Tag Archives: Danger

Life is extra good when you’re on a cruise ship! Episode Two…

 (click on photos to enlarge)Eastern-CaribbeanEpisode Two: The Eastern Caribbean

On September 20, 2014 once again we sailed, heading out from Fort Lauderdale, Florida this time to the Eastern Caribbean.

The name Caribbean comes from its people the ‘Carib’ who were the last group to rule the area before the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French, Danish and British invaded.

Life on Board
Lobster Tails & ShrimpIn episode one I described the many adventures and activities that can be found onboard a Princess cruise ship, but I neglected to discuss the FOOD! There is food aplenty onboard, not only in the amount but also in the variety of cuisine which tantalizes the palate. From extreme fine dining delivering seafood, steaks and soufflé to casual meals featuring pizza, burgers and ice cream, any culinary mood can be satisfied. Fresh fruit and veggies are always at the ready to keep your meal balanced and nutritious.

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Thankfully our early morning activities included a few laps around the walking track located on the Promenade Deck. Three laps equaled a little over a mile, but in the end, six laps each morning were not enough to keep me from adding additional pounds to my embarkation weight!

Eleuthera (Princess Cays)
Princess Cays, EleutheraThis thin sliver of an island is only 100 miles long and two miles wide. The Arawak Indians, who migrated from South America in the 9th century, were her earliest inhabitants. After being discovered by Columbus, a British group called the ‘Eleutherian Adventurers’ settled here in 1648 to escape religious persecution. They named the island Eleuthera which is the Greek word for Freedom.

As mentioned in Episode One, our destination, Princess Cays, is owned by Princess Cruises who bought 30 acres and created a beachfront resort. We were determined to explore more of the island during this visit! With government issued photo ID in hand, which is what we lacked on out last visit, we ventured outside Princess Cays compound. Although a favorite getaway for British Royalty we could find no way to get away from the Princess Cays area. What lies outside remains a mystery and something we are determined to discover, but this will take more research and planning. Returning to the Cays we immersed ourselves in crystalline waters where we engaged in spectacular snorkeling, followed by traditional rum drinking!

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St. Maarten

St. Maarten was also settled by the Arawak Indians of South America; the Carib Indians later followed and gave this island the name Soualiga, meaning ‘Land of Salt’. The island is divided 60/40 between the French, Saint-Martin and the larger Dutch section, Sint Maarten. This spectacular tropical destination offered plenty of opportunities to explore and discover, but wait, who are you kidding? I had only one thing in mind and could not be persuaded to do anything else…Maho Beach, of course!

Princess Juliana International Airport is adjacent to the beach and arriving aircraft must touch down as close as possible to the beginning of the runway due to the short length. The result is aircraft, on their final approach, flying over the beach at a breathtakingly low altitude! There is also danger for people, standing on the beach, being blown into the water because of the jet blast from aircraft taking off! It just doesn’t get much more exciting than that, if you ask me. Needless to say we had a BLAST!

Just take a look at these videos.

Well …only ‘Liz’ had a BLAST …Lynne had to document the mayhem.

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St. Thomas

SquirrelfishAlong with St. John, St Croix and Water Island, St. Thomas is part of the United States Virgin Islands. In the 1500’s buccaneers including Blackbeard, Bluebeard and Captain Kidd called this island, if not home, a safe pirate harbor. Despite the lure of tours to plantations, Blackbeard’s Caste and the Amber Museum Lynne and I immediately headed for Coki Beach. The snorkeling here was phenomenal! Having brought along several mini-boxes of breakfast cereal from the ship, we easy enticed schools of brilliantly colored fish to swim up close and play with us.

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Grand Turk

DSC_0082Not actually a part of the Caribbean, Grand Turk is the Capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands. It is believed that the name ‘Turks’ was inspired by the Turk’s Head cactus which can be seen throughout the island. Despite the attraction of the world’s third largest barrier reef we decided to take a break from snorkeling and jumped on a local trolley for an island tour. This Island Trams tour was being promoted by a small group hyping their contribution to the ‘local economy’, in contrast to the more popular tours.

Turks Head CactusAlways wanting to support ‘the local economy’ we agreed to join. This turned out to be a very distressing decision indeed! In an attempt to fill their trolley, we were made to wait an hour passed our departure time, an hour sitting on a breezeless trolley under the hot sun! An hour not only sitting still in the hot sun but, having just walked a half mile out of the cruise ship terminal, to arrive at the very hot, breezeless trolley! You might thing this doesn’t sound too bad and well, for us it was but a minor inconvenience. For the little old lady, red-faced, puffing and panting it was a disaster! Although others grumbled and complained no one was offering her help, it was up to us! This lady was clearly overheated, scared and in distress. We gave her ice water we had brought along, Lynne whipped out her travel washcloth (carried for just such situations) doused it with water for her to pat her face and wrap around her neck. Poor old dear, she was so grateful and kept insisting to her helpless friend she would NEVER accompany her on an outing again. At our first stop we traded seats with her, affording her more shade and bought her lemonade stating “you need some sugar, sweetie”. It wasn’t long after that, the color returned to her face.

