Elderhostel Notebook #29, June 23, 1998

Elderhostel Notebook  is a production of The Senior Group, an
informal group of older netizens.

It provides a place for elderhostlers to share information about
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It is an independent project, appreciative of but not associated
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    From the Editors Notebook

    Elderhostel News and  Reviews

         Galapagos Elderhostel ends in Tragedy


         Spain Gateways to the East   West

         Alternative Medicine, Tai Chi and New Medical


    Editor's Notebook
We have started a new section of the web page called "Virtual

It is designed to provide more detailed accounts of selected
programs that for one reason or another many of us can only
experience through another person's eyes.

We will usually give a condensed version of these longer reports
here in the newsletter and put the full report in the  "virtual
elderhostels" section of the web site.

This also allows an opportunity for more visual presentation of
the reports as the web page supports graphics. We intend to keep
the e-mail edition strictly a plain vanilla  ascii text e-zine
even though some new e-mail servers are offering fancy type faces
and graphics. Sometimes less is more.

The story of the Galapogas Island trip and its tragic ending is
longer than our usual reports but we felt this would be of
interest to all elderhostelers. It raises some questions of
safety involving elderhostel programs, and we may write more
about this later. For most of us, I imagine, the most dangerous
part of an elderhostel program experience is the auto ride we
take in getting there.

   Elderhostel News and Reviews

Galapagos Elderhostel ends in Tragedy

A recent  elderhostel trip to the Galapogas Islands ended in a
tragic boating accident according to a number of news sources.

The Associated Press carried a general account of the incident
and several newspapers around the country ran stories based on
the experiences of hostelers from their respective areas. The
following  accounts of the incident  are excerpts from stories in
the Portland Oregonian,Washington Post, and Eugene (Oregon)


Wendy Siporen of The Portland Oregonian Staff gives a vivid
account based on an interview with Marolyn Welch:

Marolyn Welch was relaxing in the lounge of the charter boat Moby
Dick after a day of hiking and swimming on one of the Galapagos
Islands when some of the bar stools suddenly tipped over.

She and four other women from Corvallis were enjoying their
Elderhostel trip, learning about the animal and plant species in
the Pacific islands about 650 miles off the coast of Ecuador.

The first time some of the stools tipped over, Welch didn't think
anything of it - the charter boat had seemed unstable during the
two days the 15 passengers had been aboard. Many of them were

Then they tipped again. But it wasn't until the boat gave a
sudden lurch and water started filling the room that Welch became

It was 6:15 p.m. Wednesday and the sun had already set. Details
of the next three hours before Welch was rescued from the open
sea are sketchy in her mind.

She remembers smoke coming from the galley. At first large couch
cushions floated around the lounge, trapping her and others in
the above-deck room. All of a sudden, the room filled completely
with water. She isn't sure just how she managed to get out -
through a broken window or a door. "All of a sudden I was out,"
Welch recalls.

While life jackets had been plentiful during previous excursions
to shore, none were in sight now. Welch managed to latch onto a
ring buoy with Brookes and Cramer. At one point five people were
clutching the small ring, Welch recalled.

Cramer told Welch she had spotted a small wooden boat nearby.
Welch hadn't seen it. Nevertheless, Welch abandoned the life ring
and followed Cramer through 6- to 8-foot swells to the wooden
boat that held the captain and another passenger.

Twenty years of lap swimming paid off for Welch. Once she was in
the water and safely away from the rapidly sinking boat, she said
she wasn't afraid.

The two women paddled the small boat with their hands back to the
life ring. An elderly man who had been hanging on to the ring
couldn't wait for the two women to return, Brookes said. He said
goodbye to his companions and disappeared into the water, she

"We think he knew his wife hadn't survived," Welch said.


The Washington Post published an interview with Mary Jo
Cannarella, of Nashua, N.H. who provides more details of the
incident involving the fate of the man Welch referred  to:

"We were pitched right into the water and swimming for our

She  witnessed what may have been the last moments of Richard

For a short time after the twin-propeller ship, the Moby Dick,
capsized, Cannarella and three other women, along with (Richard
Sayre,) clung by ropes to a single life ring in the moonlight.

