Kelli cruises the world with Vincent Van Gogh, Tequila, Worms and Grasshoppers..

Kelli Barker from Zimbabwe, Africa is cruising the world on the Holland America ship, ms. Statendam- having joined Steiner Leisure as a Health and Beauty therapist!
Anton Milner has joined Steiner, working as an International Fitness Professional, on the Royal Caribbean ship, Independance of the Seas…
Independence of the Seas

Independence of the Seas

One of our special farewell times was spent on the beach of The Save River at Chilo Gorge….
Anton and Kelli on the beach of the Save River at sunset....

Anton and Kelli on the beach of the Save River at sunset….

Grandly proportioned and recently enhanced, ms Statendam offers an onboard experience defined by spacious comfort………….

ms Statendam

ms Statendam

Exhibiting a theme of historical Dutch life and exploration, ms Statendam features more than $2 million worth of art and rare artifacts beautifully displayed throughout the ship….. such as this 26-foot-high sculpture titled “Fountain of the Siren”……

Fountain of the Sirens...

Fountain of the Sirens…


The Van Gogh Theatre in the ship is a work of art in itself, commemorating Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings “The Starry Night” and “Irises.” This is thrilling to me, Van Gogh being an iconic artist for me………………



Some of the best known works of all time were painted by the Dutch Post-Impressionist artist, Vincent Willem Van Gogh (1853 -1890).

“Irises” is among the most recognized of his pieces………..

"Irises" by Vincent  Van Gogh

“Irises” by Vincent Van Gogh


On May 8, 1889, Vincent Van Gogh committed himself to the asylum at Saint Paul-de-Mausole in Saint-Remy, France after many instances of hospitalization and self-mutilation. During his stay he painted some 130 paintings with the surrounding gardens and clinic becoming his main subjects for painting.

Among these were “The Starry Night” and “Irises”.

Inspired by the nature surrounding him, Van Gogh began his work on Irises within the first week of his stay at the asylum. Irises was most likely influenced by Japanese woodblock prints which were produced beginning in the 17th century. Like many artists of his time Van Gogh was influenced by the Japanese works. The use of black contours in Irises is a typical element of Japanese woodblock prints, helping to reinforce the expressive power of the painting.

There are no known drawings of the piece, probably because Van Gogh did not consider it a masterpiece but simply a study. Upon receiving the canvas, Van Gogh’s brother, Theo, submitted it, along with The Starry Night, to the Salon des Independants in September of 1889.

Irises is on the list of the most expensive paintings ever sold, selling for 54 million dollars in 1987. Currently Irises is on display at The Getty Center in Los Angeles, California.

Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh………….

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh....

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh….

Although Van Gogh sold only one painting in his life, the aftermath of his work is enormous. Starry Night is one of the most well known images in modern culture as well as being one of the most replicated and sought after prints. From Don McLean’s song ‘Vincent’ (Starry, Starry Night) , to the endless number of merchandise products sporting this image, it is nearly impossible to shy away from this amazing painting.

Starry Starry Night by Don Maclean

During Van Gogh’s younger years (1876-1880) he wanted to dedicate his life to evangelization of those in poverty. Many believe that this religious endeavor may be reflected in the eleven stars of the painting “Starry Night”.

In Genesis 37:9 the following statement is made:

“And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.”

Whether or not this religious inspiration is true, it is known that the piece is not the only Starry Night painting that Van Gogh ever created. The stars were a recurrent theme for him.

So- Kelli is on a 15 Days Panama Canal Cruise from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale…..!

The food is fabulous she says….lots of choice!

yummy food

yummy food

Kelli can make some memories, in between working very hard, at intriguing ports-of-call such as Cartagena, Colombia, where one can explore the history of the area by horse and carriage.

Ports of Call:

San Diego, California;

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico;

Huatulco, Mexico;

Kelli says:

“In Huatalco Mexico today enjoying the tequila with worms and grasshoppers”

tequila, worms and grasshoppers....

tequila, worms and grasshoppers….

funny…these bottles are the same shape as our “bottle baobab” near Tsavene,  our bush home in Senuko Ranch Zimbabwe…

bottle baobab on senuko ranch

bottle baobab on senuko ranch

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala;

Puerto Corinto, Nicaragua;

Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica;

Maybe Kelli will get a chance to view some of the worlds greatest bio-diversity in Costa Rica, if she is not head down and working!


gorgeous tree frog

gorgeous tree frog.. inspiration for exotic make up!


Panama Canal, Panama;

The Panama Canal (Spanish: Canal de Panamá) is a 77.1-kilometre (48 mi) ship canal in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean (via the Caribbean Sea) to the Pacific Ocean. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. There are locks at each end to lift ships up to Gatun Lake, an artificial lake created to reduce the amount of excavation work required for the canal, 26 metres (85 ft) above sea level.

ms Statendam in pananam canal

ms Statendam in panana canal


The American Society of Civil Engineers has named the Panama Canal one of the seven wonders of the modern world.

Panama canal map

Panama canal map


Cartagena, Colombia;

Cartagena de Indias is the undisputed queen of the Caribbean coast, a fairytale city of romance, legends and superbly preserved beauty lying within an impressive 13km of centuries-old colonial stonewalls. Cartagena’s old town is a Unesco World Heritage Site – a maze of cobbled alleys, balconies covered in bougainvillea, and massive churches casting their shadows across plazas.

But then there is the outer town, full of traffic, the working class, and a chaotic nature that can leave you dazed and confused in minutes. It is here that Cartagena becomes a typical workhorse South American city. To the south, the peninsula of Bocagrande – Cartagena’s Miami Beach – is where fashionable cartagenos sip coffee in trendy cafes, dine in glossy restaurants and live in the upscale luxury condos that line the area like guardians to a New World.

