December, 2022:
Above It All

By Corey Sandler

I love to fly.

It’s airports I hate. Waiting in line for check-in. Going through customs. Security checkpoints. And then there are the passengers, at least some of them.

I am, for better or worse, old enough to remember when you could drop your bag at the curb and then walk directly to the boarding gate with a paper ticket and expect the plane to be there and ready to leave on time. Hah!

Allow me one more peeve, if you please. Now, once I am seated (by the window, of course) I want to watch the world go by. I have taken thousands of air flights, in all sorts and sizes of plane, all over the world and I still am fascinated by all I see. Please don’t ask me to close my window shade as we soar over Greenland or the Alps or Africa so that someone three seats away can play Sudoku or shoot at aliens on a cell phone.

Over the Rockies in winter, heading east from Los Angeles. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
A glacier splits as it nears the sea in Greenland. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
Crossing Norway in Winter. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
Lining up for an early morning landing in Oslo. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
A rare exception to my dislike of airports: Laguardia’s Marine Air Terminal in New York, frozen in time (with help from recent restoration) and perhaps the oldest major terminal still in use. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Photos and text copyright Corey Sandler. To obtain copies or otherwise use images, please contact me through my website at www.coreysandler.com

Website security

To see portfolios of some of my travel photos visit www.coreysandler.myportfolio.com or www.coreysandler2.myportfolio.com

Photo Portfolio 1

Photo Portfolio 2: Street Scenes

My Sway Portfolio

November, 2022:
Sailing Away (Part Three)

By Corey Sandler

Fall has come to New England, the most spectacular time of the year in a beautiful place. Last week included several quintessential autumn days, clear skies above red and yellow leaves along the blue harbor.

That was followed by three days in which we were encased in pea soup fog, a whiter shade of pale. I could not see the ocean from my window, although I knew it was still there.

And now, as I prepare this blog for publication on the first day of November, we’re back in the sun. But those of us who live here know that will change once more; winter is coming.

In offseason, there are two tall ships tied up in Boston harbor, including the USS Constitution, put into service in 1798 and still an active-duty U.S. Navy ship, venturing out into the harbor from time to time to show her colors. And there is the tall ship called Tall Ship–born as Caledonia in 1947–now moored in East Boston and consigned to less glorious use as a floating oyster bar and outdoor saloon.

The appeal of the tall ship is global, at least in nations that border on the sea. I have come across beautiful relics–and a few modern alternatives–in many far corners.

Here are a few more from my collection.

India’s Wave

India’s INS Tarangini, photographed alongside in Bordeaux, France at the 2018 Tall Ships Regatta. Photos by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. The ship is also as depicted under full sail in a postage stamp commemorating her 2003-2004 circumnavigation of the globe.

Tarangini is derived from a Hindi word meaning “waves” or “full of waves.” The handsome three-masted barque was commissioned in 1997 as a sail training ship for Indian Navy.

She is square-rigged on the fore and main masts, and fore-and-aft rigged on the mizzen mast closest to the stern, which means she can carry a lot of sail and move along in many different wind conditions.

In Bordeaux, her crew was attired in full dress uniforms that would have made Lord Nelson proud. In fact, she has a sister ship named Lord Nelson, designed by the same architect. That ship has sailed for a British foundation but as I write her future is uncertain.

Poland’s Pride

Dar Pomorza (Gift of Pomerania) at the pier in Gdynia, Poland. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Like many members of the surviving fleet of tall ships, Dar Pomorza has gone through many hands over the years. She was built in 1909 in Germany as the training ship Prinzess Eitel Friedrich, wife of a Prussian prince.

In 1920 she was taken as war reparations by Great Britain, then brought to France. In 1929 she was purchased by the Polish community of Pomerania as a training ship for the Polish Naval Academy in Gdynia, which in the period between the world wars was part of the Free State of Danzig along with the nearby city of Gdańsk.

In 1934 and 1935 she traveled around the world, including a passage through the Panama Canal, as an assertion of pride by the nation of Poland even as war clouds gathered back home. When the Second World War began, with the first shots fired at Gdańsk, she was interned in neutral Sweden at Stockholm.

After the war she was returned to Poland, now under Soviet suzerainty. With the fall of the Soviet Union, the ship became a museum ship moored in Gdynia.

She has three sister ships, including Statsraad Lehmkuhl, which I wrote about in an earlier blog post.

Russia, Docked

Kruzenshtern is now a sail training ship for Russia. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

The four-masted barque was built in Germany in 1926 as part of the Flying P-Liners; there are four of these large and fast cargo-carriers still in existence but Kruzenshtern is the last one still sailing.

When she was built in Bremerhaven she was named Padua after the Italian city. After World War II she was surrendered to the Soviet Union as war reparations and renamed after the 19th century explorer Adam Johann von Krusenstern who conducted the first Russian circumnavigation of the globe. He had been born in the Governate of Estonia of the Russian Empire.

As the cargo ship Padua, among her assignments was transporting material to and from South America, and later carrying wheat from Australia.

As Kruzenshtern, the ship’s home port is in the somewhat obscure Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea; Kaliningrad was formerly the German port of Königsberg but was not given up by Russia even after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

I have seen and photographed all four of the surviving Flying P-Liners: Pommern, a museum ship in Mariehamn, Finland; Peking, which spent many years at the South Street Seaport in New York and is now a museum ship in Hamburg, Germany, and Passat, also a museum ship, displayed in Travemünde, Germany.

A Swedish Pleasure Craft

The Swedish Royal Schooner Amphion at the Maritime Museum in Stockholm. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

In the immortal words of Mel Brooks, it’s good to be king. Amphion was the personal pleasure craft of King Gustav III of Sweden.

Launched in 1778, the vessel was intended as a royal yacht and headquarters frigate. In Greek mythology, Amphion was the son of Zeus and a patron of the arts.

Her construction preceded the introduction of marine engines that supplemented windpower on most sailing vessels. Instead, the ship included a galley deck that allowed for a complement of oarsmen.

The ship was lavishly decorated and appointed, but a failure as a vessel unable to make much progress with her two masts and she was too heavy to make much use of the 16 pairs of oars.

On her maiden voyage to Stockholm, poor weather conditions left Amphion shipwrecked in the archipelago of Stockholm, and Gustav III was required to come ashore by tender, most unbefitting a royal.

In 1884, Amphion was broken up for firewood, but her figurehead and stern castle were preserved.

A Polynesian Theory

Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki on display in Stockholm. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Kon-Tiki is a relatively modern conception of an ancient craft that Norwegian explorer and author Thor Heyerdahl believed might have been used by people from South America to settle Polynesia in pre-Columbian times.

There’s a lot to unpack there.

Heyerdahl from Norway came to Callao, near Lima in Peru to supervise construction of a primitive balsa wood raft with a rudimentary sail.

The book he wrote about his adventure was a major worldwide bestseller, and the documentary he made won an Academy Award in 1951.

