"Setting out on the voyage to Ithaca you must pray that the way be long, full of adventures and experiences."
- Constantine Peter Cavafy "Ithaca"
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©2008 Ruth Kozak

ARCHIVES: SOUTH PACIFIC



HISTORIC SITES OF WWII IN HONOLULU: Hawaii, USA
by Larry Zaletel

I found that I was standing on Ford Island staring at the bullet holes in the hangar walls, the broken glass windows and the pockmarked concrete runway. History was all around me from the strafing Japanese airplanes. It has been over 70 years since that day December 7, 1941, a date which lives in infamy. All around the hangers the scars of war are present.


CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT IN KOKE’E NATIONAL PARK
Hawaii, USA - by Joan Boxall

Bird-watching is the most popular recreation in America, and the Audubon Bird Count summons us every December to the Christmas Bird Count on the ‘Garden Isle’ of Kauai in the Hawaiian Archipelago. With David Kuhn, creator of the website, ‘Sounds Hawaiian’, we add native forest birds to our count.

INTO THE HEART OF FRENCH POLYNESIA
South Pacific - by Tom Koppel

“This place has the feeling of power,” says archaeologist Mark Eddowes at a rectangular terrace enclosed by stone walls. We are on a wooded hillside overlooking the bay where Captain James Cook arrived at the island of Moorea in 1774. Eddowes has been excavating and restoring ancient sites like these, called marae, for many years.

DISCOVERING SAMOA
Samoa - by Clare Gleeson

In 1997 Western Samoa was renamed Samoa. It consists of the two main islands of Upolu and Savai’i plus many smaller ones. Samoa is relaxed and casual, warm and sunny with friendly people, none of whom are in a hurry. You can go to Samoa to enjoy the beaches and unwind, but there’s also plenty to see and do. I was keen to find what remained of its colonial history.

MANA MADE MEMORIES
Hawaii, USA - by Leslie Jones

Awe-inspiring waterfalls, pristine valleys, cliff-top views of the crashing Pacific surf far below all bring the sights and sounds of the entire Hamakua Coast to life. This vast region between Hilo and Honokaa and further up to Waipio Valley, tells intriguing tales of Hawaiian sugar plantations, Hawaiian kings, and paniolos of nearby Parker Ranch. Mana, a term granted to those special places that possess a spiritual quality, is indeed alive and well.

A HUI HOU … TILL WE MEET AGAIN
Hawaii - by Denise Rogers

Is it worth it? Oh yes. We land, retrieve our luggage and walk out into the sunshine. The Trades are blowing; those wonderful, gentle breezes that caress the palm trees and carry the scent of plumeria, just one of the many flowers that grow in the Islands. I can feel my body letting go of all the stressors. We are back on Maui.

SOARING OVER PARADISE
Hawaii - by Larry Zaletel

I have watched gliders in movies before, but not up close. That was the first time that I had seen them. I happened to walk over to the flight line that Saturday after learning about the gliders from one of my Army buddies. I watched as they went about their work with a cool determination. There was more that one glider being readied. I remember that it was a partly cloudy day, the sun occasionally peaking out of the clouds.

INVISIBLE - A MYSTIC TALE
Fiji - by Maiyan Karidi

After being invited to join a traditional Kava ceremony in this small village on the main island of Viti Levu, Fiji, I discover a most mystifying legend which also seems to be invisible to the outside world. The villagers are preparing for the Sunday ‘lovo’, a Fijian earth oven, used to cook vegetables and on special occasions, a pig.

VISITING NERUDA’S HOUSES
Chile, South America - By W. Ruth Kozak

As a diplomat and ambassador for Chile, Neruda travelled to many countries. He collected mementos of all his journeys and these souvenirs, decorate the rooms. Neruda was fascinated by the sea, although he didn’t like to sail on it, and each of his houses are built in a ship motif.

THE JEAN-MICHEL COUSTEAU FIJI ISLANDS RESORT
Fiji, South Pacific - by Mari Kane

As we emerge from our van in front of the Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort, I hear music. Outside, a Fijian guy is playing guitar and singing a welcome home song. Beside him, a Fijian woman is offering us colorful drinks with tiny umbrellas. I want to wave them away with an "aw garsh, ya shouldn't have," until I realize that every guest is serenaded upon arrival.

