New Caledonia – Kagu’s threatened Home

February 26th, 2014

New Caledonia – Kagu’s threatened HomeWhen something is really expensive then it costs “an arm and a leg”. Against that proverbial background the French overseas department New Caledonia is so expensive, that it costs even the double. The island can be a grave for your hard-earned money, in particular the south, where the capital Noumea slaps your face financially and with the typical arrogant French attitude you can meet in St. Tropez, Nice or Paris. Having after all a pretty much un-Pacific vibe, the island itself is a scenic gem though and worth to be explored as the coast meets high mountains, palms meet pine trees, dead forests meet dammed lakes but also the Kagu, a bird, unfortunately met the European dog, which cut down the bird population to ~700 animals. New Caledonia is a prime examples what maximally invasive western-arrogant course of actions means for fragile eco systems like the South Pacific and its people »»

Abel Tasman National Park – Seal Puppy Playground with Dutch Roots

July 1st, 2013

Abel Tasman National Park – Seal Puppy Playground with Dutch RootsWhen it comes to discovering New Zealand there is no question that James Cook played the most important role, but it was the sailor Abel Tasman from Dutch East India Company who spotted the archipelago being located in South Pacific Ocean as first European ever and even some 100 years earlier than the Brit did. For eternity Tasman’s surname now captions an island, a sea but also New Zealand’s smallest national park. The latter is located on the north coast of the South Island and is a Garden of Eden for all things called flora and fauna. This pearl among Kiwi Land’s refugiums gets completed by its immediate vicinity, the Cape Farewell and the beaches of the Golden Bay. Each of those places belong to the sites a New Zealand visitor should have seen with one’s own eyes »»

Doubtful Sound – Where bold Cliffs meet bold Albatrosses

April 29th, 2013

Doubtful Sound – Where bold Cliffs meet bold AlbatrossesThe Doubtful Sound at the south island’s west coast is one of the large impressive fjords New Zealand has on offer. Unlike Milford Sound, that is usually more known to visitors, it is more winding, has even a couple of islands and its steep slopes are entirely uninhabited unlike Norway’s fjords. Normally clouds hang low between its escarpments and it rains a lot but also for Doubtful Sound the summer of 2013 was a pretty dry one. The wild albatrosses living at the fjord’s estuary don’t care much about that as they have their own water supply. Meeting them close enough to touch and seeing them flying above the wave crests is the most august wildlife experience of southern New Zealand »»

Sunda – Strait at the Fire Mountain

January 2nd, 2012

Sunda – Strait at the Fire MountainWhen magma, which is usually entirely covered by the Earth’s mantle, rises up to the surface and gets in direct contact with water, then experts are only speaking soberly about phreatomagmatic eruptions but the rest of the world gets confronted with an all too often catastrophic explosive power being that immense like a couple of Hiroshima nukes. Back in 1883 such an epic volcanic eruption happened in Indonesia, between Java and Sumatra Islands. More than 20km3 of rocks and ash got tossed into the air followed by an up to 40m high Tsunami that erased all villages framing the Sunda Strait. The old volcano got almost vaporised but its offspring is already waiting in the wings, the Anak Krakatoa; a place that gets reconquered by life under as well as over the waterline »»

Anemonefish

December 30th, 2011

AnemonefishNot many fishes are automatically having that cuteness factor anemonefish do have and at the latest after the Find Nemo film everyone knows them. Though anemonefish can appear in much more different ways than being only orange and painted with two white stripes. No matter how exactly they are looking like, mostly they are very small and the human eye can quickly miss them when they are hiding themselves between dozens of tentacles »»

Rumbling Rabaul – The raging Cauldron of Tavurvur

August 31st, 2011

Rumbling Rabaul – The raging Cauldron of TavurvurRabaul, a settlement in the East of magic exotic Papua New Guinea, has literally one of the hottest chronicles worldwide. On the one hand the equatorial sun is frying everything at temperatures around 30°C and air moisture of ~90%, on the other hand during World War II. Rabaul was caught in the middle when Japanese and US Americans were battling against each other and for dominance in the Pacific Ocean. That’s only the most recent history though. The biggest imminence was and still is the forces of nature as within living memory they ever emerged at that remote spot of our planet. In particular the eastern end of New Britain Island is at the mercy of volcanism and tectonics; there Earth’s most powerful forces are clashing at top speed and get all too often fully unleashed. Earthquakes are a daily occurrence and being powered by a magma chamber located only 3 to 4 kilometres deep, even two fire mountains – Vulcan Crater and the pretty explosive beast of Tavurvur – are letting off their infernal steam. Although this sounds like hell on Earth life, nature and humans are always coming back to this place and in particular wildlife under water could develop to worldwide unique undersea beauty »»

Giant Clams and Golden Jellyfish – Palau

Giant Clams and Golden Jellyfish – PalauThe islands of Palau are an archipelago being located some 1500km to the east of the Philippines. Several thousand years ago a tectonic uplifting process elevated its 356 islands literally to the second storey making them now looking like as if a sloppy painter was at work somewhere amidst the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean and left dozens of green patches behind. The rock islands of Palau are forming a large lagoon housing a worldwide unique variety of submarine life. Doesn’t matter if going below the waterline by snorkel or scuba, unavoidably you’ll become eyewitness of toilet sized giant clams, sharks en masse and countless fish being painted in all possible colours. Palau’s most amazing miracle of nature is a small stand-alone pond full of thousands of golden jellyfish drifting around in time with the shining sun at the Jellyfish Lake »»

On top of Africa – The Ethiopian Highlands

April 18th, 2010

On top of Africa – The Ethiopian HighlandsThe Abyssinian highlands are the final stop for the cloudy water mass that finally feeds the source of the legendary Blue Nile. Its most dramatic region is the area around the Simien Mountains, whose volcanic origin is letting plants thrive and prosper that well that even baboons convert to vegetarianism. At every step done the scent of wild Thyme wafts up your nose and from time to time several thorns fondly hook into your upper arm. Hiking on an altitude of 4000m, you will quickly find yourself at eye level together with the colossal Lammergeier or majestic eagles and maybe there is even a chance to have a glance at the unique and very rare Ethiopian wolf »»

Simien Mountains Panorama

April 14th, 2010

Simien Mountains PanoramaA panoramic photo showing the eastern escarpment of the majestic Simien Moutains, Ethiopia’s biggest scenic highlight. Taken from Imet Gogo and made of 14 single photographs »»

Whooper Swans and Volcanoes – The Northeast of Iceland

June 25th, 2008

Whooper Swans and Volcanoes – The Northeast of IcelandIceland’s fourth biggest town Akureyri is the gate to the island’s spectacular Northeast. Highlights like the majestic Goðafoss, the still pretty active Krafla volcanic region are waiting to indulge your senses as well as the picturesque town of Húsavík. Being located on a wide bay and on the opposite side of snow-covered peaks, it is offering the best opportunities for whale watching in Iceland »»