PACIFIC ISLANDS BY ANDREW RAYNER

Pacific Islands. Where to go? What to see? What to do? Andrew Rayner, the author of a wonderful book called ‘Reach for Paradise’, gives his recommendations.

Visit The Marquesas Islands

The Marquesas Islands are stupendous and unspoilt. The high Pacific island of the imagination is here, spectacular scenery, untrodden beaches, ruined cities, mountain spires, and people recovering their culture after the devastation of white man’s diseases and colonial rule. Should it be lagoons you seek, consider the New Georgia area of the Solomons, whose huge areas of reefs and islands and villages scattered through the lagoons of Marovo and Vona Vona are unsurpassed. And for atolls, dream of the Tuamotos. Vast rings of rock with coconut fringed beaches surrounding seas of astounding coral. The narrow passes through which 500 square miles of water oxygenate with the tides nurse a true kaleidoscope of life.

Snorkel the coral

I believe nothing on land is as beautiful. Coral damage is so far local, usually the result of run-off from the land. Everywhere swim, snorkel, and dive if you can. Undersea life is so prolific in the islands of PNG that there must be countless as yet unnamed shells, sponges, fishes. Seek out nudibranchs, nature’s exhibitionists.

Attend the dancing, listen to the music, and talk story with the people

And, I’d add, whatever one’s religious views, go to church. In these ways one can start to be part of this mysterious Blue Continent and perhaps soak up a little of its mana.

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