Focus On Fun Travel

Monday, January 31, 2011

Mexico or Bust

     I think it important to share with you all an official statement by Carnival Cruise Lines regarding Ports of Call in Mexico.  I shall copy and paste from John Healds Blog:
"Carnival Cruise Lines currently has three ships operating voyages to Mexico from the West Coast. We have two based year-round in Long Beach. A third ship is sailing seasonally from San Diego through April 2012.
Mexico continues to be a popular destination for our guests. Carnival is the largest year-round cruise operator from California to Mexico and the company is committed to its West Coast cruise programs.
In addition to three ships visiting Mexico’s Pacific Coast, 13 Carnival ships call at popular Mexican ports of call along the country’s Gulf Coast, including Cozumel, Progreso and Calica.
Mexico remains an important part of our itinerary plans."

     There you have it.  19 days til we all meet aboard the Carnival Splendor in Long Beach.  With our weather turning extremely cold tomorrow and snow on the horizon, and with much of the U.S. experiencing severe winter weather, Mexico sure sounds nice, now dudnit?

     Shore excursions or things to do while in port should be on everyone's mind.  If you have not reserved something yet, now would be an excellent time.  We suggest you check out and see all the possibilities for heaving fun in one of our three ports (Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas).  Our family is looking forward to Horseback riding.  Some friends of ours are going 4-Wheeling.  Fishing to sightseeing, you have lots of opportunity to explore.

     If you need help, let us know.
We Are Here For You.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

20 Days and Counting

Carnival Splendor Dry Dock San Francisco - Photo By Alan Grinberg
      Since I have seen very little news on the current status of the Carnival Splendor, which we sail on with 30 of our favorite friends, Feb 20, I thought I would do some digging tonight.  With the help of my trusty and very beautiful companion, Barbi, we found some video from one of the news stations in San Francisco giving a quick update.  there are some really great pictures out there of the ship in Dry Dock at Pier 70.  Carnival Support on Twitter @CCLSupport also confirms that repairs are on schedule.  This is all very good news.  You will all know from my previous BLOG that I am in deperate need of R&R, and this is the place to do it.

     For those of you who are sailing with us, call us if you need any assistance in printing boarding passes and luggage tags.  We were recently asked what to bring.  Well, I expect 75 degrees and lots of sun.  So, to quote my good friend Steve G.  7 Speedos and a pair of flip flops sounds perfect and takes no space at all.  For formal night, I'll put on a tie and jacket over the speedo.  To be serious, dress lightly, but have something warm for the evening when you are outside on deck or in port.  For a formal night in the dining room, bring along a tie and dress pants. You don't have to wear a jacket, but it is recommended.  Women, you always look amazing in a dress, but a nice pant suit will be just fine.

     We will have a great time, so come prepared to have loads of fun!

We Are Here For You.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Life and it's Challenges ... BUT

     I have a good friend who is religious on her blog updates, and I am daily reminded how challenged my life can be to dedicate the time needed to keep up this project.  Between Facebook, 2 twitter accounts, a full time job that needs constant attention, 4 children and a loving companion to give my time to, another blog, friends, and puppies, I find myself everyday saying.."I Need A Vacation!"  It is a good thing I have a smart phone (ANDROID) to help me keep on top of things as best as I can.

     Secrecy can be an obnoxious thing too, as you try to keep ahead of the game, like....texting and driving!  Well, what about emailing and driving, or youtubing and driving, then there's blogging and driving.  Oh crap!  screeech!  I know it is a matter of time before my eclesiastical leader will be bringing me into his office and talking hell fire and damnation for commenting on John Healds Blog during church.  Or talking about travel opportunities in Sunday School.  What is a man supposed to do?  I am not superman who can fly around the world fast to slow down time.

