January 2021 Circumbits

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Jan 042021

Cheers for 2021!…

It’s a nice feeling, at least psychologically, to put 2020 in the rearview mirror and head into a new year that promises to be brighter and safer. Remember the pandemic is still with us, so continue to take the necessary precautions. We all look forward to Circumnavigator events and getting back to our travels. Best wishes for our members, friends and families.

Congratulations Photographers

The 2020 Photo Contest set a record with more than 130 photos submitted, raising $1300 for the foundation. Thanks go to our professional judges who had to wade through numerous outstanding shots. All three said the judging was very difficult with so many great photos. The judges were professional photographers Roger Weatherburn Baker (Naples, FL), Mike Johnson (Estero, FL) and Richard Senti (Arizona). Members can review all of the 2020 photos by clicking the photo tab at the top of the website. Shown below are the top winners in each category.

Jorge Serpa (At large) took first place in Architecture with his shot Watcher of the Sky taken at the iconic Bahia Fort in Oman.
First place in Flora & Fauna goes to Gunther Winkler (Naples Chapter) for his shot Elephants at Kilimanjaro taken in Kenya.
Brian Baum (Pacific Northwest) took first place in Human Interest with Venetian Sparkle taken at the Venice Carnival.
Ann Swinford (Michigan Chapter) took First place in Landscape for Aurora taken in Alaska.

Happy 70th Anniversary, Al Morasso

No, not a wedding anniversary. Al celebrates his 70th year as a Circumnavigator, a record that will undoubtedly stand of a long time. Al was introduced to the Club and sponsored by his father who was a long-time Circumnavigator and Past President. Al followed in his footsteps and also served as Club President. Another Past President, Howard Matson, describes the event honoring Al:

The lines of communication were humming recently when a Zoom Cocktail Party for the Club’s current and past International Presidents was placed on the calendar.  In attendance were Executive Director Tracy Sancilio, Executive Director “emeritus” Helen Jost, International President David Mink, Second Vice President Brad Vogel, Foundation President Greg Rider, Past Presidents Bill Holm, Jeff Kelly, Howard Matson, Al Morasso and Peter Mosse, and New York Metro Program Chair, Jeffrey Peterson and his wife C. Eda Peterson. 

Besides the goal of a congenial get-together raising a glass of wine and reminiscing, was the “surprise” celebration of Past International President Al Morasso’s 70th anniversary of his membership application (November, 1950).  A Club historic record!  Al’s term was 2003 until 2006 and in another first, he became the first member to serve in the position once held by his father.  All Circumnavigators join in congratulating Al and our former first lady, Betty, who live in New Jersey – Good health to you,  Al. Luck to you!

House of Lords Dinner is on the Calendar

One of the top annual events for Circumnavigators is the holiday dinner party at the House of Lords, sponsored by the UK Chapter. Unfortunately, the 2020 dinner was canceled but UK Chapter President Helen Jenkins reports that the event has been scheduled for 2021. It will be held in London (of course) on December 9, 2021. Please contact Helen if you would like to attend. 


Order of Magellan honoree Mark Kelly has been elected to the U.S. Senate to represent Arizona. Mark is the second Circumnavigator honoree and astronaut to serve in the Senate, following in the footsteps of John Glenn.

The Last Shot

Gunther Winkler (Naples Chapter) submitted this fantastic photo for the Photo Contest. The judges loved it but we decided the shot had already been highly recognized as the cover shot for a 2020 issue of The LOG. We thought members would enjoy seeing it again. Gunther took the shot of the wedding couple in Uzbekistan.

Do you have a good photo for The Last Shot? Please send to club@circumnavigators.org.

Luck to you!

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David A. Mink
International President

September 2020 Circumbits

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Aug 312020

Let’s Have Some Fun

We have had enough of the pandemic, cancelled trips, lockdowns and the like. It’s time to look on the bright side and find ways to have some fun while staying close to home. We are going to pass on a few recommendations and ask Circumnavigators to give us other good ideas for this forum. So here it goes—-This writer is strongly recommending a series on Netflix that should wow every Circumnavigator. It is “Somebody Feed Phil”. Phil visits cities around the world to sample their cuisine and culture. It is very informative and funny, too. Also, do you have Alexa? Everyday ask Alexa for “Geo Quiz” which is created by National Geographic. You’ll get six questions—different everyday—to test your knowledge of geography. Questions range from simple to difficult. Please send us your recommendations to share.

