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Preview: South Pacific Travel Blog

South Pacific Travel Blog

an island travel blog with news and views from the South Pacific

Updated: 2009-03-15T09:03:01.584-07:00


Travel Happy Budget Low


Susanna Zaraysky of Create Your World Books is offering free online books on budget travel and foreign language education until April 5, 2009. Language is Music has 65 tips on how to use music, TV, radio, movies, and low cost internet resources to learn languages. Travel Happy, Budget Low contains 190 tips about budget travel.

Dengue Fever in New Caledonia


Dengue fever is a mosquito-transmitted disease that first appeared in the South Pacific in the 1970s. Signs are headaches, sore throat, pain in the joints, fever, chills, nausea, and rash. This painful illness also known as "breakbone fever" can last anywhere from five to 15 days. Although you can relieve the symptoms somewhat, the only real cure is to stay in bed, drink lots of water, and wait

Fagali’i Airport Apia Samoa


Fagali'i Airport is near the golf course on the east side of Apia, Samoa, just five km from the center of town. Until 2005 Fagali’i received frequent daily flights from Pago Pago, American Samoa, but that year it was closed over safety concerns. The runway is said to be a little short, there are no runway lights, and the navegational equipment could be better. There’s a valley at one end of the

South Pacific Travel Guides


A good place to compare South Pacific travel guides all on one page is Map South Pacific. The latest guides from the main guidebook series – Moon, Lonely Planet, and Frommers – are listed there with links to their pages on five Amazon sites worldwide, plus Fishpond in Australia and New Zealand. For other South Pacific-related books visit the South Pacific Islands Bookstore on A

Tough Times in French Polynesia


French Polynesia’s hotels are feeling the brunt of the recession with occupancy rates down around 20 percent from a year ago. In January, 2009, the hotel occupancy rate was 36.11 percent, compared to 59.96 percent for all of 2007. In 2008, 196,486 tourists visited French Polynesia, the lowest level since 2002 when there were only 189,030 arrivals due to the travel slump after 9/11. In 2007 French

Handout to Air New Zealand


The New Zealand Government has agreed to subsidize Air New Zealand’s flights from Los Angeles to Apia, Samoa. The airline had threatened to withdraw from the route unless the Government of Samoa coughed up some money, effectively wiping out Samoa’s only direct access to the North American and European tourism markets. Samoa’s Minister of Tourism has promised to do all he can to promote the Apia

American Samoa Travel Guide


The full American Samoa chapter from Moon Handbooks South Pacific is now online. This is the fifth of the book’s 15 travel chapters to appear on, after Niue, Pitcairn, Tokelau, and Wallis and Futuna. I updated the information based on a trip to Tutuila, Ofu, and Olosega after the handbook’s 2004 edition was published, and the site’s seven maps were also revised. I believe my site Relaunched


In January the official website of the Moon Handbooks series,, was relaunched with lots of new material on Mexico, Central America, and South America. The site is especially strong on activities, and there are precise 21-day road trips to Costa Rica, Peru, Chile, and Baja California. Several Moon authors have blogs on the site, focusing on Guatemala, Costa Rica, Cuba, Belize, and South

Fiji Butterflyfish Count Results


Last August I announced the Great Fiji Butterflyfish Count organized by the Fiji Government Departments of Tourism, Environment, and Fisheries, Tourism Fiji, and several reef conservation organizations to mark the International Year of the Reef. The count was held from November 2 to 8, 2008, with participants asked to record the number of butterflyfish they saw over a 30-minute period during any

Moon Handbooks Tahiti Online


The 5th edition of Moon Handbooks Tahiti is now on Google Books. This is the 2004 version, the edition before the current 6th edition of Moon Tahiti. The 5th edition still includes the Cook Islands and Easter Island chapters which were removed from the 6th edition for various reasons. So visit Google Books for detailed information on those areas. I intend to post those chapters on

Wallis and Futuna Travel Guide


I’ve had the good fortune to visit the French Pacific territory of Wallis and Futuna twice, once in 1984 when Aircalin launched its service from New Caledonia and Fiji to Wallis Island, and again in 2002 when a cruise ship I was aboard called at Futuna and Alofi. Not that many Pacific travelers manage to reach these islands, which isn’t surprising considering the high cost of airfare, lodging,

Is Sikaiana Sinking?


It’s an inconvenient truth that rising sea levels caused by climate change will render most of the coral atolls of the Pacific uninhabitable by the end of this century. Whole countries like Tuvalu, Kiribati, and Marshall Islands may have to be evacuated. Some atolls are already experiencing flooding as high tides or waves send water flowing right across islands that are less than five meters

Do You Twitter?