Heyerdahl’s trip did indeed establish the possibility that this sort of sailing vessel could have followed currents and winds from Peru to Polynesia.

That said, modern scientists are generally unconvinced that this was the route and method used by the settlers of Polynesia and Hawaii.

But it was a great story, and it is thrill to see the flimsy raft. Not in Peru. Not on one of the islands of Polynesia. But instead in a special museum in Stockholm.

This sort of unexpected connection between disparate places is the reason I travel.

Photos and text copyright Corey Sandler. To obtain copies or otherwise use images, please contact me through my website at www.coreysandler.com

Website security

October, 2022:
Sailing Away (Part Two)

By Corey Sandler

In September I wrote about the view of Boston’s historic harbor from my office window and specifically about three interlinked tall ships: USS Constitution (“Old Ironsides” in informal, boastful references), USCGC Eagle, and the sailing ship Sea Cloud.

As is the case with most of the lectures I give around the world, pulling on a single thread of information almost always leads deeper and deeper into a story. And so I spent some time examining images from my trove of many thousands of photos from my travels.

Herewith, some true tales of tall ships.

Cutty Sark: Last of the Tea Clippers

Cutty Sark in Greenwich, England. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

The Cutty Sark was one of the last tea clippers to be built, and one of the fastest, although the timing of her launch was not great. Steam-powered vessels were beginning to take over, and in 1869 the Suez Canal was opened; the age of sail-powered cargo ships waned rapidly.

Cutty Sark was built in Dumbarton, Scotland in 1869 and intended to carry tea from China, which she did for a few years before switching routes to the trade in wool from Australia. After then she moved to other routes including carrying minerals in South America.

How fast was she? Her maximum recorded speed was 17.5 knots (about 20.1 miles per hour). That is about equal or greater than ordinary operating speeds for modern cruise ships.

Since 1954 she has served as a museum ship, perched on dry land atop a bluff in Greenwich, England, just short of London on the River Thames.

Vasa: Beauty Over Engineering

The Swedish warship Vasa in Stockholm. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Vasa sank on her maiden voyage on August 10, 1628 in Stockholm harbor. Built on orders of King Gustavus Adolphus, she was at that time one of the most powerfully armed warships in the world and also one of the most lavishly decorated.

Oh, and also spectacularly top-heavy.

When she was launched, she sailed less than a mile before a puff of wind rolled her over.

The Swedes salvaged some of her heavy bronze cannons and then all but forgot about the vessel for three centuries. A Swedish amateur archeologist found her in a shipping lane in 1956.

The almost-intact ship was conserved and restored, a process than took nearly three decades, and now lives on in a museum in Stockholm. There are few places that can match the Vasa Museum as a place for instant time travel.

The Flying P-Line Peking

The spectacular four-masted steel sailing barque Peking at the dock at the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City in 2009. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Peking was a Flying P-Liner of the German company F. Laeisz, which named nearly all of its vessels after places beginning with the 16th letter of the modern English alphabet.

She was built in Hamburg, Germany and made her maiden voyage to Valparaiso, Chile in 1911 carrying nitrate and wheat around Cape Horn.

The huge ship was a bit more than 377 feet from spar to stern and could hoist 44,132 square feet of sail, which is a bit more than an acre in total

With the outbreak of the first World War in 1914 she was interned there and was later given to Italy as war reparations, going on to owners in the Weimar Republic and then the United Kingdom. She was acquired by the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City in 1975, and in 2017 was transferred to the German Port Museum of Hamburg where she is on display now.

Statsraad Lehmkuhl in Bergen

Statsraad Lehmkuhl, still in service, is based in the beautiful harbor of Bergen, Norway. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Statsraad Lehmkuhl is a three-masted barque built for the German merchant marine in 1914 as a sailing training ship in 1914. After the first World War it was taken as war reparations by the United Kingdom, and then in 1921 purchased by a former Norwegian cabinet minister.

At the outbreak of World War 2, she was seized by the Germans, but repatriated after the war.

She is now operated by a foundation as a training ship, under a Norwegian name which translates as “Cabinet Minister Lehmkuhl”.

Statsraad Lehmkuhl is a sister ship to Dar Pomorza, which today is a museum ship in Gdynia, Poland.

The vessel is about 311 feet in length from spar to stern, and is little changed from when she was built, with one exception: in 2019 her diesel auxiliary engine was modified to work with battery power that can be recharged by the wind or the engine.

Roseway Near the Greenway

The schooner Roseway at her summer-season dock in Boston’s Seaport District. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

I once owned a handsome sports car with an ambitious engine; it looked like it was breaking the speed limit even when parked at the curb.

That’s the feeling I get when I see the Roseway, a wooden gaff-rigged schooner at her slip on the south side of Boston harbor.

She was built in 1925 in Essex, Massachusetts as a fishing schooner, but also with an eye on competing in the offshore fishing boat races held in Atlantic Canada at the time. (The most celebrated fishing/racing vessel of the time was the Canadian schooner Bluenose, the “Queen of the North Atlantic.” That ship, which wrecked in 1946, is remembered on the reverse side of the Canadian ten-cent coin.)

Roseway never won the big race, but was much beloved in American waters and in 1941 retired from fishing/racing to become a pilot boat in Boston Harbor during World War II and also served as a special-purpose U.S. Naval vessel with a .50 caliber machine gun aboard.

After the war, Roseway resumed its role ferrying harbor pilots in Boston, the last such sailing vessel in the United States when she was retired in 1973.

Today Roseway is operated by World Ocean School, a non-profit educational organization based in Boston, sailing in the summer up north and in winter from Saint Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

By coincidence (and for confusion’s sake) her dock is very near the Rose Kennedy Greenway, a park installed atop the Big Dig roadway along Boston’s waterfront which replaced the urban blight of the I-93 elevated roadway which cut off the city from its historic and handsome harbor for two decades between 1991 and 2006.

I hope you’ll join me in these pages in November for more maritime musings.

Photos and text copyright Corey Sandler. To obtain copies or otherwise use images, please contact me through my website at www.coreysandler.com

Website security

To see portfolios of some of my travel photos visit www.coreysandler.myportfolio.com or www.coreysandler2.myportfolio.com

Photo Portfolio 1

Photo Portfolio 2: Street Scenes

My Sway Portfolio

September, 2022:
Sailing Away (Part One)

By Corey Sandler

My office window overlooks Boston harbor, a bird’s-eye view of an historic patch of the North Atlantic that includes the location of the Boston Tea Party, the remains of the old wharves from which the city built its fame and fortune, and around the corner the permanent dock of the oldest commissioned sailing vessel in the U.S. Navy, the U.S.S. Constitution.

Constitution was launched from a dockyard in 1797 in what is now Boston’s North End, also in view from my window. Mostly constructed of live oak, as much as seven inches thick; Paul Revere made the copper sheathing for the hull and forged copper spikes and bolts to attach her planks. 

