When I was fifteen, I was told about a 4,000 lb. bronze statue of Christ that stood several nautical miles off of Florida’s coastline. I thought it was a silly notion to place something so sacred 27-feet underwater, where it stood essentially elusive and remote. When I discovered that it was an established dive-spot the venture immediately jumped to the top of my bucket list. (more…)
Bonita Springs, FL
I remember being out on the water with my family. I was three, and my father would place my hands on the leather boat wheel, empowering me to believe that I was steering. As I grew older, my dad showed me how to spot fish from ripples on the lake surface and how bobbers would move when fish were nipping at the bate. He taught me how to set a hook and clean a fish. We spent hours fishing, but in actuality, he spent hours teaching me to be patient, to observe nature, and to respect nature. (more…)
Maui, HI (‘Eono: Mount Haleakalā, Iao Valley, Napili Bay)
We woke up early to enjoy fresh Kona coffee, lilikoi, starfruit, and banana bread from the farmer’s market on our balcony, and we watched as a double rainbow revealed itself over Ka’anapali Beach. For me, Maui was an island of diversity – it offered me the ability to snorkel in the most beautiful beaches around the world, while a massive shield volcano loomed miles away, and miles from that boasted a tropical jungle. Today we were visiting the last active volcano in Hawai’i outside of the Big Island, Haleakalā. Dating tests have indicated that it last erupted in the late 1700s.
Maui, HI (‘Ehā: Rafting & Snorkeling)
Alan and I woke before sunrise for our rafting and snorkeling venture. We chose to tour with a company called Blue Water (known for their personalized, adventurous excursions) in hopes that we may avoid a typical tourist-centric trip out to sea. The Kanaio and Molokini Snorkel and Rafting excursion fit our tall order. The tour allowed us to observe a variety of remote snorkeling sites, sea turtle habitats, and a rare, uninhabited part of the island, the volcanic Kanaio coast. (more…)
Hang Gliding Maui, Hana, HI
Hang gliding in Maui proved to be the highlight of our trip! We arrived at the Hana airport to meet Armin, an FAA-certified flight instructor and tandem hang gliding pilot, who was going to be teaching us how to pilot a motorized hang glider, commonly referred to as a “trike.” The aircraft featured tandem seating (much like that of a motorcycle), as well as dual control from front and rear seats, and a backup ballistic parachute system, which acted as a way to insure our safety. The micro-light aircraft featured a hang gliding wing and weight shift operation, very much like a traditional hang glider, but was powered by a reliable 912cc 4-cycle Rotax aircraft engine. This type of trike offered comfort and convenience, allowing us to enjoy more flight time high above Hana. (more…)
Maui, HI (‘Ekahi: Farmers Market, Feast at Lele)
Our first day in Maui was centered around exploring the island and taking in its beauty. I got off of the plane and first noticed the mountainous range next to the airport, then a beach at its base. Kanaha Beach is just a hop, a skip, and a jump away – only a leisurely three-minute drive from the airport. We visited the farmers market on the roadside (to Lahaina). They sold fruit smoothies, fresh fruit and vegetables, coconut candy (more on that later) and homemade banana bread. The market stands held dragon fruit, mango, pineapple, starfruit, papaya, coconut, avocados, and taro.
Costa Rica (Day 7: Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio)
For our last day in Costa Rica, we visited Manuel Antonio National Park. Elba, Nilla, and Mario spent the day relaxing on the beach, while Andrea, Alan, and I hiked some of the trails. What was unique about this National Park was the natural exposure to wildlife. There were capuchin monkeys running around a few feet away from us. The locals call them the “white-faced monkeys,” and they are also known for their thievery. In one of the pictures Alan was wearing a baseball cap and got a little too close. Being 6 ft 3 in., he scared the poor primate, who nervously glared as his ball cap. You can see the capuchin monkey’s reaction to his unexpected proximity. Close by, there were also monitor lizards, iguanas, and macaws. We could hear howler monkeys in the distance, and somewhere way up in the canopy there was a sloth or two. (more…)
Costa Rica (Day 6: Dolphin Super-pod Sighting)
We set out early this morning for some deep-sea fishing. We rented a charter for the day and cast some lines to go trolling for sailfish. Unfortunately, there were no fish (big or small) biting that morning or afternoon. Every now and then we would see an unsuspecting turtle floating in the water with a bird resting on its shell.
Costa Rica (Day 5: Ziplining & Playa Blanca)
In Miramar we found the perfect balance of adventure and relaxation. We started our day with a bit of adrenaline as we headed to Adventure Park Ziplining Tour in Puntarenas. This was the longest zipline tour in Costa Rica, with a total of twenty-five zipline cables over eleven waterfalls. Fortunately, we had some great guides – they often encouraged us to let go of our riding saddles while we were ziplining and also demonstrated some stunts. After riding a few basic zipline cables, I decided to try some stunts myself, including a flip off of the platform. The view from the canopy was breathtaking.