Monday, June 30, 2014

Bluebird's Castle Photo Spots

Bluebeard's Castle Resort - St. Thomas
St. Thomas In-Focus
Photo Ops Bluebird's Castle

In our previous article, 4 St. Thomas Photo Stops, we spoke about turning a familiar destination, St. Thomas, into a new adventure via photography.  There were four locations we visited during an organized mini photography tour.  

Objective

The goal of this photography exercise is to capture each of the destinations in a unique way.   You may have seen other images of the destination, in the past.  What makes your image something interesting to the reader?   How does the image enhance your visit?

Bluebird's Main Building

President Roosevelt was here
When arriving at your destination, begin the hunt for subjects to add to your portfolio of Bluebird's images.  Castles make very interesting photos, so this is probably the first subject matter you'll start with.  In our previous article, we included a photo showing the castle.   Here is another image, but this time we zoomed in and framed the castle with a tree and some flowers making it more appealing.   You'll want to experiment with several different angles, focal lengths, different parts of the building, etc. to completely document the subject.

Surrounding Area

St. Thomas View from Bluebird's Castle
Bluebeard's Castle has a colorful history  dating back to the 17th century.  The town was fearful for its safety, so this castle was fortified with several cannons which are still present today.

The castle was built on the side of a mountain with a clear view of the surrounding landscape.  This makes the current resort the perfect location for panoramic views of St. Thomas.

Imagine you are at the castle back in the early days, by gazing at the town from the vantage point of one of the cannons, as we have done in this image.

Two iguanas atop a tree at Bluebeard's Castle  - St. Thomas
Look Closely for Unique Images

These local inhabitants have one of the best views at the castle overlooking the bay.  They blend in with the tree, so they are also protected from any foe. 
 Flowers captured at Bluebeard's Castle
To bring home unique images, you will want to use macro photography techniques to zero in on a subset of the world around you.  These iguanas and flowers make the perfect subjects for your photography.  You should have several different focal lengths, including telephoto.

 Click on any of these images
 to see larger versions



Bluebeard's Castle Archway Bluebeard's Castle Archway

Arches, Framing & Vantage Points

Palm branches - Bluebeard's Castle (framed)These two images were captured in the same doorway at the castle, but the vantage point changed.  In the first image, we are looking into the gardens while in the second we are looking out at the sea.   Archways make interesting additions to your photos, so be on the lookout for opportunities to include them in your portfolio.

Palm branches - Bluebeard's Castle
Which image do you like better?  Which one is more likely to be unique?

Photography Helps You "See" the World

It's always fun to look at two sets of vacations images, made by two different photographers.  We suspect there will be some common images, and those would be the same images you'd find in a travel magazine featuring popular attractions.   It is the differences that help you "see" the destination in an entirely different light.

These are only a few images we captured at Bluebeard's Castle in St. Thomas.   Keep in mind that there isn't "right or wrong" when it comes to photography.  There are "better or worse" images, mainly due to some common errors, such as hand-holding a camera in low light conditions.  Sometimes errors can make interesting images.

We've enjoyed putting this collection of images together to demonstrate how you can take a familiar destination and rekindle the fire you felt the first time you visited.   We'd welcome your feedback.

Meanwhile, you can Follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC  Pinterest: CruiseWithChris Pappin and Facebook: CruiseWithChris Pappin Cruises Inc for more ideas.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

4 St. Thomas Photo Stops

Magens Bay St. Thomas
St. Thomas In-Focus
"Seeing" a Familiar Destination 

If you cruise to the Caribbean often, odds are that you will return to familiar ports. When doing so, you are faced with several possibilities.

In this article, we'll suggest one idea for the photography enthusiast. You don't need to be a pro to accomplish the assignment.In this introductory article, we'll describe the tour and in subsequent articles, we'll look at the results.

About the Tour

We have been to St. Thomas before, so we decided to do a different type of shore excursion. We booked the St. Thomas In-Focus Photography Tour . We met our guide on the pier just after 9:00 AM and waited for the rest of our group to gather.

