Welcome! (You are not logged in)
 

W S Baekeland's Posts
W S has posted 19 reports and 89 photos.

Existing reports and photos: (Mouseover any camera icon for sample images. Click on any camera icon for all images)
 


Alderney Visit: 2015-8
2016-02-28 - Having already spent many summers exploring the whole region, it is a pleasure to go to a place like Alderney and see new things and relax. My last visit was flying in from Guernsey with Aurigny Air Services. The nicest hotel to be based in for a few days is Braye Beach Hotel, a short walk from the train station which has a few daily services to the northeast point of the island. In the harbour it\'s possible to rent a boat to visit outlying skerrys of Alderney. The island is very quiet, very peaceful and very relaxed.


Angola (other) Visit: 2016-3
2016-03-21 - While travelling by passenger ship from Cape Town to Sao Tome I made visits to Lobito and Benguela in Southern Angola (travelling between the two towns by historic train), and Luanda in the north. Benguela was a very pleasant sleepy town, and by contrast Luanda was big and chaotic, but with some charm to be a found. The highlight of Angola is sailing through the large offshore oil fields during the night. It was not necessary to have a visa in advance of travel, it could not have been easier.


Ascension Island Visit: 2015-4
2016-02-28 - The landing pier in Georgetown is very difficult for passengers arriving by sea, the swell is generally very high. Georgetown itself is a very small and very barren ~company town~ with almost nothing of great interest. It is, however, a pleasant place to spend a lazy afternoon. There are no taxis or private car services on the island. I was able to find a local worker to offer a driving tour around the island, including the RAF air base, several high points, the Two Boats Club, golf course, and BBC Atlantic Relay Earth Station. The majority of the landscapes are lunar-like. I went ashore again during the hours of darkness to visit the hatching turtles on a beach near Georgetown. Overall the island is quiet and most pleasant to wander around.


Aves Island Visit: 2016-4
2016-04-22 - The first time I visited Isla de Aves (Aves Island) was in March 2015. It has a special geographic location in the middle of the Caribbean sea and is a completely unique island in the region. There is a certain intriguing beauty to it, with the wild seas around it (it is not well protected, so never too calm it seems), the abundance of birds (lots of nesting brown noddies) and the truly bizarre naval base (Simon Bolivar) structure. To collect a pebble, which I lost from last year, I chartered a yacht to reach Aves Island again, this time from Montserrat - roughly 18 hours crossing by sail. My experience second time around was far nice than the already good initial experience. The naval commander of the base came out to the yacht with three junior officers to take me ashore. They granted official permission to visit the base, and explained never before was this given to foreigners, only Venezuelan groups. It seemed to be wells stocked and was comfortable for the 14 men there, on 60 day rotations. I had a full tour. Two junior ranked men were then assigned to do a full guide around the island. All in all, I spent perhaps just a bit over two hours on this lovely small island. As gifts, the soldiers made a gift of 'Libro Rojo' the Venezuelan 'little red book' guide to socialism. I left a gift of Antiguan rum and watermelons. Before leaving, they made a nice and fresh lemon and lime juice and extended the offer of lunch, which had to sadly be declined as the weather was turning and the time was needed for the passage to St Kitts. It is a faraway Caribbean island to get to, the 'loneliest island'. I think many confuse this with Las Aves Archipelago, also in Venezuela.


Barbuda Visit: 2016-4
2016-04-22 - I chartered a helicopter for the day to reach Barbuda, coming from Antigua via Redonda. The views across the beaches on the approach are beautiful and it is easy to see why some visitors come for just the beaches here. There is little else to do in any case. I enjoyed touring the island visiting Martello Tower, the pink sand beach, the saltwater lagoon (second largest in the world) and also a sand quarry, the island is a big exporter of construction sand. I disliked the main township of Codrington, it was very poorly kept when I visited.


Darfur Visit: 2016-10
2016-12-01 - In October 2016 I visited the town of El Fasher in North Darfur region. Due to many problems with the permit being issued in Khartoum, my travel companions and I missed the flight an had to reschedule to go a few days later. The flight into El Fasher was a pleasant one. The Tarco Air flight amazingly had a first class cabin on this strange route, which was most comfortable indeed. After landing and checking into the El Fasher Hotel, we drove a bit out of town to visit a large camel market. The following day was spent in El Fasher town, spending some time in a truly strange family amusement park complete with non-functioning ferris wheel. One of the highlights of the visit was to the Sultan Ali Dinar's Palace, now museum. Overall, El Fasher was a very pleasant place to visit for a couple of days and makes for a nice excursion out away from Khartoum.


