By: Elizabeth Hart
Are you headed to New Orleans? Of the many things to experience in New Orleans, I highly recommend the Audubon Zoo for all ages! The Audubon Nature Institute consists of multiple New Orleans attractions: the Audubon Zoo, Aquarium of the Americas, Butterfly Garden & Insectarium, IMAX theater, and Park & Golf Course - something for the whole family! In addition, the zoo is a smoke-free facility. Wheel chairs and strollers are allowed in the park, as well as available for rent.
The Audubon Zoo is located in the historic Uptown New Orleans on Magazine Street. The drive down beautiful Magazine Street and along the Audubon Park is a delightful entrance into the zoo parking area (parking is free). The best time to visit the zoo is on weekday afternoons to avoid the weekend crowds.
Explore the world's unique regions: Asian Domain, African Savanna, South America Pampas, Jaguar Jungle, Dinosaur Adventure, and the local oriented Louisiana Swamp. And don't forget about Sea Lion Central - playful entertainment for everyone.
In the Asian Domain you can visually compare the differences between Asian and African elephants and observe other magnificent animals like a white tiger, leopard, and a sun bear.
Meanwhile, the African Savanna exhibit is home to many exotics: giraffes, zebras, and multiple species atop Monkey Hill.
Jaguar Jungle is an awesome exhibit depicting excavated ruines of South America - and even a fun interactive archeological dig site for kids! Jaguars, spider monkeys, sloths, anteaters and toucans are the main attractions in this area.
The Louisiana Swamp display gives an informative insight into the unique culture and lifestyle of the Louisiana bayou. Here you learn about the swamp ecosystem and the important role it has played in the survival of the Cajun and Creole cultures. Be sure to stop by and learn about the rare white alligator (no, not albino - white) and the bayou swamp monster!
Dinosaur Adventure is another hands-on area that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser! Explore moving, roaring dinosaur replicas in realistic environments as well as their fossils. Then become an archeologist yourself and uncover fossils in a mock dig site. Being a recent addition to the Audubon Zoo, there is an additional entry fee into this area: $4/non-members, $2/members.
If you plan ahead, you can catch special animal entertainment events:
Tuesday: 1:10 pm: Ape Feeding - Visit the 'World of Primates' and meet a Sumatran Orangutan and a Western Lowland Gorilla.
Thursday, Sunday: 11:45 am - Komodo Dragon Feeding - Watch this dragon get a snack at the Reptile Encounter area.
Thursday, Sunday: 3:00 pm - Lagoon Alligator Feeding - One of the most exciting events! Zookeepers brave the snapping jaws to provide quite a spectacle in the Louisiana Swamp Exhibit. Show up early for a good spot on the boardwalk!
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 12:00 pm - Elephant Activity - Jean and Panya, Audubon's star elephants, put on a spectacle! They are often available for meet & greets after the show.
Saturday/Sunday 2:30 pm: Bug Toss - Toss bugs to the birds in the Audubon Aviary
Saturday/Sunday 2:30 pm: Giraffe Presentation - Get up close and personal with the giraffes in the Audubon's African Savanna set.
Education and research programs raise awareness for conservation of species and their natural habitats with a strong emphasis on the Louisiana wetland decline and what this means for the state. The Louisiana Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program of the Audubon Society responds to reports of stranded sea turtles, manatees, and dolphins. If possible, the animals are rescued, rehabiliated, and hopefully one day released back into the wild. There are hands-on animal displays for visitors and children to play with some of these special animals under supervision. The Audubon Adopt-an-Animal program provides food and medical care for over 15,000 animals.
Another effort of the Audubon Society is reducing the amount of garbage the institute contributes to landfills. As a result of recycling and composting efforts, 890 tons of trash and 400 gallons of cooking oil per month is saved from entering a landfill and yields close to 25 tons of ZooDoo Gold (fertilizer)!
The Audubon Nature Institute is a not-for-profit organization and relies on entrance/rental fees and donations for funding the upkeep of the exhibits. To Learn More About the Audubon Nature Institute:
Be sure to plan your visit in advance and look into the Audubon Experience Package ticket deals that can give you the opportunity to visit multiple Audubon facilities for reduced admission to each location.
