Zanzibar | Africa
A peek inside an ancient stone city
Imagine an 18th century stone city full of olden day wonder. Now you don’t have to. We’re giving you a sneak peek inside this stone-lined wonderland—a UNESCO World Heritage Site and flourishing township teeming with recessed Persian houses, clothing boutiques, and scenic waterfront dotted with traditional Swahili dhows.
Stone Town is located on the island of Zanzibar, a locale popularized by an explicit 2001 Tenacious D song and tons of A-list visitors and celebrities including the recently married John Legend, Bill Gates, and Naomi Campbell.
Once the center of the spice trade, as well as the slave trade during the 19th century, Stone Town now thrives as a charming stone city that attracts over 150,000 foreign visitors each year. Buildings with large verandas and intricately carved, wooden doors, some with traditional Indian brass studs, decorate the historic city alongside old churches, museums, and exotic rooftop restaurants. An explorer’s paradise, the streets here are too narrow for cars and usually filled with bicycles or walking pedestrians. It’s not unusual to see a game of football (soccer) played by the locals on the beach, or to catch a glimpse of the picturesque Swahili dhows at sunset near the town’s seafront.
Besides stopping for a quick bite to eat along an always-interesting trek through the town, grabbing a basket of spices—typically filled with cloves, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, curry, and more—is a must. A luminous delight, if the budget permits, is acquiring jewelry made of Tanzanite, a rare blue-violet gem found only in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
There is never a lack of things to do in Stone Town, even if it is simply picking up a game of Bao with a friendly merchant or enjoying a cup of coffee at the Internet café. Discover this charming city influenced throughout the years by African, Arab, Persian, Indian and European cultures—making it one of the most sundry and awe-inspiring locales in the world.
Places of interest in Stone Town
Palace Museum This grand, alabaster building was once the residence for royalty during the sultanate era (1828-1964) when the Sultans of Zanzibar ruled. Now a museum, various rooms throughout the imposing structure house artifacts and remnants of days past such as furniture and paintings. Learn about the people who inhabited this impressive home, including the daring Princess Salme who eloped to Hamburg with a German merchant. Ironically, in the last decades of the century, the Sultans of Zanzibar gradually lost their possessions to the German Empire, as well as the United Kingdom. Princess Salme’s memoir, sold at the museum, is the only known written account of what life was like for Arab women of the Royal Court in the 1800s.
Kidude Restaurant An utterly enchanting rooftop restaurant, the best time to go to this amazing eatery is right before sunset…if you can get in. Serving up the best samosas, m’chuzi wa nyama (beef curry), and pilau, the Zanzibar’s famous spicy rice, Kidude is a favorite among many visitors. Watch the sunset while sitting cross-legged on the floor surrounded by colorful, embroidered plush pillows and enjoy flavorful dishes seasoned with spices, coconut, mango, or citrus. Reservations recommended.
Anglican Cathedral Built at the end of the 19th century for a Zanzibari bishop, the area where this massive church sits was formerly the biggest slave market on Zanzibar. The church was built at this site intentionally in order to celebrate the end of slavery and its altar is constructed in the exact position where the main whipping post of the slave market once was.
Darajani Market Wander to old Stone Town to be amid the hustle and bustle of a lively market. Vendors sell loads of dried squid, fresh fruit, packets of spices, and meat weighed for you on big, brass scales. Visitors can also opt to take part in a local cooking class that includes shopping for ingredients at the market beforehand.
Livingstone House “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” This quote was made famous by H.M. Stanley, a British journalist who yearned to discover the whereabouts of David Livingstone. These are the first words Stanley said to Livingstone upon meeting him. Livingstone, who today would be considered a fascinating anomaly, was a Protestant missionary martyr, “rags to riches” phenomenon, scientific investigator, explorer, imperial reformer, anti-slavery crusader, and advocate of commercial empire. His home, now the main office of the Zanzibar Tourist Corporation, was originally built for royalty but later used for European missionaries. Livingstone lived in the house while preparing his last expedition to Tanganyika.
Where to stay - check out these affordable, well-appointed accommodations located within the Stone Town walls!
Photos (t to b): Anglican Cathedral; Local kids playing football; Traditional Swahili dhow; Sunset view from Forodhani Park.
