Selections from San Francisco Int’l Ocean Film Festival #13

Earlier this month I attended the 13th annual San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival.  I’ve been to almost every program of every festival and am pleased to say the festival production and this year’s overall film quality were the best yet.  It also appeared that attendance was the highest yet.  That is all plus.

On the other hand, I had the feeling of deja vu, that the festival was/is in a bit of a rut – or, said another way, that the festival was in many ways a repeat of years past – even though none of the films had been screened at a previous festival.  Perhaps there are only a finite number of distinctive ways to approach many of the festival’s perennial subjects such as plastics, overfishing, shark finning, etc.  If so, perhaps no matter how talented the filmmakers, many of the films are or become indistinguishable and forgotten.  To the extent that is true the festival’s progress may well be stymied unless it freshens its content and evolves its format.

Only a few of us have been to all festivals, so by definition any criticism I may have is that of an outlier.  Nonetheless, there are other repeat attendees and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear they have similar observations.  In a future post I’ll offer some ideas on how the festival could be improved.

There were two especially noteworthy films:

The Weekend Sailor is a 75 minute film on the first Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race in 1973.  This film features spectacular archival footage as well as recent interviews with several of the crew members.  A “plot twist” was that the yacht Sayula II’s captain/owner and several of its crew were utter novices when it came to ocean racing – in stark contrast to the other competitors.

Crew of the Sayula II

Crew of the Sayula II

Supplementing the race’s time line and with a light touch, the film made clear the captain had truly outstanding leadership skills.  He, a successful Mexican businessman, could obviously run a lot of things very, very well.

It was a difficult race – around the world in 4 legs (3 ports of call plus the finish) using one sailboat.  Big swells, fright, dismasting, and death were all in evidence, as well as a compelling story with ample humor.  The Whitbread is now known as the Volvo Ocean Race and continues to be one of sailing’s most formidable challenges.

Legendary sailor/adventurer/connector Anthony Sandberg emceed the film program and concurs that this is one of the best sailing films ever.  The program was seriously enhanced with the presence of and enthusiastic Q & A participation by the filmmaker and several crew members.

A second personal favorite is Ocean Driven, a 55 minute film with plenty of beautiful surfing footage from around the world.  But this film is much more than eye candy as it deftly conveys the passion of one big wave surfer,  Chris Bertish.  After more than a decade of assiduously striving for an invitation to the Maverick’s Big Wave Invitational, he finally received the call.  But it came just after a crippling injury that clearly posed a major threat to his participation.  He persevered, surfed in the Invitational, and won the contest.  “Totally awesome.”

Dropping into Mavericks

Dropping into Mavericks

Bertish made a quick trip to the festival from his home in South Africa and led a spirited Q & A session.  His was the last film of the last film program, so many attendees, filmmakers, and festival volunteers worked their way over to the highly anticipated festival wrap party hosted by and at the Dolphin Club.

Several short films were quite good, but more noteworthy are three longer films that also stood apart.  Two conveyed weather changes near the poles, while the third was a unique,  meditative exploration of the polar region.

“Sila” is the weather, sky, and “all that is out there.”  Sila and the Gatekeepers of the Arctic is a 65 minute restrained, well filmed and edited film featuring a small community of Inuit who are settled, for the time being, 1200 miles north of the Arctic Circle.  But things are changing as the dissipation of polar ice affects everyones’ lifestyles, which this film conveys quite vividly and humanely.

Siorapaluk, Greenland - pop 68 (2010)

Siorapaluk, Greenland – pop 68 (2010)


Created and produced by Rutgers University students, teachers, and staff, Arctic Edge: 70 Degrees South is an entertaining and educational 72 minute look at the changes in the Antarctic as observed and cataloged by the scientists on the Palmer Peninsula working on the National Science Foundation’s Long Term Ecological Research project.  Heavy enough but not overburdened with science and using beautiful footage along with animation to convey ideas, this film offers meaningful evidence that the climate is indeed changing.