Hawk - Mountain Top St. Thomas
Our guide was a local photographer's assistant. The tour took us to several locations around St. Thomas which are known as photo spots. The favorite stop of the tour was the one at Magens Bay. While there I spotted a hawk overhead and my husband was able to get a beautiful shot of the hawk with wide-spread wings back-lit by the sun. We couldn't have asked for a better photo opportunity.

Throughout the tour, our guide would take pictures of us if we wanted. She'd also offer advice and answer any questions. This was a most enjoyable tour, quite different than any other shore excursion we've been on.

Paradise Point
Paradise Point - St. Thomas


Our first stop was at Paradise Point, St. Thomas Skyride which is located just minutes from downtown.  There are several vantage points and photo spots at this location, with some of the best views of St. Thomas.

Insider tip
Three tram cars always travel up the mountain together in a row. Your least-spectacular view will be from the middle car, because the windows on two of the four sides look directly into the surrounding tram cars. So for the best view on the ride up and down, get into the third car going up and the first car going down. The last car's view is definitely better than the middle car, too.

Bluebeard's Castle Resort - St. Thomas
Bluebeard's Castle Resort

Bluebeard's Castle Resort is located in the U.S. Virgin Islands in the heart of St. Thomas.  The hotel has spectacular views of the surrounding area.  The grounds of the resort have a wealth of photo spots.  This wouldn't be a location on a typical shore excursion but I'm sure a local taxi driver could get you here if you wanted to venture off on your own instead of taking an organized tour like we did.
Mountain Top - St. Thomas


Mountain Top

World Famous Mountain Top is one of the most popular attractions in St. Thomas.  The view of Magens Bay above was captured from the observation deck as well as the hawk's picture.  This attraction is located at the top of St. Peter Mountain, 2100 feet above sea level. 

Besides having some of the most breath-taking views of the surrounding islands, you can also shop in its stores or enjoy one of the famous banana daiquiris or other beverage.

Beach - St. Thomas
Find Your Beach

The Caribbean is known for its many shades of blue waters, but few places offer so many different views from which you can capture beach activity.   We don't recall the name of this particular beach.  It was not a very popular location which is perfect if you are seeking some photo opportunities without the clutter of too many people.  Be sure to have someone take your picture as well, with the sea as the background.

St. Thomas - Photographer's Paradise

You don't need to go on an organized tour to find photo spots like this, but having someone to offer advice and give you tips to take better photos at a fraction of the cost of a photography tour is well worth it.  Our local pro was Gary Felton.  Check out his website for some more inspiration.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What To Do for Summer Vacation

Let's Go On a 
Summer Cruise ....
Where?  How Long? When?
What Cruise Line / Ship?

As Summer officially arrived this past weekend, thoughts turn to vacation time with your family.  The kids are out of school, so you don't need to worry about getting back in time for classes.

You've decided a cruise would be something you'd like to do as a family.  This would be your first cruise - so where do you start.

This Week on Twitter:  #cruisechat #FriFotos #summer

@ChrisPappinMCC
Planning your summer get-a-way may seem like a daunting task, but the Twitter cruise community is coming to the rescue.   Today on Twitter, we participated in #cruisechat.  It is a weekly chat that is strictly focused on every aspect of cruising.  This week's topic was #summer.

Later this week,  Twitter event that we participate in, #FriFotos, is also featuring #summer as its theme.  If you view the tweets for these two Twitter events you might get some starting ideas for your own summer vacation.


#cruisechat Tuesday, June 24th 

To get you started with your planning, we'll share with you our responses to the questions posed in this week's Twitter chat.  This is a fun-filled hour that you don't want to miss, but if you must, there's a recap of the chat here thanks to @Travelogx.

Q1: When you think of a summer cruise, what's the first image that comes to mind? Why?
A1:  first thing that comes to mind is one of the cruise lines private beaches

Q2: What destination is atop your summer cruise bucket list? Why?
A2: #Europe tops #summer #cruise destinations All your favorite ships are repositioned

Q3: What cruise line/ship are you planning to sail for your next summer cruise? Why?
A3: Maybe @CelebrityCruise back to the #galapagos Bartolome Islands pictured here


(Image on left: Bartolome Islands)

Q4: #CruiseChat Photo Break: Share a favorite family photo from a summer (or other) cruise
A4: @SimonTravels @CruiseNorwegian #bermuda Hartley's Undersea Walk #adventure #cruise #summer


Bermuda is one of our favorite destinations.  The people there are so friendly and there is plenty of activities for everyone in the family.

