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A Trip Around Saturn (25 photos)

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After nearly 13 years in orbit around Saturn, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is now preparing for its “Grand Finale.” In April of 2017, Cassini will begin a series of dives between the gas giant’s cloudtops and the inner rings—on its way to a fiery end when it burns up in Saturn’s atmosphere on September 15. As scientists prepare for a new flood of never-before-seen images, a look back at some recent (and fairly recent) images of the Saturnian system taken by Cassini.

30 Photos from our Winter Ski Trip to Sun Peaks

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Sun Peaks Resort, British Columbia

Winter fun at Sun Peaks Resort, British Columbia

Given that it’s practically summer over here in the Pacific Northwest, it feels a little strange to be posting a photo essay from our winter trip to Sun Peaks Resort. We visited Canada’s second largest ski resort a few weeks ago, at the end of March, just a couple weeks before it shut down its winter operations for the season.

If you’ve never been to Sun Peaks Resort, and you’re wondering where it’s located, you’ll find this family friendly resort in British Columbia’s Interior, about 45 minutes north of Kamloops and 5 hours drive from Vancouver.

We love its European-style alpine village and laid-back family vibe. It’s only 5 hour drive from Vancouver, yet we feel like we’re in a completely different part of the country.

I contemplated whether I should hold off sharing these photos until next winter, because many of you are already in a summer state of mind, but then I realized this is probably the best time to start making your plans for next winter.

As you’ll soon see, we had a wonderful time during our 4 day visit to Sun Peaks.

We went snowboarding multiple times, Braydon learned to ski for the first time, we went tubing and sledding, we took a horse drawn carriage tour of the village and we even managed to squeeze in a dog sledding tour. The first day on the slopes was a sunny bluebird day and on the second day it snowed for hours. We could not have asked for better weather conditions.

Sun Peaks Resort, British Columbia, Canada

Canada’s Alpine Village

Sun Peaks Resort, British Columbia, Canada

Sun Peaks Resort, British Columbia, Canada

The colourful Euro-style village is a true ski-in, ski out.

Sun Peaks Resort, British Columbia, Canada

Dog sledding with Mountain Man Adventures.

Sun Peaks Resort, British Columbia, Canada

Proud Dad. First time Braydon put on a pair of skis!

Sun Peaks Resort, British Columbia, Canada

Connor on the loose!

Sun Peaks Resort, British Columbia, Canada

Fun times at the Sun Peaks Tube Park.

Sun Peaks Resort, British Columbia, Canada

Sun Peaks Resort, British Columbia, Canada

Outdoor concert series in front of the Village Lodge.

Sun Peaks Resort, British Columbia, Canada

Views of the village from the ski runs.

Sun Peaks Resort, British Columbia, Canada

Spring skiing is in session!

Sun Peaks Resort, British Columbia, Canada

Braydon learning to ski on the bunny hill.

Sun Peaks Resort, British Columbia, Canada

We woke up one morning to a fresh snowfall!

Sun Peaks Resort, bridge to Mount Morrisey

Sun Peaks Resort, British Columbia, Canada

Photos from our trip to Point Roberts in Washington State

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Beach, Point Roberts, Washington

Point Roberts, Washington

A couple of weeks ago we spent a few nights in Point Roberts, a peaceful seaside village located in the Pacific Northwest that is technically a part of mainland United States, but it’s not physically connected to it (we shared a map of its peculiar location in our last post).

Point Roberts is close in proximity to the skyscrapers of Vancouver but its chilled out vibe makes you feel as if you’re hundreds of miles away from the big city lights. In fact, I don’t even remember seeing a traffic light in Point Roberts? Yes, Point Roberts that kind of place. Small, friendly, safe and quiet.

There are lots of things to do in Point Roberts, like biking, hiking and beach combing, but the most common activity is doing nothing. By that, I mean waking up in the morning with no agenda and letting the mood dictate how your day will play out.

For us, that meant frequent visits to the beach equipped with pail and shovel.

The beaches in the Pacific Northwest are different from those found in the south or in tropical climates. They are not made of soft white sand that feels silky smooth on your feet. They are quite the opposite, actually. The beaches in this part of the world are rocky, rugged and filled with driftwood, sea shells and coarse sand.

Although we rarely swim in the water here, because the water is often too cold and most beaches are full of slippery rocks, we love spending the day walking along these rocky beaches. The fresh ocean air cleanses the soul.

