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US: Ft Lauderdale, FL – “Venice of America” SUP Lesson and Tour

Venice Of America Lesson and Tour is a fun and easy way to learn how to stand up paddle board and experience a relaxing journey from Fort Lauderdale’s Barrier Island to the Riverfront in Las Olas with professional and friendly guide. V of A

Look out for manatees as you paddle through  navigable inland waterways that make up New River, winding past the palatial estates, multi-million dollar luxury yachts, and natural areas of Fort Lauderdale’s intracoastal and river system.

The canals house mega yachts of the rich and famous which are docked at luxurious homes that can only be seen by river as many are inside gated communities.

Group Paddle Boards 600_408521142These inland waterways with their waterfront homes earned Fort Lauderdale its reputation as the “Venice of America.”Glide your board from small wakes as yachts and boats pass, all while enjoying the beautiful Intracoastal Waterway system that stretches from Maine to Miami.World Famous Venice Of America Lesson and Tour

The Fort Lauderdale port hosts as many as 18 cruise ships a day, sailing from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale to marquee destinations throughout the Caribbean.

Paddling tours navigate different routes daily based upon current, wind conditions, and other variables to make the tour safe, fun, and inviting  for all ages. Along the tour their knowledgeable tour guide will answer questions while making your experience as easy and fun as possible.

Images Courtesy of Sunrise Paddleboards

Location: 2520 N. Federal Hwy., Ft Lauderdale, FL 33305
Dates & Time: Every Saturday at 10 AM
Tel: 954-440-4562
sunrisepaddleboards.com
For Regional accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: sunny.org

US: Savannah, GA – Celebrate the Fourth of July on a Fireworks Cruise

Celebrate our nation’s independence with Savannah Riverboat Cruises’ special Fireworks Cruise on Tuesday, July 4, 2017. Relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of a city founded in 1733.Savannah River Cruise 4th of July Boat

During the one-and-a-half hour cruise, guests can dance to the music of the riverboat DJ spinning their favorite tunes and see a spectacular waterfront fireworks display. Each riverboat has two climate-controlled decks for comfort and an outdoor deck for viewing. A cash bar and snack bar will be available during the cruise.

Boarding starts at 8:30pm, sailing begins at 9 pm and the riverboat returns at 10:30 p.m. For more information about the Fourth of July Fireworks Cruise, call the Savannah Riverboat Cruises at (912) 232-6404 or click here to visit their website.

Location: Savannah Riverboat Cruises, 9 East River Street, Savannah, GA 31412
Date: Tues, July 4, 2017
Hours: 9pm -10:30pm (Boarding at 8:30pm)
Tel:  912-232-6404      
savannahriverboat.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: savannah.com

US: Providence, RI – Spend Quality Time with Dad on Scenic Boat Tour Around Providence

How about visiting Providence this Father’s Day and partaking in it from a new angle; by getting out on the water. This year, treat dad to a gift that will leave a lasting impression: a fun, family-friendly boat tour of  picturesque Providence waterways.Providence River Boat - guide

Forget the necktie this year and give Dad a gift that he’ll truly appreciate…a chore-free, relaxing Sunday with the family.  Spend quality time with dad on a tranquil boat ride narrated daytime tour or sunset cruise with the Providence River Boat Company’s Father’s Day Tours.Providence Riverboat Scenery86878

Enjoy this 45-50 minute entertaining and informative tour while friendly Captains expertly guide you throughout the waterways and cruise throughout the Providence River, Riverwalk, Waterplace Park and the Providence Harbor. Experience  unparalleled views  of the capital city while getting an overview of the city’s history.  A unique gift that the entire family will enjoy. BYOB or pick up a cold beer for Dad at the dock bar.Providence River Boat Hot Club

Tours depart at the top of each hour. The boats are uncovered, so dress appropriately. Hats, sunglasses & sunscreen are all recommended. Space is limited and reservations are required – 401-580-BOAT.

 

Location: Providence River Boat Company, 575 South Water Street, Providence, RI 02903
Dates: June 18, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Tel: 401-580-2628
providenceriverboat.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: goprovidence.com

 

US: Daytona Beach, FL – Calling All Jeep Aficionados… Jeep Beach is the Place to be!

Jeep enthusiasts celebrate a passion for off-road vehicles over JeepBeach Flyerfive days of family-friendly fun for Jeep owners. The Jeep Beach event has become the largest Jeep only five-day event in the southeast USA and is held each April in Daytona Beach, Florida to raise much needed funds for worthwhile local and national charities.