Speechless – the Polar Realm is a 44 minute montage of precisely filmed and edited, often unusual, mostly beautiful footage of the polar regions and their native inhabitants.  Without a narrator or talking heads, aural stimulation is provided by the original instrumental music score.   A very memorable statement, the film wears well and could be watched again.


All fine films, the three polar films mentioned offer a  variety of subject matter and cinematic approaches.

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Zeke Grader (1947-2015), Fishermen’s Friend

In early September we lost William “Zeke” Grader, Jr., a tireless and impactful advocate of free flowing rivers, wild salmon, and family fishermen.  With a passion for a healthy environment, especially for the fish, Zeke was an energetic, articulate, and expert spokesman on the subjects he cared about.

In the months before his passing, Zeke was the subject of various accolades, newspaper articles, congressional recognition, etc.  While his many roles and accomplishments have been described with respect and affection by others, and I’ll touch on them below, what maybe overlooked is that Zeke was one of San Francisco’s entrepreneurs in that he took the lead from an early stage on many environmental initiatives.

Raised on the north coast of California, Zeke had commercial fishing in his life from youth.  After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, he attended law school at University of San Francisco; then, upon passing the bar and in lieu of pursuing a traditional career in the law, Zeke chose to take the role of Executive Director of the newly formed, fledgling Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA), a federation of 25 port and fishermen’s marketing associations from San Diego to Alaska, the largest trade association of commercial fishermen on the west coast.  Zeke led that non-profit from his hiring in the mid 1970’s until earlier this year and through it took on many fish habitat and other environmental issues.

In addition to leading PCFFA, in 1992 he founded the non-profit The Institute for Fisheries Resources, whose mission is “to protect the natural resource bounty of the Pacific Ocean along the western seaboard of North America, including Alaska and Hawaii.”  Zeke served as Executive Director of IFR until earlier this year.

PFFA and IFR have interests that overlap and Zeke was the public persona in advancing those interests.  For example, quoting from the March 19, 2015 Congressional Record,

“With Zeke at the helm, the PCFFA took a leading role in crafting important state and federal legislation to preserve the coastal fishing industry. Zeke lobbied strongly for California’s 1988 Salmon, Steelhead Trout, and Anadromous Fisheries Program Act, which called for a statewide salmon conservation plan to double the present numbers of wild salmon. He pushed for modernization of the federal Fishery Conservation and Management Act, litigated to expedite water quality restoration under the federal Clean Water Act, and fought for protections of fishing grounds by organizing for the prevention and clean-up of petroleum spills.  In 1988, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration honored Zeke Grader with its prominent Environmental Hero award. For many Zeke has been a hero over many decades and his tireless efforts to protect the wild California Coast have ensured the present vitality of our fishing communities.”

I met Zeke around 2003 as I began to pursue the idea of a film festival based on films related to the ocean.  When I dropped in as an unannounced visitor to his waterfront office (whose busy appearance reminded me of mine!), Zeke was friendly and encouraging.   Over the next several years, as the festival launched and gained momentum, Zeke was there –  He willingly took on the role of behind the scenes point person for fresh fish, ensuring and subsidizing (with his fishing colleagues) a supply of super fresh seafood for several of the festival’s opening receptions, which were important fundraisers and festival community building events.

I’ll always remember Zeke’s steady outlook and admire his commitment and willingness to work on issues he believed in with or without public recognition.  He was a person I am glad to have known and wish I’d have known better.

Zeke just a few steps from his office.

Zeke just a few steps from his office.

