Jan 22nd
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Islands around the world

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Deb's Favorite Treks
... in and about the islands around the world.        

    Islands, scattered about the world, some just tiny dots on a map. Pick an island – one lined with white sandy beaches or steep rocky cliffs, teeming with marine life in either warm blue-green waters or cool deep blue; one alive with exotic wildlife in lush jungles or arid deserts; another carved with towering volcanic peaks or massive canyons, with gurgling thermal springs or cascading waterfalls; and others inhabited by large bustling cities or quiet native villages.  Travel by island hopper, boat, or over a bridge. But, once there, be prepared to move to the island’s often slow, stress free pace – taking time to savor the magic.

Here are a few favorite adventures to share with the kids on these favorite islands...

    Bring your bikes and board a large ferry headed for Washington’s San Juan Islands. While ferrying across Rosario Strait in Puget Sound, keep your eyes open for Orca whales and porpoise. On Orcas Island, as Bald eagles often soar overhead and deer graze in the green meadows, pedal through forests and along rocky beaches, stopping to swim in Lake Cascade and hike up to the lookout on Mt. Constitution – enjoy great views of the distant Cascade Range. Then ferry from Orcas to San Juan Island and bike around the island – discover hidden bays, explore deserted beaches, and pedal above Haro Strait. Spot whales at Lime Kiln Park and see both American Camp and English Camp for a little island history.  At Roche Harbor, try your hand at sea kayaking and in Friday Harbor don’t miss the Whale museum.

    Step into the movies, like Jurassic Park and Raiders of the Lost Ark on the Garden Isle, Kauai, Hawaii. This volcanic island with steep peaks jutting high contrasted with deep lush valleys, both covered with tropical foliage is a popular location for movie making.  Hike an ancient Hawaiian trail like the Kalalau Trail along the Na Pali coast with cascading waterfalls and stunning cliff and ocean views – often spotting whales in the distance; surf and snorkel the warm blue green waters off some 40 gorgeous beaches, such as Ke’e, Hanalei, and Lumahai; kayak the Wailua and Hanalei rivers into the dense interior; look out on spectacular Waimea Canyon – the “grand canyon” of the Pacific; and, in a helicopter soar above Mt. Waialeale, the wettest spot on earth.

    Hop aboard the Peak Tram, the steepest railway in the world and climb straight up 1805 feet to Victoria Peak’s most breathtaking view of Hong Kong Island, its bustling harbor, and beyond, into mainland China. Board a sampan and tour Aberdeen, a city of anchored junks, home to many “boat people.” Then grab a bite of dim sum at one of the many floating restaurants. There’s Water World and its giant water slides; Middle Kingdom which retraces 5000 years of Chinese history; Stanley Market and its stall-lined streets full of merchandise; and, a picturesque beach at Repulse Bay. Wander about street markets selling pressed duck and unusual   looking fruit to live giant sea snails and crated chickens; see bird markets displaying song birds in bamboo cages; inspect snake shops serving up bowls of snake soup; and in the mornings linger in Hong Kong’s city parks filled with men and women practicing tai chi.

    Take in a popular Mediterranean pastime... an evening stroll through the Old town of Kerkira, on the Island of Corfu, Greece. Starting at dusk when the swallows fill the sky, all ages take to the tree-lined walkway stretching along Venetian colonnades and arches. Evenings cool the town, fill the restaurants and bring children’s laughter to the streets as kids typically stay up late.  Perched high above the Adriatic Sea near Krini are the ruins of the Byzantine fortress, Angelokastro. Even greater views can be seen from the Byzantine Monastery of Palaiokastritsa that overlooks rocky bays filled with blue-green waters. Other favorite family outings are building sand castles at Arilas beach with its great sand and pedal-boating about the waters off Agios Georgios Beach.

    Camp in a Caribbean paradise--discover Virgin Islands National Park on the island of St. John. Hike among some 800 subtropical plant species--from desert to mangrove swamps; sight more than 100 bird species--from laughing gulls to green throated carib humming birds; snorkel the reefs of coral teeming with colorful marine life; stroll along white powdery beaches; take in breath-taking views like the turquoise waters of Trunk Bay; and, visit the historical Arawak Indian petroglyphs, the Danish colonial sugar plantation of Annaberg and see the influences of former African slavery. Cinnamon Bay campground offers cottages, tents and bare campsites and Maho Bay camp offers hillside tent-cottages. 


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