BJ's Travels: Part 3, Dolphins, the Mast & Secluded Beaches

BJ and her husband work in the travel industry and are based out of Georgia. The couple recently sailed on Star Flyer, exploring Panama and Costa Rica. BJ shared her experience on her blog BJ's Travels, and we'll be publishing excerpts from the journey here. Enjoy!





Passenger's Log, Star Flyer Date 112613 (Tuesday) Isla Parida


The boat rocked pretty steadily for most of the night. We awoke to the sound of the waves splashing our porthole. Because we had set our watches back an hour, it was easier to get up. Well, at least for me. I joined some other ladies on the deck for coffee. We watched some little black dolphins running alongside the boat.



Gymnastics class was pretty crowded today. Tony made an appearance just as the class was finishing.



We had a light quick breakfast because I wanted to climb up to the crows nest. It was a bit scary, but I would do it again.







Afterward we climbed out onto the trampoline and watched the dolphins racing under the prow. 

 

When the dolphins tired of racing, we leaned back and enjoyed the breeze. It was very relaxing!



I took a tour of the ship. We looked at each category of cabin and finished in the owners suite. There wasn't a huge difference in the size of the cabins (except for the owner's suite). The biggest difference between the top cabin categories and the lower ones was the bathroom. The separate jacuzzi/shower combo was nice. 



Some of the cabins have fixed double beds and some can be configured as twin beds.  There are a few cabins that can accommodate 3 people.



The lowest cabin category is inside rooms with bunk beds.






One of the cabin categories has a raised bed with storage underneath. The hotel manager said that this one usually rents to honeymooners.



The tour ended in the spacious owner's suite with plentiful seating and an elaborate bathroom.



After the tour, it was time for lunch. Today we had an Italian buffet. We both tried to stick with mostly salad and some grilled veggies, saving our calories for cocktails and dinner.



We watched the crew set the anchor near Isla Parida and then went to the cabin to change into our swim suits and slather on some sunscreen.






The tender took us to the beach for another wet landing. 



We stopped at the restaurant to ask if there were nature trails. The owner, an American, directed us up a path behind the restaurant that led to a hotel that he owns. 



We saw vultures, crabs and banana trees on our walk. It took us about 25 minutes to reach the small hotel. A couple of pit bulls greeted us with their barking, making us a bit nervous, but thankfully they were tied up.






In front of the hotel was a beautiful secluded beach. It was worth the walk.



We hurried back to the restaurant to have a beer before boarding the tender back to the ship.

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Shades of Gray in Costa Rica

Enjoy this black & white snapshot of life at sea courtesy of Star Clippers Facebook fan Susan Pilcher. These shots were taken during Susan's weeklong journey on Star Flyer through Costa Rica. It's nice to see the beautiful photos of our hard-working crew looking out to the horizon and up to the sails. We're grateful for all they do.


















Thanks, Susan!



Follow Star Clippers on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest to see beautiful photos of our Tall Ships daily.
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BJ's Travels: Part 2, Snorkeling at Isla Iguana

BJ and her husband work in the travel industry and are based out of Georgia. The couple recently sailed on Star Flyer, exploring Panama and Costa Rica. BJ shared her experience on her blog BJ's Travels, and we'll be publishing excerpts from the journey here. Enjoy!





Passenger's Log, Star Flyer Date 112513 (Monday) Isla Iguana


We wondered, "Is it really only day 3?"



As usual, I awoke early. I found the 24 hour coffee station and enjoyed a cup on the front deck while watching more sails being hosted.



After the talk, we went to the sports deck to check out snorkels and fins. 



While we were standing in line, we noticed several water spouts in the distance. The captain announced that, due to the 'tornados' the crew would take down the sails and start the engines...






We anchored around noon and had lunch before going ashore. Lunch was a buffet of mostly seafood items. There was a carving station with baked salmon. 



We changed into our swimsuits, slathered up with sunscreen, grabbed our snorkel equipment and took a tender to Isla Iguana for our first "wet landing". That means the tender pulled up "near" shore and dropped a ladder into a few feet of water. Who cares? We're going snorkeling anyway!

