- It never existed. Sandy Island has been shown on weather maps, Google Earth and in scientific publications going back to 2000 as sitting between the Australian mainland and the French island of New Caledonia in the eastern Coral Sea. When scientists from the University of Australia went to visit the island, there was nothing there. Had it mysteriously disapeared or simply eroded away?
- For a quick weekend getaway, you want a direct flight with cheap airfare and fast travel time. Luckily, 21 Caribbean destinations have cheap non-stop flights from Miami. We've ranked them longest (3:40 to Trinidad) to shortest (55 minutes to Nassau), plus included links to the latest airline fares. Go!
Get there even quicker with our Nonstop Caribbean Flights.
- “Take the Dutch-side ferry to the French-side beach, back to the Dutch-side airport.” I’m reading my directions, trying not to take sides. This is one island (only 34 square miles) with two names (Dutch Sint Maarten and French Saint Martin). It has two languages, two currencies and a vague border bisecting it all. Nobody can make sense of it, so they all make the most of it. Taxi driver Fevry from Haiti passes Dutch-side Grand Marché and drops me at French-side Friar’s Bay. “To get back,” he advises, “call a Dutch-side taxi.” French-side taxis charge in more-expensive euros...
- Captain Jimmy gazes silently from the helm of our catamaran. The first time I saw him do this, two days ago, I thought he'd dropped his house keys overboard. Now I've learned not to ask him what he's looking at. His answer is always the same. "Jus' the water, I guess." Neuroscience studies show that when we watch the color blue and calm seascapes, we produce the same stress-relieving alpha brain waves as seen in meditating monks. After musing on the topic, I turn and ask Jimmy if he wants anything to drink. Hello? Cap'n?
- ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Travel is going solo. Travel is forging your own path. Travel is taking leaps of faith. So claim my travel-writing colleagues, though Atlantis’ 60-foot Leap of Faith in the Bahamas isn’t what they had in mind. Visitors drip and shake with giddiness. And here I am, shuffling forward with them. Sharks circle the pools below. ∏he experience oozes manufactured fun,inauthenticity, yet my heart races. “You’re up.” An attendant motions for me to move into the slide’s entrance. It leads nowhere. A blind drop. I adjust my shorts. “Don’t bother,” chuckles the attendant. I smile. Travel is waiting in line for a wedgie.
- I’ve become a cave dweller. So far I’ve been able to resist the urge to hiss creepy Gollum quotes into the darkness, but I know I’ll give in soon. I’m bringing up the rear of a three-person spelunking group, following behind writer Amanda Jones and our local guide, Jeanne, as she leads us through the tribal cave of her ancestors on Lifou Island, New Caledonia.
- He wanted to see Hawaii like few others have. So Dutch expat Bart de Zwart, 41, embarked on a 350-mile cruise from Big Island to Kauai. OK, maybe cruise isn’t the best word to describe Bart’s island-hopping experience. “It took five days,” the surf-shop owner says. “I lost 12 pounds, and the blisters on my hands didn’t heal for two weeks.” Oh, yeah, did we mention that he took the entire trip on a paddle board?
- I fell in love with Silolona the moment our tender pulled up to the magnificent phinisi (traditional Spice Route sailboat) off the shore of West Papua, Indonesia. It likely helped that I was with Patti Seery, the American expat who handbuilt this five-cabin teak boat (with a skilled team of Indonesian craftsmen) and now sails on it often, guiding expeditions throughout the archipelago.
- The Australian in the aloha shirt is leaning against the bow railing of Oceanic Discoverer. Word is out among the 50 other passengers on the expedition ship that I'm searching for that bewitching island James Michener wrote about in Tales of the South Pacific. The island with the power to restore lost innocence. The ship is pointed like a compass needle at Ureparapara, a misty volcano rising from the sea in the far north of Vanuatu. Hidden inside the flooded crater is supposed to be a peaceful Melanesian village completely cut off from the outside world. This could be it.
Read Jad Davenport's In Search of Bali Hai in the just out November issue of ISLANDS.
- Four-hour family dinners. Grammar lessons. Subject-verb agreemenπs. As a teen, I lived in Cancun for seven months, dated a local and, with her and her family’s help, learned enough Spanish to pass a college fluency exam. After college, I lived in Aruba for almost four years. I dated a Dutch woman virtually the entire time. I came back to the States with just three Dutch phrases: “I was wrong.” “You are beautiful.” “Please forgive me.”
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