Hawaiian Islands (including NW Islands) Visit: 2016-3
2016-04-07 - On the most recent and sixth visit to the Hawaiian Islands I was visiting the islands of Kauai, Niihau and Oahu. 'The garden island', Kauai, is mostly inaccessible by road and therefore the best way to view is by helicopter. I achieved this with a one-hour charter from 'Jack Harter Helicopters', flying across all of the island, into many canyons (including the average wettest in the world) as well as a number of waterfalls and coastlines. Charter helicopter or tour is the only way to reach the nearby privately owned 'forbidden' island of Niihau. I did an aerial flight across the whole island and spent around 3 hours wandering the north shore beach where I saw several Hawaiian Monk seals. Honolulu, on Oahu, was visited many times previously so my stay was largely confined to the grounds of the 'Pink Palace of the Pacific', Royal Hawaiian Hotel and nearby places in Waikiki.


Liechtenstein Visit: 2016-4
2016-04-30 - During my most recent stay, I was in this small Principality for 3 days. Now I have made numerous visits totalling just over a month in the country in all. It is always a pleasure to visit. On this recent short trip, I travelled by car around all eleven geminden (which have many enclaves and exclaves). One small county, but with two very different groups of people with different outlooks - those in the oberland and those in the unterland. The smallest geminde is Planken in the Overland. From Oberplanken, one can walk in 6hrs 10mins (fairly accurate) to Malbun, the only ski resort in the country. This is one of the most beautiful trails in Liechtenstein. Vaduz is a very pleasant small capital, which is walkable in just a few minutes! This tiny country has a lot of heritage to discover, lots of trails and natural sites, and it is a bit of a shame to see day trippers shuttled into Vaduz for a few hours to buy a gift and a passport stamp. 3-4 days is enough to visit all sites of interest. To reach the principality, you either can fly direct from Zurich to Balzers, or the train from Zurich to Sargens in Canon Sankt Gallen (or Buchs) and then to Liechtenstein by taxi or bus. Of course, you can also come by car in around an hour from Zurich.


Llivia Visit: 2016-4
2016-04-30 - I recently made my 9th totally and first deliberate visit to the Catalonian enclave of Llivia, near to Puigercda in Cerdanya, Spain. I decided to spend the night there which was another first for me. Llivia has a few hotels, all basic, one is alright - perfectly acceptable for a night. There are two good restaurants in town, one was closed the night I was there. All of the food was from Llivia, it is a surprisingly self sufficient town! The enclave is famous for its mushrooms, they have maybe 30+ different varieties. On all of my visits, I have noticed the very high standard of building construction in this wealthy historic enclave. It dates back to Roman times and Caeser himself selected the name. Behind the church you can still see the ruins of the Roman Forum.


Namibia Visit: 2016-3
2016-03-22 - Namibia is pleasant country to visit several times. On the last visit, I was in the towns of Luderiz, Walvis Bay and Swakopmund. Luderitz and Swakopmund have strong German roots and the feel there today reflect this. In Swakopmund I was able to browse several well stocked German language Africa themed book stores. Luderitz was a pleasant place to wander around for a few hours, any more time was simply not needed due to the size. We were also able to make a visit to the abandoned mining town, Kolmanskop - the buildings are slowly being reclaimed by the desert.


Palmyra Atoll Visit: 2016-4
2016-04-03 - During the second visit I chartered a Dassault Falcon-50 aircraft to fly in 2.5hrs each way from Honolulu to Palmyra Atoll in the Line Islands. The crushed coral runway on Cooper Island is open only for use by the island owners and donors to the island's conservation. Uniquely, the atoll is jointly managed - The Nature Conservancy owning Cooper and Strawn Island and US Fish and Wildlife Service owning the remaining islets and the water around the island. One islet is also privately owned. In one day we trekked through the forest to the north shore of Strawn Island where there are WWII relics to be seen. The base had four staff when we arrived. On the approach in, I asked the pilot to fly 2,000ft over Kingman Reef where it was possible to view it. Also at the same altitude on the return, we couldn't make a visual.