It was a sad state of affairs that helping a fellow human being, what should be normal behavior, turned out to be ‘the nicest thing anyone has ever done’ for her. Lynne and I both felt blessed for the opportunity to stand up and give this simple gift of kindness. Remember ALWAYS carry water, and wear a hat in the tropics! Another good idea for all of us would have been to discover the whereabouts of the trolley before handing over our money!

Other than the pristine waters which surround Grand Turk, donkeys, flamingos, a lighthouse and a spaceship were the highlights of our tour. Donkeys are allowed to roam free all over the island, I’m guessing as an alternative to mowing the grasslands. Happy for a pat and a treat these semi wild animals added a bit of excitement to our tour, over very bumpy roads…on this very hot day.

Wishing for an early escape, we talked our trolley driver into dropping us off at Jack’s Shack, a local bar and grill with lots of island character. We ended our day cheering the brave old lady who almost didn’t make it out of paradise! This seemed fitting as we were leaving paradise ourselves, tomorrow we would be back in Ft. Lauderdale.

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Cheers mateys and thanks for joining us on our Caribbean adventure!

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Travel On! Join us as we travel into the unknown.

¸.•♥ In-ƤЄƛƇЄ ~ ԼƠƔЄ ~ ԼIƓHƮ & ԼƛUgHƮЄr ☮ ♥ ★ ツ *。.☆

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Another Trek Across the Aussie OUTBACK!

Having loaded up our Subaru OUTBACK it was time to ‘Bugger Off’ from Darwin, Northern Territory, which has been our home for nearly a year. We were appropriately driving through the Aussie OUTBACK — destination, Wauchope, New South Wales. Our journey would take us 4136 Kilometers or 2567 Miles, from the Top End of Australia, through the OUTBACK to the Mid North Coast of NSW.

Outback Trek Pt.2It quickly became evident that Australia is indeed the flattest continent on earth, as the view towards the horizon melted flatly into a mirage of mysterious vapors. Although the Australian outback is undoubtedly flat and arid, the wildlife is abundaRoos on the Roadnt!

Spotting hundreds of kangaroos, dozens of emu, a handful of echidna and wild pigs we considered ourselves fortunate, as there was not much change in the landscape and what landscape there was, was not much to look at. Unfortunately we saw many animals as they ventured across the road in front of our car and thousands that had not successfully made that crossing, and lay in all stages of decomposition on and beside the road! It was a crossing that required our vigilance so that we did not contribute to the carnage!Aussie Roadkill Cafe

Quaint little towns also spread themselves along the highway, however few and far between. Our vigilance was also required to ensure we didn’t run out of fuel! Following the Stuart Highway South we took a left at Threeways and began the daunting journey along the desolate Barkley Highway, crossing into Queensland near Camooweal. Although stopping to insure our Outback was fit to continue this arduous trek we hurried out of the large mining town of Mount Isa, with the slogan, “What’s the best way to see Mt. Isa? – through the rear vision mirror!” which was true!

Walkabout Creek Walkabout Creek HotelAt Kynuna we drove past the Walkabout Creek Hotel, famed hangout of every Aussie’s mate, Mick ‘Crocodile’ Dundee. In the town of Barcaldine we visited the ‘Tree of Knowledge’, birthplace of Australian Unionism and the Labor Federation Party. From Mitchell we turned onto a one lane road for 200 kilometers, which required our increased vigilance, moving over off the tar to share the road when the occasional vehicle passed by. After crossing into New South Wales we  detoured to Lightning Ridge, legendary for its black opals, did a bit of fossicking and found some tiny pieces of the colorful gem in a ‘potch’ patch. Liz-Digging-in-Potch

Next up was Walgett, with a population of 2300—a must on our list of tiny towns! Why so important, well the house Lynne lived in for her first 18 months of her life was in Walgett – “Keep moving nothing else to see here!” Walgett,-NSW

The human spirit runs strong in this land! The early Australians built warm, inviting towns, on land that would be inhospitable without them. Those brave enough to live in these areas always welcomed us with a smile and a cheerful yarn about life in the Outback.

The trees increased and the wildlife decreased, having now made our way to ‘The Bush’ country of New South Wales and we felt triumphant! Six days after beginning our trek we arrived at Lynne’s Mum, Brenda’s, homey country farm-house alive, safe and very cheerful!