Hiiumaa | Estonia
An enigma beyond the sea
Members of today’s older generation might still recall their mothers’ stories of how women gathered to card wool by the dim glow of pine splinters, or their fathers’ recollections of thrashing grain at manor estates. I still remember the stories of my mother, who was older than the century (she was born in 1897). She told of a boy from the local village who had worked on a ship and had seen the wide world. He set a flashlight on a stone wall and had all the girls believing that the stars from the heavens had been brought down to Earth. But what unbelievable stories will today’s boys and girls tell their children?
This question posed by Ruuben Post, former Managing Director of the Hiiumaa Biosphere Reserve Center in his article entitled, Hidden From God and Strangers, can only be answered with a visit to this old-fashioned, mystical island, the second largest in Estonia.
Hiiumaa, also known as Dagö, is located in the Baltic Sea north of Saaremaa Island. Formed 455 million years ago as a result of a meteorite explosion, Hiiumaa is one of the oldest islands in the world. With a diverse topography of long sandy beaches, verdant sleepy villages, a deeply forested interior, and even a famed icy road in which both boats and cars travel, Hiiumaa offers something for the history buffs and nature lovers alike. Be in awe of the ancient lighthouses, unique culture, eerie old Soviet bunkers, and a nature reserve with over 100 different bird species. A winter vacation to Hiiumaa will afford sledging, skate hiking, skiing, and kick-sledge hiking opportunities as well as a chance to marvel at the frozen waterfalls, the country’s snow-covered forests, and really cool barrel saunas.
Throughout the ages, the people of Hiiumaa have closely guarded their heritage and Estonian values. This is what makes this place so captivating. Well, this and the extraordinary lighthouses located on the island. There’s an old mainlander’s saying that goes: "horses whinny in Hiiumaa, but voices are heard on our land.” People can have their own interpretations of what this means exactly, however, again, you will never truly know until you go to this enigma beyond the sea. The people of Hiiumaa have always been a seafaring and farming people and they are known for their sense of humor. They have a pretty eclectic culinary palate too – cooking up everything from spicy bear and elk fillets to wild birds. Even the soups are interesting--a unique form of Estonian soup call leivasupp is a sweet soup made of black bread and apples, normally served with sour cream or whipped cream and often seasoned with cinnamon and sugar. Yummy!
And then there are the majestic lighthouses. Hiiumaa stands apart from the rest of Estonia because of them. The iconic 16th century Kõpu Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in the Baltic States and reported to be the third oldest continuously operated lighthouse in the world. It was completed in 1531 and has been working ever since.
Little-known fact: People who move onto the island must carry the name isehakanud hiidlane (would-be islanders) for 10 years before being considered hiidlased (true residents).
Photos (t to b): Tahkuna Lighthouse; Old Farmhouse in Tammela Village; Chapel of Kassari; Kõpu lighthouse; Sõru museum.
Learn more about the historic isles of Estonia on the country’s official tourist information website.
Vieques | Puerto Rico
A sea that glows at night in Puerto Rico
There’s just something about the effervescence of glowing waters that is mysteriously captivating. Only a handful of bioluminescent bays thrive today and Puerto Rico has three of them. Some of the bio bays glow golden like sun. Some give off a luminous emerald glow. But only one smolders with neon, blue-green magnificence.
Mosquito Bay in Vieques, Puerto Rico is said the have the most brilliant glow of all the bio bays in the world. This is partly due to the unique ecosystem of the area. A mangrove swamp surrounds the bay and provides nutrients to the glowing microorganisms. The result is a shimmering, blue-green glow like no other. Mosquito Bay is home to the world's highest concentration of these tiny dinoflagellates with over 700,000 microorganisms per gallon of water. By day, the bay may seem normal to the ordinary eye, but by night, the glow of bluish-green light almost casts a spell on anyone who is close enough to witness its glowing wonder.
Simply wave your hand in the water or trail your oar along the surface and these glowing organisms light up the water with a vivid electric blue that can be seen for miles. Completely immerse yourself into the bay to become surrounded by neon light, waving your arms and legs to leave a sparkling trail in your wake.
