Monday, June 27, 2011

New and Improved Content!

Sorry for the delay in posting content, I have gotten off the beaten track and now I'm coming back! There will be new and improved content coming to this blog very soon so please come back soon!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

History of Diving

The History of Diving as you would have imagined is simply from people jumping off things into the water. The earliest forms of diving took the form of people jumping off cliffs, hills or trees. As diving history progressed people began to jump off of man made features such as buildings, bridges and fishing piers. Some of the original dwellers from exotic places used to impress the tourists while cliff diving and it sparked an interest in these individuals to take the feat back to there homes which helped spread diving.

The earliest of competitions in diving history was in the late 1800's. Often performed throughout Europe most every athlete performed the basic forward straight dive. Diving first debuted in the Olympics in St. Louis at the 1904 games where only made its first Olympic appearance at the 1904 St. Louis Games. It wasn't until 1908 that springboard diving was invented.

Around the early 1900's the diving world began to relax a number of its rules which started the evolution of pikes, tucks and somersaults. Diving has since evolved into a highly athletic display of power, skill and grace. A sport that has roots in gymnastics more so than swimming, which is evident of its Swedish ancestors who practiced training for gymnastics by landing in the water.

Diving always gains popularity around the time of the Summer Olympics as spectators line up to see incredible feats of flexibility, strength and power. The most prominent diver in US diving history is Greg Louganis, who went on to win several gold medals in dramatic fashion. The US has always recognized diving at every scholastic level. Most high schools and colleges maintain diving teams that often train with the swim teams. But don't get them mixed up, as divers are definitely not considered swimmers.

The history of diving is a simple one that involves the evolution of a sport from something as simple as jumping off high elevations into water. The sport has become one of tremendous athletes conquering great feats in the air that leave spectators breathless. From the summer pool party to the greatest athletes in the world, diving will always be great fun....So goes the history of diving.

Author is from

Monday, October 11, 2010

Extraordinary Leadership - Know Your Abilities

Beware: Overconfidence and The Slippery Slope

As business leaders, every decision that we make will impact future decisions made in and around the business. We need to have good information, know our capabilities and know our capacities in order to run our businesses and reach the level of extraordinary.

I remember, as a kid, going to an amusement park in New Jersey called Action Park. Action Park was a park where you actually had to participate in activities in order to have fun. For example, they had down-hill toboggans that you had to steer, they had rock climbing, wave pools, cliff diving and inner tube trails. I think that the only thing you could actually simply sit back and ride was a ski-lift that would take you to the top of the mountain where several rides began. Of course, you had to jump on and off at the right time...and you could probably fall off without too much effort.

One of the things about a park like this is that since you have to steer, jump, swim or slide in order to have fun, you could also get hurt. While they made every effort to keep things safe - there were lots of lifeguards and ride attendants all over the place, every once in a while, someone would do something outside of the norm (or their abilities!) and get hurt. I, personally, can testify that they had a great medical team, as well. One ride in particular that I (and many others) got hurt on was the Alpine Slide (see video - more on YouTube!).

This thing was a small cart with four wheels and a handle that served as a brake. The object of the ride was to ride down a 300 foot polished concrete track, as quickly as you could without having to stop halfway down and scoot yourself forward somehow. There were three levels of track, of course - the beginner, intermediate and the advanced. Most people stick to the beginner or intermediate.

I, of course, started with the advanced. Well, I got myself situated at the top of my slippery slope on my cart. The ride controller said we could go, so I took off, zipping through curves - left, then right, then left, then left, barely even touching the break. Then, I hit a tight S-curve and I panicked. I went into the first turn and leaned hard to the right...oops. Too far...

I managed to find myself sliding down the concrete pathway - without the cart, on the back of my shirt and getting friction burns on my arms, shoulders and legs. I also had to endure the looks of amusement and awe from the dozens of people who saw my adventure. I think there was a little bruised ego in there, as well to top it off.

I over-estimated my abilities and found myself desperately trying to make decisions that were outside of my capabilities. I should have slowed down. I maybe even should have practiced on the intermediate course. I should have studied the track a little more...heck, I wasn't the only person to fall that day.

In business, we are faced with the same treacherous landscape...things are constantly changing: the economy, market needs, technology, the industry and even government regulations can change the way we do business. The worst thing we can do to ourselves, assuming we want to stay in business, is to assume that today will be just like tomorrow...and the next day and the day, following. We have to make sure that we continue to educate ourselves, survey the environment, and make APPROPRIATE adjustments in our course.

