This is the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. It is here where it is believed that Mary learned that she was to give birth to a child to be named Jesus. We also saw the Church dedicated to St. Joseph. We saw elaborate layerings of over 50 underground homes where Mary was taken to Jesus who then cared for her. There have been many layers of churches erected over these original dwellings. You can see the beauty of the current Basilica of the Annunciation. All of these historical sites are all within about 130 miles of each other with Galilee and Nazareth located to the north. 

We then traveled on to the north of the Sea of Galilee and enjoyed a delightful meal at the Auberge Shulamit Restaurant-:)!! 

Here is a glimpse of the underground layering of homes….  

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Cana in Galilee

   Can you see my sheer delight when Bud said YES to renewing our marriage vows…after 43 years ….he is still ‘in’-:)!! Monsignor Hogan offered to renew the couples’ marriage vows right on the spot of Jesus’s first miracle at the Wedding Feast of Cana. It was a very powerful experience for all of us. We were treated to wedding cake and wine as we departed­čśä. After viewing the wine vats and some special prayers being offered for all couples and families close to us, we headed on to Nazareth.

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Mount Tabor

   We are very blessed to be traveling with my college roommate and her husband, Dick and Molly Daly. We deeply appreciate them making us aware of Monsignor Hogan’s Pilgrimage. This is the site of the Cathedral of the Transfiguration located on top of Mount Tabor. The road up has 17 switchbacks for breath taking views-:)!! This was our first stop of our first day in the Holy Land. So much to learn and experience. From here we traveled on to Cana and Nazareth. 

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We have arrived-Tel Aviv!

 Thank goodness for those wonderful little pictures that show you where to get your luggage-:)!!                                            We have arrived safely in Tel Aviv to temperatures of 82F. The flight from New York was approximately 10 hours.  We are now making our way by motor coach another two hours across the Israelisn countryside towards Tiberia. 

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Off to the Holy Land

If you would like to virtually join us on our nine day pilgrimage  of the Holy Land –Welcome Aboard!! We know it is a far cry from freighter life but to trace His footsteps entices us as a potentially impactful experience. There will be about 27 of us soon leaving for Tel Aviv under the guidance of Monsignor Hogan.  We just cleared an intensive security check for EL AL Israelean Airline. Here we go… 


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“The Final Sunset”….Journey complete…December 29, 2012


We have just arrived in the Port of Houston, right where the dream unfolded last August!
The ‘dance of the cranes’ will now only be a vivid memory…

We truly want to thank you for following along on our ‘freighter journey of a lifetime’! I want to especially thank the staff members of Lima City Schools who encouraged me to share this journey, so that our kids of Lima could ‘see the world’!
I also want to thank the “Men of the Rickmers’ Shanghai” that made us feel right at home amidst the daily hardships and challenges of their work at sea.

For us, it has been an amazing experience. We have traveled for nearly five months, approximately 30,000 nautical miles, visited over forty-five cities and over twenty ports around the globe. We have gazed across the hull of a ship carrying nearly 63 million dollars worth of cargo as we watched dolphins entertain us in the waters below. We have rolled with rough seas, experienced a serenity and calm unexplainable, watched sunrises and spectacular sunsets, and even found joy in the ‘rains’ of our final day at sea (see video clip attached).

We are truly grateful for this immense blessing of having the opportunity to experience a unique glimpse of the people and the challenges faced in today’s world.

It is time now to bid you farewell. We certainly hope that you have enjoyed traveling with us.

And the MOST amazing thing of all about this journey……Bud and I are still speaking to each other after five months of major ‘one on one’ time:)!! Most of our friends have lost that bet…

Again, thank YOU for taking the time to log on and follow the journey with us. May the spirit of adventure always be with you!!

Bud and Karel Oxley

Fremont, Ohio USA

Rickmer Shanghai Passengers





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The ‘High Wire Act’ of the Seamen!



As passengers we are merely relaxing and enjoying the Caribbean Sea as we travel by Cancun and Cuba and into the Gulf of Mexico. On the other hand, our seamen are ‘flying high’ above us in the dangerous work of keeping the ship’s maintenance in tip top shape. Or they are down underneath in the hull of the vessel assuring that all of the engineering and systems are fully functioning.
If there is anything that we have learned to value and appreciate, it is the dedication and skill of these artisans of the seas. It is very, very dangerous work requiring immense skill and dedication, over and above the loneliness of being on the seas and separated from loved ones months on end.
Here’s just a glimpse of some of their challenges….






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Merry Christmas from Costa Rica!




We now know for sure that we will not ‘make it home’ for the holidays! The freighter trip continues to go well but over the course of time has been delayed by about eight days for various reasons that are all part of the adventure into the unknown.
We want to take a moment to wish you a very blessed and special Christmas!!! Our greetings come from the shores of Costa Rica. We pray that you are all sharing in great holiday moments and creating memories that will last a lifetime!!
We will celebrate Christmas with the crew of the Rickmer’s Shanghai, somewhere in the seas of the Gulf of Mexico, as we travel our final leg of the journey ‘home’ towards Houston. The crew is thrilled as Christmas will be a VERY rare ‘day off’:-)! The plan is for “Bingo with Bud” and then the infamous ship BBQ!!

The crews warm smiles will never be forgotten, nor the difficulty, challenges, and sacrifices of their lives on the high seas all for the betterment of their families. They miss their loved ones terribly. They spend months and months at sea, in order to provide a better life than what they might be able to provide in their home countries. Very special blessings also go to those families of the seamen who are following the journey of their loved ones….

Have a wonderful and blessed Christmas!!!







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The Panama Canal Passage!


It is December 22, 2012, around 4:00 am. We are just entering the first of three locks which will take us through the Panama Canal. The entire Canal runs though Panama for over 50 miles as it connects the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Even though we are beginning the passage at night, we are able to see the 24 hour a day process of creating yet another canal for the maritime needs of the world.

As dawn broke we could clearly view the exotic and beautiful jungle area that lined the waterway. Birds chirped to mark the excitement of our passage. Eagles soared overhead and parrots put on exhibitions of gliding for our personal viewing pleasure:)! The alligators lined the sandy beach area to spy on possible prey.

To top it all off our family went on and WATCHED our ship LIVE as we made the passage!!

It was certainly an experience that exceeded our expectations!





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We made it…Manzanillo, Mexico!



We successfully made the 7,000 nautical miles to cross the Pacific Ocean! In our 21 days at sea we experienced about a week of ocean ‘rolling’…..thank goodness…..NO seasickness and great ‘deck weather’ on the southern route across to Mexico!
We transported 63 million dollars worth of cargo in 21 days…..
We are now in a beautiful Mexican harbor/port of Manzanillo, Mexico :)!!
Any of you who know Bud knows that he LOVES Mexico….so this port competes with all the others as an ‘ undiscovered’ Mexico destination!


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