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Travel On! Join us as we travel into the unknown.

¸.•♥ In-ƤЄƛƇЄ ~ ԼƠƔЄ ~ ԼIƓHƮ & ԼƛUgHƮЄr ☮ ♥ ★ ツ *。.☆

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Caught by Trap …in Croc Infested Waters!

Caught by Trap ...In Croc Infested Waters!

Caught by Trap …In Croc Infested Waters! (Click on photos to enlarge)

Barramundi fishing in croc infested waters!

Darwin, NT, Australia has some of the best fishing in the world; despite the dangers of salt water crocodiles. The scene looks beautiful put the photos can’t capture the inferno like temperature or the constant buzz of insects! Our croc loving friend, Troy Walsh, took us on this treacherous adventure with promises of a seafood feast upon completion. His promises were accompanied by far to little sunscreen, shade or bug spray!

After five hours on the water, it is with a sense of accomplishment and heightened survival skills that I can now report ~ we caught a few small fish but ~ Troy’s big barramundi got away. We trapped a few small mud crabs but ~ then the boat propeller got twisted in one of the traps.

And we were stalked by a crocodile ~ while Troy was dangling off the stern, untangling the prop! Lynne became the lookout while I held on to Troy tightly, promising to pull his armless body back on the boat no matter what happened! Bravely Captain Troy dislodged the now mangled crab trap and untangled the propeller without being attacked!

It’s always considered a good day in the Top End when you make it home with all your limbs!! Our skin was blistered by the tropical sun’s passionate kisses and we had hundreds of midgee (sand-fly) bites but ~ what’s that compared to the bite of a crocodile?/!

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Travel On! Join us as we travel into the unknown.

¸.•♥ In-ƤЄƛƇЄ ~ ԼƠƔЄ ~ ԼIƓHƮ & ԼƛUgHƮЄr ☮ ♥ ★ ツ *。.☆

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Danger in Outback Australia!

Cattle Crossing

High Speed Cattle Crossing     (Click on Images to Enlarge)

Vast, remote and arid, the Australian Outback is a landscape which offers a striking contrast to the better known beach towns of Australia. Lynne and I left Mackay, Queensland, after completing our Quest for the Elusive Platypus. Our new quest for Aboriginal Culture and dramatic wildlife would take us from the sandy beaches of Queensland, through the bush, (land outside urban areas) and into the Aussie Outback, delivering us to the tropical Top End.

A new adventure had us in its grip and we were heading to Darwin, capital city of the Northern Territory. Darwin is located on the northern central coast of Australia, thus earning the name ‘Top End’ and is a location filled with danger! I think it should be called ‘Danger End’ because there are so many things in the area that can kill you! It’s rough as guts—but—a little thing like that wasn’t about to stop us! We had a long dangerous drive ahead of us; 1161m/1869kms west and another 599m/964kms north before we would reach our destination. We would be driving through some of Australia’s harshest and least populated land and stopping at a destination which boasted about all its dangers! 33 Tips on Dangers in Darwin  (Top 10 things that can kill you in Australia)

Mackay, QLD to Darwin, NT

Mackay, QLD. to Darwin, NT.

When setting out on this type of dangerous journey it is essential you have a reliable car, food and lots of water! We were traveling off the grid into vast areas with no electricity, fuel or mobile phone service and very few fellow travelers. To avoid as much danger as possible we had the car serviced, ensuring the spare tire was adequate and all systems were working properly. After loading up the cooler we bravely headed into the desolate Outback. Not wanting to take any chances we had carefully studied and mapped out our route. Running out of gas/petrol would have been a disaster! Because of the remoteness, we found ourselves paying $2.06 per liter which equates to $7.79 per gallon, for gasoline along the way. Did I mention it could be dangerous on the wallet as well?

For two days we drove on roads blistered by the heat, with the occasional head jarring ‘whoopdy’ as we bounced on the mini roller coaster made by flood damaged sunken culverts. It’s hard to believe this dry area, bare of vegetation, would ever have flood waters! We drove past creek after creek, dry and dusty, only identifiable by the sign posts giving them names. The danger of being caught in a flash flood was real, only so much water could be absorbed into the dry, rock hard land! The outside temperature gauge read 42 degrees Celsius or 107 Fahrenheit! If our car had broken down, the danger of dying from heat stroke or dehydration would have been a real possibility! Don’t ever leave the car when stuck in the outback!

We forged on, passing through random small towns advertising dinosaurs, flying doctors, livestock and mines, however, being populated by very few people. It’s fascinating to see the extreme measures that are necessary to live in this harsh, isolated, dangerous land, yet, humans insist on living there! The buildings were obviously lived in ~ so the people must have been somewhere.Livestock Road Train Road_Train_Australia

Very few vehicles passed us during the drive and the majority of these were Road Trains; huge trucks pulling 3 or more trailers and can be up to 53.5 meters–174 feet long, some even double decker—hauling cattle.