Over the past few weeks I’ve been playing around with the many social networking sites out there. Of course, I’ve signed up at Facebook, but I’ve also joined lesser known sites such as Goodreads, a site about reading, LibraryThing, a user-generated library catalog, Linkedin, a network of online resumes, Mahalo, a fun place to ask or answer questions, MySpace, an older social networking site, Red

Pitcairn Islands Travel Guide


I’ve just uploaded my Travel Guide to the Pitcairn Islands which includes most of the Pitcairn Islands chapter from the 8th edition of Moon Handbooks South Pacific. This is the third chapter from my book to go online, after Tokelau and Niue. We’re currently formating a fourth chapter and hope to have it online soon. My Travel Guide to the Pitcairn Islands outlines the geography, history, economy,

Suva Tourist Office Closes


Regular visitors to Fiji will be saddened to hear that the landmark Suva office of the Fiji Visitors Bureau, now known as Tourism Fiji, has closed. The defunct FVB Suva office was housed in the historic customs house dating from 1912 and it’s still not clear what the future holds for the building. The location at the head of Victoria Parade across the street from Suva’s General Post Office made

Solomon Islands Exporting Dolphins


Solomon Islands is back in the dolphin exporting business with 11 more bottlenose dolphins being sent to the Philippines where they’ll be trained to perform at a theme park in Singapore. This is on top of the seven other dolphins sent overseas in recent months. The Ministries of Fisheries and Conservation in Honiara allows up to 100 dolphins a year to be exported by five license holders. No

Seasons Greetings 2008


Merry Christmas Everyone!

Insider’s Guide to Fiji


I’ve written an Insider’s Guide to Fiji for the leading Australian website This free online guide includes suggested one- and two-week itineraries, specific info on scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, ocean kayaking, whitewater rafting, and hiking, reviews of 10 exceptional places to stay, tips on where to eat, recommendations of special places “near the beaten track”, and “where

Solomon Airlines Jacks Up Fares


Beginning on January 5, 2009, it will cost 19 percent more to use the domestic services of Solomon Airlines. In a way, this is good as the old fares were so low that it was often difficult to get a reservation. Now that many local users have been priced out of the market, it will be easier for visitors to get bookings on flights from Honiara to Munda, Gizo, and several dozen other islands. And

Air Tahiti Nui Cuts Back


Declining passenger loads and rising financial losses are forcing Air Tahiti Nui to cut back on services to Australia and North America. The airline’s convenient nonstop service from Sydney to Papeete will be discontinued next year, although the three weekly Sydney-Papeete flights which stop at Auckland en route will continue as before. In 2009 Air Tahiti Nui’s nonstop New York to Papeete flights

Niue Travel Guide Online


I’ve just posted the Niue chapter from Moon Handbooks South Pacific online. The 22-page site includes the original maps of Niue and Alofi from the guidebook, plus many photos and line drawings. I’ve updated the 2004 text from the printed book a bit, and if you see anything else that still needs correcting, just let me know. I believe my online guide to Niue is a lot easier to navigate and more

Inter Island Air Takes Off


The American Samoan carrier Inter Island Air in the only airline offering regular service from Tutuila to Ofuand Tau in the Manu’a Islands. They also have an international flight to Apia, Samoa. The big news is that in June or July of 2009 Inter Island Airways will begin flying to Vava'u and Nukualofa in the Kingdom of Tonga and to Alofi, Niue. The expansion to Tonga and Niue involves the

Visited Countries of the World


The wiki website World66 allows users to create a map of the countries they have visited. My map is above, showing the 185 countries I’ve visited according to their list. However, by my count I’ve been to 196 countries and territories, including these places missing from the World66 list: St Pierre et Miquelon, Zanzibar, Canary Islands, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, North Cyprus, Hong Kong,

Author Number 9,000


I’ve been named Author Number 9,000 in the Winter 2008-2009 issue of BC BookWorld. The magazine’s massive online Author Bank of B.C. literature now includes information on over 9,000 British Columbia writers, with biographies, bibliographies, and essays. It’s well worth perusing if you’d care to learn more about writers living in British Columbia, Canada.

Guide to the Tokelau Islands


I’ve just uploaded an online Guide to the Tokelau Islands with the full Tokelau chapter from Moon Handbooks South Pacific. History, government, economy, and the people are covered in the Introduction, then there are notes on places to stay, food, getting there, and getting around in Travel Facts. Each of the three atolls, Fakaofo, Nukunonu, and Atafu, has an individual page with a detailed island