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Caribbean

Learning to Sail in the Caribbean – From Landlubber to Sailor in 7 Days

Posted by on Mar 12, 2018 | 3 comments

Learning to Sail in the Caribbean – From Landlubber to Sailor in 7 Days

If pressed, I could not offer a reasonable explanation as to why my husband, Dave, and I decided to learn how to sail.

It sounded fun? Well, sure. But so does a spa holiday.

Sailing holidays are glamorous? Obviously! (But, as it turns out, sailing courses are decidedly not.)

We plan to buy a power boat? Nope, that would be a good reason to take a power boat course.

Dave and I are indeed in the market for a boat, but we have already decided to buy a power boat we can moor in Seattle’s Puget Sound area (his home town) and use as a home base for our regular visits.

So, I suppose the main reason we decided to learn how to sail is that we wanted to be educated buyers when purchasing any type of boat. Is it possible that a sailboat might be a good option for us? How would we know unless we tried it?

And if learning to sail sounded fun, then learning to sail in the Caribbean sounded even better!

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Giving Saint Lucia a Second Chance

Posted by on Mar 4, 2018 | 2 comments

Giving Saint Lucia a Second Chance

To be completely honest, I swore I would never visit Saint Lucia again.

My first visit (roughly 10 years ago) wasn’t exactly awe inspiring. It was a 7-day Caribbean cruise with my girlfriends, visiting half a dozen islands.

Our afternoon in Castries, Saint Lucia was marred by the aggressive vendors at the souvenir stands lining the path back to the ship. Despite our polite “no, thank you’s” as we passed by, more than one yelled insults after us because we wouldn’t stop to look.

It was such a different experience from the vendors on the other islands we had visited. And sadly, that lasting impression of Saint Lucia has stuck with me for more than a decade.

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Photo of the Day – Dunn’s River Falls, Jamaica

Posted by on Feb 1, 2016 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Dunn’s River Falls, Jamaica

Spanning a length of nearly 600 feet, Dunn’s River Falls is one of the Caribbean’s top attractions and a must-see for any visitor to Jamaica. From its summit at 180 feet, tiers of cascading limestone meander down to the Caribbean Sea forming a natural staircase. The falls plunge in some places and plateau in others creating natural pools shaded by lush green vegetation on all sides. At its base, Dunn’s River Falls flows across a beautiful beach and straight into the sea. Climbing the falls is a popular activity for visitors to Jamaica. Guides instruct groups of climbers to hold hands for balance and several human chains at a time make the ascent from the beach all the way to the top. While proper footwear is essential on the often slippery rocks, the climb itself is easily manageable for most visitors and takes about 90 minutes assuming a few stops for photos. But for those not up to the task of scaling the waterfall, there are numerous paths alongside it that allow anyone to enjoy the view.

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Photo of the Day – Stingray City, Grand Cayman

Posted by on Jan 29, 2016 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Stingray City, Grand Cayman

Located in the shallow waters off Grand Cayman’s North Sound, Stingray City is a string of sandbars that passes through a natural channel just inside the island’s barrier reef. As the story goes, the area became popular with the rays decades ago when local fisherman would stop in the calm, shallow waters to clean their day’s catch. When they tossed the fish guts and squid into the water it attracted the stingrays who eventually began to associate the sound of a boat engine with a free meal. Over the years, divers realized the stingrays could be fed by hand and today a variety of boats ferry visitors to the area to let them feed the stingrays and get a once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity. It’s the rare chance to interact one-on-one with the friendly rays that makes Stingray City Grand Cayman’s most popular attraction. If you’re staying a few days on Grand Cayman, definitely try to visit when there are no cruise ships in port. Of course, if you’re visiting the island on a cruise ship like I was, well, you’ll likely have to suffer the crowds. But even with the throng of fellow tourists, I still felt Stingray City was well worth a visit.

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Photo of the Day – West Bay Beach Roatan, Honduras

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – West Bay Beach Roatan, Honduras

Located just 30 miles off the coast of Honduras, the island of Roatan sits atop the world’s second-largest coral reef making it an ideal destination for divers. Often called the most perfect stretch of sand in Honduras, West Bay Beach Roatan rivals many of the Caribbean’s most phenomenal beaches. It’s also a great spot to try your hand at diving for the first time, like I did on my 30-day trip around Central America. Not only is Roatan one of the least expensive places in the world to become a certified diver, the reef is just a short swim from shore allowing rookie divers like myself to reach it comfortably while also providing easy access for snorkelers. West Bay Beach is lined with a relaxed blend of casual beach bars and high-end resorts but it’s the reef system and the crystal clear turquoise waters that will leave most visitors wanting more.  

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Photo of the Day – Soggy Dollar Bar, Jost Van Dyke

Posted by on Apr 11, 2014 | 1 comment

Photo of the Day – Soggy Dollar Bar, Jost Van Dyke

One of the best experiences of my Caribbean cruise with Carnival a while back was our stop in Tortola. Thanks to a tip from a fellow cruiser, we’d booked a catamaran trip to the beautiful island of Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands. Our specific destination? The infamous Soggy Dollar Bar. Home of the original “Painkiller” and the self-proclaimed most famous beach bar in the world, the Soggy Dollar Bar sits on one of the most perfect stretches of sand in the Caribbean, White Bay Beach. The Painkiller is a top secret tropical concoction of premium dark Rum, Cream of Coconut, pineapple and orange juice topped with freshly grated Grenadian nutmeg. Conveniently, this delightful adult beverage pairs perfectly with a hammock and the gentle swaying of palm trees. There’s no dock on White Bay, so when you arrive plan on getting a little wet to get ashore (hence the bar’s name), but it’s well worth the brief dip in the turquoise Caribbean sea (you were going to get in eventually anyway, right?).

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