Trailheads Sunbirds Hiking Diving


"What's wrong?
Boredom Tyler, boredom ... that's what's wrong.
And how do you beat boredom Tyler?
Adventure, adventure ... that's how"
                                                                            Never Cry Wolf

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CONTENT

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This page documents the remainder of our KANOE TRIPPING adventures, that are not included on our Paddling page. 


Please Note

Our Paddling trips have been segregated from our other adventures. To support interested paddlers, that page will provide additional detail and logistical trip information. International destinations are identified by country.

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VIEWING this Page

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For Photography ONLY
Listed by year.  Trips highlighted are now fully included and clicking on them takes you to a photo gallery of the trip. 

For Details

Sub-divided into TRAILHEADS  SUNBIRDS  HIKING  DIVING 
Alternately, the PAGE scrolls down through the trips from most recent to earliest and may include a journal summary, maybe a map or historical information, (for those interested in more than just photos). The dated title of each trip is a clickable link to the photo gallery.

Explanations
* denotes photography lost


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SOURCE of Blog Posts

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1971 - 2002
Posts for this time period have been compiled from our hard-copy trip reports. They were initially, created and saved in 'scrapbook' form, then printed and stored in 3-ring binders as our KANOE TRIPPING Journal. Photography from trips completed in 2002 are a mix of analogue and digital. (Prior to June 1, 2002 all photography is analogue). Once a trip is fully compiled and included here, the content is copied from this page and a 'mock' post is created with any appropriate labels. The post is then published and becomes viewable under BLOG ARCHIVE on the websites sidebar.  

2002 - October 4, 2013
All photography from September 21, 2002 forward is digital. The same procedure as above is followed to create and publish a 'mock' post.

December 30, 2013 - Present
Posts are  created, labelled, published and archived using standard blogger tools. 


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Page STATUS

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Currently Compiling:
(1) 2016: Cozumel MEXICO - there should be video and photos from Joe T on the Mac Backup
(2) Photography - locate, scan and publish older photos. 

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TRIPS

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2017    PORTUGAL    UAE    SINGAPORE    NEW ZEALAND
2016/2017    SPAIN Gibraltar MOROCCO
2012    * Tierra Verde USA  
2011    Las Vegas USA    The Cabin    Madeira Beach USA     
2009    Roatan Island HONDURAS    Paradise Island, BAHAMAS    The Cabin
2008    Jardine del Ray CUBA    Point Pelee NP
2007    Punta Cana DOMINICAN REPUBLIC     Ocho Rios JAMAICA
2006    Isla de Margarita VENEZUELA
2004    PANAMA    Cabarete DOMINICAN REPUBLIC    The Cabin    Frontenac PP    
2003    Blue Spruce Lodge    Gatineau PP    Playa Jibacoa CUBA    Highland Backpacking Trail    Mississauga PP    The Cabin
2002    DeBary FL USA    The Cabin    Quintana Roo MEXICO    California USA    La Cloche Backpacking Trail
2001    The Cabin    Clearwater FL USA    Smokey Mtns TN USA
2000   Algonquin PP ON    The Cabin    Florida USA    Hidden Valley    Frontenac PP    Las Vegas NV USA    Wakefield MA USA
1999    New Orleans LA USA    Itijjagiaq Trail Baffin Island NU    Algonquin PP ON
1997    Round Lake PP
1989    BARBADOS    Anaheim CA USA & Tijuana MEXICO   
1985    Quebec City & High Falls USA

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TRAILHEADS



"If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, 
you might better stay home." 
 James Michener


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2017    PORTUGAL    UAE    SINGAPORE    NEW ZEALAND
2016/2017 SPAIN Gibraltar MOROCCO
Trip 141

SIX New Countries & THREE New Continents


REFERENCES
DK Reference World Atlas
Wikipedia: SPAIN
Wikipedia: Gibraltar Territory (UK) 
Wikipedia: MOROCCO 
Wikipedia: PORTUGAL
Wikipedia: UAE
Wikipedia: SINGAPORE
Wikipedia: NEW ZEALAND
DK Eyewitness Travel for New Zealand

SUMMARY
This will be our longest overseas adventure, to date. When we return in very late March, construction on our new home will be started. We take occupancy in August, coincidentally on our wedding anniversary. We flew out of Toronto and left the snow behind in Canada. We'll be gone for the complete, calendar winter. Touched down in Barcelona, a lovely city; we enjoyed it, but a few days was enough. Travel along Spain's eastern coastline allowed us to spend time in the Roquetas de Mar area; which features the most sunshine and least rainfall on the whole Mediterranean coast. The landscape got less arrid and much greener north of Malagna City. Sidetrips to Gibraltar Territory, UK and Tangiers, Morocco, Africa. Then, through the open border to Portugal and joined by Tom & Peg for a few weeks in Lagos and the surrounding area. We enjoyed this part of the country; lots to do if you were inclined to spend 1 - 2 months. But, later in February through March would be warmer here. Flew out of Lisboa, Portugal to Dubai, UAE on February 01; boy did we get some nasty weather there, but an astonishing city. I hope we get a chance to return someday. We had a 24 hour flight delay from Dubai to SINGAPORE due to mechanical problems with the plane. That was unfortunate, because we could easily have spent that extra day exploring this fascinating city. Made it to New Zealand; been on our bucket list forever. We flew right over Australia; that's a trip in itself - we'll just have to come back. Lots of similarity with the Costa Rican landscape along the coastal parts of the North Island. We reconnected with German friends when we were in the Whitianga area and did some socializing. The area around Tongariro NP was a highlight for us. On to the South Island next. Beautiful coastline, more challenging drives, amazing rock formations, some great hiking, finally got into kayaks for a day of paddling, weather improved, several more National Parks, first helicopter flight, caveing, heli-hiking, boat cruising, petrified forest ... the western coast of the South Island, was for us, our favourite part of this beautiful country and at the opposite end of the 'landscape' monitor, we found the southeastern coastal area to be mostly unintereseting. Road trip ended in Christchurch, flew to Auckland to Los Angeles to Toronto and drove home to Bath.

