Scuba Diving in Isla De Juventud

Cuba has a rich history of pirates. This island was previously known as the Isla de los Piratas (Isle of Pirates) or Isla del Tesoro (Isle of Treasure) and has a very colourful history. It was discovered by Christopher Colombus on his second sailing of the new world, but was disregarded due to its rocky coast. Which is porbably why the pirates liked it so much! The likes of Francis Drake, Henry Morgan, John Hawkins and John Rackham amongst others ran their prosperous businesses from there till the middle of the 19th century. This is also the island that inspired the book Treasure Island by Robert Luis Stevenson.

Wou would have thought that for such a small island, a place could have so much history! But you will often find this with places in Cuba…

There’s not much else to do on Isla de la Juventud other than diving and snorkelling. The island is home to the Punta Frances Marine National Park, which is a paradise of caves, walls, canyons, wrecks, healthy corals and loads of fish.

Those who love wall diving will be impressed with the drop offs here. The walls are filled with tunnels and passageways to explore and the reef is covered in sponges and different corals. Sea life includes turtles, rays, sometimes a nurse shark, and fish such as barracuda, grunts, snapper, spadefish, triggers and macro stuff like small crabs and shrimp.

With over 50 dive sites around the island there is a lot to see!

Places like Pared de Coral Negro with loads of black coral at 30 metres and magnificent corals along the walls. Or the amazing Cueva Azul with its interesting shades of blue at the hole around 40 metres and Los Indios is a rocky wall with sandy plateau with huge schools of fish and rays chilling on the sand. But wait there is more…

The wrecks of the Jibacoa and Sparta lie in shallow water and great for any level of diver to enjoy. They used to be used for military target practice but now divers can enjoy the ships. It is possible to enter the wrecks but excellent buoyancy is necessary so you don’t damage the delicate life growing on them.Diving at Isla de Juventud

And since you’d be parched after all that diving, you can enjoy amazing sunsets and mojitos on land after the day discovering the sea life!

Flathead Lake, in Montana

What’s the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River? At 28 miles (45 km) in length, 15 miles (24 km) in width, 370 feet (113 meters) at its deepest and 124 miles (200 km) of shoreline the answer is Flathead Lake, in northwestern Montana. In all, it’s nearly 200 square miles (518 square kilometers) provide plenty of space for the boater, sailor, swimmer, camper and angler to partake of their favorite water-borne recreation. And for other recreationists, such as hikers and mountain bikers, campgrounds, picnic areas and trails scattered along the shoreline offer views of the lake and the surrounding mountain peaks.

Flathead Lake, at slightly less than 3,000-feet (914 meters) elevation, occupies a basin that was scoured out by a huge glacier about 12,000 years ago. The Flathead and Swan Rivers at the northern end are the major streams that replenish the lake, while the Flathead River drains out of the lake’s southwestern end at the town of Polson.

To reach Polson from the south, you’ll drive through the Flathead Indian Reservation occupied by the Salish (Flathead) and Kootenai tribes. The lake is named for the Flathead Indians, who got their name from the flattened foreheads they would get from their baby-carrying cradles. The southern half of the lake is within the reservation boundaries. To fish in the southern part of the lake, you’ll need a reservation fishing permit, which is available from the reservation or from sporting goods stores around the lake.

Polson sits on the shore of Polson Bay and has several boat launching facilities, including the public Sacajawea and Riverside parks. Both parks also have picnic tables. Riverside has the added bonus of overnight camping with electrical RV hookups.

For those who would enjoy a narrated tour of the lake, the 41-foot (12.5 meters) Port Polson Princess takes passengers on sight-seeing cruises every day from about June 1 through September 30 starting from KwaTaqNuK Resort in Polson, at 49708 US Hwy 93 E, Polson, MT 59860. The on-board guides are eager to point out notable landmarks along the lakeshore and to share their knowledge of the natural history of the lake. Four tours are scheduled daily, including a three-hour cruise around Wild Horse and Bird islands and three 1-½ hour cruises. It’s best to make reservations ahead of time by calling 800-882-6363.

A place to learn about the human history of the area is the Polson-Flathead Historic Museum, located at 708 Main Street, Polson, MT 59860. Their phone number is (406)883-3049. Here, you are brought in touch with the pioneering era through displays such as a homesteader kitchen, the ranch mess (or chuck) wagon, military artifacts and steamboat memorabilia.

Before the Great Northern Railroad reached the valley in 1892, steamboats did a thriving business ferrying passengers and cargo to points all along the lakeshore. And don’t forget to ogle the “Flathead Monster”, a 181-pound 7-½-foot-long (82 kilograms, 2.3 meters) white sturgeon caught in 1965. The museum, doesn’t charge admission, but they appreciate donations.

