Sunday, March 29, 2015

Holistic Holiday at Sea Cruise

One of the last things we did before leaving Florida was take our second Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise (our first time was in March 2011). Sailing out of Miami on the MSC Divina (an Italian cruise ship), our seven day adventure included stops in Ocho Rios (Jamaica), Georgetown (Cayman Islands), Cozumel (Mexico), and Great Stirrup Cay (The Bahamas). I think I enjoyed this cruise even more than I did four years ago. We were both thrilled with the 100% gourmet vegan meals, lectures by the world's leading experts on the whole foods plant based diet (such as Doctors Campbell, Esselstyn, Barnard, and Gregor), plus workshops in everything from exercise and yoga, to cooking demonstrations, to natural healing - in short, everything you can imagine to nurture mind, body, and spirit. In addition to this program, we had full access to the ship at large which included beautiful lounges, music and entertainment, a seawater swimming pool, full service spa, recreational activities, and outdoor movie theater, just to name a few of the enticing amenities. Of the ~4000 passengers on board, almost half were part of the Holistic Holiday at Sea group. It was exciting and uplifting to be around so many like-minded people and to tap into the growing consciousness for this diet and lifestyle. The ship was beautiful, the weather was picture perfect, and the seas were calm. We couldn't have asked for a better week to take this cruise. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Birds of Florida

Our winter stay in Florida is drawing to a close. Following a flurry of summer and autumn travel, these past four months staying put, visiting with friends, playing golf, and exploring the area have been pleasant and restorative. As usual, we didn't get to everywhere we planned to get, or see everything we wanted to see. But I always feel best when I leave a place with the feeling I could have done more, rather than feeling like I've worn it out. One of the most delightful things about Florida, for me, is the birds. They are plentiful (we got pictures of over 16 species without even trying), and varied, with each type of bird having unique personalities and characteristics. We saw shore birds, birds of prey, nesting birds, water birds, and colorful birds. We saw them in the trees outside our window, on the fence behind our 5th Wheel, on the golf courses, on the beach, along the bike trail, in State Parks, and in the wetlands. It took some detective work to figure out the species for some that were unfamiliar to us, but I think we were able to finally identify them all. In the pictures below (not necessarily in order) you will see the American Oyster Catcher, Anhinga, Cormorant, Dove, Hawk, Egret, Blue Heron (both Great and Little), Ibis, Ladder Back Woodpecker, Osprey, Pelican, Roseate Spoonbill, Sandhill Crane, Sandpiper, and a Wood Stork.