Several times a year Constitution is brought out from her berth and taken on a tour of the harbor, usually stopping to let loose a ceremonial salvo at Fort Independence on Castle Island at the outside of the harbor and again in front of the Coast Guard station in Boston near where she was constructed.

As I began writing this blog, I looked up and spotted her passing through the harbor once again.

USS Constitution passes through Boston Harbor. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved
USS Constitution at her berth in Charlestown. Behind the brick buildings of the historic shipyard stands Bunker Hill, site of one of the first major engagements of the American Revolution.

Today she relies mostly on assistance from tugboats, last moving under sail in August 2012 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of her victory over Guerriere during the War of 1812. It was during that successful battle off the coast of Halifax, Nova Scotia where she earned her nickname “Old Ironsides” after her sturdy oak planking withstood cannonballs from the British vessel.

Constitution saw service against the Barbary pirates of North Africa, the War of 1812, and as a training vessel and ambassador ship including a circumnavigation of the planet in the 1840s and a three-year 90-port tour of the United States in 1934 after a decades-long fundraising effort that mostly collected coins from schoolchildren to pay for upkeep and restoration.

It is still a thrill to see the majestic three-masted heavy frigate, 304 feet in length from bowsprit to spanker, her mainmast standing 220 feet tall. I walk over to visit every few weeks to Charlestown to see her at the dock,.

Constitution is crewed by U.S. Navy personnel and is used for training and exhibition.

But a few weeks ago I caught glimpse of another large sailing vessel moving through the harbor, also flying the American flag.

The Coast Guard Cutter Eagle sailed into the harbor, below my window, stopping to salute the Coast Guard station, and then continued to Charlestown where she tied up at the end of the same pier that is home to her older cousin Constitution.

USCGC Eagle tied up in Charlestown, August 2022. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved
Sharing the pier, Eagle at left and Constitution at right. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved

USCGC Eagle is a training vessel for the Coast Guard, carrying cadets and officer candidates from that branch’s academy. Eagle is just slightly smaller than her much older cousin; 295 feet long from stem to stern, with her foremast and mainmast standing 147 feet tall with a slightly shorter mizzenmast aft of the main.

The Eagle’s eagle figurehead. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved

Eagle has a steel (not iron, not oak) hull and was launched in 1936 as a German naval training vessel; it came into American hands as part of World War II reparations.

This year, for the first time, both ships are under command of a female officer.

About 15 years ago we forged our own connection to USCGC Eagle when we sailed in the Caribbean aboard another venerable ship, Sea Cloud. She is larger than the two old naval ships in this post: 360 feet in length.

Sea Cloud under sail in the Caribbean. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Sea Cloud was built for Marjorie Merriweather Post in 1931, at one point serving as the unofficial residence of Post and her husband Joseph E. Davies, the second American ambassador to the Soviet Union. The ship was tied up in the River Neva in St. Petersburg in part because Post preferred its luxuries to those of Soviet Moscow.

During World War II, Post allowed the U.S. Navy to charter the ship for $1 per year and it served as a U.S. Coast Guard Cutter weather observation ship, home-based here in Boston. Today Sea Cloud is back in private hands, carrying cruise guests mostly in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.

It was on one of those voyages that we spent some time with Sea Cloud‘s captain, Richard “Red” Shannon. We learned that he had retired from a career in the Coast Guard, and that one of his postings had been as sailing master of the Coast Guard Cutter Eagle.

On that voyage we met up with the very modern sailing vessel Wind Surf, part of the Windstar cruise fleet. The world’s largest passenger-ship sailing vessel at 617 feet including bowsprit, it has five aluminum masts and a computer-controlled mechanism to raise, lower, or furl its high-tech sails. Below decks there is also an engine to drive a propeller when that was needed or desirable; to be fair, both the Eagle and Sea Cloud have a similar arrangement.

Wind Surf, equipped with aluminum masts and computer-controlled winches to raise, lower, or furl sails. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved

I asked Captain Shannon what he thought of the fancy Windstar vessel.

With a practiced pause, he said, “Well, I expect the sails don’t slow her down much.”

Photos and text copyright Corey Sandler. To obtain copies or otherwise use images, please contact me through my website at www.coreysandler.com

Website security

August, 2022: Northeastern Lights

By Corey Sandler

We take Independence Day seriously here in Boston.

After all, many of the most important early moments of the rebellion against King George began here.

Website security

The Boston Massacre, in which a British soldier fired into a crowd of several hundred protestors, killing five on March 5, 1770. (Referred to by the British as “The Incident on King Street.”)

The Boston Tea Party, the dumping of chests of tea from ships into the harbor to protest a British tax on that essential import, on December 16, 1773 at Griffin’s Wharf. 

The Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, north of Boston.

And the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775, which was a costly victory by the British against colonists in Charlestown on the north side of the harbor in Boston.

None of these events, you will note, occurred on July 4. (And I’d wager that many Americans would fail a basic history quiz on the meaning of the holiday, but I digress.)

The war between the 13 American colonies and Great Britain had been underway for more than a year before the Fourth of July in 1776.

The military occupation of Boston had actually ended in March of 1776 after the rebels had harassed the British with a combination of conventional battles and guerilla warfare. In March, about 1,100 Boston Loyalists departed by ship: some to Nova Scotia or the West Indies and some back to England. The departure of the loyalists nearly emptied Boston’s North End, a Tory stronghold notwithstanding the fact that it was the home of Paul Revere and other important rebels.

On July 4, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia. Actually, independence was declared on July 2, but the resolution that was passed on July 4 was an explanation of the reasons for the act.

The preamble says:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Recently, it seems as if it has been downhill since then. But I digress again.

So here in Boston, July 4 is a big thing. After two years of the pandemic, things are almost as they were in the Before Times. The party began on July 1, and continued until deep into the night of July 4.

For more than three decades, we lived at sea level on an island south of the Massachusetts coast and our celebration was on the beach, low-key and low-level.

But just before the pandemic arrived, we packed up and moved on up to Boston and up 400 feet in the air to an aerie with views of the harbor on one side and the River Charles on the other. Our Independence Day was spectacular, high-key and high-level.

Here’s some of what we saw.

Boston Harborfest July 2, 2022

Boston Harborfest 2022. Fireworks over the harbor. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Boston Harborfest 2022. The wharves along the waterfront were at the heart of the growth of Boston into a great trading port. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
Boston Harborfest 2022, Zoomed. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
Boston Harborfest 2022. Griffin’s Wharf, the location of the Boston Tea Party, is at far right. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
Boston Harborfest 2022. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular July 4, 2022

Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. The Big One, from barges in the River Charles. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. The River Charles empties into Boston Harbor from the west. The Pops orchestra performed at the Hatch Shell in the Esplanade on the left side of the river. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. The River Charles is illuminated by the fireworks above. Private boats and tourist vessels lay at anchor in the river; hundreds of thousands of onlookers watched from the Esplanade on the left side and from bridges. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. Beacon Hill and the Back Bay are at left. Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox is left of the iconic Citgo sign (the red triangle.) On the right side of the river is Cambridge, which includes Harvard and MIT. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

All photos copyright Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to obtain or use an image, please contact me.