Clothing Recommendations for your Audubon Zoo adventure:
My Personal Pictures:
Article and Photos By: Chris O’Byrne
THE WINDS and THE BLUES
The islands of Hawai’i offer greetings even before the adventure traveler is draped with a Lei of fragrant flowers. Deep and glorious shades of blue float up from the vast Pacific Ocean to dazzle the eye and sooth the nerves. Once the traveler sets foot in the islands, the Trade Winds are sure to be present, caressing the body and mind. Recently I was blessed to travel to the islands where these two constant companions worked their magic on over taught nerves, casting all concerns away to somewhere in The Blue Pacific. To travel to Hawai’i is to enter a different world, the world of Winds and Blues.
Hawai’ihas much more to offer than these first and lasting impressions; Outdoor activities in a wide variety of natural beauty. Sports for land and sea. Fishing in salt and fresh water. Surfing and paddling. Snorkeling and SCUBA. History that extends beyond recorded time, and cultures from around the world. Hawai’i is a popular destination for Andy Thornal friends and a repeat trip is on my Bucket List. Please allow me to describe some of our trip and offer some suggestions.
Our trip to Hawai’i began with long flights and the challenges inherent in air travel. A carry-on bag is a must to keep necessities and small luxuries safe and at hand. My North Face “Surge” back pack has been serving me well in airports and wilderness alike. All North Face products have demonstrated the heartiness of their mountain climbing roots, yet the Surge is gentrified enough for airports and khakis. I was able to carry my laptop for working on the plane and web surfing in airports, plus a couple magazines and the Orvis fly fishing catalog for pure escape, plus snacks to avoid starvation and poverty, plus a small travel emergency kit, plus travel documents, pens and pencils. The Surge carried all that and easily fit underneath the airline seat.
Browse North Face Backpacks
Since 9/11/01 a common sight at airports is travelers chugging water from prepackaged containers before going through the security check point. I have been that guy once or twice, but now rather than playing a scene from Animal House or throwing a bottle of water out, or not attempting to stay hydrated (big mistake,) I now carry one of our bpa free bottles and refill at leisure. These bottles are secure in the side pockets of my day pack and follow me on adventures at home and abroad. Browse Hydration
One of the highlights on our trip was a day fly fishing for Bone Fish on the flats of Honolulu. I brought my Costa Del Mar sunglasses specifically for this outing and they were indispensible, protecting my eyes from wind blown flies and the sun’s strong glare. I came to appreciate the role that superior polarization technology plays as the day wore on and my ability to spot the big, inconspicuous Bonefish of Hawai’i. My guide specifically mentioned CostaDelMar was his favorite brand of glasses for fishing, but I found that I wore them constantly, on and off the water. After all the bright sun of the tropics is assaulting the eyes of the sight seer and hiker as well as the angler. Browse the Costa del Mar styles!
In addition to this protection, quality sunglasses actually enhance the experiences that the adventure traveler finds. Hawai’ipresents an amazing pallet of colors; the yellows of the evening sky, reds and pinks on Hibiscus blossoms, greens, browns and blacks and of course those amazing blues. The operation of polarized lenses not only helps one see into the water but separates the various colors as well. More than once I stopped to study the differences in the tone of red from one Hibiscus blossom to another. And when I am in my rocking chair I will still be able picture the sight of four or five shades of blue in a vignette of the Pacific Ocean. You can read more about the polarization of Costa del Mar sunglass in a blog written by Allen Wyatt: Costa 580 Polarized Sunglass Lenses are Easy on the Eyes
A pleasant discovery of the trip was the Kilohana Plantation at Lihue’, Kaua’i, when a day trip without a destination turned into a family adventure with sight seeing, shopping, and dining. We skipped the organized activities like the ever present commercial luau, opting to guide ourselves through the sculpted landscape and plantation house. While wandering the manicured lawns of this former sugar plantation, we were caught in two rain showers and plenty of breezes. The North Face Venture jacket was a perfect wind breaker. It packed easily inside and outside of my day pack. It kept the rain off and the chill away. Later, in the plantation house, Gaylord’s Restaurant and the high end shops, the Venture’s appearance did not mark me as a hiker who should be in a tent.