South of Polson is the town of Pablo, Montana, where you can make use of the services of Native Ed-Ventures, which provides visitors a personal tour guide to the local native cultures and cultural events, such as pow-wows at the lake. Their address is Box 278, Pablo, MT 59855, phone number is (800)883-5344.

Heading north from Polson, your reach Big Arm Bay and its units of the Flathead Lake State Park – Big Arm, Elmo and, in the mouth of the bay, Wild Horse Island.

This is the largest island in Flathead Lake at 2,134 acres (864 hectares) and, in fact, is one of the largest islands in the inland United States. Privately owned before the state bought it in 1978-79, several private lots and homes remain on the island. Otherwise the state has left the rest of the island as wilderness.

It was named for the horses the Flathead and Pend Oreille Indians kept there as protection from Blackfeet raids. To give the practice a present-day connection, Montana maintains a population of wild horses on the island.

Besides the wild horses, the island is well known for its bighorn sheep, which number around 200. Others of the hooved persuasion include mule and whitetail deer. Among those predatory in nature, bald eagles live and nest on the island and coyotes and mink search the woods, plains and rocky shores for their meals. It is also home to the endangered Palouse prairie plant species.

Wild Horse island is accessible for day-use only by rental or private boat. Wild Horse and its neighbor to the south, Melita Island, form a channel that local anglers call “Mackinaw Alley” because of the lake trout that linger here at the 100-foot (30 meters) and deeper depths. Fishing around the island, however, requires the tribal permit.

The town of Somers, at the northern end of the lake, was a major port for steamboat traffic. One reason for that was the huge lumber mill that operated here in the early 20th century. Somers is still a key place for watercraft since it is home to the largest sailing fleet at this end of the lake, plus it’s the home of the Far West tour boat; (406)857-3203.

The Far West takes as many as 200 passengers on daily 1½-hour cruises looping around the northern end of Flathead Lake. You can also enjoy a sunset cruise on the lake on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. They are located at 7220 U.S. 93 S, Lakeside, MT 59922, phone number is (406)844-2628.

For a side trip from Flathead Lake, head north from Somers for seven miles on Highway 93 and you’ll reach the full service city of Kalispell. Restock your larder here from supermarkets, gas stations, malls, restaurants and other businesses.

After you’ve done that, you can pay homage to the founder of this bustling city by visiting the Conrad Mansion six blocks east of Main at 4th Street. Charles E. Conrad built this 26-room, Norman-style Victorian in 1895, and in 1974 his youngest daughter donated it to the city. Fully furnished with original family belongings, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the most authentic turn-of-the-century home in the Pacific Northwest.

While you’re in Kalispell, you could also pick up recreational information for the 2.3-million acre (930,777 hectares) Flathead National Forest at the main office, 650 Wolfpack Way, Kalispell, MT 59901. You’ll find the office for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and its information on state parks at 490 North Meridian Road, Kalispell, MT 59901, (406)752-5501.

On your way back to Flathead Lake, catch Highway 82 north of Somers and head east toward Bigfork. Watch for the nest platforms of osprey that game officials have established atop telephone poles right next to the road. Osprey eggs hatch around mid-June, and the fledglings are ready to test their wings by late July.

That also happens to be the time to enjoy the Flathead area’s most prized delicacy – the huckleberry. The season for huckleberries can actually last through Labor Day at higher elevations and some people claim that these later berries are the sweetest of all. The National Forest lands around Flathead’s shores provide the best spots for berry picking, but State lands also have berries for picking. Ask at the National Forest and State Park offices in Kalispell for the best places. In abundant years, you might be able to purchase huckleberries at farmer’s markets, some grocery stores in the area and some roadside stands.

The good place to get a taste of huckleberries, in preserved form, is in Bigfork. Take Grand Avenue into town and turn right on Electric Avenue; look for Eva Gates Preserves on the right.

Eva Gates started her huckleberry business in 1949 using her grandmother’s recipe, and they still put up the preserves by the same recipe in the same small batches. They also make huckleberry jelly and syrup. Besides huckleberry’s, Eva Gates also makes preserves from cherries, spiced apple, strawberry, raspberries, black caps (which is a kind of raspberry) and many kinds of syrups.

Just south of Bigfork on the lakeshore, you’ll find Montana’s most popular state park, Wayfarer. with 30 campsites, boat ramp and a beach, the state park is a take-off point for waterborne recreation. At the far end of the picnic area, a rock outcropping dotted with junipers provides a vista point of the lake.

