Most Romantic Honeymoon Ideas 2017

The honeymoon is one of the most exciting parts of a wedding. After months of planning and celebrating, you finally get to spend some alone time relaxing as newlyweds. Depending on the personality of the couple, honeymoons can come in all shapes and sizes. Some couples dream of a classic beach vacation surrounded by white sands and blue waters, while others fantasize of getting cozy in a quaint cabin in a ski town. We have compiled a list of honeymoon (or “mini-moon”) ideas that will appeal to any newlywed couple!

Here is our list of the most romantic activities for your honeymoon destination.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

The city of Buenos Aires is full of romance and has a special atmosphere perfect for a honeymoon trip. This city is so romantic and beautiful that it is often called “Paris of South America.”

Being one of the most popular honeymoon destinations, Buenos Aires is famous for its incredible gastronomy, especially delicious wine and amazing meat. Honeymooners love spending their time in this city because of the beautiful nature mixing with scenes of urban oasis, the city’s rich history, warm and pleasant climate, and incredibly romantic cafes and restaurants. Buenos Aires is a mix of delicacy and sensitivity with Latin passion for which Argentina is so famous.

Activities: Grab a drink at Gran Bar Danzon, an extremely popular city lounge. Taste one of the best steaks ever at La Cabrera or El Mirasol, two of the city’s best steakhouses. Enjoy the tango shows at Rojo Tango Cafe de los Angelitos as well as at Gala Tango. Art aficionados will find a visit to the Museo de Bellas Artes incredibly educational. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy the works of art in the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA).

When To Go: March-May and September-November.

Curacao

Curacao has beautiful landscapes, a variety of entertainment, and a wide range of honeymoon activities – making this destination ideal for newly married couples. Here you can experience exhilarating hiking, biking, and ATV tours.

Curacao is an island in the Caribbean, which means that it is a perfect paradise destination for those couples who want to have a bright summer honeymoon. Some of the most beloved tourist activities here are diving and snorkeling since the colorful underwater world is one of the most beautiful on the planet. Relax on beaches both intimate and secluded. Explore the Hato Caves with drawings at least 1,500 years old.

Activities: Try delicious meals at Bistro Le Clochard in the Rif Fort, where you can taste veal goulash and cheese fondue, and choose from a large selection of wines. Plunge into the extreme atmosphere of movie-on-the-beach nights. Hike the trails of the 4,446-acre Christoffel National Park, exploring the rich wildlife and flourishing gardens. Feel the vibe of historic old mansions. Diving enthusiasts will surely enjoy the Mushroom Forest, an underwater jungle of 10-foot, mushroom-shaped star coral. For those who enjoy shopping, we would suggest a visit to the capital city, Willemstad – a charming port of high-end retailers, restaurants, and nightlife spots. It is one of the Caribbean’s few UNESCO World Heritage cities.

When To Go: May-November, during the off-peak season.

Bora Bora

This small and unbelievably splendid island is a perfect spot for honeymoon couples. It has amazing crystal clear waters and unforgettable sunsets. It has a peaceful and chill lifestyle ideal for those who dream about a quiet honeymoon. According to specialists, its position is not expected to recede in 2017 – the past few years it has been one of the top honeymoon destinations. Bora Bora is unbelievable with flowering hibiscus and coconut plantations all around its territory.

Activities: Try the most famous local dishes at Bora Bora Yacht Club restaurant, which has excellent food at great prices. Its cuisine focuses on Polynesian and French dishes. The St Regis Lagoon offers unforgettable atmosphere and world class dining.

Visit the inhabited island, Maupiti, which has a number of archaeological sites. Plan a trip to Tupitipiti Point; famous for tropical marine attractions and purple coral, it is a perfect spot for amateur divers. If your wedding is in July, enjoy the traditional festival of Heiva – French Polynesia’s premier event which is held in Vaitape on a big stage close to the quay.

Cultural Events in Toronto, Canada

If you are looking for fun things to do in Toronto, Canada with Toronto Escapes, we have got you covered! From museums to theater and art, Toronto has a vibrant cultural scene that everyone will enjoy. Check out our compilation of some of the best cultural happenings taking place in Toronto this April!

