Inis Mor, Aran Islands, Republic of Ireland

Today we leave Galway to check out Inis Mor, the largest of the Aran Islands just off the coast. We had to walk 1.5 blocks from the hostel to catch the charter bus, everyone from Shamrocker Adventures and some other tour groups boarded the Aran Island buses. After a short trip along the coast we reached a marina where large sea ferries waited to take everyone over to the islands.

There are four different ways to explore the island, walking, cycling, horse drawn cart, micro bus. I choose a bicycle option for 10£ although there are now options for electrical bikes for a bit more. Out of the group about 80% took the bicycle option, and the remaining 20% when with the pony trap option.

The map we were given to navigate the island and estimated cycle times

I decided to check out Dun Aonghasa and the Seven Chruches, along the way there were a few other notable historic sites along the way but mainly it optimized views and I took the costal route to avoid to many hills (I have been sitting on a bus for the last 4 days).

First Stop at the Seal Colony – No Seals at the moment.
The beach on the island at the narrow point about 1/2 across the island. It is also the main split in the coastal road to the various sites found on the map.

Dun Aonghasa is my first stop, there is an additional fee to enter the site and its quite a hike up a hill. A fort on the highest point on the island, half of it fell into the ocean below when the cliff eroded.

Dun Aonghasa in half its glory!

Inside the fort was pretty barren, it is basically a large stone (semi) circle of stones that act as wall from the outside. There are a few holes in the walls to act as windows and a doorway.

The views from the fort are breath taking!

The View from the Fort back to the far side of the Island where the ferry dropped us off!
Fences? We don’t need no stinking fences..

Yes you can look over the edge, if you want too! The remnants of the fort can clearly be seen below in the ocean. Its quite a unique experience and hope everyone acts responsible so to allow people the opportunity to gaze over the edge!

Well.. gulp!

After having lunch and enjoying the views such a vantage point allowed it was time to head back down the hill and jump on the bike once more, my second location awaits for no one and the time on the island was running thin to fit it in!

View as I trek back down the hillside to the parking lot where my bike awaits!

Down the hill and past the beach again, this time turning left I cycled along some shallow rolling hills and farms, at least it will be downhill on the way back to the beach!

Now All I have to do bike 2/3 of the length of the island before the Ferry leaves… totally doable… erk!

Low Tide, guess the Ferry is stuck here (Just Kidding, its behind the derelict ship)

People are thinking about Spring

People are thinking about Spring

One interesting thing about having a blog that includes lots of photos is the insight that it can provide into what the general population might be thinking about or planning to do. In the Fall and early Winter, the number of views on winter vacation locations tend to increase and our blogs from past trips to the FloridaDominican RepublicMexico and Cuba begin to be viewed more often. During the summer months, by contrast, those blog entries are rarely viewed.

Rolling Waves - Punta Cana  

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Apple Bossom Blizzard

Today we decided to take our bikes and wander through the bike and walking paths of Kanata’s Beaverbrook and Kanata Lakes subdivisions and then checked out the progress of the construction work on the Terry Fox extension and then arrived home just as the first drops of rain began to fall. We started out by leaving the roadway and heading along the creek in Lytle Park in the Beaverbrook subdivision.

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First Bike-ride of the Year

First Bike-ride of the Year

Okay so I know my Dad has already biked most of Florida. But I’m just starting this year as a combination of weather and illness lead to a slow start. Decided to go along the Ottawa river where their is a Bike Path alongside the Parkway.

I only went 12km in 40 minutes but it was a good test ride. Still need to tweak a few things on the bike (height of handle bars) and the front gear changers which currently limits my bike to the lower 2/3rds of available gears, not that I would of pushed it today, but you know. The nice to haves as I get back into shape from the long winter hiatus.

Blue Springs State Park – Manatee Come Back

A severe winter storm had moved though the northern US into Ontario and the Maritime Regions shutting down or disrupting air and road traffic from Chicago to New York City and points in between so we were happy to have decided to spend an extra night in Florida but had to head north today. The Manatee, which were hard to find the night before, were back in the warm spring waters in numbers when we went for another look in the morning and, with lighting coming from a different direction, they were a lot easier to see.   (Location)

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Cycling in Florida – Ponce Inlet

Started the day out with a trip to Ponce Inlet which is about 10 miles south of Daytona Beach. Attractions of Ponce Inlet include Florida’s tallest lighthouse and a long jetty stretching out into the Atlantic Ocean and a number of boardwalks and trails as well as a Marine Science Center.

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Daytona Beach/Daytona Beach Shores, Florida

We had started the day in Cape Canaveral, traveled to Merritt Island to revisit some of its areas of interest and then backtracked to The northern suburbs of Orlando where I played a few hours of badminton. With weather conditions once again causing uncertainty, we decided to head back out to the coast and ended up in Daytona Beach/ Daytona Beach Shores area at nightfall. Lots of glittering lights in this popular resort town but with no speedway events scheduled, getting accommodation was easy. It was interesting to see the various motorcycle dealers with all of their neon signs advertising their product. Brought back some memories of when I used to ride a small motorcycle and get passed by the larger Harleys, Indians, Triumphs, Ducatis and just about every other brand imaginable.




Cycling in Florida – Merritt Island Revisited

Another sunny day with reasonable temperatures. Began the day walking the beach in Cape Canaveral and then returned to walk the trails of Merritt Island while John did another loop on his bike. On the previous day’s visit to Merritt Island, Black Vultures and Armadillos had been the primary subjects but today I was more interested in the wading and shoreline birds.

The waters in the Merritt Island wetlands come with two distinct characters. Part are left to rise and fall with the tides and part are behind control structures that keep the water at managed levels. This results in a broad variety of habitat and plenty of wading birds. One of the sought after species is the very colourful Roseate Spoonbill. Although I saw four of these beautiful birds in flight, none came within camera range.

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Cycling in Florida – Merritt Island Vultures and Armadillos

The day started out nicely with a blue sky and cooing doves greeting us in the morning.

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Cycling in Florida – Travel Day

Today was basically a traveling day as we moved over onto 1A and traveled toward Cape Canaveral.

We stopped at the library in Ft. Pierce to get a bit of Internet time and when we came out and looked off to the south, there was a pretty good fire burning in the distance.

An individual whom I met by the water had mentioned that he had seen a Manatee a bit earlier but all that I saw in this location were a few pelicans and gulls.

We continued north to our campsite for the evening at the County of Brevard’s Long Point Recreation Center. The available camping site served the purpose but would not be a place that I would chose to go back to if there were better options. We had originally hoped to get a spot at Sebastian Inlet State Park but they were full by the time that we arrived there.

Once we had the tents set up, John took his bike and went off for a ride back along the highway and I took my camera and hiked around on an adjacent island which was connected to the camping area by a high arched wooden bridge used for access and for fishing.

Mangroves along the shoreline made it a bit difficult to follow the shoreline but a number of well-worn pathways traversed the inner areas of the island.

I enjoyed photographing a Tri-colored Heron that kept moving into and out of the shadows cast by the setting sun.

A number of Egrets and Brown Pelicans flew by and three Osprey circled overhead and occasionally dove into the water in pursuit of a meal.

Photographing the small warblers that flitted from branch to branch in the denser areas of vegetation were difficult to photograph but one warbler did land on a bare branch.

After I left the island, I found another trail to follow and came across a Kingfisher and another Osprey and then finished off the evening getting back to the campground as night fell around us.

Saturday will likely be the Merritt Island/Cape Canaveral area.