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Category: Third Age Expeditions

Cold Coast: Exploring Norway’s Svalbard Archipelago

“Look out for polar bears!” People would say this whenever we mentioned we were going on a ten-day polar expedition cruise above the Arctic Circle. Call us crazy but polar bears happened to be one of the main reasons why we journeyed to the “Cold Coast,” an old Norse word for Svalbard. In Norway’s northernmost archipelago, polar bears roam free. However, the tourism brochures take creative license in proclaiming the polar bears here outnumber Svalbard’s human inhabitants. The plain truth is there are only approximately 250 polar bears living in Svalbard’s coastal regions. As polar bears are a protected...

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Last Tango in Paris: Napoléon’s Tomb

“Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.”~ Napoléon Bonaparte “That was the greatest and finest moment of my life!” a smallish man in a white raincoat proclaimed loudly as he exited the domed church at the Hotel des Invalides in Paris. Moments before, this man stood trembling with excitement and removed his cap out of respect as he gazed for a long time at an ornate marble tomb. It was June 23rd, 1940; just three days after the French capital had become German-occupied territory. The following day during his official sightseeing city tour,...

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Graveyard of the Great Lakes: Tobermory’s Shipwrecks

“Voyaging begins when one burns one’s boats,  adventures begin with a shipwreck.” ~ Michel Serres Canada’s maritime history is replete with stories of ill-fated schooners, container ships, trawlers, passenger vessels and other craft that have foundered due to nasty squalls, thick fog banks, menacing currents, jagged shoals, human error and a host of other perils. Over the centuries countless lives have been lost, and thousands of storm-battered ships have been violently pulled under into the stygian depths. In reverence to the thousands of shipwrecks entombed on the bottom of Canada’s Great Lakes, mariners have ominously nicknamed this recurrent zone...

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Raptures of the Deep: Beneath British Columbia’s Emerald Sea

In his best-selling book, “The Silent World”, Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau waxed poetically about his intrepid 50-fathom dives into the zone of rapture, that precarious depth where… “divers become like drunken gods”. Cousteau was recounting his early experiences deep diving under the mind-numbing effects of nitrogen narcosis. He described these intoxicating seizures as “l’ivresse des grandes profundeurs” which when translated means “rapture or intoxication, of the great depths”.  “Raptures of the Deep” is an evocative phrase that accurately describes the dizzying underwater grandeur beneath British Columbia’s Emerald Sea. Splendor In The Pass Queen Charlotte Strait lies between the “top end”...

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Fish Photography: The Ultimate Undersea Skill

In keeping with our promise to provide Shoot Like a Pro photography tips, this time we’ll delve deeper into fish photography. Photographing fish is widely considered to be the most rewarding specialty in underwater photography. In his book, Mastering Underwater Photography, renowned fish photographer, Carl Roessler, dubbed it “the ultimate undersea skill.” While an entire book could be written on this subject, what follows are some quick tips for novice underwater photographers to help them successfully photograph these moving targets. Use the right tools These days just about any digital camera is a capable tool for making fish pictures....

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