See our Shutterfly share site for more pics.


Q5: Why is a cruise a better choice than other summer vacation options for your family?
A5: #summer #cruise to #Europe is educational & fun for entire family. Easier to get around & see more. #cruisechat   

(Image on left - Mykonos, Greece)

Q6: Which family members do you think enjoy a summer cruise more: the parents or the kids? Why?
Agree with this RT @SimonTravels @MSCCruisesUSA: A6. Trick question! They both enjoy it equally, but in different ways! 

Q7: Why is a summer cruise the perfect choice for a family reunion? Which of your relatives would enjoy it most?  
A7: Family reunions on a #cruise perfect for multi-generational families Time together without the planning fuss


Q8: What food or beverage item would you seek out first on your summer cruise? Why?
A8: If on @CarnivalCruise first food to seek out would be a burger from Guys #summer #cruise

(Guys Burger Joint on Carnival Cruise)


Q9: Lots of ships in the Caribbean this summer mean lower prices. What's the best deal you've gotten on a cruise?
A9: @CelebrityCruise Remember me suggesting #galapagos for #summer We used Captain's Club Elite status discount :)

We've shared our answers with you here, but this was a very active chat, so be sure to check out the recap link above or simply search on Twitter.  #cruisechat will take a break for the 4th of July, but will be back on July 8th, so be sure to check back then for more cruise info.

We hope this gave you some ideas for your summer vacation.  We'd be happy to discuss any of them in detail with you if you'd like to contact us.

Meanwhile, you can Follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC  Pinterest: CruiseWithChris Pappin and Facebook: CruiseWithChris Pappin Cruises Inc for more ideas.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Plotting Your Next Travel Adventure


Where in the World ...

When planning your next cruise or land vacation, you will have many choices to select from.   It can be quite confusing to sort through the choices, so we recommend consulting a professional travel agent.

Secondly, we suggest using Twitter and other social media sites to get ideas.  Finally, please share with others as well.

#TRAVELPICS 
the travel photography chat/share on Twitter

Last Monday we joined #TRAVELPICS chat on Twitter for a fun packed hour exchanging ideas and travel photos with like-minded posters. The theme was “maps” and participants shared their own travel pics about the theme and answered pre-arranged questions. Here are our replies.

Follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC

Q1: What region on the world map have you not visited, and what's stopped you from going?

A1 Not visited & New Zealand because don't have the time to do it justice until husband retires


Q2: Share a photo you've taken from a place few people could locate on a map. What brought you there? 

A2: ventured off beaten path Lucca, Italy (Livorno/Florence/Pisa)

 
Q3: If you threw a dart at a world map and had to travel there today, where would you NOT want the dart to land--and why?

A3: India – while I’d like to see it – long flight & food wouldn’t agree with me

Q4: Whether a food map, adventure map, or cultural map, post a fitting photo of yours from a well-known destination. 

  
A4: Then & Now 70 Years Later Never Forget Beaches

Q5: Imagine you win an all-expenses-paid trip for 1 month to photograph anywhere. Where do you go and why?

A5: China – photographic material is endless – culture, history, scenery, beauty

Q6: Do you have a favorite place on the world map? Show us a photo of your favorite destination! 

A6: Galapagos @AntiTourist @CelebrityCruises Xpedition  

Plan for your Visit

To get the most out of a visit to either a new or familiar destination, we encourage you to do some research before you travel.   You may want to check with your professional travel consultant  for ideas about popular attractions as well as those that are off the beaten path.   That was another topic we discussed during the live chat.

The internet is a wealth of information.   Once you know some attractions that are on your bucket list, search for some images that professionals and amateurs have captured.   You may want similar images in your photo journal of your trip.   We suggest that you add a few more unique perspectives as well.