Museums
The Ontario Science Centre- Perfect for inquisitive minds, the Ontario Science Center provides hundreds of interactive and educational exhibits for all ages. Some of the highlights currently on display include the AstraZeneca Human Edge, as well as fun science demonstrations occurring on a daily basis.
The Royal Ontario Museum- For the art and natural history lovers, make sure to pay a visit to the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada’s leading international museum. Some of the current exhibits taking place in April include: Toronto Underfoot, Maps, Borders & Mobility in Africa, and Collecting Asia: The First 50 Years, 1908-1958.

Art & Gallery Exhibits
Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now’s the Time- Come to see this art exhibit featuring the famous New York artist’s work, is on display through the month of April until May 10th, 2015. View the first major retrospective of Basquiat’s work to be presented in Canada at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Art & Fashion Week- From April 21st to the 25th, Fashion Art Toronto presents Fashion Week! Every year, this fashion event brings together 200 national and international designers, visual artists, and performers to showcase their work. Catch a runway show or exhibit to learn about new and emerging creative talent in and around the Toronto area.

Theater & Music
Once- The Tony-Award winning, hit musical has come to Toronto and stars an all-Canadian ensemble! Synopsis: A down on his luck Irish singer-songwriter meets a Girl that changes his life. Playing from April until May 31st in the Ed Mirvish Theater.
Odysseo by Cavalia- If you like the circus and Cirque du Soleil, Odysseo is perfect for you. Enjoy a performance that includes acrobatics, horses and special effects, playing under a 38-meter Big White Top. Playing from April 8th to April 26th at Port Lands. Don’t miss this unique experience.

Film
HotDocs Canadian International Documentary Festival- A must for film buffs. Watch the boldest documentary films at North America’s largest documentary festival. Choose from over 180 Canadian documentaries to screen at this festival. The festival runs from April 23rd to May 3rd 2015.

Food
The Culinary Adventure Tours- For the foodies visiting Toronto, enjoy culinary tours, classes, and adventures around the city with Culinary Adventure Tours. Explore Toronto’s cosmopolitan gastronomic offerings with tours that will take you through Toronto’s Greektown, Little Italy, Little India, as well as the trendiest brunch places in Toronto, and more!

Children
TIFF Bell Lightbox- Kids will love this interactive exhibit at TIFF, where they will be able to engage in the latest cutting-edge technologies, play educational games, and participate in hands-on activities. This event is running from March 7th until April 19th.

We hope you enjoyed our picks of things to do in Toronto Canada this month!

I am so glad that I took that first walk with my new Snowshoes

Winter was never my favorite time of year. All I could ever think about was how cold I was, until my husband bought me a pair of snowshoes. I must admit I was not sure this was the sport for me. I have never been an outside person in any weather that was colder than short and t-shirt weather. My sweetie said let’s just give it a try and see how you like it. We started out slow going to the Hiawatha Trail. We strapped on our shoes and off we went. I was amazed at much fun it was. Not only did I get to spend some time with my husband, but we were getting healthier at the same time.

I must admit that I am actually starting to enjoy winter. I know it sounds odd to hear that from someone like me, but it is true. I cannot tell you what it has done for toning my arms and legs. My whole persona is starting to change. I guess what they say is true that muscle keeps you warmer, because I no longer shiver like dog pooping razor blades.

It took me a bit to hit those trails the first time, but since then I have been hooked. At first we would go on the weekends. We started out walking for 20 minutes or so. The times got longer and the laughs got louder. We spend the time rekindling our love for life on the open trails. Now we take hikes during the evenings. I look forward to coming home and grabbing my shoes and communing with nature.

Now it does not matter what life has to throw at me. I take so many more things in stride. I feel so much more relaxed. My energy level has increased and I feel great. We even got our two girls involved. Can you believe they actually enjoy spending time with the old folks! It is so nice to tell our friends that we are going snowshoeing with our kids. They think we are the hip parents now. I tell them to get some snowshoes for themselves and they can see what a difference it will make in your life.

We started to get together and have snowshoeing groups. We all meet at the trail on Saturday mornings. We spend the day laughing, sharing and building bonds that create memories that will last a lifetime. I actually think this is not only one of the best things we could have done for our family, but also one of the best things we could have done for our circle of friends. We kid each other on “how far we have come”. There is a lot of truth to that. We have made leaps and bounds not only in our friendships but also in our physical and emotional health.