Principe Visit: 2016-3
2016-03-21 - Coming to Principe by air has two options, schedule flights from Sao Tome Island or by charter airplane. The island is a small paradise with no poisonous or otherwise harmful insects or creatures. All of the beaches are wonderful although the capital town - Santo António is very rundown and in a poor state. The hotel Roça Belo Monte is the best on the island and many leagues above the Bom Bom Resort. The island is wonderful for a visit of a few days.


Redonda Visit: 2016-4
2016-04-22 - For my first and so far only visit to Redonda, I chartered a helicopter (the dependable Bell 206) for a day out of Antigua. It's around a 20 minute flight from Antigua to Redonda. The approaching island is a somewhat eerie sight, it's a very jagged rock and on the approach it seemed difficult to see how one would land a helicopter there. We circled the island a bit to get some views and to take pictures. It then became clear, at the top there is a relatively large flat section with some buildings, plenty of space to safely land a helicopter. Redonda is another 'guano island', the guano being the only reason any attention was ever paid to the place. After WW1, the 120 or so people working there abandoned the island, some relics and ruins can still be seen today. The only residents now are a few goats, some birds, some rats and, interestingly, an indigenous species of lizard (which are very curious and slightly aggressive). My pilot told me around 10 people per year visit, maximum, most being volcano monitoring scientists from Montserrat. From the top of the island you can see down a narrow and steep valley to the coast. The shore is treacherous and would be extremely dangerous to attempt to land by boat, the climb to the top would be perilous also. Furthermore, there is nothing of interest to see at the shoreline. I scheduled 1 hour on the island and took off a little early, spending just under an hour there which was fine. I flew directly onwards to Barbuda.


Sao Tome Island Visit: 2016-3
2016-03-22 - During the most recent trip, making the fourth and fifth visits to Sao Tome Island, I was arriving by ship from Cape Town (MV Silver Cloud of Silversea Line) and by airplane from Principe Island. I visited much of the centre and the north coast of the island together with my guide and driver. One of the more interesting spots on the island is the waterfall of Sao Nicolau. The nicest hotel on the island is the Pestana Ocean Resort, although it is not 5 stars as claimed. The only direct flight out to Europe is to Lisbon with TAP Air Portugal.


South Orkney Islands Visit: 2015-3
2016-02-28 - Very luckily the ice conditions were good on the south coast of Laurie Island in the South Orkney Islands, unlike on the north coast. As a result, we were able to make the landing on Laurie Island with success and visited the Argentine research station - Base Orcadas. The coastline of the islands is very beautiful with many jagged peaks.


South Sandwich Islands Visit: 2015-3
2016-02-28 - All of the South Sandwich Islands are rarely visited, especially so for Thule Island in the Southern Thule group - southernmost in the South Sandwich Islands. We found many thousands of gentoo and chinstrap penguins, and plenty of boisterous seals. Littered across the island is junk and wreckage of the Argentine base, destroyed by the British during the early days of the Falklands War. In the centre of the island is also a large cross/flagpole, the union flag was missing with only the ropes to be found.


South Shetland Islands Visit: 2015-3
2016-02-28 - During five weeks I crossed the South Atlantic from Ushuaia to Cape Verde with the first calling point being King George Island in the South Shetland Islands. In the morning, we visited the Russian station - Bellingshausen. I walked also to the nearby Chilean base - Frei. After repositioning by ship a short distance, the afternoon landing was at the Uruguayan base - Artigas, where we had a very welcoming reception.


St. Helena Visit: 2015-4
2016-02-28 - St Helena is a very pleasant island to spend a bit of time exploring. I arrived by ship from Tristan da Cunha, just a few days behind the MV Plancius. We arrived to make three ships at the island - RMS St Helena, MV Plancius and MV Ortelius. I drove around most of the island, seeing very green valleys, Napoleon\'s tomb and house at Longwood as well as the governor\'s house. Not too far away the new airport is visible. The arduous jacobs ladder leads up from Jamestown, which itself is a pleasant but very small town.


