Diving divinelyNow's your chance to experience one of the...


November 27, 1994|By Kim Wesley

Diving divinely

Now's your chance to experience one of the finest diving sites in the world. This spring, the Bega Princess will explore the Great Astrolabe Reef, off Fiji in the South Pacific, giving divers the opportunity to view big schools of open-ocean hunters like manta rays, barracuda, dolphins, billfish marlin and whales.

Due to its delicate ecology, the company says the reef has been closed to diving in recent years and the boat's operator received special permission to dive at the site. The Bega Princess will carry no more than six divers, two to a cabin. Eight-day packages, $2,300 a person, include five nights aboard, unlimited dives and all meals on the boat plus two nights in a hotel in Nadi, on the main island of Viti Levu. For information, write Aqua-Trek Dive Travel Service, 110 Sutter Street, Suite 811, San Francisco, Calif. 94104, or call (800) 541-4334.

Visa-free times are here again in China

The advent of visa-free travel in China may be on the horizon.

For the first time in over 45 years, travelers on group tours can make three-day trips to the southern Chinese boom town of Shenzhen without a visa -- provided that they travel in groups of three or more and arrange their stay with an authorized travel agent in Shenzhen. Since the Communists took power in 1948, (( only ethnic Chinese residents of Hong Kong have been able to travel without a visa.

Mayor Li Guangzhen is quoted as saying that in a year regulations will be reviewed and individual foreigners might be offered visa-free tours, too.

N.Y. for everyone

People with disabilities can now enjoy a friendlier, easier trip to New York by contacting Big Apple Greets. The nonprofit organization connects visitors with New Yorkers known as Greeters. The Greeters have been trained to serve travelers with disabilities and can provide three-to-four-hour visits to attractions and neighborhoods in all five boroughs. Big Apple Greets also offers a resource list for travelers with disabilities. The service is free. Call (212) 669-2896.

Christmas in Sedona

Sedona, Ariz., known by earthy types for its good vibes and breathtaking red rock scenery, is also famous for its holiday lights.

Red Rock Fantasy, one of the country's largest scenic light displays, has been drawing crowds for the past three years. Now through Jan. 13, artists from across Arizona are showing glittering displays with themes as diverse as "Oh Come Let Us Adore Him," "Galactic Christmas" and "Where's Waldo?" Traditional holiday festivities such as horse-drawn surrey rides, caroling and visits from Santa Claus accompany the sights.

Admission to Red Rock Fantasy is free. Proceeds from associated events and activities go to benefit Sedona Medical Campus, a nonprofit organization. Los Abrigados Resort, the event's host, is offering a "Holiday Stress Reduction" package -- with a one-night hotel suite and gourmet dinner for two. For more information, call (800) 521-3131.

Santa Fe's annual Spanish Market, a colorful exhibition of contemporary artwork in the Spanish Colonial tradition, will be held this year on Saturday and Dec. 4 in the La Fonda Hotel.

Consisting primarily of folk and religious pieces, the Spanish art testifies to the 500-year history of the Spanish in New Mexico, and the close ties between church, family and community. Items offered at the market include tinwork, textiles, pottery, straw applique and furniture, as well as retablos (paintings of religious figures on wooden panels) and bultos (three-dimensional carvings in the round).

Related events include storytelling, puppetry and dance, and a mariachi Mass at St. Francis Cathedral at 8 a.m. on Sunday, followed by a procession. Call (505) 983-4038.

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