Recently in Island Travel Category



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We just got this GLOWING update via email from our field rep in Indonesia about the 99,000-acre marine reserve off the coast of Daram Island. (Seacology is funding the construction of a community center in nearby Fafanlap village in exchange for their support of the reserve)

It was so great we just had to share:

The last time I dived this site was with the Seacology trip in 2007 and while it was spectacular four years ago, the reef has exploded with fish life since then. For the first time we saw schools of Napoleon wrasse, blacktip sharks and aggregations of big grouper, all of which seem to have been locally extinct on most Indonesian reefs for over a decade. There were so many fish on this dive that our heads were spinning. I was emphatically pointing one way and Mark was emphatically pointing another way the whole dive. I came out of that dive exhilarated and full of joy and hope that other reefs in the Misool area, with continued protection, will also look like Fafanlap in just a few short years. If they do, I can foresee that S.E. Misool will have THE best diving in the world, hands down.



As school years wind to an end, you may be starting to plan summer vacations. This year, make your summer travel as earth-friendly as possible, with these helpful green travel tips:


  •  Travel of any kind--cars, planes, or even trains--creates carbon emissions that add to the harmful greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, increasing the negative effects of climate change. Reduce your impact by donating to a carbon offset fund. Seacology's Carbon Offset Fund supports alternative energy and reforestation island projects to offset your carbon emissions.

  • If you are visiting a coastal area, make sure to bring your sustainable seafood guidelines, which list which species are overfished and endangered and which are safe to eat. 

  • ARKive species - Northern bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus)
    Above, bluefin tuna, one of the most endangered fish species. 
  • Reduce plastic waste on your trip by bringing along a reusable water bottle and reusable bags.

  • Endangered species can sometimes turn up in meals or souvenirs--you don't want to accidentally bring home a keychain from a loggerhead sea turtle! Familiarize yourself with the world's most endangered species with the color photos and detailed information on ARKive.org

  • ARKive species - Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta)
    Above, a loggerhead sea turtle. 
  • Get inspiration for exciting trip destinations at Trazzler.com, a Seacology supporter and leading travel website.

  • Consider joining Seacology on our upcoming trip to Chuuk, where we will explore underwater coral reefs, shipwrecks, and visit a Seacology project site. Picture2.jpg
    Above, the rainforest Seacology is protecting on Fefen Island in Chuuk. 

Seacology Program Manager Karen Peterson recently returned from a trip to Indonesia, where she traveled with our Indonesia Field Representative Arnaz Mehta and visited Seacology projects.  One of their site visits was on the island of Java, where Seacology has funded a multi-purpose community building in support of the replanting of 72 acres and protecting a total of 267 acres of no-take rainforest. Below is Karen's account of her visit.

On October 24, Arnaz and I flew to Bandung, Java, overnighted, then were met at the hotel by Mandalemekar project coordinator Irman Meilandi.  We then drove four hours to the village.  Though the road approaching the village was not of the same level of ruggedness as what we had experienced on Flores Island a few days earlier, rain has made access into and out of Mandalamekar challenging.  Fortunately, the roads were in decent shape for our arrival.  

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Right, Karen, Arnaz, and Mandalamekar villagers at their local waterfall. 

Top Travel Destinations

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What are today's hottest travel destinations? You guessed it--islands! Lonely Planet, one of the world's leading travel guides, just released its annual list of the top 10 sites to visit. From Polynesia to Iceland, islands dominate the list:

Of the mainland sites, two--Sinai, Egypt, and Istria, Croatia--are peninsulas (or, etymologically, nearly islands!) and another is a coastal region--West Coast, USA. Only one inland destination made the list: Cappadocia, Turkey. So if you are planning a trip in the near future, islands are clearly a good choice.

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Reminder: Smart Travel Contest!

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How would you like to swim next to a 50 foot whale? With the help of Seacology and Trazzler, you can! Submit your travel writing to Trazzler's Smart Travel contest by November 15 and you might win a spot on a Seacology ecotourism adventure to swim with humpback whales in the Polynesian island of Tonga.

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The Smart Travel contest asks: Can Travel Make Us Better People? Do you think travel can make the world a better place? Is it possible to make a positive contribution to a community just by visiting?

Since islands appear in every corner of our planet, Seacology board members, supporters, and staff frequently travel to islands around the world to visit Seacology project sites and meet with communities we've helped.