We hope that this has sparked your interest in taking your photography to a new level.  Follow the weekly #travelpics chat on Twitter for more ideas on this and other travel topics.   We'd love to hear your ideas as well, or better yet, join us for the next chat.

Thank you to this week's co-hosts: @AntiTourist, @TheTravelCamel, @Sihpromatum, @VibrantIreland, @travellingmolly, and @StephensPhoto.

Have you seen the maps-themed recap?

Join us for on Monday's at 3 PM ET every week for a fun-filled hour related to travel and photography.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Step Into the Past in Ketchikan

Free-Standing Giants

During an Alaska Inside Passage cruise, you will most likely have a stop in Ketchikan.  If you are wondering what you might do there, then continue reading.

Ketchikan has the world's largest collection of standing totem poles, found throughout the city and at four major locations: Saxman Totem Park, Totem Bight State Park, Potlatch Park, and the Totem Heritage Center. Most of the totems at the two parks are replicas of older poles.


Since totem poles were typically carved from red cedar tree trunks, which are subject to decay over the years, there are few examples of pre-1900 in existence today. 

Totem Bight 
State Historical Park

During the Roosevelt era, through the efforts of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and skilled native carvers, several totem poles were repaired or duplicated at a sight which is known today as Totem Bight State Historical Park. Here you can see 14 totem poles and a Clan House.

A visit to Totem Bight is very educational since there are signs posted which explain the art, the culture, and history of native tribes who would have carved these tall poles. You can learn even more by clicking on the links above.

Clan House

 A clan house, or community house, could house 30-50 people inside this one-room dwelling.  The clan house at Totem Bight is representative of the type in many Indian villages built in the early 19th century.

Several families would have lived inside this house, with each having their own space, while sharing a common fireplace.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Cristina is 2nd East Pacific Hurricane This Season

Hurricane Cristina 2014

Hurricane CRISTINA
 
The 2014 East Pacific Hurricane Season, which officially started on May 15th, continues with the third storm developing into a Hurricane.   Tropical Depression 3E formed Monday southwest of Mexico and developed into a tropical storm that same evening.  No warnings were issued to date but heavy rains, swells, and possible rip currents are expected in the area.

With 2014's Hurricanes Amanda and Cristina reaching category 4 status, it's the first time there have been two category 4 hurricanes through June in the eastern North Pacific basin since the beginning of the satellite era in 1966.



 

Full coverage of this, and all tropical storms, can be found on our Hurricane Zone page.   There are RSS feeds from the National Hurricane Center posted there giving you up to the minute information.   For storms that impact cruises, we will bring you information on those details as well.  Please bookmark that page for further reference during the Hurricane Season which runs now through November 30th.


Hurricane CRISTINA
800 AM PDT FRI JUN 13 2014

...CRISTINA A LITTLE WEAKER...
WIND:
 NEAR 100 MPH...155 KM/H...
WITH HIGHER GUSTS.
WATCHES/ WARNINGS:
THERE ARE NO COASTAL WATCHES OR WARNINGS IN EFFECT

SHIP IMPACT:
 NO CRUISE SHIPS IMPACTED
     
Storm Archive       Graphics Archive


 
 
 
HISTORICAL DATA:
 
200 AM PDT WED JUN 11 2014

...CRISTINA STRENGTHENS INTO A HURRICANE...
 

 
800 PM PDT WED JUN 11 2014
 ...CRISTINA STRENGTHENS AND HAS 100 MPH WINDS... 
 
 
200 AM PDT THU JUN 12 2014

...CRISTINA RAPIDLY INTENSIFIES INTO A CATEGORY THREE HURRICANE...
 
 
530 AM PDT THU JUN 12 2014

...CRISTINA REACHES CATEGORY 4 STRENGTH... 