St. Kitts Visit: 2016-4
2016-04-22 - St. Kitts is one of the more underwhelming islands in the Caribbean. I toured the island with a focus on Brimstone Fortress, the 'Gibraltar of the West Indies'. It is very pleasant indeed and has commanding views over the island as well as across to Statia. The capital, Basseterre, was nothing much at all and rather unpleasant for me. I very much enjoyed the short stay at the Marriott Resort Hotel located near Frigate Bay, it has an excellent mural map of the whole Caribbean.
No reports or photos on:

Aargau
Abruzzo
Abu Dhabi
Afghanistan
Ajaria
Ajman
Alabama
Aland Islands
Alaska
Albania
Alsace
American Samoa
Amirante Islands
Anatolia (Turkey in Asia)
Andalusia
Andorra
Anguilla
Antigua
Aosta Valley
Appenzell Ausserrhoden
Appenzell Innerrhoden
Apulia
Aquitaine
Argentine Antarctica (to S. Pole)
Arizona
Arkansas
Arkhangelsk Oblast
Armenia (other)
Aruba
Australian Capital Territory
Austria
Auvergne
Azerbaijan (other)
Azores
Baden-Wurttemberg
Bahamas
Bahrain
Baja California
Baja California Sur
Balearic Islands
Barbados
Basel Landschaft
Basel Stadt
Basilicata
Bavaria
Beijing (District)
Belarus
Benin
Berlin
Bermuda
Bern
Bhutan
Bolivia
Bonaire
Botswana
Brandenburg
Brazilian Federal District
Bremen
British Antarctic Territory (to S. Pole)
British Columbia
British Virgin Islands
Brittany
Brunei
Brussels-Capital Region
Buenos Aires (City)
Buenos Aires Province
Bulgaria
Burgundy
Burundi
Busingen
Caicos Islands
Calabria
California
Cambodia
Cameroon
Campania
Campbell Islands
Canary Islands
Cantabria
Cape Verde
Carriacou and Petite Martinique
Castile and Leon
Castile-La Mancha
Catalonia
Cayman Islands
Central African Republic
Centre
Ceuta
Chad
Champagne-Ardenne
Chile (mainland)
Chilean Antarctic Territory (to S. Pole)
Christmas Island
Chukotka Autonomous Okrug
Chuuk State
Clipperton Island
Colombia (mainland)
Colorado
Connecticut
Cook Islands (Southern)
Costa Rica (mainland)
Crimea
Croatia (other)
Cuba
Curacao
Czech Republic
Delaware
Delhi (NCT)
Denmark
District of Columbia
Dodecanese Islands
Dominica
Dominican Republic
DRC (Zaire)
Dry Tortugas
Dubai
Easter Island
Eastern Cape
Ecuador (Mainland)
Egypt (non-Sinai)
Emilia-Romagna
England
Espirito Santo
Estonia
Ethiopia
Euskadi (Basque Country)
Falkland Islands
Faroe Islands
Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Fernando de Noronha
Fiji Islands
Finland (mainland)
Flemish Region
Florida
Franche-Comte
Free State
French Guiana
Fribourg
Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Fujairah
Gabon
Gagauzia
Gambia
Gauteng
Gaza Strip
Geneva
Georgia, State
Ghana
Gibraltar
Glarus
Goa
Golan Heights
Graubunden
Greece (other)
Greenland
Grenadines Parish
Guadeloupe (and Deps.)
Guam
Guangdong
Guernsey
Guinea (Conakry)
Guinea-Bissau
Gujarat
Guyana
Haiti
Hamburg
Haryana
Helgoland
Herm
Hesse
Himachal Pradesh
Hong Kong
Hunan
Hungary
Iceland
Idaho
Ile-de-France
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Iran
Iraq
Iraqi Kurdistan
Ireland, Republic of
Isle of Man
Israel (other)
ITU (HQ - Geneva)
Jamaica
Java
Jeju Island
Jersey
Jordan
Jura
Kansas
Kanto Region
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kerala
Korea, North
Korea, South (mainland)
Kosovo
Kosrae State
Krasnoyarsk Krai
Kuwait
Kwazulu-Natal
Kyrgyzstan
La Rioja
Languedoc-Roussillon
Laos
Latvia
Lazio
Lebanon
Lesotho
Lesser Sunda Islands