Now, Seacology has teamed up with Trazzler, an online travel website that recommends personalized travel experiences to its users. Trazzler allows you to submit personal, one-of-a-kind trip descriptions, and then share and suggest them to other Trazzler users. Trazzler promotes Smart Travel--trips that are more than just a visit, but instead allow you to truly explore the world around you as an active, rather than passive, traveler. Trazzler believes that travel can be a good thing in the world--that it can make the planet a better place to live, and make us more conscientious people and global citizens.

Seacology is helping Trazzler put this idea to the test. Trazzler users can enter the Smart Travel contest and submit their own trips. Two lucky winners will be selected to join Seacology on an ecotourism adventure to swim with humpback whales in South Pacific island of Tonga. Tonga is one of the few locations in the world where humans can swim with humpback whales. The 10-day trip will begin in Nuku'alofa, Tonga's capital and continue north to the Ha'apai island group, where travelers will have the opportunity to swim with humpback whales. In addition to up-close whale encounters, the trip will include opportunities for snorkeling and several night dives amidst Tonga's pristine coral reefs--and a visit to the Seacology project in the Ha'apai islands, where Seacology is establishing a marine reserve.

So what do you think--can travel make us better people? Join Trazzler today and share your life-changing trip experiences in the Smart Travel contest! 

Tuvalu - A Nation of Superlatives

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Want to visit the world's least populous nation?  If so, I suggest you pack your sunscreen and head to Tuvalu, whose nine Polynesian atolls are home to 12,373 inhabitants.  Formerly known as the Ellice Islands, Tuvalu achieved independence from England in 1978.  Want to visit a smaller nation?  Only Monaco and nearby Nauru can claim a more diminutive status, as Tuvalu is the world's third smallest nation.  Want to visit a lower lying nation?  Only the Maldives edges out Tuvalu, whose highest elevation is a mere 16 feet above sea level.  It is this latter fact that indirectly led to my recent visit to this very remote island nation. 

You see, Tuvalu is understandably very concerned about the rising oceans due to global warming.  In other parts of the world, this change might impact the types of crops that are grown, how much energy is used, and the introduction of new tropical diseases.  In Tuvalu, rising oceans may submerge the entire nation under water.  As Samuel Johnson said, "The prospect of being hanged focuses the mind wonderfully."  Indeed, for Tuvalu the prospect of being drowned does cause a nation to take rising sea levels very seriously.  Unfortunately for Tuvalu, the negative impacts of the rising oceans are already being experienced in terms of stronger storm surges that reach farther inland.  During my recent visit, many village elders described how this is already happening, with areas that never before experienced flooding now regularly underwater during storms.

It is well known that mangrove forests ameliorate the impact of storm surges.  As was seen in the great Southeast Asia tsunami several years ago, villages that kept their mangrove forests intact suffered less damage than those that had cut their mangrove trees down. Consequently, the Tuvalu atoll of Nanumea approached Seacology for support of a win-win project.  Nanumea has a population of 660 people and outside of government employment there are no (as in zero) paying jobs on the island.  Everyone lives off the bounty of the land and sea in a subsistence fashion.  Therefore Nanumea was seeking support for the renovation and expansion of a Woman's Centre where the local women can make traditional handicrafts for sale in the capital city of Funafuti.  In exchange, the people of Nanumea would begin a two acre lagoon based mangrove nursery and reserve, planting over 1,000 mangrove seedlings along the coastline.  Seacology's response was a resounding "YES."

Along with Seacology president Ken Murdock and 42 other guests on Zegrahm Expeditions' exploratory cruise ship the Clipper Odyssey, I recently attended the official opening of the Nanumea project.  As we came in to the lagoon on our zodiacs, we were serenaded in traditional fashion by villagers who came out to greet us on their kayaks.  After receiving flowered headdresses from the wonderful Pula Taofa, coordinator of the Tuvalu National Council of Women (TNCW), and other high ranking village representatives, we walked over to the new Women's Center.  The speeches made by Pula and her colleagues from TNCW were very moving and made it clear that the Women's Center will allow women to earn income from the manufacture of traditional handicrafts and give them not only much needed income but also a sense of independence and accomplishment. It was then time for Ken Murdock and me to cut the ribbon officially opening the new Center (see photo below).  

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Photo credit Ramona Wilson

We then traveled by zodiac rafts to the other side of the lagoon to inspect the mangrove nursery (see photo below) and plant mangrove seedlings. 

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Photo credit Ramona Wilson

 It is very much in the tradition of Seacology to get our hands dirty (in this case literally) and lend a hand to our projects. The photos below show Jerry and Don Zieglar with a mangrove seedling (left), and local women planting mangroves (right).