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND

SURF...SWELLS GENERATED BY CRISTINA ARE AFFECTING PORTIONS OF THE
SOUTHWESTERN COAST OF MEXICO. THESE SWELLS SHOULD BEGIN TO SUBSIDE
LATER TODAY. PLEASE CONSULT PRODUCTS FROM YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.
NEAR 75 MPH...120 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Selfies for World Oceans Day 2014

NOAA Ocean Today video: 'Celebrate World Ocean Day -- June 8'

 
 
Know Your Ocean
 
True or False?  
 
Earth has five separate oceans
 
Ocean is blue because of the sky
 
Sea floor is flat
 
Saltwater is water & table salt 
 
Watch Video for Answers

 
June is "National Oceans Month" - Know your ocean!


Make an ocean promise, 
take a selfie for the sea

We all love the ocean. It takes care of us - by providing food, medicine, oxygen and fresh air, transportation, communication… not to mention fun, recreation, and inspiration! The ocean links people all over the world together, and we couldn’t survive without it.

This World Oceans Day, give back to the ocean by promising to do at least one thing in your life to help keep it healthy. A healthy ocean means healthy humans, dolphins, corals, turtles, fish, and other wildlife for the future. So, pick a promise and post a selfie on social media to share how you’re doing your part for our ocean.



We also encourage you to post your own selfies (and tag #WorldOceansDay and/or link to http://worldoceansday.org/promise) and retweet others.

Friday, June 6, 2014

D-Day Then and Now 70 Years Later

D-Day Landing - Arnhem (Groesbeek) - Liberation Museum
70th Anniversary
D-Day
June 6, 2014

On June 6, 1944, D-Day, my father landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. He never spoke much about that day, other than to say that his tank had sunk, he had been rescued, and was redeployed. He was in his early 20s at the time.


Today marks another anniversary of D-Day, the day that the allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy to begin to take back Europe.   The generation that fought that battle are slowly fading away, leaving only written accounts in their place.

My father is among those who are no longer with us. He and his comrades live on in our hearts as we honor them today during the commemoration of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.  On the occasion of the 70th Anniversary, many surviving soldiers have gathered to participate in various events.

"Just last week, I received a letter from a French citizen.  “Dear Mr. President, and the American people,” he wrote, “[we are] honored to welcome you… to thank you again for all the pain and efforts of [the] American people and others in our common struggle for freedom.”
 "Today, we say the same to the people of France.  Thank you, especially, for the generosity that you’ve shown the Americans who’ve come here over the generations -- to these beaches, and to this sacred place of rest for 9,387 Americans.  At the end of the war, when our ships set off for America, filled with our fallen, tens of thousands of liberated Europeans turned out to say farewell, and they pledged to take care of the more than 60,000 Americans who would remain in cemeteries on this continent.  In the words of one man, we will take care of the fallen “as if their tombs were our children’s.”  And the people of France, you have kept your word like the true friends you are.  We are forever grateful."  (Applause.)  ~Remarks by President Obama at the 70th Anniversary of D-Day -- Omaha Beach, Normandy  [Read more...]
  Retracing History

My parents went back to Normandy many years later for the 40th anniversary observance.  He visited the grave of his commanding officer in the American Cemetery (shown to the left).   Despite all his bravery, that sight moved him to tears. My husband and I returned to Omaha Beach and several historic sites in Normandy, France for the 60th anniversary.


This was a very moving experience for us as well and it brought to life events which until then was just something we read about in history books.

That trip was in conjunction with a 12 Night British Isles / Norwegian Fjords cruise.   We arranged for a private tour with a local guide during which we walked on the beaches, visited all four of the cemeteries and other memorial sites.

Normandy Then & Now

The benefit of using a local guide was that we not only visited the various sites, but were also provided historical background, through images from 1944 so that we could experience Normandy in a totally different way.

Must See Sites

Our guide picked us from our ship in LeHarve early in the morning and returned us there in early evening.   He could have gone longer, but we were tired and decided to return to the ship instead of having dinner in Honfleur.



70th Anniversary Links:

70th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy

70th Anniversary Events - National D-Day Memorial

More Coverage  on Twitter  70eNormandie    @ChrisPappinMCC

Powerful interactive exhibit on and Invasion from & is available here:  

Explore artifacts, oral histories, and more from The National WWII Museum D-Day:  

In honor of this Anniversary of D-Day, we have updated links in our previous blog articles and also gathered all our photo albums on a Shutterfly Share Page.

