My 4 Years trip around the World ,part 25 Haida Gwaii ,Queens Charlotte Island ,BC Canada

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Haida Gwaii is located 100 kilometers west of the northern coast of British Columbia, Canada and is an isolated group of over 200 islands, large and small, totaling approximately 3750 square miles or 1,000,000 hectares.

The west coast lays at the edge of the continental shelf – an abrupt tectonic scarp rising from 3,000 metres below sea level to the 1,000 metre-high peak of the San Christoval mountains. Exposed to Pacific Ocean weather systems, it bears the brunt of the strongest winds in Canada, waves up to 35metres, and four metres of rainfall a year.
The east coast is a gentler leeward landscape of sheltered inlets, islands, lowland and plateau, with an annual rainfall of about 80 centimetres, yet is also exposed to high wind speeds from most points of the compass.

The islands’ shores are bathed in nutrient-rich waters of the north Pacific,
their climate tempered by warm offshore currents. There are extensive seabird nesting colonies, large numbers of raptors, and many salmon spawning streams of all sizes.

The closest city to Haida Gwaii is Prince Rupert with a population of 13,392.
The ferry from Prince Rupert to Skidegate is 93 nautical miles or approximately
8 hours in good weather. The islands are situated 48 km south of Alaska, and 720 km north from Vancouver with a population of 2,116,581.
The territory of the Haida Nation includes the entire land of Haida Gwaii, surrounding waters, sub-surface and the air space recognizing the independent jurisdiction of the Kaiganii (southern Alaska) The watersinclude the entire Dixon Entrance, half of the Hecate Strait, halfway to Vancouver Island and westward into the abyssal ocean depths.
– From the Constitution of the Haida Nation

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The Village of Masset is a small fishing village located on Graham Island – the largest of the more than 150 islands that comprise the archepelago of Haida Gwaii (Islands of the People).

Located along the northwestcoast of British Columbia the Village of Masset provides access to northern Naikoon Provincial Park, is the western terminus (Mile 0) of the Yellowhead Highway (HWY 16), and is at the heart of of a unique and vibrant Islands culture.

Famous celebrities and people from all over the world have visited Masset to enjoy the areas pristine beauty, rich sportsfishing and unique culture. As well, Masset is known for its endless hiking trails, magnificent beaches and exceptional birdwatching opportunities. World renowned artists hail from Masset and can be found at studios around the village and at our close neighbour, the Haida community of Old Massett.

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My 4 years trip around the World ,part 24 .Prince Rupert BC Canada

Prince Rupert is a little marine city (population: 15,000) with one-of-a-kind wilderness exploration and wildlife viewing experiences on Northwest BC’s Pacific Coast. It’s also a popular stop on various Alaskan cruises.

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The port city of Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada, is actually on an island at the mouth of the Skeena River, just 40 miles south of the Alaska border and 65 miles south of Ketchikan. Its name was decided in a nationwide contest at the time of its incorporation in 1910, but plans for the city to rival the Port of Vancouver, some 550 miles south, have never been realized.

Arriving into port by ship is breathtaking, as you skirt hundreds of islands and make your way through narrow, mist-shrouded passageways to this town of 16,000 residents. And, because of its moderate climate and mists, it is not unusual to see several rainbows a day, including double and triple rainbows that span the entire horizon.

The natural landscape provides most of the draw for this locale, but it also has a history as one of the oldest continuously occupied regions in the world, with a First Nations culture that dates back over 10,000 years. In fact, the area surrounding Prince Rupert was at one time one of the most densely populated regions north of Mexico. The Tsimshian Nation’s sites and archeological artifacts are available to visitors touring here, and there is a museum dedicated to the First Nations peoples.

If it’s wildlife you seek, Prince Rupert is a dream location, home to Canada’s only Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, the highest concentration of humpbacked whales in North America, white Kermode bears and soaring eagles. Your visit will leave you with a greater appreciation for the interaction between man and the natural world.

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Next trip .Haida Gwaii ,Queen Charlotte Island BC Canada

My 4 years trip around the world ,part 20 .Port Blair and Andaman Islands

Port Blair is the capital city of Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India. Located at 11° 40′ N and 92° 46′ E, Port Blair is the municipal council in the southern part of Andaman, a part of India’s Union Territory.
Port Blair is mainly famous for the Cellular Jail. Being located on the coastal line of Bay of Bengal, the town has got palm-lined beaches with spectacular view of marine life and rare corals. A drive on the bumping roads amidst the lush green forests will make you fall for the place.

