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Posts Tagged "Canada"

Northern Lights revisited

Northern Lights revisited

A couple of years ago I posted a round up on where to see the Northern Lights in Europe. In this round up I have concentrated on different ways to enjoy the Northern Lights and I have included destinations outside of Europe this time. The Solar Maximum is when there are more particles from the sun hitting the Earth’s atmosphere and causing the auroras around the southern and northern latitudes. This phenomena which began in 2013/14 continues into the 2014/15 winter and as a result interest in the Northern Lights has increased. More tour operators are offering trips to countries where it is most likely to see them. It should be noted, hover, that the Northern Lights cannot be guaranteed so make sure you choose a package that includes other Arctic activities and consider the Northern Lights as a bonus….

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6 Hot Autumn Colour Hotspots

6 Hot Autumn Colour Hotspots

In the Northern hemisphere the days are getting shorter and the nights cooler. It’s the trigger for the trees to change. Chlorophyll breaks down and the green colour disappears allowing the other colours to make their appearance. When the sun shines and the skies are an eye-splitting blue the trees of autumn, or fall as my North American readers call it, present a spectacle worthy of any natural wonder of the world. So where do you head for to see the best of the autumn colours? North America Traditionally it is the New England states that are associated with the best autumn colours. Heading up to New Hampshire or Vermont will ensure you see best of the colours as the glucose trapped in the maple leaves turns the leaves bright red or golden orange. Timing is critical as the planets…

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Kayaking with Killers (3)

Kayaking with Killers (3)

This is the final Kayaking with Killers post in a series of three about kayaking with the resident orcas in Johnstone Strait off the coast of British Columbia. You can read the previous two posts Kayaking with Killers (1) and Kayaking with Killers (2) by clicking on the links. The activities on our first full day at Shaker Camp was determined by the weather and sea conditions. Setting out to circumnavigate the large island on which we were camping we had to turn back once we left the lee of the island. Sea and wind conditions made paddling extremely difficult so we contented ourselves with observing a colony of harbour seals basking on the seaweed covered rocks before returning to camp. As paddling was off the menu several of us hiked up Lookout Hill for a grand overview of the archipelago. From…

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Kayaking with killers (1)

Kayaking with killers (1)

“I think we had better all stay together just here,” said one of our guides calmly, “There’s a cougar coming down to the tents.” Cougars are rarely seen in the forests of British Columbia as they are basically shy creatures. They see but are not seen. We had just arrived at our first kayak camp in the Inside Passage off British Columbia. We had done nothing more than offload all the gear we had brought with us for six days kayaking round the islands. Finally our untrained eyes saw the cougar less than 15 metres away calmly peering over a log. For several long minutes it watched us watching it and then sauntered up the hill to the tent furthest from where we were and lay down just beside the door of the tent. It remain there for the next…

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Newfoundland snowmobile adventure

Newfoundland snowmobile adventure

In yesterday’s post, which you can read here, we crossed a stream and took a track up a mountain but did not see a single moose. That was after all the raison d’être for the trip. Our break finished we mounted up, started the engines and in single file headed along the trail down the mountain. We soon discovered that driving down the mountain was not as difficult as it appeared. A snowmobile soon stops when there is no power to the engine because the blades on its track act as very efficient brakes. The path traversed across the steep face of the mountain and doubled back on itself several times. Soon we were down by the lake and picking up speed along the trail. It was at this point that one of the group thought it might be fun…

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On a Snowmobile in Newfoundland

On a Snowmobile in Newfoundland

The one thing you do not do when running out of control is grip the handle bars harder in your terror. You control the speed the snowmobile with a thumb switch; the harder you push the faster you go. Somebody in the group always forgets this piece of advice; I just hoped it was not going to be me. We were off to track moose in Newfoundland’s backcountry. Alongside the orca, the humpback and the grizzly and polar bears the moose ranks as one of Canada’s big five. They are huge majestic animals treated with great respect by Canadians. Earlier in the day we had seen moose from a helicopter and wanted to see them on the ground. This meant a trip out into the wilderness and that meant either walking with aid of snowshoes, cross-country skiing or snowmobiling. Snowmobiling…

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New Brunswick Blues

New Brunswick Blues

Tuesday 26th March six unsigned blues bands met at Scala, in London, for the final of the New Brunswick Battle of the Blues 2013. One of my first posts was on last years final. This was the third Battle of the Blues with a prize of an all expenses paid trip to New Brunswick, Canada to play on one of the main stages at the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in Fredericton. The festival is one of Canada’s and North America’s premier jazz and blues festivals and is a chance to be seen on the international stage. Previous winners from the UK, 24 Pesos (2011) and Groove-a-Matics (2012), proved very popular with the festival goers. The Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival 2013 runs from 10th – 15th September and is held in the historic downtown heart of the provincial capital,…

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Close encounters with bears

Close encounters with bears

Bears in the Canadian woods It was big, black and hungry looking… and it was coming towards me. I stood my ground camera to my eye trying not to tremble. My finger pressed the shutter release repeatedly as the huge black bear began to fill the viewfinder. I sensed rather than saw the cubs behind me but continued shooting their mother. I was ignoring the one thing I know about bears; you do not come between mother bears and their cubs Hoping I had at least one good shot I turned my back on her and began photographing the cubs behind me as they played at the foot of a tree before ambling off to investigate a hollow log. I have to confess to misleading you a little in the paragraphs above. Yes, it did all happen as I described…

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My New Brunswick experience

My New Brunswick experience

Fredericton’s Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival is over for another year. The British winners of Battle of the Blues by all accounts were well received and a new Battle of the Blues, sponsored by Tourism New Brunswick, has begun to find a British act to perform at the festival in 2013. As part of their prize this year’s winners were given a New Brunswick experience. I have spent time in New Brunswick recently. Although I crammed a lot in I only covered a small fraction of the province. That means I have the perfect excuse to return; something I plan to do in the near future. Here are my top 5 experiences in the only Canadian province that is truly bilingual. Fredericton, the provincial capital Apart from being the home of one of Canada’s premier music festivals, the Harvest Jazz and…

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