I always thought of snowshoeing as something the super athletic do. I have noticed that all types of people love this sport from the young to the spunky adults. I am so glad that I took that first walk with my new Snowshoes.

PCT Training Hike on the Big Piney Trail, Paddy Creek Wilderness, Missouri

I set out for my first overnight training hike that I have been on since I was on the PCT in May, 2016. Starting at the Roby Lake, Missouri area, I made my way down an unfamiliar trail, with an intentionally overloaded pack. Two tents, two sleeping bags, and just about every piece of gear and trail clothing I own. I didn’t bother to weigh the pack, but it was the heaviest I have ever carried. Some distance into the trail I found a trail register – I stopped to register and was curious to see if I might come across any kindred souls. Nope, not a soul on the trail register for the past 12 days, I would very likely be totally alone. The trail meandered uphill and down, by ponds, and eventually to a nice creek with a small waterfall. Along the way I came to a pine grove atop a ridge and what a mess that was – we recently had freezing rain here in Missouri and it looks like it took out several dozen along the trail – they literally look like they just exploded – with the trail being impassable for about ¼ mile – resulting in some bushwhacking and hopefully me not getting lost. Unlike the PCT where I have Halfmile, Guthooks, and other apps that can tell you that you are 400’ west of the trail, and which direction you need to go to get back on trail, here you just need to pay more attention.

When finally done tramping around the blow downs I continued down the trail, and back up on top of another ridge and into some pines. I set up camp about 4:30 PM which would usually be early, but it was dark, cloudy and wet – I wanted to find a decent campsite and took the 2nd one that I thought looked nice. As I set up camp I found I was just above a nice running creek, which made for a nice setting. There was no rain in the forecast but heavy fog came in, which collected on the trees and might as well have been rain. Of course I packed everything, except my rain fly it turned out. Yes I had another tent, but that is my PCT tent and I am not going to chance damaging it before I even get there. I decide it’s not too bad, occasional drips would splatter through the netting but all would be well – and I did have my bivy sack so I put my sleeping bag in there, inside the tent, and made sure most things were covered. There were signs of bear throughout, and I could not locate my paracord rope for hanging my food, so I put the food in my pack, put the pack a ways up a tree, and strapped it on to hope for the best. I had a time getting a campfire going, with everything being wet, but eventually enjoyed a nice campfire until bed time. Unlike being on the PCT where you never really feel alone because there are so many other hikers out there, I knew I was truly alone out here, there were no other footprints in the mud – see the pictures of the trail/river – and this was a bit unusual, really feeling alone and way out there. I enjoyed that. It was one of those nights when every noise piques your curiosity, and every drop falling from the trees landing in leaves sounds like a footstep of some kind – I did hear some animal grunt, possibly a ferel hog, bear, or deer even – couldn’t really tell. Nothing bothered my pack, and all was well in the morning – but much of my gear was wet. I set off back down to the trail head, surprised at how little muscle or back pain I was in considering the workout provided by the trail and the heavy weight I was carrying. I would feel it a bit later however, but that’s a good thing, that’s why I am training – trying to get some sense of trail legs before I hit the PCT exactly 60 days from now! I received my permission to enter Canada, I have my plane tickets, and in 3 more days I will apply for and get my PCT permit for March 21, 2017 – time is flying by…

5 Holiday Destinations for Single Men

For most unattached men, the word “single” brings a dual, or should that be duel, feeling. Being single is synonymous with freedom, but on the flip-side, very few men look forward to a lifetime spent alone. Thankfully, there are many destinations for a single vacation where a guy can tackle this conundrum on his own terms, in due time, but always after a hot experience in paradise. Here are five places that are custom-made for a singles holiday.

Medellin, Colombia:

Made for: Adventure-seekers, and romantics The draw: Endless jungles, and seduction as a culture

The terrain surrounding this ancient city is one of the most diverse in Colombia and a great vacation for singles. It has tall mountain peaks, jungle highlands and lowlands, deep gorges and canyons, and amazingly hypnotic farming areas. Every type of terrain offers the opportunity for extreme guided excursions. Places like the Abbura Valley are unmatched in the world for seasonal color. Temesis offers endurance hikes and waterfall rappelling only minutes from the city. Of course, there are thousands of private places like Los Katios National Park, where the jungle meets a crystal clear pool, perhaps with a cave or hot spring. This is the ideal spot for a single guy to entertain a lovely local girl, or fellow traveler in a dream-like setting.