     We all have options, right?  Lorazapam! Prozac! The state mental hospital and a straight jacket!  I personally am anxiously waiting a cruise with the whole family Feb 20, even though some cruise lines have stopped (temporarily) calling on Mazatlan.  I don't care if I spend the whole time on the ship and say that I saw and smelled Mexico air.  All I need is to get away and not think of anything except...What's at the buffet, who's entertaining us tonight, why is Curt fishing off of deck 7 when we are crusing at 20 knots...Nathan!  Get off the railing!  Yep, it's much more relaxing to me than other things in life right now.

     So if you come to my house and find me in the fetal position with puppies licking my ears, don't worry.  The Lorazapam has not yet kicked in!

Guard Towers El Morro - San Juan, P.R.
We Are Here For You.

Monday, January 24, 2011

What an Awesome Ride

Crown Princess Livorno Italy
     Arriving in Ft. Lauderdale in May of last year for what would be the first of many trips of a lifetime, we were excited about our first transatlantic cruise aboard the Crown Princess, of Princess Cruises.  Because of the amount of time at sea, we found it extraordinarily perfect to "Escape Completely" in a balcony stateroom, and for those of you who might consider doing this, I stronly suggest doing the same.

     We have sailed on Princess 3 other times, aboard the Grand, Coral, and Caribbean Princesses.  Also on Holland America's Amsterdam and the Norwegian Jewel.  I suppose, because we spent so much time on this one, this has to be our favorite cruise ship to date.  The Stateroom, as I have already mentioned, was spacious and comfortable.  
The incredible Glass of the Atlantic 400 Miles out
We were located near the bow of the ship, but we rarely ever felt any movement of this 3,080 passenger, 116,000 ton beauty.  Our captain was fully engaged in all the goings on on the ship, our cabin steward was attentive, but un-obtrusive, and the wait staff were impeccable in their service and attention.

The Piazza
     One of our favorite places to hang out was the International Cafe, located at the lower level of the Piazza.  This location is abuzz with activity from passengers mingling, having snacks, and enjoying fresh Sushi, to live entertainment which included highlights of the Singers and Dancer's performances, string ensembles, and jazz quartets.  We also saw dancing and juggling.  From here, it is easy to navigate around to find the shops, casino, Internet Cafe, Library, Piano Bar, Etc.

Movies Under The Stars
     One cannot take a cruise and rave about the multimillion dollar productions presented, and here on Crown Princess, the performances were amazing.  We never miss a show.  The other entertainment is exciting as well.  For the ultimate in relaxation, go up on deck and watch a movie by the Calypso pool with Movies Under The Stars, or for quiet seclution, retire to the Sanctuary for shade, a cool drink, and Evian Atomizer.

The Sanctuary
     The other incredible feature is the cuisine.  Steak, Lobster, Rack of Lamb, Creme Brulee, and my personal favorite, Sorbet.  You will never be hungry leaving the Michaelangelo Dining Room.  Our servers were the best.  So much so, that every night, we would ask to be seated in that section.  Eventually, the Matre' De saved us a table, since we chose to come at the same time each night.  Wonderful service.

     So there you have it.  Our favorite ship.  The future may change that, but we are ever so satisfied with our 2 weeks aboard this magnificent vessel, that should the opportunity arise, we'll be back on her.  If you would also like to experience this remarkable trip, let us know how we can help.

We Are Here For You.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What's new on the water?

     This year will usher in many exciting enhancements in the cruise industry, which will also bring with it, movement in technology, luxury, and grand achievements.  15 new cruise ships are scheduled for delivery this year. 

     Today we saw the christening of the Disney Dream, which is the first new Disney cruise ship in more than a decade.  But as with all things Disney, prepare to be amazed and entertained.  One of the best inclusions of technology is the virtual port holes on inside cabins.  HD cameras mounted on the outside of the ship, show a real time view of ocean.  Now your inside cabin has become an outside cabin.  Cool, huh?  Add to this the AquaDuck, a water coaster, and fun has just taken a new level.  She will call home port in Port Canaveral Florida.  Check it out...and don't forget to include some time at the Magic Kingdon since you'll be there.