LOGISTICS
Calendar Period: December 13, 2016 to March 26, 2017
Rental Cars: CANADA - Bath > Kingston to Toronto > Bath
                     SPAIN & PORTUGAL - Barcelona > Lisbon
                     NEW ZEALAND - NORTH ISLAND: Auckland > Paihia > Tutukaka > Whitianga > Taupo > 
                                                                                                        Ohakune > Lower Hutt > Wellington > Nelson (on SOUTH 
                                                                                                        ISLAND)
Rental Camper Van: NEW ZEALAND -  SOUTH ISLAND: Nelson > Stoke > Moteuka > Kaiteriteri > 
                                                                                                                              Westport >Hokitika > Fox Glacier > Cromwell >
                                                                                                                              Te Anau > Curio Bay > Whaitaka > Oamura >
                                                                                                                              Rakaia River > Christchurch
Flights: (1, 2) Kingston > Toronto CANADA > Barcelona SPAIN 
             (3) Lisbon, PORTUGAL > Dubai, UAE
             (4) Dubai, UAE > SINGAPORE
             (5) SINGAPORE > Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
             (6) Helicopter: Fox Glacier Townsite > Fox Glacier
             (7) Christchurch > Auckland, NZ
             (8) Auckland, NZ > Los Angeles, USA
             (9) Los Angeles, USA > Toronto, CANADA
Companions: Peggy & Tom, Cornelia & Dieter, Felix
Activities: cultural, photography, walking, hiking, kayaking, caving, tubing, heli-hiking
Trip Duration: SPAIN - 3 weeks 1 day (22 days, incl. flight from CANADA)
                            Gibraltar & MOROCCO - 2 days (2 day trips from SPAIN)
                            PORTUGAL - 3 weeks 6 days (27 days)  
                            UAE  - 6 days (6 days)
                            SINGAPORE - 4 days (4 days)
                            NEW ZEALAND: North Island - 2 weeks 4 days (18 days)
                                                                           South Island - 3 weeks 3 days (24 days)
                                   USA - (1 day)
                            CANADA - (2 day) 
Posts Published: (26) Read POSTS BY DATE 2016 October 15, 2016 to March 20, 2017
Reference Map: 2016/2017 LOAFin Around the WORLD: Part 1

STATISTICS
1 - Art Exhibition: Pablo Picasso in ES
1 - Helicopter Flight: To Fox Glacier, NZ
1 - Nation Territory Visited: Gibraltar, UK  
1 - Trip Around The World
2 - Vineyard Tours: (1) Quinta dos Vales, Estombar, PT (2) Mercury Bay Estates, Hahei, NZ  
3 - Ferry Crossings: (1) Tarifa, ES > MOROCCO, Africa (return) (2) Russell > Paihai, NZ (3) Wellington >
                                                Picton, NZ
4 - Boat Cruises: (1) The Grottos, Lagos, PT (2) Bay of Islands, Paihai, NZ (3) Poor Knights Islands, 
                                         Tutukaka, NZ (4) Doubtful Sound, NZ
4 - Temples: SINGAPORE - (1) Sri Veerama Kaliamman (Hindu) (2) Sri Srinivasa Perumai (Vishnu) (3) Sakya
                                                            Muni Buddha Gaya (Buddhist) (4) Hock Siew Tong (Chinese)
4 - UNESCO Sites: (1) Chapel of Bones, Evora, PT (2) Templo do Romano, Evora, PT (3 & 4 ) Tongariro &
                                              Fiordland NPs, NZ 
5 - Caves Explored: (1) Cave of Hercules, MOROCCO (2) St. Michaels Cave, GIBRALTAR (3) Rikoriko Sea
                                                Cave, Poor Knights Islands, NEW ZEALAND (4) Te Ananui Caves, Charleston, NZ (5) 
                                                Cathedral Caves, Caitlins NZ 
5 - Continents: Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, North America  
6 - Countries (New): SPAIN   MOROCCO   PORTUGAL   UAE   SINGAPORE   NEW ZEALAND     
6 - National Parks Visited: Tongariro, Abel Tasman, Paparoa, Westland / Tai Poutini, Mt. Aspiring &
                                                                Fiordland NPs, NZ
7 - Castles: (1) Knights of Templar, Peniscola, ES (2) Castillo de Santa Ana, Roquetas de Mar, ES (3,4) Castillos
                         Catalina & De Guzman El Bueno, Tarifa, ES (5) Castello Aljezur, Aljezur, PT (6) Castle of Silves,
                         Silves, PT (7) Sao Jorge Castle, Lisboa, PT
11h 37m - Longest Airline Flight: Auckland, NZ > Los Angeles, USA
14 - Kilometres Kayaked 
40h 25m - Total Flight Time: CANADA > SPAIN, PORTUGAL > UAE > SINGAPORE > NEW ZEALAND 
                                                                         > USA > CANADA
80 - Kilometres Hiked or Caved 
104 - Adventure Days: 14 weeks 6 days 
105 - Deepest Underground Elevation Reached in metres: Te Ananui Caves, Charleston, NZ
2415 - Total Kilometres Driven With Van Kiwi: South Island, NEW ZEALAND 
5350 - Total Kilometres Driven With Rental Cars: CANADA (60) SPAIN (1840) PORTUGAL (1150)  
                                                                                                                       NEW ZEALAND (52800 > 55100=2300)
41943 - Total Kilometres Flown: CANADA > SPAIN + PORTUGAL > UAE > SINGAPORE > 
                                                                                NEW ZEALAND > USA > CANADA 