The following articles offer additional insights into Zeke and his large presence in the non-industrial fishing industry:

A reporter reminisces:

An obituary:

An affectionate & personal recollection is this fine blog post by a former co-worker, Sara Randall:

More institution is The Congressional Record:

Finally, A 2013 talk by Zeke at a symposium on the 5th anniversary of California’s designation of marine protected areas is here:

Published on March 17, 2013, this clip is part of a series of video presentations from the State of the California Central Coast symposium, held February 27 – March 1, 2013 in Monterey, CA. The symposium focused on the monitoring and management of California’s Central Coast regional network of marine protected areas (MPAs). The presentations and panel discussions shared ecological and socioeconomic results from the first five years of MPA monitoring in the region and new approaches for MPA implementation. The results are accessible in an ‘e-book’ format that includes inteactive graphs, videos and more on The symposium was convened by California Ocean Science Trust and MPA Monitoring Enterprise, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Fish and Game Commission, and the California Ocean Protection Council. 

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MountainFilm in Mill Valley – 2015 shorts, part 2

This is Part 2 of a recap of the shorts shown at MountainFilm in Mill Valley in mid September.   Shorts varied in length from under 2 minutes to 29 minutes and featured people and their endeavors on mountains, in the surf and much in between.  Some films featured nature, others contoured a human’s spirit.  The group was a subset of the shorts screened in Telluride at the MountainFilm Festival over Memorial Day weekend, and you can find a comprehensive list of those films here.

Mill Valley is a mountain biking nexus and bicycle themed shorts were abundant:

Ashes to Agassiz, 2 minute trailer for a film about an aggressive bike rider.

Beat Down – A couple of millennials tearing up Utah while on bikes.  Viewer discretion advised.  3.5 min.

Dark Woods BMX – In a forest, 3 min. of acrobatic bicycling.

Eddie Masters Gets Fat  5 min. slapstick featuring a fat bike and a “fat” rider.

Taxco Urban Downhill – In Mexico, a bicyclist with a helmet mounted GoPro descends on a varied and interesting urban route.  4 min.

The Thousand Year Journey: Oregon to Patagonia*-  This 4 min. short may be a healthy nudge to take on something new.

Similar but different from the preceding are shorts involving “wheels other than bicycle:”

James Kelly – Burn it Down  A Petaluma native skateboards in the Sierra Nevada.  Scenic and all downhill.  4 min.

No Ordinary Passenger*.  A senior citizen and sidecar champion conveys his skill & love

"Do what you love..."

Demo of “flow” from No Ordinary Passenger

of sidecar motorcycle riding.  An unusual endeavor, historic footage, and a compelling protagonist make this quite outstanding and one you’ll remember.  7 min. and none too long.




Water flowing downhill is a fertile framework for human activity and MountainFilm doesn’t disappoint:

Drainage Ditch Kayak – made possible by GoPro, has had 1.8 million views on YouTube.  The title is a giveaway, 3 min.

A Line in the Sand – Animated, colorful, straightforward and a short 2.5 min.  Animated

From A Line in the Sand

From A Line in the Sand

films have a lot of unrealized potential to influence and be for good, and this film is an example.  By the Grand Canyon Trust.


River of Eden is on a beautiful Fijian river and its place in life.  5 minutes.  More at

When the mountains reach the sea we have the coast:

The Coast, both scenic and thoughtful, is 6 minutes of therapy, courtesy of the ocean.

The Fisherman’s Son, 29 min.  Born and raised at Punta de Lobos, Chile, Ramón Navarro found his passion riding the biggest waves on the planet. But his accomplishments in giant surf are just one part of a bigger vision to protect the culture and environment of the Chilean coast.  By Patagonia and quite good.

Strange Rumblings (Iceland part) 4 minutes of Iceland and surfing.

In Iceland...

In Iceland…

The Right’s centerpiece is a big wave in Western Australia.  2 minutes of beautiful nature and man challenged.

Finally, we have the hard to categorize Moonwalk.   With a rising moon in the

There's Dean Potter pushing the envelope

There’s Dean Potter pushing the envelope

background, recently deceased adventurer Dean Potter tightropes between a couple of rocks.  Feels a bit contrived but well done and interesting nonetheless. 4 min.

