When the word “Gold!” rang out from the Klondike in 1898, one of the main ways for prospectors to get there was by river – specifically, the Yukon River. It was a wide and wild, powerful and pristine waterway when sourdoughs travelled it; not much has changed in 120 years. It still exudes a wild essence, a sense of isolation when you’re on it. Depending where you put-in, you may not have any road, cell, or WIFI access until you arrive at Dawson City. That’s where the Klondike and Yukon Rivers meet and from where Klondikers ventured further into the wilderness seeking their fortunes.Explore
The ship’s intercom crackled to life. “Good morning! It’s 6:06 am,” announced our expedition leader apologetically, “it’s early but off the port side we’ve spotted our first polar bear!”
This apex predator was one reason I came to one of Canada’s newest parks, Torngat Mountains National Park on Labrador’s east coast, and I sprung from my berth as fast as a four-year old on a Christmas morning. I slipped into warm clothing, doors slamming nearby suggesting other One Ocean Expedition passengers weren’t stopping to change, and sprinted to the bridge.
Disembarking from the motor coach that has delivered us from Vietnam’s capital Hanoi to the cusp of Halong Bay on the northeast coast, we get our first delighted look at the RV Angkor Pandaw, a classic small river ship that is to be our home for the next 10 nights on a one-of-a-kind cultural and historical journey through northern Vietnam.
She is a great beauty, the polished brass fittings and handcrafted teak of her double decks gleaming in the late afternoon sun. While the Angkor is a replica of an 1890s Irrawaddy Flotilla Company K-class river steamer, this luxurious 16-cabin craft was custom-built in 2013 and sports current mod-cons. (In 1995, Burmese historian Paul Strachan revived the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company — which, during Burma’s British colonial era, sailed the world’s largest private fleet — and restored an original steamer named Pandaw, thus Pandaw Cruises was born.)Explore
Everywhere you turn in Victoria, there is a strong connection to nature, whether it’s the ocean or the land, with activities, hotels and restaurants all paying homage in different ways.
You can’t get much closer to nature than snorkeling with seals in the Pacific Ocean. Gearing up for snorkeling took us an hour to squeeze into our wetsuits in between giggling and being measured for boots, suits, gloves and hoods; it took me back to prom night preparation. Squeezing into wetsuits not dissimilar to gowns, replacing eyeshadow with snorkel masks, and the prep produced similar reactions from all six women.Explore
Sapphire blue water contrast with towering red sandstone cliffs, a postcard worthy shot that can only be seen in Northern Arizona. The 186-mile Lake Powell straddles the Arizona-Utah border, with six major side canyons and close to 2,000 miles of coastline. Complete with sandy beaches, there is more than enough to explore when you rent a houseboat from Lake Powell Marina.
Canoeing among the spawning salmon on the Sydenham River in Ontario’s Grey County was such a special experience, I still think about its magical qualities months later. Fall is a beautiful time to visit the area and hike to some of the ten waterfalls in the area or to canoe amongst the salmon. We were advised to start our tour at Inglis Falls, as they cascade eighteen-meters into the Sydenham River. Waterfalls are a common theme for tours in the area with sparkling rivers tumbling over the edges of the Niagara Escarpment from Holstein through the Beaver Valley and up to Owen sound.Explore
It’s just so easy to get to Antigua with direct flights offered by Air Canada and West Jet several days a week in season, Antigua also offers one of the best kick-off points for exploring so many other Caribbean islands…if you have the time and the winds are prevailing in the right direction.
However, don’t get me wrong. There’s lots to do in Antigua and since it’s pretty much a year-round destination, you could customize your charter vacation by planning it around Antigua Sailing Week in late April or the annual carnival in late July.Explore
A memorable phrase by Nietzche reminds us that the goal of life is to become who you really are. Combine that with the gift of time, relaxation, pampering, few decisions, exploring the unknown, and experiencing the opposite of what we encounter in our daily lives. If I made a list of what is missing from my daily life, all of those items pop up. To say I found it all in an eight-night cruise with Windstar on the Star Pride sounds like hyperbole but perhaps it took the cruise for me to realize that with everything in one place, it was to be an epiphany week for how I want to live life. Explore
I stood on the edge of Hell’s Canyon, and even though it sounds like the beginning of a murder mystery, it is one of the major tourist pulls in the Coeur D’Alene, Idaho area. After boarding a 29 ft. boat with Snake Dancer Excursions, we traveled fifty miles upriver even though we were heading south on Snake River. Although it’s in Idaho, straight across the river is Washington, with another entrance from Oxbow, Oregon. Famous explorers, Lewis and Clarke crossed this river at Lewiston and mention it in their journals often. The deepest canyon in North America, word from the locals is that it’s so deep, it goes to hell, and so wide, you can’t see the upper edge from the bottom and you can’t see the top from the bottom.Explore
I boarded the Celestyal Crystal ship in Havana, after a tour of the city in a 1950 red and white Chevy convertible, one of 70,000 classic American cars that account for half of the vehicles on the island. After a couple of hours, we reluctantly left Lucito, our driver and his grandfather’s car and strolled around Old Town Havana. I dearly wished I had more time there to explore the cafes, shops and see more of the faded elegant beauty of the historic buildings. But the ship was waiting.Explore