Fiji is the product of volcanic mountains create around 150 million years ago surrounded by warm tropical waters. Its majestic and ever-varied coral reefs today draw tourists from around the world. Fiji is a land of tropical rainforests, coconut plantations, fine beaches, fire-cleared hills. For the casual tourist it is blessedly free of evils such as malaria, landmines, or terrorism that attend many similarly lovely places in the world.
The country comprises an archipelago of more than 333 islands, of which 110 are permanently inhabited, and more than 500 islets, amounting to a total land area of circa 18,300 square kilometers (7,100 sq mi). The farthest island is Onu-i-Lau. The two major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, account for 87% of the population of almost 860,000. The capital and largest city, Suva, is on Viti Levu. About three-quarters of Fijians live on Viti Levu’s coasts, either in Suva or in smaller urban centres like Nadi (tourism) or Lautoka (sugar cane industry). Viti Levu’s interior is sparsely inhabited due to its terrain.
Satellite photo of San Alfonso del Mar Resort in Algarrobo, Chile, about 100 km (62 mi) west of the capital Santiago. The resort is recognized as having the world’s largest swimming pool.
The pool is 1.013 km (0.629 mi) long, covering 8 hectares (20 acres), containing some 250,000,000 litres (55,000,000 imp gal; 66,000,000 US gal) of seawater, with a maximum depth of 35 m (115 ft). The water is pumped, filtered, and treated from the Pacific Ocean.
The pool was developed by Fernando Fischmann; his Chilean company Crystal Lagoons built the pool, which opened in December 2006. While early estimates put the total cost of construction at about US$3.5 million for the filtration system alone, more recent estimates are in the area of US$1.5 billion to US$2 billion total for construction and almost US$4 million in annual maintenance.
Reserved exclusively for Guests on Disney Cruise Line Bahamian and Caribbean cruise vacations, Castaway Cay is Disney’s private port-of-call paradise. On this island, visitors will enjoy tropical leisure activities, such as snorkeling, boating, swimming and sunbathing.
Castaway Cay is a private island in the Bahamas which serves as an exclusive port for the Disney Cruise Line ships Disney Wonder, Disney Magic, Disney Dream, and Disney Fantasy. It is located near Great Abaco Island and was formerly known as Gorda Cay. In 1997, The Walt Disney Company purchased a 99-year land lease for the cay from the Bahamian government, giving the company substantial control over the guest experience on the island. A post office on the island has special Bahamian postage specific to Disney Cruise Line, and a “Castaway Cay” postmark.
History and development
Gorda Cay was once used as a stop for drug runners. There is an airstrip on the island, but it is no longer in regular use nor maintained. Gorda Cay had also been used for filming; the beach where Tom Hanks first encounters Daryl Hannah in Splash is on the island.
Disney is said to have spent US$25 million to develop and outfit the island. Construction took 18 months and included dredging 50,000 truckloads of sand from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. The pier and its approaches were constructed to allow the Disney ships to dock alongside, thus removing the need for tenders to get the passengers ashore. To create the mooring site for the ships, workers dredged sand and used explosives to blast coral, and form a 1,700-foot (520 m) channel about 35 feet (11 m) deep and ranging from 200 to 400 feet (120 m) wide. Read more on Castaway Cay.
North and South Malosmadulu Atolls, Maldives, an island republic in the northern Indian Ocean, southwest of India. The Maldives are made up of a chain of 1,192 small coral islands, which are grouped into clusters of atolls. It has a total area of 298 square kilometers and a population of about 330,000. The capital and largest city is Male, with a population of about 80,000. Arguably the lowest-lying country in the world, the average elevation is just 1 meter above sea level.
Maldives waters are home to several ecosystems, but are most noted for their variety of colorful coral reefs, home to 1100 species of fish, 5 species of sea turtles, 21 species of whales and dolphins, 187 species of corals, 400 species of molluscs, and 83 species of echinoderms. Many crustacean species are there as well: 120 copepod, 15 amphipod as well as over 145 crab and 48 shrimp species.
Pleiades satellite image of Mount Rushmore National Memorial a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota, in the United States. Sculpted by Danish-American Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum, Mount Rushmore features 60-foot (18 m) sculptures of the heads of four United States presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is host to almost three million visitors a year from across the country and around the world. They come to marvel at the majestic beauty of the Black Hills of South Dakota and to learn about the birth, growth, development and the preservation of America. Over the decades, Mount Rushmore has grown in fame as a symbol of America a symbol of freedom and hope for people from all cultures and backgrounds.