To see portfolios of some of my travel photos, www.coreysandler.myportfolio.com or www.coreysandler2.myportfolio.com

July, 2022: By the Beautiful Sea

By Corey Sandler

We’ve successfully completely our carefully choreographed return to the sea and have begun making plans for years to come.

We’ve had it with this virus; go away from our door and everyone else’s.

I was born by the sea and have lived in its vicinity nearly all my life. And now we live perched in a glass-surrounded aerie above Boston Harbor. I’m looking out to sea as I write these words.

From somewhere in the deep recesses of my cluttered mind, a song bubbled up to the surface.

“By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea,
“You and I, you and I. Oh how happy we’ll be.”

The song was published in 1914, music by Harry Carroll (a successful Broadway and popular music composer of the time) and lyrics by Harold Atteridge (a prolific lyricist for shows, including those of Al Jolson, and early films.)

The song topped American music sales for six weeks in the summer of 1914, a time when the world went from relative peace to brutal conflict with the outbreak of the First World War.

Sheet music for “By the Beautiful Sea”, published in 1914.

None of this explained to me why the song is in my head.

But a bit of research turned up the fact that “By the Beautiful Sea” was written on the terrace of Reisenweber’s Brighton Beach Casino, a waterfront music hall in Brooklyn, New York near where my parents met and where I was born.

It had to be part of the background music of my childhood.

There is a Tide

From a pandemic, through a fraught election, to times of violent challenge many of us turn to the sea.

From Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare:

There is a tide in the affairs of men,

Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.

Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.

On such a full sea are we now afloat.

And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.

On the fjord near Alta, Norway. Photo by Corey Sandler 2019, all rights reserved.
Argostoli on Cephalonia in Greece. Photo by Corey Sandler 2016, all rights reserved.
Castiglioncello near Livorno, Italy. Photo by Corey Sandler 2016, all rights reserved.
From a Window Seat, Above Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Photo by Corey Sandler 2010, all rights reserved.
The River Charles, Through a Window at the Boston Museum of Science. Photo by Corey Sandler 2022, all rights reserved.

All photos copyright Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to obtain or use an image, please contact me.

To see portfolios of some of my travel photos, www.coreysandler.myportfolio.com or www.coreysandler2.myportfolio.com

June, 2022: That New Ship Smell

By Corey Sandler

One of the tropes of cheesy mystery stories is a gathering of suspects, family, or other interested parties at which an unexpected letter is read aloud. “If you are hearing this letter, that means that I am…”

No, not dead, in our case.

If you are reading this blog, it means we have been at sea, at last, after two years of unplanned isolation.

And we did it in high style, sailing on the pre-Maiden shakedown by-invitation-only cruise of the beautiful Viking Mars, right out of the shipyard. Viking Cruises does a fine job delivering well-above-the-middle voyages, and one of the reasons is that it took a beautiful design and has replicated it–a little bit better with each try–for all of the ocean vessels in its fleet.

We met the ship at Civitavecchia, the ancient port of Rome. Our island-hopping itinerary took us to Palermo and Siracusa on Sicily, then the marvelous nation of Malta, on to Cagliari on Sardinia, and Palma, Mallorca before finishing in Barcelona.

Italy, Malta, Spain. Grazie, Grazie, Gracias.

I was one of several guest speakers on this special cruise, and we enjoyed just about everything. If only we could have done the trip without having to endure the sorry state of airline travel these days, especially on the U.S. airline whose name is the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet.

The view from above was spectacular. The experience from within…not so much. But we made it from Boston to Rome, and then from Barcelona to Boston by way of Amsterdam where I took this photo from my window seat. Photo by Corey Sandler

Siracusa, Sicily (Italy)

Everywhere on Sicily is special, with its Greek history and its Sicilian culture. Our new ship fit in very well in the old harbor.

Viking Mars at the dock in Siracusa. Photo by Corey Sandler

Shelter from the sun in Siracusa. Photo by Corey Sandler

Ancient gates in Siracusa. Photo by Corey Sandler

A Visit to the Second Island of Malta

Malta is one of our favorite places in the world. If you can’t take a great, or at least good photo there it is time to retire your camera. I’m keeping mine.

On this visit we took the fast ferry from Valletta harbor on the main island of Malta for a visit to the second island of the nation: Gozo, a place less visited by modern tourists but one very familiar to the ancients.

After our ferry ride, we took a tuk-tuk expedition from Yippee Tours circumnavigating the island. Here’s some of what we saw:

The Citadella above Gozo’s capital city of Victoria, which is the name it took under British dominion. Its other name speaks of Malta’s middle eastern influence: Rabat. Photo by Corey Sandler
Around the corner at the Citadella. Photo by Corey Sandler
The ancient bells of the citadel. Photo by Corey Sandler
Malta is just short of one Roman Catholic church or cathedral for each day of the year, as expected for a place that can by some measures be considered an apostolic see, founded by one of the original apostles: Saint Paul (Paul of Tarsus.) Photo by Corey Sandler
Nearby to the grand church stands a grand monument to an old watering place in Victoria on Gozo. “Take a little time out,” you’re invited. Photo by Corey Sandler

Salt pans on Gozo. Photo by Corey Sandler

Cagliari, Sardinia (Italy)

We doubled back to Italy for the day to the salt water-infused city of Cagliari on the island of Sardinia, which sits just below the French island of Corsica.

Cagliari overlooks its harbor, with a view here of a Dutch tall ship flying the red, white, and blue of The Netherlands. Photo by Corey Sandler

Palma, Mallorca (Spain)

Mallorca is the major island of the Balearics, a sun-drenched outpost of Spain. The minor island is Menorca, and the even-lesser rock is Ibiza. Mallorca is dominated by La Seu, the dominating cathedral of tall spires, gargoyles, and gothic arches.

La Seu, the cathedral of Palma. Photo by Corey Sandler

Up close to La Seu. Photo by Corey Sandler

A musician busks in the vaults below La Seu in Palma. Photo by Corey Sandler

All photos copyright Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to obtain or use an image, please contact me.

To see portfolios of some of my travel photos, www.coreysandler.myportfolio.com or www.coreysandler2.myportfolio.com

May, 2022: My Interior Monologue

By Corey Sandler

Everyone has one. An interior monologue, that is.

It is sometimes the most interesting conversation of the day, even if it occurs entirely between your ears.

For the past two-plus years, my interior monologue has consisted mostly of annoyed sighs and unspoken outrage.

If all goes according to plan (hah!) that may begin to change soon. Watch this space.