Our trip took us up and down the island chain, from Ka Lae on The Big Island to Hanalei Bay on the north side of Kauai,Hawai’i. This is a distance more than 260 miles north to south, over this distance temperatures change a good bit. Moreover, local weather varies greatly as each island has areas where rain is concentrated, areas of more or less wind and areas with enough elevation to change temperatures. This fact made packing light a little tricky. I suggest studying the DeLORME ATLAS & GAZETEER to get a handle on what you are in for at your destinations.
When you make the trip to Hawai’i be sure to make time for water sports, after all, the place is surrounded by some of the best water on Earth. We enjoyed boat trips, fly fishing, snorkeling, paddle boarding, surfing and just plain swimming in the endlessPacific Ocean. But be aware; coral, lava formations and rocks line the sea floor ofHawaii’s beaches. Protection for your feet is more than a convenience here, it's necessity. Sturdy WATER SHOES are in order. I was not surprised to see vacationers wearing all manner of amphibious foot wear in the ocean, at the pools and while boating, but I noticed that a number of tourists were wearing these comfortable hybrids while traveling as well. The stiffer foot bed of modern water shoes makes these truly comfortable for all day wear and the adventure traveler can choose the amount of coverage they want from a wide variety of styles.
From flying to sight seeing to fishing to dining to hiking, the adventure traveler is in need of garments to fulfill a variety of roles. This does not mean that they need a steamer trunk and a team of porters. My new favorite TRAVEL SHIRT is Orvis’s Helios Caster. The wrinkle-free, synthetic fabric can be washed by hand and dry in a matter of hours, yet it has the feel and appearance of crisp, new cotton. This trip was a good example of the multifunction ability of this shirt; On day 1, I made use of the large pockets to hold my wallet and cell phone and boarding passes (passports fit too) securely and conveniently while traveling. On Day 2 it was worn to the beach and on day 3 it was tucked in, paired with khakis and worn to a nice restaurant.
Hawaii is paradise, not Utopia, security is important. When traveling always take security precautions. I choose various Eagle Creek travel accessories. Without explaining more than is prudent, my security pouch continued to provide great service on this trip.
One can’t help but have unique experiences in Hawai’i. The geography is unlike anywhere else, the people are from everywhere and there are activities for every taste. Or you can sit still and examine the varieties of blue in the ocean while the winds carry worries away. Hawaii truly is One Great Adventure, we wish you a wonderful trip. Aloha!
HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR TRIP
΅A visit to The Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Waikiki
΅A short hike on the Ala Loa Trail, Kaniku Lava Flow, Waikola
΅The zodiac sight seeing and snorkeling trip along the Kailua Coast , Kona
΅Bone fishing with Coach Duff, Honolulu
΅The pilgrimage to Pearl Harbor, Honolulu
΅Learning to surf
΅Playing in the Twin Falls waterfalls, Hanna, Maui
Enjoy some of Chris' Family Vacation Photos:
By: Elizabeth Hart
How do you prefer to spend your nights when vacationing: being pampered in a hotel or relaxing in a comfy rented home? Well, I enjoy both! I have discovered there is a time for hotel stay and there is a time to hunker down in a cozy rented cottage/house/condo. In this blog I will explore the pro's and con's of both, as I have observed through my travels.
Home Rental By Owner
Let me start by explaining a vacation home rental. Generally, it is generally a person's vacation home that is not currently in use. It is privately owned and furnished, and is being rented out.
There are multiple professional, trustworthy sources out there to locate a vacation home rental. I have had 2 wonderful experiences with renting personal homes for my vacations.
Pro #1: Secure and Clean
While there is not the perk of room service or every day housekeeping, there is no worry about the trustworthiness of house keepers or other employees when you're not in your room! Both home rentals I have stayed in were personally furnished by the owner with those special little touches that make you feel at home.
Con #1: No housekeeping.
Admit it, some of the perks of vacationing at a resort or hotel is the fact that you have someone else to make your bed, bring fresh towels and soap, and cook for you. Renting a personal house leaves all the normal housekeeping chores up to you.
Pro #2: Private, quiet environment to relax after a crazy day of exploring.
No loud partying above your head or housekeeping calls while you're in the shower. Your time is your own and you won't be interuppted!
