New Zealand orders 186,000 square inches of skin from US for volcano victims

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE USA TODAY)

 

New Zealand orders 186,000 square inches of skin from US for volcano victims

USA TODAY

New Zealand has ordered 186,000 square inches of skin grafts from the United States to aid the burn victims from the eruption of a volcano on a popular tourist island.

Twenty-nine victims of the White Island volcano eruption Monday were in intensive care in burns units throughout New Zealand — 22 of whom were in critical condition and require airway support, Dr. Pete Watson, the chief medical officer at Counties Makanau Health of New Zealand, said in a press conference Wednesday.

A majority of the burns, said Dr. John Kenealy, the clinical director of surgery at Counties Makanau, were very severe. Some patients’ burns covered 90 to 95% of their bodies.

“We currently have stock but are urgently sourcing additional supplies to meet the demand for dressing and temporary skin grafts,” Watson said.

One person died overnight, and one Australian patient will be transported and repatriated back to the country “to enable treatment closer to home.” More Australians will follow, Watson said.

New Zealand volcano eruption:At least 6 killed on popular tourist attraction island

Is the cruise line liable?:Royal Caribbean passengers hurt in New Zealand volcano eruption

The severity of the burns and other injuries, Watson said, is “complicated” by the gases and chemicals of the scalding steam from the eruption.

“This has necessitated more rapid surgical treatment of these burns than is the usual case for thermal only burns,” Watson said, noting that treatment for some patients may take months.  Doctors, he said, are working round-the-clock to help victims.

Forty-seven people were on the island at the time of the eruption, some of whom were walking along the rim of the crater. Six deaths have been confirmed; eight others are missing and feared dead, New Zealand authorities said.

More steam and mud erupted from the volcano Wednesday, further delaying recovery efforts for the missing.

Twenty-four of the confirmed visitors on the island were Australian, nine were American, five were New Zealanders and the others were from Germany, Britain, China and Malaysia. Many were passengers on the Ovation of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

The first confirmed death was a New Zealander, Hayden Marshall-Inman, who worked as a guide for tourists around the island.

“This number of burns is unprecedented in New Zealand,” Kenealy said, “and in the rest of the world.”

Contributing: The Associated Press. Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_bote

‘Unfathomable grief’ as eight still missing at New Zealand volcano

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

‘Unfathomable grief’ as eight still missing at New Zealand volcano

At the time of the volcanic eruption, the island was being visited by a group of more than 30 people from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Ovation of the Seas, which left Sydney on a 12-day voyage last week.

WORLD Updated: Dec 10, 2019 06:48 IST

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Whakatane
The eruption at White Island -- also known as Whakaari -- occurred just after 2:00 pm Monday (0100 GMT), thrusting a thick plume of white ash 3.6 kilometres (12,000 feet) into the sky.
The eruption at White Island — also known as Whakaari — occurred just after 2:00 pm Monday (0100 GMT), thrusting a thick plume of white ash 3.6 kilometres (12,000 feet) into the sky.(@ALLESSANDROKAUFFMANN/via Reuters)

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expressed “unfathomable grief” Tuesday for tourists caught in a deadly eruption at the White Island volcano, where five people have died and eight more are feared dead.

Ardern held out no hope for the eight people still missing after Monday’s tragedy, saying overnight aerial reconnaissance flights had found no signs of survivors.

“The focus this morning is on recovery and ensuring police can do that safely,” she told a press conference.

Among the missing and injured are tourists from Australia, the United States, Britain, China and Malaysia, as well as New Zealanders who were acting as guides.

“To those who have lost or are missing family and friends, we share in your unfathomable grief and in your sorrow,” Ardern said.

“Your loved ones stood alongside Kiwis who were hosting you here and we grieve with you.”

In addition to the five dead and eight missing, Ardern said 31 people who were on the island during the cataclysm were in hospital with various injuries, including serious burns.

In the hours after the eruption, police had determined the risk was too great for on-land rescues.

Police spokesman Bruce Bird said a helicopter has scoured the area for 45 minutes, checking if anyone was still alive — without success.

Safety concerns have stalled the effort to recover bodies.

“We will only go to the island when it is safe to do so for our people,” said Bird.

A large proportion of the victims are thought to be Australian.

At the time of the eruption, the island was being visited by a group of more than 30 people from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Ovation of the Seas, which left Sydney on a 12-day voyage last week.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said 24 Australians were among those on the volcano tour.

“We must prepare for some difficult news in the days ahead,” he said.

Britain’s high commissioner in New Zealand said two of its citizens were being treated.