     May 1 will debut the Carnival Magic.  With innovations never seen before, like a suspended ropes course, outdoor weight lifting area, dual water slides, and a 500 gallon dumping bucket, Carnival's mantra of "All for Fun, Fun for All" will deliver on that promise.  She will debut in Europe, but will call home Galveston Texas.

   In July, we all celebrate a new Solstice Class ship, the Celebrity Silhouette, with its home port in Bayonne, N.J.  It will be different from its sister ships with the Lawn Club Grill, Private alcoves, and an art studio.  The Caribbean will be even more exciting with this new ship.

     If you have ever considered a river cruise through some of Europe's most storied and romantic water ways, 7 of the new ships this year are made for traversing in elegant style.  Be on the look out for new ships through AMAWaterways, Viking, Avalon, and Uniworld.

     For small luxury cruising, Oceania, Ponant Cruises, and Seabourn will be adding new ships to spoil you rotten and take you places that the large vessels cannot go.  Here you will be treated like a king and not be part of a vessel that hosts thousands, but hundreds instead.  There is something valuable about that kind of intimacy, that everyone should experience.

     This is why cruising is so much fun, and always getting better.  Besides new ships coming out yearly, existing ships are in a standard rotation of being refurbished and improved.  As an example, Princess Cruises, in the last few years, has been revamping and improving their fleet of ships by adding Movies under the Stars, The Sanctuary (An adults only area) and updating interior areas, in addition to launching new ships in 2013 and 2014.

     In our experience, you can almost never go wrong by crusing as a vacation.  check it out!

01-20-2011 - UPDATE
     Oceania Cruises took delivery of the new 66,000 Ton, 1,250 passenger Marina yesterday.  1 Day til the maiden voyage.  Oceania Blog

We Are Here For You.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lifes a Beach - Where's the sun screen?

     It has warmed up here and finally made it back in to the 30's and 40's, after almost 30 days of never reaching 30.  The ice sculptures here can be amazing with those cold temperatures.  But I find myself more and more thinking of a Kenny Chesney song...Some Beach...
Alicante Spain
     We have seen a few beaches out there, from the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest to San Diego, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Aruba, Hawaii, Spain.  Except for the first one above, all have one common theme.  Sun and Sand!  It can warm you to the core to walk barefoot on a sandy beach, feeling the different variations of the sand.  Taking a moment to walk in the waves as they wash ashore.  Listening and being hypnotized by the sound of the surf.  Just don't allow yourself to fall asleep on the beach, unless you put on your sunscreen.  Else, you will find yourself transformed into a lobster.

     I just linked up with an "old" friend who has found a way to settle down on the west coast of the big island of Hawaii.  With 6 acres of nuts, mangos, avacados, and free range chickens, I told him I was jealous and wanted to come work for him.  He said, Take the next cruise ship out, and I'll put you to work.  I don't know about you, but I find the offer extremely tempting.

We Are Here For You.

Monday, January 17, 2011

XM Challenge - St. Thomas, USVI

     A Southern Caribbean cruise itinerary is an excellent way to see parts of the Caribbean that are not visited as frequently as Eastern and Western.  But one common port of call for both Eastern and Western is St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.  An unincorporated territory of the United States, the capital and main port is Charlotte Amalie, which is a little more than 50 miles from the port of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

     Known for the excellent duty free shopping here, you can find all you want if you are a shop-a-holic.  What I really like about St. Thomas, though, is the beauty of this little island.  The last time we were here was November 2009.  We chose to visit Coki Beach on the north side of the island, and also its neighboring attraction, Coral World.  We easily caught a taxi van at the port, which took the 8 of us up and over the mountain to our destination.  Along the way, we were impressed with the navigation skills of our driver on these narrow winding roads, that seem to go straight up to the sky.

     Coral world is a fun little "Sea World" attraction, with sting rays, large aquariums, even an under the bay viewing location for you to see what is not "caged."  What is most sought after though, is an opportunity to swim with sea turtles.  For those who who wish to experience the unique attraction, you will find yourself in the pool, touching and being very close to these beautiful creatures.  Barbi and I have always been bird people, so we really liked going into a large aviary that houses many beautiful and colorful lorikeets.  Here, you can feed these highly intelligent and playful birds.