Con #2: Cost to rent a home will probably be greater than that of a hotel room.
Price differences will of course vary by locations and time of year. However, the cost of the home rental includes much more than a hotel cost. Keep in mind ammenities available, privacy, and all around comfort when deciding between an extended stay at a hotel or renting a house/condo.
Great websites to locate your next world-wide Vacation Rental Home:
Hotels can provide great destinations for your vacation. Family deals and romantic get-a-way packages can also draw you in. However, hotels can be a hustling depot preventing you from getting as relaxed as you had hoped.
Pro #1: Housekeeping will take care of daily cleaning.
Simply stated: You're on vacation - who wants to clean!? Just, make sure to secure any valuables (jewelry, electronics) when you leave your room!
Con #1: Sanitary Concerns.
You never know who - or what - have been staying in that room. Common hotel sanitary concerns include dirty sheets (stained with who knows what bodily fluids - not to get graphic here, sorry.) and bed bugs. For more information on bed bugs see my previous blog: Bed Bug Protection Tips for the Traveler.
Pro #2: Cheap rooms and Online Deals.
Thanks to travel websites and trip planners such as Priceline and Expedia there are some great deals to be had on fabulous hotel rooms!
Con #2: Never really know what you're going to get until you get there.
The quality of a hotel can drastically change among locations. A 3-star hotel in Orlando may be esquisite with glass chandiliers and plush leather couches, while a 3-star hotel just off the highway in a neighboring town is "the best in the area with free HBO in every room!" Make sure to do your research ahead of time on the exact hotel where you plan to stay.
Travel Advice: A Time and A Place
For a quick weekend trip to the beach where most of your time will be spent laying in the sand or splashing in the water, a hotel will do the trick.
For a cross country road trip hotels are great - and usually pretty cheap. However, consider spending an extended weekend in a favorite area and check out home rentals available to boost the experience.
For a week vacation at the beach, I recommend checking out homes for rent. Staying in a rental house will enhance the quality of your vacation, in my opinion.
For international travel I highly recommend renting a vacation home. Having your own private abode avoids the hassle of communication issues with hotel staff. You have a relaxing escape to completely enjoy the country's ambiance. Of course, hotels are great for weekend or overnight excursions.
A Personal Experience With Vacation Home Rentals
My first stay at a rented personal vacation home was in Poreta, Italy in 2006. It was the vacation home of an American woman. I, along with my traveling companions, spent an incredible month exploring the countryside of Italy, with this villa being "home-base." The expansive train system provided great opportunities for weekend excursions to Rome, Florence, Pisa, Amalfi. For overnight trips we stayed in hotels, but it sure was nice to have a cosy house to come home to and relax for a few days - and wash clothes. The owner provided an extensive personal library and I greatly enjoyed reading some of her favorites!
This villa was found and rented through Vacation Rentals By Owner (www.vrbo.com).
Please enjoy some of my personal pictures from my stay in a rented Italian villa. If you have any experiences with renting vacation homes, please share in the comment section!
Also visit the Andy Thornal Company International Travel Collection:
By Elizabeth Hart
Many European cities have taken steps to preserve the serenity of these vacation destinations for the citizens and tourists alike. Be sure to research clothing laws before you head out so you don't find your souvenir money being spent on fines!
Here are a few specific laws to keep in mind:
Italy - Believe it or not, extra-provocative clothing can offend the local sensibility.
Castellammare di Stabia (South of Naples) has outlawed mini-skirts, low cut jeans, and outfits revealing too much cleavage. Don't head this warning and risk a whopping 300 Euro fine.
Out of reverence, the Vatican City requires clothing to cover shoulders and legs to the knee.
Many cities along the Italian Riviera require cover-ups over bathing suits. In Lerici, it is not permitted to walk the streets in only a bathing suit. The island of Capri takes the law one step farther to protect the vacation destination by banning noisy shoes - such as clogs or other wood soled shoes.
Greece - The Grecian government has banned the wearing of high heels at all historical sites. This law comes after many of the coutry's historical landmarks - most notably the Acropolis - were damaged. I have also heard (but not confirmed) that there are also gum restrictions due to the same reasoning as the high heels.