At low tide, the ocean floor is exposed and a world of treasures is revealed. We have fond memories exploring the many tide pools found on these quintessential Pacific Northwest beaches. They never get old.

It’s important that we share our love of the outdoors with our impressionable boys. We want them to have similar memories when they get older and we want to feed their curiousity with nature. Point Roberts is the perfect place to do this.

Here are a few of our favorite photos from our trip to Point Roberts.

Beach, Point Roberts, Washington

Beach, Point Roberts, Washington

Beach, Point Roberts, Washington

Beach, Point Roberts, Washington

Beach, Point Roberts, Washington

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Beach, Point Roberts, Washington

Beach, Point Roberts, Washington

Beach, Point Roberts, Washington

Beach, Point Roberts, Washington

Our 2016 travels begin with a trip to the Caribbean

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Our 2016 travels begin with a trip to the Caribbean

We’ve just returned home from a fun-filled family adventure to the Caribbean that took us to 7 countries in just under three weeks. While I had initially planned to write a few blog posts while on the trip, for some reason I couldn’t login to the website from Puerto Rico (our home base).

Instead of getting frustrated, I took it as a sign to kick back and soak up the island vibes. It was the right call. One of my resolutions for 2016 is to be more present in the moment, so I kept the laptop on lockdown and decided to put writing on hold until I returned home, which is today.

If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook you’ve likely seen a few photos from our trip already. If not, head over there now and check out the feed. This photo has become an instant classic.

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Why did we choose the Caribbean?

Aside from the obvious attraction to white sandy beaches and clear turquoise water, the purpose of this trip to the Caribbean was to visit a few new countries and see what it’s like to take a cruise vacation with our family.

Prior to this trip we had only been on a cruise ship once before, about 8 years ago. Although cruising and pre-packaged travel is not our preferred way to travel, we like how easy and convenient this form of travel can be, especially with the little ones. We’ve been told by many parents that taking a cruise is a fun way to travel with children so we thought we’d give it a go.

And what better place to take a cruise than the Caribbean, right?

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Last summer Nicole accepted a great new job, so our ability to travel was temporarily put on hold. We ended up canceling our trip to the United Kingdom to watch the Rugby World Cup so that she could focus on work and accumulate some vacation time. Life balance requires sacrifice.

We have an annual goal of visiting at least 3 NEW countries each year. It’s an attainable goal that forces us to be selective with the destinations we choose to visit each year. It’s a lot easier (and sometimes cheaper) to travel around Canada and the US with children, but we want to make sure we continue to explore international destinations too.

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We also wanted to bring Nicole’s parents with us on this trip so we needed to find an experience suitable for kids, parents and grandparents – not an easy thing to do.

Taking a Caribbean cruise seemed to meet everyone’s requirements.

About a year ago, Nicole’s dad had quite the health scare when he landed in the ICU for several days after having a cardiac arrest. Thankfully he was one of the lucky 10% that survive this type of cardiac arrest. He was close to the hospital when it happened, which certainly helped.

The experience was a strong reminder that life is precious and unpredictable. We don’t know how much time we have, so it’s hugely important to get out and experience life and not put things on hold. We thought it would be great for her parents to share this experience with their grandchildren, so we made it happen.

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Where did we go?

The first stop on our trip was to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The cruise ship departs from the port in Old San Juan so we thought it would be fun to spend a few days exploring the colourful buildings and historical forts of Old San Juan.

Top Gear US Returning With Cuban Road Trip After Lengthy Hiatus

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After last airing in October 2014 and all the trouble in BBC, many thought that the US version of Top Gear that airs on the History Channel had been cancelled.
Read more »


Carscoops

Get Your Vehicle Ready for the Ultimate Ski Trip

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It’s winter, when most people fall into one of two, clearly-defined camps: those who count the days until the first day of spring, anxiously awaiting the sun’s returning warmth; and those who actually look forward to the cold’s embrace as an opportunity to participate in a favorite winter season sport. If you’re in the latter camp, weekends become the time to load up the car for a ski trip. Whether skiing (or snow-boarding, or snowmobiling) is a new activity, or something you’ve been doing for years, you always need to be certain that your car can carry your gear.

That said, your vehicle needs to get you to your destination and back safely and securely.

We’re here to inform you that there are a number of new and exciting automotive products to help you accomplish both these goals. You may already have some of these things, and if you do, check to see if they are worn to the point of needing replacement. Some of your old standbys have been modernized, so here’s an opportunity to upgrade. Other items, which have become available just recently, may cause you to want to investigate further.

