Caribbean Sailing Chapter Three

 

Day Three Map

Day Three

It is a beautiful morning, the sun is just beginning to rise and the sea gulls are circling overhead calling to each other “I think this is the boat that will feed us!” The water is calm and the coffee is ready. As I join the rest of you on deck, we discuss what a great time we had at Pusser’s last night. We relax and enjoy the gentle breeze blowing in off the sea. While I am sipping my coffee I glance at the water and I see a porpoise just below me. It is just watching me watching it. I could have touched it. Calmly I said something and everyone jumps up and peers over my side of the boat. Needless to say, this causes the porpoise to bid me farewell. It dove and came back up about a hundred yards away in less than 20 seconds!

 

I ask the Captain what’s on the agenda for today. His answer: “I don’t know, what would you like it to be? Do we need to plan that much?” I had forgotten, we are now on “Island Time” and that meant “chill”, we will sail and, maybe, something will come to mind.

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arial normanWe decide snorkeling would be fun and just laid back sailing. We set a course for Norman Island, just across the Sir Francis Drake channel from Soper’s Hole. The channel was named forFrancis Drake, born around 1540-1544 in Devonshire, England, he was involved in piracy and illicit slave trading before being chosen in 1577 as the leader of an expedition intended to pass around South America, through the Strait of Magellan, and explore the coast that lay beyond. Drake successfully completed the journey and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth upon his triumphant return. He later saw action in the English defeat of the Spanish Armada.

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Once again the sail across the channel is great! Sailing in the channel is like sailing in the world’s largest bathtub. What I mean is, there are islands all around you, it’s just beautiful. We spend the rest of the morning sailing and arrive at “the bight” on Norman Island around 1 pm. The bight is a bay that can be sailed in and out of on a single tack in a sailing vessel, regardless of the direction of the wind.

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Pirates Bight

Pirates Bight

We have lunch on board, lobster rolls and strawberries, then go ashore in the dingy to a bar, Pirate’s Bight. It is a fun little restaurant and bar. They have a small gift shop where we purchase the obligatory pirate flag, a couple t-shirts, and a cap. (note: in 2013 the Pirate’s Bight restaurant burned to the ground, but is being rebuilt)

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The Caves Norman

The Caves

Everywhere we go in the Caribbean we want to just stay, but other ports call. We take the dingy, not to the boat but around the point to a place called “the Caves”. Out comes the snorkeling gear and overboard we go. This is one of the best spots to snorkel. Norman Island, and these very caves were, supposedly, the inspiration for the novel “Treasure Island” I can just see a treasure chest behind the next clump of coral!

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The Caribbean’s multi-hues of blue and turquoise are a feast for the eyes. Under the surface we see a crystalline array of rainbow colors. A manta ray glides by in slow motion as the warm water suddenly becomes ice-cold as I swim into an “underwater river”, a current. Was that a gold doubloon I just saw? Nope, just an overstimulated imagination.

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Willie T

Willie T

After returning to the dingy, we motor to another interesting Caribbean jewel called Willie T’s . The William Thornton II- known as the ”Willie T” because after you’re here for a bit you won’t be able to say its full name without slurring-is a 98-foot schooner that was converted into a bar/restaurant and anchored in the Bight of Norman Island in 1996. Ahh, so much to see, so little time!

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arial Peter

Peter Island

It is getting late and we are sailing to Peter Island for the night. Fortunately for us, the captain and his first mate did not join in the festivities on the Willie T so we are “good to go”! We do not have far to go and soon we arrive at Great Harbour, Peter Island. As the first mate prepares dinner, we spend time reminiscing about the snorkeling excursion. Wow, what an experience! After dinner we sit around on deck and watch the sun set behind Tortola and the sparkle of lights begin to appear from Road Town, Tortola. It is then I see my “pirate’s treasure chest” as I look up and behold the millions of diamonds sparkling in the sky.

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Another day to remember.

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Check back next week for Chapter Four of our adventure.

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Why you really get sick on planes – and how to prevent it

imagesbIf you’re about to fly somewhere for Christmas, you’re probably dreading the possibility that you’ll catch a bug along the way. And with good reason: Many people come down with something nasty in the days following an airplane flight. Why does this happen, and how can you keep yourself from getting sick?

A couple I met on a plane flight prompted me to find out. I met Tom and Nancy some years back on a trip from Boston to Phoenix. The two of them were on their way to San Francisco to visit with Tom’s sister for the week. A few seconds after we’d introduced ourselves, the smell of antiseptic drew my attention away from the baggage handlers on the tarmac loading luggage into the belly of the plane; each of my row-mates was armed with a disinfectant wipe. Tom was busy wiping down his tray table, and Nancy had already moved on to dabbing purposefully at her seat’s headrest. I asked if she brought cleaning supplies on all her plane flights.

