Category Archives: Travel

Virtual Kimberly Crosses the Atlantic Daily

This is a post that is a wonderful product of how our world has become flat in many ways, to foster connections among people that have never met. I hope someday my paths will indeed cross with Matthew Sampson of  Gottingen, Germany.

I write this reflection  in October 2016 sitting across the street from the Cunard Building in Liverpool, the headquarters of Cunard which has designed, built and operated some of the most amazing ocean-crossing ships.


Cunard and Liver Buildings

Cunard Building (left) next to Liver Building (right), photo taken by me September 23, 2016

In September 1994 on my very first trip to Europe from the USA I traveled about the Cunard ocean liner Queen Elizabeth II (QE2). It was all part of the 40th anniversary of the British Marshall Scholarship ( foundation, which provides scholarships to Americans to study in the United Kingdom, with the intention to provide a lasting understanding of British society.


British Marshall Scholars Class of 1994. On Board the QE II in September 1994 in New York Harbor as we were about to embark on a spectacular trans-Atlantic journey of our young lives. To be young, carefree, energetic and Europe-bound for the first time…Ah… what I would give to do it all over again!

It was a great first for me! I wrote a journal during the 5.5 day journal and posted it upon my own HTML pages, before blogging was popular.

My original 1994 impressions of my first trans-atlantic voyage can be found here.

In 2003, I was contacted by a gentleman in New York City (I sadly forget his name) who had found my personal webpage and read my journal and who entered it into a contest to feature journal entries over the last century to be featured in a series of excerpts on the QE2 successor, the Queen Mary 2 (QM2). I got my friend Joe Sacco to take a high resolution image of me to go along with the entry, with my attempt to gaze into the distance, which had been requested.

I submitted the journal and photo and then it went into a communication black hole.

The QM2 had its maiden voyage in 2004.

What was even more amazing is that in 2010, I got contacted by a Michael Sampson of Gottingen, Germany, whom I have never met before. He had been on the QM2 and saw my photo and words on the QM2. He contacted me and we had lovely discussions of his many world travels and our shared love of physics and astronomy.

This was the first time I had ever learned my journal had been selected to be shown on the QM2.

In May 2011, friends of his from Boston, MA, USA had traveled on the QM2 en route to Southhampton and took some photos of my entry in the halls of QM2.

So, a 2D image of myself crosses the Atlantic each week, between the land of my home (the USA) and my other home I miss so much (the UK).

Someday maybe I can travel across the Atlantic by ship again, and if on the QM2, it would be rather interesting for my 3D self to meet my 2D self. I betcha we’d both be looking towards the future, wondering what adventures ahead we might experience.

Being here in Liverpool these past few weeks in September/October 2016 absorbing the history of ship-building and ocean voyages, makes me long again to travel and explore again by sea.

Farewell to Tierra del Fuego

Our trip had come to an end, but the memories of the amazing scenery, experiencing the native fauna and their antics, and the juxtaposition of extremes, be it weather, temperatures, colours, remain strong. At the end of the day, Robert took over 1500 photos, most likely of much better quality than my 1000 quick shots. I am looking forward to deciphering my video taken en route, hoping to catch the sounds of the animals and capture the motions.
About 24 hrs hours, after departure from Tierra del Fuego, we were back in Boulder, Colorado, where spring appears in form. We left with snow on the ground, trekked around first to a land of windy grasslands & bendy beech trees, then went to experience the land of ice & snow (which did not disappoint), only to return to the land of pine trees and mountains at 6000 feet. The world is just full of beauty! It was an honour and privilege that I got to experience a new part of the world, and best of all, share it with Robert.

King Penguins, Isla Martillo, Beagle Channel


54d 54m 15.9s S, 67d 22m 27.8s W (WP224)

We explored the Beagle Channel (this time, by small boat) with our destination being Harberton Estancia, about 85km from Ushuaia today. It was pretty neat to once again be explorers, even if for a day. Our journey took us near Isla del Los Pajaros (Bird Island)

and Isla de los Lobos (Sea Lion Island) skirting us by the Faro les Eclaireus (lighthouse). Finally we neared Isla Martillo, where Magellanic Penguins have a strong rookery, with the occasional Gentoo population that have swum from colder places south on the Peninsula. There were also two King Penguins taking refuge here, although their homes really are much further south on the Peninsula. It was fun to take in the two new species of Penguins, the Magellanic and King, as we fondly remembered our time with the Gentoos, the Chinstraps and Adeles on the Peninsula.

Harberton Estancia was a rather interesting place, still a working farm, but mainly today for the tourism trade (restaurant, tea shop and hotel). Their historic trades were in sheep wool (fleece) and a sawmill. Until the 1970s, the only way you could arrive at Harberton was by boat. The nearby museum and active biology research lab on whale bones was very good.

Cabo de Hornos


56d 01m 54.3s S, 67d 13m 32.9s W, (WP206)
Turn around point, ~3 na. miles from coast

Due to the changes in the weather, we found ourselves returning back to South America faster than anticipated, giving us almost a half-day ahead of schedule. But as the port schedule is highly fixed, the Polar Pioneer captain was able to plan a route near Cape Horn to give us some views of the tip of South America. Because our boat disembarked from Ushuaia, Argentina, we would have been refused entry had we entered Chilean waters, so we had to view Cape Horn from as far as 3 nautical miles, the closest the Chilean gov’t would allow non-Chilean ships to pass. We had been experiencing a rather calm Drake Passage (at least calmer then our outbound trip) so I spent most of the trip enjoying the 360 degrees of water for the past two days.

It was fun to start seeing cormorants joining the albatrosses, as the cormorants need to be near land (have a range of 10-15km) before land was in sight. The winds were indeed westerly and it was quite the change in motion as we turned away from the winds and got blown eastward towards Argentina. Several ships cross the infamous Cape Horn, and traveling east to west against the winds would indeed give a rough ride for all.

Our trip ended way to early on February 28, 2012. Robert & I were back in Ushuaia on terra firma for a few days before we would return to the USA.

Deception Island


64d 41m 02.1s S, 62d 37m 40.1s W (WP175)
62d 58m 44.4s S, 60d 33m 27.1s W (WP180)

After three days of blue skies and bright sunlight, we finally experienced the grey and windy side of Antarctica (or technically, we were back in the south Shetland Islands). The weather changed which prevented us from doing some excursions to Hanna Pt on Livingston Island or Bailey Head on Deception Island, so we had to contend ourselves with visiting Telefon Bay and Whaler’s Bay in Deception Island.

It was snowing and windy, but the volcanic island (still active, the last eruption was in the 1990s) provided a change of scenery, being less ice-locked than most of the recent islands. Here, the red-brown-black volcanic rocks were more reminiscent of Mauna Kea (Hawaii) and Isabela Islands (Galapagos).

The remains of the old Norwegian & British Whaling station were fascinating to walk around. They are not being actively preserved, but are protected and allowed to decay per the elements. It was hard to imagine how hard life was for those whalers, living and working in a harsh climate, surrounded by decaying whale flesh, as the whales were processed for their blubber, oil and bones to bring back to the old world. Now the island has reverted back to being a desolate, bleak, place of natural beauty.