Category Archives: Caribbean

The Atlantic Meets The Caribbean


Some very raw and rough footage I took of a reef off the coast of Barbuda in the Caribbean sea.  What we are seeing is a reef where the Atlantic Ocean (dark blue) hits the reef, waterfalls over it and becomes the Caribbean Sea (light blue).  Very loud so turn down the sound.  I apologize for the bounciness of the clip, but a sailboat, or any boat for that matter, is not a very stable platform to shoot a video from.  We had anchored in this vicinity overnight, and enjoyed the sights and sounds through the evening and morning.  Pretty impressive.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape


This week the challenge presented us is “Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape”.  In the description, one sentence hit me as so true in my thinking in the past while, “the desire to disappear and run away, the need to unplug and shut off”.  To some this may mean solitude, or winding down.  To me it means leaving nothing on the table as life rumbles on.  See it all, experience as much as one can and do it in such a way that maximizes the experience and allows opportunity for that solitude, and the lowering of one’s stress.  I think we have found our avenue to escape with a simple sailboat.  I sincerely hope we can work this one out.

The Volcano on Montserrat, seen at sea off the coast of Antigua

The Volcano on Montserrat, seen at sea off the coast of Antigua

Antigua – To Sail Wins, So Far


Our Nightly Light Show

Our Nightly Light Show

We have asked ourselves several times the question, to sail or not to sail.  At this point, we have advanced to the point that it is not a definite no, yet still not a definitive yes.  We are satisfied that we can do it on a level of ability, now comes the thinking part.  As in, what will it take to make this a bigger part of our future.  Lots to discuss, lots to post, but at least we know we love doing it.  Four hours of 10 foot seas and 22 knot winds showed us that we can handle it, and, indeed revel in it.  A quick tease for you.  Raw video off Antigua.

Song Of The Day – Danny Michel – What Colour Are You


Danny Michel performing at the 2006 Ottawa Blu...

Danny Michel performing at the 2006 Ottawa Bluesfest on the MBNA stage/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of my favourite Canadian artists, Danny Michel, released this tune last year off his album, “Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me”.  The song, “What Colour Are You” is rife with Latin rhythms, which make sense as it was recorded in Belize.  You ever been to Belize?

Danny is one of those unsung types (no pun intended) who has never had major success, yet, has managed to record 12 albums since 1998.  Very prolific, and one of those hard-working  types that earns every new fan.  I was turned on to him through his album “Valhalla” released in 2006 and have been a loyal fan ever since.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise


This was taken on Roatan Island in the Honduras.  Monkeys make nice hats, very warm and they can be trained to wipe your glasses and hold your ball hat.

Monkey Hat

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My Reasons to Travel….As Often As Possible – Number 4 – The Drink


In my last post, I discussed food and it’s value in travel.  One has to have something to complement the food, or maybe one needs a cooling refreshing beverage to pick up your spirits on a hot tropical day.  This brings to the next reason to travel, the drink.  Yes,  you can enjoy various wines, beer and liquor from around the globe just by visiting your local liquor store, however, I don’t think it is the same.  Think of drinking a Corona.  Now instead of drinking it in a Keg  Steakhouse, think about drinking it on a beach, say a beach like this.

The Beach

One of my favourite things on a trip is to try the local beer.  It is no secret to people who know me that I like, no, love, beer.  Port Royal in the Honduras, Zot in Bruges, real Heineken in Amsterdam, Peroni in Rome, Belekin in Belize, Modelo in Cozumel.  All are very good, all are local.  I have now resolved to take pictures of every beer I drink in another country (not each and every, just every type).  And don’t get me started on wine.  there is nothing like stopping in at a shop, spending 2 or 3 Euros and getting a bottle of decent wine.

Once again it is about experiences.  Sure, there will be bad ones, but there will be awesome ones as well, some of, if not most of which, I will never have another opportunity to sample.  Make the most of it.  You’re going to have a drink anyway, might as well try something completely different.  This reminds me of a story my brother told me.  He was in Scotland, in a bar.  Wanting a beer, he asked the server to bring him a beer, the most popular one.  He naturally assumed a local beer would come back, NOT.  The server brought him a Miller Genuine Draft.  Crazy.