     For me, the highlight of this excursion was snorkeling at Coki Beach.  My son and his friend and I actually snorkeled all the way back to the Coral World underwater observation building and back again.  Diving down 10 feet or so to look at all kinds of anemones, star fish, and just watching the fish was exilerating.

     Driving back to Charlotte Amalie, we stopped for a photo shoot overlooking the port and the city.  What an awesome sight.  Once back in the city center, we did a little shopping before heading back to the ship.  For a first visit, I felt like we got a good initial glimps into the culture of St. Thomas.  The people are friendly and inviting.  The island clean and beautiful.  I can't wait to get back there on May 16, aboard the beautiful Royal Caribbean, Serenade of the Seas.

We Are Here For You.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Is Down Under...Better?

     Yesterday, Carnival Cruise Line announced they are moving the Carnival Spirit from San Diego to its new permanent home port of Sydney Australia.  To those who are always watching, this is another signal of the slow demise of cruising from the west coast, specifically, south of San Francisco.

     Those of us who live out west, really appreciate the convenience of driving or flying to a gateway city, like L.A.  It takes less than 2 hours, if you fly, or a day to drive, if you choose to take the whole family and save some money (But not neccesarily sanity).  To fly to the east coast not only takes all day to fly, which is extremely exhausting, but is at least $100 more per person than flying to the Los Angeles basin or San Diego.  I for one am dreaming daily and trying to come up with a novel new idea to take the place of flying.  It is no longer the fun event it used to be.

     But for those who love to cruise, and go often, the west coast has limited opportunities to get away without experiencing it all over again.  Ensenada, Cabo San Luca, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, I suppose, can only be visited so often, before they become old hat.


     What about people who have never cruised?  There are estimates that 70% of americans have never experienced this awesome way to vacation.  Let's see...300,000,000 people in the U.S. (times....carry the 1, subtract 26,000, divide by pie), that is 225,000,000 (Million) people.  WOW!  How many of those live out west?

     Having more than one cruise line also gives great variety to cruising to destinations you have already been to.  We have been to Alaska on Holland America.  I would love to experience those ports, and some others that we did not get to, on another line.  There is always so much more to see than the city right off the pier, or the same old shore excursions.  Some people just want to hang out at the beach. 

     But never fear!  Carnival still has the marvelous Splendor porting out of Long Beach.  Princess is continuing to visit the Riviera.  There are also West coast sailings between Los Angeles and Seattle.  Reaching Hawaii from Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco are expanding (I'll keep saying it...never fear being in the open ocean for 4 days!  It's truely an awesome experience.)  And for those who have a little extra time (about 14 days), there will always be an opportunity to travel from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale or the other way, through the Panama Canal.  There is another once in a lifetime experience.

     Let us know your feelings.  Comment here.  Or comment on our facebook page..Focus On Fun Travel.  If you have the desire to sail from the west coast, we can help.  Just let us know what your desire is.

We are here for you.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Warm is Good

     Looking out the window right now, when it is in the mid 20's (Degrees Fahrenheit), I am dreaming of warmer and sunnier places in the world.  I am remembering one of my favorite places in the Western Caribbean, Roatan, Honduras.  We visited Roatan the first week of Feb 2007, with a bunch of like minded people, aboard the Grand Princess on a Western Caribbean, 7 day cruise, out of Galveston, Tx.  This was our first cruise in several years, and WOW!  Was it awesome.  This cruise is what caught us hook, line, and far as knowing that cruising was the best way to go for us.