EXTREMES & SUPERLATIVES
Almeria Coastal Plain, ES - The World's largest concentration of greenhouses, 26000 hectares 
Tarifa, ES - Most south-westerly city on mainland Europe 
Cabo de Sao Vicente, PT - Most southerly point of land on mainland Europe 
Dubai, UAE - The city in the world with the most records of any city in the World 
SINGAPORE - The World's only island-city nation 
Poor Knights Islands, NZ - Largest sea cave in the World, Tallest sea arch in the Southern Hemisphere  
Knoll Ridge Cafe, NZ - Highest cafe in NZ at 6624 feet
Slope Point, NZ - Most southerly World location travelled to, 46 40 31.39 S 169 00 20.34 E
Tuma Toka, NZ - walked in an 18 million year old petrified forest
Baldwin Street, NZ - saw the steepest residential street in the world @ 35%

KUDOS
BEST Airline Service - Air New Zealand
BEST Traditional Cuisine - Spain
BEST Landscape - New Zealand
BEST Wine Value - Portugal
BEST Weather -
   
Trip 135 

Three Girlfriends Celebrate 180 Years 

Viva Las Vegas!  Three 'old' friends meet in Vegas to celebrate a major life event - entering into a new decade and collecting our CPP.  Chris flies in from Whitehorse, Yukon, I flew from Ottawa, Ontario and Stella is now a Vegas resident.

Actually, we didn't go too wild, although we did manage to set personal bests for 'hours without sleep'! Since Stella lives in Vegas, she didn't join us for our late late night escapades, which usually involved an interactive slot machine and lots of laughs.

Chris arrives at our hotel.                                                                  Girls - Night 1

2011 2009 2004-2000 The Cabin at Norcan Lake, ON, CANADA
Trip(s) 124  111  90  87  62  49 29

A Little Piece of SOLITUDE 


Years Trips: 2011 Trip 124, 2009 Trip 111, 2004 Trip 90, 2003 Trip 87, 2002 Trip 62, 2001 Trip 49, 2000 Trips 32 & 29


We first met Karen & Gerry in 1999, on a backpacking trip across the southern tip of Baffin Island. We walked 127 kms., from Iqaluit (Frobisher Bay) to Kimmirut (Lake Harbour). That was the year that Nunavut became the third Canadian Territory. My pack was heavy at 86 pounds and I 'stupidly' poured a couple of 1.5 litres of wine out, along the game trail we were following, to lessen the weight. When Gerry found out, he justifiably scolded me ... "Danno, what were you thinking?" 


Since then we have become good friends, we've shared a number of other trips with them and they have had us out to their cabin several times over the years ... spring, fall and winter. This entry is a compilation, in no particular order, of all those times at 'The Cabin', over all those years.


It's a great spot for relaxing, paddling, hiking, snow-shoeing, skiing, sharing lotsa laffs and sometimes we drink wine. 





























2011 Las Vegas, NV, USA
Trip 123

Girls ONLY!


SynopsisHelen and Jan, flew to Las Vegas, wandered around some, dined some and gambled some, saw some shows, lost some and won some ... I was told ... connected with Stella, apparently hiked some (here's the proof) and then flew home.


Excerpt from KANOE TRIPPING Journal ... 

" Keith gave Jan a trip to Las Vegas for her birthday (we won't say which one). Since Keith doesn't gamble and 'what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas', I decided to tag along. In addition, I had accumulated $1200 in winnings over the previous 2 years, so I had some mad money to spend. I also brought some of Mom's ashes along to spread around - she did love Vegas! "






Hosts: Monsheim, GERMANY with Edith & Rainer Bals, Schopfeim, GERMANY with Cornelia, Deiter & Felix Raps and Laax, SWITZERLAND with Deiter Raps
Air Travel: Air Canada from Montreal > Paris, FRANCE
Train: Paris > Mannheim, GERMANY
Private Vehicle: Mannheim > Monsheim & surrounding area
Train: Monsheim > Schopfeim
Private Vehicle: Schopfeim & surrounding area > Laax, SWITZERLAND > Basel
Train: Basel > Mannheim, GERMANY
Private Vehicle: Mannheim > Monsheim > Frankfurt
Air Travel: Air Canada from Frankfurt > Montreal, CANADA

PlacesParis  Versailles  Mannheim  Monsheim  Speyer  Ludwigshafen  Worms  Bacarach  St. Goar Braubach  Annweiker  Kallstadt  Schopfeim  Basel  Frohnd  Zell  Goetheanum  Freiburg  Ottmarsheim Haut-Koenigsbourg  Riquewihr  Luzerne  Laax Chur  Falera  Frankfurt


Background: We first met our German hosts on last year's Wind / Peel Rivers canoe trip in Yukon. They invited us to visit them ... it would be a convenient way to introduce us to a small region of Europe they said ... and, they certainly were not mistaken. Wonderful hosts and great tour guides ... we had a blast! The majority of our accommodation was in private suites at their homes and each shared us for part of the trip.

Both homes featured a well-stocked wine cellar!

Rainer - " Drink more wine, then I can buy more to fill my cellar "



Dieter - " Tonight I would like to open a bottle of 1966 vintage " 




Excerpt From KANOE TRIPPING Journal:

" You can't eat a loaf of bread and a pound of cheese and drink a bottle of wine every day for 24 days in a row and not gain weight! "
We hope to repay them someday for their superb hospitality.