Here’s an insider’s tip: try to plan your trip for a new moon—that’s when the sky will be darkest and the moonlight won’t compete with the glow of the microorganisms.
If a visit to a bio bay is on your bucket list, this world-renowned bay in Puerto Rico is a must-see. Kayaking and swimming in the bay as part of a guided tour are permitted. Email Island Adventures Bio Bay Eco Tours at email@example.com for more information.
DID YOU KNOW?
Thousands of years ago, a waterscape’s glowing organisms were worshipped as gods as people were perplexed by their glory.
Fashion | Chilly Islands
Top 10 winter fashion trends
Visiting a chilly island this winter? Well, you’re in luck. Check out the hottest trends for Winter 2013-2014.
MAN CAPRIS just as women embrace the adage that beauty is pain, men must now take on the winter chill while showing a little skin because cropped pants are in. This look is the perfect way to usher in the new season. Wear rolled up or at ¾ length.
LAYERING stay warm and look great this winter while enjoying the great outdoors. Add a cotton flannel shirt over a white tee; then affix a light jacket or sweater. Finally, complete the look with a mountain parka or military style blouson and you’re on trend with the latest winter fashion movement.
ALL BLACK EVERYTHING black is a classic color that can be paired with anything but also stands strong alone. Wear all black everything to date night with just the two of you while visiting your favorite chilly island, or to an intimate dinner with friends.
DENIM SHIRTS colored denim long sleeve shirts are simple but essential items for winter. Try various shades of indigo and grey.
AFRICAN MOTIFS squiggles of color like hues of yellow, blue, red, and green on long, slim tunics is all the rage for this winter. Pair with skinny or slim fit jeans.
PATTERNS checkers, stripes, cheetah, overzealous flower prints, pinstripes, zigzags, Aztec motifs, and plaid - you name it - colorful, busy patterns paired with closet basics are in this winter season. You're almost off-grid in fashion if you don't add patterns to your wardrobe. Trying mixing a colorful sweater with a colorful tee.
CAMOUFLAGE don’t overdo this winter movement but definitely do it. Add one piece of camouflage, like an overnight bag for a weekend getaway, camouflage jeggings, or camouflage flats to any ensemble for just the right amount of color and flash.
BOWLER HATS not only are these fun caps a great finishing touch to nearly any outfit, they are also a great way to maintain body heat in chilly temperatures.
BOYFRIEND JEANS buy jeans one size up for a subtle boyfriend fit. This way, while hiking, digging for clams and oysters, or enjoying any other outdoor activity on your cool island getaway, you’ll not only be fashionable but also nice and comfy.
EURO PUNK another great way to look great and stay warm this winter season is with a new take on punk. Blend military coats, leather leggings, cuffed pants, moto jackets, dark colors, and even pastels with classic punk elements like studs, piercings, and tartan plaids for the perfect urban, tongue-in-cheek chic. Top off this modish look with ankle or utilitarian lace-up boots for a confident look.
As recommended by Ralph Belair, Fashion & Lifestyle blogger. Follow him @ ralphbelair.com.
San Juan Islands | Washington
A cool island getaway for the whole crew
As we always say, not all islands are created equal. The San Juan Islands in Washington State prove this to the utmost degree.
When some people think of an island getaway, they think only of the sun, sand, and sea. Piña coladas and sunbathing. Not old growth Douglas firs, bald eagles, and orcas. Yet these islands, an archipelago in the northwest corner of the United States offer up some of the most diverse and remarkable pursuits and accommodations of all the islands in the world.
Nestled atop a rolling hill near Roche Harbor is a Cape Cod style cottage on the seafront, perfect for a group of friends, couples retreat or a small family reunion. Equipped with four bedrooms, this quaint retreat has a master suite furnished with a queen size bed and adjoining master bath with dual sinks and shower; a junior suite furnished with a queen size bed and adjoining, private bathroom; a third bedroom furnished with a queen size bed; and a fourth room furnished with two sets of bunk beds.