Two of the women then swam to a raft that had been aboard ship.
After a time, according to Cannarella, Richard Sayre said, "I'm
not going to make it." The remaining women urged him to hang on,
that help would come.

But, according to Cannarella, "he said, 'I'm going now.

She said he said goodbye several times, let go of the rope and
floated away.

Cannarella said she believed that both Sayres may have been among
several passengers who were with her in an enclosed upper-deck
area of the ship called the salon.

When the ship, which had been rolling amid swells, suddenly
heeled over on its starboard side and stayed there, Cannarella
said, the salon began to fill with water.

She said she began trying to force open one of the portholes on
the left side of the compartment, which was now above her head.

Bobbing like a cork, she said, with "just about my last breath,"
she struck the window with the top of her head and forced it out.
She went out into the water, and at least two people followed,
she said. One, she said, was Richard Sayre.


JANELLE HARTMAN of The Register-Guard also based her story on an
interview with Welsh that provides  details of the events
following the sinking:

Marolyn Welch and her friends had barely gotten on board the
"Moby Dick," their tour boat off the coast of the Galapagos
Islands, on Monday when they sensed something wasn't right.

The 60-foot boat seemed to roll too much given the relatively
calm, warm Pacific waters. Some of the 15 passengers - all senior
citizens - were too sick to eat dinner the first night, or
breakfast the next day.

But the boat was brand new. Welch, 71, of Corvallis, said it was
beautiful inside.

"We'd laughed about that in the beginning, that just like the
Titanic this was its maiden voyage," she said.

Two nights later, it was anything but a laughing matter.

After sunset Wednesday, as some passengers were gathered in the
ship's salon and others were relaxing on deck, the boat capsized
three miles from shore.

"It seemed to roll more and more, and just all of a sudden, it
lurched and water was coming in the boat," Welch said. "I just
thought, `Oh my gosh, this boat's going down.' And all I could
think of was that scene from `Titanic.' "

Water was pouring in windows and doorways. Welch saw broken
glass, then smoke coming from the galley. Then nothing. The
lights went out as soon as the water hit the ship's electrical

"I don't remember how I got out. I don't know what happened," she
said. "I was suddenly in the water and Meg had the life buoy and
was calling to me."

"Meg" is Margaret Cramer, one of five women from Corvallis who
signed up last October for the Elderhostel tour of the
species-rich islands 560 miles west of Ecuador.

Welch, the mother of Register-Guard features editor Bob Welch,
talked about the experience Saturday night by telephone from
Miami, where the survivors were flown Saturday morning.

She spoke with particular sadness of an 80-year-old man from
Maryland who let go of a floating life-ring as her friends
Brookes and Rowley hung on.

"His wife had drowned," Welch said. "We think she was in the
cabin and got trapped. I think he knew this. He said he couldn't
hang on anymore. He said `good-bye' and he slipped away."

Another couple went into the water holding hands. They apparently
became separated, and the husband drowned, Welch said. A woman
from California, who may have been trapped inside, was the fourth

Welch said passengers wore life vests each of the two days that
they'd taken dinghies from the boat to shore.

On the islands, they hiked up hills and over rocky terrain to see
iguanas, sea lions, frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, mocking
birds and other wildlife. Wednesday afternoon, they swam in
turquoise waters off a white-sand beach.

But the life vests were nowhere in sight when the boat tipped
over Wednesday night. There had been no life-boat drill during
the trip - standard on ships leaving U.S. ports - and Welch
didn't see any crew members at first.

Once in the water, she knew she needed to swim away from the
boat, that she could be sucked under when it sank if she stayed
too close. About 10 feet away, she saw Cramer grasping the life
ring. Soon Welch was one of five people hanging on to it.

They knew the ring couldn't support them all. Then Cramer saw a
wooden lifeboat in the distance. She and Welch swam toward it,
leaving Brookes, Rowley and the 80-year-old man, Richard Sayre,
with the life ring.

Both women are excellent swimmers - Welch swims laps regularly at
the Oregon State University pool.

Irvin, of Corvallis, was in the lifeboat with the ship's captain.
Cramer and Welch climbed aboard and used their hands - there were
no paddles - to maneuver the 10-foot boat toward the life ring.

When they reached it, they learned that Sayre had drowned.

