Galapagos adventure

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As promised, here are a selection of my husband Rob Goldsborough’s beautiful photographs from our recent trip to the Galapagos Islands. The one above of a Galapagos finch is one of my favorites. These finches played an important role in the development of Darwin’s theory of natural selection.

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We went on daily excursions in inflated pangas from our mother ship.

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Sea lions were a common sight…

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as were Blue-footed Boobies – the bluer their feet, the healthier they are.

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This young sea lion was almost oblivious to my presence.

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We saw many giant tortoises lumbering along. The islands were named after the Spanish word for tortoise, “galapago”.

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This iguana species is the only extant (or still existing) marine lizard on Earth.
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We saw one flamingo in a shallow pond.

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Magnificent frigate-birds dominated the sky..

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and showed off their red throat pouches on land.

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Sally Lightfoot crabs danced over the rocks at the sea shore.

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This Black-legged Stilt waded, while an iguana crawled ashore.

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I hope that you’ve enjoyed the tour. Polly went along, too and you can see her travel log here. The trip was a truly remarkable experience!

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Polly in the Galapagos

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Polly just returned from a fascinating trip to the Galapagos Islands, off the coast of Ecuador. She dressed in an outfit suitable for a Charles Darwin expedition in the 1830’s. The excessive heat and humidity were a challenge in her long skirt, but at least she didn’t have to put sun screen on her wooden face. In this photo, you can barely make out the piles of sun bathing sea iguanas on the black volcanic rocks. A brown baby sea lion nestled in the rocks and slept through the photo session, while another looked on from the water’s edge.

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Having nothing to fear, the animals were oblivious to humans. We were told that they don’t sleep close together because of affection, but to keep themselves warm. Polly took along a collection bag and straw hat for protection from the equatorial sun.

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This is as close as she got to some land iguanas.

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She hiked up to a high lookout on one of the islands…

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and climbed cactus plants.

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The giant tortoises were impressively old and slow.

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While the Sally Lightfoot crabs were gaudy and fast.

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This young sea lion slumbered on a bench. Polly resisted the temptation to tickle its whiskers.

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Polly got a kick out of posing in front a photo collage of Charles Darwin, who was in his 20’s when he visited the Galapagos Islands in 1831. His theory of evolution, The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, based mainly on his observations there was published in 1859. More photos of the trip, with closeups of the animals go here.

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Polly goes to Utah


It’s time we caught up with Polly Doll about the second part of her trip west. In early November she met up with her cousins in Salt Lake City and then headed to their cabin in southern Utah. From there she drove through the countryside and visited Kodachrome National Park (above video) and Brice Canyon National Park. The scenery was so spectacular that she could hardly believe her eyes! The Fall palette featured her favorite color combination, green and orange, with lots of subtle variations in between.

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Polly really enjoyed the Natural History Museum of Utah in Salt Lake City. She got up close to some gems, plaster animals and old bones. She’s looking forward to her next trip this winter, where she’s hoping to meet some real live animals up close!

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Polly in Oregon

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Polly came along on our trip to Oregon. She was mesmerized by the beauty inside the Lan Su Chinese Garden in the heart of Portland.

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She helped the Mavor sisters make Speculaas, molded Dutch gingerbread cookies.

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She drove south of Portland to Willamette Valley, Oregon’s wine making region.

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It was really gorgeous out in the country. Polly loved Oregon!

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Polly’s travels

While Polly is away, let’s take this opportunity to review her previous traveling outfits and adventures. As you can see in the following photos, Polly doesn’t mind posing in front of the camera. Dressing appropriately is her first priority. She is sure to share her experiences in Oregon and Utah when she returns. In the meantime, check out Polly’s travelogue on Instagram and Facebook. See if you can pick out where she’s been. Answers are at the bottom of this post.

Antarctica, Cuba, Yosemite, Provence, Ireland, San Francisco, Scotland and Prince Edward Island.

road to PEI

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On the drive up to Prince Edward Island, we stayed a night in Wiscassett, Maine, which was as pretty as advertised. These photos are from my early morning walk into town from our B&B.

