An Uncanny Coincidence at Port Arthur Historic Site
Upon entrance to the Port Arthur Historic Site visitors are dealt a random card, like a playing card, but instead of numbers, the cards depict the illustration of a person from Port Arthur's mid-19th century penal colony past. My card showed a man in a religious robe. Ok, interesting. Since we had to meet our tour guide, we skipped the Gallery till after the tour.
Upon my return to the visitor center I entered the Gallery. Filled with historical artifacts and interactive displays, the Gallery is designed to draw visitors into the greater story line of the site as well and to provide visitors with an in-depth understanding of the complex and layered history and world heritage significance of Port Arthur.
Remember that card I was dealt when I first arrived at Port Arthur? The card holds the story of a character that spent time at Port Arthur and is one of the methods of connecting visitors to the Site. Once in the Gallery, I took out the card I was dealt, matched my card to its corresponding twin in the Gallery, and pulled out the shelf to find out who he was. To my great surprise, the first thing I noticed was the name "Eastman." Why is this a surprise? Because Eastman is my maiden name! A random card given to me turns out to be a namesake - uncanny, right? Not only was he an Eastman, but this character was George Eastman - that's my grandfather's name! Talk about evoking a personal connection to the site!
I learned that George Eastman was a reverend and served as the clergyman from 1855-1870. I have the genealogy of my Eastman family and I know I'm descended from Roger Eastman of England who sailed to the United States in 1848. I'll have to check the genealogy to see if Roger is related to this George Eastman who left England for Australia!
When I shared this story of coincidence with my group, including my Tasmanian-born guide Dayna, her first response was to tell me that I've had a very Tasmanian experience - that of finding someone from the penal colony past that I'm related to (or potentially related to).
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A tale of a short adventure vacation in Alaska
We've got 5 days.
Priority #1: Salmon and halibut fishing.
Priority #2: Hiking and seeing wildlife.
Priority #3: No cruise needed.
How do we make this happen?
Answer: Ketchikan, Alaska!
Just a 2 hour non-stop flight from Seattle makes it the most easily accessible town in Alaska from the continental U.S. We started our travel day at 7:00am from the Reno airport and were walking the historic streets of Ketchikan by lunchtime!
Afternoon entertainment in town included walking the famous boardwalk at Creek Street and driving down the Tongass Highway south to Herring Cove to look for bears and eagles where the creek empties into the sea. Have you heard the call of bald eagles before? It’s not like the movies where they seem to use a hawk-like screech. Bald eagles have more of a lyrical chirp, a pretty darn loud chirp!
We signed up for a 3-day fishing special with Captain Rick Dale and Big Fish Charters. Rick and his family have lived in Ketchikan for 100 years and after the first day of fishing with Captain Rick he felt like an old friend.
As the only clients on the boat, Amanda Rae, we set a goal each day and Rick and his able deckhand, Pat, made it happen. Rick entertained us with stories from his decades as a fishing and hunting guide in Alaska and he and Pat were both patient, professional, and easy-going with us and our 12-year old avid angler. When the weather cooperated, we were farther out fishing for halibut. We explored the inlets while trolling for salmon and were treated to many wildlife sightings, including a pod of whales one day! When fishing was slow, we set crab pots. Every day was a success!
It was very relaxing being out on our Alaska fishing adventure watching the salmon jump all around and seeing bald eagles and Sitka black-tailed deer on shore. Of course, all this relaxing was punctuated by the thrill of getting a fish on the hook and landing them in the boat. We came home with plenty of fish - yum!
Fishing On Our Own
We had a day off in between days with Rick and we made the decision to rent a boat out of Knudson Cove and fish on our own.
Things I learned from this experience: