Archives for March 2011

Ziplining in Paradise

I’m not a fan of heights, Actually, heights probably don’t bother me as much as the fear of falling – off of something high. So, I really didn’t know what to think when asked if I wanted to go on a zipline during a trip to Kauai. I was assured that falling really wasn’t an issue and that we would be strapped in quite well. After all, they said – how many chances would I have to zip through the lush tropics of Kauai? 

There were two options for ziplining in Kauai and we chose Kauai Backcountry Adventure simply because it was recommended by a friend who had recently ziplined with them. We set up a tour time for the following day.

To say I was nervous as we drove to the Kauai Backcountry office that day would be an extreme understatement. It was a beautiful day and I should have been looking at the lush foliage and beautiful scenery as we drove with the top off of our rental jeep, but all I could think of was whether I could actually allow myself to hurtle down the mountain on a thin cable.

We checked in and I immediately felt a little better. The staff was wonderful and our guide, who must have sensed my fear, was funny and very reassuring. We signed the obligatory forms, got strapped into our gear and took a very bumpy four wheel drive up to the ziplines.

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copyright Rum Therapy

The Kauai Backcountry Adventure Zipline Tour begins at a point with an astounding view of Mt. Waialeale – one of the rainiest spots on earth with an average 426 inches of rain a year. All of that rain makes it one of the greenest and most vegetated places I’ve seen.

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copyright Rum Therapy

We took in the beauty of the area for a few moments and then saw this:

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My irrational fear kicked into high gear and I thought “I’m not walking off of that platform!!!” Fortunately, the platform we started on was not near as high or steep. I watched as several brave souls went before me and then it was my turn. As I looked down, I second guessed my choice of clothing that morning. Wouldn’t bright neon colors be easier to find it I somehow plunged into the foliage?

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My heart pounding in my throat, I stepped off the platform and zipped down the cable towards the next platform, screaming loudly the whole way! I had the presence of mind to keep my feet up and landed squarely on the platform. Realizing I had lived through it, I took a deep breath. That wasn’t bad at all!
During subsequent zips ( I believe there were seven cables in all) I even relaxed enough to look around and see the incredible beauty around me. Rivers, lush plants and trees and that beautiful mountain. Wow- what a ride…

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Ziplining has become quite popular and is now available in other tropical locations such as Antigua, Dominica, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Roatan and St. Martin. Hmmm…I actually liked it so much that I might even be convinced to try it again on an upcoming trip to St. Martin. Think I’ll wear some neon colors though – just in case…

To find out more about Backcountry Adventures, visit their website here: Kauai Backcountry Adventures

Other posts on Kauai that you might be interested in:

Hiking the NaPali Coast in Kauai

Helicopter Ride in Kauai

Rum Therapy On Kauai

Lava Flow Recipe

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Painkiller

We took our very first trip to St. John in the mid 90′s and knew nothing about the island before we went. Little did we know that it would become one of our very favorite destinations in the Caribbean!

We were traveling to the Virgin Islands for the first time via a cruise ship and wanted to see everything we could. Our first stop was in St. Thomas and we had heard that we should try to get to St. John. We were sure to ask around to find out what to see and do while on the island and most suggested spending time on one of St. John’s beautiful beaches. One person, however, recommended making a stop at Pusser’s before catching the ferry in Cruz Bay, to try a Painkiller. The Pusser’s Bar is no longer on St. John, but we’ll always have fond memories of our first Painkiller experience.

Our waiter that day eagerly obliged when we ordered our first Painkiller and asked if we wanted that with 2, 3 or 4 shots of rum. What – 4 shots of rum??? In each drink??? We wussed out and ordered our Painkillers with a measly 2 shots each (hee, hee) knowing that we had to be able to find our way back to the ship or else risk being stranded on this beautiful piece of paradise – Hmmm. No – we really had to get back to the ship….

One taste and voilà! We were hooked! These things truly could kill the pain! Slightly sunburned and in no pain at all, we caught the ferry back to St. Thomas just in time to catch our ship. We knew we’d be back to St. John someday and knew that the “Painkiller” had become one of our new favorite rum drinks!

Since that day we’ve enjoyed a few Painkillers (and it’s cousin the “Nilla Killa”) in Paradise – most notably on Jost Van Dyke at the Soggy Dollar Bar – not that you really need to kill much pain in a paradise like White Bay…

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The Painkiller
(makes one)

4 oz. pineapple juice
1 oz. orange juice
1 oz. coconut cream
2, 3 or 4 oz. rum (depending on your level of pain!)
Sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg

Shake or stir all ingredients (except for the nutmeg) and pour over ice in a tall glass. Sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg.

