Bella Canoe Campsite Review

The province of Quebec is a mecca for canoe-campers. It’s simple, la belle province has over 1 million lakes. And that makes for a lot of canoe routes. There are two types of areas ideal for some paddling multi-night detachment. You’ve got Provincial Parks and Faunique Reserves. Both are fantastic.

For Canoe-Camping within a decent range from Montreal (2-4 hours), I suggest: La Verendrye Faunique Reserve, Papineau-Labelle Faunique Reserve and Mont-Tremblant Provincial Park.

Each lake has a campsite or campsites–that’s relative to the size of the lake. Most sites are not within shouting distance/ what I love most, not even visible from the next site. Truth be told, the deeper you get into the reserve or park, the less likely someone is to have one of the other sites anyways.

The wilderness campsites are marked by a tent symbol and a canoe in a yellow triangle. The fact that the signs are reflective makes them easy to spot from a distance in low or no light by simply turning your head-light on. The sites have a fire pit, a few tent sites, a loo that consists of a up-turned bucket with a hole or a proper outhouse with a white seat and sometimes a grill– and of course, as they are for canoe campers, are only accessible by water.

The cost of these campsites is included in your daily park fee– about $9 per person, per day.

Here is a campsite review by Bella of what a typical campsite looks like.

Sponsored by Scott & Bluewater Canoes
www.scottcanoe.com & www.bluewatercanoes.com

Diving Africa Part 2/10

The Expeditioners
DIVING AFRICA
Post 2/10

By visiting different countries (Senegal, Mozambique, South Africa) on Expedition Africa–we really got to tell the difference between cultures. Each country was so clearly distinct from the other– which was fascinating! Likewise, our diving experiences were extremely different in each country. But that’s to be expected from destinations so far apart from each other.

From Dakar, Senegal to Gansbaai, South Africa it is about 6800kms– and from Gansbaai to Vilanculos about 2000kms as the crow flies. We were hoping to get the Sardine Run as well, but alas, it just wouldn’t fit into our scheduling.

Senegal was out first testing ground for our new gear. We were happy that we didn’t have to fidget with the equipment, as dive was challenging to say the least.

When we decided to go to Africa, we knew that a trip to the continent wouldn’t be complete without diving with great white sharks– and so we booked with Sharklady Adventures. Little did we know how up close and personal we would get to be with them!

Our principle reason for choosing Mozambique as a dive destination was in the hopes of seeing Whale Sharks, as Tofo and Vilankulo are known for their sightings. But nature beats her own drum, and from what I understand, those sightings of the gentle giant have become more and more rare. Still, we got to spend some quality time with a giant grouper!

Dive Gear Tip: Taking your AERIS Jetpack as your carry-on is a fantastic solution for flying with your dive kit. But what happens when your plane is a little itsy-bitsy plane who’s overhead compartments are half the size of regular planes? Simple, once you are on the plane and stowing your bag un-clip your BC from the bag section of the Jetpack (making it half the size,) and stow the two sections separately in the overhead, OR put one section in the overhead and the other under the seat in front of you.

Diving Africa Part 1/10

The Expeditioners
DIVING AFRICA
Post 1/10

Africa. My 7th continent. It was going to be a big trip. Criss-crossing the continent, exploring, photographing, scuba diving. A big trip with a lot of flights.

We would first visit Bella’s family in Senegal (two flights,) then fly through Mali and onto Ethiopia where we would catch a night’s sleep.. before catching another flight to Johannesburg where we would then proceed to drive 600km to Kruger Park. After exploring the park we’d fly to Cape Town and drive to Hermanus to go Shark Cage Diving, and another flight to Johannesburg, and then another one onto Vilankulo, Mozambique for some scuba diving….yup, then another flight back to Johannesburg, then another back to Ethipioa (sleep there a night,) then onto Mali–then to Dakar, Senegal again and after two days a flight to New York, and finally home- Montreal.

All in all 12 flights in 5 weeks.

We had to find the best way to take all of our scuba diving gear without getting dinged with overweight fees.

Solution: Dive company revolutionizes scuba travel market by making a travel BC that’s the perfect carry-on companion, and fits carry–on regulations and stowes nicely above your head or under your seat for your flight.: Appropriately named the AERIS Jetpack. It’s a BC. It’s a Bag. It’s a wing. Which we love. It’s sleek. And it makes you breakfast. But only on Tuesdays;)

#ExploreAfrica #Expeditioners #Aeris

A moment in Vilankulo, Mozambique

We filmed this just off of the beach from our eco-lodge, the Villas do Indico, in Vilankulo, Mozambique. When researching on where we would go, we stumbled upon this hidden gem on the East Coast of Africa. It’s also the stepping-stone to the jaw-dropping Bazaruto Archipelago.