The Most & The Least

First VP Dan Peterson (Chicago) has passed on a link to a ranking of some of the highs and lows in world locations. It’s a fascinating look at our world.
Link to The Most & The Least (pdf)

We have our work to do

How are our students doing in geography? Watch this video. It’s only a small sample so we can assume (and hope) most students do a lot better.


The Annual Meeting will be held virtually via Zoom on October 14. Invitations and the ballot are in the mail to members. Also, if you have visited all seven continents and not received your certificate, please check to make sure you are listed as a qualifier. Go to the membership tab on this web site and check out qualifiers.


Circumnavigator’s Book

Angela McLean (At Large, Kansas) has put out a book based on her travels, Around the World in 101 Photos. Angela made a nice tribute to the Circumnavigators Club in the acknowledgments. The book can be purchased on Amazon and a portion of the purchase price is going as a donation to the Circumnavigators Foundation. Congratulations and thank you, Angela.

It was a Zoom Party

New York Metro held a Virtual Cocktail Party which offered a fun social time along with guest speaker Eli Lewien, who shared stories from his travels around the world, including quarantine for two weeks in Sydney. Poor guy was only allowed three beers a day!

The Last Shot

After the storm comes a rainbow! Paul Buescher (Pacific NW) took this shot at the southern point of New Zealand’s South Island.

Do you have a good photo for The Last Shot? Please send to club@circumnavigators.org.

Luck to you!

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David A. Mink
International President

August 2020 Circumbits

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Aug 032020

Welcome to August

The summer is winding down and it isn’t a season that will be very memorable for most Circumnavigators. No travel, no parties, no Chapter events, no sports and the list goes on. However, as we have been often told: “This too shall pass.” Meanwhile the Club has some news and questions for our members.

Our Annual meeting, postponed from its usual May date, has now been set for Wednesday, October 14 at 5:00 EDT. It will be a virtual event using Zoom technology. The meeting will cover the usual required agenda, followed by a short presentation: Tales and Traditions of the Circumnavigators Club. Members will receive an invitation with further details along with an election ballot for Club leadership positions.

The LOG Needs Your Help

Do you have a collection from your travels? Katie Koontz’s Collectors Corner is looking for a collection to feature. Also, we are looking for photos that depict the pandemic for the Photo Spread. Please send info on these matters to davidamink@me.com. You can send photos by attachment for consideration.


Gulfstream is discontinuing production of its famed Gulfstream Five after decades of outstanding service. Circumnavigator Bradford Gary, Palm Beach Chapter, recalls circumnavigating on this plane in record time 30 years ago. He participated in this historic flight which circled the globe non-stop from the state of Georgia to New Jersey. He participated as an observer. The flight took 54 hours, a record that stood for many years.

When You Can’t Travel

Circumnavigator Ann Swinford, Michigan Chapter, isn’t used to not being on a trip. So she has been engaging in heavy duty gardening which has included a screen for her to rotate the numerous flags she has hauled home from all over the world.

The Last Shot

Norm and Susan Dailey (DC Chapter) completed their forth circumnavigation before the pandemic. In this photo, Norm is jumping on the Gate of Heaven in South East Bali. He reports, “Getting this shot requires you to put on a sarong and when it is your turn, a local photographer takes a photo with your own camera. The reflection is a special effect, accomplished by using a mirror directly under the lens.

Do you have a good photo for The Last Shot? Please send to club@circumnavigators.org.

Luck to you!

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David A. Mink
International President

July 2020 Circumbits

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Jul 022020

Update on Club Events

As we have previously reported, The Order of Magellan event scheduled for November 12 in New York City has been postponed due to the uncertainties of the pandemic. This important event will be rescheduled in 2021. The date is to be determined. Our Annual Meeting originally scheduled for May in NYC has been postponed and will now be held “virtually” using Zoom. Details to follow. Chapters are wrestling with how to schedule their events in the fall, and are hopeful that regular events will be ongoing for the next season.


The Board of Governors held its first meeting using Zoom technology and it was a great success. The Board members were able to interact in both a business and social manner as if they were in the same room. We are exploring ways to use Zoom to create events and “parties” for Chapters and members throughout the world. If you are interested, we suggest you familiarize yourself with Zoom or reach out the Club headquarters for more information. At the meeting, three new members were approved. Welcome to Richard and Janice Aaron (Chicago) and Karen Serret (Naples).

Have You Been to 7 Continents?