Unique pastimes abound here. If you love seafood, you’ll enjoy digging for clams right in front of the cottage and searching for Dungeness crab at Westcott Bay. Nature lovers will delight in bird watching and viewing the herons, otters, and deer in their natural habitats. If relaxation is what you seek, the hot tub located on the wrap around deck is the perfect reprieve. Snuggle with your lover beside the beautiful wood-burning fireplace in the living room. Or, simply take a walk through the fruit-filled orchards and open pastures with sweeping views of Westcott Bay. At dusk, don’t hesitate to gather around the waterfront fire pit for S'mores.
If for any reason you choose to leave the sheer elegance of this home complete with nearly every amenity you could possibly imagine, even wireless, there are plenty of things to do outside of the estate, from horseback riding, golf, and freshwater fishing, to sailing, live theater, museums, and winery and shellfish farm tours, all within close proximity.
Fitting up to 10 people comfortably, the beach house cottage is a steal when you think about splitting the costs among a group of people. Stay for a week during the winter for only $2100. Or, book for a few days or just the weekend for $350 per night—that’s only $35 per night, per person! So, grab your besties or come together for a family reunion this winter and enjoy one of the most unique winter getaways in Washington.
What to bring…the extras
Swimming clothes or thermals to take out the four kayaks (two doubles and two singles) that are available.
3D glasses to ensure everyone can watch a movie comfortably on the 52” HDTV with 3-D capability.
Binoculars for bird watching along the nearby walking trails.
Facemask although snow is infrequent here in winter, the islands are subject to high winds at times.
Gullah Islands | Southern U.S.
No bridges allowed on Daufuskie
To this day, Daufuskie Island is only accessible by boat. One of the few isles of the low country that offers a glimpse of what the neighboring islands were like before development, this residential Sea Island between Savannah, Georgia and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina is just eight square miles.
The small, offshore island with timeless quality is made even more enduring with the Gullah heritage and history. The Gullah people of the island make it their undertaking to preserve the Gullah way of life—speaking an English Creole language; encouraging decades-old skills, including basket-weaving and making strip quilts; and of course, cooking up traditional Gullah cuisine flavored with a special spice blend similar to Cajun seasoning. Most residents here are descendants of freed slaves and the island's recorded history traces back to the pre-revolutionary war era.
Hot commodities & historic places
First Union African Baptist Church This old church is Daufuskie's oldest building, which is still in use today as a place of worship. Churchgoers are comprised of native islanders, part time residents, and relocated full-time residents. Worship service is at 10:00 am every Sunday.
Bloody Point Lighthouse Masquerading as a residential home, this lighthouse was built in 1883. Back then, Bloody Point ensured safe passage in and out of the busy port of Savannah, which is just to the south. Bloody Point got its name because of several Indian battles that took place there in the early 1700s.
Haig Point Lighthouse Nestled amid the moss-draped oaks, this historic lighthouse was built in 1873 and was in operation until the 1920s. It once included a wharf and a boathouse. The lighthouse is located in a private residential community and can only be viewed from Calibogue Sound. However, if you are a guest of someone who lives on the island or you stay at the nearby resort, you’re invited to take a look.
The Iron Fish Gallery Located on Daufuskie Island, this gallery specializes in making the coolest, limited vintage fish art sculptures including mermaid, stingray, blue crab, and lobster art sculptures. Watch adjacent video to see how it’s done.
Billie Burn Museum Historical artifacts of the island and a display with information about the Gullah history here are located at the Billie Burn Museum on Daufuskie.
Historical Tours Stroll along a self-guided trail of historic island sites.
With very few places to patronize, a trip to Daufuskie is typically spent marveling at the island’s natural beauty…and eating. Catching and cooking your food is half the fun! Oyster digging is a common pastime and at low tide oysters can be seen rising from tidal salt marsh creeks throughout the area. In fact, Daufuskie’s waterscape is said to be among the richest oystering areas along the Atlantic coast. One of the most traditional ways to eat oysters on Daufuskie Island is to steam several bushels in a communal oyster roast. To start, rinse the oysters to remove dirt. Then, build a fire under a thin sheet of metal or wire mesh. Dump the oysters over the mesh and cover them with a wet burlap bag, soaked well with water or even beer. The wet burlap steams the oysters until they pop open, which indicates they are ready to eat. The oysters can be seasoned with special Gullah spices, dipped into hot butter or cocktail sauce, or enjoyed au natural. Oysters are packed with nutrients and are also considered to be aphrodisiacs so be sure to make the most of your experience.