Find more rum recipes here:

Rum Recipe Picture Directory

Rum Recipes  by Category

Rum Therapy Recipe Videos on YouTube

 

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5 from 1 reviews
Painkiller
 
By far one of the most popular rum drinks in the Virgin Islands, this delicious concoction will put you in the "island" state of mind.
Author:
Recipe type: Drinks
Ingredients
  • 4 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. coconut cream
  • 2, 3 or 4 oz. rum (depending on your level of pain!)
  • Sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Shake or stir all ingredients (except for the nutmeg) and pour over ice in a tall glass.
  2. Sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg.
  3. Put your feet up and enjoy the taste of paradise!

 

Homemade Irish Cream

Irish Cream’s are delectable cream liqueurs commonly made from whiskey. I love the smooth creamy taste and enjoy it on the rocks as well as in drinks such as Bushwhacker’s. I recently ran across a recipe for a Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur using rum instead of whiskey and figured we’d just have to mix up a batch and compare rum to whiskey! If you’ve already tried this, let us know what you think!

Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur

 1  3/4 c. gold rum
1  (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 c. whipping cream
4 eggs
2 tbsp. chocolate syrup
2 tsp. instant coffee
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Store tightly covered in refrigerator for up to 1 month. Stir before serving.

Here’s a recipe for a shooter that might work quite well with the Homemade Rum Irish Cream Liqueur.

Irish Frost
To one shot Irish Cream liqueur, add a splash of cream of coconut and a splash of half and half. Shake and serve in a chilled shot glass.

Home-Made-Irish-Cream-Liqueur.--O
Sláinte!! (To your health in Irish)

Snorkeling at Buck Island, St. Croix

I’m scared to scuba dive. There, I said it. I thought about doing a resort course once, but when I learned that you had to be able to take the air tube out of your mouth and share it with someone else and that there is actually a chance that you could run out of air that many feet below the surface… I’m actually in awe of those who do dive, I mean, the pictures I’ve seen of their underwater world are stunning.

Anyway…John, the other half of this team likes to dive, but thankfully he also likes to snorkel – and I LOVE snorkeling.

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Here we are, foggy lenses and all!

So we’ve been talking lately a lot about our awesome recent trip to St. Croix. On the list for this trip was a visit to Buck Island, an island just off of St. Croix that has been designated a national monument. Snorkeling there was purported to be amazing, and at the easternmost part of the reef there is an underwater trail – similar to the underwater trail found in Trunk Bay on St. John.

We’d snorkeled Trunk Bay several times – way back before it got so darned popular and crowded and so we were mildly interested in comparing the two trails, although we were more interested in seeing the vibrant coral and fish.

We found a charter recommended by Fodors and Frommers tour guides and booked a tour to sail, snorkel and explore on Teroro II the following day. The Teroro II is a trimaran and we boarded with about 12 other guests.

copyright Rum TherapyTeroro II

Carl was our Captain for the day. He was full of information and stories about Buck Island and St. Croix and did his best to make sure everyone was having a good time.

copyright Rum TherapyCaptain Carl

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We had a great sail out to the island and attached to a mooring ball offshore. We donned our gear and quickly jumped in.

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The Buck Island Underwater Snorkel Trail consists of a series of underwater plaques indicating some of the flora and fauna found around the reef. After diving in, we soon found one of the plaques in the underwater trail showing the beginning of the trail.

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We saw a rather large fish just a few feet away and began swimming after him to get a picture.

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Then saw this plaque…

copyright Rum TherapyThankfully he wasn’t interested in us.

We followed the trail for a while and then veered off on our own. The sun was out and the water was warm clear – although a tad choppy. Fish were abundant and the coral was colorful.

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copyright Rum Therapy

copyright Rum Therapy

copyright Rum Therapy

copyright Rum Therapy

An hour flew by and we were signaled to come back to the boat for our short sail to the other side of the island for some beach time!

Find Buck Island on our St. Croix Map


To see more posts on St. Croix and other islands, check out our
Island Blog Directory

 

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Making Spiced Rum

Spiced rum. It seems to be just one of those things that either you love, or, you don’t. The subtle varieties of tastes found in different spiced rums are a result of the types and amount of spices added – and there are some spiced rums I’ve tried that have a combinations of spices that just weren’t that pleasing to my palate. I recently ran across directions for making your own spiced rum and initially was interested in finding out what spices are used, but then became intrigued in creating my own variety of spiced rum – a perfect version, of course for my tastes at least! I went shopping today for a few of the following spices and am going to start creating my own version this weekend. Let me know if you come up your own personalized spiced rum and what your secret ingredient is!