Camera feeds went black

The eruption at White Island — also known as Whakaari — occurred just after 2:00 pm Monday (0100 GMT), thrusting a thick plume of white ash 3.6 kilometres (12,000 feet) into the sky.

The island is about 50 kilometres (30 miles) offshore in the picturesque Bay of Plenty and attracts about 10,000 visitors every year.

Seconds before, live camera feeds showed a group of more than a half dozen people walking on the crater floor. Then the images went black.

The threat level at the volcano had been raised in recent days, and questions are already being raised about whether it was safe for tour groups to visit.

Cruise operator Royal Caribbean had sold a day trip to White Island as an “unforgettable” adventure to New Zealand’s most active volcano, one that took visitors so close to the action they could require gas masks and hard hats.

White Island Tours said it “operates through the varying alert levels” but that “passengers should be aware that there is always a risk of eruptive activity regardless of the alert level.”

Ardern said there were legitimate questions to be asked but they could wait until the emergency response was complete.

“The focus today is on providing critical care for those who have been injured,” she said.

Scientists said there had been increased activity at the volcano over the past week — but nothing to indicate an eruption was imminent.

“The eruption was unfortunate but not completely unexpected,” said Jessica Johnson, a geophysicist at the University of East Anglia.

She said levels of activity “have been relatively high since September, and even more elevated over the last couple of weeks,” with small earthquakes and more volcanic gas detected than usual.

Volcano Eruption On White Island New Zealand: 5 Dead ‘No Sign Of Life’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

New Zealand volcano: ‘No sign of life’ after White Island eruption

Media caption Tourists could be seen waiting to be evacuated from White Island

Reconnaissance flights over New Zealand’s White Island volcano have not identified any survivors there after Monday’s eruption, police say.

About 50 people are thought to have been touring the uninhabited island. At least five died and 23 were rescued, some critically ill with burn injuries.

Police believe anyone who could have been found alive was evacuated.

A naval ship is due to approach the island, which has yet to be searched because of the risks to rescuers.

Tourists were seen walking inside the crater of White Island volcano moments before it erupted.

“Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island,” the latest police update says.

White Island, also called Whakaari, is the country’s most active volcano. Despite that, the privately owned island is a tourist destination with frequent day tours and scenic flights available.

Stills from a live feed show the crater minutes before the eruption
Image captionA group of visitors (circled) could be seen inside the crater before images went dark
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Deputy Police Commissioner John Tims told reporters that “both New Zealand and overseas tourists” were believed to be involved.

What happened at the volcano?

White Island erupted at around 14:11 (01:11 GMT), sending up a thick plume of ash and smoke which was filmed by visitor Michael Schade.

Mr Schade, who was on a boat leaving the island after a morning tour, told the BBC he had been at the crater just 30 minutes before the disaster.

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“We had just got on the boat… then someone pointed it out and we saw it,” he said.

“I was basically just shocked. The boat turned back and we grabbed some people that were waiting on the pier.”

Another witness, Brazilian Allessandro Kauffmann, said in an Instagram post in Portuguese that his boat had left five minutes before the eruption.

“This other tour that arrived right after, unfortunately they did not manage to leave in time, and there were some people that suffered serious burns,” he added.

A live feed from the volcano showed a group of visitors inside the crater before the stream went dark.

Who was caught up in the disaster?

Up to 20 people are believed to have been injured, several of whom were brought by helicopter to Whakatane, the nearest town on the mainland, Reuters news agency reports.

There are few details about those caught in the eruption. Some who had gone to the island were passengers from the Ovation of the Seas, a cruise ship owned by Royal Caribbean.

It left Sydney last week and stopped near Auckland on New Zealand’s North Island before arriving in the city of Tauranga, near White Island, on Sunday.

BBC graphic
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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australians had “been caught up in this terrible event”, adding that authorities were “working to determine their wellbeing”.

A web page set up by the New Zealand Red Cross for families to register missing loved ones includes people from Australia, New Zealand, the US, India, Britain and other European countries.

Why are tourists allowed on the island?

The island, also known as Whakaari, is privately owned and is typically visited by thousands of tourists every year, despite the fact that it has been erupting in some form since 2011.

Geological hazard monitors GeoNet pass on information about the volcano’s activity to tour operators and the police, but tourists make their own decisions about whether to visit.

Visitors are supplied with hard hats and gas masks to protect against sulphurous steam and must have suitable footwear to make the tour, according to New Zealand website Stuff.

The owners of Whakatane-based company White Island Tours are the official guardians of the island, which was declared a private scenic reserve in 1952, and they grant access through designated tour operators.