Cartagena is a place to drop all sightseeing routines. Instead, just stroll through the old town day and night. Soak up the sensual atmosphere, pausing to ward off the brutal heat and humidity in one of the city’s many open-air cafes.

Cartagena by night

Cartagena by night

Holding its own against Brazil’s Ouro Preto and Peru’s Cuzco for the continent’s most enthralling and righteously preserved colonial destination, it’s hard to walk away from Cartagena – it seizes you in its aged clutches and refuses to let go.

Cartagena, Columbia

Cartagena, Columbia


Cartagena map

Cartagena map


Half Moon Cay (Little San Salvador Island), Bahamas;

gorgeous beach

gorgeous beach

Half Moon Cay is a private island, a stop of for the ms Statendam…



Maybe Kelli will get to swim with rays in between caring for her guests!



Some of her recent photos of Half Moon Cay…


sparkling beaches

sparkling beaches



Kelli Barker

Kelli Barker






Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 

A stop to drop off and pick up more passengers…

then retracing the cruise route back through the Panama Canal, stopping at Cabo San Lucas,  before heading to port in San Diego…

Some background to Cabo…

Cabo San Lucas, commonly called Cabo in American English, is a city at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. Cabo San Lucas together with San José del Cabo is known as Los Cabos.



Land’s End is by far the most impressive attraction Cabo has to offer. Hop on a panga (M$150) and head to El Arco (the Arch), El Arco de Cabo San Lucas a local landmark.a jagged natural feature that partially fills with the tide. Pelicans, sea lions, sea, sky – this is what brought people to Cabo in the first place, and it’s still magical, despite the backdrop of cruise ships.

Land's End...

Land’s End…

Cabo Wabo Cantina…stared by Van Halen RockBand member, Sammy Hagar.

Cabo Wabo Cantina

Cabo Wabo Cantina

El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve is Mexico’s largest protected area. Ecosystems found within the reserve include arid zones, dunes and a 5 km-wide littoral zone along its 450 km of coast. The reserve also includes three gray whale sanctuaries …..

coastal vegetation

coastal vegetation

In the winter, pods of whales can be observed in the area. They bear their calves in the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez after completing their six-thousand-mile migration from Alaska and Siberia.

Sea of Cortez, named for legendary conquistador Hernán Cortés

Vizcaíno’s region is biologically rich; its marine resources are especially important. There are 308 terrestrial and marine vertebrates inhabiting the reserve, not including fish. There are 469 flora species, most of which are shrubs and small trees. There are 39 regionally endemic floral species. In addition to its biological diversity, the reserve includes more than 200 caves with rupestrian paintings and petroglyphs.

Archaeological excavations have shown evidence of continual human habitation in the area for at least ten thousand years.[4] When the first Europeans arrived, they encountered the Pericú people, who survived on a subsistence diet based on hunting and the gathering of seedsrootsshellfish, and other marine resources. They called the location Yenecamú


El Vizcaíno Reserve is threatened and there is a great risk that in the near future it will fail to protect and maintain its biodiversity. The main threats include agriculture, overuse of groundwater reserves, extensive grazing, illegal fishing, and legal and illegal hunting. Future, potential threats include a mega-tourism/infrastructure project called “Escalera Náutica” or Nautical Ladder, and mining activities. 

Until fairly recently,[when?] the unique and fragile environment of this part of Mexico was largely unprotected by law, and therefore was subjected to developers acting in concert with government agencies interested only in low-end tourist bonanzas. There is, however, a growing collection of activists and attorneys now involved in preserving many of Baja’s desert habitats, marine mammals, and stretches of coastline. A number of agencies including the Gulf of California Conservation Fund[7] and the Center for Environmental Law in La Paz[8] are challenging the destruction of wetlands and other ecosystems from Los Cabos to Ensenada. In the face of a growing international public demand for corporate-driven ecological stewardship, higher-end resorts in the Los Cabos area are increasingly sensitive to their environmental impact, and are taking initial steps to institute sustainable practices such as reducing water usage and non-recyclable trash output





















About wineandwilddogs

Lin Barrie The Save Valley Conservancy stretches along the upper reaches of the great Save River in the south east of Zimbabwe. The Gonarezhou National Park laps against the southern banks of the Save River and between these two nestles the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. These three celebrated wildlife areas form part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area, (GLTFCA)- a unique wilderness jewel which is home to the “Big Five” (endangered Black and White rhinos, elephants, buffalo, lion, leopard) and the ”Little Six” (Klipspringer, Suni, Duiker, Steenbok, Sharpe's Grysbok and Oribi). Endangered African wild dogs, Cheetah, Brown hyena, Bat-eared foxes and a host of special birds and plants contribute to the immense variety of this ecosystem. Communities around the GLTFCA contribute to innovative partnerships with National Parks and the private sector, forming a sound base on which to manage social, economic and environmental issues. This is home to artist and writer Lin Barrie and her life partner, conservationist Clive Stockil. Expressing her hopes, fears and love for this special ecosystem with oil paints on canvas, Lin Barrie believes that the essence of a landscape, person or animal, can only truly be captured by direct observation. Lin Barrie states: “Through my art, and my writing, I feel an intimate connection with the natural world, and from my extensive field sketches of wild animals, people and landscapes, I create larger works on canvas. Lin's work is in various public and private collections in South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Australia, England, Canada, Sweden and the United States of America. She is represented by galleries in South Africa, Zimbabwe, England, Kenya and Florida, USA.
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