Traditional Gullah cuisine incorporates rice, stews, and fish, all perfectly topped off with delectable spices and seasonings. For a taste of low country cuisine at home, try Gullah Gourmet.
Photo credits: Awesome Island Realty; painting of Haig Point Lighthouse by artist Roger Bansemer.
Île d'Orléans | Canada
A captivating isle that changes with the seasons
If Ariel’s underwater playground existed on land, Île d’Orléans would be its enchanting replica. With jagged coves and capes, rivers, and pictorial escarpments that slope inland, visitors to this delightful locale will discover troves of treasures untold just as the little mermaid did.
Often referred to as the cradle of French civilization, Île d’Orléans gives sightseers and day-trippers a taste of French colonial life. Natural beauty abounds here. Located between the Laurentian Plateau and the Appalachian Mountains, this place offers breathtaking views and the world’s largest estuary.
One unique characteristic of Île d’Orléans is its wealth of natural resources, which enable local residents to maintain the traditional way of life that has existed here for generations. Farming is still the main economic activity on Île d'Orléans and in fact, the island's food products have just recently been officially accredited with the first Quebec farm product certification label, the Savoir-fare, Île d'Orléans [Isle of Orleans, We Know Farm Products].
A flourishing town in its own right, this small island is dotted with impressive buildings, monuments, and businesses you won’t find many other places. Visit wineries, apple cideries, a chocolate shop, fromageries, bakeries, and more. There are plenty of accommodations too—from charming B&Bs and cottages, to tranquil campsites.
There are too few places that maintain their historic character and natural beauty and to ensure the island’s celebrated quality was preserved, the Government of Quebec made Île d'Orléans a protected historic conservation area in 1970, allowing people from all over the world to enjoy antique farms, old stone houses dating back to the French Regime, and the oldest rural church in New France.
Over time, the beauty of this hidden gem inspired scholars, painters, and writers. Even at first glance, it’s easy to see why. Horatio Walker, a painter of the late 19th century, lived on the island from 1885 until his death in 1938. Notable Swiss painter and teacher André Charles Biéler also found inspiration on Île d'Orléans. He captured the essence of the awe-inspiring isle expressively, and in just one sentence:
“Everything seems pleasant to me, including the climate, the people and, above all else, the countryside, which, from every point of view, is the most beautiful that I have seen in Canada.”
Find your inspiration in the beauty of Île d’Orléans. Check for current and upcoming special offers HERE.
Photos (t to b): The “Garden of Quebec” countryside; Horatio Walker painting in his garden in Île d’Orléans; Île d'Orléans pastoral view in Saint-Pierre.
Corvo Island | Portugal
The magical isle of Corvo
One of the nine Azorean islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Corvo is a place where people still herd cattle and enjoy an unhurried, tranquil way of life. Blessed with an awe-inspiring landscape of steep cliffs, rolling, green pastures dotted with purple hydrangeas, and two beautiful lagoons—all contained within the tenderly peculiar caldera of a dormant volcano—the inhabitants of Corvo enjoy a level of quiet calmness foreign to many people. A boat trip around the island is an extraordinary experience, revealing its most inaccessible areas and incredible scenery and creatures, including seabirds and even, dolphins and whales.
Sweet serenity characterizes this remote part of Europe that is more than 900 miles from the Portuguese mainland. Only one settlement exists on the island, Vila do Corvo, a close-knit mircocommunity largely comprised of shepherds, wood craftsmen, fishermen, embroiders, and farmers. Here, the streets are paved with black cobblestones and essentially every single house is painted white.
Bests of Corvo Island
Portuguese Sopas This national dish is a soup made of beef braised in stock and served over French bread with a sprig of mint. Sopas, also known as Holy Ghost Soup, was traditionally served for the feast of Pentecost in the Azorean isles.
Cheese of Corvo Cheese is one of the primary commercialized products of Corvo. There’s even a cheese named in honor of the small island by the Portuguese Cheese Company – it's a semi-soft cheese resembling fine, aged cheddar that is best paired with Riesling.