“Our doctor recommended it to us a few years ago,” she said as she reached for her clutch bag, withdrew a powder-blue face mask and began looping its elastic straps over her ears. “We’ve been bringing wipes on all our plane flights ever since.”

And the mask, I ask her. What is that for? “It’s to help filter the air,” she explained from behind the mask, its pleats expanding slightly as she mouthed-out her word. “The air you’re breathing is being recirculated through the cabin — we’re all breathing one another’s air.

“It’s disgusting,” she concluded as she reached back into her bag and pulled out two more masks. She handed one to Tom and presented the other to me. “Would you like one?”

Do we have to turn into Nancy and Tom to stay healthy on a plane flight? Yes and no.

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Click here to find out!

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Ask in Advance to Have Hotel Safe and Parking Fees Taken Off Your Bill

I’ve had this happen to me before and it can add up!  This article, from Lifehacker, helps to bring items to mind for traveling.Hotel fees

We’ve railed against outrageous hotel fees before, but if you don’t have the luxury of switching hotels, ask the desk a couple of questions as soon as you check in to make sure you’re not charged for service you won’t use, like an in-room safe, or hotel parking if you’ve flown in, for example.

Staying in a hotel comes with its own array of fees and taxes, some of which make sense, but others can be tacked on with no thought to whether or not you’re actually using the service you’re paying for. More than once I’ve seen people review their folio well after they’ve returned home from vacation only to find that a hotel they flew in and took a cab to had then charged them a daily parking fee. Ask the desk when you check in if parking is automatically added to your bill, and ask them to remove it if you’re not using it.

Similarly, many hotels charge fees for the in-room safe, regardless of whether you actually use the safe or not. You can debate this one after the fact with or without success (since after you’ve checked out, there’s no way to prove you’ll use the safe), but it’s better dealt with up front.Hotel safe According to Wise Bread:

In most modern hotel rooms you’ll probably find a safe bolted to the floor in the closet or near the entryway. This safe is available to guests if they notice it, if they have something to put in it, and if they choose to use it. For most guests, I assume the safe becomes just part of the visual landscape in the room — like the dressers that no one really uses or the tiny coffee makers that make really bad coffee. But the safe is quite different from all of those other objects. Why? Because you’re being charged for it every single day of your stay. Typically, the in-room safe fee runs about $1–$3 per day, and it’s added to your bill whether you use the safe or not.

Avoiding getting hit with the safe charge is relatively simple if you act promptly. Upon check-in, scout around quickly for a safe. If you find one, but don’t plan on using it to stash your pearls, call the front desk. Tell them you won’t be using the safe and request that they deduct the fee from your bill (and then make sure they’ve actually done it when it’s time to check out).

 

Click here to read the entire article.

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Right by the beach: great places to stay on the world’s loveliest islands

This is the time of the year my thoughts drift southward to the “islands”.  When I say “islands” I am referring to the Caribbean, but the “island dream” reaches much farther than that.  Let’s just say, “Tropical”.  From now through May of next year the tropical world opens up with splendor and beauty.  The weather is warm, but not hot, and the local people are ready for us!

Don’t waste precious travel time dragging your flip-flopped feet to the beach. We’ve rounded up ten places to stay on some of the world’s most beautiful islands – and they’re all a stone’s throw from the beach. Best of all, you don’t need to sell your granny to enjoy an island getaway, we’ve picked everything from luxe resorts to apartments to hostebeachhotels1_csls, ensuring a beachside break for every budget.

The following article come to us from Lonely Planet and you can read it all , right here!

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Top 10 Fall Foliage Destinations

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I am a big fan of Autumn. The changing of the leaves is a photographer’s dream, and the cooler temps in some parts of the nation mean more outdoor activities and kitchen’s full of warm smells of cooking apple pies and pumpkin seeds.  One phenomenon of this time of year is the pilgrimage of “Leafers.” The parade of colored-leaf hungry citizens looking for the panoramic views some places in the nation seem to be famous for.  If you have your “leafer” card, and are not sure where to spend your Autumn vacation days, here are some clues from Yahoo Travel. – My suggestion?  Maine.  Stop and get some Lobster rolls while you are there. Tell em Gene sent you!

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Top 10 Fall Foliage Destinations

Nothing – not sweaters, not the smell of fireplaces, not pumpkin patches, and not apple picking – says “fall” like the blazing red, glimmering gold, and burnt-orange leaves that cover trees and crunch underfoot during the autumn months. Whether you’re practically a professional leaf-peeper or just a casual enthusiast, you’ll need to know where to take in the season’s splendor. Lucky for you, we’ve scouted out the 10 best fall foliage travel destinations – and while some perennially popular places made our list (because it just isn’t possible to do a story on foliage without including New England), we think you’ll be surprised by some of the less-obvious-but-just-as-glorious destinations that did, too. Oh, and no need to fret about when the peak colors will peek out – we’ve done the research for you, as well.