Thousands are expected at Daytona Beach and The World Center of Racing, the Daytona International Speedway for this unique Jeep Extravaganza.  Jeep Beach attracts Jeepers and Jeep Industry Vendors from all over the USA, Canada, and even overseas. Jeep Beach - Line up

While appreciating the great weather with like-minded Jeep aficionados, enjoy and partake in the many festivities including: obstacle courses for all levels of drivers, largest Jeep specific vendor show, Beachside Mainstreet Cruise In, clean up at the Jeep-shining show, Pirate Night Themed Kick-off party, Scavenger Hunt, Off Site Trail Rides, Beachside Concert, Block Party and Fireworks, and $150,000 in Raffle Prizes.Jeep Club

Location: City wide Daytona Beach, FL 32118
Dates: April 25 – 30, 2017
Hours: For dates & times of specific events: jeepbeach.com/schedule-events
jeepbeach.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: daytonabeach.com

US: Ft Lauderdale, Florida – Strange Little Car

Here is Sandra riding one of the many strange cars we find along the road. This one was in Fort Lauderdale, FL at the Outdoor World shop.

Strange Little Car

 

 

Canada: Cape Breton, Nova Scotia – Giant Fiddle

This fiddle, the largest one in the world, sits in a prominent spot on the back deck of the Sydney cruise port.

Giant Fiddle

South Africa: Visiting Robben Island, UNESCO World Heritage Site

By Adele Shapiro – March 2012.

As a child I used to visit Robben Island with my grandmother. Her son, my uncle, was a warder in the prison services there. The name “Robben”, despite sounding very English – is in fact the Dutch for “Seal” – and the name derives from the extensive seal colony that was found on the Island by the first Dutch settlers.

We would go to the Cape Town docks and from there, take a boat ride to the island, where we would spend the day with family. I was vaguely aware that there were bad people on the island, and that it was a prison…. but little did I know then of the role it was to play in South Africa’s later history. Years passed and now as an adrobben1ult, I found myself revisiting the place where “the bad people” were kept, only now I realized that some were not so bad after all.

I bought a ticket for the tour some days before the trip, (advisable, as they fill up quickly) and took time out to examine the display at the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

There were many photographs of the political dissidents, the calls for boycotts, the anti-apartheid marches and there was also a prison cell that had been reconstructed for the purposes of the exhibit. I strongly recommend a visit to this exhibit before going to the island as it helps to contextualize the experience.

The trip began, as in times of old, with a boat ride from Cape Town docks, but this time instead of my uncle meeting us, we had a pleasant tour guide who told us jokes on our bus trip, whilst pointing out various sights on the island. Our bus was parked under a sign that said: “Welcome. We serve with pride.” I wondered if that sign had been there when Robben Island had been a prison as it was so sharply incongruous to the environment. I hoped not.

robben2Robben Island has had a long history. First as a lighthouse to warn ships of the VOC, the Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie), of the rocks that surround the island. But since the end of the 17th century, Robben Island has been used for the isolation of (mainly) political prisoners. The island was also used at various times as an animal quarantine station, a home for slaves, a leper colony, a hospital for the mentally ill and as a prison for French Vichy prisoners of war.

First we saw the Leper Graveyard and then house where Robert Sobukwe (Founder of the Pan Africanist Congress) had been kept separate from the other political dissidents.

It seems that Robert Sobukwe had special status in the prison. He was kept in solitary confinement at all times, but allowed certain privileges including access to books, being permitted to study, being permitted to wear civilian clothes, and being permitted bread. His children were allowed to visit him and they had their own bedroom in his “house”. Robert Sobukwe was convicted of incitement for demonstrating against and defying the Pass Laws, and in particular, for his connection to the PAC demonstration (although he was not present) which became known as the Sharpeville Massacre.

The notorious Pass Laws required black people to carry a pass book at all times when outside their compounds or designated areas, and were designed to limit severely the movements of the non-white population. This legislation was one of the dominant features of the country’s apartheid system.

Sobukwe was sentenced to three years in prison. After serving his sentence, he was moved to Robben Island for internment, as a new law called the General Law Amendment Act had been passed, which permitted his imprisonment to be renewed annually at the discretion of the Minister of Justice. This procedure became known as the “Sobukwe clause” and Robert Sobukwe was the only person whose imprisonment was extended under this clause. Imagine how special one has to be in order for parliament to pass a law just for you!

We also learned from our tour guide that the American politician and Pastor, Andrew Young, had fostered Sobukwe’s children in the USA, while Sobukwe had been in prison.

