Aug 222013
 

The answer is a resounding yet.  But don’t worry, it won’t ruin your tropical honeymoon/dive trip/beach vacation.

Unbeknownst to many tourists, it’s not uncommon to find snow on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea – the tallest mountain in the world when measured from the sea floor (33,100 ft/10,100 m).  The average low temperature in this alpine tundra environment hovers around 30 F/-1.3 C.

According to local lore, you may even find a snowman on the beach (but that’s something I have yet to witness, so if you have photographic evidence I’d love to see it).

For those remaining skeptics, here is hard proof – courtesy of our friend Robert Richardson.

Mauna Kea Panorama RR

Mauna Kea Observatory

Mauna Kea Observatory – one of thirteen such facilities on the summit

View from Mauna Kea's Summit

Speaking of that photographic evidence, if you have photos of snowmen on the beach I’d love to feature them here. You can send them to me at reeftraveleronline@gmail.com.

Aug 222013
 

If you’ve been reading my recent posts, you’ll know that The Aquarium in Bonaire is not a building outfitted with a big glass tank, filled with saltwater and sea life (that may be swimming around in big circles).  It’s an old sunken pier that has become a popular hangout for many species, including the human kind wearing face masks, breathing apparatuses and potentially grey tanks strapped to their backsides.

In the event that I haven’t bored you with enough photos from this site, here are yet a few more.

Under the old pier

Peacock Flounder

Peacock Flounder

Blue Tang

Blue Tang

Looking Up at the Old Pier

Looking Up at the Old Pier

Parrotfish

Parrotfish

Honeycomb Cowfish

Honeycomb Cowfish 

Sand Diver

Sand Diver

Aug 162013
 

I’ll apologize in advance… This isn’t a very serious post, and its contents are an exercise in frivolity.  Feel free to stop reading now if you’re looking for serious reading material.  If, however, you’re in the TGIF spirit, read on…

It’s that time of year, and I’ve got the Virgin Islands on the brain.  To pass the time until I set foot on my favorite Caribbean Island of St. John, I’m sitting here thinking of its many virtues.

Palm Trees √

Pirate Tales √

Petroglyphs √

Picturesque White Beaches √

Painkillers √

Speaking of Painkillers, The Soggy Dollar Bar on St. John’s neighboring island of Jost Van Dyke is the home of this famed tropical concoction.  It’s located on White Bay, one of the prettiest bays in the Caribbean.  See for yourself.

Enjoying the scenery on White Bay, Jost Van Dyke

Enjoying the scenery on White Bay, Jost Van Dyke

S White Bay 2

White Bay, Jost Van Dyke

White Bay, Jost Van Dyke

S White Bay

M White Bay 2

In the TGIF spirit, what is your favorite tropical libation?

Aug 082013
 

Hilton Head Island, located in the US State of South Carolina (in an area called Lowcountry), is a resort locale with 12 miles (19 km) of beautiful Atlantic Ocean beachfront.  Its fine powdery sand and plethora of golf courses make it a popular spot for both golfers and beachgoers.  A few weeks ago I met my family there for a bit of swimming, sailing and sunning.

Sand Dunes

Sand Dunes

Brother Reeftraveler Diving into the Estuary

Brother Reeftraveler Diving into the Estuary

Beachfront Homes on the island

Beachfront Homes on the island

For wildlife watchers (like me), the island is home to many species that live both on land and water (and some who live in both!).  You may be lucky enough to see alligators (look on the banks of ponds and estuaries), manatees, large birds such as pelicans and snowy egrets, sea turtles (I saw a loggerhead nesting area which was roped off with warning signs to prevent human interference) and dolphins.  Regarding the latter, we were enamored by a pod of several hundred dolphins while sailing from Harbour Town.

pelican

Sunset Over Daufuskie Island

Sunset Over Daufuskie Island

Boat

My niece

My niece

sunset from boat

Boat2

The 90 foot tall (27.4 m) Harbour Town Lighthouse, built in 1969, has undoubtedly guided many ships into the thriving Harbour Town Yacht Basin.  Inside this unofficial symbol of Hilton Head, you will find a 9-level museum and gift shop.  If you want to see the view from the top of the lighthouse (without actually climbing to the top), click on their live webcam.

Hilton Head is only 20 miles (32 km) from Savannah, GA.  Savannah is the quintessential “Southern” town where you will find horse-drawn carriages clopping through Spanish Moss-lined cobblestone streets.  You will also find lots of great food (for me that means biscuits and grits, I’m a southern girl after all), hordes of friendly people and boat loads of Southern charm (y’all come back anytime!).  Living by New York City, it’s not often that I hear a group of people addressed as “y’all”, but it sure is comforting and familiar.

Savannah Street

A 90 degree F (32.2 C) day

A 90 degree F (32.2 C) day

Cupcakes at Sweet Carolina

Cupcakes at Sweet Carolina – highly recommended by my nieces

Is this true?

Is this true?

Spanish Moss Close-up

Spanish Moss Close-up

Have you been to South Carolina?  What do you like most about it?  The friendly people, the golf or the sandy beaches?  Or maybe it’s the shrimp and grits or the rich confections like cupcakes and fudge?