By staying ahead of the the game, so to speak, we can avoid feeling the need to OVERCOMPENSATE for the changes as I did on the cart. As with my adventure, this could cause the business to fail, creating a loss that is greater than there might have been had more information been available.

By knowing our capabilities and capacities, we won't be overconfident going into seasons of prosperity. We will have plans to know our capacities and manage extra demand on our businesses. We will know when to slow things down a bit in order to ensure that we can still able to provide outstanding service. We won't find ourselves tipping the cart because we entered into dangerous curves too quickly.

This is how you act as an extraordinary leader. This is how you run an extraordinary business. Beware of overconfidence and the slippery slopes.

Rick Meekins is passionate about helping leaders start, run and grow successful businesses. He focuses on helping leaders clarify their goals and helping them develop strategies to achieve them. He is a strong believer in alignment between people, purpose, passion and pursuit, and demonstrates this in his quest to be a servant to the community. He believes that people working in alignment with their individual purposes is the foundation for successful businesses and successful communities.

Rick Meekins is the Principal Business Strategist at Aepiphanni Business Consulting, a boutique consulting firm based in Metro Atlanta, Ga. Aepiphanni is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to providing leadership and direction in the areas of business planning, strategic planning, leadership excellence, communications and marketing. Their work has helped business owners expand their businesses, increase revenues, reduce costs and pursue sustainable futures. For further information, please contact them, directly, at 678-265-3908, email them at, or visit their website at

Sunday, October 10, 2010

White Water Bay

White Water Bay in OKC is one of the most popular destinations in the city. There can be no better destination than a water theme park in the sweltering summer season. Slides, pools, thrills and spills...they're all there to offer the perfect family entertainment.

With all age groups finding this their favorite hot spot, White Water Bay in OKC doesn't disappoint. It features more than 30 rides. Some of the most talked about are the Mega Wedgie with a 64-foot drop, Bermuda Triangle, the Big Kahuna flume slide, the Acapulco Cliff Dive high speed free fall slide, and Cannonball Falls taking you to an 8-foot drop into the water. Serious waves and surfing action can be witnessed at The Wave Pool.

The less adventurous individuals and families have more manageable excitement to look forward to such as the Keelhaul Falls that floats passengers from pool to pool through short drops and slides. Individuals can race down a flume slide one at a time at the Swashbuckler Flumes Tube. The Shipwreck Island is an activity pool that features the Calypso Cannonball and Blackbeard's Revenge body slides, as well as jumping rocks and Lily Pads.

There are also more tranquil things for those who prefer some peace and quiet, such as the float down the gentle Castaway Creek. You can also choose to relax under the sun doing nothing! Children have the exclusive Kids' Kove featuring fun slides, fountains, a submarine through which kids can climb, and an octopus kids can play on.

White Water Bay, located around Oklahoma City's metro area is a 25-acre water theme park opened in 1981 and currently associated with the PARC 7F-Operations Corp following operation and ownership by Six Flags Theme Parks, Inc. and CNL Lifestyle Properties. Tourists can count on shuttle services offered by hotels in OKC to take them to White Water Bay and other destinations in OKC.

White Water Bay, located around Oklahoma City's metro area is a 25-acre water theme park. Hotels Oklahoma City - The Bricktown Hotel & Convention Center, one of the finest hotels in downtown Oklahoma City is a friendly oasis in the heart of Oklahoma City.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Living With True Freedom


My concept of freedom is something that really moves me. It's the driving force behind a lot of my personal development work, and is something I strive to incorporate into my life every day. Travelling is something which really helps me progress in this area, as I encounter many people who live with degrees of this freedom, and many experiences which bring it out in me. I believe once a person achieves freedom, in my sense of the word, there will be no limit to how amazing their life can become, and how much joy they can experience.

Freedom is a pretty generic term though, so let me explain what I'm talking about.

The Concept

So the word freedom probably conjures up a bunch of different images in your head when you hear it, so I'll first tell you what I'm not talking about. It's not the freedom like in the movie The Shawshank Redemption, as in freedom from confinement... and it's not the "FREEEEEDOOOOM!" you think of from Braveheart (although that is one of my favorite movies of all time) as in freedom from enslavement or oppression. What I'm referring to isn't the physical side of freedom, but more of an internal mental freedom.

I'm talking about being mentally free from the things that keep you from being who you really are. It's about being free from negativity, fear, judgment. It's about getting rid of the things in the way, the things that hold you back and keep your true self suppressed.

Freedom from Negativity

When I talk about being free from negativity I mean being free from the control your negative emotions and feelings have over your life. Emotions such as anger, jealousy, regret, and hatred play through the minds of many and can have stressful and damaging effects over time.