Location: Inhambane Province, Mozambique, Africa

Fun Facts: Vilankulo is named after local tribal chief Gamala Vilankulo Mukoke.
Known both as Vilankulo, and Vilanculos, after Mozambique gained their independence from Portugal, they changed it to the k version.

Sponsored in part by Lowepro Canada & Villas do Indico

Bella Gear Guide: Thermarest Trekker Chair Review Videos in English & in French

THE EXPEDITIONERS

BELLA GEAR Review – in English & French

(ATM) ADVENTURE TRAVEL MOMENTS EPISODE #11
ENGLISH Thermarest Trekker Chair Review
SPONSORED by: Scott Canoes
www.scottcanoe.com
Location: Massasauga Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Expeditioner Bella takes you through one of her favourite pieces of camping equipment: a sleeping pad, and Thermarest’s Folding Trekker Chair for 20″ Wide Pads.

You can also watch the video in French! Vous pouvez aussi voir notre video on Francais dessus:)

The Kruger Feline

The Cheetah

Photo by The Expeditioners Bella

South Africa’s Kruger National Park is renowned for having a stunning array of wildlife. But it is the “Big Five” that most visitors hope to see on their visit. The “Big Five” is a term originally used by hunters in reference to 5 of Africa’s most dangerous animals to hunt: The Leopard, The Lion, The Elephant, The White Rhino, and The Buffalo.

There are few places in the world where one has the opportunity to see all of these in their natural and wild habitat.

For of the “Big Five” are usually easy to spot in Kruger. Elephants and Rhinos are huge, and make them easy to spot. The Buffalos are often in a herd, making them again easy to see. Even Lions tend to be in a group, lazily resting in the daytime, to conserve energy for their evening hunt. The leopard though, is something else.

Known to be Africa’s most efficient hunter, the Leopard is a solitary animal that usually hunts at night. Weighing between 100 and 200lbs, it has been known to pull-up a full-sized Impala up a tree.

Our wonderfully knowledgeable safari guide (Debbie) from Outlook Lodge and Safaris explained the above and more to us about Kruger’s Leopards. She even found us a Leopard Den where we got a quick glimpse at the mother’s tail. Alas, the den was too far away for a good photo—and for our own protection, as well as Kruger’s wildlife, nobody is allowed to exit a vehicle while on safari.

A couple of days later, Bella and I picked up our car compliments of Budget Car Rentals South Africa at Kruger Airport, only a skip away from the park. We b-lined for the Numbi Gate to the park, and began our self-drive safari adventure.

We quickly spotted Rhinos, Impalas, Buffalo, Wild Dogs, Zebras, Elephants, Giraffs and more. But it was the morning after, as we drove along the S36 dirt road near Lugmag that the climax to our photo safari came. We were putting along, eyes peeled to our respective sides of the road , when suddenly a Leopard ambled non-chalantly onto the road in front of us!

“Love! It’s a Leopard!!!” I exclaimed. (Little did we know it was actually a Cheetah)

We fumbled with our cameras and watched it walk in front of us, completely aware of our presence, yet unperturbed by it. Understandable, as when you’re at the top of the food chain, not much worries you.

We followed.

For over 100 meters, the feline stayed in front of us, periodically glancing back at us. At one point, it was only a few meters away from us. Bella’s camera snapped photo after photo while I figured out how to drive standard with my left hand while simultaneously taking photos.

A moment later, the cheetah stopped one last time to look at Bella before disappearing into the tall grass. At the time we thought it was a leopard, but after doing some research, we believe it was a Cheetah.

Does it make our encounter any less special? No! We will indeed be talking of that day for a long time to come!

Gear: Bella had her Kenko Polarising filter on her lens, removing the sun’s glare on the photo and creating a crystal clear image.

South Africa Adventure Sponsored by: Outlook Safaris, Budget Car Rentals South Africa, LowePro Canada, Daymen Canada

You can watch the fastest animal in the world..in slow motion here! It’s spectacular to watch!

Ancient Ice

We had been driving for hours at a snail’s pace. The roads were like skating rinks, and angled. It was a heavy winter for Icelandic standards. Still, our adventure van from Kefcar car rentals ambled along.

We finally pulled into Jokulsarlon– a glacial lagoon with enormous icebergs that float around in a seemingly orchestrated dance before being sent out into ocean, to break-apart and melt.

There’s a black sand beach neardby where you can find the remnants of these massive icebergs littered like forgotten jewels.

This is one of them.