Snorkeling with Homosassa’s Manatees

Text by Mary L. Peachin with photos by Dave Jaskey, M.D.
June, 2015, Vol. 19, No. 9

Breast feeding calf - Dave Jaskey

Breast feeding calf – Dave Jaskey

West Indian manatees surrounded me. They were waiting for me as I slipped quietly into the water from the pontoon’s sturdy ladder. Well, I could have done a belly flop and not scared them away. One nudged me from the left, another lifted me from below, and another swished his whiskers along the right side of my face. Behind them, others appeared to be waiting their turn to get close to me. What attracted them to me, a human snorkeler? Obviously, they were just curious as to what I was doing in their space. Continue reading »

Hiking among Tucson’s Desert Spring Flowers

Text by Mary L. Peachin with photos by Mary L. Peachin and Robert McCallum
Vol. 19, No. 5

Robert Scott Saguaro National Park

Robert Scott Saguaro National Park

The dirt road curves from one scenic vista covered by majestic stands of saguaro to another winding its way through the Tucson Mountain Regional Park to the trailhead of Sweetwater Trail bordering the east side of Saguaro National Park West. Directional road signs along El Camino Del Cerro guide the hiker or horseback rider to the Sweetwater trailhead. Continue reading »

Istanbul’s Jewish Heritage Tour

Text and photos by Mary L. Peachin
March, 2015 Vol. 19, No. 6

Italyan Synagogue or Kal de los Frankos

Italyan Synagogue or Kal de los Frankos

Arriving at Ashkenazi Synagogue near the Galata Tower in Istanbul’s Karaköy neighborhood of Beyoğlu, morning prayer was about to begin. The attendance numbered only nine men plus one youthful worshipper. The Jews were one person short of establishing the minyan required to perform their religious obligations. Women, who are required to worship from the balcony, are not counted as part of a minyan, so I was directed to the stairwell. Continue reading »

Iceland’s Winter Secrets and Thorrablöt Festival

Text and photos by Yvette Cardozo
February, 2015, Vol. 19, No. 5

09 Reykjavik Waterfront

“They really didn’t pee on the shark. It only smells that way,” the chef was telling me as I peered dubiously at a bowl of white cubes amid the pile of curious Icelandic munchies on a wooden tray.

Nothing is more dear to an Icelander than food and in February, after a damp, dark winter where genetic instinct has been screaming, “eat!!!” it all comes to a head in the frenzy of the Thorrablöt festival. Outsiders have to be a bit adventurous for Thorrablöt but to a local, this month of gorging on old Viking food is nothing less than treasured history. Continue reading »