Over the past decade or so, the proliferation of devices and software to “catch the moment” has led to an explosion in the quantity and quality of geo-based shorts.  Those noted above are worth a look as are others mentioned elsewhere on this website and accessible from

Over the past few years Mountainfilm has advanced rapidly and its touring program now includes  150 or sites around the world.  Since Banff Mountain Film Fest’s traveling program now involves over 600 sites, the growth and reach of these festivals make it clear there is significant audience demand for what they’re offering, film programming that is geo-based which almost always features a human actor, protagonist, or story.

*asterisks denote those especially recommended

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MountainFilm in Mill Valley – 2015 shorts, part 1

Each MountainFilm in Mill Valley program had a feature film along with at least two short films; over the 9 film programs, more than 30 shorts were shown.  Shorts varied in length from under 2 minutes to 29 minutes and featured people and their endeavors on mountains, the surf and much in between.  All films featured the environment to some degree, some emphasized the contours of a human’s spirit.  The group was a subset of the shorts screened in Telluride at the MountainFilm Festival over Memorial Day weekend, and you can find a comprehensive list of those films here.

It should be obvious I really enjoy and appreciate the types of shorts shown at geography based film festivals such as Mountainfilm, Banff Mountain FFSan Francisco Int’l Ocean FF, etc.  So, below I’ve listed a selection of those screened at MountainFilm Mill Valley with links to make it easy for them to be seen by more folks including you.  Those I found especially worthy are denoted with an asterisk (*).  Since films mentioned have gone through 3 filters – Mountainfilm itself, Mill Valley, and myself – they will be,  hopefully, worth some of your time.

Kicking things off, Opening Night’s feature, Unbranded, was accompanied by two very different shorts, the humorous Nature RX (1.5 min) and the heartwarming Denali*, a

Denali and his guardian, Ben

Denali and his guardian, Ben

moving 8 minute autobiographical-like tribute by and to man’s best friend.


As one of Wally’s two very fond guardians, and as some readers may justifiably surmise, Denali struck quite a cord with me.

Below and in a forthcoming post on Mill Valley’s shorts, I cluster a selection of the films in a way that may help the reader zero in on subjects of interest.

Starting up on the mountains, our first group of films involve SKIING:

Said to be hailed by some as one of the “most cinematically profound ski movies ever made,”  Afterglow – Lightsuit Segment* is certainly a fresh, unusual take on downhill.  Filmed at night at Alaska’s Alyeska resort, it was a crowd favorite at Mountainfilm and has 10,000+ likes at Vimeo.  I hope you see for  yourself.  3 minutes.

Ruapehu, 9 min.  Culture & history on the North Island New Zealand along with scenes and skiing.

Sundog* is 5 minutes of Argentinian mountains, man, and a dog.  Very well done and not at all redundant with Denali.


Of course there were shorts on CLIMBING:

The Black Binder*, 7.  Analogous to Monet’s many treatments of the same subject such as haystacks and water lilies, Josh takes different routes on his climbs up a wall in Black Canyon.  One of my favorites.

The Force highlights of one adventuresome spirit’s 10 years in Patagonia climbing and experiencing the place.  By Patagonia, 18 min.

Seele Aus Stein (Soul of Stone), 6.  A senior lifelong climber reflects.  Subtitled.

The forthcoming post, MountainFilm Mill Valley 2015, Part 2, will cover shorts on wheeled adventures and those centered on water, both fresh and salt.


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MountainFilm in Mill Valley – 5 Feature Film Microreviews

Last weekend Mill Valley, CA’s wonderful Throckmorton Theatre joint ventured with Telluride’s excellent MountainFilm festival to screen 9 programs of stimulating outdoors films.  This was the 4th annual “MountainFilm in Mill Valley” and the most successful to date, with most programs sold out and filled to capacity.  In the endeavor, Throckmorton Theatre joined the other 150 or so venues around the world that are participants in MountainFilm’s traveling program.