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Made for: Fit men who can dance and who crave noise The draw: 24 hour socializing and parties

Party Mecca for single men is Carnival, and Rio is its home base. Almost all year long, people in this city throw back the curtains for tourists. This is especially true for single guys who are extremely comfortable with leaving their self-loathing behind the moment the step off the plane. Festa (Portuguese for feast/celebration), is ingrained in Brazilian culture. In the ancient world, all roads led to Rome. In Rio, all roads lead to the beach, or a world class nightclub. There are the classics like Ipanema and the Copacabana, but other venues are becoming popular, especially if you have a favorite beach activity. Praia Vermelha is a surf hub, and Praia da Barra da Tijuca is famous for motor sports and parasailing. After working on the tan,go for dancing, drinks, and booty-watching at clubs like Leviano with its massive mosh pit, and Casa Rosa for laser-lit, edgy interaction. Rio might well be the perfect place for singles to holiday.

Bangkok, Thailand

Made for: Urban-oriented, tryst addicts The draw: Food, adult entertainment, and more food

Men from all over the world find Bangkok to be a fascinating study in opposites. There’s no argument that adult entertainment in all forms is a major draw, but local laws and customs must be respected at all times. It’s absolutely possible to find any type of entertainment that you want, but it must be enjoyed on the culture’s terms. Bangkok is like a single traveller’s fantasy theme park, but definitely…ahem, lives up to its name. The people of Bangkok are exotic creatures in familiar westernized, U.S. and Euro-style packages. They are very accommodating to the expectations of single male tourists, and have the inviting currency exchange rate to boot. Restaurants like Xing Fu satisfy a guy’s stomach. Fitness and outdoor gyms help a guy retain his muscle tone while away from home. Elephant riding in the Khoa Yi National Park provides opportunities for selfies to make friends jealous. Adult clubs, lounges and hotel concierge like will certainly where out a single guy’s eyes (if not his entire body). As a single guy wrestles with the notion of settling-down in life, he can get the “wildness” out in this huge bachelor party of a destination.

Ibiza, Spain

Made for: History-lovers, mermen The draw: Genuine locals, The Mediterranean

Ibiza is an island getaway steeped in old world culture including religion, sport, and cuisine. The deepest blue imaginable comes from an interface with the Mediterranean Sea, and the deepest brown is found in the eyes, hair and skin of some of Europe’s most alluring women making it the dream holiday for singles. A network of inviting villages each have town centers emerging from a catholic chapel like the Capilla de la Virgen de Lourdes, or a school or monastery. As far as social activities, anything having to do with playing on the sand or in the water is available. This area is very family friendly, so singles fun remains extremely intimate and low key. Single men should try offering a lonely local girl a glass of wine followed by a conversation on art, and a paddle board session afterward.

Cancun, Mexico

Made for: Penny-pinchers, beach bums The draw: Oceanside recreation, tequila, tans

This resort city is obviously popular with the college Spring Break crowd for reasons that also appeal to any single man. Every dinner plate, public transport, cabana, fishing charter, beach chair rental, and bottle of Jose Cuervo is affordable. This means single guys in every stage of life can find a way to have fun. Spend a few days hiking in the Yucatan inland camping near the Chichen Itza Pyramid, then join a beach rave with some new Mexican friends for the rest of the trip.

Key things to consider when choosing a venue for hire

Every day, there are multiple events that happen in various places of the world. Most of these events are very official and therefore, the organizers must look for appropriate venues. It is always not easy to select the best venue. You will come across hundreds of them and from these multiple options, you will be required to select only one. To avoid stress therefore, there are a few things you can consider.

The cost of hire:

Before you do anything else, you have to look at the cost of hiring the venue. The decision on whether you pay for it or not depends on the amount of money you have put aside on the budget for hiring the venue. Moreover, you may want to allow more room for other things such as foods and drinks and this therefore means that, you avert from the venues that are more expensive. However, negotiating with the venue owner is allowed if you want to pay less amount for the same. Since there are venues for hire in Auckland at different costs, you must be certain about the one you need.

