Snorkeling with Sharks in the Galápagos Islands

Day trip with the Sea Lion to Paltra Sur (©photocoen)

"Shark!" I was facedown in the water, following a schools of surgeonfish weaving their way among the rocks, yet the word registered loud and clear. I looked up and saw my partner Coen waving frantically, pointing to something underneath his body. … [Read more...]

Exploring Life on Raiatea Island: A Cruise Shore Excursion in French Polynesia

Taputapuatea Marea is the second most important archaeological site in all of Polynesia (Photo: MCArnott)

Ambling through the untidy streets of Papeete, I find myself wondering what happened to the once blissfully depicted capital of French Polynesia. I know the cruise will take us to moss-laden jagged mountains, teeming marine life and stilted … [Read more...]

Sailing on Maine Windjammer Angelique

Maine Windjammers off Rockland (Photo by Stillman Rogers)

My husband Tim is a sailing ship nut who could happily spend day after day standing on a swaying deck watching the sails billow and the shore slide past. Born a century earlier, he might have run away to sea as a cabin boy. But would 12-year-old Mary … [Read more...]

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...]