Queenstown, New Zealand

July 30, 2012 - Filed under Stuff to do, Travel

We flew from Melbourne to Queenstown, NZ, where we met up with my friend Bex. Bex and I met back in 2003, when we were both doing our Divemaster’s in Koh Tao, Thailand. We haven’t see each other since, but through the wonders of Facebook, have managed to stay in touch over the years. Bex and her fiancé Rupert, were nice enough to put us up for a few days in Queenstown while we sorted out a place to live for a month.

Bex & I in Koh Tao, Thailand, 2003

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Posted by: Kelly

Koninginnedag / Queen’s Day 2011

August 5, 2011 - Filed under Entertainment, Stuff to do

One of the main reasons we left life in the tropics for a brief stint in Europe, was for Queen’s Day. April 30th, the day the the Dutch celebrate the Queen’s Birthday en masse, with celebrations across the country. Outdoor parties, markets, and people fill the streets in honor of the Queen and The Royal House of Oranje. (While technically the Queen’s birthday is in January, the current queen, Queen Beatrix decided to keep Queen’s Day on April 30th in honor of her mother’s birthday, and because the weather is typically better for outdoor celebrations.)

Queen's Day 2011

2011 was my fourth Queen’s Day and somewhat of a reunion between me and 3 friends who all celebrated our first Queen’s Day ever, together, 10 years ago. Sarah, Liz and Annette have been celebrating together ever since, but unfortunately for me, getting back every year has been a little harder. While I lived in Amsterdam I was able to partake in Queen’s Day twice and in 2006 went back for my third. During that trip I made a promise to come back for our 10th anniversary, so when 2011 rolled around I knew I had to be there. Read More…

Posted by: Kelly

Roatan Shark Dive with Waihuka Dive Center

May 9, 2011 - Filed under Scuba Diving, Stuff to do, Underwater Photography

One of the things we wanted to check off our to-do list before leaving Roatan, was the Shark Dive. It was something we wanted to do on our first trip, but somehow time slipped away from us, and we just never got around to it. When we were back this fall we made sure it was a priority.

Pretty much all of the dive shops or resorts on the island can book the Shark Dive for you, but if you’re short on time it might be a good idea to book this in advance, especially if you’re coming in high season, or on a cruise ship day. We purposely booked on a non-cruise ship day, and got really lucky as our group of 6 were the only ones scheduled for that day. Read More…

Posted by: Kelly

Cenote Diving, Tulum, Mexico

October 28, 2010 - Filed under Scuba Diving, Stuff to do, Underwater Photography

While in Mexico, we had the opportunity to do a number of different cenote dives. Frequently found on the Yucatan Peninsula, a cenote is a sinkhole leading to an underground body of water. Often the result of a collapsed cave ceiling, the water is usually freshwater and incredibly clear since it’s mostly rain water that has filtered through the ground. There are hundreds of kilometers of underwater passages beneath the Yucatan Peninsula, though only a handful of locations are actively guided and accessible without advanced cave diving certification. Unbelievably, we even found a house with a private cenote right in the middle of Playa del Carmen on 5th Ave. While we couldn’t dive that one, we did feed the pet turtle and catfish.

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Posted by: Shim

The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico

August 9, 2010 - Filed under Stuff to do

I know we’ve said this before, but Mike and I really aren’t very good tourists. I’ve seen my share of temples and cathedrals, and museums have never really been my thing. That being said, every once in a while I drag Mike out to do something touristy, mainly because I feel like we should… I mean we may never be back, so might as well see it while we’re here, right? The ruins of Tulum, were one of those things.

Unlike most of the people we know, this is our first time to the Mayan Rivera. It seems like most of our friends at one time or another have done a package trip here, and have ended up visiting Tulum. Most people say it’s a “must-do”, so one Saturday when the dive boat was full we decided to check it out. Read More…

Posted by: Kelly

2 weeks vacationing and diving in Belize

May 27, 2010 - Filed under Other, Scuba Diving, Stuff to do, Underwater Photography

On our way up to Mexico for our friends’ wedding, we stopped off in Belize for 2 weeks to relax and do a little more diving. Having only dove Roatan in the Caribbean, we were looking forward to diving another location for comparison.

When we arrived in Placencia, we didn’t realize it was coming into low season and rainy season. For most of our 2 weeks, it’s rained a little on some days and a lot on others. We’re also often the only people in the beachfront resort hotel we’re staying in. So we’ve had a staff of 10+ taking care of us each day as we lounge by the pool when the weather cooperates.

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Posted by: Shim

Handmade Souvenir in Costa Rica

March 5, 2010 - Filed under Stuff to do

We don’t tend to buy a lot of souvenirs. They’re heavy and they take up too much space. We also don’t do a lot of sight-seeing. We don’t visit temples or museums and very rarely go on tours. Some might say we’re pretty crappy tourists. Instead we capture most of our “souvenirs” in the form of photos, and experience a place’s culture by doing things that are activity-based rather than passively seeing “the sights”.

On our last week in Tamarindo, I ended up with the first souvenir of our year and a half on the road. I took a pottery class and learned the traditional art of making Chorotega Pottery.

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Posted by: Kelly

Our ATV Tour from Tamarindo

December 28, 2009 - Filed under Bikes, Trikes, and Automobiles, Stuff to do

I haven’t been getting my motor-sports fix lately, so Kelly and I decided to take an ATV trek this week. We booked a tour with FourTrax Adventure ATV tours and were picked up by a shuttle and transferred to the briefing point, a few minutes outside of Villa Real.

We ran over the basic controls; pretty familiar for a motorcycle rider, and took the ATVs for a quick test lap around the property. Because of the lack of counter steering on an ATV, it wasn’t immediately as intuitive for me as a motorcycle, but I got the hang of it soon enough.

ATV tour Tamarindo, Costa Rica
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Posted by: Shim

Learning to surf at Tamarindo Beach

December 28, 2009 - Filed under Stuff to do

Tamarindo is a popular spot for learning to surf. The waves are fairly small (though there are a couple larger points along the beach) and it’s well suited for those just picking up the basics. There’s plenty of board rental shops along the beach, most of which will provide lessons for around $40 for a two hour lesson. So, a few weeks ago I decided to try surfing on my next day off.

Saturday came around and Kelly and I wandered down to the beach to find that a huge swell had come in and the usual 1-3 foot waves had turned into some monster 5-7 foot waves and bigger! I wandered into a surf shop to see if a lesson was doable in those conditions and they convinced me that by 3pm things would probably have calmed down a bit. Read More…

Posted by: Shim

Week 63: Lauren’s Last Week

November 27, 2009 - Filed under Stuff to do, Weekly Report

After a couple of very touristy days, we settled back into the laid back vibe of Tamarindo. Mike and I spent the days working and Lauren made the most of her last week of sun, by alternating between the beach and pool. We had a couple of good meals out, and Lauren finally got to have “Nachos as big as your ass”…. which were actually smaller than all 3 of our asses.

Witch Rock Surf Camp

On Thursday evening we set out on a Turtle Tour in hopes of seeing a nesting Leatherback Turtle on Playa Grande. Playa Grande’s three mile stretch of beach is part of the Las Baulas National Marine park, one of the largest Leatherback Turtle nesting sites in the world, and is strictly regulated in order to help protect the turtles.

Playa Grande
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Posted by: Kelly