Trip 115

FIRST Really BIG Music Concert


LOGISTICS

Private Vehicle: Tim's Lake > Windsor, ON > Chicago, IL, USA > Austinburg, OH > Niagara Falls, ON, CANADA > Tim's Lake 


Excerpt From KANOE TRIPPING Journal:

I don't usually write up an Adventure Journal entry for entertainers, but this venue was different for us. The first time we've attended a large stadium 12 hour outdoor concert. The line-up of musicians was amazing, the sound quality and general organization at Toyota Park was superb, food quality was fair, food pricing was exorbitant, the heat and humidity were oppressive ...  12 hours went by too quickly ... this festival was an outstanding musical event!!!



Trip 106

To The Southern Tip of CANADA 
  
Helen stayed behind to care for her father who was recovering from shoulder surgery. I was joined by friends Karen & Gerry and Margo & Cary for a couple of days of walking, birding and some paddling.


Trip 075

A Skiing Weekend 

We spent the weekend skiing in Algonquin PP and area with friends Heather and Fred ...




Trip 018 

Microsoft Conference ... Gertie, Helen and Me



1997 Round Lake PP
Trip 012

A Weekend With Mom & Dad



Trip 006 

Helen & Lianne Get Away




Helen had to attend a conference in Anaheim, California - Lianne tagged along. The weekends were spent travelling along the Pacific Coast Highway to San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico, then to Las Vegas, Nevada.


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SUNBIRDS


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2013 The Pelicans, Amelia Island, FL, USA
Trip 129

The Short Version: ... beaches, nearby state parks, historic homes, vintage cars, mangrove paddling, military forts, walks & hikes, street musicians, pioneer villages, some culture, nice restaurants.


Impressions: This trip completes several now, that we have made with Earl. He’s just an ‘easy to get along with guy’ - keeps the same hours as we do, he’s mostly undemanding, he’s interested in local culture and contributes whenever and however he can. His only downside being, ... a firm belief that dessert (particularly ice cream) ... is a recognized food group.

We welcomed visits from both sides of the family during our stay here. Helen’s sister Sue and my brother Tom and sister-in-law Peggy all stayed, at different times, for close to two weeks. We enjoyed them all! 

Amelia Island is not large, 21 kilometres long by 6 kilometres wide. We were located on the central, east shoreline, about 10 minutes, by car from the old, historic downtown district.



2012 The Village at Tierra Verde, Tierra Verde, FL, USA
Trip 126

Synopsis: We shared a beachfront condominium with Helen's dad, soaked in the sun, cycled, kayaked, hiked, visited some historical sights and wandered around the nearby area a bit. THIS was a good trip, but, unfortunately the time went too quickly. We didn’t escape the winter completely ... left with snow in the air and returned to near whiteout conditions near the Canada - USA border. 

We had good weather during our stay, no one was ill or got hurt, we ate some great meals, did some kayaking into areas that are not easily accessible to us back home, added several new bird species to our ‘Life List, listened to  some great entertainers and scouted out potential vacation rentals for next year. 
We were able to take this 39 day trip for about the same as it costs us to spend 14 days at a Caribbean ‘higher end’ resort. 
I have mixed feelings about spending time in Florida - on one hand, it’s very easy to get to, we can bring all our gear, shopping is convenient and familiar. But, it’s also extremely busy, the landscape is not that interesting, there isn’t the appeal of being exposed to a different culture and it’s not as laid back and quiet as the Caribbean. 

Trip 125

Our PLAN
We’ll drive from Tim’s Lake to Toronto, where we’ll overnight. An early morning flight on Sunday will take us to Orlando, FLORIDA and from there we’ll drive a rental car to Madeira Beach. It’s about a 2 hour trip.
Earl has rented a beach condo at Madeira Vista for February and we’ll join him there for a week. Sue will be arriving the day before we leave and she’ll also spend a week with Earl. We plan on using some of this time to locate another vacation rental suitable for us and Earl and hopefully return sometime in February or March of 2012 for a more extended stay. 
The STAY
Most of our time was spent at the condo, wandering the beach or sitting by the pool .... walking, reading, swimming, napping, eating, drinking wine. Earl’s unit has all the conveniences, 2 bed 2 bath, nice kitchen, with big windows overlooking the ocean. It’s clean and fairly quiet. The pool is small but you could do laps, a couple of dozen loungers and a few tables with umbrellas line the deck area. There is an area at the ocean side for barbequing and the management provides a few chairs for the beach. Some vehicles can be stored under roof and there are additional outdoor parking spots.
This strip of beach is built up with mostly lower level condos, not exceeding a dozen floors. The buildings are mostly a few decades old but there is a scattering of newer ones, with the odd private home and smaller vacation rental inserted between. The immediate area provides basic shopping, restaurants, bars and pubs, boat and bike rentals etc. The beach is quite pleasant ... white powdery sand and mostly flat. Long walking distances provide exercise and a resident pod of Dolphins provide frequent entertainment. The municipality groomes the beach frequently and it’s kept quite clean.


LOGISTICS
Accommodation: Super Club Breezes Resort, New Providence Island, BAHAMAS

It's always difficult to get a truly realistic feel for anywhere, with such a brief stay, but, in general, we found this region of New Providence & Paradise Islands to be clean, well-cared for, expensive, quiet and safe. Locals are friendly and polite and there isn't the presence of obnoxious pan-handlers and street vendors that are so often encountered in other Caribbean countries. We did notice a couple of time-share salespeople along the beach and in Nassau but they were mostly 'soft selling'. There appears to be a lot of new residential, commercial and tourist development and also some renovations of older resorts and properties. 

