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US: Melbourne Beach, FL – Sunset or Full Moon Kayak or Paddle-board Tours in the Indian River

Take a Sunset Kayak Tour at Sebastian Inlet State Park for a memorable exploration the Indian River Lagoon, home to brown and white pelicans, herons, egrets, osprey, bottle-nosed dolphin and manatee. Suset Kayak ToursFULL-1

Or maybe you’d prefer the Full Moon Kayak Tours,  available on June 29, June 30,July 27, 28 and Aug 25. Under the light of the full moon, join an adventure, glow sticks in hand, through the grass flats and explore the Indian sunset Kayak TourRiver Lagoon. After the tour, relax and enjoy Smore’s and refreshments at the Marina.

Included in these tours: a kayak or paddle-board, safety vests and safety instructions.

What to bring: bathing suit, sunscreen, towels, sun protective clothing (ie. hats and sun shirts), water shoes or waterproof sandals and bug spray.

Location: BG’s Bayside and Marina, 9502 S. Hwy A1A
Melbourne Beach Florida, 32951 – Located inside Sebastian Inlet State Park
Date: Sunset Tours: weekly – Sun, Wed, Thur, Fri, and Sat, Full Moon – usually only once a month,  Please check schedule
Time: Sunset Tours – 7pm, Full Moon – 7:30pm
Tel: 321-724-5424
bgsurfsidegrillandadventures.com/sunset-tours
Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitspacecoast.com

US: Daytona Beach, FL – Rolex 24 at Daytona – Grueling 24 Hour Endurance Race

Since 1962, racing legends from around the world have come to Daytona to compete in a grueling 24-hour marathon.  The Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona is infamously relentless on both driver and machine as sleep-deprived crews perform mechanical phenomenons. From sunrise to sunset to sunrise again, witness as both man and machine are pushed to the limit in this twice-around-the-clock marathon.

Car MotorsportsThe Rolex 24 at DAYTONA, a 24-hour sports car endurance race executed on the track’s 3.56-mile road course, is a perfect battle between machine, driver and time.

The four-day event begins with qualifying races on January 25, a BMW Endurance race January 26 and the Rolex 24 January 27-28. Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso brings the driver star power to this most challenging race.Motorsports(1)

Schedule of Events:

Thursday, January 25th
9:00 AM
Stadium & UNOH Fanzone opens
9:20 AM – 10:20 AM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #1
10:40 AM – 11:25 AM
Ferrari Challenge practice session #3
11:40 AM – 11:55 AM
IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge practice session #3
12:05 PM – 12:20 PM
IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge ST qualifying
12:25 PM – 12:40 PM
IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge GS / TCR qualifying
1:40 PM – 2:40 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #2
3:00 PM – 3:15 PM
Ferrari Challenge qualifying #1 group 1
3:20 PM – 3:35 PM
Ferrari Challenge qualifying #1 group 2
3:55 PM – 4:10 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD qualifying
4:20 PM – 4:35 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTLM qualifying
4:45 PM – 5:00 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship P qualifying
5:00 PM – 5:20 PM
IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge practice session #4
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #3

 Friday, January 26th
8:30 AM
Stadium & UNOH Fanzone opens
8:45 AM – 9:00 AM
Ferrari Challenge qualifying #2 group 1
9:05 AM – 9:20 AM
Ferrari Challenge qualifying #2 group 2
9:40 AM – 10:40 AM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #4
11:00 AM – 11:45 AM
Ferrari Challenge race #1
11:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Carnival Rides at the Boardwalk Experience
12:00 PM – 12:45 PM
Grid opens for fan access to pre-race ceremonies on Pit Road
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
BMW Endurance Challenge At DAYTONA

Saturday, January 27th
6:30 AM
Stadium & UNOH Fanzone opens
7:00 AM
DAYTONA 5K Run & Fun Walk
8:00 AM
Rolex 24 Heritage Exhibition Display at the FPL Solar Patio inside UNOH Fanzone
9:00 AM
Stadium open
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
UNOH Fanzone Kids Zone open
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Motorsports Hall of Fame open in Daytona Ticket and Tours building
9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Daytona Rewards stations open in stadium & UNOH Fanzone
9:00 AM – 12:00 AM
Grassroots Motorsports Experience located at the Grassroots Motorsports tent along Lake Lloyd
9:30 AM – 10:45 AM
Ferrari Challenge race #2
10:00 AM – 12:00 AM
Carnival Rides at the Boardwalk Experience
10:30 AM
Rolex 24 Heritage Exhibition laps
11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Photos with the 56th Rolex 24 At Daytona trophy inside Gatorade Victory Lane
12:00 PM – 12:45 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship driver autograph session inside UNOH Fanzone
1:05 PM – 2:20 PM
Grid opens for fan access to pre-race ceremonies on Pit Road
1:05 PM – 2:20 PM
Crossover gates open
2:40 PM
START – 56th Rolex 24 At Daytona
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Wine & Cheese Party – Café 24 Activity Zone
6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Taste of the 24 in Stadium Midway Suites
8:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Live band on the Main Stage inside UNOH Fanzone
10:30 PM – 12:00 AM
Karaoke on the Main Stage inside UNOH Fanzone

