Posts Tagged With: wildlife

North To Alaska Part 5

Teddy and Glacier


Cruising through Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve was like being on another planet. It’s 3.3 million acres of mountains, glaciers, fjords and even temperate rainforest and is the highlight of Alaska’s Inside Passage. And while there are no roads through this National Park, more than 430,000 people visit it each year, many on cruise ships like us.

Margerie Glacier          Vista

It was a beautiful, silent, clear, bright day. The cruise ship was able to get very close to the glaciers, one of which was the Margerie Glacier. Margerie Glacier is one of Alaska’s most photographed features and one of the most active glaciers in the park. The silence was broken by the sounds of “calving,” when large chunks of ice break off the glacier into the water.

Vista with Ship          Vista with ship

Ship and Gull          Vista

More than 240 species of birds make their homes in Glacier Bay National Park. Other wildlife includes humpback whales, sea lions, harbor seals and sometimes black bears and grizzly bears. Although we didn’t see any bears, there were quite a few sea lions bobbing around and a lot of humpback whale spouts were visible.

Teddy and Glacier          Margerie Glacier

Vista          Vista

Because this is a preserved area, the National Park Service allows only two cruise ships per day inside Glacier Bay. This was a great way to see the area. We ordered room service and watched the calving glaciers from our balcony.

Dates of Visit:  June 2011

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:

Categories: Play | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sun, Sand, Shells — Serenity


Living in Florida, you kind of take the beach for granted. After all, there’s so much coastline, hence a lot of beach! I love living in Florida, yet I’m not a die hard beachcomber. I never have been one to sit for hours in the sun and bake. But I do enjoy walking on the beach or sitting under the protection of an umbrella or cabana listening to the surf and gazing on the beautiful blue water.

There are so many places in Florida I haven’t yet been, but I certainly plan to do a lot more exploring and blogging about the wonderful places to visit in this great state of Florida. Of the places I have been, there is one place in particular that I love so much I never tire of going there. And that is Sanibel Island.

Sanibel is a small crescent-shaped island on Florida’s Gulf Coast, just west of Ft. Myers. I first visited there almost 13 years ago, but it’s such a wonderfully peaceful beach destination, I keep going back. Sanibel Island is a short four-hour drive from my home, so it’s a great place to spend a long weekend, or a long week.

Sanibel Island has a rich and colorful history. It is believed that Ponce de Leon discovered the island in 1513 on his way to find the Fountain of Youth. He named his discovery Santa Isybella after Queen Isabella. In the 1800s, the Gulf Coast barrier islands became known as “The Buccaneer Coast,” because pirates were attracted to the area. One notorious pirate in particular, Jose Gaspar, is rumored to have buried his stolen treasure on Sanibel. Then, to house his female prisoners that he kept for ransom, he built a prison called Isle de los Captivas, hence the name of Sanibel’s “sister” island, Captiva.

There are no more pirates or prisoners on Sanibel or Captiva. There are also no traffic lights, high rise condos or sprawling shopping malls. In fact, much of the island is a wildlife refuge.

In 1935, Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist, Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling visited Sanibel Island. He fell in love with the area and campaigned to get federal protection for the island’s fragile ecosystem. About ten years later, more than 6,000 acres of mangrove forest and wetlands became the JN “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. You can explore the refuge by biking, hiking, canoeing, kayaking or on the guided tram. Here you’ll find dolphins, manatees, alligators, ospreys, herons, egrets, pelicans, almost 400 different species of birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals.


In addition to being a famous wildlife refuge, Sanibel Island is also famous for shelling. The beaches are abundant with “treasures from the sea.” Because people are often seen bending down as they look for seashells, this posture has become known as the “Sanibel Stoop.”


Sanibel Island has something for everyone, every recreation imaginable: fishing, golfing, tennis, boating, biking (over 22 miles of bike paths), canoeing, kayaking, water skiing and windsurfing. And of course there are a variety of great restaurants. (I’ll be posting on some of them in weeks to come.) And many charming shops, boutiques and art galleries.

So, if you live in Florida, on the Gulf Coast, or anywhere in the world, Sanibel Island is definitely a place worth visiting. You may find you love it there as much as I do.


Dates of Visit:  January 2000 & 2002, October 2012

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:

Categories: Florida, Play | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Cougars and Otters and Bears, Oh My!


Take a walk on the wild side of Asheville at The Western North Carolina Nature Center, a 42 acre nature sanctuary not far from downtown.

The Nature Center is home to more than 220 animals and the largest collection of Southern Appalachian animal species in the world. It is also where injured or orphaned animals are taken who cannot survive in the wild on their own.

The Nature Center is very nicely landscaped with tree lined walkways. All the enclosures are designed to represent the native habitats of each animal. So, it’s not your traditional zoo.


One of the most popular attractions is the River Otter Exhibit. You can sit for hours watching these playful creatures jump in and out of the water, playing with toys and swimming around.

I was most fascinated with the black bear habitat. Instead of being caged, these black bears roam free with a raised walkway for visitors to get a close up view of these lovely animals.


There were also white-tailed deer, red wolves, grey wolves, and two beautiful cougars. There is a reptile house featuring rattlesnakes, frogs and the largest salamander in North America, the Hellbender. There’s also a petting zoo for the kids with sheep, goats and donkeys.


The Nature Center is open year-round, seven days a week, from 10am to 5pm. It’s a nice way to spend a few hours of your day, roaming along the quiet trails, seeing all the animals, and of course taking lots of pictures.

Dates of Visit:  May 2012

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:

Categories: North Carolina, Play | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Create a free website or blog at