by Lillian Csernica on April 11, 2016
Islands offer some unique opportunities to travelers. Arriving on the island can be as simple as a ferry ride or as complex as multiple international flights. Some islands are popular tourist destinations, and others are best-kept local secrets. When I began working on this post, I was startled to realize just how many islands I’ve visited!
Alameda Island — Located in the San Francisco Bay, “the Alameda” is home to the U.S.S. Hornet. When John was in grade school, I went with him on a field trip to see this national historical monument. For me this was quite a sentimental journey. My father served aboard the U.S.S. Shangri-la. To be able to show John this huge aircraft carrier similar to where his grandfather had served meant so much to me.
Santa Catalina Island— I’ve been to the island a total of three times. The most memorable trip had to be in my junior year of high school. Mr. Gilbert, my Marine Biology teacher, took a group of us students to one of the quieter coves away from the busy harbor closest to Avalon, the main city. We camped out on wooden platforms with no tents, just sleeping bags. We must have done experiments or some type of lab work. Unfortunately , what I remember most about that trip was falling off the boat into the water and losing my contact lenses. I had to spend a day and a half being led around by somebody, which didn’t endear me to my classmates. Worse, I dreaded going home and telling Mom I needed a new pair of lenses. Back then they cost two hundred dollars!
Manhattan — Before the kids came along, my husband and I spent Christmas vacation with his mother in New Jersey. She gave us tickets to see “Les Miserables” on Broadway. Oh wow. Nothing in live theater has blown my mind like the moment when Javert jumps off the bridge. The way the stage crew made that happen, between the lighting and the turntable in the stage and flying the bridge upward…. I really believed I saw Javert’s body spinning in the current of the river. After the performance was over, I couldn’t stop crying for a solid hour. I was so moved, and so overwhelmed by the superb quality of the performers.
Maui — Once upon a time I went to Maui with my mother. This was the first time I’d been to Hawaii, so I was quite excited. At one point I gave serious thought to Marine Biology as a career. Given that, I was really looking forward to the ride around the coral reefs offered by Atlantis Submarines. An obstacle arose in the form of a tropical storm. Ye gods and little fish! The rain came down so hard I felt like an extra in Key Largo. Mom and I had only so many days to spend on Maui. We were worried we’d have to leave before weather conditions made the submarine ride possible. The big concern was whether or not the ocean currents would be strong enough to sweep the small, battery-powered submarine out over the island’s shelf and into the deeper waters.
We did get to take the ride, which involved a boat ride out to the spot offshore where we boarded the submarine. The ride was everything I’d hoped for. The tour guide pointed out various species of fish. Much to my satisfaction, I spotted a rockfish despite its excellent camouflage.
Vashon Island — When Michael was just a baby, Chris and I went to Vashon Island on a pilgrimage to the All-Merciful Saviour Russian Orthodox Monastery. The abbot is Priestmonk Tryphon, shown here with Hammi, his Norwegian Forest Cat. The gold badge Fr. Tryphon is wearing on his belt represents his rank as the Chaplain for the Vashon Island Police and Fire Departments. The pilgrimage included several presentations. I gave a speech on the life of St. Xenia of St. Petersburg, one of the few female Fools for Christ. St. Xenia is one of my favorite saints. She’s known in particular for helping people overcome alcoholism. Given how much damage alcoholism did to my father’s body, I’m sure that’s a big part of what took him from us before he could see his grandsons. Holy St. Xenia, pray to God for us!
Japan, on the main island of Honshu:
Narita Airport, Tokyo
I regret to say that the only time I’ve spent in Tokyo has been inside Narita Airport, entering the country before I caught a train or a flight to my final destination.
Ah, Kyoto. The adventure of a lifetime!
Yokohama hosted the first World Science Fiction Convention in Asia, Nippon 2007. I was there!
Kansai International Airport (Osaka)
Osaka is a marvelous city. Once again, I was there just long enough to land and make my connection to my next flight. I must go back, if only for the okinomiyaki!