 Sunday, January 28th
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Café 24 Breakfast Garage inside the Café 24 Activity Zone
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Photos with the 56th Rolex 24 At Daytona trophy inside Gatorade Victory Lane
9:00 AM – 2:00 PM
UNOH Fanzone Kids Zone open
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Fanatics merchandise store open in Stadium
9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Grassroots Motorsports Experience located at the Grassroots Motorsports tent along Lake Lloyd
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Motorsports Hall of Fame open in Daytona Ticket and Tours building
10:00 AM – 3:30 PM
Carnival Rides at the Boardwalk Experience
2:00 PM
Rolex 24 Heritage Exhibition parade begins in UNOH Fanzone
2:40 PM
FINISH – 56th Rolex 24 At Daytona

Photo Credit: Daytona International Speedway

Location: Daytona International Speedway, 1801 W. International Speedway Blvd. Daytona Beach, FL 32118
Date: Jan 25 – 28, 2018
Time: Various – See Schedule Above
Tel: 386-253-7223
daytonainternationalspeedway.com/Events/2018/Rolex-24-At-DAYTONA/Rolex-24-At-Daytona.aspx
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: daytonabeach.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: Folkston, GA – Canoe, Kayak, or Boat the Black Waters of the Okefenokee Swamp

Nature enthusiasts will relish the natural unspoiled and virtually unmarked by man Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge that was established in 1937 to preserve the Okefenokee Swamp. The refuge encompasses over 400,000 acres of canals, moss draped cypress trees and lily pads which provide sanctuaries for hundreds of species of birds and wildlife.Kayakers on canal

Okefenokee has the great distinction of not only being a part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, but also the National Wilderness Preservation System. Swamp habitats comprise open wet “prairies,” cypress forests, scrub-shrub vegetation, upland islands, and open lakes. Wildlife species include wading birds, ducks, alligators and other reptiles, a variety of amphibians, bobcats, raptors, white-tailed deer, black bears, and songbirds.

To assist you on your exploration, Okefenokee Adventures offers a full range of tour options and is located inside the refuge on the historic Suwannee Canal.  Canoe, kayak, or boat the mirrored black waters of the Okefenokee Swamp: You can join a regularly scheduled 90 minute guided boat tours, or reserve a 2 hour sunset tour or arrange a half or full day private excursion with an expert, professional guide. Their staff includes well-known authorities on alligator biology, wetland ecology, and Okefenokee cultural history. gator on log

Experience canoe camping in the back-country wilderness of the Swamp interior, or head out on your own in a canoe or kayak. You can bike or drive the Swamp Island Drive, visit an authentic Swamp homestead or walk the nature trails and boardwalk and  get bird’s eye views of the swamp from atop the observation tower.

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Location: Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, 2700 Suwanee Canal Rd, Folkston, GA 31537 , Tel: 912-496-7836 or 877-860-6787

Location: Okefenokee Adventures, 4159 Suwannee Canal Rd., Folkston, GA 31537
Hours: Open: ½-hour before sunrise every day,
Closed: 7:30pm – March 1 through Oct 31, Closed: 5:30pm – Nov 1 through end of Feb
Tel: 912-496-7156, 866-843-7926
okefenokeeadventures.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitkingsland.com

US: Daytona Beach, FL – Grueling 24 Hour Marathon – Rolex 24 at Daytona, a Premier Endurance Race

This year marks the 55th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The competitive 24-hour continuous sports car race executed on the track’s 3.56-mile road course is a perfect battle between machine, driver and time. This race inaugurates the three weeks of race action for Budweiser Speedweeks with great racing, carnivals, car show and live bands and other entertainment.

Since 1962, racing legends from around the world have come to Daytona to compete in a grueling 24-hour marathon. The Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona is infamously relentless on both driver and machine as sleep-deprived crews perform mechanical phenomenons. From sunrise to sunset, fans will watch drivers compete against a brigade of  adversaries that span the auto racing universe in the first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race of the season.2013 Rolex 24 At Daytona

Each team is comprised of four drivers and no drivers are allowed to be in a car for more than four hours during a six-hour time frame. However, each driver must drive for at least four hours and 30 minutes throughout the 24-hour period. Crew chiefs and crew members will also rotate throughout the event.

When the 24-hour time span concludes, the team that has wheeled the most miles in each class of cars – Prototype, Prototype Challenge, GT Daytona, GT Le Mans – will win their respective divisions. The race begins at 2:40 pm on Saturday, Jan 28 and concludes on Sunday, Jan. 29 at 2:40 pm, giving it the name “24 Hours of Daytona.”

For Schedule and Tickets: daytonainternationalspeedway.com/Events/2017/Rolex-24-At-DAYTONA/Schedule.aspx
Photo Credit:  Barberstock

Location: Daytona International Speedway, 1801 W. International Speedway Blvd. Daytona Beach, FL 32118
Date: Sat, Jan 28 – Sun,  Jan 29, 2017
Time:  Jan 28th -6:30AM Fanzone Opens – Jan 29th 2:40PM FINISH – 55th Rolex 24
Tel: 386-253-7223
daytonainternationalspeedway.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: daytonabeach.com

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