawn to allow them to fine tune their tripping techniques. Even once they had succeeded in tripping the fawn the cheetahs looked confused as to what to do next. Mum came to the rescue, biting the fawns neck, so that they could enjoy lunch.

An over-exited cheetah cub chasing part of the migration.
The same cheetah cub bravely chasing a Jackal.

The cheetah cub looking a little less brave as the Jackal turned around and barked at him.

One of the cubs successfully tripping the fawn. 

The cheetah mum and gazelle mum watched on as the cheetah cubs chase the fawn.