“Keep your eyes on the road Lynne, this is dangerous!” I nervously instructed while she was overtaking these road hogs. We tried not to stay behind the ones with livestock for too long; the potential for a very messy windshield was far too great! The novelty of the lack luster landscape wore off after the first few hours so we tried to entertain ourselves with a game of ‘spot the’ but all we spotted were carcasses and lots of them! We had avoided traveling at dawn and dusk for this very reason, too many hopping kangaroos made it very dangerous! Poor kangaroos didn’t stand a chance against big heavy vehicles and if you were in a small car, I think, sadly, both would lose.

Day three was filled with excitement from the get go! We saw foliage on the horizon and we dodged living kangaroos and an emu. Despite all the danger, we could see beauty in this ancient terrain in the way the colors of red earth and pale green vegetation played against the cobalt blue sky and occasional white puffy cloud. In some areas we were 200 meters (656 feet) or less above sea level and it was easy to believe that Australian was indeed, the flattest continent on earth! The danger seemed to be diminishing slightly.

In the early hours of our drive we came upon a temporary muster station; 1500 head of cattle had spent the night resting by the side of the road and were being readied to set off for a day of grazing. Thrilled with this discovery we pulled over for a closer look. A line of cattle dogs had been tied to a nearby fence, which also served as a makeshift clothes line and was draped in numerous pairs of blue jeans. The attentive puppies’ eagerness was apparent as they jumped and yipped, wanting to be released. Surveying the camp we noticed a man winding up the electric fence that had kept the livestock contained during the night. He welcomed us for a chat, introducing himself as ‘Matey’! How’s that for a proper Aussie name mate?

Matey TaylorMatey Taylor was the lead drover; in charge of keeping the cattle alive for a week while waiting for the road trains to arrive that would deliver them to an auction. His station at Camooweal, QLD. had been stripped bare of all food and they were forced to graze the side of the highway. As his name would indicate he was friendly and consequently up for a chat! Matey had us chuckling when he told us about the two German women he had helping him. He only had three ‘Jackaroos’ (Australian cowboys), which included the two ladies on horseback, (they would be ‘Jillaroos’) and a young boy on a motorcycle. Unfortunately the dogs would be riding in the truck; according to Matey it was far too hot and dangerous for them! With no water available they also traveled with a semi-truck hauling a massive water tank, which they managed to drain daily.

German Jillaroo

Matey told us, “Those girls told me they could ride but, you can’t put them on just any horse, too dangerous!” He explained, “They have a bit of trouble controlling them and if they get hurt we are a long way from help and they’re very far from home. It’s a big job for me watching out for them!”

He went on to tell us a story of one of the girls coming in one evening complaining how her legs were sore and hurting, so he told her, “Here—take this spoonful of concrete —and harden up!”

He laughed at his cleverness and so did we! On our way out we noticed one of the girls having trouble with her powerful steed, we lingered and I had the video camera ready for a ‘Funniest Video’ moment, but, she was able to gain control after a few wild circular spins. Disappointing!

More danger on the road once again as we carefully negotiated around wild girls on horses and 1500 head of cattle!
Small NT Termite MoundHours down the road, the landscape greened up even more, and anthills started to pop up like tombstones. They could very well have been the tombstones of travelers not so lucky during their outback crossing! Our backdrop was becoming tropical and the temperature even fell a few degrees. Danger peeked around every little shrub as wallabies and kangaroos decided to travel during all hours of the day!

Reaching the end of our westward journey, we took a right turn at Three Ways, NT and headed due north to Mataranka, and the Elsey National Park, with soothing thermal pools, refreshing swimming holes, the Roper River and spectacular waterfalls. With the new danger of snakes, bats and insects on the increase, it was nonetheless, an astonishing contrast, breaking through the desert into this lush tropical paradise. We soaked up the healing energies of the warm water and dined in the local pub, very grateful we did not have to make this journey on horseback and have a spoonful of concrete for dinner.

We are now in Darwin, settling into the hot, humid, dangerous conditions derived from being so close to the equator. Wish us luck, for it is a rugged dangerous lifestyle. A lifestyle we will eagerly embrace. We’ll keep our spoonful of concrete handy – we just might need it after all!

snapshots from the road

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Travel On! Join us as we travel into the unknown.

¸.•♥ In-ƤЄƛƇЄ ~ ԼƠƔЄ ~ ԼIƓHƮ & ԼƛUgHƮЄr ☮ ♥ ★ ツ *。.☆

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