In looking at the photo tip on "Tasmania's Singular Tree" ("Top Secrets," June 2008 issue p. 109), I'm afraid I don't share the "wild, ethereal vibe of the island," as you describe. My eye is drawn to the red backpacks of the hikers, totally ruining any such "vibe" that might have existed had they not been there. I also note there are quite a few other trees in the background indicating to me we are not looking at a singular, but one of many singular Tasmanian trees. I believe you could have done a better job of selecting the images. I hope photographer Matthieu Paley had better images than that one. -- D. R. Ulrich, Greensburg, Pennsylvania
It was great to get an update on Montserrat ("The Resurrection of Montserrat," June 2008 issue p. 62). I hiked the Soufriere volcano in 1958. We landed on a cliff and swam onto a black-sand beach. It seemed like a small sulphur hot spring then. -- Grace McKenney, Ramona, California
Eleventh Best Island to Live On
ISLANDS magazine is, in and of itself, a vacation destination, and I love every issue. I especially enjoyed the article "The Ten Greatest Islands to Call Home" (July/August 2008 issue p. 42). But I wonder why my favorite island in the world was missed. Sanibel Island on Florida's Gulf Coast may not be as exotic or as inexpensive as many of the locations you mentioned, but it is mostly a nature preserve and the land use regulations are structured to keep it as it is. I think it is also very pretty, has a great school system, lovely restaurants, good medical care and a wide range of housing prices.
For those of us still working or with school-age children, Sanibel's quality of life is both unsurpassed and enhanced by the ability to send our kids to a good school and make a living. -- Sylvia Guarino, via e-mail
Goreng LessonThe last issue (July/August 2008) inspired lots of daydreaming about where to go and where to live. One small note: In "Plan Your Trip: Sumatra" (p. 108), the text mentioned fried rice was "nasi gorent." I am pretty sure that "goreng" actually means "fried" in Indonesian. Our first trip to Bali found us reading the menu in Cafe Wayan when an expat began extolling the virtues of Indonesian food with this one caveat: "I would steer away from the whole goreng family if I were you." -- Clair Beckmann, Denver, Colorado
What island do you most want to live on?
45 percent of readers answered Islamorada for its fresh fish, boats and sunsets.
In the July/August issue, there is an article on Turks and Caicos about the Silver Deep Boutique in Grace Bay and the "Conch Man" ("He Sells (Carved) Sea Shells", Discover p. 26). The end of the article lists silverdeep.com. On that website, I can only get information on diving. The carvings sound fascinating, and I would like to find more information, but I am frustrated. Can you help? -- Don Sayre, via e-mail
Editor's note: Silver Deep is both a tour operator and a boutique shop. For more info, you can contact the shop through the e-mail address on the website, firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have been an avid reader of your magazine for a number of years now. In all of that time I have seen few, if any, articles on American Samoa, Guam or the Northern Mariana Islands. Now is a good time to send a writer and photographer into the Pacific to bring this beautiful area to your readers' attention. American Samoa has a small but most beautiful national park. Guam is much more than just a large military base. The Northern Mariana Islands are a U.S. territory, yet they are little known to U.S. mainlanders. Let's change that in the future. -- Lawrence J. Taylor, Omaha, Nebraska
I subscribe to seven travel magazines, but I always anxiously look forward to getting your issues and devouring them from cover to cover. One of my dreams from years gone by is to go to Tahiti. So whenever you print articles about and photos of Tahiti, I read them with a great deal of interest. Keep on printing good material regarding the South Pacific; this enables me to go there vicariously! -- Rev. Martin Greunke, Papillion, Nebraska
Editor's note: Thanks, Martin. We hope you enjoy Ty Sawyer's Tahiti feature in this very issue!
Our July/August issue, p. 61, shows not a home but a rental villa at El Pescador (elpescador.com) on Ambergris Caye.
"What's Next" Winner
Lorelie Calima-Palma of Garden Grove, California, took one look at the limestone cliffs on the last page of the June 2008 issue ("Home Away From Home" p. 120) and knew the photo was from the Philippines island of Palawan. "It's my favorite place in the world," she says. "Every five years, I spend about a week there to get in touch with nature. I plan to retire there someday when photovoltaic cells are more affordable, so my house will be green to complement Palawan's beauty." Calima-Palma wins a prize courtesy of ISLANDS. Find this month's contest on page 128 and at islands.com/whatsnext.
Greetings From Antigua
ISLANDS Features Editor Matthew Miller recently returned from this Caribbean paradise in the Leeward Islands. Here's his postcard along with some of his insider advice:
- Circumnavigate the island on Adventure Antigua's Xtreme tour and view Stingray City, Hell's Gate and more. On lovely Rendezvous Bay, the crew serves rum punch -- it's a secret recipe, and the secret is rum -- but not till the snorkeling is done.
- Soar with Caribbean Helicopters' half and full-island tours. Flights over the neighboring island of Montserrat explore the still active volcano and the devastated town of Plymouth.
- Zip over gorges with the Antigua Rainforest Canopy Tour. Harness up, clip in and let gravity whip you down one of nine tree fringed cables to the canyon floor.
- Savor lobster salad and watch the lobster divers bring in their catch at OJ's on Crabbe Hill Beach.
- Learn more at antigua-barbuda.org.
Send the ISLANDS editors an e-mail at email@example.com to comment on anything in the magazine or online.