Our tour continued to the lime quarry where the political prisoners had worked. At the entrance to the quarry we saw a small cairn, and learned its history. In February 1995, (the landmark change of government was in 1994), about one thousand former political prisoners gathered again on Robben Island, but this time as free men, and to mark the occasion, each one placed a small stone from the quarry in a pile, making a small memorial to their years of hardship and struggle.

As we continued on our bus ride, we were shown a church, a hospital, a school and a mosque, and realized that far beyond our expectations, the island had supported a whole community. We duly arrived at the prison and tumbled out of the bus for our tour of “the real thing”. We were excited and filled with high spirits and I wondered for a moment where my heart would have been had I not been a tourist.

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Inside we found grey walls. It was cool at midday; it was clear that at midnight it would be very cold. The communal cells were large and each had a bathroom attached.

Here we met our prison tour guide, Derrick Basson, a former political prisoner who served time on Robben Island for sabotage.

Derrick was very patient, humble and remarkably, not bitter. He answered all the insensitive questions calmly and without anger. In addition he explained the grading of the prisoners by race and also the diets that varied due to the racial classification of each prisoner. One of the curious facts he told us was that black prisoners were not given bread. As they were Africans their “natural” food was considered to be maize meal. The mixed race prisoners were allowed bread as they were considered to be more western or European and less African. The black Africans were also not allowed jam or syrup. I suppose you do not need jam if you have no bread.

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Then I remembered that Robert Sobukwe, in spite of being black, was allowed to have bread, and it struck me that this must have been because he had been a university professor, and since this is a very “European” and non-tribal job, maybe he was considered eligible to receive bread.

Derrick further explained how prisoners slept on mats on the floor and how 5 blankets had not been enough to keep them warm at night. I suddenly remembered an interview with a former Alcatraz inmate who spoke of the extreme cold and of how prisoners had learned to sleep with only their elbows and knees touching the floor, hands locked behind the head. I became very grateful for my duvet.

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We were told that in the beginning the political prisoners had been kept with the ordinary criminals, but later on, they were, thankfully, given their own “wing” and kept together. They came to call this place “The University” as they learned many things from each other and many of them also obtained degrees while in prison.

Derrick then took us to a yard where the prisoners had chopped rocks and turned them into stones, day after day in the sun. They were told that these rocks were used for roads built on the island, but no one seemed to know if this was true or not.

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We were then taken to Nelson Mandela’s cell. Mandela was a militant anti-apartheid activist, as well as the co-founder and leader of the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC), Umkhonto we Sizwe or “Spear of the Nation”. He was arrested in 1962 and convicted of sabotage, (amongst other charges), after he admitted to manufacturing explosives and acts of public violence, and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Mandela served 27 years in prison, 18 of these on Robben Island. After his release, he served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.

My very first impression was of how small the cell was. No, not small, tiny. And then I thought that at least he could stand up and lie down in it, but not much more than that. At least it was larger than the dreadful box that I had heard was used in China. But there was no toilet. Just a metal bucket with a lid. At least a lid. And no tap, so no water. And if you are thirsty during the night, what should you do? And of course there was no electrical socket and no radio nor TV. And all I could think of was 27 years. TWENTY SEVEN YEARS! There was no door handle on the inside. The door was only operational from the outside, not unlike a cage. I remembered that Nelson Mandela had once remarked that the hardest and most traumatic experience he endured whilst on Robben Island for all those years was that he never ever saw, or even heard, a child. Can you imagine that? Now he insists on being photographed with children, whenever possible.

robben10And then it was all over. We walked out to the yard, Derrick took us to the exit, and we said our goodbyes.I felt an odd mixture of elation and depression. Very happy that I had been to a UNESCO World Heritage Site of such importance, happier still that it was no longer a prison, and most happy that I was leaving. Yet also depressed and ashamed because of the suffering this place represented.

Duly subdued, we gratefully returned to our boat to ponder our feelings of inspiration and shock, enjoy the beautiful sunset cruise back to Cape Town, and watch a school of dolphins at play in the sea.

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Remember when planning a visit to Robben Island, that the tours don’t always run on time. There was no snack bar on the boat. Our boat was 1 hour late in leaving Cape Town harbour and then we were rushed through our tour, which was a pity as there was too little time for questions.

A suggestion would be to make no appointments after the visit as the timing can vary, and also, take a snack pack. A sun hat and sun block are also good ideas.

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Ferries depart (supposedly) at 9am, 11am, 1pm and 3pm, weather permitting, from Nelson Mandela Gateway, at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. Tickets costs are R230 for adults and R120 for children (U/18). Telephone: +27 (0)21 413 4200
Fax: +27 (0)21 419 1057