 

Aspen, Colorado

While it’s the place to see and be seen every winter, autumn brings a sense of serenity to Aspen – and the golden foliage of the town’s namesake tree along with it. While Colorado’s aspens don’t offer the vibrant fall color spectacle of say, the Northeast, the yellows, golds, and bold oranges that cover the mountainsides here, against a backdrop of intermittent evergreens, are still reason enough for a visit. Mid- to late September is the ideal for fall foliage travel, but with the color change lasting just about a week, timing is everything.

Click here to see the entire list!

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10 great spring break getaways from Yahoo! Travel – Cheap …

 

Brush off the frigid dust of winter and gear up for spring break!  There is still time to plan a great adventure for this spring.  Remember that planning is the first step to a successful trip.  Check out my site for great tips and great deals from my advertisers.

Americans are gearing up to hit the road and the air during the upcoming two months in search of the ultimate spring break destination—and record-breaking gas prices don’t seem to be holding them back. Despite the squeeze on family budgets, hotel and air bookings have increased significantly over 2011, according to American Express booking data.

Yahoo Travel has a great article on Spring Break Getaways, read it here.

 

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12 Best Winter Vacations | U.S. News Travel

winter-break1OK, enough of the snow and cold weather!  It’s time to put away the snow shovel and gloves and dig out the shades and swimsuits. Winter never seems too bad at first: It’s hard to resist that warm, fuzzy feeling brought on by the impending holidays, first snowfall, and a crackling fire. But after awhile, when the cold prevents your car from starting and the snow turns to gray, this season starts to get the better of us. For this reason, U.S. News Travel has come up with a list of vacation destinations to help you defeat your seasonal doldrums and cure the wintertime blues.   Now is the time and here are the places.

Don’t waste another frozen minute!  Decide where you need to go, then use my site to plan, plan, plan!

 

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Caribbean vacations – Official Site of the Caribbean

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The perfect winter getaway is the Caribbean.  The weather is mild, fairly dry humidity, and it is “the tourist season”.  This means the islands are “lively”!  Whether you are looking for a quiet, secluded beach or jamin night life, it’s all there!

SEARCH THE CARIBBEAN. Destination of the Month. Caribbean Guide 2011.  The Caribbean is the perfect place for beach vacations, golf vacations, and scuba diving. Visit the Caribbean Tourism Organization to learn more about the Caribbean, and gather information to start planning tropical vacations.

Don’t miss the Caribbean again this year!  Click here and join the celebration, Mon

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10 Inexpensive Winter Travel Ideas – J.D. Power

Travel

 

10 Inexpensive Winter Travel Ideas – J.D. Power

Whether you’re traveling in the continental US or abroad, here are 10 destinations that will fit most any travel budget. Prices drop dramatically after the New Year, and Manhattan has mild winters, with more rain than snow.

OVERSEAS:

  • Thailand. The rainy season ends by October, and in the winter months it’s still warm enough to enjoy shopping, sightseeing, sports, and Thai hospitality.
  • Egypt. Crowds and pollution are less of a factor in the winter months, and the pyramids and other historical sites are still just as accessible.
  • Italy. If you’re visiting Italy for the culture, you’ll find that the museums, galleries, and musical venues are less expensive and less crowded in the winter–and the weather is usually mild. The Italian Alps are a good alternative for skiing.
  • London. One of the two best cities in the world for theatre; prices are lower in winter; crowds are smaller; and it doesn’t get as cold as in most of the U.S.
  • Buenos Aires. It’s summer, south of the Equator, and prices are low in this vibrant cosmopolitan city while the locals escape to the countryside.

IN THE U.S.

  • New York City. Prices drop dramatically after the New Year, and Manhattan has mild winters, with more rain than snow.
  • Las Vegas. You don’t have to walk the Strip in the hot summer sun. Nights are cold, but daytime temperatures are delightful–and hotel rates drop after the Consumer Electronics Show in mid-January.

For the details and even more locations, click here!

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Cruise industry implements lifeboat-training program on all ships

The Cruise Lines International Association and the European Cruise Council have announced their adoption of a new training policy on lifeboats. The Life Boat Loading for Training Purposes policy takes effect immediately and requires crew on all member ships to undergo a launching and full-loading procedure for a lifeboat at least once every six months. “We remain fully committed to exploring further enhancements in a number of areas that will add to the industry’s excellent safety record,” said CLIA President and CEO Christine Duffy.

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