Tag archives for Beach
The Namibian sand was calling our name so we grabbed our Kalahari Ferraris (sand boards) and hit the dunes. My heart was thumping in my chest as I was hanging over the slip face. I didn’t even have time to catch my breath and they pushed me over the edge. Each of our seven runs was steeper and faster than the last.
After our adrenaline buzz we wandered the beach and streets of Swakopmund and came across the world’s largest quartz crystal cluster. It is estimated to be about 520 million years old and weighs 14,100 kilograms. Namibia is home to some of the world’s most fine gemstones.
Our next stop was Cape Cross, home to over 100,000 cape fur seals; half of them were one month old pups. The moment we saw the seals our mouths dropped open. Many of the adorable pups were taking their first swim in the ocean and you could tell they were having a ball.
Then something awesome yet scary happened, we were charged by a seal. He was trapped in the pathway and thought we were in his territory. At first it was kind of fun having the seal be so close to us but when he bared his teeth we ran as fast as we could to the truck.
Next we were off to
Brandberg, home of the desert elephant. On our way we visited a local Himba village and learned about their culture and purchased some traditional crafts. The Himba people rub their bodies in a red ochre and fat to protect them from the harsh desert climate. Arriving in Brandberg we were greeted by Bonnie the meerkat and Peanut the talking bird.
The next morning we set out for a sunrise game drive. “ELEPHANT!” is what Everest screamed when he saw a massive bull only ten feet away from us. We drove on and saw another 30 incredible elephants; Moms, Dads, and lots of little calves.
After an epic elephant experience we went back in time 6,000 years to when the local Bushmen roamed the land. There were ancient rock engravings that they used to inform the other tribes what animals were in the area, what animals they were hunting, and to teach the children about the animals. The engravings at Twyfelfontein were very stark but had a beauty about them. My favorites were the engravings of the giraffe. Did you know the Bushmen never killed the giraffe because they thought the giraffe had long necks to speak to the sky gods who brought the rain? Africa couldn’t be more amazing!
We pulled into the Recife bus station missing our amazing surfer buddies and then we meet Carlos, another amazing friend. He was an exchange student with my cousins a few years ago. My Cousin Kayla’s family owns a farm in Indiana so he learned to speak English and all about agriculture. Carlos met us at the bus station and drove us back to his family home. His mom and step dad then moved out of their master suite so we could be comfortable.
In the afternoon his step father took time off work to take us on a tour of the city. We started with the oldest jail in Brazil; all the cells are now little shops. Next we went down to the waterfront to see the new cruise ship dock. They are preparing for the World Cup and the Olympics here too. Later we went to the old city that is more than 500 years old.
We drove into Praia do Forte not knowing what to expect, but within a few minutes we knew we were going to love it. Gallego, a smiling, surfing, and snorkeling caretaker greeted us and welcomed us into our friend’s beach house. Before we even got our suitcases from the car we went to the beach and felt the warm water on our toes. The house was beautiful and had a pool in the backyard, but best of all we were ten steps from the ocean. We were all super excited to explore the cute beach village and the coral reef full of little critters.
Our first night in town we explored and met Alexandre the owner of the Billabong surf and skate board shop and decided we would take our surf lessons with him the next day. Alexandre, Marcio and Lideo, three amazing guys with electric personalities picked us up in the morning. We spent some time on the shore learning the basic moves and then we hit the waves.
We arrived in the city of color and samba, Rio de Janeiro, with our eyes wide open. Our home the first three nights was Bossa, in the historic part of town called Santa Teresa. We spent our days exploring the city and taking in all the sites. We started with two huge landmarks Sugar Loaf (the big rock in the pictures of Rio) and Christ the Redeemer, both were incredible. I have seen pictures of this giant statue my whole life so standing there next to him was truly amazing.
The next 2 weeks we spent on the beach, one of my most favorite places on earth. Our first stop was La Pedrera, a hippie village on the sea. While we were there we went to a ceramics school and made tons of beautiful things.
