• Blue Paradise!

    Lifou, New Caledonia…as we near New Zealand, we arrive at one of the Loyalty Islands that is part of the larger French territories of New Caledonia.

    There is no port, no taxis, no hotels, and no organized tours on this remote piece of Paradise! We take the tenders ashore to a rickety wood platform steps from an incredibly bleach white stretch of coral sand beach.

    I have never seen water this color of aqua blue! It’s beyond stunning and it just calls out to you to swim in! How can it just get more beautiful as we go from island to island in the magnificent South Pacific?

    I take a stroll beyond the lush vegetation of our landing site to Baie du Jinek; an underwater natural aquarium! Crystalline waters revealing a bevy of underwater coral refuges that hold a population of exotic fish! It’s so clear you can view the marine life below from the cave edged shoreline above!

    I spent some time snorkeling…seeing fish of every hue and I can’t help but to be awestruck by the striped sea snake slithering between the coral beneath me! So much so that the surprise of seeing this unique animal causes me to begin inhaling the salt water and I have to stop for an above water breather…I am disappointed I don’t have a waterproof camera to capture what looks like an animated children’s film below the surface!

    The rest of the day I just enjoyed the seemingly undiscovered beauty of the beach, probably still looking as it did when Captain Cook discovered this perfect little island!

    Life really doesn’t get much better than this!20121017-145420.jpg20121017-145439.jpg20121017-145506.jpg20121017-145523.jpg


  • Rock the Boat!

    Somewhere in the South Pacific…today is the fifth consecutive sea day in our journey, as the m/s Volendam makes it way towards Samoa. It’s been beautiful for days, if not a bit too hot…but today was a different story!

    I woke up a few times throughout the night feeling the roll of the ship, but in a way that rocking just adds to the amazing amounts of deep sleep I have I had so far on board! When I finally awoke, I peered outside to gray skies above and rain drenching the open decks.

    This entire day has been spent lazily do nothing as the ship pitched and rolled. I had found my sea legs but at times standing upright and walking in a straight line seemed totally elusive! The captain has slowed down a bit to lessen the impact of the rough sea. Yet this is just a minor wave compared to what has been experienced by some of the more seasoned sailors that I have spoken to on board…the decks remain open and besides not being able to use the outdoor pool all is the same as usual besides a bit of unsteady passengers!

  • Crossing the Line!

    Crossing the Equator at Sea…early this morning we sailed right past the Equator’s line into the southern Hemisphere! Crossing this line is commemorated by an age old tradition known as the King Neptune Ceremony.

    This initiation rite originally celebrated by the Dutch Merchant Navy was meant to boost morale on long ocean voyages and mark a sailors first crossing of the Equator. Pollywogs are the sailors new to the equator crossing and Shellbacks are the experienced ones. This is not a silly cruise ship gimmick, but a sailing tradition performed by even the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, as well as passenger cruise ships!

    King Neptune presides over the festivities with pirates, mermaids, sea urchins, you name it! Historically these ships were all male vessels, so men were dressed up as women for the ceremony…nothing like a sailor in drag!

    The idea is to embarrass the virgin sailors and put them through some form of public torture…kissing a smelly fish, being locked up in a cage, abused and soiled with spoiled food, and being dunked in water or left to bake in the hot sun.

    Held under an extremely brutal equatorial sun on the open deck, it’s a lot of fun but also serious sea faring tradition for the normally superstitious officers and sailors! Luckily for me, I could participate as an onlooker escaping the messy torture…but I woulda gladly done a little drag for the cause if needed!

    The oceans hold many age old myths and centuries old tales…what fun being initiated into this special club of those who have “crossed the line”!





  • Sketching on the High Seas!

    At Sea…I am finding something much more valuable besides just plain relaxing. These several days as we make our way to the South Pacific are allowing me to reconnect with my own passions!

    As a fashion designer for a large label, I rarely had time to do one of the things I loved so much about the fashion business that I have been in for almost 25 years: drawing & sketching! There were illustrators or other staff to do that…I spent my days conceptualizing big ideas, working on colors, picking fabrics, monitoring the design flow, pitching ideas, fitting, and setting the direction. I love all those things as well, but the thing I have done since I was a kid was draw! It was that innate ability to draw that drove me to my career as a fashion designer! I have no idea why at the age of 5, I was able to lie for hours on the floor sketching, while other kids played games and such!

    I am grateful for my talent; it has been this talent that I have relied on my whole life to get by…winning art contests in grammar school, being the artsy kid in high school, and setting myself apart in fashion design school! Getting this uninterrupted time to just sit and doodle, sketch, illustrate, etc. has really reminded me of the gift I have been given! No pressure to create anything that will sell, no pressure to get accolades, and no pressure to impress my fashion peers…just me escaping to my own world of creativity to reconnect with my own self and my craft and skill!