Now freedom from negativity doesn't mean removing these negative emotions from your life, it means freeing yourself from their control over you. If someone does you wrong it's okay to feel angry, but it shouldn't be a compulsive need to feel angry. The negative emotions then become a choice rather than a reaction.

For example if someone cuts you off while you are driving you don't HAVE to respond with anger, when someone cuts me off I just ignore it, I personally choose not to let it bother me because I think "Why should I let that persons foolish actions make me angry, why should that person have power over me?" When you react compulsively to a situation you give your power away, you let others control you, people can then push your buttons if they want.

Thanks to advancements in science we know now that living with this kind of stress or these kinds of negative emotions on a daily bases actually does your body harm and can cause it to slowly break down over time.

So how do you actually go about freeing yourself from this negativity? The key to freeing yourself from it is awareness. Become aware of how you react to things, are your emotions out of your control? There is always a split second that comes after an event happens and before you react to it. Try to be aware in this moment, this is when you can choose how you want to react. If you decide the specific situation isn't worth getting upset over then just let it go. This will become much easier over time as you essentially reprogram yourself to become less reactive, and take more control over yourself.

Freedom from Fear

Our physical bodies are hardwired for fear. Through our past years of evolution we have been programmed to react to fearful situations with a fight or flight mechanism.

Back in the day of our ancestors where things were a whole lot more dangerous and split second reactions could mean the difference between life and death this would have been really handy. The fear would get our adrenalin pumping, and our feet moving, it would have been really useful in keeping us alive.

Now this used to be useful, but in today's world, where things are a whole lot more safe in most areas of the world this fear tends to hinder our lives a whole lot more than it helps. If you live in a peaceful country then chances are this same type of fear will hardly ever be useful to you. Common sense is enough to keep you from doing things that will bring you harm, but this same fear that helped our ancestors remains and holds up back in today's world.

It's obvious how we are programmed to fear physical danger but a good question one might ask is "Why are we so afraid of certain social situations?" This social judgment fear is the same fear we feel during public speaking (which is a fear ranked higher than the fear of death), or the fear of approaching an attractive member of the opposite sex. It's also the fear that has people give into peer pressure, and encourages people that it's more important to fit in rather than to do what they believe in.

A self help expert that specializes in dating named David DeAngelo talks in depth about where this social fear comes from. He talks about how in the past humans lived in smaller social constructs such as tribes for many years. This tribe would work and hunt together to ensure everyone's survival. It is believed that this social fear comes from the fact that, back in the tribal days if you acted out, or didn't fit in, or were socially rejected in some way you could be out casted from the tribe. Being out casted would make it much more difficult to survive. Being socially rejected is something we are wired to fear because back in those days it could lead to our death.

Once you start to remove fear from your life you open yourself up to a world of opportunities you may have otherwise missed. You become free to talk to that attractive person, who may turn into a long time companion, you become free to experience scary things such as skydiving which may fuel a lifelong passion you didn't know you had. You become free to take bigger risks, which can turn into much bigger rewards, and free to achieve things that you wouldn't have even attempted before.

A really cool tip I heard while travelling was to use fear as a motivating reason to act. If there's anytime you notice yourself not doing something that you wanted to and the main reason behind your hesitation is a fear of doing it, then you HAVE to do it. Make this a solid rule that you don't let yourself disobey. This is an excellent way to build courage and conquer your fears one by one.

Freedom from Judgment

Being free from judgment is difficult because the mind always wants to constantly put labels and classifications onto everything it encounters. The key is to become aware of the preconceptions and initial judgments you have of others and prevent them from being applied to the person immediately and in a negative way.

You might say... but aren't judgments a good thing? Isn't it good to label people in certain ways so that you know how to deal with them? I would like to suggest that making judgments on others can prove to be more harmful to your perceptions than it can be useful.

The reality is your initial assumptions about others can often be proven wrong. Chances are you don't understand the person your judging, and you don't know their story or their history. The person you just met who seems to be a negative, depressed, and overly emotional person may in truth be a positive, down to earth person who is currently and temporarily grieving the loss of a loved one.

Judging others can also create a negative and competitive mindset. Typically when you judge others you set yourself up to expect judgment on the same issues for yourself. Your ego also judges others negatively to make you feel better about your own life situation in a competitive fashion.

Keep in mind that racism stems from judging others based on initial appearances rather than the truth about who they are.

If you've read my article on Believing is Seeing you will also know that it will be easy to find evidence that supports the judgments you make about others can whether the judgments are accurate or not.

