We arrived in Phuket four days early, checked out the vessel and took in the countryside. One day we rode elephants through the jungle and kayaked on swollen rivers. Another day we toured Phuket, visited the great marble Buddha overlooking the harbor and shopped. Our hotel, the Supalai, sat high on a hill above the sea.
Named in 1791 by Spanish explorers, sucia means “dirty” or “foul,” referring to the reefs and hidden rocks surrounding the island. With this in mind, keep your charts current, pay particular attention to the reef on the north shore, keep a close eye on the depth finder and charts, and you should have little problem safely navigating the area.
Volunteering took us to Habitat for Humanity disaster relief sites, to an outward-bound 4-H camp, a West Texas Elderhostel, and more than 40 national and state parks. Our assignments included building homes, shooting cannons, reburying Native American remains, tagging sharks, and guiding night hikes and canoe and kayak trips.
Located on the southern shore of Lake Superior, Grand Marais started as a lumbering and commercial fishing community, but these days the town mainly caters to the tourists who keep it alive.
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