The South Seas
One year we wandered around the south seas for two months, a completely unforgettable experience. Here’s some ‘thumbnails’ of that excursion, more later.
Truk Lagoon, Micronesia
On December 7th, 1941, 353 planes took off from the flight decks of 6 Japanese aircraft carriers and by noon, 33 vessels of war bearing the flag of the United States were either sunk or damaged beyond repair in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It took the United States over two years to deal the payback blow called “Operation Hailstone”. On February 16th and 17th, 1944, the United States Navy, Air Force and Marines unleashed wave after wave of fury on the berthing grounds of the entire Japanese Southern Battle Fleet in Truk Lagoon. When it was over, nearly three times the tonnage sunk at Pearl Harbor was on the bottom, and with it sank the aspirations of the Japanese to take over Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia and Australia. Today, many of these huge sunken remnants of WWII remain intact, for the most part, with machinery, cargo, guns, ammunition, stores, spare parts, small planes and crew still aboard. The hulls of these vessels also provide a unique artificial reef structure which is home to some of the most beautiful, yet rare species of flora and fish found on earth. Despite its remote location in the southern reaches of the Caroline Archipelago, nearly 1,000 adventurous SCUBA divers and snorkelers travel to Truk each year to explore these astonishing underwater museum pieces. Just one of the frequent, explosive light displays near dusk over Truk Lagoon, Micronesia. This was once the communications headquarters for the entire Southern Japanese Command. It is one of few steel reinforced concrete structures still standing on Eten, one of the main islands in Truk lagoon. Pock marking from many calibers of weapon fire is easily visible. Most of the islands still bristle with remnants of Japanese occupation which took place during most of the 1930’s. more later . . .
The Society Archipelago: Tahiti and Moorea
If ever a place fulfilled each and every fantasy of the perfect island paradise, Moorea is the place. It is no wonder Moorea was chosen as the backdrop for movies such as South Pacific, Love Affair and Mutiny on the Bounty. From Captain James Cook, who originally discovered the island in 1689, to James Michener and Arthur Frommer in the 20th century, it has been described as unlike any other place on the planet ( I definitely agree ). Tahiti is seen in the background. Cook’s Bay on Moorea, one of the most aesthetic island vistas found anywhere. Mount Tohivea and Mouaroa are seen in the background, totally immersed in lush tropical forestation. more to come . . .
It doesn’t take long to experience what existence must have been like in the Stone Age while in Australia. The ancient Cassowary, a flightless strange holdover from another time, roams the rainforest in North Queensland.
more to come . . .