     We were the only ship in port that day,  Which, compared to other Caribbean stops, made for a very relaxing day on a really beautiful island.  With a group of other people we met, we went to Capt'n Vans motorcycle shop, on the west end, and rented a scooter for the day.  This mode of transportation to explore a foreign destination is really fabulous.  Easy to move from place to place, and no problem parking.  Barbi and I shared one scooter, which worked out well.  This little machine had no problem taking us up hills at a quick clip.  We stopped at an iguana farm, explored deserted beaches, we were inspired overlooking the ocean from the top of a mountain, and thoroghly enjoyed the wind in our faces.

     One of our last stops, was a very popular beach close to the motorcycle shop, where we met a man from Idaho.  He had visited during a cruise a few years before, and loved it so much, he packed up is family and moved here, bought a hamburger stand; and never looked back.  Along the way, we bought more souvenirs to remember our stay here.

     If you are wanting a warm place to visit, where the people are friendly, and the sites are amazing, check out Roatan, Honduras.  You can get there on any number of cruise lines, on a Western Caribbean itinerary.  Let us know when you would like to go, and we might have to find a reason to join you.

We are here for you.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Talk about Native

     Last year, Barbi and I, on our date night, went to see the movie The Proposal.  We have been Sandra Bullock fans for a long time, so we really felt we would not be disappointed.  When Ryan Reynolds' character, Andrew, announces that they would be going to see his family in Sitka Alaska, Barbi and I knew we had struck gold with this movie.  We absolutely LOVE Sitka, Alaska!

     When you choose to take a cruise to one of the many regional areas around the globe, you will often ask yourself, "what am I going to see?"  Or "Will I be able to visit...?"  Alaska's inside passage is no different.  Yet, not all cruise companies stop in Sitka.  Our first cruise to this region may be unsurpassed because of a call to this quaint town, originally settled by Russian explorers in 1799.  Well, other than the Tlingit tribe that inhabited "Shee At'ika" for the previous 11,000 years

     Our only visit (So Far) to Sitka was in May 2008, when the Holland America Amsterdam dropped anchor in the harbor, a quarter mile from the dock.  We were on day 3 of a 7 day cruise, round trip from Seattle.  As we tendered over to the docks, we were immediately impressed with the beauty of this place.  Situated in South East Alaska, on the west side of Baranof Island, with mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean on the west, the sound leading into Sitka is a wonderfully calm entrance.  There are little islands dotting the harbor, that, like the rest of the area, are thick with Sitka Spruce and other evergreen trees.  During the summer, it is not uncommon to find pods of humpback whales feeding in Sitka sound.  The Russians were originally searching for sea otter hunting grounds.  When that died out and they moved on to Northern California, and the Russian River Valley, Sitka started relying on gold and fish.

     Our first journey into this world was a quick exploration of Sitka National Historic Park, or simply "Totem Park", very near the harbor.  This park was created in 1910 to preserve the fort and the collection of totems contained in it.  The 2 mile pathway hosts this amazing array of totems.  I took many pictures, but they could never come close to doing them justice.  You just have to experience them for yourselves.  They tell stories or give family histories. There are many that are simply artistic renditions of the culture of the native tribes.  Though they are not recognized as religiously symbolic, they have always played an important part of the heritage of the peoples.  Seeing the figure of Raven, Bear, and Orca are amazing in these small to massive logs, and I found myself wondering at the original meaning.  Here in the park, there is also a museum and a nice view of the harbor.  It is easy walking distance from the docks.

     After the park, we ventured to the Alaska Raptor Center, which is a non-profit center, dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of Bald Eagles and other birds.  As we walked along the path here, we saw many eagles that were being cared for and who, because of various injuries, may be permanent residents here.  The center is also within walking distance of downtown, and is very popular to visit.  There are demonstrations and educational presentations offered daily.  We opted to just wander.  I thought it very "Alaska" when we saw a sign warning us of bears in the area.  Where in the heck was my .44 Mag?  Too funny.