MountainFilm’s presence was impressive with David Holbrook, MountainFilm’s Festival Director, and Henry Lystad, Touring Program Director on the scene and tag-teaming on the emceeing.  I attended 5 of the programs and herein offer capsule reviews of several of the films.

Friday evening’s feature film, Unbranded, is both an adventure story as well as an introductory, evenhanded commentary on wild horses in the U.S. West.  There are now 50,000 wild horses in U.S. government holding facilities awaiting adoption along with thousands more the wild. Those in the wild compete for grassland with livestock ranchers, a background theme.   The main storyline is of 4 buddies from Texas A & M who adopted, trained, and rode wild horses on a 3000 mile trail ride through the West’s always  scenic terrain from Mexico to Canada.

From Mexico to Canada, this appears to be in Wyoming with the Grand Teton in the background.

From Mexico to Canada, this appears to be in Wyoming with the Grand Teton in the background.

From the program notes: “What ensues is an epic adventure of self-discovery, friendship, and gorgeous landscapes…”  The film’s producer, Dennis Aig, was in attendance and provided lucid and insightful comments.

Saturday’s early afternoon program featured Les Voyageurs Sans Trace, otherwise known as the French Kayak Film.  This very nice film is based on the first known decent (1938) of the Green and Colorado Rivers by 3 young Parisians.  Much of that trip was captured on color film, a fairly new technology.   That historic footage is interspersed with footage from a more recent decent by the filmmaker, Ian McCluskey, and well selected talking heads to tell an interesting adventure/exploration story.  Well filmed, well edited, and a good story make for a paragon of independent filmmaking on a modest budget.  The filmmaker did insightful Q&A from his office in Portland by Skype and he’s one who I’m sure will gain additional respect and recognition from this and his future films.

The late Saturday afternoon program featured Higher, a bio of big mountain snowboarding pioneer Jeremy Jones.  Although many ski and snowboarding films are long on eye candy but short on substance, that doesn’t apply here.  Using archival footage, this film traced Jones from his youth on to his current, responsible role  as a husband and father of 2 in Truckee.  With judiciously selected comments by those

Award winner, deservedly so.

Award winner, deservedly so.

who know him well, footage of some his pioneering runs such as the Grand Teton, and spectacular footage of recent descents in Alaska and the Himalyas, this film kept one’s attention.  A most interesting person and a very good film that is at the summit of its genre.


Saturday evening’s feature was Racing Extinction, directed by Louie Psihoyous.  I had high hopes for this film as I’d seen its promotional trailer in, of all places, an Orange County movie theater.  And I knew its director  did a film I think really highly of, The Cove, which was awarded the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2010.  However, Racing Extinction  disappointed me (and others).  It ran through a far too extensive compendium of environmental problems without much in the way of suggested solutions.  To me the film was disjointed, jumping from one problem in one location to another problem in a distant location.  I believe the filmmaker was sincerely trying to inspire action, but at the end I felt adrift.  What to make of all this and what to do now?  Not much in the way of suggestions.  Mr. Psihoyus was in attendance and joined Mr. Holbrook for a nicely done Q & A session.  They were eventually joined by NASCAR race car driver (!), Leilani Munter who, with a sleek Tesla automobile specially outfitted with complicated equipment to project large images on large buildings at night, was a rather strange appendage to the end of the film.  After Q & A and upon exiting the building, patrons received a festival bonus, a closeup of the Tesla itself, which was projecting on a building across the street (until batteries ran down) along with a well informed docent.

Sunday early afternoon featured Down to Nothing which told the story of a 5 person team attempting to summit an obscure Burmese peak.  This film didn’t do much for me either, although it was well filmed and edited with the support of National Geographic.  The storyline seemed forced and the team members had a faint air of entitlement.  Contrasting their complaints about nature’s conditions and their dwindling food supply (due to their own poor trip planning) with the locals’ modest lifestyles, what I was seeing just didn’t seem right.