Spiced-Rum-(600)-O
Making Your Own Spiced Rum

Basic Ingredients:

1 bottle good quality gold rum (if you don’t like the taste of the basic rum, you won’t like the taste of the finished product!)
1 vanilla bean pod, split in half
1 slice of orange peel, about 3 inches long
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole allspice berries
3 whole cloves
5 whole black peppercorns
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Other spice options:
1 small slice of fresh ginger
1 point star anise

1. Add all the ingredients to the rum bottle or pour all ingredients into a wide-mouthed, airtight container and seal. Let stand in a cool dark place for 24 hours to one month. Shake the container occasionally and taste until the flavor is to your liking. The more flavor you want, the longer you should let it sit. Strain the spices out and re-bottle the liquid.

Tweak the flavors to your liking by increasing or reducing the amount of each spice or by experimenting with other spices. Make this spiced rum one that will truly satisfy your senses!


Find more rum recipes here:

Rum Recipe Picture Directory

Rum Recipes  by Category

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Glass Bottom Kayaking in a Bioluminescent Bay

During our recent vacation in St. Croix, we had one evening left to experience something special. I would have loved to have been there for Jump Up, a carnival like party held four times a year in Christiansted, but we missed it by a week. So, I got online to search for an adventure and quickly found it. Glass Bottom Kayaking in a Bioluminescent Bay! “What the heck is that?” was the reply we got when we told our traveling friends what we wanted to do that last night. Kayaking – AT NIGHT – in a pitch black lagoon? Were we crazy?

We had read about a bioluminescent bay in Vieques, but didn’t realize there was one in St. Croix. The organism that creates the luminescence is called a single celled bioluminescent dinoflagellate. This organism emits a greenish light when agitated at night. The conditions, including how bright the moon is that night, need to be just right to get a good effect and our guide thought that tonight might be just right.

We were to meet our guide at Altoona Lagoon on the northeast side of St. Croix at about 6:30p.m. We were excited, but a bit nervous given we had really only kayaked once and it was in broad daylight.


Craig and Bryce Scott, the owner/operators of Sea Thru Kayaks VI met us at a small bonfire close to the mouth of Altoona Lagoon and had smore’s ready for us to prepare while we waited for the rest of the group.

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The Scott’s own 10 glass bottomed kayaks called Molokinis, an all-transparent two passenger kayak made out of the same durable polycarbonate material used in the production of bulletproof glass and fighter jet canopies.

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copyright Rum Therapy
The rest of the group arrived, Bryce and Scott loaded us all into our kayak (two per kayak) and we were off. We ended up at the back of the pack somehow and as we headed off in the pitch dark toward the big lagoon we both wondered what we were getting in to!

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Bryce did a pretty good job of keeping all of the kayaks together even though he was only equipped with a glow stick and a flashlight. He warned us that we may have fish jump right into our kayak and not to panic! No problem! We had to work pretty hard against the current to get to the other side of the lagoon where the bioluminescent organism had the strongest concentration. About halfway there, we started to notice bright little sparkling flashes under us – cool! It was really hard to get on camera – our flash was not conducive to capturing the glow of what we were seeing, but you can see a few of the sparkles on the bottom of the boat here.

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As we got to the other end of the lagoon the luminescence got stronger. Whatever touched the water made it glow – the oar, your hand, even fish underneath the boat! It was quite a sight! We played in the lagoon for about 15 minutes until raindrops began to fall. Bryce rounded us up and said we better be getting back – sometimes these squalls can get quite nasty! Hmmm…in a kayak in the dark in the middle of a lagoon and no clue how to get back. We got right in line behind him!

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Sure enough, as we headed back, several minnows jumped right into the kayak. A little freaky at first to feel them flipping around against your leg in the kayak in the dark. Glad he warned us…

We arrived back at our base in good shape. What an adventure. Wish we could share more pics, but guess you’ll have to see it for yourselves!

To find out more about Sea Thru Kayaks, VI, check out their website: Sea Thru Kayaks, VI


More posts on St. Croix that you might be interested in:

Rum Therapy On St. Croix

Turtle Beach, Buck Island, St. Croix

Sandy Point, St. Croix

Cruzan Rum Factory Tour

Snorkeling at Buck Island

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC