Tag: Islands

Birth of a Birder

Birth of a Birder Photo by Eva Holland

Eva Holland never got too excited about birds. But then she found herself gazing up at the sky in the Galapagos.

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Greek Paradise, Lost

Greek Paradise, Lost Photo: Dan Saltzstein

In the Aegean isles, Dan Saltzstein went in search of a mysterious cave. He found it -- and a dose of danger.

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‘Departure is a Central Fact of Ascension Life’

The Economist offers up this compelling five-part series from Ascension Island, a remote British overseas territory located just south of the Equator, in the middle of the Atlantic. Part one explains the ways in which Ascension has drifted back and forth, over the years, from being a useful mid-point to being “on the way to nowhere”:

Ascension Island turns on its head the old sailors’ folklore about islands that move from place to place. It sits still, but the world shifts around it in a way that sometimes, unexpectedly, put Ascension Island between an A and a B that people want to get to. Such a realignment happened at the onset of the Falklands war; similar ones have shaped the island’s whole history.

Discovered in 1501 by the Portuguese, Ascension Island was on the way to nowhere and deemed uninhabitable, so it was left uninhabited, most of the time, for centuries to come, though goats were introduced to give anyone with the misfortune of being ship wrecked something to eat. Then in 1815 the British decided to exile the most important man in the world, Napoleon, to St Helena, further south in the Atlantic. Now the island was on the way back to Europe from St Helena, and it was pre-emptively garrisoned lest it be used by vile Buonapartists to ease his escape. After Buonaparte died in 1821, it took on a new role as a base for the navy’s actions against the Atlantic slave trade. As the garrison developed better (though still meagre) water supplies, and gained expertise in the slaughter of turtles, deemed a delicacy, ships on the way back from the Indian Ocean called in more often; the way the trades blow mean that while Ascension is not on a sailing ship’s way from Europe to India, it is on the way back.

(Via The Daily Dish)


Square Grouper on the Cocaine Coast

Square Grouper on the Cocaine Coast Photo: Jill K. Robinson

When Jill K. Robinson found her perfect beachfront property off Honduras, she didn't realize she'd just bought into a slice of the drug trade

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Paradise, Backstage

maldives paradise Photo by Andrew Evans

What happens when a guy who buys luggage at Target finds himself in a $16,000-a-night villa in the Maldives? Andrew Evans reports from the lap of luxury.

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Tourists in Heat

Tourists in Heat iStockPhoto

Ten tips for how to stay cool while traveling in an increasingly hot planet. (#2: Choose countries with cold soup.)

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Waiting for Oil in the Florida Keys

Waiting for Oil in the Florida Keys iStockPhoto

On a visit to the islands, where some are now contemplating the unthinkable

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‘10 Best Books About Being Stranded’

The Observer squeezes out a post-ash cloud list of 10 vivid accounts of being marooned in literature. Among the picks: “Lord of the Flies,” “Life of Pi” and “Concrete Island.”

Maybe in the future we’ll add something to the list that started with this.


Jamaica: Playing Chicken with the Jerks

Jamaica: Playing Chicken with the Jerks iStockPhoto

Roger Rapoport loves Jamaica. But driving on the island's roads? Not so much.

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Model Behavior

Model Behavior iStockPhoto

Karl Taro Greenfeld didn't even want to sit next to the supermodel on the flight. But to his fellow passengers, he was the pervert.

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Travel Song of the Day: ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole


The Two Sides of Tenerife

The Two Sides of Tenerife Photo by Tom Swick

Contemplating and celebrating the world of travel

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Lord of the Flies: ‘Absurd and Uninteresting’?

Apparently, William Golding’s castaway classic really made the rounds before finally being published, and one unimpressed reader’s note on the manuscript has just surfaced. After calling the book an “absurd and uninteresting fantasy,” she wrote: “A group of children who land in jungle country near New Guinea. Rubbish & dull. Pointless.”

Dull? I’d love to know what her idea of an eventful island getaway is. (Via The Book Bench)


Travel Song of the Day: ‘Southern Cross’ by Crosby, Stills & Nash


Hawaiian for Travelers: It’s About the Vowels

Hawaiian for Travelers: It’s About the Vowels Photo by quinn.anya via Flickr (Creative Commons).


Photo by quinn.anya via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Aloha and mahalo. Those will get you out of the gate in Hawaii, though it’s also handy to get a good grasp on mauka —inland—and makai —towards the sea, just in case you find yourself getting directions from locals.

A few more words might make their way into your vocabulary, especially when it comes to food—there’s poke and poi and ahi and ono. I learned how to say no problem or thanks—a’ole pilikia—from a park ranger and I can read Hawaiian out loud with a halting conviction, but there’s no way I understand it. I still stumble over directions and streets signs—Hi’ilawe and Ali’i and Ala Wai and Kapiolani and Kalakaua—they all start to run together in this haole’s mind. We were going where, now?

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Uighur Tourism in Bermuda?

Uighur Tourism in Bermuda? Photo by StormyDog via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by StormyDog via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Over at Jaunted, Victor Ozols “speculates recklessly” about whether the island’s acceptance of four Gitmo inmates could help its tourism profile. Hey, if ex-detainees keep on landing in island paradises, I’d happily plan a thematic world tour.


Finding Hawaii on the Mainland

Aloha Tavern by Nerd’s Eye View

I’m not sure why I’m surprised when, on the mainland in the middle of rural territory, I find a town named “Aloha,” or when a festival in Seattle brings thousands of Hawaiians out to listen to traditional music and see hula. The Hawaiian diaspora is extensive—hey, it reaches all the way to the White House these days.

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Kilauea’s Hot Summit

Kilauea’s Hot Summit Photo by Image Editor via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by Image Editor via Flickr (Creative Commons)

It used to be that you had to go to the end of the winding Chain of Craters road in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park if you wanted to get a look at hot melted planet. I’ve never done it—once the road was closed due to excessive volcanic activity, and once there wasn’t time and once ... Oh, my excuses are endless.

But if you’re on the Big Island right now, you don’t have to make that trip. According to the L.A. Times, Kilauea is “glowing brightly as molten lava swirls 300 feet below its crater’s floor, bubbling near the surface after years of spewing from the volcano’s side.”

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About Those Souvenirs: Made in Hawaii?

About Those Souvenirs: Made in Hawaii? Picture from magical-world via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Picture from magical-world via Flickr (Creative Commons)

I find souvenir shopping tricky. I like things that really scream of place or are packed with a trip’s significance—no pressure, souvenir makers! I was eager to buy a Hawaiian-made uke on my last trip, though the one I ended up getting is more global than I’d have ideally liked—the parts are made in Indonesia and shipped to Oahu for assembly. Is it made in Hawaii? Sort of.

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Brother Bertram, Photojournalist

Brother Bertram, Photojournalist Image courtesy of Lyman Museum.
Image courtesy of Lyman Museum

I’m a sucker for Hawaii’s unreachable past, a somewhat imaginary time when there really was a little grass shack in Kaleakakua to go back to. So I’m pretty excited about the photography show that’s running at the Lyman Museum in Hilo.

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