South of Wayfarer on Highway 35, you’ll drive past roadside stands that might sell huckleberries in season. But, about the same time that the wild huckleberries are coming in, so are the bing cherries. The east shore of Flathead Lake has most of the valley’s cherry orchards and most of the fruit stands. Some orchardists also raise raspberries, strawberries, apricots, pears and grapes.

In the middle of this orchard country, you’ll find the oldest biological station in the country. At Yellow Bay, University of Montana researchers study the lake’s freshwater habitat and fish, including lake (up to 30 pounds), cutthroat, Dolly Varden and rainbow trout as well as Kokanee salmon, perch, whitefish and bass. The station is open to visitors. Coincidentally, Flathead Lake’s deepest point, at 370 feet, is at Yellow Bay, which is also the site of the state park with a boat ramp and a beach.

Pune to Mahabaleshwar Monsoon Trip

Places to Visit at Mahabaleshwar
Vienna Dam/Lake
At a distance of 3 km from Mahabaleshwar Bus Stand, Vienna Lake is an artificial lake and is one of the top locations to visit in Mahabaleshwar town.

This lake changed into built-in 1842 with the aid of Sri Appa Saheb Maharaja, who becomes the ruler of Satara. Surrounded with the aid of the usage of lush greenery, Vienna Lake has the area of about 28 acres having the outer edge around 7-8 km and is fed by way of using repeated springs. It may be very popular spot among honeymooners as well as households. Pratap Singh Garden is situated at the banks of Vienna Lake.

Once you go away in the back of the reckless website traffic of Pune, the experience Pune to Mahabaleshwar Cab Booking is awe-inspiring. Tourists can revel in a boat experience in the lake or a horse experience subsequent to the lake. Only Rowboats are to be had for the travelers. Apart from boating and horse driving, fun fair video games like toy educate, merry-pass-round are famous with children. A number of small eateries line the banks of the lake.

PRATAPGAD FORT / PRATAPGARH FORT
At a distance of 20 km from Mahabaleshwar, 140 km from Pune & 221 km from Mumbai, Pratapgad, additionally referred to as Pratapgarh, is a large hill fort positioned in Satara district of Maharashtra. The fort lies at an altitude of 1080 m and is constructed on a spur which overlooks the street most of the villages of Par and Kinesvar. You may additionally additionally select out Pune to Mahabaleshwar Taxi Booking, railway station or airport. It is amongst most scenic places in Mahabaleshwar and one of the high-quality forts near Pune. It is also one of the satisfactory heritage locations to visit close to Mumbai and another popular enchantment now not to miss in a Mahabaleshwar Tour bundle.

Maratha king Shivaji Maharaj had commissioned Moropant Pingle, his prime minister, to begin the development of this fortress for the motive of defending Nira and the Koyna River banks, and the Koyna River banks, and also to shield the Par bypass. The creation of the castle became finished within the 12 months 1656. The fort stands due to the witness of historic Battle of Pratapgarh among Shivaji and Afzal Khan, the commander of the Bijapur Sultanate, on 10th November 1659. In 1818, the Maratha forces needed to give up the Pratapgad Fort after dropping the 0.33 Anglo-Maratha War.

After the Battle of Pratapgad, the Afzal tower was constructed out of doors the citadel as a lookout for enemies. It is said that Afzal Khan’s head is buried underneath the Afzal tower which is also referred to as Afzal Buruj. Afzal Khan’s tomb is located to the northwest of Afzal Buruj.

The castle is split into parts, the decrease fortress, and higher citadel. The upper castle was built upon the crest of the hill. It is more or less square, 180 m lengthy on each aspect. The higher castle comprises several buildings, consisting of a Mahadev Temple. The lower fortress located at the southeast stop of the citadel is defended by using tall towers and strongholds that are 10-12 m high. The lower fortress is around 320 m long and a hundred and ten m wide. It houses Bhavani Temple on the eastern facet. It is believed that Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja was blessed with a shining sword at this temple. A 17 toes tall bronze parent of Shivaji changed into erected and unveiled by using Jawaharlal Nehru, on thirtieth November 1957 to commemorate and pay homage to Shivaji Maharaj.

Today this castle has ended up a famous vacationer spot near Pune to Mahabaleshwar Round Trip as it is nevertheless in the fairly true situation. There is a motorable avenue as much as the doorway of the castle. Visitors have to explore the citadel through walk/trek (around 1 km ). Inside the forts, there are small eateries for food and a relaxation residence available for travelers. The excellent time to visit Pratapgad Fort is from June to October. A trip to Pratapgad Fort may be planted any time of the yr but at some point of monsoons, the splendor of the place is magnified further.

