Signs of St. Helena

Remember we're at sea at the moment, but still have lots to share about St. Helena Island. The weather today, however, is not conducive to writing long blogs. We edited all our pics each day at St. Helena and sent them to Gentry, so we'll  make this a photo-intensive blog … adding to our already large collection of signs. no parking sign st. helena island


danger mines


beware dangerous drop


governor reserved park


warning steep road ahead


please respect the tortoises




no climbing on fence


fresh cut pumpkin


wirebirds ahead

Feathered Friend Collectives

I've written about collective nouns for animals before. I've even set up a whole page for them on our website. Some are pretty mundane … a herd of cows, a flock of sheep or a pack of wolves. The ones that intrigue me the most, however, are the collective nouns for specific species of birds. Some of them are descriptive and others are off the wall. See what I mean.

helmeted guinea fowl

A confusion of guinea fowl


masked lapwings

A desert of lapwings



A gulp of swallows


american woodpecker

A descent of woodpeckers


jackal buzzard

A wake of buzzards


yellow eyed canary

An opera of canaries



A mob of emus



A weight of albatross


broad billed sandpiper

A fling of sandpipers



A wobble of ostriches

By the way, a great source of collective nouns for birds is New Zealand Birds.

Durban Mornings

I'm a morning person. I love mornings … always have. Here in South Africa, where there's no Daylight Savings Time, morning still comes especially early although it's edging a few minutes later and later each day as winter approaches. I usually wake around 0500-0530 with the morning light. I climb into the cockpit and take a look around. If I'm lucky, the sky glows with pink and orange and purple and reflects off the water. marina sunrise

I appreciate the quiet of the morning. I remember when our kids were little, I'd rise especially early just to have a few minutes of “me” time with my morning coffee, before the kids got up and the frenzy of a new day began. Now, I still appreciate “me” time in the morning when the marina is quiet and calm. David sleeps in a little later. No workers are around. The water is flat calm (sometimes). There's not even the lap of water against the hull. The birds are waking up, but they're even quiet this early. The cooing of the doves, the screech of the ibis and the honking Egyptian geese don't start till a bit later. I've got the day all to myself and I relish it. Of course, at the end of the day I'm ready for bed by 9pm. David is a night person and enjoys his “me” time then.

It's a good time to write, plan my day and just daydream. I sometimes wander down the dock with my camera. The city is just waking up. It's this time of day that photographers call the magic hour or the golden hour, when the light is soft and perfect.

golden hour

On a totally different topic, today is the beginning of the Chinese New Year … the Year of the Sheep. Last year we celebrated the Year of the Horse in Adelaide's Chinatown, watching parades, traditional lion dances and eating Chinese sweets. The Year of the Sheep is not considered a particularly lucky year to be born. Sheep symbolize “caring and compassion … (but) many are afraid those born under the  sheep will prove too weak for a cruel, unforgiving world.”

chinese year of the sheep

Unfortunately, Durban does not seem to have a specific area known as Chinatown and I could find no celebrations to attend. We'll just have Chinese food aboard, I guess, and count sheep before we fall asleep.