HOLBOX | THE EXPEDITIONERS | DESTINATIONS | TRAVEL GUIDE TO THE WORLD

HOLBOX | THE EXPEDITIONERS | DESTINATIONS | Travel Guide to the World
By. The Expeditioners Roberto
Photos and videos by Roberto & Bella

WHERE: Holbox, Quinta Roo, Mexico

WHAT WE DID: Kiteboard. Kiteboard. and some more kiteboarding. The scuba diving and whale shark season is coming up though.

WHERE WE STAYED: Holbox is an un-discovered destination. Many locals say it is like Playa del Carmen 30 years ago. A tiny island with some 2000 inhabitants, the roads are made of sand, people walk around barefoot, with a bike, or they take a golf cart (which is what most locals have.) A big part of the island is protected land, and the beach is stunning. Fresh fruit is extremely inexpensive, and a freshly squeezed orange juice will only put you back a couple of bucks!

We arrived to a new and wonderful hotel (La Casa del Viento) owned by a super personable Fernando. Only a block away from the beach, and a couple of blocks from town, it’s perfect for the kiteboarder and beach comber alike.

Casa del Viento: http://casadelvientoholbox.com/

OTHER THINGS TO DO:
1. Kiteboarding – there are three different areas you can kite in Holbox : Punta Mosquito (which is accessible with Holbox’s kiteboarding school’s boat) then there is Las Nubes, which is accessible by bike or golf cart, or walking- -and finally the sand-bar, which is for experienced riders only as it is off-shore kiting out in the middle of the sea. There was a place which we loved to kite called Punta Coco, but apparently it is now forbidden there.
2. Whale Shark Tours are big here during the spring and summer months. The whale sharks congregate not too far off, making it an ideal launch point.
3. Beach walking and reading.
4. Sea-Kayaking
5. Paddle Boarding with Holbox Kiteboarding (for the non windy days)
6. Scuba Diving is also only during the summer months. The water here can be churned with a lot of sand as it is where the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean meet.

HOW TO GET HERE: Fly to Cancun. From Toronto, New York and the likes, a ticket is only $500US round-trip. Then you catch a bus/taxi to Chuiquila, and then a ferry to Holbox which runs hourly.

It has only been a few months since Bella and I got into kiteboarding/ kitesurfing – but we’re totally addicted to it. With frequency and stronger winds we’ve become better and better kiters. In Turks and Caicos we were able to improve significantly because of the shallow waters where we were learning. But add deep water to the mix, and it is a whole different story. Your kite will be pulling you down-wind while your board is up wind from you. Like a sail boat, you then have to body drag away from your board to zig zag back up wind to it. This can be quite intimidating at the beginning, but here in Holbox we’ve learned to be in a lot of deep water conditions, lose our board, and get back to our kite.

Yesterday was the first time that Bella and I launched from a boat. This requires preparing your lines and gear in advance–and making sure they don’t tangle–as it is tricky to fix your lines from boat. You also have to be able to kite upwind to get back to the boat, as it is off-shore kiting (yes, worse case scenario the boat will get you.) It was extremely exciting, and we had some gusts of wind the were super powerful. Happily, this just meant we got to jump higher!

Check-out the photos and videos below that Bella and I took here in Holbox.CTK_6960

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TURKS & CAICOS | THE EXPEDITIONERS | DESTINATIONS | Travel Guide to the World

TURKS & CAICOS | THE EXPEDITIONERS | DESTINATIONS | Travel Guide to the World
By. The Expeditioners Roberto
Photos and videos by Roberto & Bella
WHERE: Long Bay, TCI, Caribbean, Americas

WHEN WE WENT: Bella and I have been there in August, December, January, February.

WHAT WE DID: Kiteboard. Kiteboard. Kayaking. Scuba Diving. Kiteboarding.

WHERE WE STAYED: Providenciales is known to be pricey. On the affordable side you have The Carribean Paradise Inn. This 20 suite inn, is minutes from the beach and run by one of the most amicable staffs I have every met. It’s private, secluded. And perfect for scuba divers and Kiteboarders alike. Being nearby to Long Bay Beach is a major plus! On the higher spectrum are the magnificent villas spotted all over the island and offered by Tranquility Vacation Rentals Turks & Caicos. Ideal for the honeymooner or the family, these abodes will leave you breathless. Just take a look at the pictures below!

