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Welcome back Sir Donald! Sorry about your hip problems, but I understand those types of surgeries are miraculous. Keep us posted, you are in my thoughts and prayers for a smooth procedure and a speedy recovery.
Re: Hero3 cameras, yes, the image quality is pretty amazing, especially considering it's diminutive size. You only have a couple of options when it comes to focal length, so that might limit you a bit when you're used to real photography. The time lapse features are cool and fairly easy to set up and use. I'd be tempted to suggest that you get a good couple of hundred dollar point and shoot in addition to an H3, then you would be covered. My daughter Jennifer got a Nikon 1 a few months back and she loves it, but that's a bit pricier than the average P&S.