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US: Daytona Beach, FL- Power Boats, Sail Boats, Yachts, Kayaks…at The Florida Boat Show

The Florida Boat Show at Halifax Harbor and Marina is where the marine industry comes together to highlight new boats with live music, a seafood festival, boating safety and seminars, and exciting festivities for a weekend of family fun.

The 3 day event includes hundreds of new boats and quality brokerage boats of all styles are displayed and available for purchase. The broad selection includes power boats, sail boats, yachts, kayaks and marine accessories of all types will be featured throughout the over four acres of dry park space and ‘in-water’ marina dock.Family_Boating

fbs-sup-racingOther attractions include: Kayak and SUP Demos, Bikini Contest, Cornhole Tournament, Fishing Seminars, Fishing Village, Kayak Relay Races and SUP Yoga & Fitness.

 florida-boat-show-2017-schedule-1If you enjoy boating and sailing you’re going to want to attend. Children under 16  are FREE.

Location: Halifax Harbor Marina,  450 Basin Street Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Date: May 18 -20, 2018
Hours: Fri + Sat 10-8, Sun 10-6
Tel: 904-673-0093
thefloridaboatshow.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: daytonabeach.com

US: Walterboro, SC – A Fun-Filled Family Weekend in the Lowcountry of South Carolina

The 43rd annual Colleton County Rice Festival is a celebration of the rice planting heritage that helped found Colleton County.Rice Run 5KIMG_9990-Custom-1030x686

Enjoy a fun-filled week of family activities in the warm Carolina sun that includes a fireworks display, live musical entertainment, arts and crafts, 5k run, food concessions, corn-hole tournament, a BMX bike show with riders performing tricks and acrobatics, a crowd favorite DockDogs® a sport in which dogs compete in distance or height while jumping from a 40 foot dock into water, as well as cultural displays and performances depicting their local heritage.Rice Fest Car Showimage-03-10-18-08-52-49

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They also claim to show off the worlds largest pot of rice along with a rice cooking contest.  Best of all Admission is FREE.

BMX Bike Shows – 3 shows daily

Rice Festival Parade  – Saturday, April 28 @11am

Rice Festival Dog Show– Saturday, April 28 @2pm

Palmetto Dock Dogs –April 27 & 28: Competition all day and finals on Saturday afternoonDock Dogs IMG_4499-Large

Rice Run/Walk– April 28 @ 8am

Chad Gainey Sculpture –Chainsaw Art by Chad Gainey -April 27 & 28: Hampton Street

Biggest Pot of Rice -April 27 & 28

Corn Hole Tournament
– Saturday, April 28 @4pm

Live Entertainment – throughout the 2 days

Fireworks – Saturday, April 28, 2017 8:45pm: Rice Festival finale

Location: Downtown Walterboro, Walterboro, SC 29488
Dates: Fri, Apr 27 – Sat, Apr 28, 2018
Times: Fri 10am -10pm, Sat 10-7pm
Tel: 843.549.1079
ricefestival.org
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: walterborosc.org

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: Annapolis, MD – Support the USO and Honor the U.S. Military by Attending the Military Bowl

on’t miss the 10th Anniversary Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman Corporation, benefiting the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore (USO-Metro), a military support organization. Kick off is on Thursday, Dec. 28 at 1:30 pm at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis matching a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) against an opponent from the American Athletic Conference (AAC) and will be televised nationally on ESPN. Military Bowl Stadium2017-11-21_9-57-53

Military Bowl Game2017-12-12_10-01-25The game day festivities kicks off  at 9:30 am with one of Annapolis’ newest traditions: the Military Bowl Parade, featuring The world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales.  They will lead the parade procession – along with Medal of Honor recipients, mascots, and team bands – from City Dock in downtown Annapolis to the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium as part of the many special events throughout the day.Military Bowl Clondykes2017-12-12_10-08-26The Official Military Bowl Tailgate kicks off in the Blue Lot on the west side of Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Admission to the tailgate is free and will feature music, games, food & beverages from fantastic Annapolis restaurants, and exciting giveaways for the first arrivals. In addition, there’s also the 3rd Annual Bud & Burger Battle (held from 10:30 am-12:30 pm) where you can sample some of Annapolis’ favorite burgers before voting for your favorite.

Fan Bowl Week in Annapolis:

Wednesday, December 27

Thursday, December 28

For more than 70 years, the USO (United Service Organizations) has been the way for the American people to say thank you to our nation’s service men and women and their families.

To purchase tickets: militarybowl.org/tickets/#!

Location: U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, 550 Taylor Avenue, Annapolis
Date: Thurs, December 28, 2017
Time: Kick off 1:30 (doors open at 12:00)
Tel: 202-776-2919
militarybowl.org
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitannapolis.org

US: Mystic, CT – Mystic Sharkfest Swim

The 3rd Annual Mystic Sharkfest will be a 1500 meter swim from Middle Wharf at Mystic Seaport, down the Mystic River and under the famous Bascule drawbridge to finish at Dock A at Seaport Marine next to Red 36 Restaurant.Mystic Sharkfest - ParticipantsIMG_7483

This swim will give you the perfect excuse to visit a classic New England seaport on Long Island Sound. The swim course will take you past the fully restored whaling ship, Charles Morgan and around the Mystic Harbor lighthouse and down river through the picturesque village.

