Theme: Jeepin’ Around Canada Roadtrip Country: Canada Language: English & French Unit of Currency: Canadian dollar Location: Montreal, Niagara Falls, Ottawa, Quebec City, & Toronto Year: 2000 & 2012 Bucket list: Photographing the mist at Niagara Falls
DO: SPEND HALLOWEEN AT MONTREAL’S SIX FLAGS THEME PARK
Jumping on every roller coaster in the Six Flag’s theme park and checking out the street performers
DO: VISIT THE NIAGARA FALLS
Niagara Falls City:
Photographing the Niagara Falls in Canada and getting a glimpse of New York’s Buffalo Falls
DO: SPEND THE NIGHT IN AN OLD JAIL HOSTEL
On Halloween night, staying the night in a haunted jail hostel and a quick jaunt to UNESCO World Heritage Site, Canal Rideau
DO: EXPLORE THE CITY OF TORONTO
Walking down the street taking in the sights, sounds, and tastes of the city
Theme: My Offshore Lifestyle Country: Trinidad & Tobago Language: English Unit of Currency: Trinidad & Tobago dollars Locations: Island Tours, including Port of Spain (Trinidad) & Scarborough (Tobago) Year: 2010-2011 Bucket list: Hiring a car to venture around both islands
DO: HIRE A TAXI AND TOUR THE ISLANDS
Island Tour for Trinidad:
Driving in a mini van and venturing around the island in search of capturing stunning photography
Theme: Central American Adventure Tour Country: Costa Rica Languages: Spanish Unit of Currency: Costa Rican colon Locations: La Fortuna, Manuel Antonio, Puntarenas, San Jose, San Ramon, & Tortuguero Year: 2013 Bucket list: Witnessing green sea turtles nesting
Video: Superman – 60mph, 1 mile, & 315 ft above the ground
DO: HIKE VOLCAN ARENAL
Hiking Volcan Arenal
Floating down stream on a safari river cruise with a small wooden canoe – torrential downpour with the victory of Costa Rican coffee
White water rafting expedition with Class IV and V rapids
DO: WATCH OUT FOR PIT VIPERS
Exploring the wildlife, including sloths that reside in the park
DO: FLY LIKE SUPERMAN
Jumping on the chance to fly like superman!
Abseiling into a waterfall and swinging like Tarzan
DO: WITNESS GREEN SEA TURTLES NESTING
Discovering a green sea turtle nesting site off of Costa Rica’s coast
Costa Rica Overview:
1) Trekking a volcano and hiking within Costa Rica’s jungle definitely pushed my personal limitations on so different levels. Needless to say, the 2 volcano hike was absolutely a challenge! The steep trails and mud stick holes formulated this 8 hour hike to be one of most difficult treks that I have completed in Central America. End result: Signature jumpin’ photograph with Volcán Arenal, hot springs, and new friendships created! grin emoticon
2) Canoeing down a river in a torrential downpour was crazy, and cold! For some reason, I had this silly idea that it would STOP raining, but did it? Of course not, after 4 hours of paddling through one of Costa Rica’s most habitable rivers in the rain, it made me realize how much rain Costa Rica gets every year. The lightning over the river was pretty cool, though quite close! I know that I am in the rainy season, but seriously, I could have used a little bit of sunshine!
3) Cruising on a jungle river looking for monkeys! I felt that I was on a proper safari, minus the safari hat! A peaceful river within Tortuguero was an incredible way to view the wildlife that reside here. Amongst loads of Howler and Spider monkeys, I saw a croc, several species of birds, lizards (favorite one: Jesus Christ lizard <actually runs on water!>), freshwater crabs, etc. This experience has geared me up to take on a river cruise on the Amazon!
Theme: Central American Adventure Tour Country: Nicaragua Languages: Spanish Unit of Currency: Nicaraguan cordoba Location: Leon, Isla Los Brasiles (Poneloya), Managua, & San Juan del Sol Year: 2013 Bucket list: Volcano boarding at 50mph+
Video:Nighttime Fire Dancing on a Remote Island
DO: VOLCANO BOARD DOWN AN ACTIVE VOLCANO
Becoming part of an adrenaline-filled tour group, complete with jumping in the back of a pick-up truck through the Nicaraguan jungle, hiking intensively for 1 hour Volcan Cerro Negro, celebrating with your new good mates as you all are covered from head to toe of volcanco ash, and having bragging rights that YOU just boarded down an active volcano! And, salsa dancing with them to celebrate the day’s accomplishments!
DO: SURF THE PACIFIC OCEAN IN A REMOTE LOCATION
Isla Los Brasiles:
Driving to the coast via horseback and arriving in one of the most remote destinations that I have ever been to
Having a kick-ass surfing weekend
I still have sand & bits of pieces of volcanic rock in my shoes, a tan-line from my flip-flops & bikini top, Spanish lingo stuck in my head, and I cannot seem to shake the thoughts of my recents travels in Central America, but oddly enough, it’s time to get on a helicopter in a few short hours, go back to a career that I adore, and head off the west coast of Africa! Humpback whales here I come!
During my adventure travels, this question arose (illustrated in the below photograph), along with “Who would win in a fight Superman vs. Batman?”