Caldeirão Lookout This 2-km-wide crater is the most prominent feature of Corvo. The caldera floor contains several small cinder cones and two shallow, lagoons. Great views abound as you look down into a deep crater bottom, which can be reached by foot.
Sweet Like Honey Wine Pico, one of the nine Azorean islands produces world-renowned wines. Corvo has access to the Pico Island Vineyard wine selection of smooth and sweet wines - mostly white, but there are a few reds, including Merlot.
Want more? Experience the visual enchantment of Corvo with the film, It’s the Earth Not the Moon in the adjacent video. To purchase the full version of this inspiring film directed by Portuguese filmmaker Gonçalo Tocha, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos (t to b): ; Caldeirão Lookout; Corvo hillside (photo credit: Associacao de Turismo dos Acores); Corvo as seen from the Corvo-Flores Channel; Aerial of Corvo Island.
Negril | Jamaica
Great bang for your buck in the Capital of Casual
Nicknamed the Capital of Casual because of its counterculture past, Negril sits on the westernmost tip of Jamaica. Once a hippie haven, this popular vacation destination still emits a rustic, bohemian lure…but on a whole new level.
Snuggled cliffside in a little beach resort town on the west end of Negril, Negril Escape, a quaint boutique resort full of pastoral charm, entices the openly laidback. This one-of-a-kind hotel is among the best in Negril with refreshing waters, warm island hospitality, and some of the best local fare on the island. Negril Escape even has its own lighthouse.
It’s hard to believe that this natural paradise replete with dark, saw-toothed cliffs and beautiful white sand beaches was barely accessible at one time. Covered by swamplands until the 1950s, visitors to this part of the island were very few and far between. It was only when America’s flower children began frequenting the locale that Negril began to flourish with the casual zeal it is known for today. During the 1960s hippies sought refuge in Negril’s peacefulness that boosted their easygoing philosophy. There weren’t many places to stay so they resided with the locals in their homes, renting a room for a around $40 per week and oftentimes sitting down and sharing a meal with them. Negril Escape offers the same type of warm hospitality to their guests as the landlords did to hippies back then. One of the few area resorts that have stayed true to the its roots, including offering modest rates, is the picturesque Negril Escape resort with rooms starting at just $70 per night. Rates include breakfast as well as all taxes and fees.
Now, if you’re looking for über luxurious accommodations with everything included, this isn’t the place for you. Negril Escape is a place with no dress codes, simple, yet comfortable accommodations, and inviting, family-oriented sentiment and a relaxed vibe where dressing for dinner can mean putting a t-shirt over your swimsuit. The most significant event of your day may be to watch the amazing sunset or cliff jump for the first time. It is a place to laze in a lounge chair on the cliffs taking in the vast coastline and soaking up the Caribbean sun, then at the end of the day, enjoy the best jerk chicken and coconut-infused rice and peas you’ll have for miles.
Great value can also be found in the resort’s central west end location. Close to attractions including the nineteenth century Negril Lighthouse and famous restaurants like Rick’s Café and Margaritaville, Negril Escape also has a few gems of its own.
At the resort
Spa experience a Negril Escape massage amid an outdoor oasis atop the cliffs.
Lighthouse cliff jump into the refreshing waters below at sunset. It’s exhilarating!
Yoga with the sound of the waves in the background and a panoramic view of the Caribbean Sea, yoga has never been more serene.
Manager’s Cocktail Party mingle with the manager each Tuesday night and enjoy cocktails, rum punch, and chef’s delights.
If you love the mystique of the cliffs but want to experience the beach as well, Negril Escape offers a free shuttle to Negril’s famed seven-mile beach.
Negril Escape Resort & Spa
Greenland | Denmark
Maybe mermaids are from Greenland
Greenland, considered the world's largest island, brims over with intriguing allure. With a mountainous landscape, sun, sand, sea and even snow, this chilly, winter wonderland is said to have mermaids living in the deep blue. Yep, you read that correctly...mermaids.
