Around The World In A Gypsy Moth – 1928

It has been so interesting to read and follow the around the world journey of Amelia Rose Earhart, the namesake of the famous aviatrix Amelia Earhart whose 1938 voyage ended when she and her co-pilot went missing. Amelia Rose for several years had been the traffic reporter on a local television station here in Denver. She learned to fly with the goal to follow in Amelia Earhart’s path, but to complete the entire trip. Aviation technology has changed but the basic’s remain the same. Well, meet Violette Selfridge de Sibour who went around the world in 1928 with her husband in an open cockpit Gypsy Moth.

Violette de Sibour and Vicomte Jacques de Sibour with Safarai their Gypsi Moth

Violette de Sibour and Vicomte Jacques de Sibour with their Gypsiy Moth airplane named Safari.

Violette Selfridge de Sibour was a woman who demonstrated great courage, fearlessness, enthusiasm and adventure by joining her husband in  a 10,000 mile vagabond journey around the world in a Gypsy Moth. Violette de Sibour chronicled their 1928 journey in the book she wrote, Flying Gypsies, published by G.P. Putnam, The Knickerbocker Press, in 1930. George Putnam was the husband of Ameilia Earhart. The couples had become close friends.

Violette Selfridge was the second daughter of Gordon Selfridge, founder of the Selfridge Department store in London, England. Once Violette described their adventure to  fly around the world to the family, little support was forthcoming. The de Sibours kept their plans and enthusiasm to themselves rather than be discouraged by friends and family.

Violette and Jacque de Sibour obtained the much needed maps from Stanford’s Map Shop in Trafalgar Square to plan their journey. They chopped the maps into bits, pasting together those only which concerned them. Jacque marked the route, together with distances, wind variations and general information obtained from the different air ministries here and abroad.


Mediterranean coastline map.

Mediterranean coastline map.

He spent hours with compasses, encyclopedias and naval charts. He studied wind and climates off various countries and discovered that it would be difficult to return the same way they went. They determined they would have to go by steamer across the two big oceans. The Gypsy Moth was disassembled and then re-assembled when they arrived at their coastal destination.

They set their departure date for September 14, 1928 from Stag Lane Aerodrome. Jacque had been at the aerodrome all morning with friends waiting for the silver and cobalt plane to emerge with the freshly painted letters. a hurried goodbye , a swing of the propeller and they were off.

Violette and Jacque allowed only 50 lbs of luggage. Here is what Violette packed:

  • One complete beige sport suit, consisting of skirt sweater and sweater coat.
  • A sleeveless beige summer frock and wide brimmed felt hat.
  • A black lace evening dress and black fringe shawl.
  • Two paris of shoes and one pari of silver slippers.
  • Two complete sets of loungerie and half a dozen pairs of silk stockings.

She decided to fly in trousers since the plane had duel controls. That means a stick that sits right between your knees. And, remember this is an open cockpit plane.

Her husband had his dinner jacket, a pair of soft black patent leather shims, three white silk shirts and of course collars, socks and so forth. His packed clothing weighed two pounds more than hers. They packed clothing and toiletries in three oilskin cases. The third case was for their joint toilet articles.


Mountain ridge.

Mountain ridge.


Route across syria, Iraq and Arabia.

Route across Syria, Iraq and Arabia.

Rangoon to Bangkok Map.

Rangoon to Bangkok Map.


Pictures are from Violette De Sibour’s book Flying Gypsies. Descriptions are also from her book which I found at the Denver Public Library in the Western History and Genealogy Department.

Book Cover - Flying Gypsies

Book Cover – Flying Gypsies




Splendours of Autumn Voyage – RMS Queen Mary 2

Arrived in New York City and spent the night before boarding the ship in Brooklyn. We took a taxi the next morning to Red Hook to board the RMS Queen Mary 2. The ship is huge, towering and magnificent and we haven’t boarded yet!

We settled in to our cabin. I’m so glad we had balcony. It was sheltered and provided a break from the cold wind

My best picture – Manhattan just as the sun started to set. I was a little disappointed, the Statue of Liberty looks so small!

The captain tells us the tide has to be just right for the ship to clear the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The clearance is only a few feet!