The two women still clinging to the life ring grabbed the life
boat and held on. Meanwhile, Welch said they'd seen a flare fired
from another life boat carrying passengers.

Welch said people yelled, "Help," but were otherwise calm - no
tears or screams. At times, they sang songs.

"We felt pretty sure we were going to be rescued," she said. "We
had the boat, the moon was out, the water was warm."

After three hours, they saw their rescue boat - an 80-foot cruise
ship, the Angelito.

But getting the passengers to safety wasn't simple, with swells
pushing one boat up and the other boat down. Welch said it took
about three hours to pull all the survivors on board.

It was the first of many times over the next three days that
Welch found herself overwhelmed by people's kindness and

"The people on the boat did a marvelous job," she said. "They got
us towels and blankets. They got our wet clothes off. People were
very sick and vomiting; they swallowed a lot of sea water. They
took care of them, and they dressed cuts. We couldn't have asked
for nicer help."

Welch suffered a cut on her elbow and was chilled despite the
warm water. One woman suffered a cut on the back of her head, the
worst injury.

Everyone was relieved to see that most of their fellow passengers
were alive, Welch said.

"As each person came aboard (the cruise ship), there were a lot
of tears," she said. "We were so glad to see that so-and-so had

After two nights in a "lovely little motel" on the island, Welch
said they were flown to Guayaquil, the largest city in Ecuador.
Before leaving the Galapagos, though, they were taken to see the
islands' famous turtles.

Welch said representatives of Elderhostel and the travel agency
that booked the tour have done everything possible to help the
passengers. All their money will be refunded, she said, and
they've been given cash for clothing and anything else they need.

Welch, who will fly home today, plans to limit her sailing now to
Fern Ridge Reservoir.


There are a number of inconsistencies in the various news reports
regarding the rescue of survivors and the immediate cause of the sinking.
Perhaps the full story will not emerge for some time as investigations into
the incident are conducted.


Community College Location: Ainsworth, Nebraska

by Janet W. Crampton, janet.crampton@tcs.wap.org

Slowly rocking my sieve, I scanned the ivory-colored bits that
remained on the screen. We were looking for fossils, carefully
digging buckets of soft sediment to sift. We worked on a small,
level space by a cliff above the Niobrara River at Norden Bridge,
in the Nature Conservancy's Niobrara Valley Reserve. Fossils! A
tiny jaw, a rodent tooth, and many little vertebrae. The jaw had
belonged to a salamander, a "good find," said the ranger.

The Paleo to Present Elderhostel took us from the
14-million-year-old sediments of the Valentine formation to the
ranching, steel-gate and feedlot industries of Ainsworth today.
We examined the ecology of this special part of the Niobrara
Valley and the unique Nebraska Sand Hills. We saw bison grazing
on the Reserve and a bison roundup at the National Wildlife
Refuge at Valentine, some 60 miles west. At Sinte Gleska
University on the Sioux Reservation in Rosebud, SD, Native
American instructors explained Lakota history and philosophy.
Local historians spent a day with us.

Entertainment? A picnic at Smith Falls State Park featuring
buffalo stew made by a mountain man and his wife, a visit from
another mountain man who had just come, he said, from the
rendezvous at Green River, an evening of western songs, a
business exhibit held as part of the region's economic
development, the bus driver's jokes as we traveled about the
region, and the enthusiastic leadership of the mayor of Ainsworth
and the committee that planned the program.

We stayed in the Super 8 Motel, ate most meals at Big John's
restaurant. For lectures, we went to the North Central
Development Center about a half-mile away, on the town's main
street. 	Ainsworth, in north-central Nebraska close to the
South Dakota border, bills itself as The Middle of Nowhere, but
for us it was somewhere special. The local newspaper featured our
Elderhostel group, and the Elks Club hosted our "graduation"

Paleo to Present is held in September. My husband and I attended
in 1996, their first time. We enjoyed the group, the people who
put on the program, the beautiful countryside, and the chance to
see a wonderful part of the United States. After this program we
went on to Elderhostels in West Yellowstone, MT, and Estes Park,
CO, to visit Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain national parks.


