Sunday, August 13, 2017

Adventure Close to Home

I have the good fortune to live on Beautiful Cape Cod. It's an unusual place to live. As a tourist destination the year round population of 220,000 supports 4-5 million visitors, most arriving in July and August. The fall shoulder season is also becoming much more popular. September used to be our best kept secret - the best time to go to the beaches, shops and restaurants with very few tourists. Sadly, our secret is gradually getting out. Once you get past mid October things start to close for the season, and the winter season is very quiet indeed.

Because nearly all the activities: festivals, parades, etc. happen "in season" we do have to venture out occasionally among the tourists and "summer people". Yesterday was one of those days. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution operates year round, doing all kinds of research in concert with all kinds of universities and the U.S. Navy, but it's in August that they have their "Science Stroll". The Science Stroll is comprised of all kinds of exhibits, from films to tours of the ocean research vessel Atlantis.  Due to a generous friend we were able to tour the Atlantis and it was fascinating.
Once off the ship we were able to visit with actual scientists, and see the actual equipment used in oceanic research. These are the instruments and ships that looked for Maylasia 3.0,  map the floor of the ocean, trace ocean currents and temperatures - nearly everything you hear about the ocean comes from here. You should check out the link to their site for even more. The most exciting thing to me is that most research is private for a couple of years so the scientists have time to publish, then it's all available to the public. What a treasure trove of information!

 Aside from all the science fun, Woods Hole is a charming town and worth a visit on its own merits. Just don't expect to have a lot of available parking!

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

A (Slight) Change of Direction

I think it's pretty clear that I enjoy cruising, but maybe not that I REALLY like it. No, I'm not going to work on a cruise ship, but I CAN now book cruises! I've trained as a travel agent, specializing currently in cruises from Carnival and my personal favorite Royal Caribbean. I'm working from my home with Avoya Travel as my home agency - which means they provide a range of services for me to be able to book cruises with some exclusive discounts with the support of a sophisticated operation. I'm excited about it! August is a low volume month for travel agents, but I'm using that to my advantage while I learn to operate their excellent system at a normal human pace. Feel free to contact me at Two Gals Travel L.L.C. 508.289.1301 any time! The name is kind of funny. The Little Woman is an entrepreneurial sort; her mother owned a travel agency and her first job was working in the agency. Since our first trip together we have joked that we would operate tours under the name Two Gals Travel - now it's a reality.

Other than that, my summer is flying by at a crazy speed. We have enjoyed quite a bit of beach time, but haven't managed to work in any kayaking or camping. The Little Woman thinks my flower gardens are out of control; I like the look of a vegetal shoving match, and neither one of us is pleased with our well breathing its last. After a nice wet spring we are in the middle of summer with no outdoor water. Quite annoying, and of course a First World Problem because we do have indoor plumbing. I'm going to have to get a plumber to connect my town water to an outdoor faucet, which should be super easy because the original plumbing to the faucet is still in place, just one copper pipe is capped off. Or pray for rain - which is what I am mainly doing!

 Pictures today are from San Juan, Puerto Rico, which we visited last February. We were cruising the Eastern Caribbean, and caught our ship in San Juan. We left Boston a day earlier than we intended because of an incoming blizzard that was already canceling flights and spent two days there before our cruise. What a lovely place! It's beautiful. There is a lot of public art, gardens, music, delicious food - everything you want in a vacation. Puerto Rico also has wonderful beaches. American Dollars is the currency, English is spoken (almost) everywhere. Really it has everything a person could want in a tropical vacation and more. So convenient, so close! I plan to come back sometime soon for a longer stay. One more thing - El Moro, the famous fort, is  part of the American National Parks System, so your senior pass can be used for admission.  That's not a big savings - admission is only $5.00, but still, why not save a little if you can?