According to the New Zealand Herald, White Island Tours warned on its website that visitors “should be aware that there is always a risk of eruptive activity regardless of the alert level”, while stating it followed a “comprehensive safety plan which determines” its activities on the island “at the various levels”.

Map of White Island
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Company chairman Paul Quinn said the event on the island had been a “terrible tragedy” and the company’s “thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been impacted”.

The BBC has contacted White Island Tours for comment.

Last Tuesday GeoNet warned of a heightened level of activity at the site, but also said that “the current level of activity does not pose a direct hazard to visitors”.

White Island has seen several eruptions over the years, most recently in 2016 but no-one was hurt in that event.

BBC graphic
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Are you in the area? If it’s safe to share your experiences then please email [email protected].

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White Island volcano eruption: One dead, others missing in New Zealand

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

White Island volcano eruption: One dead, others missing in New Zealand

A photo from the New Zealand Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences showing the eruption Monday.

(CNN)At least one person has died and an unknown number are missing after a volcano on New Zealand’s popular White Island tourist destination erupted Monday.

Speaking at a press conference Monday, New Zealand National Operation Commander Deputy Commissioner John Tims said the fatality was a person who had already been evacuated from the island.
Tims said that there could be more than 20 people still on the island who had not been heard from since the eruption.
“At this stage it is too dangerous for police and rescue services to go on to the island… the island is currently covered in ash and volcanic material,” he said.
Tims said in a statement that fewer than 50 people were believed to have been on the island at the time of the eruption and about 23 had already been evacuated.
“Emergency services are working to ensure the safety of everyone involved, including rescue staff,” the police statement said.
About 20 tourists from the nearby cruise ship Ovation of the Seas were on White Island at the time of the eruption, New Zealand Cruise Association chief executive officer Kevin O’Sullivan told CNN.
“Our hope is that everyone will be recovered quickly and unharmed,” he said. The Ovation of The Seas is one of the largest cruise vessels in the world, according to operators Royal Caribbean.
Images of a crater on the island from cameras run by the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences appear to show a group of people inside the smoking center just minutes before the eruption.
Speaking at an earlier press conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it was too early to say how bad the injuries were but added it was her understanding that a number of those affected were tourists.
Speaking to CNN-affiliate Radio New Zealand, St. John Ambulance said that up to 20 people are believed to have been injured in the eruption, adding that a mobile triage unit was on its way.
Tourist Michael Schade and his family had been on the volcano just 20 minutes before it erupted. They were waiting on a boat, about to leave, when the eruption occurred.
Schade took videos of the ride leaving the island, showing giant plumes of thick black smoke as the boat quickly departed.
“Boat ride home … was indescribable,” Schade wrote on Twitter. “Those are some of the people (our) boat picked up. Praying for them and their recovery. Woman my mom tended to was in critical condition but seemed strong by the end.”
Photos from New Zealand’s official geological hazard information site Geonet showed a huge plume of white smoke rising above the island on Monday afternoon, local time.
“Whakaari/White Island is erupting. More information soon,” announced GeoNet in a notice on their official Twitter.
Injured from White Island volcanic eruption are ferried into waiting ambulances in Whakatane, New Zealand, Monday.

Most active cone volcano

The White Island or Whakaari volcano is New Zealand’s most active cone volcano according to the GeoNet website. It has been built up by more than 150,000 years of volcanic activity.
A cone volcano is the most immediately recognizable mountain-shaped variety, as opposed to shield volcanoes or calderas which are far more flat in shape.
A volcanic ash advisory was issued at 2:30 p.m. local time (8:30 p.m. ET Sunday) by MetService, New Zealand’s meteorological service. New Zealand Police called for people in the affected ashfall areas to stay indoors.
The Volcanic Alert Level was raised to 4 shortly after the eruption, and the Aviation Color code is orange, according to GeoNet. Two hours later it was lowered to level 3, due to “diminished” activity in the area of the volcano.
New Zealand’s National Emergency Management Agency said the eruption occurring at White Island is “hazardous in the immediate vicinity of the volcano” and that the agency is assessing the situation with scientific advisers to determine the severity of the threat.
Whakaari/White Island is dubbed “one of the world’s most accessible active volcanoes” on a White Island Tours website, which offers ocean cruises near the island and a guided tour depending on the status of the varying volcanic alert levels.
According to the GeoNet website, more than 10,000 people visit the island every year.

3 Volcanoes You Can Hike

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Volcanoes You Can Hike

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to reach the summit of a volcano on foot and stare down into its crater? Achieving this entry on your bucket list is surprisingly a lot easier than you might imagine. And your reward for completing the adventure is unrivaled views, spectacular sunsets and a true edge-of-the-world sensation. Here’s three volcanoes that you can hike in a day.

