Saturday: road warrior.  Sunday: ocean explorer.

Ok ok not so much exploring, as adventuring under the sea – SNORKEL Day.  Christmas present from Ash & Tom 🙂

Sunday a.m. start, 30-minute drive to Kona, party of 6 reservation.  Only my 2nd time snorkeling – both times in Hawaii.  Lucky in life. Boarded a small catamaran from the pier.  Laid-back island adventure, entirely on Hawaiian time now 🌺

Air temp: low 70’s.  Water temp: the same.  Sunshine.  Pretty much perfect.

Things to Note: Pawai Bay has an excellent variety of tropical reef fish and dramatic terrain, with ledges, caves, shallow shelves and steep drop-offs; and all coral encrusted lava formations.  Depths vary from 3-4 feet on the shallow ledges to blue water where the bottom disappears at 100 feet.  Average is about 18 feet.


Our crew, Anglo & Hawaiian, bantered back-n-forth but both had a great knowledge of the reef.

Lotta talk ’bout ‘Tonys’ – local term for tiger sharks (as in Frosted Flakes’ mascot: Tony the Tiger).  More sharks off the Big Island than others in the Hawaiian chain.  Who knew?  Luckily, no fins this day.

Triggerfish, Yellow tang, Parrotfish, Bannerfish, Hawaiian Sergeant Fish, Cauliflower Coral – but NO sharks (or eels or barracuda…or anything else with teeth – LOL>).  3 hours, 2 reefs, FRESH PINEAPPLE snack break.  FAAANNNTASTIC!

Late lunch at Kona Brewing Company.  Taste highlight: Sweet Potato Pie.  2nd purple vegetable I’d eaten this trip (Sis ordered Poi   the night before).  HUGE fan of purple Okinawan sweet potato (not so much for pasty Poi).



Solo evening plans.

Local trail, petroglyphs, Hawaiian ocean sunset.  Otherwise known as: ”lost at night on a lava field”.  2-mile jog morphed into a 6-mile night hike – with only an iPhone for light.  Dropped a pin on my Google map, jumped a rock fence off the 7th green on a ritzy golf course, bushwhacked quarter-mile to a residential road.  Phone-a-friend rescue, Foodland-rendezvoused in nearby Puako (thanks Stephen).

Hiking Captain Cook in the a.m. – 2 miles/2000ft down, 2 miles/2000ft UP.  Just another Big Island Day 🌺



12:30am arrival – even the best of friends say ‘take an Uber’ after midnight.  My Canadian bestie?  Short cat nap, greeted me just past Customs…then hit the highway.  HUGE surprise.  Middle-of-the-night trek to Niagara Falls.  Hotel slept, woke directly across from North America’s greatest free falling water.  Chilly a.m. mist but whatta morning run!

GREAT to wake in Canada!  Purchased 2 tickets on Hornblower Cruises.  Would be seeing the Falls up close & personal.  Donned my plastic ‘Hornblower pink’ rain jacket & boarded the boat (America’s competing ‘Maid of the Mist’ provide jackets o’ blue).

Niagara Falls is actually comprised of three waterfalls: American, Bridal Veil and Horseshoe Falls.  The first 2 lie in the U.S., the latter straddles both U.S. & Canada borders.  Elaborate walkways built on the American side provide ‘a’ view of the Falls.  Canada however, positioned directly across from the Falls, claims BEST view…by far.

Cruise first passed by American & Bridal Veil.  Lotta opportunity for selfies, water crashing over large boulders below.  Seagulls darted in & out of the Falls, diving into the water below fishing for dinner.  Provided some of the day’s favourite shots.

When folks think of ‘Niagara’ Falls, it’s Horseshoe Falls we’ve seen.  Powerful, thunderous water, tinted green of mineral-eroded limestone.  The force of falling water created a wide spray across the entire boat.  Whatta memory – SUPER FUN (& wet)!  One of the most wondrous, magical, ‘take your breath away’ places on Earth.  I was here, May 6th 2017.  Could not stop smiling ❤

Boat disembarked.  Slow-walked 2 miles down the boardwalk, past flowering Queen Victoria Park.  Watched fast moving water pour over Horseshoe Falls, self-surrounded by a swath of daffodils.  Hot chocolate at Tim Horton’s.  a WOW kind of day!

Rode the QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way), over Burlington Skyway Bridge, then the 407 – to Sarah’s flat in Brampton.  Impromptu pull-off to view an old grounded ship on Lake Ontario.  Unplanned excursions, highly recommended.  Many thanks Sarah, much LOVED!

The Grounded Ship was a replica of the Grand Hermie used by Jacques Cartier in 1535-1536 and 1541-1542 to explore Canada. This ship was built in 1967 for Expo 67 [in Montreal] as part of the nautical theme as Expo 67 which was on islands in the St. Lawrence Seaway.  The ship was taken to Quebec City and abandoned in 2001.

Marathon in early a.m. – but not before dining fancy in North America’s tallest building, the CN Tower.  No regret, B-I-G life 🙂



Niagara Falls



Queenstown ⇨Lake Manapouri ⇨Doubtful Sound

2 buses, 2 boats.  7:15am pickup, 8pm return.  FULL day – but first, a 3-mile pitch-black run along Lake Wakatipu thru Queenstown Gardens.  Would purchase a flashlight later in the day – last time getting spooked in the early a.m. 🙂

2 hour 45 minutes west over the Southern Alps to Lake Manapouri.  Box lunch purchase, then ferried ‘cross glacier-fed water, where a 2nd motor coach awaited.  Travelled on New Zealand’s most expensive road over Wilmot Pass, stopping twice to walkabout/experience the dense rainforest of Fiordland National Park.  Clouds parted, sun appeared – snapped several shots of Deep Cove, our catamaran entrance on West Arm.

3 hour cruise thru pristine water, surrounded by lush volcanic mountains.  If you’re limited on funds, this is the one place to splurge.  Just WOW!  Gotta/hafta/must [see] Doubtful Sound (or Milford Sound) on NZ’s Tasman Sea.

Doubtful Sound was named ‘Doubtful Harbour’ in 1770 by Captain Cook, who did not enter the inlet as he was uncertain whether it was navigable under sail.  It was later renamed Doubtful Sound by whalers and sealers, ‘though it is not technically a sound but a fiord.

Beautiful sunshiny day.  Deep Cove to Crooked Arm, Crooked Arm to First Arm, First Arm past the Shelter Islands.

Fur seals sunbathed on the tiny boulder-faced islands, last land before entering the turbulent Tasman Sea.  Boat lurched in ocean waves – up, back, side-to-side – before turning back, returning to the Sound.

Extra time available so…explored First Arm’s inlet waters.  Stopped our Patea Explorer, cut the engines entirely.  Ship staff asked for 2 minutes of silence, [would be] the day’s most memorable takeaway.  Island waterfalls splashed, saltwater lapped against our drifting vessel.  Silence.  Emotional, visceral & exotic.

Easy half-day adventure tomorrow – panning for gold…in New Zealand.



…meanwhile, far far away in New Jersey — Ash’s bridal shower; next up: a Colorado wedding



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