Read More on our Blog:

Normandy, France - Retracing History

Our tour started with visits to all three cemeteries:

The British Cemetery (Bayuex War Cemetary)
Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial
German Cemetery (La Cambe German Cemetery)

Normandy, France - Retracing History (Part 2)

Not far from  Normandy Beaches we stopped at:

Le Grand Bunker Museum 
Pegasus Bridge
 
Normandy, France - Retracing History (Part 3)

We concluded our Normandy visit with three destinations:
St Mere Eglise
Pointe du Hoc
Honfleur, France

D-Day      6 June 1944

The beaches were quiet the day we visited the Normandy Beaches unlike the early morning hours in 1944. I encourage you to include a visit to Normandy should your cruise call in LeHavre, France.  Bring the entire family, especially children, so that they can bring history to life.

The Landing Zones:

Utah beach    Pointe du Hoc   Omaha beach    Gold beach   Juno beach   Sword beach

Some More D-Day References on the Web
Normandie Mémoire
National D-Day Mermorial Foundation
Previous D-Day Posts
 











Tuesday, June 3, 2014

3 Top Attractions Flåm Norway

Save Best For Last
Norwegian Fjords Cruise 
Flåm, Norway

It's hard to believe but Flåm, Norway was our last Norwegian Fjord port of our 12 Night British Isles / Norwegian Fjords cruise. There is so much to do in this area, so we've narrowed the list to our Top 3 Picks.  These sites can be seen, with adequate time for each, during your port call in Flåm.

In order to see our top choices, we booked an organized Royal Caribbean tour, Overland to Voss, Tvinde & Stalheim. There were two offerings of that tour, one did the train first (as described in the tour description) and the other did the train in the afternoon following lunch. We opted for the latter.


Stalheim

Our day began with an early start by motor coach to the Stalheim Hotel. In order to get to the hotel, our motor coach had to navigate spectacular hairpin bends of Stalheimskleivane, the steepest road in Norway. The drivers definitely deserve every krone they receive in wages and tips.



Our bus driver did a wonderful job getting us to our destination safely. Once there we entered the hotel for coffee, tea, and cakes. We had plenty of time to explore on our own, taking in the splendid views of the Naeroy Valley, the river that runs through it and the magnificent waterfalls that graced the mountain walls.

Words cannot describe the scene adequately, so take a look at our Stalheim photo album for some pictures we took.
Tvinde 

Descending the windy mountain roads, our motor coach continued the tour to our next destination, Tvinde Waterfall.

As you can see from this picture, the waterfall cascades down the mountain side. There are rocks at the foot of the waterfall which make for great portrait shots with the waterfall in the background.  These are just a sampling of images from the waterfall. View the rest of our pictures in the Tvinde photo album.

Voss

We had time for a quick refreshment and then we reboarded the motor coach for our trip to Voss, where we would have a traditional Norwegian Lunch Buffet at the Fleischer's Hotel.


Following lunch we had time to explore the quaint town of Voss before heading to the train station for our trip back to Flåm.

In the center of town is Voss Church - Vangskyrkja which was built between 1271-77. It is still in use today. There is a small charge if you want to enter the church and take photos. My husband paid the fee and included in our Voss photo album, you'll find photos of the interior of the church.

Our all day tour continued via the Flam Railway from Voss to Myrdal Station. We changed trains in Myrdal. There was enough time between trains to explore the gift shop at the station and get some ice cream. Make sure you get some ice cream when you are in Norway - it was one of our favorite things to do.


Kjosfossen Waterfall
 
The final highlight of the tour was the photo stop at Kjosfossen Waterfall . We were allowed to disembark the train to get close up pictures of the magnificent waterfall. I have to admit, this is the first time I've been on a train which stopped for photos. The waterfall powers the Flåm Railway. For more pictures of the train trip from Voss to Flåm see our photo album.