 

The beach was deserted except for our little group!












We snorkeled until our fingers shriveled up. We saw lots of big parrot fish, a pregnant puffer fish, some clown fish and some tiny purple fish.



After snorkeling, Tony took the next tender back to the boat so he could have his turn in the shower. I did some exploring on the island and found a path that led to a smaller, even more isolated beach on the other side of the island. 



I also followed the path by the sunning iguanas up to the round visitors center with posters about the area.

 

Back on the boat, I found Tony at the bar, let him know I made it back, and then went to shower.



We went to the top deck to watch the sails being raised and the anchor being lifted. There was always some Russian sounding music as we set sail. Tony said it sounded like the soundtrack from Hunt for Red October.

  




We visited with our new friends on the deck and then went downstairs for cocktail hour where we met more new friends.



Next we went to the back of the boat and sat on the stern. We felt a few drops of rain and started inside. We heard the captain say, 'lots of rain coming' and sure enough, we barely made it under cover before the bottom dropped out.



By then it was 7 and time to meet friends for cocktails.



We had dinner with two other couples. By now, Tony had discovered that the wine list had an extra page he hadn't seen the night before with the house wines - much more reasonably priced, and totally drinkable, especially the Chardonnay and the Cabernet.



After dinner, I went to the fashion show and Tony went to the cabin to model his PJs. The fashion show featured some of the young crew members who were quite entertaining.



There would be a time change when we got to Costa Rica so we set our watches back one hour before going to bed.
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Star Clippers Words of Wisdom Wednesday




Franklin D. Roosevelt was the 32nd President of the United States, and the only one to serve four terms.
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BJ's Travel's: Part 1 Sailaway from Isla Flamenco

BJ and her husband work in the travel industry and are based out of Georgia. The couple recently sailed on Star Flyer, exploring Panama and Costa Rica. BJ shared her experience on her blog BJ's Travels, and we'll be publishing excerpts from the journey here. Enjoy!



Passenger's Log, Star Flyer Date 112413 (Sunday - Embarkation Day) Isla Flamenco


I woke up early to find a parade passing by between the hotel and the ocean. A few minutes later, a bike race went by, and then a helicopter landed on a pad over the ocean. It was a busy Sunday morning in Panama City...



...We made our way to the marina on Isla Flamenco but there were no signs directing us to the ship. We wandered around for a bit until a man with a walkie-talkie directed us to another man with a walkie-talkie who directed us to another man with a walkie-talkie who showed us to the tender that would take us to the Star Flyer.



We were handed a rum punch and directed to the library to check in.






We took a few minutes to look around the ship. We found two nice sized swimming pools and a massage room. We had to hurry back to our cabin to get our life jackets for the lifeboat drill. The crew is very serious about the drill!

  

After the drill we went to the dining room for dinner. We sat with two other couples and a single guy. One of the couples was starting their 3rd week aboard the ship, having started in Barbados. They gave us an idea of what to expect. There were more than 20 people who were on their third week aboard the Flyer!



For dinner, I started with the seafood chowder and Tony, the Mac and cheese. For our second course, we had watermelon sorbet, followed by the entree (flounder for me and vegetable curry for Tony). Dessert was strawberry ice cream for Tony and chocolate mousse for me.



The ship pulled up anchor at 10pm. We went up top to watch them hoist the sails then it was off to bed for our first night onboard.

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Star Flyer Transiting the Panama Canal

Star Clippers Facebook fan Noreen Blank Goldwasser posted this compilation of photos that come together to make a fabulous stop-motion video of Star Flyer transiting the Panama Canal. Here you see Star Flyer passing through the Miraflores locks on Nov. 23, 2013.






Thanks for sharing, Noreen!



Have you transited the Panama Canal with Star Clippers? If so we'd love to hear about it! Send your stories to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!
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Star Flyer's Rare Glimpse: Total Eclipse at Sea

On Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013, a rare hybrid solar eclipse occurred. Star Flyer guests are on an Ocean Crossing journey and stopped to witness this natural phenomenon.



