Feb 122017
 

The heavier rains that graced the island in December and early January have eased up considerably.  The island has been sunny, breezy and, well, just about perfect.

This week we have hosted family from the US. It’s been a busy and fun week of exploring and playing tourist, as well as a great reminder of everything this island has to offer.

Bananaquit at Cadushy Distillery.

Bananaquit at Cadushy Distillery

Steve with my step father Frank at Boka Onima

Steve with my step father Frank at Boka Onima

Entrance to Germaine's studio at GN Art

Entrance to Germaine’s studio at GN Art

Garden at GN Art

Garden at GN Art

Bird sanctuary area at Gotomeer Lake

Bird sanctuary area at Gotomeer Lake

The shoreline in Playa at downtown Kralendijk

The shoreline in Playa at downtown Kralendijk

With my mom in Playa

With my mom in Playa

Sailing with Blue Bay Boat Rentals Bonaire

Sailing with Blue Bay Boat Rentals Bonaire

Rainbow over Kralendijk

Rainbow over Kralendijk

Tui Dreamliner landing at BON

Tui Dreamliner landing at sunset

Sailboat at sunset

Sailboat at sunset from Rum Runners at Captain Don’s Habitat

Here are some links to the highlights of the week-

Drinking a cactus at Cadushy Distillery in Rincon – It is worth a trip to Rincon to taste their handcrafted spirits and relax in their garden.

Sailing with Blue Bay Boat Rentals – we had a great trip with this operation.  I highly recommend them for a sunset sail, snorkel sail or a daily boat rental.  The owner and crew area very friendly and professional, and the boat was in great condition.

Art shopping with Germaine at GN Art – Germaine’s driftwood art is unique and beautiful, and she is a delight.

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?

Mar 182012
 

A collection of links that have caught my eye this week.

Follow famed director and National Geographic Explorer James Cameron at Deep Sea Challenge as he explores the deepest oceanic depths of the Mariana Trench.  Cameron commissioned a custom built one-man submersible which is capable of reaching a depth of 36,000 feet.  The sub will take two hours to reach the seafloor, where Cameron will then have six hours to explore the Mariana Trench.

Dream about sailing around the world?  Follow Alex & Taru, currently in Antigua, as they live their dream on their Halsey Herreshoff racing sailboat, Duende.  World Tour Stories is a feast for the eyes, as seen through Taru’s camera lens.  Part food, part fashion, lots of beaches and loads of sailing make for an intoxicating combination.

Taru of World Tour Stories

And don’t forget, Beneath the Sea, America’s largest dive and dive travel convention is next weekend in Secaucus, New Jersey.  I hope to see you there.

 

Jan 252012
 

The Tiputa Pass in Rangiroa, French Polynesia is legendary for several reasons.

Divers and snorkelers are in on the secret.  They know it as one of the most famed dive sites in the world. Called “Shooting the Pass”, you’re dropped off via Zodiac into the ocean side of the atoll, and you drift through the pass.  You’ll likely see many reef sharks and lemon sharks and perhaps even a hammerhead or two. Some divemasters have reported seeing tiger sharks in the pass.  You may also spot manta rays, large javanese eels, Napoleon wrasse, large titan trigger fish and even bottlenose dolphins.

Sailors may know the Tiputa Pass as 14.973°S 147.629°W or as a force to keep them waiting outside of the atoll.  There are only two passes, or entries, into the atoll of Rangiroa – The Tiputa Pass and the Avatoru Pass. These passes can only be navigated at certain times due to their strong currents, and usually this is 2 times per day (just after high tide and just after low tide).  It’s often reported to be a white knuckle ride.

Tiputa Pass at High Tide

And still others know that the Tiputa Pass is home to one of the most amazing “dolphin shows” that nature has ever produced.  And no, I’m not referring to captive dolphin shows which I think are a travesty (that’s another topic altogether, one that I may tackle sometime soon).  I am referring to the once daily occurrence when the dolphins gather in the pass to frolick in the waves produced by the strong current flowing into the lagoon.  Here you can stand and watch them jump, flip and play for almost an hour.  And what a sweet hour it is.

A Calm Moment at the Tiputa Pass

Here’s a short video, shot by Mr. Reeftraveler, that shows the Tiputa Pass in action.

And here is an underwater video by Mr. Reeftraveler of Manta Rays “shooting” the Tiputa Pass.

I read alot of trip reports on Tripadvisor and other sites.  I’ve read reports of travelers claiming to be bored in Rangiroa and those that have said three days is enough.  Each to their own, but this I can’t fathom.  Perhaps if you aren’t an ocean lover and need streets lined with glossy gift shops.  Ok, I could see then how Rangiroa may not be for you.  But oh how I long to revisit this unspoiled paradise.