We want you and your gear to get there with minimal hassle. So here’s our product list below, starting with items for the car itself, followed by items to help you carry your sports equipment. Feel free to print this out to use as a shopping list!

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Winter Driving Improvements:

Winter Tires: No longer content with calling them just “snow tires,” the tire industry has made that name change for good reason. Back in the good old days, snow tires had more aggressive tread to get a deeper bite in the snow. Today, that blocky tread remains, but modern science has developed newer rubber compounds which actually stick better to the white, slippery stuff. If your snow tires are just about worn out, or if you’ve never tried the modern tires, it could be time to take the plunge.

More than front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive, great winter tires are the ultimate must for driving in the snow.

 Winter Tire/Wheels Combo: If you have been a devoted snow tire user, are you still paying for them to be mounted and dismounted twice a year? The expense and effort isn’t worth it because the industry has responded with affordable, correctly-sized steel wheels. If you’re handy, you can do the swap yourself. If you need to pay someone to make the switch, you’ll still save in the long run by buying “steelies.”

Even with TPMS sensors thrown in (a must on newer cars), we calculate that two seasons of driving will pay back the cost of the wheels over what you were paying for all that mounting and balancing.

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Winter Tire Add-Ons:

Chains: Whether you’re driving on winter rubber or not, let it be known that modern snow chains are easy to install, safe to use, and provide unsurpassed traction. These are NOT your father’s snow chains! The industry has developed these to the point where a set can be installed in a few minutes, and they are self-centering. Remember that there are parts of the country where, depending on weather conditions, tire chains are required!

Slip-on Traction Aids: The latest innovation is the “snow sock,” a plastic, slip-on bootie for your tires that performs almost as well as chains. The snow sock is lighter, easier to store, less noisy, and less damaging to roadways.

Studs: Tire studs work best in ice, so if icy roadways are a regular occurrence in your neck of the woods, these are worth considering. Two important caveats: your snow tires must be pre-molded to accept studs, and most locales severely limit when you can drive with studs. But if you need them, there’s nothing like them.

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Additional Protection:

Fog/Driving Lights: Standard on many sports and luxury cars, but if your vehicle does not have these auxiliary lights, consider adding them. One bit of good news is that it’s possible your vehicle’s front bumper has the factory locations molded in, making installation almost a plug-n-play. When the weather turns nasty, and you’ve got that death grip on the wheel, every extra bit of illumination will help keep you on the straight and narrow (meaning the pavement).

Windshield Protection: We don’t need to tell you to carry a snow brush and ice scraper, do we? (Or are you still using a credit card to push snow off the hood?) If you think that the ice scraper and proper windshield washer solvent mix are all you can do, think again. Windshield “ice screens” are now available, which, unlike a sun shield, lie on the outside of your windshield glass. Put it on in the evening and leave it there overnight. In the a.m., pull off the shield, and with it, the frost and ice accumulation.

How to Make Your Next Road Trip More Budget-Friendly

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road trip

These days, many travelers are skipping long-haul flights and high airfare fees in favor of the good, old road trip.

The classic road trip can offer you and your companion memories to treasure for years to come. Sometimes though, the stops, meals, and detours can appear overwhelming, making it difficult for you to carve out time and save money for that well-deserved getaway.

But with creativity and some planning, enjoying an exciting yet affordable road trip doesn’t have to be impossible. Before hitting the road, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Take the car in for a checkup

Obviously, a road trip requires a car that’s in the best working condition. Nothing can ruin a road trip more than experiencing car trouble in an unfamiliar place. Thus, before you depart, make sure your car is up for the challenge. Have your vehicle checked inside out—from the battery, fluids, lights and tyres.

A checkup will highlight problem areas that can affect your car’s performance. For instance, check your tyres’ tread wear levels to ensure they will remain within legal limits during your trip. Replace them immediately if required. You can try looking up tyre prices online on a website such as TyreCompare to find the best deal without having to ring around.

Plan your route

While going on spontaneous road trips can be a lot of fun, not knowing exactly where you’re headed and how you plan to reach a destination can be painful to your wallet. Just imagine the liters of gas you’ll be wasting if you just go around driving to nowhere! If you have a tight budget, it pays to plan your route ahead. Aside from helping you anticipate your fuel cost, you’ll also be able to spot the cheapest places to gas up on your way.

