Updated Collingwood Treetop walk videos

I just added these videos to YouTube as a more practical way of hosting them.

These are from our August 2005 trip to Canada where we visited Collingwood and did the Treetop Walking Adventure.

This video shows my perspective of the zipline at the end of the walk. I inverted myself to get a more exciting perspective:

This video shows the same scene but from the ground:

Posted under Travel

This post was written by Marc
on February 23, 2007 at 7:17 pm

Western Caribbean Cruise Pictures Posted 2006

Finally got the pictures posted, click below:
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Posted under Photos, Travel

This post was written by Marc
on January 18, 2006 at 9:53 pm

Celebrity Zenith Gulf Cruise

**Update 1/18/2006 – Finally got the pictures developed and posted. Check out the gallery **

Mich and I recently came back from a cruise through the Western Caribbean (Gulf of Mexico) on board Celebrity Cruise Line’s Zenith ship.

This is only our second cruise, the first being back in 2002 when we did a Carnival cruise on the Fascination to the Bahamas.

I’ll post pictures as soon as we get them developed. My little DiMage X50 camera is still in the repair shop recovering from damage sustained after a couple of drops to the floor during the Halloween party. Hopefully we’ll have it back this coming Thursday. In the meantime we’ve dusted off our old film camera (and we picked up an underwater disposable for the cruise shore excursion).

Overall we enjoyed this cruise. It was billed as 4 nights and left Miami on December 22nd (2005) at about 5 pm. So really there are about 3 1/3 days of cruise enjoyment. Since you dock at 8:00 am the last day there really isn’t much you can do but wait to get off the ship.

The first stop was in Key West, Florida. We had heard that there was nothing terribly spectacular to see unless you enjoy marine museums so we loitered on the ship in the morning and had a satisfying breakfast before heading out to explore. Never having been to Key West before any and everything there was going to be interesting. We decided to walk the streets with the purpose of ending up at that “You are at the Southernmost point of the Continental U.S.” marker and getting our picture taken there.

The weather was pleasant for us, probably mid-60’s but feeling warmer in the sun, so we were able to wander around in short sleeves comfortably. We didn’t have very long in Key West so after our photo op and exploring a few local shops, we stopped off at a coffee shop and Mich enjoyed her Java fix while I indulged in an oversized cinnamon bun.

The next stop was in Cozumel, Mexico where we indulged in the “Clear Kayak and Beach Snorkle Combo” hosted by the Uvas Beach Club and Marine Park. This was interesting for anybody who is new to kayaking or snorkling but, given Cozumel’s reputation for gorgeous reefs, was very dissapointing on the scenery front. The sea bottom was mostly sand punctuated with largely unspectacular rock outcroppings. We did get to see some little stingrays and, to Mich’s satisfaction, a reasonably large starfish. But for anybody already comfortable and familiar with snorkling and kayaking I’d have to recommend passing on this venue. The guide and the folks working at the venue were all great but there was really very little to see in the water.

Since our ship docked off the port outside of the city, we paid our cab driver an additional $6 to have him drive us into town rather than back to the port after the kayaking so we could explore there.

Cozumel city was VERY quiet that day, this was the 24th of December after all. All the shops were open but there were much fewer people wandering around than I expected. After the girls finished exploring the local shops (OK OK because the local shops were closing and they couldn’t look any more) we headed to Carlos N Charlies, a local hot spot for some drinks before heading back to the ship.

We met Jan and Miera (I’m sure I haven’t spelled that right…) at our dinner table on the cruise ship and had coincidentally all chosen the same shore excursion so we hooked up for checking out the city. They are the other folks you will see at our table in the pictures.

One thing I would change if I could would be to have stayed in Cozumel much later. We were there for most of the day, but the departure time of 8:30 (it changed several times so I’m not sure what it ultimately ended up being) was a little soon for my tastes as I was enjoying the “scenery” at Carlos N Charlies.
Speaking of which, I’d like to thank the girls from our cruise ship who were also in the bar and provided the entertainment for the evening. Carlos N Charlies was pretty quiet when we arrived until they showed up. I think we’ve got some pictures so I’ll post some representative ones when they are developed.

The Zenith itself was a pleasant ship, a little smaller than the Fascination, which is all I know to compare it to, but plenty large enough for us. The Zenith is an older ship that is apparently due for renovation so it wasn’t all sparkling and new. The stateroom was clean and service was pleasant. All the of the ship’s staff that we encountered were helpful and polite.

Our favorite haunt on the ship was the Cova Café. For Mich the Coffee was great, for myself it was the Hot Chocolate Melange that comes as my highest recommendation.

We would definitely sail with Celebrity again.

Posted under Opinions, Travel

This post was written by Marc
on January 8, 2006 at 12:33 pm

Toronto 2005

Check out our pictures from our recent trip to Toronto, Collingwood and Stratford.

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Posted under General, Photos, Travel

This post was written by Marc
on August 25, 2005 at 8:19 am

Toronto Attractions

Thought I’d post some thoughts on interesting things to do while in and around Toronto (Ontario, Canada).

The Distillery District is new and I haven’t heard much about it yet. I intend to visit there the next time I’m in town.

Also new (to me) is Scenic Caves Nature Adventures. I’ll be checking this out too this year and post a review when I get back. The website is challenging to navigate but I think it’s because they are assuming a lot about how their operation runs. For instance it’s not clear to me at all if the attractions are all for one price or a bunch of loosely collected separate outings. A phone call will sort that out soon enough. Check out the inexplicably hard to find video.
Addendum: I spoke with someone at the scenic caves and they assured me that for park admission cost (about Ca$17) you can do the scenic caves thing, but for the full price (about CA$ 95) you get the Canopy walk, the suspension bridge and the scenic caves. I think this is going to be fun.

Also of interest are the old standbys of cycling along the gorgeous Martin Goodman Trail. I’ve ridden many portions of it many times and have always been impressed at having this wonderful path available to me spanning the Toronto waterfront from end to end of the city.
It can get a little dicey cycling the trail in the Queen’s Quay Terminal district where you’ll need to get on the road and merge with the somewhat chaotic traffic. But if you’re not in a hurry, you can always walk your bike along the shopping district’s sidewalk and enjoy a little peoplewatching.

Also new to me as a fairly new pilot is the idea of visiting the Toronto Island Airport to rent a plane. I’m pretty sure that, holding a US Certificate, I’ll need to hire an instructor to come with me for now. I understand that there are a couple of ways to become legal in Canada based on that certificate. I’ll go this easier way first and see if it’s worth it to me to navigate Canada’s somewhat more bureaucratic airspace. Then maybe I’ll apply for a more permanent solution. My other choice is to rent my plane in the US and fly in, but I think it’s a good idea to get training in this slightly different airspace anyway. I spoke with Mel at Island Air Flight School & Charters. It sure is expensive to fly in Canada but some things were not as bad as I expected. For instance I was under the impression that you had to pay user fees for each take-off and landing, but Mel tells me that’s not so.

Found an interesting site that talks about downhill mountain bike rentals etc.

I’ll post more ideas as they come up.

Posted under Aviation, General, Travel

This post was written by Marc
on June 29, 2005 at 7:53 pm