Check out this slideshow featuring images of the eclipse as seen from the deck.






The ship took a planned early morning stop at Latitude 18º 06, Longitude 039º, to observe the eclipse.



This eclipse was called a hybrid because it is an annular or ring eclipse as it begins, then becomes a total eclipse. For most of the world it appeared as a partial eclipse, but from Star Flyer's location in the Atlantic Ocean the eclipse was total, creating an unforgettable experience, and unrivaled photo opportunity.
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Star Clippers Words of Wisdom Wednesdays




Star Clippers are heading west to warmer waters!



Star Flyer proudly returns to Costa Rica, one of the most eco-conscious tourist destinations in the world, in November.



Will you be joining us in Costa Rica this season?
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Words of Wisdom Wednesday




This beautiful photo shows Star Clipper and Star Flyer racing side by side.



Lucius Annaeus Seneca was an ancient Roman philosopher and writer. There are nine plays attributed to him, including Hercules Furens, Medea, Troades, Phaedra, Agamemnon, Oedipus, Hercules Oetaeus, Phoenissae and Thyestes. The first English translation of his moral treatises appeared in 1614, edited by Erasmus. We can see his influence on writers of the 16th to 18th centuries in the work of Calvin, Montaigne, and Rousseau.
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Sketches from a Northern Europe Sailing

We have so many talented guests! Star Clippers guest Paul was so kind to recently share his photos from his northern European tour on Star Flyer. In his final post, he's shared some sketches he made along the way.







None of the sketches were or are intended to be finished articles in themselves but rather to serve as a basis for future paintings. I use the photos for further information on a scene, colour, shading details and so on. Many of the sketches have little stories and definitely memories. When I do the paintings, the holiday comes back to me. So its good value as I get to enjoy the holiday at the time but I get further pleasure from it afterwards.







[caption id="attachment_13426" align="aligncenter" width="550"] There had been some rain when I did this one at Tsarkoye




[caption id="attachment_13422" align="aligncenter" width="550"] I did this from a pontoon that was pitching and tossing like a bucking-bronco at Mariehamn.




[caption id="attachment_13431" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Okay, confession time: I did this from a photo. It was far too complex to do on the spot.




[caption id="attachment_13421" align="aligncenter" width="550"] We bought some icons in the church shop that cost about 23 Euros.




[caption id="attachment_13432" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Visby also from the deck of Flyer. I left out the ugly industrial building which was blocking the view.






[caption id="attachment_13427" align="aligncenter" width="550"] The Stockholm, a Stroma cruise ship
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Photo Journal: Hanko and Mariehamn

A big thank you to Star Clippers’ guest Paul for sharing fantastic photos from his northern European tour on Star Flyer. In this post Paul enjoys Finnish charm in Hanko and Mariehamn.





Both Hanko and Mariehamn may not be as full of glorious sights to see as SPB, Tallinn and Stockholm but they have their own little charms as well as a more relaxing time and there is nothing wrong with that.



We had a nice lunch at the Origo Restaurant in Hanko to the accompaniment of live music. Afterwards, we went to see some of the old Russian villas [Lace Ladies]























In Mariehamn, the Pommern was well worth the visit as was the associated Maritime Museum close by.



On the far side of Mariehamn there is a traditional boat building yard and some of the old craft were moored at the quay alongside. They too have a small museum showing how these craft are built.













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Photo Journal: Stockholm, Sweden

A big thank you to Star Clippers’ guest Paul for sharing fantastic photos from his northern European tour on Star Flyer.





Our Star Flyer cruise ended on Tuesday 16th July and we had a couple of days in Stockholm before returning home.



So, which is the best between SPB and Stockholm. Good question, and you could spend a good evening in a pub debating that one.



Stockholm is older, and it too has great buildings and great history. It is also a city that has developed around rivers and canals.



Personally, I like the two.



We had a great holiday, met some lovely people and enjoyed seeing some wonderful places. We had an uneventful journey home and you cannot ask for more than that.






















