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Briefs: Bird watchers to cruise Calif. coast

| Sunday, Feb. 27, 2005

See seabirds off the California coast on a five-day birding cruise. The April 13 trip, aboard a 95-foot sport fishing boat, coincides with the spring migration season. Birders might see shearwaters, fulmars, petrels, albatross, murrelets and other types of seabirds. Participants will have cabins aboard the boat, which holds 30 passengers and a crew of seven. Cost: $750 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge not available), including cabin accommodations, meals and beverages. Transportation to San Diego and crew gratuities not included. The trip is sponsored by Searcher Natural History Tours in San Diego.

Details: (619) 226-2403 or www.bajawhale.com .

See artists' haunts

Cruise to the art centers of Spain and France and see the haunts of 20th-century modernist Pablo Picasso on a 10-night tour sponsored by the Santa Barbara (Calif.) Museum of Art. The April 7 cruise, aboard the 88-passenger Clelia II, embarks at Malaga, Spain. The ship will call at Barcelona, where travelers will explore its museums and architecture. It also will stop in Roses, the birthplace of surrealist Salvador Dali, and Cadaques, Spain, home of the Perrot-Moore Museum. Other stops include Monte Carlo, and St. Tropez, Cannes and Nice on the French Riviera. Cost: $6,995 to $12,995 depending on cabin, per person, double occupancy ($2,495 single surcharge). Included are luxury accommodations aboard ship, meals, beer or wine with lunch and dinner, excursions, lectures, baggage handling, airport transfers, port dues and taxes and gratuities. Airfare is not included.

Details: (805) 884-6436 or www.sbmuseart.org .

Armchair traveler

The Northern Territory of Australia often is overlooked by tourists who focus on Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef. But a glance at the "Northern Territory" guidebook from Lonely Planet just might induce Oz-bound visitors to alter their itinerary. The "Top End," as it's known, is closer to Asia than to Sydney. There's the natural splendor of Kakadu National Park, with 280 species of birds and the spectacular Jim Jim Falls; learn about Aboriginal culture and dine on Asian cuisine in the sunny, laid-back city of Darwin. Take a "croc-jumping" tour on the Adelaide River, where saltwater crocodiles break the water like dolphins to grab chunks of meat tossed from boats. The guide has 52 maps, including detailed national park maps and a list of accommodations for every budget. Consult the aboriginal art and culture section to ensure you buy art produced by real Aborigines and not a factory. And if you're still not convinced, look at the color photos.

Send travel news to Travel in care of Living, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, D.L. Clark Building, 503 Martindale St., Pittsburgh, PA 15212; fax (412) 320-7966; or e-mail tribliving@tribweb.com.

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