But while we’re speaking of interiors, though, I thought I might share a few of my favorite photos taken inside marvelous places around the world.

Casa Vicens. The great architect Antonio Gaudí is known for his grand structures in Barcelona and elsewhere in Spain. A few years ago a private residence in the Gràcia neighborhood of Barcelona was restored and opened to the public, offering a glimpse into the architect’s amazing interior design, completed in 1885 during Gaudí’s Orientalist phase.
The Mausoleum of Mohammed V. A relatively modern structure, completed in 1961 in Rabat, Morocco, it is also timeless in its design.
The Library of the Rijksmuseum. The collection of books, catalogs, and other materials related to the vast collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is a work of art in itself, completed in 1885.
Council Chambers of Londonderry/Derry. The ornate Guildhall neo-Gothic and Tudor design Guildhall was completed in 1890, paid for by The Honourable The Irish Society as a projection of British financial and political power in what is now Northern Ireland. Just to put an exclamation point on it, its clock tower was modeled on the Elizabeth Tower in London, much better known as Big Ben. It survived a bombing during The Troubles and went on to play an important role in the still-tenuous split personality of today’s town with two names.

All photos copyright Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to obtain or use an image, please contact me.

To see portfolios of some of my travel photos, www.coreysandler.myportfolio.com or www.coreysandler2.myportfolio.com

April, 2022: History in the Making

By Corey Sandler

As Abraham Lincoln said in a message to the U.S. Congress in the days leading up to the Emancipation Proclamation, “We cannot escape history.”

It is interesting to view his words from 1862, in the early days of the Civil War, through the prism of today.

Lincoln continued, “We…will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation.”

Ukraine is a place of great culture and beauty and a complex and tumultuous history.

This blog is about travel, not politics. But it is impossible for me to think of Ukraine as it is today without hearing the echoes of inescapable history. We’ve been to Ukraine several times–in its wobbly final years under a corrupt, puppet government and then just after the Maidan Revolution in 2014 as a ghost war erupted in its eastern provinces at the same time as the country renewed efforts toward establishing a European-oriented democracy.

A music conservatory in Odessa, off Deribasovskaya, which was named after José de Ribas, a Spanish naval officer who was employed by Catherine the Great in the the Russo-Turkish War of 1787 to 1792. After the war de Ribas served as governor and oversaw the grand design of what became known as the Pearl of the Black Sea. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. 

Ukraine—the Borderlands—has an ancient and complex story, almost always a pawn in games played by others.

Like much of the Black Sea region, its ports were home to important Greek settlements and then Roman castrum and eventually the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantine Empire.

In the Middle Ages came nomadic tribes like the Petchenegs and the Cumans or Polovtsy. Then came the Golden Horde, a confederation of Mongol and Turkic tribes, and then the Tatars. And Old Great Bulgaria in the 7th century.

By the 14th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the largest state in Europe, occupying parts of what are now Russia, Belarus, Poland, and Ukraine.

Next came the Ottomans, about 1529; they held onto parts of Ukraine until that empire fell in the Russo-Turkish War of 1792.

It was then part of or allied with Russia, except for several years of World War II when Ukraine was occupied and besieged by Germany.

Today, depending on the disputed borderline of the moment, Ukraine is the largest country wholly in Europe, just ahead of France.

(Russia—the biggest country on the planet—and Turkey cover more territory, but each stands with one foot in Europe and the other in Asia.)

Yalta

On the southern coast of Crimea, Yalta is probably best known—by those who remember history—as the site of the 1945 conference which redrew the borderlines of postwar Eastern Europe as World War II neared its end, setting into place the borders that would foster the Cold War.

The Yalta Conference brought together the “Big Three Powers”: the Soviet Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Joseph Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill met at Livadia Palace.

Livadia Palace near Yalta. Photo by Corey Sandler
History was made here in 1945, at Livadia Palace. Photo by Corey Sandler

Sevastopol

Sevastopol, also in Crimea, was and once again is a home base for the Russian Black Sea Fleet, which made it a military target in many wars.

West of Sevastopol are the ruins of the ancient Greek port of Chersonesus Taurica, founded in the 5th century BC. The tourist bureau, if one still exists, would have you call Chersonesus the “Ukrainian Pompeii” or the “Russian Troy.”

The Ruins of Chersonesus just outside the naval harbor of Sevastopol. Photos by Corey Sandler

Odessa: The Pearl of the Black Sea

Located on the mainland of Europe, not on the Crimean Peninsula that dangles below it, Odessa is a handsome cosmopolitan city.

Like Saint Petersburg in Russia, Odessa was heavily influenced by Mediterranean culture and architecture: grand Art Nouveau, Renaissance, and Classicist designs.

The great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin lived in Odessa in internal exile between 1823 and 1824. He wrote that Odessa was a city where “the air is filled with all Europe, French is spoken, and there are European papers and magazines to read.”

The Odessa National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet was rebuilt after a fire in 1873. Outside the Italian neo-baroque design, stone figures depict scenes from Aristophanes and Euripedes. Within is a riot of rococo and Louis XVI style, including a huge chandelier and ceiling frescoes with scenes from Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Photo by Corey Sandler

Another architectural treasure in Odessa is Vorontsov’s Palace, completed in 1830 for Prince Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov.

The design was by the Sardinian architect Francesco Boffo; Vorontsov was so pleased with Boffo’s work that he engaged him to design a grand flight of stairs down to the sea.

Looking down the stairs toward the port you see only the landings, and the steps are invisible; looking up you see only steps.

The Primorsky or Potemkin Steps in Odessa. Photo by Corey Sandler

In 1905, Odessa was the site of an event that would be celebrated by rising revolutionaries.

It was here that the crew of the Russian battleship Potemkin­ rose up in mutiny against their Czarist officers, merging with a workers’ uprising.

That mutiny became part of the symbology of the Soviet Union mostly because of Sergei Eisenstein’s great silent film from 1925, “The Battleship Potemkin.”

The film included a scene where hundreds of Odessan citizens were murdered on the great stone staircase, the Primorsky Steps, or as they are now known, the Potemkin Steps.

Eisenstein made the film as revolutionary propaganda, but the techniques of cinematography he employed are still the building blocks of motion pictures.

In the film, the Czar’s soldiers in their white summer tunics march down a seemingly endless flight of steps like a war machine, firing volleys into a crowd.

A separate detachment of mounted Cossacks charges the crowd at the bottom of the stairs.

And its most famous scene: a mother pushing an infant in a baby carriage is shot and falls to the ground, releasing her grip on the carriage which bounces and rolls down the steps amidst the fleeing crowd.

It remains one of the most famous and compelling scenes in motion picture history.

Anytime you see a set of stairs and a baby carriage in a movie, a director is nodding in the direction of Odessa and Sergei Eisenstein. And in doing so, reminding us of the horrors of war.

