bee eater.

Lush, Lovely Langkawi

Backroads, sloughs and mudflats make for one happy naturalist. This week, I left the bustling, chaotic cities of Asia behind, and wandered through sloughs, alleys, back roads, mud flats and farms on the lush green island of Langkawi, Malaysia. It was a most welcome change. I’m finding the rich cityscapes of Asia absolutely fascinating, and just as exhausting. Whether it be the ultra-rich, ultramodern Singapore or Kuala […]

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Cairns: Strange Birds in a Strange Land

Continents are like people, I suppose. Leave them alone for long enough and they start to go a little crazy. Witness Australia: this remarkable land, once part of a vast supercontinent called Gondwana, has been left to drift on its own for millions of years… and what a strange diversity of life has arisen on this raft! From a single opossum-like ancestor has evolved everything […]

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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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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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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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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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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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