Being free from judgment does not mean you ignore the things you notice and learn about who people are. If someone has a history of being dishonest with you I'm not saying you should ignore that fact and place your trust in them. But you don't need to negatively judge them for it, it's quite enough to recognize certain personality traits and deal with the accordingly.

The True Self

When you try to live with this freedom, you begin to free yourself from your false self image. Your false self is the image you hold in your mind about who you are, filled with all your negativity, fears, judgments and flaws. It is not the real you, which comes out when you free yourself from the control these things have over you. The real you is your true self at the core of your being.

Your true self is free from judgment and doesn't care what other people think of you. When you're in line with your true self you're free to live life by your own values. You don't let the negative opinions of others, or society in general, hold you back because you believe in yourself. You're free to be completely honest with your opinions and beliefs without worrying about how others see them.

Your true self is free from fear and is able to follow your passions and desires without fear of failure or rejection. Without fear you are free to set huge goals and aspirations for your life, and have the courage to pursue them. You're free to go dancing in the rain if you feel like it, even if you're by yourself, even if there are people watching. You're free to experience the world however you see fit.

Your true self is free from negativity and lives in a state of peace and joy. You are free to connect with people and see the good in everyone you meet. Your true free self attracts amazing experience and people into your life, and creates beautiful stories and memories that last. Your true self is powerful and unaffected by the negativity of others.

Life is meant to be an awesome experience, and each step towards freedom brings you closer to the awesome true self that you are meant to be.


Travelling is in my opinion the most powerful way to work on freeing yourself in the ways described above.

Travelling pretty much forces you to become more free. While travelling not only are you more free in the literal sense of the word, with no home base to tie you down to, but you're also away from your confining daily routine which keeps you from experiencing new things to challenge you.

Travelling is all about having an awesome fun time, and because of this you tend to learn how to let things which would normally cause a negative reaction from you slide. Travelers are all searching for good times and are generally all very friendly towards each other. This positive attitude can be very helpful it helping you release the negative mindsets you get caught up in during your normal life.

While travelling your also likely to encounter many situations that build courage and free you from fear. This is especially true if you try travelling solo and are forced to be very independent in unfamiliar places. Learning to quickly befriend strangers becomes almost second nature, and if you're the adventurous type you'll find many ways to challenge your fear through things like bungee jumping or cliff diving. The mindset you find yourself in while travelling about 'experiencing as much as possible' definitely helps you fight your fear of doing things.

Perhaps most prevalent when travelling is the change of perspectives that come with learning about new people and cultures. When you witness how other people live their lives in vastly different ways your old need to judge people on ways they are different from you fades away, you begin to accept people for who they are rather than wanting them to be a certain way. If you travel to poorer regions of certain countries you also get to see how people can live with so much less than you, and the suffering they go through just to survive. This is quite humbling and really helps you appreciate your own life.

Traveling brings upon a lot of self reflection and expanded awareness which helps you to question how you live your own life.

The next time you feel yourself caught up in a negative mindset, or find yourself afraid to do something that you want to, or feel yourself negatively judging others, take a second to stop, become aware and free yourself. Let the true free you out to play.

Read more articles from this author about personal development through travel at: Make sure to bookmark it for later!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Finding The Real Caribbean

Why Go

Somewhere out there exists the real Caribbean- A hidden land pleasantly lacking foreign owned all-inclusive resorts that gate guests in and keep the island out. On this island expats, sailors, guests and locals merge into a unique blend of camaraderie shared over cold beers while serenaded by the rhythms of reggae and steel drums. Here one falls asleep to the cry of the neighbor's pet goat and wakes up to the alarm of the resident rooster. This secret land, although hard to get to, is well worth the visit, or perhaps even an extended stay. Whether you fly, sail or swim, in order to meet the real Caribbean face to face one must get themselves to Bequia, the crown jewel of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.


The island, only nine miles south of St. Vincent (known as the "Mainland" to locals) was first settled by the Arwak people. The Arwarks were eventually eliminated by the Caribs, a warlike race who took over the island and named it "Becouya", meaning "Island of Clouds".

The long period of European colonization began in 1664 when the French claimed Bequia, although permanent settlements were not established until 1719. Between 1763 and 1783, the English and French flip flopped control of the Grenadine islands until the Treaty of Versailles gave ultimate control to England.

Under English rule, agriculture, particularly sugar, was promoted throughout the island. When the sugar trade declined, the people of Bequia turned towards the sea and began a culture of fishing, whaling and boat building. The whaling industry attracted Scots and even today their lingering influence is felt. Because whaling is considered an indigenous tradition, the country is allowed to catch two whales per year under international treaty.