My trip to Toronto for the Blue Jays first Postseason game in 22 years!

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Toronto Blue Jays back in the Postseason

Two weeks ago, I (Cam) traveled from Vancouver to Toronto to watch the Toronto Blue Jays play two Major League Baseball Postseason games. Now, for those of you that don’t follow sports, you might not understand why I would spend that kind of money (flights, hotel, tickets and adult beverages) just to watch a couple of baseball games.

Sometimes I ask myself the same question. But these two games were a big deal. Well, at least for me. And the rest of Jays Nation that have been starving for some postseason action for as long as I can remember.

The Toronto Blue Jays have not made the postseason in 22 years!

Think about that for a moment. 22 years! To put that into perspective, the last time the Toronto Blue Jays were in the playoffs Bill Clinton was just elected President of the United States, the first Jurassic Park movie was in theaters and Canadian popstar Justin Bieber wasn’t even born yet. Also, Google, Facebook and Twitter did not exist, mobile phones were the size of brick and the Internet was just becoming available to the public.

That is a ridiculously long time between Postseason appearances, which is why it was such a big deal for the Blue Jays to finally host a game at the Skydome (it’s actually called Rogers Centre now, but it will always be Skydome to me!).

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I always try to catch a sports game when I travel.

I’m a big sports guy but it goes beyond sports. You can really get to know a city and it’s people by attending one of its local sporting events. Earlier this year, I was fortunate to check off a life goal by watching a baseball game at the legendary Fenway Park in Boston.

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How did this trip happen?

This trip began with a few optimistic text messages sent to my oldest friend who still lives in Toronto. At the time, I said “if the Jays make the postseason I’ll fly home to watch the first game”.

I didn’t actually think the Blue Jays would make the Postseason, but it was fun to dream.

I grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, so I’ve been a Blue Jays fan for 25+ years and have watched countless games at the Skydome. But it’s been at least 15 years since my last baseball game, although I did get to tour the stadium a few years ago while attending a travel blogger conference that was hosted in Toronto.

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After some aggressive trades at the deadline, the Blue Jays continued to win games and slowly climbed up the division standings. Eventually they took over the New York Yankees for top spot, solidifying them as legitimate Postseason contenders. Could this finally be the year?

As the Blue Jays inched closer to the postseason, I realized this unlikely trip to Toronto might actually happen.

So I started to look at flight options. The problem with traveling to games in the postseason is that the date/times are not confirmed. A lot can happen to influence these dates/times, so it’s a risky play to book flights and hotels before the schedule has been decided. If the Blue Jays win their division, they get the first two games at home. If they don’t, they get the 3rd and 4th game at home.

Choose wrong and I’d be traveling all the way to Toronto to watch the game at a local sports bar. That would have sucked.

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As the days passed, the price for flights increased by about $ 40 per day. I needed to make a decision, and fast. The games would start in less than two weeks. Normal flights from Vancouver to Toronto were priced around $ 700, which is pretty expensive for a domestic flight.

To save money, I checked to see if I could find a flight by redeeming some of my Aeroplan Miles. Because I was booking with very short notice (9 days before departure), there weren’t any flights available with the Fixed Mileage option. Fortunately, I was able to use the Market Fare option to score direct flights with an ideal departure/arrival times. I redeemed about 50,000 Aeroplan Miles, which is double the Fixed Mileage option, but it was awesome to find direct flights with morning departure times.

We’ve been working with Aeroplan as brand ambassadors for almost 4 years now, so we’ve collected lots of miles over the years, which certainly helped make this trip a reality. One of the perks to running this travel blog.

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Where did I stay?

Earlier this year, we did some work with Radisson hotels. As part of the compensation, we received four nights of complimentary accommodation at any Radisson or Club Carlson property in Canada. I completely forgot about these coupons until Nicole reminded me.

I called to see if I could redeem these coupons at the Radisson Admiral Hotel on the Toronto waterfront, located a couple blocks from the stadium. It’s one of the premier locations along the Toronto waterfront, so I feared it would be booked up because of the baseball games.

Fortunately, luck was on my side and I was able to secure a room even on short notice. It was as if the baseball gods wanted me to have this experience!

Note – if you’re looking to book a hotel, here’s a link for the latest promotions from Radisson.