     We then just hung out downtown and went through the many types of shops.  Some were dedicated to tourists, others were not.  We found a great bargain on coats that had Alaska printed on them, which we still wear in the cold winter of Northern Utah.  because of the Russian heritage here, it is one of the few places in the United States where you can purchase Russian trinkets, such as Nesting dolls.  Visiting the Russian Othodox St. Michael's Cathedral.  As we were not here on a Sunday, we did not have the opportunity to attend church, which I think would have been awesome.  But the Russian influences here are really fantastic. (Next Stop...St

Holland America MS Amsterdam
      Leaving Sitka was definitely bitter sweet.  As we sailed back through the sound, watching the little islets pass by, we told ourselves, "We are coming back and spend more time."  The fantasies about moving to Sitka will remain for some time.

     So when you visit South East Alaska, I definitely recommend choosing a cruise itinerary that will stop here.  More things you can do here are:
  • Salmon or Halibut Fishing
  • Whale Watching
  • Sea Kayaking
  • Hiking
     When you are ready to explore and experience the wonders of Alaska, let us know.

We Are Here For You.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Why Cruising?

   Since Barbi and I started our travel business, we have been immersed in understanding the many different travel options that are available.  We felt it important to specialize, like a neurosurgeon would do, to make ourselves valuable to everyone in general, and specifically, those who would benefit from our specialty.  Since we have dabbled in Photography, we could venture into photo safari's around the world.  How cool would that be? African Lions, Polar Bears, Galapagos Iguanas, Puffins, Anacondas!!!  Barbi has also been involved in weddings, so we could have thrown ourselves into destination weddings.  Imagine a beach wedding, taking wedding pictures in front of the Roman Collesium, or a honeymoon night in an Ice Hotel in Sweden.  Ultimately, since Barbi and I have lived a life of looking for the best deal and bargain hunting, we found our true love in Cruising.

     Cruise ships offer the best value for your travel dollar.  And with the many cruise ship companies available to choose from, you the traveller has many options to choose from.  Here are some of the best reasons to take a cruise from Barbi's and my experience.
  • Unpack Once - When you board a cruise ship, you have reached your vacation resort.  You are going to spend 3 days to 120 days here.  Your home away from home.  You will be transported to many exotic destinations, yet you won't have to change hotels.  You won't have to go through airport security 6 times.  No daily full body scans.  Go ahead and hang up your clothes, fill up the drawers, stock the bathroom with whatever you want.  It's all yours.
  • All Inclusive Vacation Resort - You will find it hard to want for anything here. 
    • As soon as you find your stateroom and freshen up, head up to the Lido deck for a lunch buffet.  You will find food available 24 hours a day.  Room Service, Formal Dining Rooms, Grills by the pool, Buffet.  There is food a\around almost every turn.  There are also specialty restaraunts, which for nominal fees, you can have an intimate, exquisite meal. 
    • Then there is the entertainment.  We never miss a show when we are on a ship.  The multi-million dollar productions are amazing.  Dancing and singing on stage with fabulous costumes and sets.  Other types of entertainment are brought in by these companies, such as comedians, artists, musicians, and the like. 
    • Some companies also bring in well known world leaders, actors, and scientists to lead mentally stimulating conversations.
    • Movies by the pool
    • Casino's to try your hand at lady luck
    • Libraries sporting more than 8,000 books on 2 levels
    • Pools, Hot tubs, climbing walls, and water slides.
    • Dedicated areas for the kids and supervised activites for them daily.
    • Golf Simulator, miniature golf
  • Relaxing time - You choose what you want to do!  Last year we spent 8 days crossing the Atlantic on the Crown Princess.  At first, we were a little apprehensive about what it would be like.  How quickly we found the most amazing seas days, reading a book on our private balcony.  Sitting in the sun by the pool.  Watching Mama Mia by the pool, then being interrupted by the crew alerting us to a mother and baby whale passing us on the port side (Left).  Getting a massage in the most relaxing place on the ship, the Spa. Here you can have a hair cut, facial, spend time in a sauna or steam room...just about anything you want...Acupuncture!!  Though many of these services are extra, the onboard fitness center is complementary.  Sometimes at the bow of the ship, or at the aft, the views are amazing while you work out on a treadmill, eliptical, stationary bicycle, or free weights.  How about a morning start of Yoga?
     I could go on forever about the crusing and how much I love it.  I will acknowledge that cruising is not for everyone.  I have spoken with those who have experienced a sea day or two, and have heard them speak about getting cabin fever.  When it comes to being "Stuck" on a ship for more than a day, you have to make that kind of decision on whether cruising is for you.  But there are itineraries that limit the number of days at sea, like the 7 day Southern Caribbean we went on a year ago.  Only one sea day, and it was the last day.  The rest of the days, we were parked in port before we awoke or before noon.  So even here, there are excellent options.