Another thing to note, although not clothing related, all electronic games are banned. Now, whether this is extended to tourists or will be enforced, I have no idea. So, keep your game playing to the safety of your hotel room and enjoy the beautiful scenery during the day!
Spain - This isn't clothing related...but just as important! Spitting anywhere is rude. But getting caught spitting on the streets in Barcelona will definitely get you a fine (up to 750 Euros) with possible jail time.
I could not find any direct laws against provacative clothing, however, scant clothing is generally frowned upon as every day wear. Don't be surprised if you're forbidden to enter a church with bare shoulders or knees, so plan accordingly.
United Kingdom - This also isn't particularly clothing...but spitting gum onto the street will earn you a littering fine of approximately $600!
General Consensus: Wear proper travel clothing and supportive walking shoes and you will have no concerns.
For Travel Clothing Guidelines see our European Travel Clothing Checklist
If you know of any similar laws please share.
Note: This blog was inspired by a recent Yahoo! Travel article titled: "Weird laws to know before you travel"
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By Elizabeth Hart
Quick Island Facts:
Area: 986 km2 or 381 mi2
Maximum Altitude: 864 m or 2835 ft
Human Population: Approx12,000 residents
The island of Santa Cruz is located near the middle of the Galapagos archipelago. Santa Cruz is the tourism center of the Galapagos - probably because of its close proximity to Baltra, the main hub of the islands with the only public airport. Perhaps the largest tourist attraction in the Galapagos - besides the incredible pristine nature of it all - is the Charles Darwin Research Center on Santa Cruz Island.
Brief Island History: Since its volcanic formation, Santa Cruz has had a long history of human settlement and agriculture. Settlers came from the United States and Europe during WWI and WWII to establish military centers. In the humid uplands they raised cattle and grew avocados, coffee, sugarcane, bananas, oranges, and lemons. With the longest paved road on any of the Galapagos Islands, Santa Cruz is the best opportunity to see the true uplands of a Galapagos.
Charles Darwin Research Center & Lonesome George
A trip to the Darwin Research Station is often included with many cruises. At the visitor's center there are educational exhibits about the climate, geology, biology, and conservation efforts. The research center works in conjunction with the Galapagos National Park conducting research, assisting with conservation efforts, and providing technical assistance.
One of the Center's conservation programs is the 'Giant Tortoise Recovery Project.' The giant tortoise population on many islands is in danger of extinction. In 1972 a giant tortoise (Chelonoidis spp.) was found on Pinta Island. This was very exciting as they were thought to be extinct on this particular island. The giant male tortoise was relocated to the Darwin Center - Lonesome George had made his debut. The researchers were hoping to find a female giant tortoise from Pinta Island to breed with George and re-establish the Pinta tortoise population. No such luck. Lonesome George was the sole survivor.
Lonesome George is left tortoise in this picture.
On the morning of Sunday July 24, 2012 Lonesome George was found dead in his comfortable corral at the Darwin Center. I feel privileged that I was able to "meet" such a remarkable creature. Lonesome George's age was estimated at over 100 years old.
The Galapagos Conservancy posted an article about Lonesome George: "The World Loses Lonesome George."
Clothing Note: I had the best outfitters in town when I was preparing for this trip! To see my clothing recommendations check out the Travel Clothing for Expedition Cruising Collection!
I also wrote a helpful blog about the 10 Clothing 'Must Haves' for Expedition Cruising.
Please enjoy some of my pictures from the Darwin Center on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos:
This blog article is dedicated in loving memory to Lonesome George. May he forever graze in an endless heaven of green!
By: Elizabeth Hart
How often have you arrived at your destination and realized - at 11 o'clock at night - you forgot your toothbrush? Or your hair brush. Or worse, a spare pair of underwear?! A recent experience left me thinking about ways to never again forget those little, obvious items that are so easy to overlook. In a conversation with Mr. Allen Wyatt (our outdoor manager and fly fishing guru), the answer materialized.
The Background Story
He was telling me about his weekend - an impromptu trip that turned into an overnight stay for which he had not prepared. The humor in the story came from his delightful discovery that left him giggling: He found a (clean) pair of underwear stashed in a bag in his briefcase!