Sunday evening’s feature was Meru, named after a formidable peak in India.  (I didn’t attend this screening because I’d seen the film at the Kabuki in San Francisco.)  The storyline is of 3 climbers and their – obsession is as good a word as any – with summiting this most difficult, previously unclimbed peak.

Route taken to Meru's summit (!). Courtesy of

Route taken to Meru’s summit (!). Courtesy of

They tried in 2007 but were turned back a few hundred feet short.  They then individually endured some serious physical mishaps and were discouraged by their families to attempt Meru again.  Undeterred, in 2011 they made another effort and, after a strong dose of mountaineers’ customary hardships and suffering, were successful at summiting and were the first ever to do so.  Stunning scenery and footage, interesting and world class  climbers, and the articulate and well informed Jon Krakauer providing commentary all combine to make this film well worth seeing.

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East Coast, Oct 2014 (continued) – Princeton, Baltimore, Washington

The main reason we were on the East coast was the 50th reunion of Princeton’s 1964 undefeated football team, on which I played.  So on day 4 we caught a bus at Port Authority that took us right to Princeton’s Palmer Square, which is the location of the wonderful Nassau Inn, our home for 2 nights.

The 1964 team had a GREAT reunion, thanks to the ideas and efforts of a small reunion team which included my Berea High School classmate and Princeton star, Ron Landeck.  Turnout was awesome with a very high percentage of teammates returning along with coaches, trainers, and managers.   In many cases it was 5 decades since teammates had been in contact, so it was very special to be able to renew friendships, catch up at least a little and relive some of those moments.

Friday evening the reunion featured an unforgettable reception and dinner, which itself was made totally awesome by short, thoughtful talks by teammates, former coaches, and the University President.  Saturday morning was a meeting of teammates to remember and reflect on those 8 (now 9) teammates no longer with us.

Then it was on to Princeton Stadium for that afternoon’s game (lopsided win by Harvard).  Afterwards, next door at the new version of Frick Chemistry Lab, we had a social hour which included ’64-’66 classmates, leaving time for more socializing in town with friends.

After 50 years it was so rewarding to reunite with guys who were teammates for a great season and who went on to different careers all over the world, in many cases to be seen rarely if at all except, possibly, at Princeton’s world class reunions.

Sunday morning, with the Princeton “Dinky” train station in the middle of being relocated and not in operation, we took a cab to the nearby Princeton Junction train station and caught Amtrak to Philadelphia, where we changed trains for a stop in Baltimore to visit with our dear friend, John Racanelli, CEO of the National Aquarium.

This was a major, major highlight of our trip – John met us upon our entry and hosted a 3 hour tour of the Aquarium, in front of and behind scenes, as well as a most pleasant social hour overlooking Baltimore harbor and Chesapeake Bay.

In the construction zone of a new Aquarium exhibit with John R.

In the construction zone of a new Aquarium exhibit with John R.

We hadn’t seen John for about 3 years – he’d been working in the Bay Area with renowned ocean explorer and spokesperson, Sylvia Earle, but gave that up and moved his family to Baltimore to take what is turning out to be a dream job.  John and I had many one to one conversations over the years, as well as swims, and I am so happy he and the Aquarium connected when the top position opened up, since they’re perfect for each other.

After our visit with John, my wife and I reunited with Amtrak for the quick trip to Union Station in Washington.  As most readers know, D.C. has an incredible selection of world

The Lone Sailor of the impressive Navy Memorial

The Lone Sailor of the impressive Navy Memorial

class public spaces and museums.

