Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Sea Star at The Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet

It took me months to narrow down where we would stay on Vancouver Island’s west side. There are all kinds of accommodations, high end with a spa and well known restaurant, camping, and everything in between.

What matters to us? We like having enough space, and we really like natural wood finishes. Most of all, for me, I want a view of the water.

I booked the Terrace Beach Resort not knowing if it was as good as it promised. When we arrived, it didn’t look like much from the road, it looks like an old fashioned fishing village. We signed in, and were taken to our cabin, #9 Sea Star. It has three stories, bedrooms on the top floor and the bottom floor, and living room and kitchen and main bathroom on the entry level. Oh, and a huge deck with a hot tup and grill. And leather furniture. And oh wow. The view. It is also next to a hiking trail we wanted to hike.

Cabin9

Here is the view 🙂

View

Living room area

SeaStarMainFlr

 

Upstair bedroom

SeaStarUpstairs

Upstairs hot tub with that view 🙂

SeaStrJetTub

Attention to detail – candles for those unexpected power outages

SeaStarCandles

The kitchen

TerraceView

And 🙂  the sunset!

Sunset1

They have a wide variety of cabin types, each one different. There is a beach, perfect for sending the kids down; you can watch them from the balcony. There is a modern TV, and a modern kind of fake fireplace, there are books and CDs you can rent. Or you can hike the Lighthouse Trail 🙂

May 14, 2016 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Building, Hotels, Quality of Life Issues, Road Trips, Travel | 1 Comment

Tofino and the Heebie Jeebies

Today I woke up with the heebie jeebies, an unexplained restless anxiety with no cause that I am aware of. It happens; it happens sometimes when I don’t get enough sleep and this was one of those mornings when I woke up just before four a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep, and sometimes it happens when some kind of atmospheric pressure shift takes place, and that has happened, too.

No more clear cool sunny days, the air is heavy with moisture and the clouds hang low over Pensacola.

As I read the news, CNN had an article about Tofino: Canada’s Bohemian Backwater and I thought “Isn’t that where AdventureMan and I went when we spent a couple weeks on Vancouver Island?” I checked this blog, and to my utter delight, came across several entries on our stay in Ucluelet, where we stayed when we visited Tofino.

(Sea Star at Terrace Beach Resort; Ucluelet)

I read through the entries. It was like taking a little escape all over again. My vapors lifted. I headed to the kitchen to start a big pot of baked beans and get started on my busy day. I don’t shop often these days, but I needed a birthday card and Target was stocked, better than I have seen it for a long time, with clothing in colors, designs and sizes that are perfect for my grandchildren. Woooo hoooo, such an inauspicious beginning and such a great turnaround to my day, thanks to “Bohemian” Tofino.

November 10, 2020 Posted by | Aging, Biography, Hotels, Privacy, Quality of Life Issues, Road Trips, Sunsets, Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Heaven on Earth

Where are you? There were some clues . . . on the menu board, and in the shape of the dhows sailing by . . .

Here is my idea of heaven on earth – Mnemba Island. You can see it in the distance, beyond the fishing boats off the northeast corner of Zanzibar. Only ten bungalows on Mnemba, a private island, maximum 20 guests; this is another CCAfrica property. About a third of the guests seem to be honeymooners, but there are also families, divers, people who want privacy and care-free time alone.

The temperature stays around 85 degrees, day and night, most of the year. The bungalows are large and luxurious, fine linens, huge bath areas, and lots of extras – a terrace with couches for lounging, snoozing, reading, keeping your diary. . . a bed swing, on which my husband frequently snoozed . . . your own basket with beach towels, flip flop sandals, sand shovels and a bucket . . . an outside sink in the ground with running water to wash the sand off your feet . . .tables and chairs where you can have dinner, write a letter, keep up your journal, an addictive African board game, and a library full of books, even an internet connection in the library if you are so addicted.

You arrive by powerboat, greeted upon arrival with a fruit drink and are told “you won’t need your shoes again until you leave the island.” It feels really funny going to the dining room barefoot, but oh! you get used to it! The sand is made of coral, and it never gets hot.

Your butler escorts you to your “bungalow” which is the size of a small house, with indoor and outdoor living areas, including a covered chaise longue area all your own, near the beach. He shows you all the features, including bathrobes, racks to dry your beach towels, locally made toiletries, etc – anything you might need, it is there. If something is not there, you have only to ask.

Meals are amazing. Lots of choice, everything fresh and freshly prepared, lots of Zanzibari grown pineapple, banana, and lots of freshly caught seafood. Breakfast when you want it, any way you want it, even brought to your bungalow. Lunch at the open air, thatched roof dining room, unless you have taken it with you on a day trip, out fishing, into Zanzibar island, out on a diving trip . . . and dinner is served on the beach sands amidst a series of hanging lanterns, tables spaced generously so that you feel intimate and private, even with other guests around.

You don’t need a lot of clothing; they do your laundry for you on a daily basis. You do need to be covered at meals, (If you are in a bathing suit, you need a T-shirt and kikoy wrap, or some other cover-up) as many of the staff are Moslem, and the resort respects their sensitivities.

*Kikoy are about 1 meter by 1.5 meters, 100% cotton in a variety of irresistable colors, available throughout Tanzania, and also in the Mnemba gift shop. You have six of them, in a variety of lovely colors, in your bungalow.

Mnemba also runs its own private diving school. Dives are included in the daily rate, dive school is not. Snorkeling equipment and diving equipment are free, and just in front of the widely spaced bungalows is a huge marine reserve with over 400 varieties of fish. Back at your bungalow are books helping you to identify the fish you’ve seen. The colors are breathtaking.

Mnemba Island reservations are so sought after that you either have to book very far in advance, or take your chances that someone has cancelled at the last minute. It took us three years to be able to get in there . . . and because I had such high expectations, I was really worried that it couldn’t possibly be as good as it looked. It was. It was even better. This place knocked my socks off.

it is the perfect transition spot from safari to going home. It is the perfect place for a three to five day getaway. It is the perfect place to hide from the world. It is perfect for a honeymoon. You can have as much or as little privacy as you want. You can be as active or as lazy as you want. And when the time comes to go – to will take Mnemba Island with you in your heart. Happy travels!

September 23, 2006 Posted by | Adventure, Africa, Tanzania, Travel, Uncategorized, Zanzibar | 7 Comments