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Andaman Islands, island group, Andaman and Nicobar Islands union territory, India, lying in the Indian Ocean about 850 miles (1,370 km) east of the Indian subcontinent. The Andamans have an area of 2,474 square miles (6,408 square km). They are one of the two major groups of islands in the union territory, the other being the Nicobar Islands to the south; together they constitute an archipelago that forms the boundary between the southeastern Bay of Bengal (west) and the Andaman Sea (east). The Andamans extend north-south for about 225 miles (360 km) and include more than 300 islands, some two dozen of them inhabited. The three major islands are North Andaman, Middle Andaman, and South Andaman—closely positioned and collectively known as Great Andaman. Also prominent is Little Andaman, to the south. Of the still-extant original inhabitants—including the Sentinalese, the Jarawa, the Onge, and a group of peoples collectively known as the Great Andamese—only the first three retain a traditional hunting-and-gathering way of life. The Andamans, situated on the ancient trade route between India and Myanmar (Burma), were visited by Lieut. Archibald Blair of the Bombay Marine (the East India Company’s navy) in 1789. The first European settlement on the islands was at Port Blair, situated along the eastern coast of South Andaman. It is now the union territory capital.

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My 4 years trip around the World ,part 19 .PHUKET .CHALONG BAY

Chalong Bay situated a short distance to the south of Phuket Town (approx 7km) is the nerve centre for island hopping, diving, snorkelling and sea fishing tours from Phuket. This bustling hive of activity is the gateway to the islands, dive sites and natural movie sets of the Andaman coast and everyday hundreds of boats filled with tourists leave the bay to explore some of the most spectacular coastline and marine life in the world. The possibilities are staggering, but popular itineraries include tours featuring; Phi Phi Lei (Maya Bay), the fictional setting for the 1994 blockbuster film The Beach, starring Leonardo Di Caprio and James Bond Island, instantly recognisable to those of you that remember Roger Moore duelling with arch villain Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun. Whilst it is undoubtedly the wonders available out in the azure seas that entice the tourists, especially the backpacker crowd, there are many activities to be experienced inland close by to Chalong that make this the epicentre for any smart traveller’s trip to Phuket Island.

It would be a misconception to assume the only fun to be had at Chalong leaves from the main pier. In fact, Chalong boasts some of the finest activities on the island and many of these are conveniently located in one place at the Kinnaree Entertainment Complex, which occupy the same grounds as the Phuket Shooting Range. Located just west of Chalong circle on the road to Kata Beach, the Kinaree Entertainment Complex houses the Phuket Monkey School, Cobra Show and Snake Farm which offer daily shows that will delight and entertain the whole family. The Phuket Shooting range actually offers more than just it’s impressive shooting range and activities include; paintballing, archery, All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) rides amidst the islands stunning mountain scenery, Clay pigeon shooting and Airsoft BB guns activities (similar to paintballing minus the paint).

Phuket Zoo is close by to Chalong and offers an experience like no other. With beautifully landscaped scenery it is home to a stunning array of animals, wildlife and birds and has daily monkey, elephant and crocodile shows. The Aquarium is particularly noteworthy for its spectacular entrance, where visitors have to walk through a giant crocodile’s mouth to get to the wonders within. Other activities include; a round of golf at the Phunaka Golf Course & Golf Academy on a spectacular floodlit 9-hole course, Elephant Trekking in the hills above Chalong, Muay Thai boxing Shows and training and Thai cookery classes.

When the diving, fishing and island-hopping boats return to the bay of Chalong in the evening, the nightlife really starts to kick off. The action is mostly located around the waterfront and from Chalong Circle stretching along Chalong Pier Road. There are a host of bars and restaurants with a laid back, friendly atmosphere offering good Thai and international cuisine. For a colourful, lively scene visit the bars along Chalong Pier Road, which has a similar atmosphere to that which you will find in many of the busy resorts in Phuket such as Patong and Karon. Many of the bars have beautiful hostesses, stay open late, have pool tables and show major sports events. A quality dining option close to Chalong Circle along the Kata Road is the Green Man Pub. This unique bar and restaurant, in the style of a traditional Tudor English country pub, is especially popular on a Sunday when they serve up a famous English Sunday Roast.

