Dingle Peninsula, Republic of Ireland

Nearing the end of the All Ireland Rocker trip with Busabout / Shamrocker Adventures. Today we explore the Dingle Peninsula, a stretch of land jutting out to the sea that like most of Ireland is breath taking and green. It should be noted that the ring road around the peninsula while 2-way is generally taken only in one direction by the locals and tourists in the know, that is because for most of the journey its a cliff-side road without a lot of room for modern traffic to allow for casual passing.

First stop on the ring road was a farmer’s estate where for a few euros you can pay to explore the Beehive huts (Clochán), the old farmhouse and pet baby sheep. Expecting a bit of a tourist trap I was pleasantly surprised that it was actually pretty straight forward process. Pay to enter and explore at one’s leisure. The baby sheep where in one section and as long as you were gentle you could pick up one for a photo.

They don’t mince words… exactly as advertised… also historic Beehive Huts

But for a bit of culture I did manage to drag myself away from the cute baby sheep and check out the Beehive Huts that are another staple of the area history.

Next stop on the Dingle Peninsula is Coumeenoole Beach, first we stopped for another photo opportunity then headed down to the beach itself.

Overlooking Coumeenoole Beach

Its quite a trek down to the beach from the parking lot, I opted to grab some more photos and a awesome time-lapse using my iPhone and the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 which makes up my micro travel kit for photographers.

Next we headed out to the point of the peninsula, it got very craggy out there and the wind did start to pick up but was not unmanageable, again weather seemed to be on our side (fun note, the north side of the island was getting pelted by heavy rain so weather is highly variable on the emerald isle – I just got really lucky and I’m sure that luck with eventually run out… cough spoiler cough cough). The Devils Horn as the region is known is quite something, and looking out to the ocean you can see some islands which were used in a recent Star Wars movie.

At the start and subsequent end of our trip around Dingle is the small town of Dingle. Known for its dolphin Fungie that lives out in the bay I had to take a look and see if I could spot the elusive critter.

They even have a statue by the marina honoring their unexpected town mascot
Dingle Harbour / Marina
(J/K – Photoshop is my friend – But I fooled a bunch of people on the bus!)

We did stop for lunch in town, so several of us found a nice place called John Benny’s Pub to have some lunch at the recommendation of our tour guide Gemma. I had the fish of the day and chips, which came with peas as the veggies.

And that was it for the Dingle Penisula, a great day exploring a unique region of Ireland. Along the way we did drive by the famous “Rose Hotel” and stop in town for a rest break. I managed to find a rose bush and an old car to take pictures of… but otherwise short break.

Blowing Rocks Preserve, Hobe Sound, Florida

As we headed south along South Beach Road (County Road 701), we took a rest at Blowing Rocks Preserve which is managed by The Nature Conservancy. What makes this section of the beach somewhat unique is that the shoreline is actually rocky unlike most of the Florida shoreline. At this point, an outcropping of Anastasia Limestone provides variety for the beach walker.  At high tide, with a good wind blowing the waves in hard against this rocky shoreline, plumes of saltwater are thrust skyward for a great display.  Today, there were no serious waves and no high wind so no big dynamic sprays, but an interesting diversion nonetheless.

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Cycling in Florida – Jupiter Island, Hobe Sound, Florida

Our camping spot beside the canal at St. Lucie Locks and Dam in Stuart, Florida had its advantages. Every hour a new batch of boats would pass by :-).

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Palladium White Sands Resort, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

White Sand Beach

Palladium White Sands Resort, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

A portion of the beach at Palladium Resorts, Yucatan Peninsula: After a day or two of trudging through jungles and looking at Mayan ruins at Coba and Chichen-Itza, a bit of sun, surf and sand sure looks tempting. And, of course, playing or watching beach volleyball can take one’s mind off of Mayan ruins.   Continue reading

Tinian Island

Tinian is a small island just 5 miles south-west of Saipan across the Saipan Channel and belongs to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Tinian Island has only one luxury hotel on it and that is located in San Jose, its only town. The island has one casino which is located in the one hotel in the one town.  The beds are not soft!  You can gamble if you like, and many do, but if you don’t want to bother gambling, there is plenty to see on this island.

First, rent-a-car.  Good to arrange in advance so that one is there for you when you arrive.

Take the car and drive around the island. It might feel strange driving down one side of a divided highway but not unusual on this island which was once a major US airforce base. Most tourists will head for the abandoned air force base best known for its role in the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.  The runways in the B-29 bomb loading area are abandoned and overgrown with jungle vegetation but the area is open to the public and you can drive around the abandoned base and right up to the bomb loading pits where a simple shrine marks the location and provides tourist information about past events. Remains of older Japanese fortifications can also be found in the area.

There are a number of shinto shrines, one in the middle of the island and a suicide cliff on the south end. Continue reading

Trip to Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Trip to Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Ron was already in Fort Lauderdale, Florida as an attendee and guest speaker at the semi-annual conference for the Society for Chemical Hazard Communication (SCHC). The plan was simple. Two sons, Graeme and Alan, would hop on a plane in Ottawa and fly down to Fort Lauderdale, Florida via Northwest Airlines.

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