In 1979 St. Vincent and the Grenadines attained independence but remained part of the British Commonwealth. Due to its off-the-beaten-path location, Bequia, and the country as a whole, has focused on local, authentically Caribbean tourism that appeals to yachters and adventure travelers. In a large part, the lack of mass-tourism is a direct result of the stringent policies of beloved Prime Minister J.F. Mitchell, who once said:

"The tourist dollar alone, unrestricted, is not worth the devastation of my people. A country where people have lost their soul is no longer worth visiting. We will encourage only small numbers of visitors whose idea of a holiday is not heaven or paradise, but participation in a different experience. We shall try to avoid the fate of some of our Caribbean neighbors who have ridden the tiger of tourism only to wind up being devoured by it. Large super-luxury hotels with imported management, materials, and values bring false prosperity with the negative side effects of soaring land prices that kill agriculture, polluted beaches, traffic jams, high rise construction that ravages hillsides and scalds the eyeballs - the very problems that the visitors want to forget."

When to Go

Although Bequia's tropical climate makes it an ideal year-round destination, the best time to go is during the dry months. The dry season runs from approximately January to May and the rainy season from June through December, with July being the wettest. From September to November hurricanes are always a potentially dangerous occurrence.

How to Get There

This remote island is reached by air or sea. Flights can be booked directly into Bequia's small, J.F. Mitchell airport via Barbados on LIAT, Mustique Air, SVG Air or TIA. The more common route is to fly into St. Vincent and then ferry to Bequia's Admiralty Bay. Ferries run a half a dozen times a day and take approximately one hour, dock to dock.

By far the most popular mode of transportation is via private yacht. Long a yachties paradise, Admiralty Bay serves as a watery parking lot for these sometimes luxurious carriers of both the rich and famous and those who just enjoy taking to the sea. Customs is located directly opposite the ferry dock in Port Elizabeth.

Getting Around

Being only a mere seven square miles in size, the entire island can be taken in with a leisurely stroll. Other options include dollar buses, taxis (pick-up trucks with canvass awnings over the cabs) and water taxis for beach hopping. Taxis can be picked up at The Almond Tree in central Port Elizabeth, which is literally just an almond tree where the taxi drivers sit in the shade and wait for business. Fares should be negotiated prior to the trip.

Best Attractions

Bequia is not a destination full of marquee attractions since the real attraction here is its laid back local tempo. In fact, a popular answer to the question of "What's there to do?" is a simple, "Nothing", which is exactly the beauty of the island. Be sure to pack lots of paperbacks, crosswords and playing cards. However, when you're not busy "doing nothing", here's some things to occupy your free time:


Bequia's mountainous terrain blesses it with several secluded harbors lined with long stretches of peaceful sands. All beaches are public, but its rare you'll see more than a handful of people at any given time. The closest beach to Port Elizabeth is Princess Margaret Beach. The beach is lined by a tropical forest of shady palms and overlooks the turquoise waters of Admiralty Bay and its mooring of bobbing yachts. Princess Margaret is assessable by foot; just follow the Belmont Walkway.

Lower Bay Beach, located around the corner from Princess Margaret, is also accessible by a footpath located at the far end of Princess Margaret Beach. Lower Bay is a white sand beach with tranquil waters perfect for snorkeling and swimming. Along its rocky tips, sea turtles and octopuses abound. The village located along the main road has several options for food and drinks. Dawn's Beach Café is a popular place for sandwiches and beers whereas Keegans is known for its evening beachside barbeques.

Friendship Bay plays hosts to the third of the island's accessible beaches and is best reached via taxi. Located on the windward side of the island, facing the Atlantic, the waters here tend to be less clear and rougher. However, the pristine scenery of mist-shrouded islands floating along the horizon, its isolation and lack of boats blocking the view easily make up for any shortcomings. Further, the complimentary beach chairs are worth the trip themselves. The Moskito Bar, an open-terraced beachside bar and restaurant, mixes up a wide array of tempting tropical drinks which can be enjoyed either on the sand or in a bar side swing. Live bands often play well into the night.

To Spring and Sea Turtles

Bequia's number one bonafide tourist attraction is the unique Oldhegg Turtle Sanctuary, located in the remote Industry Bay region. The most rewarding way to reach the site is to walk there and take a taxi back. The walk, which can be steep and several hours long, will give you a true perspective of the island.

