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Anna Maria Island, Florida

Be among just 20 guests at this romantic, private hideaway, where ten beachside bandas overlook the Mnemba atoll (a scuba diver’s delight). Today, it is no longer the sleepy fishing hole of Ernest Hemingway’s time, but great fishing can still be enjoyed by charter boat from the Worldwide Sportsman, a marina with shops that features a replica of Hemingway’s fishing boat. Being a writer, I appreciate all of this, the setting, the lifestyle, and the recognition of the life of a man who learned early to live his life fully and write down his experiences as if they were tall fish tales.

Fiji offer the ultimate in a tropical vacation as do the islands of French Polynesia. Here you can stay in villas that extend out over the lagoon as you enjoy the views of the South Pacific. All tropical destinations offer a wide range of activities for the guests at the hotels and resorts. These include scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, windsurfing, swimming, snorkeling and kite surfing. You can lie on the beach to soak up the rays of the sun or swim in the ocean. There are also glorious swimming pools at the hotels where you can relax on the pool deck and have a waiter bring you your drinks.islandisland

You should not expect to see big schools of fish or giant pelagic like sharks or mantas. That said, the area has pristine hard coral gardens, and there are surprises for the careful observer. Sea turtles, stingrays, seahorses, cuttlefish, bat fish, octopus, sweet lips and occasionally unusual species of starfish and puffer fish are regularly spotted.

For my entrée, I ordered the classic French Dip, a piled high prime roast beef sandwich served on a fresh baguette along with mayo and au jus. On my delectable list,” it’s right up there with Houston’s French Dip – my former ranking favorite out of the formal sit-down restaurants I have dined at on the Island.island

Maldives has some of the best coral reefs in the world. However it rises about 1.5 metres above seas level and considered the lowest country on the planet. The country however doesn’t disappoint in terms of beauty. It has around 1,190 coral islands grouped in what is called the chain of 26 atolls. The atolls are composed of coral reefs and sand bars and re situated above a submarine ridge that’s 960 kilometres long and rises from the depths of the Indian Ocean. The government however reorganized these atolls to 21 so that they could be well administered.