All photos by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

March, 2022:
Changing the Channel

By Corey Sandler

I’ve not been doing much traveling of late.

For more than two years now, we have been steering between threats that line the shores on each side, metaphorically speaking. We have been like Odysseus, navigating down the center of the channel between Scylla and Charybdis on the opposing banks.

I’ve made that particular passage many times without problem from the supernatural six-headed monster Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis. Not in the past two years, though.

It’s a natural passage known today as the Strait of Messina, which lies between Italy’s toe and the island of Sicily.

What I’m looking for now is a way to change the channel, either backwards or forwards to a time of safe passage. Fair winds, a following sea, and healthy air.

So speaking of channels, I’ve been thinking of canals, which are by definition are not natural or supernatural, but human-made passageways dug to provide safe passage.

I love most everything about sailing, including the open ocean beyond sight of land as well as travel along the coastlines and amidst islands. But there is something very special about traveling within the tight confines of an artificial canal. Every one of the major canals on our planet has a backstory of human triumph and failure and resurgence.

As we look forward to eventually returning to near-normalcy, I’m looking back at some of the passages I have made.

The Corinth Canal

The Corinth Canal between the Ionian Sea and the Saronic Gulf in Greece. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

The Corinth Canal is perhaps the most supernatural-looking artificial waterway in the world, a frighteningly narrow rock-lined passage separating the Greek mainland from Peloponnesia, saving a 430 mile or 700 kilometer voyage down and around.

It is only 4 miles or 6.4 kilometers in length, but I have been up on the bridge with captains and pilots as we have made the passage and I don’t believe any of us drew a breath in the hour-long transit.

The canal’s original concept dates back two thousand years, but the V-shaped cut was not completed until 1893. There have been landslides and wartime damage since then, and today only a small number of cruise ships are narrow enough to get through.

It’s only 70 feet wide at its base and several ship’s masters I know hang large rubber bumpers from the sides of the ship as a precaution; on one trip through, we left one of the bumpers behind, impaled on a rock.

The Suez Canal

The Suez Canal between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea in Egypt. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

I knew the photo I wanted to take at the Suez Canal before I arrived in Egypt. The 120-mile or 193-kilometer waterway is just a ditch in the desert, but that is what makes it so astounding to see. There are places where you can stand on the land and see what seem to be massive ships plowing through the sand.

The canal was completed in 1869, spearheaded by the Frenchman, Ferdinand de Lesseps who was not an engineer or a builder. He was a promoter, mostly of himself. Sound familiar?

The massive undertaking was completed more or less on schedule and under budget, which is easier to do when your workforce includes tens of thousands of forced laborers conscripted by the Khedive of Egypt at the time.

The Panama Canal

The Panama Canal, between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Ferdinand de Lessups’ next project was the path between the seas, across the isthmus of Panama. He thought he could replicate the ditch through the sand at Suez but the topography could not have been more different. Not only was there a wet, thick jungle teeming with disease-carrying insects but there was also the rocky ridge of the Continental Divide.

de Lessups’ project collapsed in financial, engineering, and medical failure in 1889. American President Teddy Roosevelt threw the resources of his surging nation at the project–along with some sketchy diplomatic and military maneuvers in the region–and completed the job in 1914.

What I love about the Panama Canal is that all of its machinery–the laws of physics–are out in the open to be seen at the three locks up and three locks down at each end of the 50-mile or 82-kilometer passageway.

The Erie Canal

The Erie Canal across upstate New York. Photo by Corey Sandler

The launch of the modern era of artificial waterways can be seen in the Erie Canal, which runs 363 miles or 584 kilometers west to east across upstate New York. When it opened in 1825 it established a watery passage from the Great Lakes in the midsection of the United States and Canada across to the Hudson River and from there out to the Atlantic Ocean.

It remains today the second-longest canal in the world, after the Grand Canal–the one in China, not Venice.

The huge amount of trade that moved along its hand-dug path with 34 locks and an elevation of 565 feet, established New York City as one of the great financial and trade centers of the world.

Today the canal is too narrow and shallow for large ships; it is paralleled for nearly its entire length by railroad tracks and the New York State Thruway. But I have sailed the Erie on small cruise ships and private vessels and it remains one of the wonders of the world.

The Kiel Canal

The Kiel Canal between the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Sailing the Kiel Canal in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein always reminds me of taking a long train trip; for much of the 61-mile or 98-kilometer trip you are looking the backyards and back pastures of homes and farms.

Not as well known as the others I have written about earlier, the Kiel Canal is by some measures the busiest artificial waterway in the world with about 90 ships making the transit per day.

It opened in 1895, saving about 250 miles of 460 kilometers of sometimes bumpy seas in and around the Danish straits. The canal was widened in 1914 to allow huge battleships to pass through, and when you exit into the Baltic near the city of Kiel, over your shoulder you can see the shipyards where Germany built most of its dreaded fleet of U-boats for both both World Wars.

The Cape Cod Canal

The Cape Cod Canal, safe passage to avoid a ship graveyard. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Perhaps the least-known of the six canals I’m writing about today, the Cape Cod Canal is a testament to the search for safe passage.

The hook built into the arm of Cape Cod has caused hundreds of shipwrecks over the years. To avoid that, sailing vessels and more modern ships have had to head due east out to sea and then down and around the bottom of Cape Cod. But there is a problem there, as well: shoals and rocks that lie between the cape and the island of Nantucket to the south.

The Cape Cod Canal was begun as a private enterprise in 1909 by August Belmont Jr., who had enhanced his inherited banking fortune with major construction projects like the New York City subway system.

The 7-mile or 11-kilometer canal managed to beat the Panama Canal to completion by a month, but it was never a financial success.

And although it is arguably safer than sailing out to sea and below Nantucket, the Cape Cod Canal has its own challenges: a swift current and a dogleg bend at the middle. That combination makes for difficult navigation, and if you see me aboard ship and buy me a drink I’ll tell you a tale of a master who came very close to losing his stripes–and his cruise ship–at the dogleg. I was there and lived to tell the tale of what in the end was a safe passage.

All photos copyright 2022, by Corey Sandler. If you would like a copy of one of my photos or would like to use one in a project of your own please contact me.

To see portfolios of some of my travel photos, www.coreysandler.myportfolio.com or www.coreysandler2.myportfolio.com

February, 2022:
Snow Job

By Corey Sandler

So if all had gone according to plan, we would be in Norway today, chasing the Northern Lights.

That’s one of my favorite things to do in one of my favorite places.

As in:

The Northern Lights in Tromsø in March of 2019. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

I’ve chased the lights many times, and you can see some of my favorite photos in early entries of this blog. Search for March of 2019 for a series of posts, including my personal jackpot. You can jump to that page by clicking on the link that follows; why don’t you read the rest of today’s blog first? http://blog.sandlerbooks.com/2019/03/08/7-8-march-2019-tromso-by-night-the-northern-lights-found/

Because of the morphing threat of the virus which must not be named, we are instead still home in New England.