The Super Club Breezes Resort where we stayed, is apparently, the World's First ' All Inclusive Resort '. It's about 30 years old now and could do with some modernization.Areas were mostly clean, but in need of general repair or updating. We wouldn't return here, but only because the resort caters to a mostly younger crowd, who like 'to party' so the atmosphere is not as quiet and friendly as you'd find at a small, adults-only resort. Our room was clean, fairly quiet and featured TV, A/C and a newly renovated bathroom.

The food and drink was some of the best we've had at any resort. Wine throughout all bars and restaurants was Argentinian and pleasant, with several different reds and whites offered. Two 'A La Carte' restaurants are located here. We weren't able to get into The Garden of Eden but did manage to have 2 dinners at Pastafilas. Both meals were a notch above ' Good ' - a bottle of wine was always left on the table, very good Italian antipasti's, grilled Mahi-mahi, exceptional tortellini and some good deserts. I can't imagine what anyone could find missing from the breakfast menu - all the standard, egg and cereal dishes, fresh fruits, hot and cold entrées, pastries and breads were available. In addition, a couple of items I've never seen at a breakfast buffet before - vodka & tomato juice, smoked salmon with capers and cream cheese and lochs. Lunches and dinners featured a great selection of salads, more hot and cold entrées, pastas, fishes, meats etc.


We spent most of our time walking, only stayed at the pool for a few hours and took bus, ferry and jitney rides ... oh!, and Helen gambled at the Atlantis. We had a good time!




Trip 105

A Favourite Country

LOGISTICS
Accommodation: Room 0627, Melia Cayo Santa Maria, Villa Clara Province, Caribbean Archipelago of Jardine del Ray, CUBA

We felt isolated at this resort and for that reason alone, we would probably not return. I would recommend it to others though – it ranks quite high when we compare it to all the others we’ve stayed at. It’s a perfect location for anyone who doesn’t need to do any tours or leave at all. The closest towns are back on the mainland – a journey back across the 48 km causeway. Most activities are focussed on the resort. Any tours that leave the resort are for full days or in some cases multi-day. We weren’t able to travel the Cuban countryside or visit the small towns and villages like we did in 2003 because of our isolation.

The Cubans love Fidel. I went out of my way to respectfully talk with several of them. Most want this new government but they want changes to occur slowly and expect that Raoul will only be around for a couple of years. I was told that they will fiercely protect their culture against what they perceive as too much Westernisation. 



Trip 104 

Ja Mon!
Accommodation: Rooms On the Beach, Ocho Rios, JAMAICA

This may be our last chance at a quick getaway for awhile ... we'll begin construction of a new home when we return. We hesitate to commit to only one week trips, because there is never enough time to do anything other than become moderately acquainted with any area. This last minute hotel based trip to Jamaica was certainly no exception. But we did experience enough wonderful Jamaican scenery, people, food and music to convince us to return someday.



Trip 102 

LOGISTICS
Accommodation: Punta Cana Princess Resort, Punta Cana, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Santo Domingo is an ancient Caribbean seaport city of firsts, discovered by Christopher Columbus it became the first capital of the new territories, the first to have Spanish coinage, a fort, a monastery, a cathedral, a university, a hospital and a palace.

Santo Domingo is where Madrid's rulers in 1512 set up the highest level of its judicial system since the Middle Ages, the Spanish Colonies' first royal appellate court.

Columbus’ brother Bartolome, who moved the temporary capital from Hispaniola’s northwest coast, founded it in August 1496. Christopher Columbus set up its first settlement, Navidad after discovering the island in December 1492. Columbus later established a community he called Isabela in the northwest, which Bartolome later moved to present-day Santo Domingo.

Serving as the base of exploration for the New World discoverer for 17 months, the seaport soon became the center of Spanish activity in the Greater Antilles. Later, Spanish conquistadores used Santo Domingo as the jumping-off point to conquer other lands and explore.

Hernan Cortes sailed to Puerto Rico From Santo Domingo's harbor, Ponce de Leon to launched his attack on Mexico, Vasco Nuñez de Balboa set out on his journey that discovered the Pacific Ocean and Diego de Velazquez went off to settle Cuba.

The United Nations Educational recognized Santo Domingo’s Spanish colonization period, and its many “firsts”, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed Santo Domingo the cultural heritage of the New World.

The Quincentennial of the discovery of the West Indies, celebrated throughout the world in 1992, was marked in the Dominican capital with the official dedication and lighting of the massive monument to Christopher Columbus. The 800-foot-high stone and marble structure is in the shape of a crucifix, and a system of powerful light beams project the image of a cross in the darkened skies. In the heart of the monument is the Columbus tomb, containing the remains of the explorer. Chapels and museums housing historical treasures and a representative exhibition of all the countries of the Americas surround it.

Santo Domingo celebrated its 500th birthday in August 1998. 



Trip 100 

Comme la Jeep de Pedro!

LOGISTICS
Accommodation: Hesperia Playa el Agua, Isla de Margarita, VENEZUELA

This trip marks our first time in South America, although barely. This was a typical resort based vacation. We were quite idle, didn't move around much and to be fair we never got more than a brief tasted of the culture of Margarita Island, let alone any exposure at all to the mainland of Venezuela. Only the Dominican Republic was explored earlier than this island (Simon Bolivar landed here 2nd) and yet there is hardly any evidence of 500 year old Spanish history.

The island doesn't have much to offer other than nice weather and decent beaches. Most of the land is arid and uninhabitable; a couple of larger cities are located along the southern coast. The Atlantic coast is to treacherous for paddling, the topography doesn't appeal to hikers and the only biking is along major highways. Catamaran cruising, some snorkelling and jet ski touring appear to be the favourite water activities.