Our train pulled into the station at Flåm. As we disembarked the train, we could see the Jewel of the Seas docked just a short walk away. There was some time for shopping in the stores by the pier before boarding the ship for our final sail-away in Norway. We had a day at sea the following day, then on to our final port, Amsterdam, Netherlands before returning to Harwich, England.

We hope that you've enjoyed your trip to the Norwegian Fjords. It's not quite the same as being there in person we know, so hopefully you will get there some day. If you've not quite had enough of the Norwegian Fjords, fear not -  we had another cruise which included the Norwegian Fjords, so in future articles, we'll tell you about that trip.


Second Tropical Storm of 2014 East Pacific

Tropical Storm BORRIS


Tropical Storm BORIS
 
The 2014 East Pacific Hurricane Season officially started on May 15th and the second Tropical Depression formed on June 2nd.  It formed well southwest of Mexico and has strengthened to a tropical storm. As of Tuesday evening, Boris is expected to produce an additional 3 to 6 inches of rain in parts of Southeastern Mexico before weakening, with total rainfall of 10 to 20 inches possible.




 

Full coverage of this, and all tropical storms, can be found on our Hurricane Zone page.   There are RSS feeds from the National Hurricane Center posted there giving you up to the minute information.   For storms that impact cruises, we will bring you information on those details as well.  Please bookmark that page for further reference during the Hurricane Season which runs now through November 30th.


Tropical Storm BORIS
800 PM PDT TUE JUN 03 2014

...CENTER OF BORIS NEARING THE COAST...
...CONTINUES TO BRING HEAVY RAINS TO MEXICO...
WIND:
NEAR 40 MPH...65 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS
WATCHES/ WARNINGS:
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
SALINA CRUZ MEXICO TO MEXICO/GUATEMALA BORDER

SHIP IMPACT:
 NO CRUISE SHIPS IMPACTED
     
Storm Archive       Graphics Archive


 


Monday, June 2, 2014

3 Top Things To Do in Hellesylt Cruise Port

Hellesylt, Norway

Recall from last time that we left the Jewel of the Seas in Geiranger, Norway for an all day tour, Journey to Briksdal Glacier . Usually you begin and end your tour in the same port of call, but that isn't the case with Geiranger. The ship stayed there for most of the day so people could stay in town if they chose to. At 3:30 PM, it set sail for Hellesylt, where the majority of the passengers, who'd been on tours, would rejoin the ship.

During My Cruise Stop in Hellesylt I'd...

Photograph a Waterfall

The site of the village on the mountain sides at the end of the Sunnylvs Fiord is exceptionally picturesque. Right through the centre, 100 meters from Grand Hotel, the Hellesylt waterfall gushes down into the Fiord. This waterfall is one of the most photographed sites in Norway. Of course, we were obliged to get a few pictures of our own.

Relax & Enjoy Picturesque Views

Hellesylt is a small village in the Stranda Municipality, which is a part of the Møre and Romsdal County in the western part of Norway. Our motor coach arrived in this little town and parked near the dock where we would board a tender boat to rejoin our ship.

Hellesylt is well known for for its colorful history, and in the old street most of the old buildings are still intact.  Our tour was behind schedule, so we didn't have much time before we had to board the tender boat.

Not Miss Sail Away

Before boarding the last tender boat, we clicked a few more pictures of the waterfall and of our ship, which despite its 90,090 gross tons, was dwarfed by the fjords.  Words cannot describe the view - you must bring a camera, or at least your smart phone, with you to capture this moment in time to cherish forever.

The tender boat had an upper level, which we selected so that we could capture images of the fjord and our ship from this vantage point.  The ship grew larger as we approached, but it was still dwarfed by its surroundings.


We had late dinner plans, so we were able to relax on our aft balcony verandah, enjoying a glass of wine with friends, as we sailed away (see photo album).



From Hellesylt we sailed for our next port of call, Flåm , where we would see an even more amazing waterfall.

Our 12 Night British Isles / Norwegian Fjords cruise continued to be an exceptional cruise with wonderful memories. When updating my website, and posting to this blog, I can't help but recall those fabulous days in the Norwegian Fjords. I do hope you get to experience this magnificent country some day.