Atitlán Volcano, Guatemala

Credit: Simon Dannhauer/Shutterstock.com

Soaring to a height of 11,598 feet, the Atitlán Volcano is the tallest point of a chain of volcanoes that tower over Lake Atitlán. This dormant stratovolcano has erupted over a dozen times since 1469, with the last activity recorded in 1853. Guided hikes depart from the lakeside town of San Lucas Tolimán and you can opt to return the same day or camp overnight. Gear up to hike amid coffee plantations, corn fields, a cloud forest, and craggy, arid landscapes. At the summit you can warm your hands over thermal steam and then sit and admire the views. Gaze over the rolling Guatemalan Highlands and down to Lake Atitlán. Spot the peaks of San Pedro Volcano and Tolimán Volcano. Keep an eye open for azure-rumped tanager and horned guan, among other rare bird species.

The best time to hike Atitlán Volcano is during the dry season between November and May.

Find more information about hiking Atitlán Volcano.

Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland

Credit: Peter Wemmert/Shutterstock.com

Eyjafjallajökull gained notoriety in 2010 when its eruption sent volcanic ash flying across North Europe and brought air travel to a standstill. Things have since calmed down at this 5,417-feet-tall ice-capped stratovolcano and it is among Iceland’s most popular summer hikes. So strap on your hiking boots and prepare to witness an authentic snapshot of Iceland’s dramatic countryside. The 8-hour trek takes you up mountainsides, along streams and to the top of glaciers. You’ll traipse through snow and ash before arriving at the about 2-mile-diameter crater. Views take in the Mýrdalsjökull and Tindfjallajökull glaciers and the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago. On your return, rest up in the Seljavallalaug outdoor swimming pool.

The best time to hike Eyjafjallajökull is from March to September. Outside of these months temperatures can become dangerously low.

Find more information about hiking Eyjafjallajökull.

Mount Ngauruhoe, New Zealand

Credit: travellight/Shutterstock

Made famous as Mount Doom in The Lord of the Rings, Mount Ngauruhoe stands at the heart of Tongariro National Park on the North Island. This 7,516-feet-tall behemoth is an active stratovolcano, although the last registered eruption was in 1977. A 90-minute hike brings you to the base of the volcano and the first section is suitable for all ages. After this is a challenging section up a 45-degree incline, over rocky terrain and across ice caps and lava flows. At the summit, you can walk around the outer rim of the crater and enjoy unsurpassed views of Mount Ruapehu and Mount Tongariro. The first section is part of the 12-mile-long Tongariro Alpine Crossing, which passes lakes, springs and volcanic craters.

Mount Ngauruhoe and the Tongariro Alpine Crossing are accessible year-round but you should prepare for snow and sub-zero temperatures at all times.

Find more information about hiking Mount Ngauruhoe.

4 Strangest Greetings From Around the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

4 Strangest Greetings From Around the World

How do you say hello? If you’re in the United States, this typically means saying “hello”. If you don’t know the person very well, you shake hands. And if you do, you probably hug. Of course, there are variations, as a cheek kiss is common among many subcultures within the American fabric, like Hispanic Americans and Southerners. But we know that depending on the country you call home, greetings can vary. You typically bow in countries like Japan, China or South Korea, or present praying hands in countries like Thailand, India, and Malaysia. But there are a few cultures that have a truly unique way of saying hello.

Sticking Your Tongue Out (Tibet)

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In the west, this isn’t the nicest way to greet someone. Typically, sticking your tongue out at someone is seen as an act of menace or something that children do to each other to show displeasure. But in Tibet, there’s a real reason why this greeting is considered positive. As the story goes, King Lang Darma ruled during the ninth century. However, he was a cruel leader and as if straight out of a storybook, had a black tongue to boot.

Because Tibet is a Buddhist nation, they believe strongly in the concept of reincarnation. So, as time passed, the people began the custom of briefly sticking out their tongue as a salutation. While it may seem odd to a westerner, this is meant to prove that the person you’re encountering is a friendly individual and not King Lang Darma reincarnated.

Hongi (New Zealand)

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While the Hongi is attributed to New Zealand, it’s important to clarify that this greeting isn’t performed by all Kiwis (New Zealanders). It has its origins in the indigenous Māori culture but has slowly been adopted by other Kiwis. The Hongi is a forehead press of sorts where you press your forehead down to your nose with another person. The greeting has mythological origins, stemming from the story of the creation of women. According to legend, after the Māori god Tāne-Nui-a-Rangi created the first woman (Hine-ahu-one) from the earth, he breathed life into her by pressing his forehead and nose to hers. Hence, the Hongi is often referred to as the breath of life.