The "Do Not Unpack" Back-up Bag -
This story led us to an in-depth conversation where we (mostly Allen) created a solution. We agree that you should always have a "Do Not Unpack" (DNU) Back-up Bag! This is a little kit that remains stashed in a suitcase pocket and holds those little convenience items that may not always make it into your toiletry bag or suitcase. Pack it, stash it, and forget about this little bag... until you discover your forgot your toothbrush, deodorant or similar.
The content of your personal "DNU" bag is up to you! This bag is not to replace your toiletry kit, but merely act as an "emergency" back-up kit to tide you over until a trip to the convenience store.
My "DNU" Bag
• Toothbrush & Travel Toothpaste
• Deodorant (Travel Size)
• Contact Lens Solution (Travel Size)
• Mini Hair Brush
• 1 Clean Pair of Undies
-Luxuries- (Included if there is room)
• Shampoo & Conditioner (Travel Size)
• Make-up kit (Travel Size)
This concept can even be extended to a weekend-sized bag that can be left in the trunk of your vehicle for those unexpected overnight get-aways.
With summer in full swing and spontaneous vacation to the beach or mountains is not a farfetched idea. Don't get caught without your toothbrush!
By: Elizabeth Hart
Fernandina Island (Narborough Island)
Area: 642 km 2 or 248 mi 2
Maximum Altitude: 1476 m or 4842 ft
This island is the westernmost island of the Galapagos Archipelago, most known for its volcanic eruptions. Fernandina Island is the youngest of the Galapagos Islands with an age less than 1 million years. The island is currently over the volcanic hot spot that created the archipelago! The active volcano on this island is called “La Cumbre.” There is a magnificent photo-op along the trail of the volcano in the distance!
Fernandina Island is the most well-preserved of the islands, with only one visitor location on the Northeast coast of the island. Abundant marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, and Galapagos penguins will gladly pose for your pictures. Sea lions and Green Sea Turtles are also often encountered here, so have your camera ready!
Espinosa Pointe Visitor Site: Espinosa is the walking trail for visitors. From the zodiac there is a dry landing, although the steps are wet and slippery and you may still end up wet. The short hike begins in a thick mangrove canopy – watch out for the colorful Sally Lightfoot Crabs scurrying across the path! The canopy opens to a breathtaking view of a rocky shoreline covered, I mean completely covered, with sunning marine iguanas and drying flightless cormorants. Don’t get too close to the marine iguanas, they will spit at you! The marine iguanas don’t spit to be rude, that is their way of expelling salt from their bodies after time in the water. Also keep your eye out for the occasional collapsed lave tube and lava cactus (pictured behind me)!
There are two scuba diving locations just off of this island where you can observe Flightless Cormorants, Galapagos Penguins, sea horses, marine iguanas, sea turtles, and various species of sharks and rays from the marine point of view! While I did not have a chance to dive this location, I do plan on making a return scuba trip!
There is very little shade on this island, as it is still volcanically active. Therefore, make sure you are prepared with the appropriate sun protection (UPF) apparel:
- UPF Long Sleeve Shirt
- UPF Pants or Shorts
- Wide Brimmed Hat
- Polarized Sun Glasses
- SUN SCREEN LOTION!
With the rocky terrain I highly recommend close toed walking or water shoes with a solid sole.
Browse our favorite Sun Protection Clothing!
Happy Traveling! Life is, after all, One Great Adventure!
Photo Gallery: I'll let the pictures do the talking! These are my personal pictures...
By: Elizabeth Hart
Whether traveling the world or camping in the backyard, sun protection is very important. People would be surprised at the amount of Ultra Violet (UV) radiation that passes through regular clothing. Special brands are now testing their clothing in accordance with American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) standards for Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) – which includes testing for both UVA and UVB ray protection. Sun protection clothing comes in many names including UPF clothing or Sun Shield. The important factor in these garments is the way the fabric is woven: providing a shield from the UV rays while being lightweight and breathable.
SPF vs UPF – What is the difference?
Both UPF (UV Protection Factor) and SPF (Sun Protection Factor) are a measure of sun protection. However, SPF is the ‘Sun Protection Factor’ found in sunscreen lotion while UPF is the ‘Ultraviolet Protection Factor’ found in sun protection clothing. For clothing, dermatologists recommend a UPF of 30+, while for sunscreen…the highest available.