Interesting fact: it is colder in Boston today than in Tromsø, Norway. And this morning we have more snow on the ground than the city at the top of Norway, too.

A massive blizzard passed through the Northeast United States over the weekend; on Saturday the snow blew sideways for nearly 12 hours here in Boston. We rode out the storm in our aerie over the harbor, 200 feet above the snow plows and the shovels down below.

Sunday morning I went out on a photo expedition.

When Winter Comes to New England

Sunrise Colors the Snowbanks. In the background is the old Custom House in Boston, a handsome structure which once was one of the most important structures in the port city. Originally built in 1849, its distinctive tower was added in 1915 and that made it the tallest building in New England until the Prudential Tower was completed in Boston in 1964. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved

Downtown Digs Out

Quincy Market at Dawn. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved
Cold Comfort. The old taverns along what used to be Boston’s waterfront have seen many storms in their history. The Union Oyster House exists in a building that dates from 1714; it has operated as a restaurant since 1826 and claims to be the oldest eatery in continuous operation in the United States. When I passed by just after 7 in the morning, the barkeep was shoveling out and asked me if “Dunkin'” was open down the street with supplies of donuts and coffee. Still snowed in, I told him.

The Statehouse Glows

The Golden Dome. The handsome Massachusetts Statehouse catches the sunrise. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved

Boston Uncommon

Boston Public Garden with a new white carpet from a storm last year. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Still Life with Cigar

A remembrance of celebrated Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach occupies a cold bench at Faneuil Hall. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Dreaming of Norway

In My Mind’s Eye. One of the handsomest settings for a small town in Norway is that of Narvik, in this picture from before the pandemic. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved

All photos and text copyright Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to obtain or use an image please contact me.

January 2022:
How Many Letters in the Greek Alphabet?

By Corey Sandler

Some of us yearn for the simple days, way back when Delta was the variant of concern. Delta is the fourth letter in the ancient Greek alphabet, the one used by virologists earlier in 2021 to give a name to the latest twist and turn.

If only certain people and certain governments were more willing to use all of the tools available to us in our modern medical armamentarium we might not have to consider Omicron–the 15th letter out of 24 for the Greeks–as we enter into the third year of the pandemic.

Here’s hoping we run out of variants before we run out of letters of the alphabet. Hoping 2022 turns out better than 2021 ended.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Athens, Greece. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
Ring Them Bells. Paleokstritsa. Corfu, Greece. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
The Path. Monemvasia, Greece. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

DECEMBER 2021:
Sunset, Sunrise

By Corey Sandler

The end of this unpleasant year is within sight. Time is precious, but speaking for myself, I’m looking forward to seeing 2021 in the rear view mirror.

2020 was bad, 2021 was ugly. There are, we hope, brighter days in 2022.

The hope we have is offered by the arrival of vaccines and the good sense of billions around the world who have chosen to protect themselves and those around them. There are, alas, still many who choose to–or are forced by economic circumstance–to continue to exist in darkness.

The fall colors of New England are as spectacular as ever. I’ve framed a few here in recent photos of sunrise, sunset and the hours in between.

Sunrise over Boston Harbor, Fall of 2021. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Inside and Outside the Museum. Fall colors surround the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. Fall, 2021. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
Essex Street. Salem, Massachusetts. Fall, 2021. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
Noontime at Center Cemetery. Salem, Massachusetts. Fall, 2021. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
A Fiery Sunset in Boston. November, 2021. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
The Last Light at Fort Point Channel. Boston, Massachusetts. Fall, 2021. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

NOVEMBER 2021:
From a Distance

By Corey Sandler

From a distance the world looks blue and green,
and the snow-capped mountains white.
From a distance the ocean meets the stream,
and the eagle takes to flight.

From a distance, there is harmony,
and it echoes through the land.
It’s the voice of hope, it’s the voice of peace,
it’s the voice of every man.

From a distance we all have enough,
and no one is in need.
And there are no guns, no bombs, and no disease,
no hungry mouths to feed.

The wistful, optimistic song is “From a Distance”, written by Julie Gold and performed by more than a few fine singers including Bette Midler and Nancy Griffith.

I thought of the song when my wife and I ventured out of our cocoon recently on a carefully selected and protected cruise: not to one of the grand cities of Europe, not to one of the spectacular fjords and mountains of Chile or Norway or Alaska, in fact not more than about five miles from our home along the sea.

We ventured by small boat eastward to Spectacle Island outside of Boston harbor. Spectacle is one of some 20 or so small islands that are remnants of the great Laurentide Ice Sheet that covered most of what is now Canada and the American northeast between 20,000 and 95,000 years ago.

Spectacle Island is, in geological terms, a drowned drumlin pair. Two small rounded hills of sediment–most likely leftover from the Canadian Shield north of the Saint Lawrence River in Canada. For more than three decades we lived on Nantucket Island about 100 miles further south of Boston, a place that is also a remnant of the glacier, a terminal moraine, and home to a few large boulders that had been moved south 500 or so miles all the way down from Canada.

When we climbed Spectacle Island’s south drumlin (all of about 150 feet above sea level) we were rewarded with a lovely autumn view into the harbor looking at the distant towers of downtown.

All looked well…from a distance.

From Spectacle Island, looking toward Boston. Photo by Corey Sandler. Copyright 2021. All rights reserved.

Here’s another one, from a 2017 trip around South America.

Offshore of Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. Photo by Corey Sandler. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

OCTOBER 2021:
Sapped

By Corey Sandler

I’m tired.

Like Madeline Kahn channeling Marlene Dietrich in Mel Brooks’ masterpiece “Blazing Saddles.” Tired, tired of playing the game.

Like Ray Davies and “The Kinks.” Cause I’m so tired, tired of waiting.

Like John Lennon and “The Beatles.” I’m so tired, my mind is on the blink.

Cruising has sorta-kinda resumed, with medically curated itineraries and strange new onboard and onshore activities.

Someday, our ship will come in, when enough people take the jab thoughtfully instead of throwing them mindlessly.

We took a ferry across the harbor a few weeks ago and it felt wonderful. Next step? Perhaps a cruise…

Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay. Alghero, Sardinia. Photo by Corey Sandler
Catching some rays. Acapulco, Mexico. Photo by Corey Sandler
Waiting for the End. Quebec City, Canada. Photo by Corey Sandler

All photos and text copyright 2021 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you’d like to obtain a copy of an image please contact me.

SEPTEMBER 2021:
Busy Making Plans

By Corey Sandler

So, as John Lennon once cribbed: Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.

First came Covid and disease, then came vaccines.

Earlier this year, for those of us with common sense, came cautious steps toward a resumption of Life Before the Pandemic.

And now with a fourth more invasive wave, something wicked this way comes.

So while we were busy making plans, life happened.