Begin by taking a right at the road running next to the New York Bar in Port Elizabeth. At first the hike is nothing but an unimpressive trek straight up the hillside. However, once you reach the crest be sure to turn around for a panoramic view of Admiralty Bay. Continue down the hill, past the foul smelling island landfill, and into the remote community known as Spring. Here you will pass Spring Pottery, located in the ruin of an old sugar plantation. The shop sells handmade, local crafts and artwork, along with being an operating pottery kiln open for tours. Up the hill from here is Spring on Bequia, a boutique hotel famous for both its views and Sunday afternoon curry buffets.

As you continue on you will pass the desolate Spring Bay, with its towering palm trees and old stone aqueducts. From here it is back up the hill, at the top of which you are greeted by past-the-horizon views of the Grenadine islands and gently seductive Caribbean Sea. From this vantage point you also can get a good feel of the shape and sounds of Bequia.

At the foot of the hill is Industry Bay, home of the oldest home on the island, which is still locally owned. From the Bay it is just a short walk to the humble Oldhegg Turtle Sanctuary. Founded by former sailor, Orton "Brother" King, the sanctuary nurses and breeds hawksbill and leatherback sea turtles in an effort to replenish the Southern Caribbean's rapidly disappearing turtle population. Mr. King started the project when he was camping on the beach now located adjacent to the site. While sleeping under the stars he was awakened by the unsettling feeling that someone was throwing sand at him. As he cautiously came out of his slumber he saw at his feet a mother sea turtle laying her eggs. Fascinated by this creature, he built his home here so he would be around to watch the turtles hatch. Inspired by this miracle of nature, Mr. King went on to start the sanctuary program and to date has raised and released thousands throughout the surrounding islands. Admission is a $20.00EC donation.

Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth is the only real "city" on the island. However, a place that has two streets, efficiently named Front Street and Back Street, can hardly be considered a city. Yet it is here where all of the island's energy converges. Besides being the starting point for the hotel and restaurant lined Belmont Walkway, the city proper has its fair share of attractions. At the very least, a stroll down harbor lined Front Street and back on neighborly Back Street gives you a glimpse of day-to-day Bequian life.

Along the way, be sure to poke your head into one of the handful of churches along the road. Often times all you have to do to find them is listen for the energetic and beautiful gospel signing radiating from their walls.

The main draw of Port Elizabeth is its boutique craft, clothing, art and grocery shops. For a selection of colorful local crafts and clothing, start at Local Color. Located on the Belmont side of Port Elizabeth in the upper story of a dive grocery store, Local Color specializes in tropical inspired women's clothing and basic island souvenirs. Noah's Arkade, adjacent to the Frangipani, also sells an excellent collection of homemade crafts, postcards, antique replica maps and clothing. For local books, along with a good selection of mass-paperback fictions for beach reading, the Bequia Bookshop is your place.

Historically, Port Elizabeth was a place of boat building. However, as the carriages of the sea transformed from wood to steel, the town adapted by taking the same skills and craftsmanship and applying them to building model boats. Throughout the streets of Bequia small boat building shops can be found. Here visitors can both buy model boats, some costing as much as a real boat, but also watch the artist practice their time-honed trade. The best places to catch boat building in action are Withfield Sails, Mauvin's and Sargeant Bothers', all located on the far end of Port Elizabeth.

One cannot be a traveler without taking the time to visit the town's local market. Bequia is no exception to this golden rule of travel. Unlike other international farmer's markets, the farmer's market in Bequia is known as the Rasta Market. It is held daily in a government-founded structure given to the local Rastafarians to sell their produce of pineapple, passion fruits, mangos and guava. The market is open 7am to 6pm Monday through Saturday and from 7 am to 4 pm on Sundays.

Other Notable Sites

Hamilton Fort, located on the far side of Admiralty Bay, is a colonial style 18th century fort guarded by sea-worn cannons. It provides a scenic and quiet place for an afternoon picnic retreat. Both Cinnamon Garden and Mount Pleasant offer shade and secluded gardens with panoramic, natural views. Paget Farm, a small fishing community and home to the lovely Banana Patch Studio, is another worthwhile destination.

Best Unusual Attraction: Moonhole

A magical, if not eerie, mix of Frank Lloyd Wright's taste for the natural and Gaudi's aptitude for the abstract, Moonhole is a collection of over twenty free-form homes melting from the rocky crags of the island's rugged sea cliffs. The original settlement was built by Tom Johnston, an American architect and developer. The concept was to create homes that were purely natural and thus are built without windows or doors. The entire place is part of nature, with tree branches snaking their way through bedrooms and lizards scampering across mud-packed kitchen floors. None of the walls or ceilings are even close to being conventional as all are curving or sloping in a way that is reminiscent of the eroding mud of the cliff's the homes are built from.

