Shubenacadie Wildlife Park

We had a lovely day today with two other families, the Cornick’s and the Alpert’s, at the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park.

The park was pretty busy and the animals were active and visible in most of the displays. As usual it is a great place to take the kids and let them stretch their legs while getting to see some animals.

After walking our normal loop, we set out some blankets and had a lovely picnic in the fields near the entrance.

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Easter Weekend

Just a few photos from the Easter weekend in the valley. I think this was the first holiday/event that Gabriel was really clued in for. Throughout the weekend we would have him find an egg or a chocolate. He was really enjoying himself.

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Sugar Moon Maple Syrup Farm and Pancake House

Today seven of us headed out to the Sugar Moon Maple Syrup Farm and Pancake house. The farm has 2500 taps on about 35 acres, and lots of people who want to eat pancakes. Something that I had never seen before, but makes a lot of sense, the farm collects sap with a “gravity-fed pipeline system”. This means that each tree is connected to the others by a network of plastic tubing. This tubing in turn feeds into a “main line” that travels downhill to the sugar camp and the sap tanks outside. They then boil their sap over a wood-fired evaporator – a craft that requires attention and skill as the syrup is actually finished over the wood fire.

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Tortuga Island Costa Rica

On Tuesday & Wednesday of this past week, we took turns venturing to Tortuga Island on a Calypso Cruise. The day started off with a 6:50a.m. pick-up at out bungalow and a drive to Puntarenas a port town an hour and half north of Jaco. Puntarenas (Pointsands, from “punta arenas”, or “sand point” in Spanish) is the capital and largest city in the province Puntarenas, Costa Rica, at the Pacific coast. Once we arrived at the dock, we enjoyed a typical Tico breakfast of gallo pinto, ranchero eggs, corn tortillas, sour cream, fruit and coffee at El Shrimp.

We embarked upon Manta Raya, our catamaran and began our almost two hour long voyage down through of Gulf of Nicoya to our destination of Tortuga Island. Isla Tortuga is Costa Rica’s most visited island. It consists of 2 islands, one of which is a Wildlife Refuge. The island used to not be privately owned and as a result, was near ruin until it was bought and made private. Tourists are now only able to remain on the beach, no overnight stays are allowed and nothing is allowed to be taken off the island. Now an uninhabited island, the clear turquoise waters afford excellent snorkelling and diving, and the white sand beaches lined with swaying palm trees provide the most sought-after setting in the world: a tropical island paradise.

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Manual Antonio National Park

We drove to the Manual Antonio National Park (Google Maps Link / Wikipedia Article). According to wikipedia, established in 1972 with an area enumerating 4,014 acres (16.24 km2) (the smallest of any Costa Rican national park), it is the destination of as many as 150,000 visitors annually and well-known for its beautiful beaches and hiking trails. In 2011, Manuel Antonio was listed by Forbes among the world’s 12 most beautiful national parks.

Before we even got to the park, a group of men, with outfits that were made to look like they worked for the park guided us to our parking spot, way before the actual park entrance. Eventually we figured this out (or rather, eventually we acted on what our gut was telling us) and we got back in the car and drove to the entrance, where there is absolutely no official parking for the park, just a very narrow street with locals selling spots in empty building lots and along the street. Happy with our spot we loaded up the Chariot with all our gear and headed down the path.

We stayed on the main trail, which looks like it was once paved but mother nature has had it’s way with the road. During the hike we didn’t see that much wildlife until we arrived near the end of the main trail at the beach where we saw some fearless raccoons, a lovely sloth and several types of monkeys. We were all very hot during the late morning walk so when we arrived at the lovely beach we were all very happy to go for a dip. Even Oliver who went in the Ocean for the first time.

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Beach Walks

Today and Yesterday were lovely lazy days. We spent time walking on the beach and also swimming in the pool. We visited the Backyard Bar, where we had $1.75 USD local beers and a huge plate of chips and vegs (sort of nacho’s with more vegetables) which was $8.00.

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Christmas Lights

This is our house, which is being lit by some LED lights I purchased off eBay.

One annoying thing about the LED lights I purchased is that they by default switch into the rapid colour changing mode when you turn them on, which is a shame because I have my outdoor sockets on inside light switches, but I still need to go outside to get the lights configured the way I want them.

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Point Pleasant Park Panoramas

A selection of Point Pleasant Park Panoramas taken with my Nikon AW100’s guided panorama mode which makes it dead easy to take these shots. The quality isn’t as good as taking individual photos and stitching them together, but there is a great deal of satisfaction in having it already done for you on the camera.

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The Great Nose

Also known as The Great Alarm Clock and Gabriel’s Meal Cleanup Team Lead.

In Oliver’s Eyes

A shot taken with my new Nikon AW100 of Oliver while he was in Brittany’s arms. When I went to Henry’s to check out their waterproof camera’s the sales person actually showed me that the AW100 can take a picture of a photo laying flat on a piece of paper if the paper is backlit as it would be on their glass display cabinet.

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Deck Lighting with LED Rope Lights

I thought I would write this post because I am somewhat proud of how my new side entrance deck lighting has turned out.

I had originally purchased LED rope lights at 50% off from Canadian tire because I had wanted to run it along our inside stairs to provide a very low cost stair lighting. This has been done in a lot of industrial settings and is now being done by many DIYers. That project will be in another post once my the new LEDs I ordered arrive.

What I ended up doing with the outdoor LED rope lights is wrap them on the underside of my upper railing of my side deck as pictured in the gallery below. This was facilitated by using of Princess Auto Power Fist Saddle-Type Cable Tie Mount and some stainless steel screws. Putting the LED rope lights near the top of the railing actually provides much more light on the deck surface and on the stairs, and is also more hidden from view than mounting on the bottom railing.

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