Sail with Jan

Mandalay: "The River Cruise"



January 11, 2005

Dear Family and Friends,

Today is a day for a quiet stroll.

After breakfast at the hotel, I stroll over to the main market - three floors of dozens of small stalls selling dry goods and clothing and cosmetics, house wares and electronics.  I buy a small piece of red and gold-threaded floral design fabric to add to my collection. Next I stroll out to the street for a coffee under the clock tower.

Then I stroll towards Strand Street which could only mean the The River. The guidebook says, "There is always something happening there." Mandalay is very spread out so I stroll about half way to the river and hail a tri-shaw.

The Yangtze: "Three Gorges Passage"

Hubei Province

June 25, 2010

My Dear Cruise Aficionados,

After the Nile and the Amazon, the Yangtze is the third longest river in the world.

The Yangtze or Chang Jiang is also the longest river in Asia. That really is saying something when you consider that the Yellow River #2 is 5464 km, the Mekong #3 is 4909km, and the Indus #9 and Brahmaputra #10 are each 2909km. Numbers 4-8 are rivers in Russia that run from south to north in Siberia and flow into the Arctic Ocean.

The Yangtze rises in the west from the glaciers in the Tibetan Plateau and empties into the East China Sea, covering 6300 km/3915 miles, while draining eleven provinces from Qinghai to Shanghai.

Svalbard: Prelude to The Arctic


Svalbard (Spitsbergen)

August 7, 2015

Sawatdee krop,

I arrive at the airport in Longyearbyen.

It’s 10:00pm.

The evening sky is overcast.  The clouds are bright.

A young guide greets me at the airport.

“When does it get dark?” I ask him.

He smiles and responds, “This is as dark as it gets.”

“Wow! I know my geography.  I am above the Arctic Circle!” 

Svalbard: At Sea

At Sea

Aboard the MS Nordstjernen 


August 8, 2015

My friends,

Here are a few facts about Svalbard:

Svalbard formerly known by its Dutch name Spitsbergen is a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Situated north of mainland Europe, it is about midway between continental Norway and the North Pole.

Svalbard is the northernmost settlement in the world with a permanent civilian population. 

Svalbard: Arctic Wildlife

On Board 

MS Nordstjernen

The Greenland Sea


August 9, 2015


Even the experienced guides had never seen such a sight!

A dead walrus?  Sure.  They had seen one before.  They had seen a polar bear feasting on the carcass.  They had seen a polar bear and her cub feasting at the scene.

But never before had they seen such a sight!