The location:

Unless you want a long distance travel, it is always appropriate to choose a venue that is closer to you. This is important because people can save on the transport costs and spend the rest of the money on important things. However, there may be cases where those attending the event may want to travel over long distances. In this case, you can opt for a venue far from you in order to impress them. If the attendees are fewer in number, you will then be required to choose a room in a hotel but with an ample space.

The ambiance:

You do not just choose a venue blindly or simply because someone else chose it a few days ago. You must be sure of want you really need if you want to be happy with your event. For instance, you can look at the way the room has been designed, the color of the walls and the general décor to see whether it satisfies your tastes and preferences or not. Different events always require different venues. If you choose a wrong venue therefore, the attendees may not be satisfied with you. Function venues in Auckland are multiple and therefore, you need to plan first with the experts before you can make any decision.

Services and amenities:

People are highly predisposed to things such as diseases and therefore, you have to provide means through which they can get aid should any uncertainty occur. In this case therefore, a presence of a hospital in the vicinity may be among your top choices. Other important things that are required include the kitchen for cooking the meals for attendees, presence of cleans chairs and tables to provide ample space and comfort while in the room among other things. If all these are available, nothing should hinder you back from choosing the room.

Annapurna Base Camp Trek

Annapurna base camp is recognized as one of the world’s best trekking destination, it is a stunning trek in the heart of the Annapurna range. The trail goes lush rhododendron forests, and high altitude landscapes, with the Annapurna Range passing through the high hills and ethnic villages of Gurung and Managi inhabitants. The trek begins from Pokhara, popularly known as the ‘Lake City’ and passes through cascading waterfalls, beautiful villages, terraced farmlands, paddy fields, lush rhododendron forests, and amazing mountain vistas before reaching Annapurna region.

During the trip, you will have astounding views of dozens of majestic mountains namely Mt. Annapurna I (8,091 m) the world’s tenth highest mountains, including varied adjoining mountains such as Mt. Annapurna II (7,937 m), Mt. Annapurna III (7,555 m), Mt. Annapurna IV (7,525 m), Mt. Annapurna South (7,219 m), Mt. Gangapurna (7,455 m), Himchuli (6,441 m), Mt. Dhaulagiri I (8,163 m), Mt. Dhaulagiri II, (7,751 m), Nilgiri (6,940 m), Mt. Fishtail known as Machhapuchre (6,993 m), Lamjung Himal (6, 931 m) and so forth. You enjoy having panoramic views of range of mountains stretching from Mt. Annapurna all the way that a naked eyes can catch. This perhaps will be your lifetime experience. The best seasons to have Annapurna base camp are March to May and September to December.

You start from Kathmandu, reach Pokhara either on a bus or flight and then start your your Annapurna Base Camp Trek from Nayapul, outside Pokhara. During the trek, you will come across endless views of beautiful sceneries – and you might wish to call yourself ‘bathed in beauty’ at the end of the trek. First you will arrive to Ghorepani by climbing stone staircases and by walking through calming rhododendron forests. After spending the night here, you will take a 45-min side-trek to Poon Hill on the following morning. Poon Hill is the place where people flock from all over the world to capture breathtaking sunrise on the Annapurna range.

Further on your trek, you will go through places like Tadapani, Chhomrong (gateway to the Annapurna Sanctuary) and Machhapuchhure Base Camp finally reaching the Annapurna Base Camp at a little above 4100 meters. During your journey back you will spend two more nights and follow along the banks of Modi River until you arrive at the outskirts of Pokhara. After a relaxing night in Pokhara, your road turns east to Kathmandu.

Musky Rodent Happenings

Early one December morning while sipping my first coffee, I spotted a small dark shape struggling on our newly nearly frozen lake. After further observations, I discovered it was a muskrat attempting to make his way from the little island in front of my cove to the nearby shore. Every few steps the poor little fellow would sink through the ice and cling to the edge, struggling to make his way back up and out. Once back on his feet, off he would quickly scamper with long tail pointing to the heavens, until again back into the water he would go. This hurry up and sink dance repeated itself countless times until the determined little guy safely made it to shore. Most impressive! So much so, that it inspired me to learn more about our local muskrats, here on Lake Chaubunagungamaug in Webster, Massachusetts.

The muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) gets its common name from a resemblance to stocky, medium sized rodents, along with their musky odor from scent glands used to mark their territory. Muskrats weigh between 2 to 4 pounds and are typically 18 to 25 inches long with a flat, sparsely haired (scaled) tail that measures between 8 to 11 inches. They are covered with a short, thick brown fur that is doubled layered to help protect them from cold water.