A Trip to Antarctica (29 photos)

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It is late winter in Antarctica now, and the months of darkness will soon be brightening. Research teams from around the world are preparing to head south soon, taking advantage of the (relatively) warm season to come. Gathered below are images of the Antarctic landscape and research facilities, and some of the scientific work taking place there.

View from the Brazilian Navy's oceanographic ship Ary Rongel as it goes through the Drake Passage on its way to Antarctica on March 2, 2014. (Vanderlei Almeida / AFP / Getty)


The Atlantic Photo

Here’s what we did on our trip to New Brunswick

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St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick, Canada

Recap from our trip to New Brunswick

We’ve just returned from a whirlwind tour of New Brunswick. My head is still spinning from all that we experienced over the past week, so I thought it best to capture a few of our initial thoughts from the trip while it’s still fresh on the brain.

This was our first time visiting the under-rated Canadian province.

Initially, when we told people we’d be traveling to New Brunswick we received mixed responses. Some questioned why New Brunswick, of all places? “Are you visiting family,” they asked.

Others, that have visited before, shared stories of friendly people, quiet fishing villages, undisturbed coastline and drool-worthy seafood.

We have a travel goal to visit every province and territory in Canada. We also want to visit every national park in Canada, so we knew we’d likely visit this Maritime province at some point during our travels. But we weren’t in a hurry and filed a trip to New Brunswick under “we’ll visit some day when were older and have kids.”

Well, we’re older now. And we have kids. So why not now, right?

St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick, Canada

When we received our New Brunswick itinerary, the experiences that jumped out at us was a whale watching tour aboard the Jolly Breeze Tall Ship, eating fresh lobster on a lobster cruise and walking on the ocean floor at the Hopewell Rocks at low tide.

Whales, lobster and crazy tides – does it get more ‘New Brunswick’ than that?

Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing stories and photos from our visit, but today we’d like to highlight some of the fun things we got up during our trip.

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Our trip began at the iconic Algonquin Resort, one of Canada’s most luxurious and legendary resorts, located in the heart of St. Andrews by-the-Sea.

We arrived late at night, so we didn’t have a chance to absorb our surroundings until the following morning. What a place! It feels more like a castle and museum than a resort.

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After a quick piano session in the garden at the Algonquin, we packed up the minivan and drove to the nearby Huntsman Fundy Discovery Aquarium.

It’s not a very big aquarium, but it’s home to a wide range of sea creatures and playful sea lions. It’s the perfect size for little ones with short attention spans.

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After the aquarium, we ventured back into town and spent the afternoon exploring the vibrant Kingsbrae Gardens, a 27-acre horticultural masterpiece with over 2,500 species of perennials.

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The Kingsbrae Gardens is also home to several pint-sized homes for little ones to explore…

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… and it has alpacas! I captured these feisty guys in the middle of a neck-twisting tussle.

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That evening, we wandered around the cute seaside village of St Andrews-by-the-Sea and enjoyed fresh seafood and cold pints of Picaroons Traditional Ale with unobstructed views of the ocean. At that time of day, the Bay of Fundy was a low tide, exposing the ocean floor for all to see. It was a perfect ending to the day.

The tidal movements in New Brunswick are mind boggling!

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Yes, you are reading that correctly. The difference between low tide and high tide in St Andrews was 18.4 feet that day!

Think about that for a moment. That’s the equivalent of 3 people stacked on top of each other. That’s a lot of water movement!

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Above – low tide at the pier in St Andrews. Below – close to high tide.

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Whale watching in the Bay of Fundy

The following day, we returned to the pier and joined a whale watching excursion aboard the Jolly Breeze. What makes this tour unique is that guests sail through the serene Bay of Fundy on a beautifully preserved wooden tall ship.

Another fun part of the tour is that kids can dress as pirates complete with plastic swords and eye patches. Once aboard, the crew offers a number of family activities to keep the little ones entertained. Connor steered the tall ship for a moment and Braydon handled a real live starfish.

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It was a successful day at sea. We witnessed 5 minke whales in their natural habitat, along with several porpoises and sea lions.

The whales were playing tricks on us that day, surfacing every few minutes in completely new locations. It was quite comical actually. We would spot a whale in the distance and the captain would change course to get the ship closer.

Then, we all held our breathe in silence, cameras locked and loaded.

The group focused intensely on the spot where the whales last surfaced, waiting patiently for that postcard photo. Then, without warning, we’d hear the familiar sounds of water shooting out of the whale’s blowhole. This time however, the whale surfaced on the opposite side of the boat, a few hundred meters away.