What do the numbers mean? SPF 30, UPF 50+?
The number represents the ratio of the amount of UV rays stopped before reaching your skin to the amount of UV rays that hit your skin. An SPF of 30 means that for ever 30 units of UV, 1 reaches the skin (A ratio of 30:1). Likewise, UPF 50 means that for every 50 units of UV rays, 1 reaches the skin (A ratio of 50:1). In other words, for every 1 unit of UV radiation that reaches the skin, 50 units are blocked.
Important sun protection garments to wear (from head to toe):
For avid fishermen there are additional garments to protect you during a long day on the water! The SIMMS and Buff brands, for example, offer sun protection gloves, sleeves, and neck gaitors.
Of course, don’t forget the application of SPF 30+ at least every two hours AND immediately after getting out of the water (ocean or lake)!!
Be sure to protect your delicate eyes with protective sunglasses. For optimal eye protection see Allen Wyatt’s article on Costa Del Mar’s 580 Polarized Lenses.
Galapagos Islands By Island: Espanola Island
By: Elizabeth Hart
Name: Espanola Island also known as Hood Island
Area: 60 km2 or 37 mi2
Maximum Altitude: 206 m or 675 ft
Human Population: 0
Española is the southernmost island of the archipelago and is also one of the oldest. Geologists estimate it to be about four million years old. Española is a classic shield volcano, created from a single caldera in the center of the island. However, due to erosion it is one of the flattest islands of the Galapagos.
This was one of my favorite of the islands! Here we experienced the seasonal "garua," or misting rain. Before you could get your rain jacket out of your daypack, it was gone. Then out of nowhere, it'd be back!
Browse Andy Thornal Company's Tropical Expedition Clothing
Being so isolated, Espanola has abundant wildlife, with many species endemic to that island: Española Mockingbird, the Española Lava Lizard, and the Waved Albatross, to name a few.
If you land at Punta Suarez you will walk along a trail that shows you both inland and coastal systems. The trail is beautiful, and the wildlife is curious! Have your camera ready to take snaps shots of: beaching sea lions, prowling Galapagos hawks, and nesting Albatross in addition to the above listed.
The scenery is breathtaking and deserves pictures that speak for themselves! Keep your eyes open for the blow hole as you walk along the outer edge of the island.
There are two conservation sites on Espanola: Waved Albatross Colony (absolutely breaktaking) and Tortoise repatriation. Since this island is easily accessible, sailors frequently stopped here to hunt Albatross and tortoise. Feral goats were also left of the island, leading to the near devastation of endemic plants.
Happy Traveling - Life is One Great Adventure!
Photo Gallery: I'll let the pictures do the talking! These are my personal pictures!
Browse Andy Thornal Company's Tropical Expedition Clothing
Check out Sun Protection Clothing
All Photos in this Blog were taken by: Elizabeth Hart (firstname.lastname@example.org)
By Suzi Caffey
My husband and I took our son and daughter in law on a Princess Alaska Inside Passage Cruise this past September. We flew out of Orlando heading for Seattle on Alaska Airlines. We toured the Space Needle had dinner and headed for our hotel. The ship (The Golden Princess) sailed out of Seattle for a 7 day round trip cruise, leaving at 4:00 PM. My husband and I have cruised before so we had the Platinum Princess Cards which gives you extra benefits...like boarding first and welcome drinks to mention a few. We each had mini suites side by side, our balconies were connecting, very convenient. The ship is beautiful and has almost everything you could possibly want or need. Lots to do or nothing, we spent a lot of time on our balcony watching the scenery. That's one of the best parts of the inside passage cruise, you have scenery almost all the time on both sides of the ship. The shows were good, had a good comedian one night, there is the casino, fun and lots of action. Movie theaters, night clubs for dancing, simulated golfing, pools, hot tubs and of course the 24 hour buffet! We tried one of their specialty restaurants which was Italian. I am told it was good but we couldn't stop laughing at the plate of langoustine that kept looking at us all through dinner! Every morning they give you a newsletter of all the attractions on the ship, plus the shore excursions you can take.