Circumnavigators who have visited all seven continents will soon be receiving their official certificates. So far, about 50 members have reported this achievement. If you qualify, go to the membership tab on this site to see if your name is listed.

The certificate shown recognizes venerable Canadian Circumnavigator Henri van Bentum who is about to turn 91. Luck to You, Henri.

We are sorry to report that Circumnavigator Douglas Nickson, Pacific NW Chapter, passed away in June. Readers might remember that Douglas was recognized in a recent issue of The LOG for his home replication of the House of Lords library which he got to see for the first time at the UK Chapter’s House of Lords dinner. Our condolences to his wife, Karen, and family.


Left to right: Herme de Wyman Miro with Arthur Benjamin and Mara Schainuck alongside “Lexi” & “Charlie” just prior to their planned wedding at THE BEN, West Palm Beach’s newest Autograph Collection Hotel. Herme, who is 100, is the “grand dame” of charity in Palm Beach and was Maid of Honor.

Palm Beach Circumnavigator Arthur Benjamin is known for his dedication to animal rescue. He and his new wife, Mara, dedicated their wedding to the cause. However, the wedding which was featured in Palm Beach Society magazine, had to be postponed because of the pandemic. Although disappointed, the couple were married privately in Utah and the big wedding party will take place next year, dogs and all. You can give the Benjamins a wedding present by going to www.americandogrescue.org. Congratulations to the Benjamins!

The Last Shot

Circumnavigator Jennifer Teague, Washington DC Chapter, took these shots of the deserted O’Hare Airport in Chicago. She describe the scene as “surreal”.

Do you have a good photo for The Last Shot? Please send to club@circumnavigators.org.

Luck to you!

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David A. Mink
International President

May 2020 Circumbits

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May 012020

Challenging Times

We hope all Circumnavigators and families are staying safe and healthy during the current pandemic. Our postponed events and cancelled trips are minor issues compared to the serious problems caused by the coronavirus. Assuredly, we will be back on the road again soon.

Scholars Trips on Hold

Our two Foundation scholars were getting ready for their around-the-world adventures when the pandemic crisis caused their trip to be put on hold. We hope the scholars will be able to make their trips when the situation gets better.

Amanda Davis

To make a donation to the Foundation click here. 

Hard to Stay Home

Circumnavigators Geoff and Marilyn McGrath miss traveling during the Stay at Home restrictions. They are reading and working on projects, including plans for their next circumnavigation. Their customized license plate says it all!

Circumnavigators Geoff and Marilyn McGrath

Over The Horizon Lawrence I. Brown
Larry, pictured here at a black-tie dinner held at the Union Club in New York City in the late 1990s when then International President Howard Matson asked Larry to introduce the guest of honor, the former Queen of Sikkim, Hope Cooke.

Lawrence I. Brown, who served as the Club’s Executive Secretary from the mid-1950s until the mid-1960s died of the deadly coronavirus,

April 12th, in Stratford, Connecticut. Larry was a life member of the Circumnavigators Club.

After graduating the University of Michigan Law School and returning to New York, Larry found himself handling the day to day affairs for our Board of Governors. Doing an excellent job, the Club kept him on!

Larry eventually became one of the premier maritime attorneys. He traveled around the world frequently, visiting his client roster which included many firms based in Panama, Liberia and Vanuatu.

Larry and his wife, Barbara, remained active in the club for many years. 

The Circumnavigators Club extends its deepest sympathy to his wife, Barbara and to his family.

Our Changing World

Circumnavigator Fred Myers, Naples Chapter, called our attention to a story in the Wall Street Journal about how travel has been impacted by the pandemic. Here Fred reviews the piece.

Back in 1914, one could travel to and from many, if not most countries in the world without ever seeing or using a passport. In so many words, that was revealed in the memoirs of Austrian novelist Stefan Zweig, and was used to open a recent article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “A World of Hardening Borders.”

The article, written by Yaroslav Trofimov, the WSJ’s Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, continues by saying that the travel freedom ended with World War I when nations became more protectionist, a condition that existed until after World War II. That’s when again, the world became more international, a trend marked by the emergence of such entities as NATO, the International Monetary Fund, and the U.N. In the meantime, travel between countries became much easier. Hundreds of millions of people have since roamed the globe and crossed borders for a myriad of reasons such as vacationing, studying, or buying a second property.

As Circumnavigators, we can strongly relate to that because we’ve been a part of it. What we haven’t gained from personal experience, we’ve gathered from what our fellow travelers have told and shown us. Only rarely has there been reason to dwell on border crossing problems.