KAUAI’S CHICKEN RUN
Hawaii - by Teresa Adamowski

y first image of Kauai is from high above on the final approach to the Island. The vibrant red earth is a stark contrast to the intense cerulean ocean. The dirt is red due to the fact that the high iron content of the volcanic soils has had plenty of time to oxidize, especially with the wet conditions of the island. Incidentally, Kauai is the rainiest place on Earth.

THE QUEST FOR KONA COFFEE
Hawaii

Tropical Hawaii conjures up images of warm temperatures, sandy beaches, palm trees, hula dancers and … freshly-brewed Kona coffee. The latter is certainly one of my fondest memories of the islands. I reserve this treat for weekend and holiday consumption only as I can relax and appreciate the rich, smooth, satisfying flavor that it provides.

AN ISLAND WITH AN INFAMOUS HISTORY
Pitcairn Island, South Pacific

In 1790, English sailors staged a mutiny on the board the ship 'HMS Bounty'. They found a safe hideout on Pitcairn Island. After being settled by mutineers, the island’s early history was bloody, with many feuds and violent deaths. Now Pitcairn Island is peaceful and its fifty families, many of them descendants of that infamous Bounty crew, welcome visitors to their idyllic tropical home.

SAILING THE SEPIK RIVER
Papua New Guinea

It was as if we were floating among the stars. They sparkled above me in the sky, and gleamed alongside me in the deep black water. It was 4am, and we were travelling by dug-out canoe down the mighty Sepik River of Papua New Guinea. I had to pinch myself to be sure that it was real.

LAND OF THE UNEXPECTED
Papua New Guinea

If you want to be transported into another world visit Papua New Guinea. From the town site of beautiful Madang, palm trees sway in the warm breeze, and turquoise waves lap on the beaches of deserted islands. It is literally a scene from Robinson Crusoe.

SIGATOKA RIVER - SAFARI TO FIJIAN VILLAGE
The Fiji Islands

The 120 kilometre Sigatoka River flows between the central and western mountain ranges to the coast of Viti Levu, the largest of Fiji’s 333 islands. It is the major means of transportation to this part of the island’s interior. Emerald hills of lush tropical growth and shimmering marble cliffs that had seemingly been sliced by a mighty sculptor’s tool pass us by.

HAWAII’S COWBOY COUNTRY - HISTORIC PARKER RANCH
The Big Island, Hawaii

Surprising to many, Hawaiians were raising cattle long before their mainlander counterparts. Even today, four of the USA’s twenty biggest ranches flourish on the Big Island. So signing on for a cattle country tour, my hubby and I check out Parker Ranch, Hawaii’s oldest and largest.

STROLLING LEVUKA - FIJI'S HERITAGE CAPITAL
Levuka, Fiji

With her extraordinary past still harkening to the 1800's, Levuka snuggles on Ovalau Island's eastern side, just ten air-minutes off Fiji's mainland. Once the South Pacific's lawless 'black birding' center and popular with sailors, whalers and sandalwood traders, Levuka is easily Fiji's most picturesque town today.

TRADITIONAL BOAT BUILDING - LESSONS IN ENVIRONMENTAL & CULTURAL PRESERVATION
South Pacific

My husband, Isaac Bingham won a Watson Fellowship to fund a year-long project titled Savants of the Sea
Boat Building on Two Sides of the Pacific. Although I am not a boat builder by trade, I was overjoyed participate in the project.

CELEBRATING THE ARTS & CULTURE
Maui, Hawaii

At Maui’s most Hawaiian hotel, the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel, Lahaina, Mike White, the enthusiastic general manager has encouraged his staff to participate in Project Po’okela (excellence), which stresses the importance of knowledge and pride in Hawaiian Culture and provides hospitality, helpfulness, respect and honesty, giving visitors an enriched vacation experience.

SURVIVING CYCLONE NARGIS
Mayanmar

When dawn broke, the gardens were a spectacle of utter devastation
royal palms chopped in half; bougainvillea trellises collapsed into the swimming pool; hundreds of ridge tiles shooting off the roofs and crashing into the pool and as far as the lake. The lake itself appeared through the dawn like an ocean, with waves streaking across it as the cyclone circled overhead.