MAHABALESHWAR MANDIR
At a distance of 6 km from Mahabaleshwar Bus Stand, Mahabaleshwar Temple is a historic Hindu temple located inside the Old Mahabaleshwar in Satara district of Maharashtra. It is one of the famous Mahabaleshwar traveler locations.
Mahabaleshwar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the crucial pilgrimage websites for Hindus. The temple was constructed by way of Chandarao More in the 16th century and is a model of the Hemadant architectural fashion of South India. The Mahabaleshwar hills have been named after Lord Mahabali, whose name stands a symbol of power.

The temple is enclosed by a five ft wall and is split into areas, inner room, and outer room. The sanctum sanctorum has Shiva linga manufactured from black stone, which is 500 years antique swayambhu lingam. This self-originated lingam is in the shape of Rudraksha and is referred to as Mahalingam.

The Trishul of Lord Shiva along with his Damru, Rudraksha and one bedroom has been preserved on this temple and these are around three hundred years vintage. Legend has it that the bed was once crumpled inside the morning, indicating Shiva’s presence all through the night on the temple. The temple additionally houses a rectangular formed raised platform. According to the legend, the Maratha ruler, Shivaji weighed his mother Jijabai in gold at this platform and then gave away the gold in charity. Mahabaleshwar temple is another vintage temple positioned next to the Mahabaleshwar Temple.

VAJRA FALLS
At a distance of 6 km from Kas Pathar, 28 km from Satara, 41 km from Mahabaleshwar, 53 km from Panchgani, a hundred and forty-four km from Pune & 299 km from Mumbai, Vajrai Falls is a picturesque waterfall positioned near Kas Flower Valley in Satara district of Maharashtra. This is one the maximum incredible waterfalls in Maharashtra and also one of the top monsoon visitor places near Pune.

Vajrai Falls is a three-tier waterfall cascading down from a peak of around 853 toes (260 m). This is a perennial waterfall but could be very superb all through monsoons. People from unique elements of Maharashtra flock to this fall for the duration of the monsoons to look at the lovely flow of the circulation. The birthplace of Urmodi River is assumed to begin from the Vajrai Waterfalls. There are many small caves close to Vajrai Falls which can be visited alongside the falls.

The waterfall is located near Bhambavali village in Satara district. One can attain the falls by way of using the personal vehicle or Alawadi Bus from Satara Bus Stand. The 500 m lengthy trek course leading to the base of the waterfall is pretty adventurous but volatile in monsoon. This region is inhabited through a huge variety of leeches. Swimming on the waterfall is unlawful because of deep ponds.

Panchgani
At a distance of 18 km from Mahabaleshwar, forty-8 km from Satara, 104 km from Pune and 254 km from Mumbai, Panchgani was additionally known as Panchgani is a famous hill station and a municipal council in Satara district of Maharashtra. It is one of the pinnacle hill hotels near Pune & many of the exceptional locations to go to close to Mumbai. Panchgani is one of the famous Tourist locations in Maharashtra and a number of the must encompass locations to your Maharashtra tour programs.

Situated at an altitude of 1334 m, Panchgani is bordered by using Wai, Bavdhan and Nagewadi dam inside the east, Gureghar in the west, Khingar, and Rajpuri inside the south and Dhom dam in the north. Panchgani is nestled at the center of 5 hills inside the Sahyadri mountain degrees, also there are 5 villages across the Panchgani which might be Dandeghar, Khingar, Godwali, Amral & Taighat. Panchgani is most of the need to include places to your Mahabaleshwar tour programs.

The town changed into located by the British as a summer resort in the 1860s. Mahabaleshwar became the summer season motel of preference for the British, however, it turned into uninhabitable throughout the monsoons. Panchgani becomes developed as a retirement place for the British because it remained high-quality throughout the year. John Chesson, a British superintendent, became accountable for the transformation of Panchgani right into a summer season lodge. It is likewise said that, at some stage in Vanavasa, the Pandavas spent some time in Panchgani and the cave wherein they stayed is the well-known Devil’s Kitchen.

Panchgani has several beautiful traveler sights. Table Land, Parsi Point, Kamalgadh Fort, Devils Kitchen, Rajpuri Caves, Sydney Point, Mapro Gardens, Dhom dam and so forth. Are some of the important sightseeing options in Panchgani. Panchgani is dotted with British style vintage bungalows and Parsi houses. It also appears for plenty of residential academic establishments and a preferred vacation spot for fitness motels.
Pune International Airport is the nearest airport, which is set 111 km from Panchgani and has day by day flights from Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kochi, Delhi, Kolkata, and Goa. Satara is the nearest railhead, which is about 52 km from Panchgani. Panchgani is nicely related by using the bus with Mahabaleshwar, Mumbai, Pune, Satara, Bangalore, Goa, Ahmedabad and Shirdi.