Within only a few weeks, however, the coronavirus pandemic played havoc with everything related to travel. Most worrisome is that it has sparked the resurgence of the nation state with its accompanying surveillance of the citizenry and threat to human liberties.

Even veteran historians have been taken aback by how quickly most all national borders have closed, blocking trade, as well as outsiders. That, in turn, threatens solidarity, even within the European Union. Checks and balances are eroding. A trend toward more nationalism is growing stronger even in the face of an increasing awareness that the pandemic can be controlled only by nations cooperating with one another.

Complicating the issue is social media with its ability to empower a nation’s internal factions that oppose the established order. In one way or another, the pandemic has also renewed racial tension and amplified the widening gap between those with financial means against those who are without.

Of far greater importance is the global economic meltdown, the discord over China being accused as the source of the virus, and the real or perceived failure of the U.S. to fill its traditional role of leading the world out of a crisis.

These are only a few highlights from the nearly 3,000-word article that makes for interesting if not urgent reading. Be prepared, however, to feel an emotional mix of concern, worry, and frustration along with hope as you think of all the beautiful and startling places you’ve seen and the wonderful and engaging people you’ve met along the way.

If nothing else, we as individuals and as a club can pledge ourselves to the cause of helping all people of the world not only understand themselves, but also understand the nation in which they live and the earth we all call home.

“A World of Hardening Borders” appeared in the Saturday/Sunday, April 18-19, 2020 issue of the Wall Street Journal.

The Last Shot

Jon Dill
Anxiety and worry might be keeping many from getting a good night’s sleep but this slumbering lion is at peace with the world. Thanks to Jon Dill, Naples Chapter for this shot taken in South Africa.

Do you have a good photo for The Last Shot? Please send to club@circumnavigators.org.

Luck to you!

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David A. Mink
International President

April 2020 Circumbits

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Apr 022020

Who would have thought?

How quickly our world can change in so many ways. No need to rehash the pandemic with Circumnavigators who, we are sure, are fully up on the news. We know it will cause serious disruptions for our Club of travelers. Just to recap some recent Club news, our Annual Meeting for May 15 in New York City has been postponed. We are shooting to reschedule sometime in September or early October, Inshallah. Below are two pieces from Circumnavigators related to the pandemic. Stay safe! 

Lessons Learned From 10 Days’ Detention 

By Susan Gary, Palm Beach Chapter 

My husband Brad and I spent ten days confined to our cabin aboard the Silver Shadow in Recife, Brazil. We were among more than 300 passengers from 18 countries. A passenger was taken to a hospital on March 12. As a result, the ship was not allowed to depart that evening as planned. Passengers were immediately confined to their cabins. Armed police patrolled the dock 24 hours a day. When repatriation plans were announced a week later, we were stunned to learn that the U.S. passengers could not depart with the other passengers. 

We were caught in the coronavirus pandemonium. What happened after our initial detention was the surprising and most disturbing part of the story. As a result, we developed new lessons learned and recommendations for future travel. These are in addition to the usual list that include, for example, taking an extra set of passport photos. 

Here is what we suggest going forward: 
Identify a private company (Kroll or Securitas, are examples) that specialize in challenges that may arise as a result of international travel. Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. typically have consultants with the experience, resources and relationships at the highest levels of the U.S. government and foreign countries to solve such problems. 

On our ship, we received very little communication from the ship regarding our circumstances; communication was generic when it did occur. We would have engaged a private company to better understand the situation and develop options. 

Secondly, we would recommend carrying more cash. Like most travelers today, we rely on the convenience of ATM’s in foreign countries, credit/debit cards, PayPal and other ways to avoid carrying cash. Cash has disadvantages; it can be easily stolen or lost. I was reminded of the advantages of cash however during a trip to Africa years ago. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, we were released by drugged military personnel only after offering him $100 cash. 

Another recommendation: secure a second passport. When you embark on a cruise you typically surrender your passport and it is not returned until you disembark. If we had that second passport, this would not be a concern. While a second passport is allowed by the U.S. Department of State, there is an additional cost and process. In retrospect, it would be worth the cost and effort. 

Lastly, establish relationships with your federally elected officials. This is a critical piece. It was our congressional delegation from Florida that did the most for us. They provided crucial support, constant contact and worked tirelessly on our behalf. Representative Lois Frankel from the West Palm Beach and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio were the heroes. 