Mystic Sharkfest SwimDon’t miss the opportunity to explore this small town that is steeped in shipbuilding history.  Mystic Seaport is the nation’s leading maritime museum. Its collections and exhibits include over 500 historic watercraft, a major research library, a large gallery of maritime art, a unique diorama displaying the town of Mystic as it was in the 19th century, a ship restoration shipyard, the Treworgy Planetarium, and a re-creation of a 19th-century seafaring village. You will also want to visit the Mystic Aquarium where you can actually pet the sharks…the perfect conclusion to your Sharkfest weekend.

PLEASE NOTE: This swim is not for novices. This event is for experienced open-water swimmers only. You should be able to swim one mile comfortably in a pool in under 40 minutes.

Mystic Sharkfest LogoIMG_7394

Location:Downtown Mystic, Mystic Seaport, Main Street,  Mystic, CT 06355
Date: Sun, July 16, 2017
Time: 8:30am – 12:00pm
Tel: 415-868-1829
raceroster.com/events/2017/9524/2017-mystic-sharkfest-swim
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: thisismystic.com
mysticdowntown.org

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: Annapolis, MD – Plunge In to the Boating Season at Annapolis Sailboat Show

Head to Annapolis City Dock at the end of April and catch the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show.  Set in the historic seaport of Annapolis,  the sixth annual in-water sailboat show kicks off the boating season with displays: catamarans, mono hulls, racing boats, family cruisers, day sailors, and inflatables—a total of over 100 new and brokerage boatsAerial Annapolis Sailboat

The sailboat show is for experienced and novice sailors alike, showcasing every new model present in the market, on display in the water and on land, allowing you opportunity to talk to the industry experts about buying and owing a boat. Shop for the latest in marine equipment, electronics, clothing and boating accessories at more than one hundred on-land nautical exhibits.First-Sail-Workshop

Cruisers University features hands-on workshops providing lessons from professionals and firsthand experience. The event will also include in-water demos, and the 3rd Annual Annapolis Junior Keelboat Regatta, where on April 29th at noon regional high school sailing teams will compete for the traveling cup.SPRINGSAILSUNDAYLarge (2)

Take a break from touring boats to enjoy live music, continuous entertainment, free food and beer and wine tastings, prizes, plus magnificent water views.

This venue is a one of a kind opportunity for sailors to be with sailors. There are very few places where you will find so many sailors congregated; the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show is one of them.

Location: City Dock, Annapolis, MD (GPS address: 1 Dock Street, Annapolis, MD 21401)
Date: April 28 – 30, 2017
Hours: Fri, Sat  10 – 6 pm, Sun 10 -5 pm
Tel: 410-268-8828
annapolisboatshows.com/annapolis-spring-sailboat-show
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitannapolis.org

US: Elkton, MD – Elkton’s Fall Fest

Celebrate autumn in Elkton’s historic downtown, where 18th-century buildings are now filled with art galleries, cozy cafes and antique shops.  Since 1997, the Elkton Fall Fest has attracted thousands of families to visit the small-town shops, watch special county contests, and participate in community activities. The outdoor, pedestrian-only street festival event is held on Main and North streets.

The commemoration gets underway with Fall Fest Friday Night Kick Off Party; on main street souped-up hot rods line the streets for a car show and live entertainment is performed by a Neil Diamond tribute band throughout the evening.

Saturday’s festivities includes a compilation of contests including: Cecil 500 Push Cart Derby, Elkton’s Pretty Baby Contest, Miss Fall Fest, The Voice of Elkton singing contest, and a Delmarva DockDogs event featuring 3 areas of competition, horizontal and vertical jumping abilities as well as their speed in the water.  The Downtown Festival of the Arts is new to Fall Fest, a juried row of art from the Courthouse to Cecil County Arts Council. Elkton Fall Fest

The Fall Fest weekend will be filled with a variety of food, crafts, games, children’s activities, live musical entertainment and fun for the whole family.

Location: 101 East Main Street, Elkton, MD 21921
Dates: Sept. 16 – 17, 2016
Hours: Fri 5 – 9 pm, Sat 8- 8 pm
Tel: 410-398-5076
elktonfallfest.com

For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions:
elktonalliance.org
ccgov.org/tourism

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

Belgium: Museum of Immigration to the New World

When you hear the words “Ellis Island“, you think of the immigrants pouring in from Europe yearning for a new life. The flip side of the North American tale of immigration is now on display at the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp, Belgium. The brand-new museum presents the experience of the over two million people who emigrated from Europe between 1873 and 1934 aboard the ships of the Belgian-American company Red Star Line.
Immigrant Family

Visitors of the Red Star Line Museum get a glimpse of what an immigrant’s journey was like – from the docks of Europe, across the churning waters of the Atlantic, to starting a whole new life in North America.  You can read personal tales of present and past immigration as well as view the plates used on the ships, smell the scent of the disinfecting showers, and try your hands at a puzzle once used to assess newcomers’ intelligence. Anyone can search the genealogical database, or even add personal comments and family history.

Among them were famous passengers such as Albert Einstein and Golda Meir. The museum lets you trace their travel across the ocean. When you sing “God Bless America” or “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” you’re paying tribute to a Red Star Line immigrant named Israel Baline (better by his Americanized name, Irving Berlin). By the time of his death, his songwriting included 1,500 songs, 19 musicals and 18 feature films.

www.redstarline.be/en