Roberta Cenedese

Matt and Roberta

Roberta Cenedese

Matt and I met while we were both traveling in Puerto Rico in 1998. He worked on a research site in El Yunque Rainforest on the main island and I worked as a divemaster on Vieques.

After 10 years living a settled existence in Vancouver, Canada, we felt a real need to get back to traveling. So we sold our house, put our stuff in storage and set off in search of great places to freedive and new adventures.

Right now plans are to explore SE Asia until we feel the call to move on...

Asia » Philippines » Cebu » Moalboal August 2nd 2014

Our first days were spent exactly as we'd planned: eating, diving, napping, hanging out on the deck or walking along the beach peering into tide pools. The ocean is definitely the draw here. Locals comb the beach at low tide for mussels and other shellfish and men use nets, spears and lines to fish from boats or by standing in the shallows. Dive tourism provides another source of income and the dive shops, though often owned by foreigners, seem to employ many Filipino divemasters and instructors. In an attempt to attract more tourists some people have tried to harness the draw of whale sharks, by hand feeding them from boats. Matt and I have always wanted to see a whale shark in the water, but after researching the operation in Oslob (another town here on Cebu) ... read more
Matt heading down
Lower Kawasen Falls
Chilling out in the shade

Asia » Philippines » Cebu » Moalboal July 26th 2014

We came to the island of Cebu in the Philippines in pursuit of perfect freediving . Panagsama Beach, just outside of Moalboal, is definitely a tourist town that caters to divers. There seem to be as many scuba shops as there are restaurants, and a few freediving shops as well. We had a very specific wish list: depth close to shore so we wouldn't have to rely on a boat, good visibility, warm water, and calm seas to enhance comfort while breathing up on the surface. And we did get it, well mostof the time. It was raining when we arrived in Manila and I tried not to take it as a portent of what was to come - we'd had our fill of monsoons in Bali. A short flight to the island of Cebu and ... read more
Roberta reading on our beach
Hard and soft corals at low tide
Nemo says hello

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Quảng Nam » Hoi An July 4th 2014

We've been trying to upload this Vietnam wrap-up post for weeks but it's been hard to come up with a cohesive narrative about the past four months. Two days before our scheduled flight to the Philippines we received an email from Vietnam Airlines informing us that the leg from Đà Nẵng to Saigon (HCMC) had been pushed by over an hour, which would make it impossible for us to make the connection to Manila. Airlines in Vietnam are notorious for never leaving on time. When we first arrived we spent an unscheduled four hours in the airport in Saigon due to a delay that was never explained. Not one of the many flights we took on Vietnamese carriers left or arrived on time. So it wasn't unexpected that we would need to change our itinerary even ... read more
COC 2: Hoi An Drift
Fixing Nets

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap June 15th 2014

It's only a two hour flight from Đà Nẵng to Siem Reap and Angkor Archaeological Park. Before leaving Vietnam for the next leg of our journey we had to take advantage of our proximity to this famous site. The Khmer empire ruled over most of mainland Southeast Asia from around 800AD to the 15th century. Angkor was the capital city of this shifting empire and comprises over 1000 temples in various states of decay spread out over 400 square kilometers. The temples built by the Khmers survived changes in rulers, ideologies, languages and religions before they were forgotten and ignored for centuries. The 'discovery' of the temples in the 1850's lead to much pillaging of sacred statues and carvings by both individuals looking to make a buck and museums in the name of education. When Pol ... read more
Monks at Bayon
Headless lions guard Pre Rup
Angkor Wat at sunrise

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast » Quang Ninh » Halong Bay June 1st 2014