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Next Andaman Islands

My 4 years trip around the World ,part 14. BORNEO .TAWAU ,MABUL AND SIPADAN ISLAND

Tawau is a city on the southern coast of Sabah, very close to the border to Indonesia. It dates back to the 1890s, when the area was first settled, and quickly developed into a centre for the export of agricultural products of the region. Nowadays Tawau is the world’s third largest producer of cocoa after the Ivory Coast and Ghana. While Tawau is a pleasant town and has a large number of hotels and restaurants, it does not offer much in term of tourist attractions. Most notable is the Al-Kauthar mosque, completed in 2004. The airport of Tawau, which has direct connections to KL, is the closest airport to Semporna and the Malaysian Celebes sea islands.

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Mabul Island
Mabul is a small island off the south-eastern coast of Sabah in Malaysia. The island has been a fishing village since 1970s. Then in 1990s, it first became popular to divers due to its proximity to Sipadan island.

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Mabul is arguably one of the richest single destinations for exotic small marine life anywhere in the world. Flamboyant cuttlefish, blue-ringed octopus, mimic octopus and bobtail squids are just a few of the numerous types of cephalopods to be found on Mabul’s reef. The sight of harlequin shrimp feeding on sea stars and boxer crabs waving their tiny anemone pom-poms are just a small example of the endless species of crustaceans. Many types of gobies can be found including the spike-fin goby, black sail-fin goby and metallic shrimp goby. Frogfish are everywhere. Giant, painted and clown frogfish are all regularly seen. Moray eels and snake eels of many types can be seen along with almost the whole scorpionfish family. It would be quicker to to list the species not found at Mabul-crazy critters are in abundance at this magical macro site!

Sipadan is a legend in diving circles and with good reason. It is located at the heart of the Indo-Pacific basin, one of the richest marine habitats in the world; where over 3,000 species of fish and hundreds of coral species have been identified. Apart from its supreme location, the island and the dive sites that surround it are filled with spectacular natural formations such as a 600m reef wall and a labyrinth of underwater limestone caves, where many turtles have met their doom.

The tiny island can be circled on foot in less than half an hour, but offers at least nine established dive sites with enchanting names like Hanging Garden, Turtle patch, White-tip Avenue, Coral Garden and Barracuda point.

Although diving is the main attraction of Sipadan, non-divers are welcome to join the diving boats to go snorkelling in Sipadan. Those that want to start exploring the depths can even complete a four day PADI diving course or a one day Discover Scuba Diving course, offered by all the dive centres on the island.

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My 4 years trip around the World ,part 13 SINGAPORE SENTOSA ISLAND

Sentosa Island

Sentosa Island is not called ‘Asia’s Favourite Playground’ for nothing. Sentosa, which means ‘peace and tranquility’ in Malay, is a man-made island located south of the Singapore’s city centre. Visited by millions of people every year, the popular resort is home to a variety of themed attractions, rainforests, stunning beaches, a yacht marina and posh residences. It is hard to believe that before Sentosa became Singapore’s most popular island resort getaway it was a fortress of the British forces in the 19th century. It was only in 1967 that the island was returned to the government and turned it into a holiday resort.

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Next Borneo

My 4 years trip around the The world ,part 9.HONIARA SALOMON ISLANDS

Honiara ,Salomon Islands,Located on the island of Guadalcanal, Honiara is the capital of the Solomon Islands. Once in the spotlight for riots and civil unrest, the city has pushed through hard times to become a popular holiday destination.

Centrally positioned within the archipelago, and rich in World War Two history and Melanesian culture, Honiara is a hub for travellers visiting the South Pacific.
Dining.
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Honiara’s food scene presents an exciting mix of fares and cultures. Traditional dishes and ingredients are sold at markets, road side stalls and small downtown eateries, while a number of globally-inspired restaurants dot the oceanfront and the town’s main streets.

