trip

Caribbean Vacation Part 3: Diving

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I recently got Open Water Certified for scuba diving with the intent of diving in the Caribbean. Here's where I wrote about getting my Open Water Scuba Certification.

When we booked our trips, I wasn't sure I wanted to spend four straight days scuba diving so we only booked two days of it. Looking back, I kinda wish we'd done all four! But snorkeling, ziplining, and spending time with the other people on our trip was fun too.

We had two two-tank dives booked. One in Grand Cayman, and the other in Cozumel, Mexico. 

Grand Cayman was my first dive after my certification; it was a beautiful sunny day and we were going to a wreck and a reef. I can't remember the name of the wreck for the life of me, but it was just off the coast!

On that dive we saw lots of fish, lobster, and even a sea turtle! The sea turtle was definitely the coolest thing we saw diving.

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In Cozumel we had two drift dives scheduled. It was a choppy day on the water and entering was difficult. But once we were in it was a nice dive! There were lots of unique fish, a barracuda, a crab spider, sea snake, and a seahorse!

While learning to scuba dive in the Puget Sound was difficult, it was completely worth it for the Caribbean. I'm even considering diving here again!

Stay tuned for the last two posts on our trip!

 

Caribbean Vacation Part 2: Snorkeling

On our recent Caribbean cruise, we didn't want to spend all four port days diving. We did end up renting equipment one of the days though to snorkel, and it was so much fun! Apparently, the diving in Honduras is amazing, as it is in many places down in the Caribbean, but the snorkeling was cool too!

One thing we did learn after snorkeling is that sunscreen kills reefs. The reef we were at was about 90% dead because of the tourists' sunscreen. (Ours included!) But you can buy reef safe sunscreen. Next time I go swimming, snorkeling, or diving, I'm going to make sure I have environmentally friendly sunscreen!

Caribbean Vacation Part 1

I was lucky enough to be able to go on a weeklong vacation with friends recently. We took a cruise in the Caribbean. While it was fun, and I'm glad I went, I don't think that a cruise is for me.

The food was delicious, and I saw dolphins from our balcony three separate times!

I have so many cool photos from our trip that I'm going to break them up into a few different posts, so keep an eye out for them in the coming days!

Weekend Trip to Lake Wenatchee Part Two

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Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee

After we went snowshoeing, which if you want to read about is available at the Lake Wenatchee Part One blog post, we spent a few hours down in Leavenworth, Washington. My favorite thing to do there is to get a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Caramel Apple. I got it and some other candies, and we probably stopped in every single store downtown. There was an outdoors store that sold some Woolrich pants one of my friends got, an art gallery that sold metal wall art of the mountains and trees, a bookstore, and so so much more. Leavenworth is a pretty little town but it's my favorite when there's snow on the ground. We happened to go the same weekend as their ice festival so there were lots of other people in town watching the ice carvings and various contests and races.

Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee and Leavenworth
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee and Leavenworth

After our time in Leavenworth we went back to the cabin and cooked burgers. We got up early the next morning to head home and made a couple of stops along the way. We had second breakfast at the Cascadia Inn in Skykomish and then made another stop on the side of Stevens Pass Highway to look at some massive icicles hanging from the cliff on the other side of the river.

Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee

My L.L. Bean Thinsulate boots worked for this little stop fairly well. I fell through the ice once or twice but the water below was only a few inches deep so my feet stayed dry. I am planning on getting waterproof hiking boots in the next week or two though, when the coupons from REI come out with the REI member dividend.

Do you have any favorite places to stop or explore in the Cascade Mountains near Steven's Pass?

Weekend Trip to Lake Wenatchee Part One

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Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee

Some friends of ours have a cabin up on Lake Wenatchee and we had the opportunity to stay there one weekend in January.

On our way up we stopped for dinner at Benjarong Thai Restaurant in Monroe, WA. It was so yummy! If you like Thai, you should check it out.

We got up to the cabin late Friday, started a fire to keep us warm, and just chilled. After waking up early the next morning, we got ready and went snowshoeing. I definitely need better gloves for next time I'm out in such cold weather. My fingers were freezing the whole time. The rest of me was fine though at least.

Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee

FYI This was the adventure that I realized I needed a Merino Wool Buff and not an annoying scarf with ends that wouldn't stay out of my way. Here's another Merino Wool Buff option. I got the first because it's on sale.

Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee

Before and after snowshoeing we drove around a little bit too and explored the area around the lake. I'd love to have a small cabin up in the mountains for adventures like this. It's so beautiful.

Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee

After snowshoeing and driving around we went back to the cabin to warm up and change to go to Leavenworth which I'll talk more about in Part Two of this blog post.

Where's your favorite place in the Cascade Mountains?

Afternoon Tea in Victoria

Northwest Pearls: Afternoon Tea This past weekend my best friend and I took a trip up to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. We rode the Coho ferry over from Port Angeles, and arrived late Friday night.

I'd wanted to go to The Empress Hotel for afternoon tea, but they had no room for a reservation. While they'd suggested I call back to try again, I decided to go somewhere else for tea. We went to The Gatsby Mansion instead. The price was half that of the Empress and when I looked at the menu online, their menu looked a little more up our alley.

I ordered the West Coast Tea menu, and substituted the shrimp salad on a mini croissant for the genoa salami on the Signature Afternoon Tea menu. My favorite tea is black tea so I also ordered TWG's 1837 black tea which you can order online, so I may be doing that soon!

Northwest Pearls: Afternoon Tea

Northwest Pearls: Afternoon Tea

Northwest Pearls: Afternoon Tea

We sat outside on the porch overlooking the garden and the harbor. It was a lot of fun and something I'd recommend doing.

Is there anything you'd recommend doing in Victoria?

A Walk at the Beach

There's not much better than a sunny day at the beach. We took the dog for a walk at Three Arch Bay in Laguna Beach, CA. It's such an amazing beach. I love going there. Most of the pictures I took that day there didn't turn out very well. But I'll post some more pictures from other days soon! Northwest Pearls: A Walk at the Beach

Anaheim Packing House

Northwest Pearls: Anaheim Packing House While in Anaheim, California, I got to go to the Anaheim Packing House. It's a little hard to explain, but essentially it's a gourmet food court inside an old fruit packing house.

It was so amazing. They asked that no pictures be taken inside, so here's a picture of the lava cake I took home with me! :)

Northwest Pearls: Anaheim Packing House

Besides the lava cake from one vendor whose name I forget, I also ate gourmet grilled cheese from The Black Sheep, a gourmet food vendor. It was so delicious. It had goat cheese, grilled onions, and more on it. I was in heaven.

But the best part of the Packing House was the speakeasy. The Blind Rabbit is located on the bottom floor. It's behind a secret door. It was probably one of the highlights of my whole trip to California because how often do you get to go to a hidden speakeasy restaurant?

The drinks there were good and the atmosphere was pretty cool. It was small so they recommend reservations for some days and times. If you go to the packing house, I'd highly recommend finding The Blind Rabbit.

Have you ever been to The Packing House? What have you thought?

Yoga in the Park

Northwest Pearls: Yoga in the Park  

This past week I went down to Southern California. One of the many fun things I did was go to I Heart Yoga in the Park classes. The class is located in Lantern Bay Park in Dana Point, CA, and is free with a suggested donation of $8.

This was the first time I had tried yoga (besides doing a YouTube class or two in college) although I have been thinking of taking classes for a while. The first class was incredibly hard but the other two I went to were a lot easier. I went to two evening classes and one 10 am class.

Around 30-60 people (forgive me if I'm way off, estimating people can be hard) attended the classes. I had a yoga mat, some water, my (somewhat baggy and loose in all the wrong places) yoga clothes, and my sunglasses. The park overlooks the ocean and it's very pretty.

Both men and women went to the classes; their ages ranged from late teens/early twenties to their fifties and sixties. (There may have been older people, I just didn't see them.) The instructors walked around so if you couldn't hear them at one point, you could hear them later; once in a while they commented on a specific person's pose to correct it or to praise it.

I can see the class being better for people who actually know what they're doing in yoga, but I didn't have too much trouble following along. I'm sure my form could have been better but I definitely got a workout and I was careful to not hurt myself. (I just looked at a picture of myself doing downward dog and I didn't realize that it was more like an upside down 'v' so I know that I was doing that one wrong, my back was curved.) 

Since I have some free time coming up and I enjoyed the classes, I might look into taking a few yoga classes here in the northwest.

Have you ever tried yoga? What have you thought of it?