Mermaids have long been the fascination of people all over the world. These amphibians with reported human-like features became popular as early as the 1800s when P.T. Barnum introduced circus-goers to the wonder of the Fiji mermaid. Alongside many other world-wonder discoveries for P.T. Barnum, he once claimed to have proof that mermaids were real. Days before revealing yet another 'freak of nature' as circus-goers referred to unexplainable things back then, there was a fire that destroyed all evidence of the mermaid.
Today, the idea of mermaids being real is just as captivating for many people. With claims of mermaid sightings all over the world, it’s pretty easy to determine that every video and photo thus far of mermaid proof is hogwash. A recent television special however about mermaids’ existence might change a few minds. Mermaids: The New Evidence that aired on Animal Planet earlier this year attempts to prove that mermaids are real, and more, that they live in the deep blue of Greenland! To show mermaids really do exist, doctors, scientists, and sonar testers appeared on the show to .
Among the doctors supporting the claim was Biologist Dr. Paul Robertson, a Zach Galafianakis doppelganger who adamantly claims he found the remains of an aquatic humanoid in South Africa. It was later reported that Robertson is an actor.
But perhaps the most telling proof that mermaids could be real comes from a pair of marine geologists who heard strange noises while on a routine test off the shore of Greenland, 2000 feet below sea level. The men recorded the noises they heard underwater and on a different sea voyage played back the sounds in the ocean – that's when they spotted the tales-from-the-crypt-looking creature.
The whole show was said to be a hoax to boost ratings for Animal Planet but what would you do if you saw this swimming next to you? Check out the adjacent video. Real or fake, it’s chilling. Aren’t mermaids supposed to be beautiful?
Photos (t to b): Sisimiut, Greenland (photo credit: Algkav); Southernmost Greenland (photo credit: Jens Buurgaard Nielsen); 2005; the Church of Nanortalik (photo credit: Jens Buurgaard Nielsen).
Palmyra Atoll | North Pacific
The spookiest island in the North Pacific
Halloween, scary movie and haunted house lovers will be happy to know that there’s an island out there waiting for them – though they may not want to visit after hearing the infamous atoll’s eerie tales.
Palmyra is one of the last uninhabited islands in the Pacific. It has an interior of shrilly, thick jungle with 16,000 acres of shallow turquoise reefs and deep blue submerged reefs looming with aggressive grey and blacktip reef sharks. Adding an even more ghostly feel to the island are old, American military relics like antiquated gun emplacements, ammunition and fuel dumps, abandoned war equipment, machine-gun bunkers, and what’s left of an old landing strip. Still not spooked? Well, you will be. Just read on.
The peaceful yet mysterious Palmyra is comprised of a circular string of approximately 50 islets. Surrounding the islets and the lagoons is a platform of coral and hard sand. You can actually walk from one islet to another, even at high tide.
Don’t let the swaying coconut palms and picturesque lagoons fool you, this peculiar island has a history of spooky mystery, leading many to believe it is cursed. Here are just a few of the creepy tales:
the sea wind murders
Palmyra was the site of a gruesome double murder of a wealthy San Diego couple in 1974. The mysterious deaths led to a best-selling true crime novel based on the killings entitled, And the Sea Will Tell. The murderer was an ex-convict and fugitive named Buck Walker who, along with his girlfriend Stephanie Stearns, had taken up residence on the island.
stranded father and his daughters
In the 80s, it was reported that a Canadian yachtsman, along with his two daughters, were marooned on Palmyra after their sailboat was struck by a typhoon and de-masted. Because of a legal entanglement between the United States and Canadian governments over who should be responsible for assisting the three castaways, the family was stranded on the island for over a month! They survived on fish, coconuts, and products they salvaged from their boat until they were eventually rescued by plane after spending days clearing the old runway on the island.
a captain’s premonition
In 1987, coastguardsmen boarded a damaged fishing vessel found on Palmyra to discover the skeletal remains of owner Manning Edward on board. The cause of death was undetermined. It is said that prior to leaving on his three-year voyage through the Pacific, Edward had spoken excitedly about his plan to visit an uninhabited island called Palmyra.
Whether or not these tales are true, Palmyra certainly lures in the occasional curious visitor. Something about being on a secluded island is enough to add a certain kind of spook. With a huge bird population, pristine beaches and lagoons, rare Hawaiian monk seals, old, military relics and more, there’s no denying that Palmyra is a truly enigmatic place albeit spooky.