I don't think I'd return to the island. Even though we were pleased with our resort stay, sincerely enjoyed the local Venezuelans and the weather was terrific, there just isn't enough for us to to remain active.



Trip 089

We Enjoyed the People the Most


Accommodation: Starz Azzurro Resort, Cabarete, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Currency: The official currency is the Dominican Republic peso. A small commission may be charged for exchanging CDN $. US dollars are accepted in some businesses.

The Dominican people are wonderful. They are sincerely friendly, happy and pleasant, but very poor. The only Caribbean country poorer is Haita. Our visit was focussed primarily around the resort and adjacent town area. We travelled the highway from Puerto Plata but never visited the city. The only part of the countryside we visited was during the bike tour. Subsistence farming is common and the people live at a very low standard. They do what they can to make any money at all and that includes trying to sell just about anything, however we didn't witness any begging. The tourist industry has caused much of the economic growth and a move to the coastal areas. Families have relocated from the farming and mountainous regions to find higher paying jobs.




Trip 088

Mucho, Mucho Sol ... Mucho, Mucho Calor

We only saw a small part of this country in the two weeks we were here. Even though we were in three Provinces, we barely entered Cocle and Colon. The heat and humidity at the time of year we were here is very oppressive. Sizzling hot, temperatures ranged between the low 30's to low 40's C and the humidity was typically between 80 and 90%. 



The highpoint of the trip was birdwatching along the Pipeline Road. During the couple of hours that we walked the road, we saw more species of birds and mammals in one day than we had ever seen before. 

The Decameron Resort is located on the former site of a major army base (Rio Hato) for the Panama Defence Forces. Manuel Noriega used this as a vacation home and a major airstrip ... we visited.

The Gamboa Rainforest Resort is located along the Chagras River near the confluence with the Panama Canal (which we also visited)



Trip 077

FIRST Trip to CUBA


We left the resort grounds and made several trips into the countryside. We met a number of Cubans whose families had been working the land for generations. Western propoganda has done immeasurable damage to the way in which Cuba is viewed internationally. The people are wonderful! An overwhelming percentage (90%+) support Castro and the Revolution ... even those Cubans that fled to the USA support the Revolution, but not Castro.

... his one-party state jailed dissidents, ruined the economy and led hundreds of thousands to flee to America. Yet Castro's social welfare system won him the popular support. Universal education, almost guaranteed employment and quality health care were the Communist leader's great achievements. They were savoured all the more because they occurred without Western aid and in the teeth of an American economic embargo first imposed in 1961. Castro could boast that, according to World Bank figures, infant mortality in Cuba was seven per 1,000 live births, compared with 30 in the Caribbean as a whole, and primary school enrolment on his island was close to 100 per cent. Castro managed to preserve Cuba's welfare system despite the economic crisis caused by the loss of support from the former Soviet Union ...


Trip 063

LOGISTICS

Travel: Ottawa > Cancun > El Dorado Royal - 4 hr flight, customs, a corona getting on the bus, 45 min bus trip, 3 hr check in delay while room was cleaned, eat - drink - beach - eat - drink - bed.




2000 Florida, USA
Trip 030


Visiting With Mae & Earl

Dates: February 19 - March 05
Days: 16
Activities: Cycling, Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkelling, Walking, Cultural, Photography
Photography: Old, poor quality, scanned images ... sorry!
Post Description: This happened too long ago and I can't remember the details. Read the photo captions, the story is in the photography and it's 'mostly chronological'.




1989 Barbados Beach Village Resort, BARBADOS
Trip 005

Dates: May 01 - 07
Days: 7
Activities: Fishing, snorkelling, cultural
Photography: Old, poor quality, scanned images ... sorry!
Post Description: This happened too long ago and I can't remember the details. Read the photo captions, the story is in the photography and it's 'mostly chronological'.
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HIKING


"Of all the paths you take in life, make sure sure a few of them are on dirt."
                                                                           Anonymous



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Trip 118

We'll Return for More of the ECT!


LOGISTICS
Private Vehicle: Tim's Lake > Kanata & overnight at J & K's.
Airport Shuttle: J drove us to Ottawa International Airport and stored our truck while we were in NL
Air Travel: Porter Air from Ottawa, ON > Halifax, NS > St. John's, NL & return trip
Trail Accommodations / Hosts: (1) Points East, Pouch Cove / Elkie proprietor
                                                  (2) Harbour House, Petty Harbour
                                                  (3) Brown Rabbit Cabins, Tors Cove Pond / Isa & Bill proprietors


We hiked with a group of eight, some old friends and some new. We spent some time in St. John's before hiking the trail and then a couple of days in Trinity at the end of the trip before returning home. Our accommodations were all good, any shuttle arrangements to and from trailheads worked out, the weather co-operated, we ate some good food, drank the local beers and absorbed a small bit of Newfoundland & Labrador culture.



                            
Trip 095b

A Day Hike





Trip 083

A Short Backpacking Trip


LOGISTICS
Route: Trailhead @ Mew Lk > Pewee Lk > Provoking Lk > Head > Harness Lake > Mosquito Lake > Fly Lake > Provoking Lake > Trailhead @ Mew Lk
Distance: 36 kilometres

This is an intermediate level trail. Hikers will be isolated at the back end of the large loop at a distance of approximately 15 kms from the MNR Office at Mew Lake. Hikers must be capable of carrying 35 to 65 lbs depending on personal needs and requirements. The terrain is mostly mixed forest with several small wetland area, small lakes with exposed rocky shorelines and trail grades that are fairly steep at times. The trail surface can be rooted and rocky in places. The bush is well-shaded with few sections exposed to direct sunlight. There are very few lookouts and views.


