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Residents vow to rebuild paradise after Cyclone Pam

5. child surveys remains of her village home after Pam BohaneFriday, March 13, 2015 was the unluckiest day in the history of the 45-year-old South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu.  Twice rated as the “happiest country on Earth,” on that unhappy day Vanuatu was struck by the worst Pacific storm in living memory, Cyclone Pam.  This killer Category 5 hurricane packed winds of up to 180 miles per hour, with gusts up to 200 mph. 

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Tall ship sailing from Malaga to the Canaries

D. Passengers relax in bowsprit nettingLast month we began describing a cruise on the tall ship Star Flyer from Malaga, Spain to Grand Canary island in the Atlantic.  This month we will discuss climbing the mast, the food on board, ship’s tours, and a minor accident that affected the ship’s schedule.

Climbing the mast was popular with many passengers, including some in their 70s and 80s. This involved putting on a harness with a safety line, and climbing up the windward ratlines on the foremast, as high as the foretop, about 38 feet above the deck.  

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Filling the bucket list with a romantic tall ship

5. Horseman at Royal Equestrian SchoolFor years a major item on our “dream trip bucket list” has been a voyage to the romantic island groups scattered across the eastern North Atlantic.  A cruise from Malaga in Spain in October 2014 aboard the tall sailing cruise ship Star Flyer filled part of the bill.  Scheduled ports were Malaga, Tangier, Cadiz, Funchal (Madiera), and Las Palmas (Grand Canary).   

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The end of the world is upon us thanks to Lew!

1. LT and Chief at muralMany travelers have heard about the so-called John Frum cargo cult tribe in Vanuatu, which supposedly believes that a huge American soldier named John Frum is coming soon to save them.  Wrong, wrong and kinda wrong.

As usual, you have to come to “Travel Tales” to get the real truth.  Unfortunately, the bad news is that these may be the last words you ever read.

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From Rockville to Bladensburg by gunshot

battle of bladensburgOne hundred and fifty years ago this July, President Lincoln, standing on a parapet at Fort Stevens, was ordered to take cover from Confederate fire. He had traveled north six miles to observe General Horatio Wright’s defense of the Nation’s Capital from Jubal A. Early’s Confederate army.

 More remarkable than this was the fact that it wasn't the first time a U.S President had come under enemy fire during a battle. Fifty years before the Yankees discouraged Early from advancing on Washington during the Civil War, another U.S President found himself in dire straits.

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