Caribbean Paradise Inn: http://caribbeanparadiseinn.com/
Tranquility Vacation Rentals: http://www.turkscaicosluxuryvillas.com/

OTHER THINGS TO DO:
1. Scuba Diving with Big Blue Unlimited
2. Kiteboarding with Kite Provo
3. Conch Festival
4. Sea-Kayaking Island Hopping Adventure with Big Blue Unlimited
5. Romantic boat ride to see the glow worms.
6. Wake-Boarding
7. Deep-Sea Fishing with Talbot’s Adventures.
8. Fine -Dining at Baci’s
9. Hobie-Cat Sailing
10. Island Hopping
11. For those so inclined..there’s even a golf course.

HOW TO GET HERE: Fly. Lots of major airlines have direct flights here from places like New York and Toronto. If you search well-enough, you can find round-trip tickets for $500 taxes included.

Having tried a vast variety of sports, it’s not often that I come along one that I had never done before. I ski, snowboard, skate, surf, dive, rock-climb, mountain-bike, run, etc etc. I’ve even gone curling. But that’s excusable only because I’m Canadian.

A few years back, my brother told me that I should try kiteboarding. I had heard of some guy that went flying into a building and remembered it had been nasty. So I gave it little thought.

Then last year, while on my one-month honeymoon to Turks & Caicos with Bella, we got a 1hr intro class into the sport by Kite Provo’s Mike. It was gusty as he took out a 12 meter kite on a deserted beach. We thought we would give it a try. After taking us through safety, we waded into the water.

On my first attempt I was up…if only for some 30 meters before lunging into a uncontrolled rag-doll leap of some fort feet, elegantly face-planting into TCI’s emerald water. I stood-up, a tad- wobbly, grinning from ear-to-ear while still clearing my nostrils from their salt washing.

Fast-forward a year, and Bella and I are in Vancouver’s Northshore Board Store getting kites, harnesses, and boards before embarking on an adventure to Turks and Caicos– to learn to kiteboard. We heard that one of the best places to learn in the world, was indeed Long Bay Beach, on Turks and Caicos’s Providenciales.

On-Shore winds. Shallow water. Sandy bottom. Warm water. And a long long beach.

Learning to kite came with an excitement I hadn’t had in a very long time. The excitement of learning a new sport. And Long Bay Beach was the perfect place to learn. I can now jump 40′ in the air, and Bella can do some really rad riding. Stay tuned as we take this sport everywhere in the world.

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Whistler, British Columbia, CANADA | THE EXPEDITIONERS | DESTINATIONS | Travel Guide to the World

Whistler, British Columbia, CANADA | THE EXPEDITIONERS | DESTINATIONS | Travel Guide to the World
By. The Expeditioners Roberto
Photos and videos by Roberto & Bella
WHERE: Whistler, British-Columbia, Canada

WHEN WE WENT: #ExpeditionCanada took us zig-zagging over 16500km—from East to West. After four months of exploring the country, we got into Whistler the second week of November and stayed for almost two weeks.

WHAT WE DID: Whistler is renowned for its skiing and snowboarding. Whistler/Blackcomb is by far the best ski resort that we have ever explored. With big powder dumps and vast terrain—it’s a downhiller’s paradise. Luckily for us, the resort came on board and sponsored us 4 days of skiing and boarding. Official opening date was November 28th—but the season’s snow started well enough that people were on the hills two weeks in advance already..including us. We went for short hikes—visited around town, and reminisced about all the crazy adventures we had on previous trips to the region: back-country skiing, heli-skiing, and snowshoeing!

WHERE WE STAYED: Our lodging was amazing in one of our favourite resort towns in the world: It began with the Hilton Resort & Spa, then Legends at the foot of Creekside, onto the Crystal Lodge in the heart of the village, and ended with the luxurious Chateau Fairmont Whistler.
Other Sponsors: Whistler Tourism | InReach Canada | Mountain Hardwear | HGregoire | AutoTrim Estrie | Whistler- Blackcomb

OTHER THINGS TO DO:
1. Snowmobiling Adventure
2. Go Zip-Lining from Tree Canopy to Canopy
3. Take the Peak to Peak Gondola
4. In summer time get an adrenaline rush with some downhill mountain biking
5. Mountain Biking what some call the best trails in the world.
6. Bungee Jumping
7. Explore Lost Lake
8. Whistler Sliding Center
9. Go Heli-Skiing. There’s nothing like it!
10. Cross-Country Ski the Black Tusk Trail
11. Go Back-Country skiing to Marriot Basin or Cerise Creek

HOW TO GET HERE:
A. Fly to Vancouver and then drive or take the shuttle to Whistler (only 1.5hours)

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Coffee Time in Iceland- Living in a van down by the..

It was mid-winter, the nights were at their coldest. Epic amounts of snow were falling on the island nation–and The Expeditioners Bella and myself had decided to explore the country, and hunt the Northern Lights, by living out of a van sponsored by Kefcar Car Rentals and 4×4’s.