Today about half of these unique treasures have been restored and serve as a resort, of sorts. There is no electricity, but lamps are provided and some have solar panels. All showers are cold. Tours are available but must be booked in advance by calling 458-3068.

Out and About: Sailing to the Tobago Cays

As the Grenadines have historically been reserved for those of the sailing type, one cannot pass up an opportunity to see the islands from aboard a classic Caribbean schooner. The Friendship Rose, a wooden ship built in Bequia's Friendship Bay, offers daily sailing excursions departing from Admiralty Bay. Launched in 1967, The Friendship Rose was originally commissioned to carry fertilizer between the islands, before becoming the Grenadines official mail boat and later serving as the ferry between Bequia and St. Vincent. Today its sole responsibility is to usher tourist to and from Bequia and such romantic Grenadine destinations as Mustique, Caanouan and the Tobago Cays.

If there is only time for one sailing excursion, then it must be to the reef-ringed and white sand swept Tobago Cays. The collection of four uninhabited and completely natural islands that comprise the National Maritime Park is the perfect place to spend a water-themed adventure. Once here you can spend their day exploring the underwater treasures of Horseshoe Reef, where the movie Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed, or enjoy a relaxing rest on one of the numerous desert island beaches.

Regardless of how you spend your day, nothing beats swaying in the canvass Crew hammocks strung between the ship's towering wooden masts, digesting your gourmet lunch and enjoying the collision of the pure blue sky with a blue tie-dyed sea. This is the essence of the Grenadines' splendor.

Other Island Activities and Entertainment

Bequia is blessed with coral reefs and spectacular diving and snorkeling spots. Several outfitters are based on the Belmont Walkway, with the best being Bequia Dive Adventures and Dive Bequia.

If Bequia seems laid back and tranquil during the day, it transforms itself into an all-island beach party by night. On any given night of the week there is live music under the stars playing somewhere, all you have to do is follow your ears. The biggest party on the island is the weekly Thursday Night Jump Up at the Frangipani. Starting with a three course dinner of char-boiled steaks, shrimp, pastas, tropical fruits and the most delectable deserts in the Caribbean, this all night party quickly becomes a mass of drinking and dancing to steel drum music on the soft sands of the dance floor. Other popular places to catch music include The Pirates Table (784-458-3900), The Whaleboner and L'Auberge des Grenadines (784-458-3201).

Special Events

Bequia would not be a Caribbean island if it didn't have its own slew of action packed festivals. Each year things get kicked off right with the Old Year's Night party, full of music, dancing, food, and fireworks being shot off from the yachts and ferries. Every Easter Bequia plays host to the Bequia Easter Regatta, with yacht races in the day, cultural events during the evening, and partying all night.

Best Eats

For upscale gourmet dining under the stars, there's no better place than the Frangipani. Expect to feast from a diverse menu of chicken, steaks, seafood and plenty of pastas, rice, citrus fruits and fresh produce to accompany your main course. Don't forget to save room for dessert: lime meringue and French silk pie, chocolate mousse and creamy cakes will tantalize your sweet tooth. The banana pancakes at breakfast are a Bequian must.

Mac's Pizza cooks up the best lobster pizza, a Bequia original, on their brick ovens. Surprisingly, curry is a popular spice on the island (785-458-3474). For a fusion of the best of Indian food with a splash of the Caribbean, try the chicken curry garnished with mango salsa and Nan at the Gingerbread (784-458-3800).

For ethnic eats, the Plantation House Restaurant is owned and operated by Italians and thus serve up the best pasta dishes this side of Italy. For Mexican fare, Tommy Cantina on the Belmont side of Port Elizabeth is an excellent choice for spicy fish tacos (and their margarita menu is not to be missed).

Where to Sleep

The Gingerbread Hotel, located on Admiralty Bay along the seaside Belmont Walkway, an architecturally impressive hotel, is perfect for those looking for simple seclusion yet still staying close to the central action of the island. The hotel is built in the popular gingerbread tradition found throughout the island, with intricate hand cut fretwork enhancing the façade of the dining rooms and guest rooms. Both luxury and budget rooms are available.

On Bequia's windward side, at the end of a narrow, bumpy road, a 10-minute drive south of Port, The Friendship Bay Resort sparkles with a bright, new personality thanks to its resourceful Swedish proprietor. This cheery and brightly colored sea cliff hotel is tastefully set into its natural surroundings and provides all guest stellar Caribbean views. The property consists of the main building atop a hill, a cluster of cottages below, and a thatched bar and restaurant facing two kilometers of windswept beach (784-458-3222).