     There are those who want to spend more time in a particular place.  Here is where crusing excels.  You can take a cruise to scope out a particular destination to see which one you would want to spend more time in.  would you rather spend a week in Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, or Cabo San Lucas?  Well, take a mexican Riviera cruise, spend a day in each port.  Then the decision will be much easier.  Of all the ports we visited on the mediterranean last summer, I could spend a couple weeks...or a life time in Florence.  Barbi loved Rome.

     There is a snipit of why we believe cruising is the best.  We have compared 2 weeks in Italy and Greece, with crusing to those destinations, and found that we could save approx 50% by cruising.  Less stress, excellent food, staff that knows the area and helps choose places to see (Shore Excursions), and an inviting hotel room to return to each night.  World Class entertainment.  No worries about food's all included.

     If you want to explore cruising for the first time, or plan another trip, let us know how we can help.  We are here for you.

Alicante Spain - Castille de Santa Barbara

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year Everyone - Fishlake UT

     2011 is here, whether we are ready or not. But I would like to recommend that everyone maintain HOPE for a fantastic and rewarding year.  There are so many thing I look forward to, and I hope they all bring a smile to my face and to those I love.

     In the last few years, our family has made 2 trips to Fishlake, located in Southeastern Utah, high up in the Fishlake National Forest.  Both times, we have taken our 30' travel trailer, as there are many wonderful places to park with full or partial hookups.   If you don't have an RV, there are cabin rentals available there.  If you like to rough it, there are plenty of camping spots for tents as well.  All are very close and convenient to the lake.

     This area is really beautiful, but you have to be ready for all kinds of weather, as you are at nearly 9,000 ft in elevation.  We ventured here on memorial weekend in May, and we got snowed on and nearly froze.  The picture above is when we visited for the first time in July 2007.  Our plans also included a half day pontoon boat rental to go fishing.  And I'll say this, this 6 mile long resevoir, with a depth of 160 feet, did not disappoint us.  All of us enjoyed the heart throbbing excitement of landing one of three different trout species known well for this lake.  Alas, no one landed a 20 lb Mackinaw (Don't keep the ones under 10 lbs. They are just "pups".)

     We took the time, in 2008, to also attend a local church service being held at the lodge on a Sunday morning.  I have said that these kinds of experiences are almost a necessity, to learn the local culture, but this experience will never be forgotten.  The reason, you ask?  During the services, a bat came out and flew above the heads of everyone in this old lodge, circling around for several minutes, before disappearing again.

      There is a stream that flows into the lake, which is protected during certain times of the year because of spawning fish.  You might picture it like a mini salmon run, but with their cousin, the trout.

     Because of the heavily forested area, it is fun to just go hiking amid the pine and aspen trees.  Wandering around the shore of the lake is also fun. You can see Nathan below, laughing and jumping while shrowing a handful of rocks into the water. 
Visting Fishlake has become a family favorite, which I think we should do again this year.  We have gone there with friends and enjoyed a weekend.  Members of have voted this the best place to dive in Utah.  Ted?  You ought to check that out, eh?
     As I said above to be prepared, it is also important to know that this area is open year round.  So if you have never experienced Ice Fishing, this is a premier destination in Utah to do it. If you like to cross country ski, there are miles of excellent trails here.  Snowmobilers?  Bring your machines!