Spain Gateways to the East   West, 61108-0503

by janperez@erols.com

We went on this Elderhostel in May. This was our first
international Elderhostel, and we were really impressed. The trip
included Barcelona, Sevilla, Granada, a tour of Malaga, one
night's stay in Torremolinos and ended with four nights in the
Canary Islands (Tenerife). Unfortunately a bronchial flu type
illness spread through our group of 34 and even struck down the
site coordinator in Barcelona and the Group Leader. Yvette Mills
the group leader was wonderful. She kept on going despite her
illness and was very knowledgeable and competent. The hotels were
all excellent.

In Barcelona, where my husband and I had the bronchitis, the
staff at the Hotel Gravina were terrific, even calling one day
when our group was out for an all-day tour to see how we were
feeling. We thought most of the food on the trip was very good.
Some of our group weren't happy with it, but we feel it was the
difference in the food, not the quality, that was the problem.
Since we were traveling to different cities, there was
duplication in what we were fed, but that's understandable.

The site coordinators were all good; the guides were excellent.
Overall, despite our illness, we were very satisfied with this
trip. Our favorite place was Puerta de la Cruz in Tenerife. Our
hotel was right in front of the sea and it was very pleasant. I'd
recommend this Elderhostel to anyone.


Rochester Community   Technical College, #23675-0607-01,
 June 7-13, 1998

The programs are on Alternative Medicine, Tai Chi and New Medical

The Alternative Medicine is an excellent course taught by a
teacher from the college. Facts, back up data, well presented and

The Tai Chi was by a Tai Chi instructor who combined a 10 week
class into 5 days of 1.5 hour classes. To much talk and to little
actual practice but was good.

The New Medical Developments had a different Medical Doctor from
Mayo Clinic each day. They were all good to excellent.

Tours included Mayo Clinic, Plummer Building(old
clinic-excellent), Mayowood and Plummer Houses - original Mayo
Clinic doctors homes and going into the tower to watch the
carillon being played.

The housing was in the Kahler Hotel where the classes were held.
This is connected to the clinic and many of the buildings in
Rochester by skyways and tunnels. Good hotel. Breakfast and
several of the meals were in an adjacent hospital. Good food.
Recommend the program as one of the best we have attended. Well
organized and operated.

bc-stone@juno.com Bob   Cherry Stone

From: JoMelSer@aol.com

We are also considering The Philadephia Society's BARNES
COLLECTION Oct 4-9, 1998 # 38690-1004-01. If you have any
information on it, please E-mail it to me.



From: Joeandru@aol.com

I recently returned from my first International Elderhostel
Program, well actually my first, second, third and fourth. I
compleded 4 consecutive programs. One in China (South of Clouds),
two in Australia (Train Trek to the Outback and the Great Barrier
Reef and The W's Downunder) and Aotearoa New Zealand Islands of
Contrast. I thought each one was wonderful. I could not give an
explanation which one was best. Each day was a new adventure and
a new experience. I learned a great deal of the people and the
countries. I learned first hand of the Australian medical

I signed for another in November, however, I am 148 on the
waiting list. I won't hold my breath for that one.

I would like to communicate with others who have had similar
experiences. I have also been part of 3 National Programs.

Phoebe Andrucyk	email Joeandru@aol.com

From: BAHamm@webtv.net (Billie A. Hamm)

HELP--- Has any one been to England lately and bought the
underground /bus pass here in the states. (it sells for around $
30 for 3 days unlinited travel)--I am talking about the one you
HAVE to buy before you leave. that seems pricey but I dont know
how much it costs to travel on undeground over there. any
feedback appreciated.


From: Norma Robichek   Syl Winocur 
Subject: Elderhostel Programs in Ireland

We're interested in hearing from Elderhostelers about the
programs they may have taken in Ireland. In particular, we'd like
to know about the subject(s) covered, program location(s),
accommodations, time of year, weather conditions and field
trips....and, of course, whether or not they liked the
program(s). We've attended Elderhostel programs in Costa Rica,
Italy (Sorrento), Antarctica, Scotland and recently returned from
a study cruise in Greece and a barge trip in France. We've also
attended programs in San Diego ("Wild Animals"), Ventura, CA, and
Yosemite. we'd be happy to share with anyone our impressions of
those programs.

Norma and Syl