Saturday, April 28, 2012

Polynesia Expedition 2012

This month of May we are going to explore Polynesia. The Pacific Ocean is the greatest geographical feature on Earth. At its widest point it is nearly 8,000 miles/13,000 kilometers across, large enough to contain all the continents; herman Melville called it "the tide-beating heart of the world." We will continue our voyage across the Pacific with a Polynesia Expedition to discover some of its most remote islands, tiny specks of land in this vast expanse.

Sailing from Tahiti, iconic island of the Pacific dream, we voyage through the Tuamotu Islands, their coral motus (islands) and turquuoise laggons, remnants of ancient volcanoes scattered across the deep blue ocean. We meet the local inhabitants who welcome us with hip-swaying dances, experience firsthand the way of life on islands governed by the rhythms of the sea, discover the most idyllic beaches shaded by swaying palms, and dive into the clear waters to float above vibrant coral gardens, while divers experience the exhilarating drift-dives fro which the Tuamotus are famous.

To be continued...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Hello everyone,

This is your travel buddy Rinell and we are going to Bora Bora! "Wickedly seductive," "wildly romantic," "the Cadillac of paradises"- no prose is too purple when it comes to describing the charms of Bora Bora. Nearly as famous for its trademark over-the-water bungalows at a handful of luxe resorts as it is for its splendid lagoon, the island continues to attract honeymooners and hedonists year after year. No wonder a number of American personnel stationed here during WWII declined to return home.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Strange feeling of Deja vu

Hello everyone,

Before we head up in this beautiful island of Bora Bora on the April 30th - May 1st, let me discuss to you the strange feeling of Deja vu.

Deja vu (literally "already seen") is the feeling of certainty that one has already witnessed or experienced a current situation, even though the exact circumstances of the prior encounter are unclear and were perhaps imagined. The scientific explanation that has mostly been accepted of deja vu is not that it is an act of "precognition" or "prophecy", but rather that it is an anomaly of memory, caused by a person getting a brief glimpse of an object or situation prior to full conscious perception, resulting in a false sense of familiarity. This then gives us the impression that an experience is "being recalled". The strange feeling of deja vu is usually accompanied by a compelling sense of "eeriness", or wat Sigmund Freud calls "the uncanny".

Your travel buddy,

Rinell :-)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Vava'u Tonga

Good evening my readers this is your host Rinell traveling in this wonderful place called Vava'u, Tonga. We are going to visit this beautiful island from 24-25 April 2012.

One of three island groups in the Kingdom of Tonga, Vava'u is a mariner's dream- tranquil isles edged by coral reefs, deep channels and protected coves, glistening white sand beaches and steep, craggy cliffs plunging into an impossibly blue sea. The aptly-named Port of Refuge is one of the South Pacific's finest natural harbors, a quiet anchorage half the yearwhich fills with hundreds of yachts during the winter sailing season.

On 18 March 2012, King George Topou passed away at the age of 63. The Kingdom of Tonga will mourn for three months. You may see locals wearing the traditional ta'ovala (matt tied around the waist) as sign of respect and mourning.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Legend of Tagimoucia

This is your host Rinell travelling here in this beautiful islands of Fiji and will discuss to you the legend of Tagimoucia.

Long ago, in the high rain forests of Fiji's "Garden Island" of Taveuni, a volcanic crater became dormant and over the eons filled with rain water to become what is known today as Lake Tagimoucia. It is here, and nowhere else on earth, that the beautiful flower that shares the name Tagimoucia is found and is revered as the national flower of Fiji.

This rarest of blooms is a member of the seventh largest family of flowering plants in the world and like many things in nature, that are unique to the area, there is a local legend about this flower's origins.

According to one Fijian story this is no flower, but the tears of a Princess, who was about to be forced by her father to marry her predestined husband. However, she was in love with another man and in despair, sher ran into the forest and wandered for many hours before she came to the banks of a beautiful lake. A search party sent by her father found her crying in her sleep on a bed of green vines. As her tears fell onto the plant they turned from salt to blood red blossoms. When she awoke, her father had taken pity on her and allowed the young couple to marry.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ring of Fire

This is your travel guide Rinell and we are going to explore Mount Yasur. As a truly fitting finale to our visit to the exotic islands of Vanuatu, the drumming and dancing of Tanna will be performed under the smoke and ash haze of a live volcano.

An active volcano in almost constant state of eruption, our late afternoon visit should provide a powerful backdrop as we stand on the crater rim. With luck we will enjoy fine weather and then as the sun sets, the darkness provides a pyrotechnic display that is both raw and spectacular.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Rom Dance

This afternoon islanders don tall masks and costumes of leaves and "bush material" and then proceed to dance as spirits. So sacred is this Kastom Dance that all costumes are burned afterwards let spirits be tempted to haunt the dancers. Seated around a pressed earth clearing and surrounded by the elements of jungle and sea, the masked figures, dancing and singing in age old ceremony, will expose us to a part of Vanuatu rarely seen. The tall, intricate masks against the jungle background will captivate photographers and amateur anthropologists alike.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Land-Diving of Pentecost

Let us continue our adventure in Melanesia as we unveil the Nagol dive experience by the natives

An essential part of the annual yam harvest, the "Land-Diving of Pentecost" is a tightly held and carefully obsereved ritual that is unique to Pentecost island. The ceremony is deeply sacred; any deviation from tradition invites disaster for the diver and ill times for the village.

As a precursor to bungee jumping, men jump off of wooden towers, around 20to 30 meters (66 to 98 ft) high, with two tree vines wrapped around the ankles. Ther harvest is deemed successful only if a diver gets close enough to the ground for his head to touch the earth.

Platforms are set at different heights, with the most experiencend diver jumping from the top. For boys, land diving is also a rite of passage into manhood.

According to the Guinness World of Records, the G-force experienced by those at their lowest point in the dive is the greatest experienced in the non industrialized world by humans.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Malekula Magic

I will be in South West Bay; Malekula Island on April 12,2012

Malekula was once famous for its cannibals, whose fearsome reputation kept foreigners away for many decades. Today Malekula is still a stronghold of "kastom," or tradition, and we hope to make an expedition landing here to observe a number of aspects of both traditional and contemporary life.

I plan to land at three sites in remote South West Bay. We will be welcomed at Limbinwen Village to observe seldom seen dancing and to hear explanations as to how people have lived here for centuries. In the afternoon we will visit the hidden lagoon, to see a demonstration of fishing techniques and to walk through a very typical Melanesian subsistence garden. We will also visit the larger Lawa Village, which is an excellent example of how most Ni-Vanuatu live in modern times.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Melanesian Adventure

This month of April 2012 I will cross the Tropic of Capricorn and ventures into Vanuatu, "the land that has always existed."

This culturally diverse tropical archipelago of 83 islands halfway between Australia and Hawaii is a diver's paradise, surrounded by coral reefs and crystalline waters.

Formerly known as the New Hebrides, the islands were ruled jointly by Britain and France from the early 1900s until independence was gained in 1980.

American forces arrived en masse in May 1942, saving the islands from almost certain Japanese occupation during WW2 - rusting relics of the war reamin just beneath the surface.