Boat Tours: The Bucket List

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

Snorkeling with Sharks in the Galápagos Islands

"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

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

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

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

Maine Windjammers off Rockland (Photo by Stillman Rogers)

Sailing on Maine Windjammer Angelique

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

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

Boating from Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef

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

Zipolete, Mexico

Skinny-Dipping or Snorkeling in Zipolite, 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

Boat trips are popular in picturesque Bruges

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

“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

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

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

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

The Beautiful Blue Coast of Heybeliada

Ferrying to the Princes’ Islands in Istanbul

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

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

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

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

Tourists aboard Staten Island Ferry

Seeing New York City from the Staten Island Ferry

The greatest New York City sightseeing trip you could imagine is absolutely free: the Staten Island ferry. The views of the city’s skyline and East River bridges, the Statue of Liberty, and blazing sunsets are as enchanting as any on a paid cruise or Read More


Winter Critter-Cruising on an Aquarium Research Boat on Long Island Sound, Connecticut

"Whose idea was this?" I demand. There is an inch of snow on the ground, the temperature is in the teens, the weather forecast is for more snow, and the living room floor is covered with ski clothes, hats, socks, gloves, long underwear and anything Read More

Sailing past the Pitons, St. Lucia

Sailing from Soufriere, St. Lucia, Under the Shadow of the Pitons

"Look! It's happening! Wait, watch for it!" The excitement on the catamaran is palpable, and we strain our eyes to the horizon where the last tiny pinpoint of an orange sun is just about to dip below the horizon. We are hoping to see the legendary Read More

What is vegetation and what is the reflection? (©Coen Wubbels)

Boating Through the Flooded Forest of Anavilhanas in the Brazilian Amazon

I feel as if I am looking at a scene in the cartoon of Jack and the Beanstalk. The tree trunk is a good three meters wide, and as I look up, I see that the tree divides into three immensely thick branches that reach high into the sky, as if they are Read More

Bridge from Europe to Asia in Istambul

Drifting Between Continents on a Bosphorus Day-Cruise in Istanbul

Talk about Continental Drift: I am floating -- literally -- between Asia and Europe. To my left is familiarity, reassuring names like Paris and Venice, Vienna and Madrid. To my right are places like Kazakhstan and Urumqi: the exotic lands of western Read More

Chateau de Chillon

Visiting the Chateau de Chillon, Switzerland, by Boat

I’m worried. I’m on a boat surging along Lake Geneva in glorious sunshine and the ticket collector is getting nearer and nearer. I’m clutching the family train tickets, which I thought in good faith would get us on the boats, but now I’m not sure. Read More

Felucca on the Nile

Sailing on a Felucca at Sunrise through Cairo, Egypt

What is startling is the silence in the middle of a city that normally assaults the senses. In mid-day Cairo, cars honk through the main roads, businessmen stride to work, vendors vend, ladies covered in the mystery of head-to-toe robes shuffle past Read More

Bird watching in Suriname's largest lagoon: Bigi Pan (photo credit: Coen Wubbels)

A Bird-Watching Boat Trip to Suriname’s Bigi Pan Natural Reserve

Herons skim the water, their white bodies reflecting in the inky-black water smooth as glass. Green kingfishers nosedive from branches and resurface with a thrashing fish, roseate spoonbills scratch around in shallow waters, and jacanas do what Jesus Read More

Na Pali Coast, Kauai

Sailing, Snorkeling, and Watching Dolphins on Kauai’s Napali Coast

It's not often that the captain of a tourist catamaran is rendered speechless by what he sees in the course of a daily tour, but I'm here to tell you: A pod of approximately 750 spinner dolphins (his estimate, not mine) will do it. Followed by Read More

Dolphins in the Ten Thousand Islands

Chasing Dolphins in the Ten Thousand Islands of Florida

It’s not even 10 AM, so I’m surprised to see the enthusiasm on this sultry summer morning in Southwest Florida. We launched from the Marco River Marina a little over an hour ago for a tour on the Sea Excursions Dolphin Explorer, a catamaran tour of Read More


St. Petersburg’s Peterhof by Hydrofoil

Summer in St. Petersburg: white nights, cruise ships, guided tours...  and crowds everywhere. Museum queues are reminiscent of bread lines during the Communist years, tour groups are marched through the palaces as if on a conveyor belt, and in some Read More