Most of the time the muskrat can be found in the water, swimming underneath up to 17 minutes at a time. They can close off their ears keeping water out, have semi webbed hind feet and a strong tail that propels. When walking on land their tail drags behind them, making it easy to spot their distinctive tracks, especially in the snow.

Muskrats are semi-aquatic, most active at night or near dawn and dusk, with an adaptable lifestyle native to North America. They are most commonly found in wetlands over a wide range of climates and habitats. Specifically, they make their homes throughout still or slow moving waters that include freshwater marshes, beaver ponds, reservoirs, canals and borders of lakes and rivers. The muskrat’s den includes a short tunnel that leads upward from below the water to dry soil. Sometimes there are complex chambers with multiple entrances and even air ducts. They also build lodges in open water around 2 to 4 feet deep, up high enough to keep the den dry.

Food sources for the muskrat include a variety of plants, cattails, bulrush, arrowhead, water lilies, pond weed, clover, ferns and other crops if they are within their territory. When plant varieties are scarce they will also dine on shellfish, snails, fish, salamanders, and frogs. Normally they feed within 150 feet of their primary dwelling when food is abundant, although they will travel much further if necessary. My lake (and yard) offer most of these, making it a perfect location for the muskrat to live and thrive.

Most muskrats make a valuable contribution to aquatic communities. By harvesting plants for not only food, but their dens, they create open water space for ducks, geese, birds and other native wildlife. Other animals and reptiles will periodically share the muskrat’s den or lodge to rest and even nest. Having said that, many of our lake neighbors consider the muskrat a pest, as they have been caught chewing through plastic floating docks, rafts, moorings and even boat ties. They can also damage dams and dikes when over burrowing or eating early sprouting crops, such as my tender young sunflowers near our beach. Muskrats are not climbers, so if we want to protect our beautiful waterfront garden we will need a fence staked at least a foot below ground, as they are determined diggers. One more project for spring!

Fall to Winter – Water to Ice

There is no doubt fall has left and winter has arrived. Our deciduous trees have shed their leaves. Early morning frost and warm days have turned to frozen ground and bone chilling winds. Activity on our lake is represented by a few ducks splashing in the slightly warmer creek fed waters. As the days pass, a thin coating of ice will begin to form around the shoreline and eventually across the various coves. Soon the lake will be covered with winter ice increasing in thickness by each passing day. As the ice thickens, so does the excitement level of our ice fisherman! Yes, it is time to put those augers, tip-ups, spears and light fishing gear back to work.

We are anxious to get out on the ice. Is it thick enough? Ice fishing is one of the most dangerous methods of fishing. Caution must be taken, especially when we are so eager to get started. There have been many accidents on our lake. Unfortunate stories have been told of hummers, trucks, cars, snowmobiles, animals and of course people breaking through the ice. A sure way to start the season off on the wrong foot. Some fisherman risk walking on ice at two and a half inches, when experts recommend a minimum of four inches. Ice thickness varies, especially in lakes with greatly varying depths. Our lake can drop twenty feet in a lateral distance of eight feet. This means the ice thickness will vary greatly early in the season. Six inches is recommended for sleds and snow mobiles. Ten inches for smaller vehicles and at least 16 solid inches for full sized trucks. In our seven years on the lake, the ice thickness was over 10 inches only once.

There are other risks to be aware of when out on the ice. Frostbite can occur from prolonged exposure to wind and the low temperatures. Proper winter clothing is essential. These days there are great huts, tents and shelters that can be quickly erected for escape from the harsh temperatures and biting winds. Some ice fishermen have more permanent shelters, usually on wheels, that can be towed onto the ice. These shelters often have bathrooms, stoves, beds and even satellite television. If you have a shelter with heat, proper ventilation is critical. Some fishermen lost their lives on the ice due to carbon monoxide poisoning. The greatest risk and most deaths have occurred from hypothermia. This is when the body temperature falls too low. It is important to educate yourself on hypothermia and all the other potential risks prior to heading out onto the ice. The goal is to have fun and be safe!

