Boating from Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef

Pontoon at Norman Reef, Queensland, Australia (With permission: Great Adventure Tours)

When we asked friends from Brisbane and Sydney what’s the best time to visit Australia we hoped they would say March, which is the only time we had available for our trip. Instead, they said September to November. Our timing to go to the Great … [Read more...]

Discovering Venice’s Grand Canal by Vaporetto

Gondolas on the Grand Canal Venice

From the main gateways of Piazalle Roma and Santa Lucia rail station to Piazza San Marco, Venice's Grand Canal carves a sweeping S through the heart of the city. A journey along the 2.5-mile canal takes passengers past some of the city’s most iconic … [Read more...]

Skinny-Dipping or Snorkeling in Zipolite, Mexico

Zipolete, Mexico

I chose it because the beach was of a clothing-optional variety, and coming from a fairly purist Southern family, I’d not seen a lot of that sort of thing: strangers’ boobs set free in nature and whatnot. I couldn’t very well tell my girlfriend at … [Read more...]

Sailing on the Waverley, the Oldest Sea-going Paddle Steamer in the World

The Waverley docked at Largs ( Ann Burnett)

We spot its distinctive shape steaming towards us as we wait at Largs pier. Her two side paddles give her the appearance of a lady in crinolines, and a grand old lady at that. She’s the oldest sea-going paddle steamer in the world. The Waverley … [Read more...]

Discovering the City of Bruges (Brugge), Belgium, by Boat

Boat trips are popular in picturesque Bruges

“Where are you from?” roars the boat’s captain into the microphone. He rattles out our various nationalities. French, Flemish, Dutch, Welsh, Scottish, Turkish, Spanish. “No Germans?” he bellows. “Excellent!” And then to ease our collective wince he … [Read more...]

Birding the Quebec Maritimes’ Islands near Rivière-du-Loup

Lighthouse at Pot du Phare (Photo credit: Roberta Sotonoff ©2012)

The Quebec Maritimes are a haven for people like me who are into nature. This northern part of Quebec along the St. Lawrence River provides both a serene escape from the city and incredible scenery. Jagged rock formations erupt from the water. Birds … [Read more...]

Ferrying to the Princes’ Islands in Istanbul

The Beautiful Blue Coast of Heybeliada

On the ferries to Princes’ Islands, I would always drink copious amounts of tea. Waiters with dangling trays roamed up and down the decks touting chai for less than a dollar, delivering a tear-drop Turkish tea cup on a little glass saucer, complete … [Read more...]

Crossing the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northeast Wales

The cast iron and masonry work on the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Wales are more than 200 years old. (photo credit: Katherine Rodeghier c 2013)

From my vantage point in the field below, the structure rising from the riverbed looks like a bridge—a magnificent one, certainly, with graceful 200-year-old stone and iron arches. But wait a minute and an incongruous sight appears: A boat slowly … [Read more...]