Trip 073

One of Ontario's' Premier Trails


Direction: Clockwise from Baie Fine Trailhead > Lumsden Lk > Three Narrows Lk > Little Mountain Lk > Silver Lk >Little Superior Lake > George Lk > Silver Peak Trailhead
Days: 7.5
Average Daily Distance: 13 kms
Total Distance: 98 kilometres



I have wanted to do this backpacking trip since I first paddled in Killarney with Helen a few years ago. As the brochure states, one of only a few wilderness parks in Ontario, Killarney Provincial Park offers a window into some of the finest back-country canoeing and hiking in Canada. Killarney's exceptionally scenic landscapes are noted for exposed white rock cliffs and crystal lakes. At it's southern edge, Killarney hugs the north shore of beautiful and wild Georgian Bay. Killarney hosts warm summers, crisp, cold winters, spectacular autumns and fresh spring days. 

It was a good hiking trip on a truly beautiful trail that offers a very wide variety of hiking interest. We encountered cool, dark quiet conifer forests and high, windy rocky mountain ridges and knolls; warm, hardwood valleys with meandering trails, and wet, musty marshes and gurgling creeks. The grade included some flat sections that sometimes undulated gently, areas where the 'ups and downs' seemed to go on forever and a few places where very steep ascents and descents dominated the landscape. The geology was both ancient, smooth and weathered and rough, sharp and hard. All the colours are here - earth tones, forest greens and the many shades of fungi and wild-flowers, the 'gray palette' of rock and the blues and aquas of water. Sweet smells of flowers, pungent smells of animal musk and rotting vegetation and the intriguing odours of wild herbs. The tangible appeals of nature ... sight, touch, smell. 


Trip 056 

The Smokies


Accommodation: Mountain Rose Cabin, Cobley Knob Rentals, Gatlinburg, TN

TEAM Brooks: Helen, Ron, Sue, Cheryl, Kyla, Trestan
Others: Katie, Me
Hiking: Ramsey Cascades Trail (12km, strenuous)
Rafting: Big Pigeon River (CI > CIV), 11kms, 17 rapids, water level HIGH
Outfitter: Rip Roaring Adventures
Guide: Meaghan 
Guiding: I steered the raft through the final half dozen CII > III's at days end. 
B&W Photography: Sue
Photography: Scanned analog
Event: 27th Wedding Anniversary



Apparently, called the Smokey Mountains, because the air rarely clear due to continuous and sometimes very heavy humidity.

From Kanoe Trippers Journal


Saturday, August 11 ... by early evening. Overnight with Earl & Mae, ate their food, drank their wine, slept in their beds, breakfast in the morning, left early ... ain't family GRAND!!


Sunday, August 12 ... 900 kms, 6am to 6pm, interstate 81 all the way, 2.5 hour stop for major accident, 120 kms/hr, nice mountain countryside, overnight Comfort Inn Harrisonburg, VA


Monday, August 13 ... 590 kms, humid, almost tropical conditions, more beautiful mountain driving


Tuesday & Wednesday ... hiked, paddled, driving tour


Thursday > Saturday, August 18 ... 430 kms, humid, drove some of the Blue Ridge Parkway, next day 1040 kms long day, final 330 km drive to home.



Trip 045

Day Hiking


Hikers: Ellen, Randy, Helen, Me

Trails: Little Salmon Lake, Akron Lake Loop
Distance: 28.7 kms



Trip 028

Winter Hiking


Accommodation: Blue Spruce Cabins, Oxtongue Lake, ON
Hikers: Janice, Dave, Helen, Me
Location: Algonquin Provincial Park
Trails: Mizzy Lake, Fen Lake, Blue Spruce, Whiskey Rapids, Bat Lake
Distances: Hiked 20.2 kms, Skied 27.5 kms




Trip 027

Long Weekend Hiking & Cycling


Accommodation: Mew Lake Yurts
Campers: Sue, Chris, Helen, Me
Location: Algonquin Provincial Park
Cycling: Rail Trail (25km)
Hiking: Centennial Ridges (10km), Hemlock Bluff (3.5km)
Other: Visited the Haliburton Wolf Centre





Trip 024

Katannilik Traverse - Exploratory


LOGISTICS
Hikers: Wendy Grater (guide, Blackfeather), Sally Manning (guide), Karen Tippett, Gerry Irving, US
Pack Weights: Helen 56 lbs, Dann 86 lbs (From scales prior to trek). Everyone carried equivalent amounts.
Location: Katannilik Territorial Park
Photography: All from K&G.
Publication: Our trip was featured as article " Terra Incognito " by Sally Manning, Up Here Magazine, April 2000



14 water crossings
water temperature near -5C
ambient air temperature -5 to +10C
days 1, 8, 10, 14 without precipitation
days 5 - 7, 11 with snow, sometimes heavy
elevation gain sea level to 2050 feet
daily distance range 5 to 17 kms
total distance hiked 127 kms

This was a good trip. It was our first extended backpacking trip and I believe it was a success. We both realized our physical limitations a couple of times and there was some pain, but it was all survivable. I don't believe this kind of rip could be completed without some discomfort., and we had our share ... but, somehow it was appropriate! We got to endure for a couple of weeks in a true wilderness area some (at times) quite difficult weather conditions and adverse terrain. The hiking was both physically demanding and mentally challenging. A lot of the words we are familiar with to describe the outdoors in more southerly parts of the country just don't make sense up here ... this is an area of Canada where superlatives like brutal, savage, stark, barren, spectacular, wild should be used.


