Missing Maui

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I try not to discriminate when it comes to visiting islands. I’m trying to see how many I can visit in my lifetime. A few recommendations for visiting the beautiful island of Maui include enjoying the gorgeous beaches (Ka’anapali beach is depicted in the picture above), exploring Haleakala crater, snorkeling/snuba at Molokini Crater and Hana coast day trip.

Maui is not as hectic as Oahu but not as secluded as Kaui. If visiting Haleakala crater, make sure warm clothes are included in the excursion. The temperatures at the top, which is over 10,000 feet in elevation can be 30 degrees colder than below. For sunrise enthusiasts (3 a.m. to 7 a.m.), reservations are a must and can be made online up to 60 days in advance. I was lucky to get my group up the mountain by 9:00. At that time, no reservations are necessary.

Molokini Crater is a popular snorkeling destination. Unfortunately, the day we visited this site the waves were anything but calm. Snorkeling was not an option, so a few members of our party, not me, tried snuba and seemed to enjoy it. On the way back to shore, we were accompanied by a school of dolphins!

The Road to Hana is challenging to navigate on your own because of the extremely narrow winding road and steep drop offs. That being said, I wish we would have done it ourselves instead of doing a tour. My husband loves to drive and there are plenty of places to stop, besides the tourist traps where the tour guide receives a commission. Plan on spending an entire day doing this trip because travel is slow. One of the many highlights of the trip was Honokalani Black Sand Beach. Spend the night in Hana, if you have time, and return the next day.

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10 Years Later

IMG_2724October is a bittersweet month for me because it was ten years ago that I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Breast Cancer. It’s easy to become blasé about the pink ribbons strewn everywhere and the multiple accounts of those that have been diagnosed with breast and/or other cancers. For those that live with the disease, like other life threatening diseases, it is a daily battle.

In 2010, I was re diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer. Each day is a struggle to retain my health, my appearance and my sanity. Each day I realize how blessed I truly am. This disease has truly humbled me and made me realize that the small things in life that seemed so important are now trivial.

There were multiple times over the last ten years when I longed to escape the never ending stream of tests and treatments by running away to a deserted, or really any kind of island. My family reminded me that was not a possibility, unless I took all of them along. For doctor visits I wear bright/colorful outfits with a cheerful smile on my face. If I can’t escape to a tropical island, at least I can share some sunshine and possibly an encouraging word with others.

 

 

 

 

Stingray City, Grand Cayman

Stingray City, Grand Cayman is a popular tourist attraction where visitors can pet and interact with the stingrays. The area is located in shallow sandbars found in the North Sound of Grand Cayman. Years ago, fishermen would clean their fish in this calm shallow area.  The stingrays would congregate and eat the fish guts and squid that were thrown overboard. Because of this practice, the stingrays associate a boat’s engine with food.

As we approached the area, we could see stingrays surrounding the other boats. The stingrays quickly transferred their attention to our boat. My family finally entered the water and were warmly greeted by gentle creatures that resemble friendly labradors. I, being inherently brave, remained in the boat and took the pictures depicted above.

The key is not to panic, however this can be quite challenging when a group of stingrays surround you. You do not want to step and/or fall on top of one. As gentle as they are, their tail has venomous tail spines or stingers which they will flip up in self defense.

The Pink Plantation House

The Pink Plantation House is located on the island of St Lucia in the Caribbean. If you are driving, which I wouldn’t recommend on this island because of the narrow, twisting roads, this restaurant is tricky to find. Thankfully, my husband will go to great lengths to humor me. After asking 7 different locals for direction, we finally arrived at the restaurant.

We walked into an old, dilapidated plantation house chock full of historical significance. As you progress through the house, you enter the open air dining room decked out in pink tablecloths and decorative dinner ware. There is a small room inside where you can purchase unique dinner ware pieces.

The view of Castries and the surrounding water is breathtaking. After taking numerous pictures, we sat down to enjoy a meal that complemented the beautiful views.

 

Thursday Travel Tidbit

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The ancient Greek city of Ephesus was famed for one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Temple of Artemis lies in ruins, however, the Library of Celsus still stands as evidenced in the photo above.

If you visit this site, wear comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to climb over numerous steps and stones. Sun protection is also important for this site. Since we explored the ruins in July, I was armed with an umbrella for shade from the merciless rays of the sun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Meditations on Fishing

The views you observe are taken from Deerfoot Lodge located on the Lake Chippewa Flowage in Hayward, Wisconsin. The moment we reached our destination, relaxation was inevitable. If you love to fish, this is the place for you. Pike, musky, walleye and bass are some fish that you might be lucky to catch. If you enjoy lazy walks along the shore, the views are entrancing.

For those who crave more stimulation, the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum is nearby in addition to the Lac Courte Oreilles Casino. Special events that may be of interest include the American Birkebeiner in February which includes an array of fitness and recreational opportunities and the Lumberjack World Championships in July.

For others, the goal may simply be to relax, sit on the shore and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.