Loving Lifou

 Finding Nemo (and incredible corals) on beautiful Lifou, Loyalty Islands As I travel around the islands of the South Pacific, I’m becoming a bit of a coral connoisseur. At least I’d like to think I am; I still have a great deal to learn. But I became hopelessly fascinated with life on the coral reef about fifteen years ago, when I graduated from freshwater aquaria […]

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tree ferns at Fernglade

On the Trail of the Platypus: Burnie, Tasmania

Beautiful Burnie, Tasmania was an absolute smorgasbord of wildlife, and one that we weren’t really counting on. We had pulled into this small city without having made any plans, except for exploring. We walked along the shoreline enjoying the cool breezes for a while, then did what we always do when needing inspiration: found a coffee shop. We’ve been using a very handy app called Bean […]

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Three Beautiful Boobies

Traveling by cruise ship is one of the best ways on earth to see some pretty cool wildlife. There’s a whole range of animals that you can only see at sea, and pelagic birds, in particular, are a real treat. Pelagic just means ocean-going; there’s a variety of birds that are practically never seen from land, unless you’re standing right on their breeding grounds. Albatrosses […]

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Sand goanna

Kissed by the Goanna Gods

A visit to Airlie Beach, Australia. I didn’t have high hopes for a visit to Airlie Beach, Australia. I wasn’t expecting to hate it; by all reports, this town on the Queensland coast was a beautiful spot. But most of the guidebooks describe it as a party town, a “drinking village with a sailing problem.” Alas, I feel I’m getting too old for that sort […]

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Kanak boy

Isle of Pines

…as close to perfection as I have seen in a very long time It’s early morning on the cruise ship. We’ve had two days at sea from Sydney, and people are starting to climb the walls. Our destination: Île des pins, part of New Caledonia, a small tropical territory that happens to have the highest biodiversity per square kilometre on the planet. My cameras are charged […]

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Into the Mallee: South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula

Starting From Scratch In a Wondrous New Land Long ago, when I used to write educational theatre programs, we often placed a stock character in our plays that we called the wide-eyed learner. This was a naive newcomer who acted as foil to the more experienced types in the show: a wise local bird, say, would teach the newby—and the audience by proxy—all about the […]

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father and son

Fiji- The Indian Connection

Fiji’s natural and cultural history show a strong influence from the faraway subcontinent. Fiji is a jewel of a destination. Islands like these, in the far southwest Pacific, hardly seem real to Canadian eyes, with their jagged green mountain ranges sloping steeply downward into calm azure waters. Do people really live their lives in places like this, with such staggering beauty (and stifling heat?) Of course they […]

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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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