Our first stop was Skagway, Alaska. Skagway's history and spectacular natural setting combine to create unparalleled sightseeing and recreation opportunities. Poke around on your own, or select from a variety of commercial tours. We headed out on a coach tour with a drive on the scenic Klondike Highway, that took us to the Yukon Suspension Bridge over the Tutshi River. The Yukon Suspension Bridge is relatively new, and we felt quite safe when crossing the raging whitewater river 57-feet below. My son and I don't do heights real well but, we sucked it up and walked across...I think I had my eyes closed most of the time, I hung on to my husbands jacket! On our way back to Skagway, we stopped in Liarsville to enjoy a freshly grilled wild Alaska salmon, baked chicken, a variety of salads, beans, rice pilaf, cornbread and dessert at the Liarsville Cookhouse. After our meal, we walk through the gold rush trail camp. Stop by the general store to pick up a few souvenirs. Then checked out the bordello tents and relics. Boy that was roughing it! Back in Skagway we were ready for a drink so we headed to the Red Onion Saloon, a fun place and interesting history. From there we went down the boardwalk to the Old Timey Photo Shop... we had to be dressed as a lady of the evening, that is as close to it as we would ever get....
Next stop Juneau, Alaska. Juneau is a thriving city offering a great blend of city amenities and small-town hospitality, all in the heart of Alaska's majestic mountains, rivers, glaciers, and forests. We took two excursions on this stop, the first was Mendenhall Glacier. Mendenhall Glacier is a glacier about 12 miles long located in Mendenhall Valley, about 12 miles from downtown Juneau. Its ice can be 400 to 800 feet deep. Hiking trails around the Mendenhall Glacier range from a short, 0.3-mile walk to a 6.8-mile hike with a 1,300-foot elevation gain. These trails will give great views of Mendenhall Glacier, but will not take you onto the ice. Got some good shots of the glacier, but did not do the hike...it was kinda cold that day and we had another excursion planned....so off to the whale watching trip! We took a boat out of Juneau and spent 2 hours watching for and looking at whales! Had a close encounter with a pod of Orcas...to cool. We did see some humpbacks, but the Orcas stole the show. These Shamu's don't jump through hoops like he does at Sea World. These whales, though much smaller than humpbacks, have been known to pursue seals, moose, and even other whales. Needless to say this was one of our favorite excursions.
The next day we cruise through Tracy Arm Fjord, located 50 miles southeast of Juneau, this spectacular glacier-carved fjord has sheer vertical walls that clearly showcase nature's artistry.We watch blocks of ice calving off the glacier's towering faces. Glaciers are constantly crumbling and yet their powerful effect is never diminished. What a breathtaking sight, you definitely needed your fleece and rain jacket out here! I used my Swarovski binoculars with Swarmovision...what a difference. They take away the halo the regular binoculars have and make everything clear and close like you could reach out and touch the ice. This is a must have for this kind of viewing!
Next stop Ketchikan, Alaska. The beautiful community of Ketchikan is situated along the shores of Alaska's Inside Passage within the heart of the sixteen million acre Tongass National Forest. Here we decided to just walk the town and visited Dolly's House. This place is amazing. It truly gives an inside look on prostitution as it was in the 30's-50's. Ketchikan has one of the world's largest collection of totems. The totem poles are a work of art. It started raining again so back to the ship after we hit a few shops.
Next stop Victoria. Victoria, British Columbia has the mildest climate in Canada with gardens that bloom all year. This was an evening trip into Victoria, we took a motor coach to Butchart Gardens. They did make a quick trip through downtown to see the lights then on to the garden. Benvenuto, Italian for 'welcome', is the name the Butcharts used for their original estate, now a National Historic Site of Canada, and still privately owned by family descendants. The Butchart Gardens offers 55 acres of wonderful floral display. The weather was perfect and the gardens beautiful at night with all the lights and blooms!
That night heading back to Seattle on the ship was a rough trip. Ran into a storm that rocked the ship enough that my daughter in law and I was up all night holding on, scared to death as the men slept like babies.....amazing! The trip was great, we so enjoyed having our children with us, they helped make the trip fun for us. The food plentiful and the ship was beautiful. I have to say the Princess Cruise Lines does treat you like one. Cruise on!!
See my recommended Alaskan Cruise Checklist!