Lobby of the National Postal Museum

Lobby of the National Postal Museum











We were especially glad to discover the under publicized and under appreciated Smithsonian National Postal Museum, which traces postal services from before our country’s founding.  At the museum we were Very Fortunate to connect with an extraordinary exhibit, Alphabetilately.  It was created 10 or so years ago by several Bay Area stamp collectors and 26 Bay Area graphics arts shops and merits, I believe, a more permanent home.

Panorama of a portion of the Alphabetilately exhibit, extended to October 15, 2015

Panorama of a portion of the Alphabetilately exhibit, extended to October 15, 2015

After being tourists for a couple days in D.C. with plenty of walking and $1 bus rides, we made our way (by the Metro of course) to Dulles and then United to SFO.

When thinking about your next holiday, consider international destinations but don’t overlook the U.S.!


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East Coast, Oct 2014 – New York City

Although this blog is intended to be more than a travelogue, some of the more interesting subjects in my life over the last few years (to me at least) and on which my comments may be of some interest or value to you are related to travel.

So…..last October my wife & I had several most memorable days on the East Coast.  We flew from SFO into Newark and gamely used public transportation to get around:   the bus into New York City for 3 nights there, another bus down to Princeton for 2 nights, Amtrak to Baltimore and on to Washington, then the Metro out to Dulles for our return to SFO.

In New York City we stayed in the Chelsea district – we hadn’t previously spent any time in

Chelsea's attractive Maritime Hotel - note the windows!

Chelsea’s attractive Maritime Hotel – note the windows!

that part of Manhattan, so walking offered the best way to check it out.  We made a beeline for the Chelsea Market, which is full of specialty shops for discerning New Yorkers and tourists.  (Posman Books’s letterpress card selection was superior as were The Lobster Place’s seafood display and offerings.)

Portion of The Lobster Place's large seafood selection

Portion of The Lobster Place’s large seafood selection


A Google sign affixed to the large building (2.9 million sq. ft., 4th largest in NYC) across the street attested to Google’s purchase of the building for its New York office in 2011.

Google's building. Maritime Hotel in background.

Google’s building. Maritime Hotel in background.

Nearby were many top notch retailers and the southern terminus of the spectacular High Line, an elevated 1.5 mile linear park on which we were awestruck by the views of New York and impressed with the variety of the park’s own landscapes and architecture.


Typical view from the High Line












We spent most of day two walking up town, taking in the bustle of the City during a steady rain.  Setting out, we had no particular destination beyond the large emporium of Italian food, cooking, culture, etc., Eataly on Fifth avenue at 23rd.

Eataly's presentation of Italian foods is impressive

Eataly’s presentation of Italian foods is impressive

After a pastry and great cup coffee we continued north on 5th Ave. and, after several short hours of taking in 5th and Madison Avenues, we were on the Upper East Side.  We decided to visit the East 70th Street club house of the Explorers Club, which I’ve been a member for many years.  Immediately upon entry we were very pleasantly surprised to be greeted by President Alan Nichols’s wife Becky, who we knew from the Bay Area and who just happened to be in the lobby as we arrived.

Explorers Club's clubhouse ambiance aided by the Polar Bear

Explorers Club’s clubhouse ambiance aided by the Polar Bear

(Mr. Nichols had just left for a flight back to SFO, while Becky stayed to continue her commitment to improving the clubhouse’s interior.).  Becky gave us a great tour of the building which included a one of a kind coincidence when we happened into one of the meeting rooms to find the Club’s aged tiger pelt being unfurled –it had been away for several months for cleaning and restoration.

Photos of members, all interesting

Photos of members, all interesting








On day 3 we kept near to Chelsea, walking the the High Line a second time as well as finding a crossing to the north end of the Hudson River Park.  Walking south, we couldn’t help but notice a temporary installation of wonderful moving sculptures by artist George Sherwood and were enthralled.   This extraordinary show of 6 pieces was in situ for only 8 months of 2014 and made for one of the best hours of our time in New York City.

See them all in this 2 minute video:

More of Sherwood’ Surf:

Gyres & Memory of Water:


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