Don & Jerry Ziegler Nanumea.JPG Local Women2.JPGWith our work completed, it was now time to celebrate.  The village put on an incredible fest featuring pigs and chicken baked in an earth oven.  Afterwards, we were treated to a wonderful performance of singing and dancing. Ken Murdock and I made our way through the 80 villagers singing in a tight knit circle around a large drum and joined the villagers in the drum circle, which was a very moving experience. As a surprise to my fellow passengers, Seacology had arranged to be the first major customer of the Women's Handicraft Center and with our support, the village presented everyone with gifts of beautiful handmade dresses, necklaces and fans.  It was an event that none of us will ever forget.


Photo credits Giovanna Fasanelli

Whale Sharks In Mexico

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Next time you are in Mexico and someone asks you to play with dominoes, you may be in for a very large surprise.  Due to the many white spots that mark their gray bodies, in Mexico the common nickname for  whale sharks is "dominoes."  Indeed these gentle giants do resemble dominoes - very, very large ones, that is.  At up to 48 feet in length and weighing up to 25 tons, whale sharks, or Rhincodon Typus as they are known to scientists, are the world's largest fish.  Despite their enormous size, comparatively little is known about them.  One of the reasons for this is that there are not large numbers of them left in the oceans and for much of the year they are solitary animals.

Whaleshark0025.jpg Less than ten years ago, marine biologists discovered that during the months of June to September the world's largest aggregation of whale sharks takes place off the coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.  In recent years they can be found north of Isla Mujeres, a small island just off the coast of Cancun.  A smaller number can also be found off of Holbox Island near the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula.  Whale Sharks are listed on the International Union of the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN's) Red List of Vulnerable Species, meaning their future is in danger.

Seacology Island Expeditions

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If our new island projects made you wistful for an island adventure of your own, why not consider joining Seacology on one of our upcoming trips? Seacology trips visit some of the world's most pristine and remote islands, combining rugged adventure with luxury travel for the experience of a lifetime! Our trips include stops at Seacology sites, where we meet island villagers and tour the projects and reserved we've helped fund. Read on for more information on our upcoming trips, and we hope you can join us!

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Do you think travel can make the world a better place? Is it possible to make a positive contribution to a community just by visiting? 

With our global scope, Seacology is a big fan of travel. Our board members, supporters, and staff frequently travel to islands around the world to visit Seacology project sites and meet with communities we've helped.

Now, Seacology has teamed up with Trazzler, an online travel website that recommends personalized travel experiences to its users. Trazzler allows you to submit personal, one-of-a-kind trip descriptions, and then share and suggest them to other Trazzler users. Trazzler promotes Smart Travel--trips that are more than just a visit, but instead allow you to truly explore the world around you as an active, rather than passive, traveler. Trazzler believes that travel can be a good thing in the world--that it can make the planet a better place to live, and make us more conscientious people and global citizens.

Seacology is helping Trazzler put this idea to the test. Trazzler users can enter the Smart Travel contest and submit their own trips. Two lucky winners will be selected to join Seacology on an ecotourism adventure to swim with humpback whales in South Pacific island of Tonga. Tonga is one of the few locations in the world where humans can swim with humpback whales. The 10-day trip will begin in Nuku'alofa, Tonga's capital and continue north to the Ha'apai island group, where travelers will have the opportunity to swim with humpback whales. In addition to up-close whale encounters, the trip will include opportunities for snorkeling and several night dives amidst Tonga's pristine coral reefs--and a visit to the Seacology project in the Ha'apai islands, where Seacology is establishing a marine reserve.

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So what do you think--can travel make us better people? Join Trazzler today and share your life-changing trip experiences in the Smart Travel contest! 


Image from Wikimedia Commons


One of the many things that sets Seacology apart from other nonprofit organizations is our roster of international affiliates.  We now have branches in Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and Scandinavia.  Recently, Seacology's Executive Director Duane Silverstein and Development Director Susan Racanelli traveled to Tokyo for a memorable visit with our good friends at Seacology Japan. Here's what Duane had to say about his trip: 

Our first stop in Japan's capital was speaking at a seminar in front of 300 people.  This seminar was brilliantly organized by Seacology Japan cofounder Akemi Yoshida.  After my speech was completed it was a rather unusual experience to be surrounded by large numbers of people wanting my autograph or asking to have their picture taken with me (a photo with some supporters appears below).  Some were so overcome with emotion they were even moved to tears.  I don't think what I said or how I said it inspired them so much as the people of Japan having a strong affinity for Seacology's important work:  the wonderful island people we help as well as the beautiful island species we protect.  Whatever the reason we can only say domo arrigato - thank you very much!

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the Island Travel category.

Island Species is the previous category.

Philanthropy is the next category.

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