Long beach walks every day were both beautiful and relaxing. I love the sand between my toes and the sound of the waves. Sure I miss home, but when we have stops like this I am so grateful we are on this trip. After three fabulous days in town we left for a beach house two steps from the waves. It was a fantastic place to relax and take it all in. I spent hours sitting in a hammock enjoying the surrounding beauty. One of the nights at the house I made my parents a three course meal with vegetable soup, sautéed shrimp and spinach pasta, and durazno y naranja helado (peach and orange ice cream).
After the ride from the mountains of Ella we stood in awe of amazing Tangalle Beach. It was not only beautiful; the Indian Ocean was as warm as a bathtub. I was so glad this was the place we chose for our longest stay.
We did a lot of fun things while we were there, one of my favorites was the turtle hatchery. They are helping save baby turtle eggs from poachers (people that steal the eggs and sell them for a lot of money) and rescue turtles that are blind and handicapped. They even rescued an Albino turtle. My friend Avery has a house in Nicaragua and they have the same poacher problem. They are also trying to save the turtles.
Jonathan: We had a very early start this morning because we were off on another adventure to a new island. We took a Cayman Airways plane to Cayman Brac, a sister island to Grand Cayman. Fifteen minutes and 90 miles later we landed in Cayman Brac. “Brac” is Gaelic for bluff and the island got its name because of the 140-foot bluff standing on the island’s coast.
Our first stop was to the Cayman Brac Museum. The museum holds many unique artifacts that shows the history, culture, and heritage of the island that date all the way back to the early 1900s. One of the artifacts we saw was a mattress made by stuffing it with dried plantain and banana leaves. Another thing we learned about in the museum was the history of caymanite. Caymanite is a semiprecious stone, which is layered in different shades of brown, and is only found on Cayman Brac. It was discovered by a tourist visiting Cayman Brac from Alabama in 1978.
After the museum, we headed to the Brac’s caves. My favorite cave we saw was called Peter’s Cave. Peter’s Cave is located inside of the bluff so we had to drive all the way to the top. The cave was made out of limestone and was used by the first settlers of the island to provide shelter from the hurricanes.
Because of its sturdiness and high elevation, Peter’s Cave is the perfect place to hide out during a bad storm. Inside the cave, we had to really duck down so we wouldn’t hit our heads on the low ceiling. It was very dark and cramped in the cave so we needed to watch out where we were going so we wouldn’t crash into any stalagmites or stalactites that were scattered all over. I can’t imagine having to stay in there to ride out a storm because of how humid and tight it was, but obviously people still do because we found a lounge chair, mattress, and jugs of water in the cave. It was interesting to explore Peter’s cave but I was happy to see the sunshine and amazing view of the Cayman Brac when we exited.
We’ve arrived on Grand Cayman, but we are still waiting for four team members to get to the hotel. They were on later flights. Meanwhile, eleven of us want to share our first impressions of this beautiful island.
Photograph by Dan Westergren
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BOOK NAME: The Summer I Turned Pretty
AUTHOR: Jenny Han
Every year since Belly could remember she has always gone down to Cousins Beach each summer with her mother, her brother, her mother’s best friend and her two sons, Conrad and Jeremiah. Belly has always had a crush on Conrad, the older of the two brothers, but this summer is having second thoughts on Jeremiah. Unlike the rest of the summers this summer is different, everyone’s older and has changed. Belly got rid of her glasses and has matured a great amount since the last visit. Conrad, on the other hand, has made some mistakes that may cost him a lot. Jeremiah is still the same fun self he always was but acts different when he is around Belly. Belly has no clue what the end of this summer may bring but in the end it’s a summer she will never forget.
I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!! I am in to chick flicks and chick lit lately and this one is at the top of my list! It is very girly and every time I read it, it reminds me of summer and I love that feeling. In about every other chapter there is a flashback to summers before that and it shows the whole story. Every time I opened it I could never put it down! I hope you get a chance to read this book because you will enjoy it very much. This series is going to become a trilogy.