    I love living in fast paced NYC, but being able to check out and get to be somewhere where no one can find me is a another part of this journey to reclaim myself!20121007-145423.jpg20121007-145437.jpg


  • Totally Relaxing!

    Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean…we departed the dock in Honolulu around 11 pm last night after a great long day in Oahu’s city on the beach!

    The ship will now take 5 days to navigate its way to Pago Pago in the American Samoa, somewhere in the depths of the South Pacific. These upcoming ports are spots I doubt I would ever go to if it weren’t for this Pacific crossing!

    5 days at sea sounds daunting at first, but with blue skies, calm seas, and a hot tropical sun I settle into this first day easily. It is amazing to look in every direction and know its just water for thousands of miles!

    Relaxing like I never truly have before…I am cut off from my iPhone due to a lack of a constant Internet signal, no hundred channel cable tv loaded with mindless programs, and no reliance on telephone chatter for hours of pointless gossip! Without sights to discover, the only thing I have to think about is when to eat next!

    It is great to really shut down by soaking in the endless sea air…I think a few agenda-less days are gonna really cleanse my mind… I am also enjoying the “me-time” reminiscing back over the last three and a half months of adventures, discoveries, and pure fun I have had!

    This voyage has two more weeks remaining before I get to Sydney…I think I am understanding more each day why people swear by this age old tradition of long ocean voyages over quick port intensive cruises!





  • Friends at Sea!

    Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean…3 sea days down and 1 more to go and we will be arriving in Hawaii! Being out in the middle of the ocean really cuts you off from the world, the tv reception works sporadically and the Internet is snail slow at best.

    I have had some unusual company…the zoo animals that appear every night on my bed! After 21 days, I will literally have a jungle full of towel animals…but they put a smile on my face every night!




  • Out to Sea!

    Somewhere in the North Pacific…I have to admit I was extremely apprehensive about this cruise…I always wanted to do an true Ocean crossing, but 21 days with over half of it spent at sea had me worried!

    After departing from the Queen Mary port in Long Beach on Saturday, the ship started its 4 sea days sailing towards Hilo, Hawaii! I have never spent that many days at sea…Sunday was a cool day and the ship rolled side to side all day and night! Monday was a beautiful day of sunshine and much calmer seas…

    I had a hard time adjusting to doing nothing…luckily, I attended Bingo and won 2 games..chi ching…$200! Yippie! The casino on the other hand was less kind to me!

    Most importantly, after months of traveling, this relaxation is a gift! I realize how indulgent time can be…the indulgence is the luxury of time without appointments, schedules, having to be anywhere, etc! What I thought may be lonely or boring is perfect “me” time! Working out, eating, laying in the sun, and reading. I understand why people are addicted to long sea going cruises; this is true down time set to a gentle calming roll of the sea!

    For now I will relish being out in the middle of nowhere, after Hawaii, I face another 5 sea days that I will use to start to ignite my creativity by sketching and thinking of my return to reality in November!

  • Cruising in a New Way!

    Civitavecchia, Italy…today I boarded the Celebrity Equinox…this is my first time aboard a Celebrity ship. This Solstice class of ships by Celebrity set a new standard in mainstream cruising with a totally modern vibe when they were first introduced.

    The ship is surprising chic for a boat of this size. Cool futuristic details such as an Ice Bar with molecular drinks, a spaceship looking dining room, and of course the signature lawn on the top deck.

    Walking around, I feel as if I walked into a South Beach nightclub or an interior design editorial from Wallpaper magazine! Multiple restaurants, indoor and outdoor pools, bars galore, cutting edge art collection, and many entertainment venues will keep me busy for the duration of this cruise…

    I look forward to the next 10 nights in my lux digs at sea…setting sail from deck 14 on the m/s Equinox! 20120824-163949.jpg20120824-163904.jpg20120824-164028.jpg20120824-164451.jpg





  • Being Neighborly!

    Argostoli, Greece…today I find myself in Kefalonia, an island in the Ionian Sea of Greece.

    I didn’t think I had much of a story to tell here, but as I walked along the waterfront I spotted a small fishing boat and a fisherman dangling over the side of his boat. Hmmm…A small crowd formed chanting “Rebecca, Rebecca”! Did someone fall overboard?

    Nope, it was just the neighborhood Sea Turtle that the fishermen in the area nicknamed Rebecca (doesn’t sound very Greek!) had come by for lunch of some leftover fish…so cute! The turtle would circle and then bob her head above the water so the fisherman would feed her a small fish that he couldn’t sell…

    Never know what your gonna encounter! I don’t know why but I started chanting Rebecca too, all the way back to port…I guess there is always a story to be told!