Markets are an integral part of Honiara’s and the South Pacific’s food culture; selling fresh produce and ready-made traditional dishes. Located downtown, the Central Markets are the country’s principal food markets, covering a whole block on the seafront. The SDA Market is a go-to for fresh fish and a quick meal. While the Kukum Market offers fresh vegetables and betel nut.

Neighbourhood canteens are also a great way to discover the Solomon Islands culture. Typically very small – often tiny shacks covered with chicken wire to prevent robberies – local canteens are akin to western-style corner stores, selling everything from mobile phone top-ups to canned goods.

A large expat community sees Honiara foster a modern and diverse international dining scene. Cuisines from all over the globe are represented at a number of reputable restaurants and cafes. Club Havanah is one of the area’s most famous restaurants, frequented by expats who indulge in the French fare, and mingle with local glitterati. On the waterfront, enjoying views of Savo, Raintree Café is another favourite Honiara haunt; serving bountiful pizzas and renowned deserts. A Honiara institution, rarely short of a crowd, Point Cruz Yacht-Club is best known for its cold Solbrew and simple western-style dishes. While downtown, Lime Lounge is a meeting point for expats, plating up satisfying breakfast and light meals.

As an island paradise with a sultry tropical climate, Honiara is privy to an abundance of fresh seafood. Sea King garners high praise for its Chinese-style seafood infused dishes. Cheap and very central, Garden Seafood also serves Chinese seafood staples such as sweet-and-sour fish fillet or prawns with nuts.
Shopping
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Shopping in Honiara proves to be an interesting and exciting experience. Markets bustle with fresh food, clothes and knick knacks, while outlets and shops brim with trinkets and intricately-designed handicrafts.

Atmospheric and bustling, Honiara’s main wharf provides a snapshot of Solomon Islands life. Pick through the chaotic Central Markets for hotchpotch mix of fresh local produce – including vegetables, fruits, fish and betel nut – and custom shell money and jewellery. A busy collection of stalls can be found set up near the wharf Monday through to Sunday.

Honiara is a great place to pick up souvenirs. A number of gift shops speckle the downtown area, selling a wide range of interesting souvenirs. The Melanesian Shop, Island Artefacts, King Solomon Gifts, Nautilus Gifts and the National Museum all stock similarly-priced handicrafts. Betikama Carvings is a great spot to pick up wood and stone carvings as well as woven baskets, shells and furniture. Betikama also features a scattering of war memorabilia.

Clothes shopping in the Solomons is generally limited to sarongs and tourist tees; however there are a number of second-hand shops that sell well known – albeit used – big-name brands. Charities in Australia and New Zealand ship bales and containers of second-hand clothes, books and bric-a-brac to the Solomons, to stores like: Island Clothing, XJ6, Hidden Kaleko Shop and Lei Clothing. It’s easy to tell when a new bale has arrived in store, as typically there is a large line of locals waiting for the shop to open. Chinatown is home to a few notable stores amid souvenir and local type stores.

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Next ,exploring underwater wrecks in Chuuk lagoon ,Micronesia.

My 4 years trip around the World part 8 ,PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Papua New Guinea occupies the eastern half of the rugged tropical island of New Guinea(which it shares with the Indonesian territory of Irian Jaya) as well as numerous smaller islands and atolls in the Pacific. The central part of the island rises into a wide ridge of mountains known as the Highlands, a territory that is so densely forested and topographically forbidding that the island’s local peoples remained isolated from each other for millennia. The coastline is liberally endowed with spectacular coral reefs, giving the country an international reputation for scuba diving. The smaller island groups of Papua New Guinea include the Bismarck Archipelago, New Britain, New Ireland and the North Solomons. Some of these islands are volcanic, with dramatic mountain ranges, and all are relatively undeveloped.

Nearly 85 percent of the main island is carpeted with tropical rain forest, containing vegetation that is a combination of Asian and Australian species. The country is also home to an impressive variety of exotic birds, including virtually all of the known species of birds of paradise, and it is blessed with more kinds of orchids than any other country.

Papua New Guinea’s climate is tropical, as one would expect in a country located just south of the Equator. December to March is the wet season, although occasional rain falls year-round. While Port Moresby, the capital, and other towns on the coast are quite hot in the summer months, temperatures are considerable cooler in the Highlands. July, August, and September are the best months for trekking vacations.

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Next Salomon islands .