“The purpose of the memorial is to communicate the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of the United States with colossal statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.” – Gutzon Borglum
Satellite image of Costa Concordia recovery operations that took 19 hours and the the ship at the time was two-thirds underwater and was put on underwater platforms.
There were more than 25 nationalities who worked lifting the 115,000 ton ship, using a technique known as “parbuckling”.
The salvage of the Costa Concordia so far has cost 600 million euros.
Costa Concordia a $450 million ship was just two hours into a week-long Mediterranean cruise when it collided with a rocky shoal off the island of Giglio on January 13, 2012, tearing open a huge hole that forced the evacuation of its 4,200 passengers and crew and killing 32.
The captain of the ship is on trial for alleged manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the ship during a panic-stricken evacuation.
To watch a video footage of searching the Concordia underwater, visit here.
Wadi Rum “The Valley of the Moon” is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in southern Jordan 60 km (37 mi) to the east of Aqaba; it is the largest wadi in Jordan. Wadi Rum has been inhabited by many human cultures since prehistoric times, with many cultures–including the Nabateans–leaving their mark in the form of rock paintings, graffiti, and temples.
The highest elevation in Wadi Rum is Mount Um Dami at 1,840 m (6,040 ft) high, second highest Jabal Rum 1,734 metres (5,689 ft) above sea level and third Khaz’ali Canyon is the site of petroglyphs etched into the cave walls depicting humans and antelopes dating back to the Thamudic times. The village of Wadi Rum itself consists of several hundred Bedouin inhabitants with their goat-hair tents and concrete houses and also their four wheel vehicles, one school for boys and one for girls, a few shops, and the headquarters of the Desert Patrol. Read more on Wadi Rum….
Designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, Giant Sequoia groves, and biological diversity. Almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness. Yosemite was central to the development of the national park idea.
Yosemite is one of the largest and least fragmented habitat blocks in the Sierra Nevada, and the park supports a diversity of plants and animals. The park has an elevation range from 2,127 to 13,114 feet (648 to 3,997 m) and contains five major vegetation zones: chaparral/oak woodland, lower montane forest, upper montane forest, subalpine zone, and alpine. Of California’s 7,000 plant species, about 50% occur in the Sierra Nevada and more than 20% within Yosemite. There is suitable habitat or documentation for more than 160 rare plants in the park, with rare local geologic formations and unique soils characterizing the restricted ranges many of these plants occupy. Visit Yosemite National Park…
Victoria Falls is a waterfall in southern Africa on the Zambezi River at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.The recent geological history of Victoria Falls can be seen in the form of the gorges below the falls. The basalt plateau over which the Upper Zambezi flows has many large cracks filled with weaker sandstone. In the area of the current falls the largest cracks run roughly east to west (some run nearly north-east to south-west), with smaller north-south cracks connecting them.
Over at least 100,000 years, the falls have been receding upstream through the Batoka Gorges, eroding the sandstone-filled cracks to form the gorges. The river’s course in the current vicinity of the falls is north to south, so it opens up the large east-west cracks across its full width, then it cuts back through a short north-south crack to the next east-west one. The river has fallen in different eras into different chasms which now form a series of sharply zig-zagging gorges downstream from the falls.
Apart from some dry sections, the Second to Fifth and the Songwe Gorges each represents a past site of the falls at a time when they fell into one long straight chasm as they do now. forming the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It was described by the Kololo tribe living in the area in the 1800’s as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ – ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. In more modern terms Victoria Falls is known as the greatest curtain of falling water in the world.
Columns of spray can be seen from miles away as, at the height of the rainy season, more than five hundred million cubic meters of water per minute plummet over the edge, over a width of nearly two kilometers, into a gorge over one hundred meters below. Read more about Victoria Falls.
The Nazca Lines are a series of ancient geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert in southern Peru. They were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The high, arid plateau stretches more than 80 kilometres (50 mi) between the towns of Nazca and Palpa on the Pampas de Jumana about 400 km south of Lima. Although some local geoglyphs resemble Paracas motifs, scholars believe the Nazca Lines were created by the Nazca culture between 400 and 650 AD. The hundreds of individual figures range in complexity from simple lines to stylized hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, fish, sharks, orcas, and lizards.
The lines are shallow designs made in the ground by removing the reddish pebbles and uncovering the whitish/grayish ground beneath. Hundreds are simple lines or geometric shapes; more than seventy are zoomorphic designs of animals such as birds, fish, llamas, jaguar, monkey, or human figures. Other designs include phytomorphic shapes such as trees and flowers. The largest figures are over 200 metres (660 ft) across. Scholars differ in interpreting the purpose of the designs, but in general they ascribe religious significance to them. Read more about the Nazca Lines.