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We drove to Booth Bay Harbor, which is right down the road and had dinner with friends.

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The next leg of the trip brought us just across the Canadian border to St. Andrews, NB, where I took another early morning walk through the neighborhood.pei-5pei-6

In the afternoon, we arrived at our friend’s cottage on the south east coast of Prince Edward Island. It sure was beautiful!pei-24pei-23

One day, we drove to the charming south coast village of Victoria for dinner and a concert.

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pei-14pei-16After a wonderful visit to PEI, we headed home, stopping again in St. Andrews at the Rossmount Inn, where I took this photo of their spectacular background garden.

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Anne of Green Gables & family ties

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During our trip to PEI, we visited Green Gables, of course. Although L.M. Montgomery never lived there, her cousins’ house and farm was the inspiration for the setting of her famous book Anne of Green Gables. The property has been designated as a National Historic Site of Canada and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.

Our friend and hostess Polly (yes, a real life person!), Rob and I were glad to be there on a less crowded week day and freely roamed around the lovingly restored house, inside and out. After perusing every possible Anne themed souvenir in the gift shop, Polly (doll above) sighed with relief when she came across a stack of books.

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Green Gables is set up as if the character Anne Shirley and her adoptive family of Matthew and Marilla lived there in the late 1800’s. The rooms are furnished with a wonderful collection of period pieces and Anne’s room includes important book related items, like her carpet bag and puffed sleeve dresses.

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This is where the family tie to Anne of Green Gables comes in. But, first a little family history. Growing up, I heard about our relatives in Toronto, the “Canadian Cousins”. We were the only branch of the family to move to America, where my grandfather followed his career in biology. My father’s grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins in Canada seemed so much more interesting than the few family members we knew at home. The stories of their lives emphasized an unconventional and creative spirit, full of drama and public service. I never met them in person and that may be why they still loom large in my mind as colorful characters who were celebrated for their leadership and vision (at least in Canada).

I heard about my totally eccentric great-grandfather, James Mavor, who through his connections with the Canadian government and Russian Tolstoyans, helped arrange the mass immigration of the Doukhobors from Russia to Saskatchewan in 1898. I’ve never met an American who knows about the Doukhobors, but I think most Canadians have at least heard of them or know their descendants. There were also stories about James Mavor’s daughter, my great-aunt Dora Mavor Moore who is considered the Grand Dame of Canadian Theater. My father talked about Dora and her son, his first cousin, Mavor Moore who was a multi-talented creative force in CBC radio and television and the arts. These relatives and my parents are gone, but the family remembrances live on through stories, creating narratives beyond mere names and dates on a genealogy chart.

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In Charlottetown, we saw the last performance of the season of “Anne of Green Gables – The Musical™”, which I really enjoyed.  I already knew that Mavor Moore had been involved from the show’s beginning in 1965 and was Co-writer of the lyrics.

What I didn’t know was that his daughter, Charlotte Moore was on stage, playing the leading role of Marilla. During intermission, I read the program and couldn’t believe it when her name and picture popped out. We had not met, but I was aware that she was a professional actress and singer, carrying on the family theater tradition.

 

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After the show, it seemed almost impossible to send a message back stage, but another actor told us that the cast sometimes gathers in the bar at Mavor’s Restaurant (named after Mavor Moore) in the same theater complex. We only waited a few minutes in the bar before I heard the name “Charlotte” being called out behind me. I turned around and there she was, my real life “Canadian Cousin”. After some quick introductions, we had a great chat about the family. I also got to meet Mavor Moore’s widow, opera singer, Alexandra Brown Moore, who was visiting PEI from Victoria, BC.

We were all so delighted to finally meet each other! I felt connected to the Canadian branch of my family in a way I hadn’t experienced before. Our interaction made me realize that sometimes just showing up, taking notice and making a little effort can make all the difference in how life unfolds. It’s daunting to think that I am the older generation now. How could that possibly be? After all, I still play with dolls, for goodness sake!

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