We have travelled to 140-150 countries; met with Fidel Castro, visited the ruins of Persepolis while President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in office and visited South Sudan after their tumultuous separation from Sudan. We have seen a lot of this world and have been greeted with smiles from the capital of Yemen to the marketplaces of Somalia. 

The cruise to South America reminds us of the new hurdles international travelers face in today’s world. We are all learning new ways to make our future travels safer. 

Making The Most of Staying Home 

By Howard Matson , International President 1994-1998 

The pandemic has caused most, if not all, Circumnavigators to make ourselves comfortable in our homes for the duration.  We are the group that needs little motivation to go to the corners of the world. There is no such thing as boredom in our travels.  I often think that the genetic code of becoming a member of our historic organization includes a chromosome that’s activated by a new vista or adventure. 

As my daughter, wife and I enter our 17th day of self-quarantine, I was particularly touched by an essay recently published by the Swiss philosopher, Alain de Botton. He is the author of several bestsellers, including  The Art of Travel.  Some may recall that he was the individual selected in 2009 to be the “writer-in residence” at Heathrow Airport where he spent a week sitting in the middle of terminal.  A Week at the Airport published in London is the result of that week. 

De Botton writes, “…. Another thing we can do is to return to travels already taken.  This is not a fashionable idea.  The idea of making a big deal of revisiting a memory sounds a little strange…or sad.  We are careless curators of our own past.  We push the important scenes that have happened to us to the back of our minds.  However, I argue that regular immersion in our travel memories could be a critical part of what could sustain and console us.  In our neglect of our memories we are like spoiled children who toss these memories aside to seek fresh thrills.” 

This concept really hit a nerve.  I’ve been revisiting my travel shelf where I keep more than a dozen old travel journals.  There is more than a little self-reflection of “I did this?!?” as I reread the journal of my first solo summer in Europe at seventeen.  Were three months of unlimited travel via Eurailpass only $199?  Did I really leave Copenhagen after three nights because $12 nightly was too expensive?  My journal recounts that I was thrilled to arrive in Madrid and find the pensione on Avenida Jose Antonio for $2.90.  And, rereading the two volumes of my 1983 six-month trip around the world impressed again upon me the importance of this trip shaping my life and outlook. 

If just armchair thinking is not enough, then Circumnavigators give yourself a project.  Collect those old photos and put together a book.  Share this book with your children and grandchildren which may give them the  “bug” to travel.  I have another shelf of my grandmother’s diaries from trips in the 1950s to Europe and one recording my grandparents’ 1962 circumnavigation of the globe.  Reading them is to enter another world:  the Queen Mary, the Orient Express, the Tehran Hilton, the Peninsula and I reminisce how these diaries motivated me when I read them at the age of 10 or 11. 


Dog Lovers Alert

Circumnavigator Paulette Cooper Noble, president of the Palm Beach Chapter, is an author of many books. Her latest is Dog Secrets: Fun and Fascinating Things Your Dog Wants You to Know. Unfortunately for Paulette, she purchased 200 copies of her own book for a book event that was cancelled because of the pandemic. She now has all these copies on hand and would be very grateful if some fellow Circumnavigators would like to buy one. This cost is $28.  It is a wonderful book for dog lovers and can also make a great gift. She will autograph it to you, and if you wish, your dog.  To place your order, send an email to club@circumnavigators.org. 

On a Happy Note

Circumnavigator Henry Restarick reports: Since it was our 40th, Janet and I decided to celebrate our anniversary in Las Vegas.  It had been 14 years since our last visit to the Lost Wages.  Our plan was to see all the new sights and revisit some of our old favorite spots.  I planned a surprise 40th renewal wedding for Janet by taking her blindfolded from a casino to down the aisle of an old one-room redwood church built in 1941.  The church is the oldest building on the Las Vegas Strip and is listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places.  Notable weddings in the church include Betty Grable, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Dinah Washington, Judy Garland, Cindy Crawford, Angelina Jolie, Mickey Rooney, Robert Goulet and many others.  Also, a movie wedding of Elvis Presley and Ann-Margaret were filmed there.  I can’t believe Janet actually said “yes” again!” 

The Last Shot

Circumnavigator Lisa Brighton, Michigan Chapter, captured this beautiful shot of a fisherman on Inle Lake, Myanmar at dusk.

Do you have a good photo for The Last Shot? Please send to club@circumnavigators.org.

Luck to you!

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David A. Mink
International President

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