Friday, April 4, 2008

Thirteen Islands in the Deep

Thursday Thirteen

People have always been fascinated by islands. The idea of living on your own little piece of earth isolated from all the rest of humanity and its problems is a romantic one--not necessarily the most practical--but still a dream shared by people all over the world. Here are thirteen of the earth's small islands, some barely inhabited, others...well you shall see.

1. Hvar Island
--Called one of the top ten most beautiful islands, it is located in the Adriatic Sea and belongs to Croatia. It is 68 kilometers long and not very wide. Apparently this island is populated with 11200 inhabitants who enjoy 2750 hours of sunshine every year and, with that said, I imagine they live off the tourists...well, the travel brochure did say something about agriculture, old olive trees and wine, but wow look at all the white sand beaches!

This picture of a little city street on Hvar is so good I may do an entire blog entry about it some day...or a novel. I love the bougainville and... I could just ramble on and on.

2. San Blas Islands. These "barely above sea level" islands are just off the coast of Panama, protected from the Atlantic by a hook of land. It still takes hours in a small boat to get to them. They are inhabited by the Kuna people. (Well some of them are; others are just for growing coconuts.)

A couple of years ago my son spent a week on one of these islands while on a missions trip to Panama. It was quite an experience. He really enjoyed sleeping in a hammock and making friends with the Kuna people and language. I can't imagine living in such crowded conditions though. The close up is amazing.

3. Islas Marias--These small islands located just west of Mexico in the Pacific look like a great place to visit.

The three small ones, however, make up the Islas MarĂ­as Biosphere Reserve, and no one lives there. About a thousand people live on the largest island--Maria Madre. There is a penitentiary there, so they are support personnel for the most part. Rats! Probably no great hotels and restaurants. And it's ironic that the prisoners don't even get to appreciate the island charm.

4. Semisopochnoi Island--Off the coast of Alaska. When I google-earthed this one, I was amazed by the clarity,
and also by the snow covered mountains.
It looked like a design or something...then I researched it and found out that it is uninhabited. The reason may be that volcano in the center.

It is called Mount Cerberus, if that is any clue.

5. Carcass Island --This one is one of the Falkland Islands which Argentina keeps trying to get back from Great Britain.

It is mostly uninhabited, but there is a sheep farm nestled in a coastal valley. I zoomed in and decided I'd love to visit it. The isolation looks good to me. Don't know why Argentina wants the sheep farm though, at least not enough to fight a war over it.

6. Isle of Man. This one looked fascinating on Google Earth, just because of its location, nestled between England and Ireland in the Irish sea.

Called a self-governing Crown dependency, it is populated, but this shot of a rainbow over lonely fields made me want to pull on a sweater and hike here.

7. Likoma--Located in Lake Nyasa in Malawi, this island has a capitol, buildings, churches...all of which don't show up on Google Earth yet, but they must have gotten these pictures from somewhere!

Here's a house built 'midst the trees.
Maybe they are all nestled in such greenery,
and that's why they don't show up.

8. King Island, Tasmania--this one is populated with under two thousand people and has been called a "beautiful parallel universe a short distance from Australia’s second biggest city that might as well be a million miles away in time and space." Sounds like a great place to go. Of course if all you internets rush over there it will be a "crowded parallel universe". Hmmm. Wait a minute...parallel universe? Sounds good, but if you think what it actually means, how can one small island qualify? I think they need to find better words...unless this is actually a space gateway, a wormhole disguised as an island...hmmm.

 has a nice beach.

9. Pitcairn Island This is the only inhabited island of a group of four islands in the south Pacific which were formerly considered a British colony, but are now called a British overseas territory, the last remaining in the Pacific.

This island is known best for its inhabitants, descendants of the mutineers of the Bounty, and those from Tahiti who accompanied them to this unknown place of refuge. There are about 50 inhabitants, from 9 families, and this makes this jurisdiction one of the least populated in the world. It also looks like a lovely place to live.

10. Gotland Island, situated in the middle of the Baltic Sea, belongs to Sweden. It has 58,000 inhabitants and is appreciated by visitors from throughout the world.

There are desolate moors, meadows, cliffs, and beaches. Agriculture abounds, but there are also many old buildings to see, beginning with the 92 medieval churches still in use on the island.

10. Jaguanum
--(Close to Rio de Janairo, Brazil) Ok. This, I think, is a true tourist island...all the food, fishing, and hoopla associated with that. Witness these pictures. You might like it. Doesn't look too far from Paradise.

12.Viringili--This Island is a very small chunk of land south of Minicoy Island near India. The story goes that all of Minicoy's lepers were banished to this place (to live on coconuts and drink salt water, I guess.) Some sources say it was for small pox victims. Alas. Today it is used for a place to stop the tour and have a picnic. Hmmm. I guess it's good there are vaccines.

Robert Island--One of the Shetland Islands South of Chili. A good deal south.
The picture seems reasonably pleasant, the penguins for pets and all,
but when I googled it on Google earth,
I think I caught it off season.

Hmmm. Wonder how long that season lasts?
Something tells me that if you live here,
you'd better have a well insulated igloo
and a wardrobe full of furs.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Out of This World

Someday, a thousand years from now, or maybe more,
I'll have my own little planet...
I'd like a fixed orbit; I'm stable like that. But once it's running,
I'd enjoy the right to man it.
(Or woman it...I suppose...whatever.)

I think I'd enjoy some river banks and willows all green and golden,

And I like clouds, big, billowing clouds, and mountains to the sky
Gardens, fountains, houses nestled quietly in the hills
And for a little variety--four moons sailing high.

Stars that twinkle in the dark,
children laughing in the park,
Cool breeze, Fall freeze, lonely trilling of the lark,

Orange skies in the evening, every now and then,
Fluffy snow, misty Fog, wet rain in the emerald glen
Roses scenting evening walks,
people around for occasional talks,
and music-I can't forget music-at least every now and then.

So this world, give or take a few weeds, mosquitos and spiders
Would be strangely similar to what I already know.

Why can't I think of something totally new--a new color at least, one that no one has ever imagined.
Or a new smell, a new sight, a new place to go.

Ah, maybe I can't really think of the new because, at heart,
I'm still too fond of the old.

Sunday Scribblings