Liaoning
Liberia
Liguria
Limousin
Limpopo
Lithuania
Lombardy
Lord Howe Island
Lorraine
Louisiana
Lower Normandy
Lower Saxony
Lucerne
Lundy
Luxembourg
Luzon (Northern Philippines)
Macau
Madagascar
Madeira
Madhya Pradesh
Madrid Autonomous Community
Maharashtra
Maine
Malawi
Maldives
Malta
Marche
Marshall Islands
Martinique
Maryland
Massachusetts
Mauritania
Mauritius (main island)
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Melilla
Michigan
Midi-Pyrenees
Minas Gerais
Mississippi
Missouri
Moldova (other)
Monaco
Montserrat
Morocco
Moscow (City)
Moscow Oblast
Mozambique
Mpumalanga
Murmansk Oblast
Mustang, Kingdom (Upper, Lo Manthang)
Myanmar
Nebraska
Nepal (other)
Netherlands
Neuchatel
Nevada
Nevis
New Brunswick
New Caledonia (mainland)
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New South Wales
New York
Newfoundland
Nicaragua
Nidwalden
Nigeria
Nord-Pas-de-Calais
North Carolina
North Island
North Rhine-Westphalia
North Vietnam
North West Province
Northern Cape
Northern Ireland
Northern Marianas
Northern Territory
Northwest Territories
Norway (mainland)
Nova Scotia
Nunavut
Obwalden
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oman (other)
Ontario
Oregon
Orkney Islands
Panama (mainland)
Papua New Guinea (other)
Paraguay
Pays de la Loire
Peninsular Malaysia
Pennsylvania
Pernambuco
Peru
Picardy
Piedmont
Pohnpei State
Poitou-Charentes
Poland
Portugal
Prince Edward Island
Provence-Alpes-Cote d\'Azur
Punjab
Punjab State
Puntland
Qatar
Quebec
Queensland
Rajasthan
Ras Al Khaimah
Ras Musandam
Republic of Congo
Republic of Cyprus
Republic of Georgia (other)
Reunion Island
Revillagigedo Islands
Rhineland-Palatinate
Rhode Island
Rhone-Alpes
Rio de Janeiro State
Rio Grande do Norte
Rio Negro Province
Romania
Ross Dependency (to S. Pole)
Rwanda
Saarland
Saba
Sable Island
Saint Petersburg (City)
Samoa
San Marino
Santa Catarina State
Santa Cruz Province
Sao Paulo State
Sapmi (Lapland)
Sark
Saxony
Saxony-Anhalt
Schaffhausen
Schleswig-Holstein
Schwyz
Scilly Isles
Scotland
Senegal
Seychelles (Inner Islands)
Shanghai (District)
Sharjah
Shetland Islands
Sierra Leone
Sinai Peninsula
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
Smolensk Oblast
Society Islands
Solothurn
Somalia (Other)
Somaliland
South Australia
South Carolina
South Georgia
South Island
South Sudan
South Vietnam
Sovereign Base Areas (Cyprus)
Sovereign Military Order of Malta
Sri Lanka
St. Barths
St. Croix
St. Eustatius
St. Gallen
St. Maarten
St. Martin
St. Pierre and Miquelon
Sudan (Other)
Suriname
Svalbard
Swaziland
Sweden
Syria
Taiwan (main island)
Tajikistan
Tanzania (Mainland)
Tasmania
Tennessee
Texas
Thailand
Thurgau
Thuringia
Ticino
Tierra del Fuego (Argentinian)
Togo
Trans Dniester
Trentino-Alto Adige
Trinidad
Tristan da Cunha
Tuamotu Islands
Tunisia
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Turkish Thrace (Turkey in Europe)
Turks Islands
Tuscany
Tver Oblast
U.S. Virgin Islands
Uganda
Ukraine (Other)
Umbria
Umm Al Qaiwain
United Nations Headquarters (New York)
Upper Normandy
Uri
Uruguay
Utah
Uttar Pradesh
Uzbekistan (other)
Valais
Valencian Community
Vatican City
Vaud
Veneto
Venezuela
Vermont
Victoria State
Virginia
Visayas (Central Philippines)
Vladimir Oblast
Wales
Walloon Region
Washington
West Bank
West Virginia
Western Australia
Western Cape
Wyoming
Yap State
Zambia
Zanzibar
Zimbabwe
Zug
Zurich