IF YOU DARE: Limited visits to the refuge are allowed, including by private recreational sailboat or motorboat. Visits must have prior approval, with access to Cooper Island arranged through the Nature Conservancy.
Photos (t to b): North beach; hand-painted welcome sign; old landing strip.
Art | Warm Islands
Create the perfect color scheme without even picking up a paintbrush
Craving a visit to a warm, sunny atoll that rarely drops below 80°F? Artwork from Aegean Design can take you there. With these spectacular abstract paintings, escape to the islands and keep the vibrant character of the tropics in your home all year long! Although Pacific Northwest painter Aegea Barclay has an eclectic array of artwork that suits any style, theme, or personal taste, the talented artist selected a few pieces from her collection that depict the warmth of tropical islands.
Choosing the perfect piece of art for a room in your home can be challenging, but art is a powerful commodity that can transform a plain space into a sensational environment. Get inspired by stunning, abstract art from Aegean Design that incorporates sandy neutrals and bold palettes mixing in lush rainforest greens, pristine sea blues, and sunny yellows that lift the spirits. It’s easy to see how these sumptuous hues work together to both unify rooms and create eye-catching contrast reminiscent of the relaxing, serene, and elegant charm of the islands. Transform your home with art that encompasses all the elements you love about the sunny isles and allow these rich paintings from Aegean Design to take you back to the islands everyday with their pulsating hues.
get to know Aegea
Painter Aegea Barclay is no stranger to the beautiful islands. After all, she is named after a Sea that possesses a chain of them. Like the unique, stunning isles that comprise the Aegean Sea, Barclay’s artwork retains a certain mystique and beauty that is almost indescribable and most certainly fascinating.
Long ago, Aegea began painting her interpretation of the world with interlaced colors and linear, geometric patterns. She developed her signature style during her senior year at Cornish College of the Arts, where her own personal identity as a painter came into fruition—dripping lines of paint overlaid with the juxtaposing of urban geometric shapes.
BMT: Do you have any hobbies besides painting?
Aegea: Besides painting, I love cooking! I think that is my second calling! When my grandma, Yaya (in Greek) was alive, she taught me how to cook. The dishes I cherish the most are her special Spanikopita and Kourabiedes (sugar cookies) recipes.
BMT: Do “real world” events ever inspire your work? How so?
Aegea: Of course! Every experience of my life inspires me in my work. My art is a window into my heart, a place where color and lines define memories of my past, present and future. Layers upon layers that express my many experiences in life. This is a way for you to step back and look through my eyes. To find a new appreciation for how color interacts and how powerful color is for the soul. My vision is like a kaleidoscope, no matter how many times you change the patterns or color, it will always have an endless dimension.
BMT: What work of art do you wish you owned?
Aegea: I would have to say an original Georgia O'Keeffe. All my life, my mom was in love with her art. My parents took my brother and I to her ranch/studio in Abiquiu, New Mexico when I was a kid. So I feel deeply connected to her as an abstract artist. Her art would be quite amazing to collect! She was way ahead of the times with her art, and I pray to follow in those footsteps. Plus, my parents almost named me O'Keeffe…but I am happy with Aegea!
BMT: What international art destination do you most want to visit (or have you visited)?
Aegea: I have been lucky enough to have visited a few, like, The Louvre, Van Gogh Museum, Musée d'Art Moderne, Rijksmuseum, and Gardens in Giverny.
BMT: What's the most indispensable item in your studio?
Aegea: I would have to say my favorite paint brush. It has been with me since art school at Cornish and has brushed paint into every piece I have created. It is the one brush I use to get my signature brush strokes in all my work!!!
“I want my work to feel balanced. It almost becomes a puzzle for me…to see which line goes where and what color fits the space. I appreciate random, because in life nothing is really planned. I follow my instincts and trust that each step I take will end in a final product I am proud of and can reveal to the world.” ~Aegea
Aegea’s Picks: Adjacent are pieces from Aegea’s collection that emit the warmth of the islands! For her full collection, more information, or to purchase artwork, visit aegeandesign.com. Shipping and framing options available.