From Ha Noi we traveled around 130km east to Hạ Long Bay. I was really excited about this trip. When I first researched Viet Nam I came upon the famous images of the limestone karsts and islets perched like pearls in the emerald waters of the bay. The karsts are the big draw, they have been worn down by the sea into pillars and interesting shapes and the water has teased caves and archways into them. I'd wanted to see them for years and had high hopes for the Unesco World Heritage site. Hạ Long Bay is gorgeous even from land but the best way to experience it, we'd been told, was by boat. Tours abound from day trips on rustic fishing boats to luxury week long cruises and everything in-between. Matt booked us a 2 ... read more
Ha Long arch
Ha Long sunset
Ha Long sunset

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi June 1st 2014

When we arrived in Hanoi it was raining, which was welcome after the heat we'd experienced in Luang Prabang. Plus it gave the city a freshly scrubbed look just in time for us to take to the streets. The traffic in Hanoi overwhelmed us at first. It's a big, busy city full of people with places to go and things to do. But after a few hours we fell back into step and realized we really liked this northern city, the capital of Vietnam. Formerly the most formidable city in Vietnam, it was surpassed by Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) in population but is now re-asserting itself. Everywhere we looked new buildings were popping up in and amongst the old. We stayed in the French quarter and found lots of cafés and cramped little shops to wander ... read more
Trúc Bạch Lake
Fishermen and Fish
Puppet Display

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang May 29th 2014

A 20 minute drive from Luang Prabang brought us to the elephant village where we spent the next two days. We'd done a lot of research before choosing the Elephant Park Project. Like almost everyone, we love elephants. And the idea of seeing one close up, touching it, appealed to both of us. But humans have a history of interactions that put animals on the losing end of the stick, and we didn't want to participate in anything that would be detrimental to the animals. We'd heard horror stories about long distance elephant treks and elephants "trained" to paint pictures for tourists and were determined not to participate in any kind of situation that required the elephants to perform or carry heavy loads. We obviously didn't want to contribute to any capture or trade of elephants ... read more
Sugar cane addict
She wouldn't stop reaching for snacks.
Crossing the river

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang May 26th 2014

What to do when it gets too hot to stay home? Head further inland of course! OK, maybe this wasn't the smartest time to go but Matt and I were both determined to visit Laos whose people, we'd been told over and over, were absolutely lovely. We only had a short amount of time so oscillated between Vietiane and Luang Prabang until friends from Montréal told us that for them, Luang Prabang was the town in Laos to visit. Boy are we ever glad we trusted their advice - thank you France and Jean-Maurice! It took us about 3 seconds to fall in love with this town. So much so that we started talking about a possible long term visit sometime in the future. There is so much to say about this little city with tons ... read more
Downtown Luang Prabang
Net-fishing in the Nam Khan River
View of Luang Prabang and Nam Khan River from the top of Mount Phou Si - 108 steps up

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Quảng Nam » Hoi An May 24th 2014

If at home spring comes in like a lion, here it rages like Godzilla. The day after we extended our lease on the house for one more month someone turned up the dial on the furnace. Overnight the temperature rocketed up into the high 30's and in the last few weeks it has reached 40 degrees and beyond on occasion. The humidity is crushing. After a few days cowering in the house we tried for relief at the beach but the change was even more pronounced there. The water, which had been cool up until the end of March, now was as warm as the air and the sand so hot we couldn't traverse the space between our umbrella and the ocean without burning the soles of our feet. The cool ocean breeze we'd become accustomed ... read more
Lantern slalom
 Lotus flowers on the Thu Bồn River
Monks going home after the festivities

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Quảng Nam » Hoi An May 7th 2014

The wonderful thing about renting a house and staying in one place is that you get a real feel for where you are. After a month or so everything seems to exhale around you and in the next the breath you are taken up into the rhythm of the days. Matt and I sometimes question our style of traveling, mostly when we meet people who have been to the same country as we have but covered a lot more ground in a shorter period of time. But something always happens to remind us why this works for us. We don't just meet people, we get to know them. We see them out of context, running into them at the market or on the street. With each interaction we share a little bit more beyond the standard ... read more
Harvesting Rice by hand
Carrying Bundles of rice on shoulders, bicycles and scooters
Separating kernels from chaff

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