Leaving Red Hook, with a view of Manhattan

Statue of Liberty

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge just above the stacks

Splendours of Autumn Voyage – RMS Queen Mary 2

Bar Harbor was the next stop after Boston and it was gorgeous! Our ship was probably one of the last to visit.  The fall season for color is almost over. After Bar Harbor we sailed to Halifax. An incredible city. We hired a taxi to drive us around the city. He took us through the University campus and through old neighborhoods of beautiful homes. On to St. John, a little rainy but they have shopping mall within walking distance to get some medicine for John’s sniffels.

We head back to New York and arrive early in the morning and taxi to La Guardia airport for our flight home, relaxed and ready to go back to work.

View from the tender

The QM2 in Bar Harbor

Tugboat in Halifax

Splendours of Autumn Voyage, Queen Mary 2

Day 2 – Newport, Rhode Island

The Safety Boats served as tenders for our arrival in Newport. We toured the town on the local bus and marveled at all the beautiful mansions. Newport is a beautiful city.

Newport tender

Day 3 – We dock in Boston on October 31. Many of our shipmates are heading to Salem for some ghostly adventure. We settled for a walk through Quincy Market. It was very windy.

Our ship docked nose to nose with the Island Princess cruise ship. Of course the Queen Mary 2 is an oceanliner. I think the difference is the engines. Both ships are huge. The Island Princess left the dock before we did and both ships gave the customary 3 blasts on the horn. It was very loud. Passengers came out on deck and balconies to wave at each other. There must have been only 100 feet between the two ships and three tugs were working very hard to guide the Princess out to the harbor.

Stiff Breeze

Quincy Market

Island Princess

Alaska Cruise September 2008

The Golden Princess pulled in to Juneau, Alaska mid-morning. Skies were a little grey, clouds were hanging low but it was a pleasant day. The mountains rise steeply from the ocean. Juneau is the 2nd largest city in the world in area, it’s just that most of it is straight up and down.

Skagway was our second stop. These granite cliffs have been signed by ships crew, much like the signature cliffs in Wyoming, and the settlers on the Oregon Trail. Partly cloudy day, very pleasant weather, a few sprinkles but very refreshing. Ahhh, clean air!

The leaves were just starting to change and the clouds were just starting to clear on this train ride on the White Mountain and Yukon Railroad. The water fall across the canyon is the Bridal Veil Falls. The train is headed for White Mountain Pass. Because the Pass is in British Columbia we were not allowed to disembark. The engines changed track and moved from the front of the train to the rear, passengers flipped over their seats and changed sides for the trip back down the mountain.

I don’t know what this is!  The train was moving along at a pretty good clip and we went right by this site and I was quick enough to press the button to take the picture. I don’t think Alaska has buzzards.

The mountains rise at such a steep grade that all the views were spectacular. The lichen on the rocks and changing leaves on the trees brought out incredible colors.

This tressle is no longer used but is perfect for picture taking.

Train ride is over and we head back to the ship. Of course, we had to stop in all the shops in Skagway, getting our first look at the native art and crafts. I also discovered this is where Soapie Smith is buried. I knew he was a bad boy in Colorado History and when he left Denver he went to Skagway, and died in a shootout and is buried just outside the cemetery, not with the ‘decent folks’.

Blue ice bergs! We entered the Tracy Arm Fjord with the sun shining and the sky a beautiful blue. The ship’s captain said the weather we had been experiencing was the best in six months, and today was picture book perfect. The density of the ice is why the ice berg appears blue.

Waterfalls are everywhere. When the water and ice flows over the granite it ‘powderizes’ the granite and turns the water in the Fjord a shade of green with the silt.

Because of the perfect weather the Golden Princess was able to go all the way up the Fjord. This view shows the water completely still and the mirror image of the peaks covered in the fresh snow.  Lots of broken up ice bergs are floating in the water. The ship is able to turn around in the space of it’s own length. Many times, because of the mountains rising right out of the ocean, it appeared we were going to sail right into the side of the mountain. The Fjord had several ‘S’ turns that the ship navigated perfectly.

We pulled up to the dock in Ketchikan at daybreak. Another great morning of walking and shopping, particularly at the chocolate shop. They had the best fudge and cherry cordials!  Another beautiful sunny day.  Our next stop would be Victoria, BC, then back to Seattle.