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Photo Journal: Paul in Helsinki, Finland

A big thank you to Star Clippers’ guest Paul for sharing fantastic photos from his northern European tour on Star Flyer. In this post Paul and Star Flyer are at Helinksi, Finland.





Helsinki must be one of the most photogenic harbours a ship can visit. There were great views from the Flyer's deck with some of the main sights and attractions clearly identifiable.Many of the main attractions are within an easy walk.










It was a beautiful day with clear blue skies and as it was a Saturday afternoon, there was an easy going holiday atmosphere.



It was around 1430 when the ship tied up at the quayside so there was no time to be lost. Once again, a good map was invaluable and a clear idea on where to go.



Helsinki Tourism were on hand as in other places to hand out free maps and to give advice and answer questions.












At the open air market, Kauppatori, we got a nice amber pendant for Mary and some leather gloves.

Later we enjoyed a glass of wine in the Ateneum Finnish National Art Gallery.












The sunset as the ship sailed at 2200 was stunning.



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Photo Journal: Paul in St. Petersburg Part III

A big thank you to Star Clippers’ guest Paul for sharing fantastic photos from his northern European tour on Star Flyer.




St.Petersburg, I never did get to taste a Russian wine, and worse, never even got a Russian vodka, sad.

























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Photo Journal: Paul in St. Petersburg Part II

A big thank you to Star Clippers’ guest Paul for sharing fantastic photos from his northern European tour on Star Flyer.






The Hermitage Museum has an excellent online shop. So, if you want to re-visit St Petersburg, the Tsarkoye Selo or indeed the Hermitage itself they have great DVD videos, books and more besides. They post on from California,US and the various items are priced in dollars.



For myself, apart from seeing the great Palaces, churches etc. I was very interested in seeing the old cruiser 'Aurora'.



I was one of those who enjoyed the talks on maritime history given by Chris in the library.


























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Photo Journal: Paul in St. Petersburg

A big thank you to Star Clippers’ guest Paul for sharing fantastic photos from his northern European tour on Star Flyer.






There is a mystique about St.Petersburg. As the Flyer made its way through the docklands, we wondered would SPB measure up to our expectations. It did, but we nearly did not. It was two very full days with the ' White nights in St Petersburg' excursion on the first evening so we were exhausted at the end but contented, satisfied and filled to mental capacity with all that this marvelous city has to offer.







































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Video: A Star Clippers Slideshow

Whether you've sailed with us before or you're thinking about taking a Star Clippers cruise, it's always fun to see photos from the experience. Here's a slideshow we put together so you can see all aspects of sailing with Star Clippers.



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Photo Journal: Tallinn, Estonia

A big thank you to Star Clippers’ guest Paul for sharing fantastic photos from his northern European tour on Star Flyer. Here are some photos from Tallinn, Estonia. Tallinn is the capital, and largest city, in Estonia. In recent years it has become a major cultural center in Europe.















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Photo Journal: Visby, Sweden and at Sea

A big thank you to Star Clippers’ guest Paul for sharing fantastic photos from his northern European tour on Star Flyer. In this chapter Paul shares photos from Visby, Sweden. Visby has a colorful history and is one of the best preserved medieval trading centers of northern Europe. Afterward it's off to sea as Star Flyer sails to its next destination





The local Tourist people met the Star Flyer passengers on the quay and handed each a map of Visby.



It was worth spending a few moments to study. A little bit of pre-cruise study of the attractions in Visby yields dividends. In a way, Visby prepares for Tallinn, both being old cities with historic buildings. The local beer is nice too.



Mary and I felt it was the kind of place we would like to live in.
















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Photo Journal: Star Clipper at Stockholm

A big thank you to Star Clippers' guest Paul for sharing fantastic photos from his northern European tour on Star Flyer. These pictures are from Sweden as his journey begins. Stay tuned, as there are more to come from northern Europe and Russia!



Our Holiday began on the evening of the 5th July when we arrived in Stockholm allowing us time to see some of Gamla Stan, visit the Vasa Museum and the Skansen open air park before embarking on the Star Flyer on Saturday afternoon.

















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