We ran to the other side of the ship, snapping our cameras with rapid fire. These whales only surfaced for a few seconds, so we had to be quick. The whales kept their distance from our boat, so the above photo is the best I was able to capture.

We had a great time on the water that day. I don’t know what it is about whales that’s so fascinating, but watching them play in the wild is quite the experience.

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City of Saint John

The next stop on our road trip through the province was a visit to the historical city of Saint John, the largest city in New Brunswick and the second largest city in the maritime provinces.

I love the old brick buildings in downtown Saint John. It reminds me of the North End in Boston, but on a much smaller scale.

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While in Saint John we made a stop at the Reversing Rapids, a unique phenomenon created by the collision of the Bay of Fundy’s monstrous tides and the mighty St. John River.

I’ll let Wikipedia educate you on this natural wonder – read about the Reversing Rapids here.

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The next day we drove to the village of St. Martins to check out the sea caves and drive the Fundy Trail Parkway. St Martins is about a 45 minute drive east of Saint John.

Along the way, we kept passing signs that said we had to stop at The Caves Restaurant to try it’s “World Famous Chowder”.

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skip looking for hot tubs and bring the hydrohammock on your next trip

in Design Nerd by


the material is a sealed synthetic high tensile strength fabric, that can support the weight of 50 gallons of water and two adults, and comes with a portable water heater system for circulation.

The post skip looking for hot tubs and bring the hydrohammock on your next trip appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.

designboom | architecture & design magazine

A Trip Around the Solar System (20 photos)

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Robotic probes launched by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and others are gathering information all across the solar system. We currently have spacecraft in orbit around the Sun, Venus, Earth, Mars, a comet, and Saturn, and two operational rovers on Mars. Several others are on their way to smaller bodies, and a few are heading out of the solar system entirely. Although the Space Shuttle no longer flies, astronauts are still at work aboard the International Space Station, performing experiments and sending back amazing photos. With all these eyes in the sky, I'd like to take another opportunity to put together a recent photo album of our solar system—a set of family portraits, of sorts—as seen by our astronauts and mechanical emissaries. This time, we have a sunset on Mars, close-up images of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, more images of the dwarf planets Ceres, wonderful images of Saturn and its moons, the closest image of Pluto and its moon Charon yet taken, and, of course, lovely images of our home, planet Earth.

A sunset on Mars. NASA's Curiosity Mars rover recorded this view of the sun setting at the close of the mission's 956th Martian day, or sol (Earth date, April 15, 2015), from the rover's location in Gale Crater. Dust in the Martian atmosphere has fine particles that permit blue light to penetrate the atmosphere more efficiently than longer-wavelength colors. That causes the blue colors in the mixed light coming from the sun to stay closer to sun's part of the sky, compared to the wider scattering of yellow and red colors. (JPL-Caltech / MSSS / Texas A&M Univ. / NASA)


The Atlantic Photo

Make a Sacred Trip to the Monastery of St. George, Wadi Qelt

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The St. George’s Monastery, Wadi Qelt, is a sacred place and one of the most striking tourist spots in the eastern West Bank. The monastery is actually a sixth-century cliff-hanging complex sculpted into a rock wall in the Judaean Desert. It stands overlooking a verdant garden with cypress and olive trees. The caves and recesses there have been used as the habitations of hermits and monks for many centuries. Currently, only a few monks are residing there.

Monastery of St. George
Monastery of St. George. Photo Source: See the Holy Land

A deep and narrow gorge called Wadi Qelt acts as the setting of the monastery. A pedestrian bridge across the Wadi Qelt connects the monastery to the mainland. The gorge is extended to a 35-km long difficult route between Jerusalem and Jericho while most of it makes a path for the Roman Road. According to ‘Luke 10:25-37’, Jesus set the Good Samaritan parable on this road. As referred to in ‘Psalm 23’, many people also pictures Wadi Qelt as the ‘valley of the shadow of death’.

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Wadi Qelt in Judaean Desert. Photo Source: See the Holy Land

Foundation of the Monastery of St. George

Five Syrian hermits gathered around a cave (where the monastery is currently located) in 420 AD in order to seek the Prophet Elijah’s desert experience. The cave around which they settled is believed to be the place where the prophet stopped on the way from Sinai and was fed by ravens. An Egyptian monk named John of Thebes built the monastery in the fifth century.