Time to fish. There are many different approaches to ice fishing. All approaches have some factors in common. Fish do not expend much energy under the ice. No need to have your bait do so either. In fact, too much motion will actually deter the fish. Depth is critical. Do a little research prior to heading out on the ice. The species of fish determines the depth of the fish. For example, crappie and bass will be found at different depths. This is one time a bobber is important. Use a slip bobber to set the proper depth. The bobber will also serve as a good visual for when there is action below. Fishing for bluegills and perch? Send the bait to the bottom. Some bouncing action will entice them to your bait. Chum is a good way to attract some attention too. This activity created by other fish feeding can draw lower energy fish to the site. In shallow waters, it is a good idea to cover your hole. Light penetrating thru the hole can scare fish away from your bait. There you have it – the rest is up to you. Have fun and catch some fish!

Eagle Islands

It was a clear, warm summer afternoon on Lake Chaubunagungamaug in Webster, Massachusetts. We were anchored in a quiet cove, playing a lively game of cribbage when I spotted a pair of eagles soaring high above us. It was as if they were playing a game of tag. Then suddenly one of the eagles headed straight down into the water and came back up with a big fish in its beak. He flew to a tall bushy pine tree nearby to enjoy his fresh catch.

These are the special lake moments that many of us have come to look forward to in summer. Each spring at least one pair of bald eagles return to nest here, on one of the lake’s many small islands. Webster Lake, the other more “speaker friendly” name, is located near the corners of Connecticut and Rhode Island and has a surface area of 1,442 acres. The lake’s original name comes from Nipmuc, an Algonquian language and is frequently said to mean “You fish on your side, I fish on my side and no one fish in the middle.”. Another translation according to anthropologist Ives Goddard, is “lake divided by islands”. Given the size of Webster Lake, locals refer to its’ three connected bodies of water as North, Middle and South ponds.

Webster Lake also goes by an even longer, 45-letter alternative name, “Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg” that was thought to be coined around 1921. It is frequently cited as the longest place name in the United States and one of the longest in the world! Many of our long-time resident neighbors are proud to roll the exaggerated name off of their tongues with ease and finesse. I am still working on it.

Today there are an estimated 7,066 nesting pairs of bald eagles, according to US wildlife experts. An eagle can live up to 30 years in the wild, with many decades to produce offspring. Their nests or aerie, are found high in large, strong trees near rivers, coasts or on lakes. The nest shape can be cylindrical, disk, bowl or inverted cone depending on which branch point it’s built. Typically, the nest is about five feet in diameter. A nesting pair often return to use the same nest year after year. When doing so, they tend to reinforce the nest structure, as strong winds or storms often take a toll. As you can imagine, over time the nest can get as large as nine feet in diameter, weighing nearly two tons! Eagles have also been known to build a second nest nearby if they feel threatened. On Webster Lake our pair have a massive nest on a single residence island in South Pond and another smaller (newer) nest on an island in Middle Pond.

Eagles lay one to three speckled, off-white colored eggs about goose egg size, one day at a time. In our New England area egg laying starts in late March. Then it takes 35 days of incubation duties shared by both parents. The female spends the most time on the nest, not only keeping the eggs warm, but to protect from intruders such as squirrels, ravens and gulls who will eat the eggs. Interestingly, the male habitually brings green sprigs of fresh conifer branches to the nest during the incubation period. To date experts have not determined why, other than to possibly deodorize the nest or provide shade for the eaglets. The cycle from the time parents build the nest to when the young are on their own is about 20 weeks. The parents remain within one to two miles of their nest during this cycle.

Human disturbance can have a negative impact on the bald eagle, as most require privacy and quiet to breed and raise their young. The Webster Lake Association (WLA) has a home webcam on the nest of our local pair. From the comfort of his home, a WLA member watches and regularly reports the eagles’ many activities in a newsletter. Those of us out on the water in our boats and kayaks enjoy spotting the eagles and letting the WLA know of their whereabouts. We even have a fun contest each spring to name the new eaglet(s), with Independence, George and Martha and Liberty being a few of the most recent winners. Last spring one of our eaglets was injured during the banding process. The year before one of the young fell out of the nest and had to be rescued. Both eaglets survived, however last summer our nesting adult pair left their large, original nest and were repeatedly spotted in Middle Pond by their smaller nest, likely a result of these traumatic experiences. It is predicted they will relocate there to safely raise their young next spring. We shall see.