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DIVING


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2016 Hotel Cozumel & Resort, Cozumel Is., Quintana Roo, MEXICO
Trip 139


We had intended on being away for the whole winter again, but ageing parents and subsequent family responsibilities required we re-evaluate our plans. So, instead of a November / December 2015 departure, this trip begins in March of 2016 with our fourth SCUBA and Snorkelling adventure to MEXICO. It's become a tradition! We'll be joined this year by Janet and Andy from Illinois, USA, Joe, Rosa and daughter Daniella from ENGLAND and Randy and Heather from Saskatchewan; an international group, should be fun. A few days at the Explorean Hotel before moving to Hotel Cozumel. Helen took a Mexican cooking course with Josephina. The launch of Facebook Group CANUSUKair. Heather celebrated a birthday. We toured the old San Miguel Cemetery. 

23 dives, 18h 5m of bottom time, 105 ft deepest dive @ Columbia Deep



2015 Playa del Carmen / Akumal / Hotel Cozumel & Resort, Cozumel Is., Quintana Roo, MEXICO
Trip 137


We spent 9 days at Playa del Carmen and Akumal on the Yucatan before boarding the ferry for the trip over to Cozumel. We'll then be on the island, once again, for two weeks of diving & snorkelling with Randy & Heather. Al & Wanda are new to our group this year. We also met up with Andy Tolle, an American diver that we met here last year. Good Times! ... with friends, diving & snorkelling, food & drink and weather.

22 dives, 12 snorkels, 18h 46m of bottom time, 105 ft deepest dive @ Columbia Deep




Underwater Photography: Randy Smith, Wanda Bowles
Underwater Video: Randy Smith

Trip 132 

Meeting up with diving and snorkelling buddies Heather & Randy to spend time under a tropical sun and underwater in the warm Caribbean Sea is always a good time. I completed my PADI Advanced Diver Certification.




The Green Turtle and the Barracuda


Location: Same as below

Dive Instructor: Israel Riviera
Certification Level: Advanced Diver
Underwater Photography & Video: Randy Smith

Trip 128

A Spectacular Reef


Wikipedia: MEXICO


Friends Heather & Randy introduced us to this spot. We first met them on a trip to CUBA a couple of years ago. They've been to this resort more than a dozen times and they say the diving is spectacular ... they were truthful! The resort is quiet and clean, food is good, the staff are friendly and costs are reasonable. I completed my PADI Open Water Certification here at an on-site dive shop. The Cozumel Reef is one of the healthiest remaining reefs in the world. There's a nice drive around the mostly undeveloped, east coastline of Cozumel Island and walking from the resort into nearby San Miguel is easily done ... restaurants that feature authentic Mexican cuisine & local wines, friendly locals, some shops and bars, a waterfront area, ferry service to nearby Playa del Carmen.



Location



View SCUBA & Snorkelling in a larger map

Dive Instructor: Israel Riviera

Certification Level: Open Water Diver
Underwater Photography: Randy Smith
Dive Map: The Reefs of Cozumel

2010 Sandals Royal Hicacos, CUBA
Trip 114

Diving The 'Bay of Pigs'


This was our third trip to CUBA and our most enjoyable. We found the time went faster on this adventure than in any other 'southern' country we've visited. Unlike our first trip to CUBA, in 2005, we didn't do much travelling around this time - most days were spent laying around the pools, reading and walking along the beach. 


We did two SCUBA diving and snorkelling day trips across to the Caribbean side of the island and spent half a day wandering around Varadero. The drive is 2 hours each way. Diving directly in front of the resort is 'hit and miss', winds can be strong along Varadero Beach. The resort package included free dives and equipment - small fee charged when we travelled to the Caribbean sites. The dive gear was not always adequate ... several cases of flakey regulator O-rings. This is not a PADI operation and consequently a number of safety regulations were not adhered to ... recommended interludes between dives was sometimes ignored, new divers were taken far deeper than their certifications allowed.

The resort appears to absorb clientele well, nothing ever seems crowded, average age is older, noise levels are low, 400 rooms. There are 3 restaurants and  main buffet here, all mostly good. Several fish and meat selections always available, breads surprisingly good, some salad bar repetition, fruits sometimes disappointing, great pasta and omelet bars, coffee weak unless you requested Cuban, Spanish/Chilean/Italian wines, simple cooking - few sauces, great use of natural herbs and flavourings, fresh orange juice daily, amazing blue cheese, deserts not overly sweetened, fabulous homemade ice creams.




Trip 109

FIRST Time SCUBA Diving


Wikipedia: HONDURAS


Why didn't someone tell me about this 30 years ago? I would have started diving then! It's like being in a giant fish-tank ... what a natural high! The resort was OK!, it was just fine, not mediocre or exceptional. Jorge, the head waiter is very personable and willing to please as are most of the restaurant staff members ... Lenny, Alicia, Geovany. A beautiful beach ... 3 km long, fairly flat, mostly white powdered sand. We walked it several times each day. The resort is within walking distance of a couple of small villages with bars, restaurants, small shops, nearby resorts and condos for rent. We had some nice meals at a couple of local restaurants in the villages of French Harbour and West End ... @ Casa Romeo, Eagle Ray's and The View. Roatan is a cruise ship port, so a few times a week, the beach gets overrun with fat, flabby, obnoxious, sunburnt, 'float and bloaters'. The resort wine (was) mediocre and the food reasonably well-prepared but unvaried. Apparently, those who work in the tourist industry on the island are payed 5X's the amount for similar jobs on the mainland (CDN $13-$16/hr). Lots of wildlife, most in a natural state, few zoos, primarily wildlife retreats and parks. We also did some sailing on the Calypso Lady with Caption Mario a transplanted Cuban.




PADI Dive Shop: TGI Diving
Dive Instructors: Ernesto & Sergio
Certification Level: SCUBA Diver
Dive Sites: Lighthouse Reef, Blue Channel

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