Here are some drink oriented pictures.

The Fleece Inn, Bretforton, UK

Lori and I enjoying a cold one at a 13th century pub in the UK.  My personal record for oldest pub.  Good story.  We heard about this pub, as it is very old, and went into the village to find it.  We asked John, Lori’s cousin, and the driver, where in the village it might be.  He said, look for the church, it will be across the street.  In England they are always across the street, and of course, it was.

The Red Lion in Salisbury

The next thing I resolve to do is take a picture of the cool pubs we see.  This place was stunning.  The Red Lion in Salisbury, UK.  It seems that every English town has 2 pubs, The Rose and Crown and/or the Red Lion.

Bruges, Belgium - The Wall of Beer

Yes, this exactly what it looks like, a display case full of Belgian beer and the glass used for that beer.  The astounding part, there were 4 of these cases along the wall.  Amazing, copious amounts of local beer.  Might take a while to have one of each.

Pecan Beer in New Orleans

This is nuts.  Pecan beer.  Had this in New Orleans and was surprised by just how good it was.  Don’t be put off by perceptions of weird.  They wouldn’t keep making it if it was crap.

Good Friends = Good Times

A good glass of wine, a good meal, good friends and an interesting location equals memories that will last a lifetime.  Enjoy your life, step up and step out.

A Dream – Escaping to Paradise


costa rica vista 

Tossing it all, leaving the rat race, living in paradise.  If you are committed and work to a goal, it CAN be accomplished.  The attached article tells the tale of one couple who successfully made the transition to escapee.  They made it to their own little paradise in Costa Rica.  Read on and dream big.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/TRAVEL/08/11/costa.rica.escape/index.html

 

Trip Summary – New Orleans and Western Caribbean


Safely back in Calgary it is time to summarize, review, price and recommend.  First the beginning, the flight from Calgary to New Orleans.

Continental Airlines

We flew via Continental Airlines, with a connecting flight in Houston in both directions.  We chose Continental for a couple of main reasons.  First, they had the flights that fit our need, second, they are connected with Air Canada, which allowed us to earn Aeroplan.  Total cost for flights was approximately 650 each, return including luggage fees.  The flights were on time (early on the return to Calgary).  I had two issues.  On the way down they ran out of hot food for purchase, which was a downer on a flight that I had to at the airport for at % in the morning.  Second, in-flight entertainment did not have a free option, only pay.  Overall, I would easily fly with them again, especially knowing what to expect.

http://www.continental.com/web/en-US/default.aspx

There is an app for Iphone as well.

New Orleans

Lots to see and do in New Orleans.  we spent 3 night at Garlands Guest House and Creole Cottages.

1129 Rue St. Philip
New Orleans LA 70116
(504) 523-1372
(800) 523-1060

http://www.garlandsguesthouse.com/

This is a bed and breakfast about 100 feet off of Rampart Ave, right beside Louis Armstrong Park.  We paid about 150 per night and the accommodations and breakfast were very good.  I would rate it 4 of 5.  I would double-check the rates etc. as the place had been sold, with new owner operators taking over on April 1.  We were there on the 27th of March for our last night.

We ate at the following establishments

Eat

http://www.eatnola.com/

Great little restaurant. Easy 4 out of 5.  Reasonably priced and bring your own booze.

900 Dumaine Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70116

phone
504 522 7222

hours
tuesday – friday: 11am – 2pm + 5:30pm – 10pm
saturday: 9am – 2pm + 5:30pm – 10pm
sunday brunch: 9am – 2pm
closed monday

Muriels Jackson Square Restaurant

http://www.muriels.com/


801 Chartres Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70116
Phone: 504.568.1885
Fax: 504.568.9795
Email:
info@muriels.com

we highly recommend this place.  The service was great, the food reasonably priced and very well prepared.  If in New Orleans, you have to go here for at least one meal.  At least 4.5 of 5 stars.