I have a lot of answers, but one that sticks is to VISIT ANTARCTICA (in the process of setting up an expedition on my 35th birthday!)! And, I truly believe Batman would kick Superman’s ass!
Theme: Central American Adventure Tour Country: Honduras Languages: Spanish Unit of Currency: Honduran lempira Locations: Copan & The Bay Islands (Roatan & Utila) Year: 2013 Bucket list: Observing a Bluntnose six-gill shark 1,000 ft+ below through a yellow submarine
Video: Up Close and Personal with Hannah (Howler Monkey)
Video: Zip Lining Copan, Honduras
A Taste of My Submarine Exploration with Stanley Submarines:
Location: West End, Roatan, Honduras! The best footage that I took on this dive of 1,950 feet below the ocean’s surface (located above in the post)! Bluntnose six-gill sharks live in complete darkness and not a lot of information is known about these magnificent creatures. I captured some rare footage at 1,950 feet below the ocean’s surface.
Note: Cow organs were used for bait, for those that have a sensitive stomach!
Commentary is added for your pleasure. After the video was filmed, Karl Stanley and I concluded that this particular six gill female pregnant shark was at least 13 feet long.
Video: Bluntnose Six-gill Sharks with Karl Stanley’s Submarines
DO: CHECK OUT THE MAYAN RUINS
Participating in a day tour to walk around the archaeological site
Exploring King’s Tomb
DO: ZIP LINE OVER MACAW MOUNTAIN
Zip lining within the tree tops of Macaw Mountain
After zip lining, take a stroll within Macaw Mountain Park
DO: SEEK ADVENTURE IN THE BAY ISLANDS
Hanging out at Mayan Eden Eco-Park
Zip Lining with Pirates of the Caribbean
Submerging 1, 950 ft with Karl Stanley’s Deep Sea Exploration
Snorkeling the island
When I initially started my preparations for Central America, I never really set an itinerary. I knew the destinations that I wanted to travel to, but I was uncertain when I would arrive there. I noticed that this is becoming a travel pattern of mine, and although it is very different from my previous set itinerary for South Africa of 2011, this is the perfect change for this world traveler! And I am sure that you will see more of my laid-back personality throughout my documenting.
1) Introduction to the Bay Islands – It was incredible to end my 1st Central America Adventure Tour in the islands. If you recall, I had begun my journey on honeymoon couple island of Caye Caulker, Belize. Like Belize, Honduras was an excellent hub for marine and bird life, as well as defined the true definition of “Adventure” – the water was crystal clear (ideal for diving and snorkeling), majestic winged creatures circled above my head, and there were numerous adrenaline-filled activities on the islands of Utila and Roatan for all ages.
From zip-lining, snorkeling, island off-roading, and trekking to the remote locations of the islands, the Bay Islands sufficed my appetite for adventure. Did I mention that I was in Paradise?
2) Acquaintance of Copan – Along the way I met a fellow traveler like myself. The 6 foot something resident of the UK young man was on a 10 week venture around Central America. Luckily, I had the chance to meet Robert in El Salvador, which then we had decided to trek around Honduras together for a little while.
The first historical destination was Copan; known for its ruins, underground tombs, plethora of Scarlet Macaws lingering in the trees, and invasive plants and trees that sustain Honduras’s heat waves. Not only was this destination perfect for photography, but our tour guide (like that of Tikal, Guatemala’s) was extremely enthusiastic of the culture that once stood where we were standing at that moment. As we wondered around the site, it was evident that Kings and the upperclass dominated the ruins. Some smaller houses kept 5-6 children in one small room, where the parents had half the size of a master-bedroom found in today’s society.
The most unique experience: Ducking into an underground tomb, where etchings and small rooms still existed. Due to all the artwork in the rooms, I was able to paint a picture how a King once lived. And in that particular moment, I felt the pain and heart-ache of how a beautiful city crumbled to the grounds underneath my feet.
3) Submersion of 1,950 feet or 600 meters in a yellow submarine – I cannot emphasize enough how amazing this experience was. Of course, the video that I had documented, and later posted on Facebook only gave you a fraction of the experience that I had felt (but I tried!)
Descending into a pool of bioluminescence can be best described like a scene out of Star Wars moving through the galaxy of fallen stars, except my scene was created of tiny little green stars. The best part was that this was my first view of bioluminescence from under the ocean’s surface. The ride down was unlike anything I had ever experienced – each 500 feet the temperature dropped, and soon I found myself putting layers of jumpers and trousers over my board-shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops that I had started out in. As we await in darkness for a few hours, the glimpse of hope of witnessing one of the world’s most mysterious creatures lurking in the depths of 1,500 feet, stirred our minds.
Once we plummeted into the depths of darkness, we were able to quickly flick on our submarine light and illuminate the ocean bottom floor.Honestly, for a split second I envisioned that this how landing on the moon would look (maybe one day I will find out!)! Finally, 3 hours later after waiting in total darkness a 13 foot pregnant female approached us, devoured our cow organs roped onto the front of the submarine, and a documentary on the Bluntnose Sixgill sharks were formulated.
I find it difficult to express all of my feelings on how I felt staring only a few feet away from this elusive and solitaire creature. I just know that this is one of my top 5 most adventurous activities in the world, and I would be keen to do it again!
Thank you Karl Stanley for fulfilling a childhood dream!