While there was no wildlife to contend with, the nights were long and the days short… and always, we had coffee in ample supply. And as always, we found creative ways to prepare it!

Here Bella is making us a cup of joe as we waited for the Northern Lights to appear!

Diving Africa Part 4/10

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Concrete stairs lead down to the water where our boat was moored. A jovial Senegalese local played a rythmic beat on his tam-tam– luring us to our boat like the Pied Piper. It was an early afternoon dive, and so would be a 1-tank dive. Located only a few kilometers from shore, the Madeleine Islands sit a quick boat ride away from Dakar’s coastline. Mamadou (our dive master) kept the tap of jokes flowing as our little skiff made it’s way amongst fishing boats to the islands. A couple from France were delighted to get reacquainted with our dive-master–as they had dove with him 20 years earlier.

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The water temp hovered around 16 degrees Celcius. I donned my 3/2 Oceanic Pioneer wetsuit, and added an extra layer of Lavacore to keep from getting chilled– Bella did likewise. I hesitated with donning a hoodie, but after plunging my hand into the water realized it was a must to wear.

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Before we knew it we were already at the island. The boatman dropped anchor. We prepped our cameras, and back-flipped into the frigid waters of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Manta Dive Watch

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The water was murky and green. And the current was strong. We dove along the submerged part of of the island– spotting sea-slugs and little rays. Visibility was less than 10′. We dove down to 60′ where it was a little clearer– hoping there would be less current. Yet there just seemed to be more. Bella and I glanced at each other and made the signal to head-back.

We’ve learned not to push ourselves too much on a dive in questionable conditions. For indeed, there is always the next dive.

Quick Tip: The Aeris Jetpack is a WING BC with integrated weights– giving you great mobility and freedom on your dive. Use the detachable bag on your dive boat to keep the stuff you don;t need for your dive: sunglasses, sunscreen, micro-towel, Dfog, etc..

Gear Guide:
Aeris Jetpack BC’s
Aeris Ion AT600 First Stage & ION LT Second Stage
Aeris Manta Dive Watch
Aeris Velocity Fins (Bella)
Aeris Accel Fins (Roberto)
Aeris Ai300 Computers
Oceanic Pioneer Wetsuit
Oceanic Pioneer Mask
Lavacore Pants & Short Sleeve Shirts
Ikelite Camera Housing w/ Pro-2800 LED Video Lights
Ikelite Coolpix Camera Housing

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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

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!

Back-Country BC

Back-Country BC

I’ve been skiing since I was 5 years old. Every weekend, my parents would drop me off with the YMCA ski school which would take us to a different mountain for the day. The surrounding area of Montreal has the highest concentration of ski hills in the world. Mont Saint Sauveur, Owl’s Head, Orford, Tremblant, Mont Blanc, Sutton, Jay Peak, Bromont, Chanteclair and many more. While these hills are nowhere near the majesty of Canada’s West Coast Mountains, they sufficed for my adolescent and teenage years.

About 6 years ago, I went to ski Whistler and Blackcomb in Canada’s West– and learned what a true ski mountain consists of. Extremely long runs, inspiring views, and powder… lots of powder! Yet this was not to be the final step in the evolution of my skiing, for indeed it was only a few years ago that Bella and I got into the world of back-country skiing and touring.

Exponentially harder, back-country skiing consists of heading into remote regions with a special ski binding that allows your heel to lift. By donning ‘skins’ (fuzzy mohair strips that attach with glue to the bottom of your skis) you are able to literally ski uphill. You begin below the tree line and wind your way through pine trees, across avalanche chutes, and up into the alpine.

It can take hours to reach your destination– always heading higher and higher. The exertion is exhausting, as you carry your gear/food/water in backpack. But it is well worth it. For once you reach the top, you get to lay fresh tracks in knee deep powder, with not a soul in sight except for your ski partner. It’s liberating and extremely rewarding.

In this photo you see Bella after an awesome descent in British Columbia’s Marriot Basin.

Where to stay while you ski: Canada’s back-country has a network of huts up in the mountains, so that you can leave all your camping gear in the hut while you run epic powdery run after epic run.

It took us 5- hours to reach the Wendy Thompson Hut in Marriot Basin which is owned and operated by the Alpine Club of Canada. We did it in a snowstorm and late in the day and without knowing the route. You can easily shave off a couple of hours if you know the way.

Required Equipment:
1. Back-Country Skis, or Snowboard
2. Avalanche Transceivers
3. Shovel
4. Backpack
5. Skins
6. Ski Poles
7. Gloves/ Tuque/ Wool Socks
8. Shell Jacket
9. Down Jacket
10. GPS (not necessary, but good to have in the back-country)