Amid a tangle of tropical foliage, in town midway along the busy waterfront promenade, the small, classic West Indies-styled Frangipani is steeped in local history. Once home to Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell and still owned by his family, this appealing property centers on a building that resembles a New England whaler's home with its cedar shake and pale blue shutters. Not only is "The Frangi" one of the most popular hangouts for travelers, it is also highly regarded as the place to be by the locals, giving it a uniquely blended, homey personality. The cabanas on the hill are luxurious suites, but the five simple guest rooms on the second floor of the main house are a steal.

The peach-color colonial house with pastel blue accents, huge verandas on three sides, and a palm-studded lawn of a former Caribbean plantation is now under Italian management as the Plantation House Hotel. The hotel sprawls along the oceanside Belmont Walkway and is lined with the plantation's original stone fence. Guests have easy access to Port Elizabeth's shops and restaurants and fine views of the bustling harbor.

Perched on a hill on the windward side of the island, Spring on Bequia overlooks Spring Bay from the ruins of a 200-year-old sugar mill set among coco palms and a tropical pasture populated by cows, sheep and large land crabs. This small, isolated, award-winning yet understated property does not focus on the beach. Rather, it is an ideal place for those seeking peace, quiet, and delicious West Indian food in informal, aesthetically pleasing surroundings.

For Your Safety

Bequia takes pride in its relatively crime-free existence. Although whiffs of marijuana can be smelled regularly, the sale of it is rather undercover. The greatest risks to your safety and well-being are from the manchineel trees located along the beaches. If touched they may cause an aggravating skin rash. At the time of writing there were several reports of armed robbery occurring along the wooded paths leading to Princess Margaret Beach and Lower Bay Beach. It is best to use precaution and walk in groups or take a water taxi. At the very least, ask your hotel on the status of the trails.

Nicholas J. Klenske is a freelance writer living in Brussels, Belgium. His work has been featured in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, New Haven Advocate, and The Telegraph Herald. Read more at

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Vacation Destinations For Adrenaline Junkies - Extreme Destinations For the Adventurous

If you are looking for adrenaline-pumping vacation, here is a list of vacation idea that is sure to get your heart racing.

Surfing in Hawaii

"Surfing", riding on the crest or along the tunnel of a wave, is one of the most popular and oldest of extreme sports. Two of the most popular surfing destinations in the world are Australia and California but arguably, Hawaii with its huge swells and waves is said to be the ultimate surfing destination.


Downhill skiing on glaciers or remote mountains reached by helicopter is known as Heli-skiing. This form of skiing was established in the 1960s in Canada. Today, there are many places where you can Heli-ski - Alaska, Iceland, Switzerland, Greenland, New Zealand, Indian Himalayas, Nepal, Sweden, Finland, Argentina and more. The most popular place to Heli-ski is British Columbia in Canada with its vast wilderness and abundance of powder snow.

Base Jumping

BASE is an acronym for the platforms from which a jumper can jump: Building, Antenna, Span or Earth. Some of the best places to BASE jump are Meru Peak in the Himalayas, Trango cliff in Pakistan, New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville, West Virginia, Perrine Bridge jump in Idaho, etc. Lysefjord in Norway however offers the biggest drops, the least hassle and best scenery for BASE jumpers.

Warning! Base Jumping without proper training or equipment can be fatal.

Scuba Diving

Scuba Diving is a form of underwater diving in which a diver uses a scuba set (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) to breathe underwater in order to explore unfamiliar, exciting, and beautiful underwater environments. Some of the best places to scuba dive are Hawaii, Grand Turk in the Bahamas, Florida in USA, Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands, Fiji Islands in South Pacific and Cozumel in Mexico. However for a scuba diving vacation of a lifetime head for The Great Barrier Reef', the largest coral reef in the world off the coast of Queensland in Australia.


Rolling down the hill in a giant inflatable ball is known as 'Zorbing'. Zorbing was invented in New Zealand and gain popularity in many places across the world.

The Zorb is a gigantic inflatable PVC ball standing about three meters in height, which contains another smaller ball that is suspended into position by thousand nylon strands of varying colors. There are two ways to zorb - Hydro (Wet) or Harness (Dry). To Zorb head to New Zealand or the UK.

These vacation ideas and destinations are just a few that can get your adrenaline going.


Visit Instareserve for comprehensive information on vacation destinations.