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Fresco of Elijah fed by Ravens. Photo Source: See the Holy Land

However, it was named after St. Gorgias of Coziba, the most famous monk of the monastery. He came there as a teenager from Cyprus in the 6th century to follow an abstinent life. St. George’s Monastery is well known for hospitality and welcoming female visitors and pilgrims, unlike most of the Greek Orthodox monasteries.

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Bridge over Wadi Qelt on the Way to Monastery. Photo Source: See the Holy Land

Destruction and Reconstruction

The Persians swept throw the valley, destroyed the Monastery, and killed all 14 resident monks in the 7th century. The bones and skulls of the martyred monks can still be seen in the monastery chapel. The Crusaders rebuilt it in 1179 but it was deserted again after their expulsion from the Holy Land.

Monastery of St George

You can help save #JustOneRhino. And win a trip of a lifetime in the process.

in Travel Nerd by
#JustOneRhino

Photo by Beverly Joubert

Did you know that one rhino is killed every 7 hours?

Today, we want to raise awareness for an important cause – saving Rhinos from extinction.

Working together with 125 of the world’s top travel bloggers, our friends Bret Love and Mary Gabbett at Green Global Travel have partnered with Travelers Building Change to help raise $ 45,000 for Rhinos Without Borders. That’s what is costs to move #JustOneRhino from South Africa to safer conditions in Botswana.

I want to share a few powerful facts with you:

  • Poaching of rhinos for their horn has reached catastrophic levels.
  • 1,004 rhinos were killed in South Africa last year. (source)
  • So far, in 2014, the number has climbed to 618, with the toll in Kruger National Park at 400.
  • 1 rhino is killed every 7 hours.

The purpose of the #JustOneRhino campaign is to raise funds, which is how you can help make a difference. You can donate right now by visiting the Travelers Building Change website.

Photo by Beverly Joubert

Photo by Beverly Joubert

Rhinos Without Borders

The Rhinos Without Borders initiative is spearheaded by Dereck and Beverly Joubert, National Geographic Explorers-In-Residence and the wildlife conservation advocates behind the Great Plains Foundation. In 2009 the Jouberts, with the help of the National Geographic Society, formed the Big Cats Initiative to halt the decline of lions, leopards, cheetahs, tigers, and other animals.

Beginning in January 2015, the Jouberts are working to save Rhinos by translocating 100 of them from South Africa to Botswana. It’s an extremely expensive project, with costs estimated to reach over $ 5 million. So they need your help.

Jeremy Scott Foster, founder of Travelers Building Change, spoke to why he wanted to support Rhinos Without Borders this year.

“The rhino poaching situation in Africa is critical and, given the incredibly high cost of saving them, we wanted to focus our efforts on a difficult project that doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it should”, says Foster. “With rhinos due to become extinct within the next 20 years, it seemed almost obvious that this was the organization we needed to support.”

Photo by Beverly Joubert

You can make a difference

We know there are a lot of great non-profits and charities creating positive change around the world, and that they’re all hoping you donate to their cause. So how do you choose which initiatives to support?

Fortunately, Travelers Building Change and Green Global Travel have partnered with over 20 sponsors to provide some additional incentive for you to consider contributing to #JustOneRhino. There’s over $ 30,000 worth of prizes available fr those that donate!

When you donate on the Travelers Building Change website you will get 10 entries for a $ 20 donation, 20 entries for $ 30 donation, 30 entries for $ 50 donation, and so on.

The prices YOU can win are AWESOME!

South Africa Big Five Safari Tour for two with Adventure Life

Valued at $ 6000 (including flights within Africa), this tour focuses on witnessing the Big Five, which includes the African lion, elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and white/black rhinoceros.

This 9-day tour highlights Johannesburg, Durban, one of Africa’s oldest reserves in KwaZulu-Natal, the beaches of the Dolphin Coast, and culminates with a stay at Rhino Post Safari Lodge in Kruger National Park.

Full Trip Details found here.

10 Nights at Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa (Little Corn Island)

Valued at $ 5,241, this package includes 10 nights for two people in one of Yemaya’s 16 cabanas, which feature a stunning ocean view, private terrace, rainforest showers stocked with local, organic bath products, and as much relaxation as anyone could ask for.

Also included is a $ 700.00 food and beverage credit and a $ 500.00 credit to be used in their award-winning, on-site spa. More info here.

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