Riverfront Restaurant

Average place, a little pricey for the quality, but a nice place to sit if you can get balcony seating.  Pleasant staff.

http://www.riverfrontrestaurantneworleans.com/

River’s Edge Restaurant

RUN AWAY.  DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT EATING HERE.

Other Places

We popped in and out of several other places, but these stand out.  Bourbon Street is full of bars and music, we enjoyed the House of Blues, with Rafael Saadiq and the Funky Pirate with Mark Penton and the Pentones.  I look forward to maybe getting back here again some day.

The Cruise

We cruised on the NCL Spirit (Norwegian Cruise Lines).  This particular cruise line does free style cruising, meaning that there were no set dinner times and tables and dress was casual.  The service was what you would expect, top-notch.  If we had any issues, it was with the entertainment.  Very low quality and we did not enjoy it.  We tended to ignore it.  Other than that, there were lots of activities on board to keep us occupied.  I can easily recommend this cruise company.  Overall cost was about 1200 per person after  excursions and extras, and we didn’t feel ripped off at all.

http://www2.ncl.com/

The Excursions

Costa Maya, Mexico

Boat Blast and Snorkel.  This was entertaining, driving a 2 seater out into the ocean to a portable dock and then snorkelling the Belize Reef.  This was a good excursion as it was not to strenuous and involved a 40 minute bus ride, which gave us a view of the area.  I would recommend this as suitable for most as you do have to snorkel and there is a beautiful beach to spend some time relaxing on.

Belize

A 37-mile drive along the Western Highway brings you to the Caves Branch River and its winding path, through the Maya Mountains and numerous ancient caves once inhabited by the Maya. Upon arrival at Caves Branch National Park, you head out for the caves with your equipment.  This excursion was the most interesting part of our trip.  The drive was good as again we had the opportunity to see the countryside and a bit of Belize City as well.  Suitable for all, you can get wet, so protect your camera.

Roatan Island, Honduras

Tabyana Beach & Gumbalimba Park was the excursion we picked.  A great day, suitable for all,  The park was fun, with parrots and monkeys o interact with and many picture opportunities.  the Pirate cave was a bit lame.  Tabyana Beach beach is spectacular.  The nicest spot on the whole cruise was Roatan, and we will be back for sure.

Cozumel

Cozumel by Jeep and Snorkel was the tour we chose.  Awesome tour guides.  I would say that this was the fullest day we had.  We drove to Punta Sur Eco Park, Cozumel’s unique Ecological Reserve.  We saw salt water crocodiles close up, a lighthouse, Mayan ruins and a spectacular Corona commercial beach with awesome snorkelling.  The snorkelling was strenuous but the rest of the tour was suitable for all, and if you didn’t snorkel, the beach was there.

The link for all NCL excursions is here’

http://www.ncl.com/nclweb/staticPage.html?pageId=ShorexPDFs&destCode=CARIBBEAN

And that was our trip.  We enjoyed the company, and we enjoyed the cruise.  I was skeptical, but would do one again.

Roatan Island – March 24, 2011 – Seeing and Touching Monkeys


Another day, another new country, this time Honduras and the spectacular island of Roatan. For the first time on this cruise, we saw something that was actually close to what we imagined. Lush green scenery, hills and valleys and pristine beaches. The excursion we picked was a combo, beach and park tour. First up was Gumbalimba Park, where we excited to have the opportunity to see and touch monkeys. I have included a link to their site.

http://www.gumbalimbapark.com/index.html

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Belize – Cave Tubing – March 23, 2011


When Lori and I were perusing possible excursions, we came across one in Belize that looked a bit different.  River tubing through caves.  I don’t believe there are to many places in the world that this combination would exist, so, we had to try it.  We book excursions for 1 main reason, not missing the ship’s s departure.  Apparently they will wait for late returning excursions if booked through them, but will not for people who book independently.  The reason being they  have no idea where you are on a private excursion, but know when you book their system.  Basically cheap insurance.

We arrived in Belize City and were surprised to learn that the cruise ships cannot dock there.  Not a problem in any way, just interesting.  Shuttle boats took us to shore, about a 5 mile run.

The Road to Belize City

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