rainbow lorikeet

Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden

We went for the trees, we stayed for the birds. Arriving in Sydney, Australia by cruise ship is unforgettable. The journey takes you between the rugged cliffs of the outer harbour (“The Heads”) and into beautiful Sydney Harbour where you sidle up alongside the exquisite Sydney Opera House, to dock right at the Circular Quays in the heart of the city. (Rival city Melbourne can’t […]

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boat approaching Mystery Island

The Parrotfish of Mystery Island

Parrotfish: Not just another pretty face on the reef. We’re visiting beautiful Mystery Island, in the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu. It’s a tiny spit of land just adjacent to the bigger island of Aneityum. The Aneityum people say that Mystery Island is inhabited by spirits, and nobody is allowed to live here, though it’s ok to visit during the day. I haven’t found any spirits […]

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Sunrise Lautoka, Fiji

The Lemon-Yellow Fiddlers of Fiji

The cutest fiddle section this side of the international date line When you think of Fiji, you don’t think of fiddlers. Drummers, perhaps. But the last thing I was expecting to see as I wandered around the town of Lautoka, on the Fijian island of Viti Levu, was a tiny yellow fiddle section, all playing their little hearts out along a gravelly bed beside the […]

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This is Luganville

Living in the present, with the rusting memories of World War II. (I’m pleased to present the photos of Tom Ediger here; I think these portraits are some of his finest work. I hope you enjoy them.) Greetings from Vanuatu, a string of exquisite tropical islands in the far southwest Pacific. You may not recognize the name; the isles were originally dubbed the New Hebrides […]

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Guide Will, chopping fruit, Bora Bora

The Boundless Beauty of Bora Bora

Bora Bora, in French Polynesia, is impossibly beautiful. It is Fantasy Island come to life; it is every tropical postcard you’ve ever seen, but in three dimensions. Craggy, jungle-covered volcanic slopes jut dramatically out of the South Pacific, surrounded by azure lagoons filled with the clearest waters I’ve ever seen. A halo of coral reefs protects the island and ensures endless, abundant sea life. It’s […]

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Portraits of Papeete

  Long before I understood where on earth Tahiti was, I had an image of it in my mind. To me, Tahiti represented all things tropical, exotic, sensuous and lush. Remember Tahiti Treat? It was some overly-sugary soft drink, I recall, but the images of palm trees on the bottle sparked my childhood imagination. Later, I read of the mutiny on the Bounty, and with […]

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Dublin: Unpretentious and Magical

Dublin, the capital of the Irish Republic, is not a big city. I don’t know why I thought it would be, but it has about four hundred thousand people. Dublin, in fact, was nothing like I expected. It isn’t grand; it isn’t fabulous; it isn’t stately nor venerable nor regal. Dublin, I have to say, met none of my expectations… but it somehow exceeded them […]

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The Birds of Winter: Just One More Reason to Love Stanley Park

As Vancouverites, we’re accustomed to being the envy of Canada as winter approaches. One might even accuse us of being a bit smug about it.  Six inches of snow in Calgary and it’s only September? “Oh, what a shame,” we say, sipping cocktails by the bay. “We can’t wait for December when the lawns green up again.” One of the least-known perks of the Vancouver […]

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Prague: Still Hip, Still Beautiful

… just not the way you expect it. Once upon a time, Prague was the hippest travel destination on the planet. It was the early 1990s, and the Eastern Bloc was reawakening. Kafka’s gorgeous city was coming to life, and any would-be Bohemian worth his salt was making his way there to be part of it. I recall my envy at hearing stories of young writers […]

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