For reasons more personal than I care to share on the internet, we’re going to wait a few more months before we head out to sea. Watch this space for details.

Details…

Window in the Pope’s Palace in Avignon, France. Corey Sandler, 2013

Helsingin päärautatieasema, Helsinki Central Station. Corey Sandler, 2010

Palazzo Interior, Venice. Corey Sandler 2010
Waiting, La Rochelle, France. Corey Sandler, 2018

All text and photos copyright 2021 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

August 2021:
I’m Still Here

By Corey Sandler

With thanks (and apologies) to Stephen Sondheim, some 20 months into the bleepin’ pandemic, I’m Still Here.

Website security

We’re not yet at the end of our trial by virus, but at least for some of us a new form of normality appears to be in sight. We’ve still got to get the rest of the world vaccinated—the poor, the isolated, and the deniers.

My scheduled August travels have been pushed back a few weeks, into September.

Sondheim once more: Here’s to the people who cruise.

Foggy Bottom. Fort Point Channel, Boston. July 2021. Photo by Corey Sandler

Good times and bum times,
I’ve seen them all and, my dear,
I’m still here.

Follies. Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, 1971.

Erie Canal near Waterford, New York. October, 2004. Photo by Corey Sandler
On the Mississippi. January, 2006. Photo by Corey Sandler

I got through all of last year
And I’m here.
Lord knows, at least I was there,
And I’m here!
Look who’s here!
I’m still here!

Follies. Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, 1971.

All photos by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. Please contact me to obtain copies or for permission to use.

July 2021:
So, Where Were We?

By Corey Sandler

A journey of a thousand miles (or more…) begins with a single step.

So says an ancient Chinese proverb, perhaps uttered by Laozi in the 6th century B.C.E.

I imagine Laozi or Lao-tzu was preparing for a long walk, or perhaps a ride by water buffalo from one part of the vast lands of the Qin Dynasty to another.

I’m pretty sure it did not involve taking a taxi to the airport, boarding a jumbo jet, landing at a far distant airport, and then being handed a flute of champagne at the gangway of a sleek luxury cruise ship. And I’m certain it did not include more than a year in near-quarantine, two jabs of a preventative vaccine, and infrared temperature monitors at the borders.

But listen, I’m not complaining. We’re starting to get ready to begin to initiate new travels.

With thanks to the doctors and scientists and certain politicians, we’re grateful. We have begun moving about in our own country, and we look forward–fingers crossed–to heading out to sea In August. soon.

You can check on our intended schedule in the section of this blog called, “Where in the World is Corey Sandler?” I check it often whenever I lose track of where I am.

So I’ve been thinking:

What is This? I’ve passed in front of this hatch on the wall of an old building near the Saint Lawrence River in Montreal many times over the years and I still don’t know exactly what the Bright New Idea was. A coal chute? An ash cleanout? I will be forever grateful to the provider of the answer. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
In Fact, I’ll Buy You a Drink. Meet me at the bar, here in Mariehamn, in the Åland Islands, which–just for confusion’s sake–is a mostly Swedish-speaking exclave of Finland with a port (Maria’s Harbor) named after German-born Russian Empress Maria Alexandrovna. Make that two drinks. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Followed by Dinner. I know where to get the tools, here in the Quebec City banlieue of Saint-Saveur. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

I’ll Be at the Bar. Looking forward to seeing you soon, with hopes you’ll be more lively than my friends here on Washington Street in Boston who have been waiting to be served since the place was shut down in March of 2020. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

And In Other News

Meanwhile, although Boston’s Black Falcon cruise terminal has not welcomed a passenger ship since the fall of 2019, there was a notable arrival just recently.

On June 22, the massive special purpose heavy haul cargo ship Zhen Hua 15 eased her way into the Reserved Channel in Boston’s seaport, carrying three gigantic cranes that will be installed across the water from the cruise terminal to allow loading and unloading of some of the largest container ships in use today.

Zhen Hua 15 took a 10-week trip from Shanghai, down and around the Cape of Good Hope in Africa and then across the Atlantic to Boston to deliver a pair of 205-foot-tall heavy lift cranes and a third crane of merely 145 feet in height. (Why the relatively smaller one? As anyone who has ever sailed into Boston knows, the cruise and cargo terminals are very close to one of the main runways of Logan Airport and all construction has to harmonize with overhead airplanes. In addition, when certain very large cruise or cargo ships come in to port, the air traffic controllers at Logan temporarily shut down the north-south runway for safety.)

I made a visit to see the cranes, still mounted on the ship while final preparations were underway to install them ashore.

Big News in Boston. All photos by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

June 2021:
This is Getting Old

By Corey Sandler

Sometimes it feels like a murky haze, a fever dream.

From sketchy news reports in December of 2019 to a warning at the start of 2020 to a full-blown global pandemic.

Here we are a year-and-a-half later, and in some parts of the globe we can see the edge of the woods. The problem remains: those billions of people who are not yet able to get a vaccine, and those millions of people who deny science and fact.

I’ll step down from my soapbox with one sigh of exasperation: This is getting old.

That’s what I was thinking on my morning constitutional as I experimented with a new art tool I have added to my state-of-the-art digital camera; a digital filter that all but travels back in time a century or so. All of these pictures are new versions with an old electronic eye:

Union Oyster House in downtown Boston. Photo art 2021 by Corey Sandler
The Northern Avenue Railroad Bridge in Boston. Photo art 2021 by Corey Sandler
Boston Hahbah. Photo art 2021 by Corey Sandler
Faneuil Hall, Boston. Photo art 2021 by Corey Sandler
Quincy Market. Photo art 2021 by Corey Sandler
The Old State House, Boston. Photo art 2021 by Corey Sandler

And this just in: fingers crossed, we expect to return to something close to normal cruising soon. It’s still a moving target, as we hope that the virus is driven into obscurity by vaccines, science, and good manners.

See the page on this website, “Where in the World is Corey Sandler?” for my upcoming schedule which is beginning to fill out for this year and beyond.

Here’s wishing us all fair winds, following seas, and perfect health.

All photos and text copyright 2021 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to obtain or use a copy of any photo, please contact me.

May 2021:
Ghost Ships

By Corey Sandler

We’re into the second year of contagion and caution.

We’ve been vaccinated. We’ve dusted off our luggage.

What we need is a ship and places to go.

I went for my solitary early morning walk the other day, a peregrination usually without a specific goal, seeing where my feet would take me…and I ended up again at the empty Black Falcon cruise terminal in Boston.

The flags and the banners and the gangways were all there. The ships were not.

Soon, maybe.

This Way to Where the Ships Should Be. Boston, April 2021. Photo art by Corey Sandler

A Shadow of a Ship. Halifax, Canada, September 2017. Photo by Corey Sandler

All text and photos by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to use any of my photos, please contact me.

Cruise Photos and Stories by Corey Sandler