Today, the Hongi can be performed for practically any occasion from a standard greeting on a regular day to an emotional one say, at a funeral or a wedding. And outside of Māori culture, the greeting is often seen at diplomatic events between New Zealand and friendly nations.

Adumu—The Jumping Dance (Masai)

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The Adumu is not a greeting in the traditional sense of the word. It is a traditional dance that is performed only by the Masai people of Kenya and Tanzania. And while they often perform the Adumu for traveling safari guests who are part of tour groups, it’s not a standard greeting for everyday occasions. In the Masai culture, the Adumu is a rite of passage dance that is meant to show that young men are now coming of age after completing 10 years of living apart from the rest of their community. So, in a sense, it is a greeting into adulthood.

The dance involves the new men showing off their prowess by performing a series of very athletic jumps with serious height—not just for the village elders, but for the eligible (and unmarried) women. And if they complete the dance they then re-enter the general Masai society as men and can marry and begin families of their own.

Kunik (Inuit)

Credit: Delmaine Donson / iStock

You’re probably more familiar with the Kunik greeting than you think. Most westerners know it by its lay name “Eskimo kisses”—but avoid using this term. The word “Eskimo” is considered disrespectful because it represents a time when European explorers labeled all of the indigenous people from Alaska, Canada, and Greenland under one name. Instead, call the indigenous people Inuit. The Kunik is more than just a nose rub though. It involves pressing your nose and upper lip onto another person’s forehead, nose or cheek and breathing in their scent.

However, the Kunik is an intimate greeting, so don’t expect to see perfect strangers performing it with each other. Instead, it’s usually reserved for family. Contrary to popular belief, the Kunik isn’t a replacement for “normal” kisses. And the weather isn’t so harsh up north that you can’t kiss someone on the mouth. Also, the Kunik isn’t meant to be romantic and is most often seen between a mother and her child.

5 Best Places to See Wild Penguins Beyond Antarctica

(THIS ARTICLE IS CUTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

5 Best Places to See Wild Penguins Beyond Antarctica

Penguins may be rare to see in the wild, but that doesn’t mean you have to go all the way to Antarctica to catch a glimpse of them in their natural habitat. There are between 17 and 19 species of penguin that currently exist on the planet, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere. Unfortunately, the penguin population is declining because of climate change, overfishing, and pollution, all of which have had a drastic impact on the places they call home.

Cape Town, South Africa

Credit: SL_Photography / iStock

South Africa’s southern tip is home to the African penguin, particularly at Boulders Beach just outside of Cape Town. The African penguin is one of the endangered species, having lost 80 percent of its population over the past 50 years. The penguin colony in Africa, which begins in southern Namibia and goes all the way down to Port Elizabeth in South Africa, began not too long ago, in 1983. They migrated from Dyer Island to reach the plentiful food source at Boulders Beach. Thanks to conservation efforts, there are now more than 3,000 African penguins in the Boulders Beach colony, so plenty to see here where penguins are concerned. Boulders Beach is located inside of Table Mountain National Park, and aside from penguin viewing with magnificent views, the area is also great for swimming, hiking, wind sailing, and plenty of other wildlife viewing opportunities.

Tierra del Fuego, Argentina and Chile

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The Tierra del Fuego archipelago at the southernmost part of South America is separated from the mainland by the Strait of Magellan. Two-thirds of the area is Chilean and one-third is Argentine. The islands of Tierra del Fuego are where Magellanic, Humboldt, Rockhopper, Gentoo, and King penguins can be found in the wild. Penguins can be reached via the southernmost city in the world: Ushuaia, Argentina. From there, you can find day tours to visit the penguins, some even offering the chance to walk among them (in tour groups that never exceed 20 people). Here the penguins, often in crowds of hundreds, waddle adorably along the shore.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Credit: jmmf / iStock

Most penguins don’t live in tropical climates, nor in the Northern Hemisphere; in fact, only the endangered Galapagos penguins do, and they live here year-round. This is unusual for penguins, as they usually migrate with the seasons. The western Galapagos islands have much cooler water, and that is where many of the penguins can be found, namely on Fernandina Island or Isabela Island. No tour of the Galapagos Islands would be complete without visiting the penguins. Likely you will see the penguins from a boat, but if your tour offers swimming, you may very well find yourself in the rare circumstance of being in the water alongside these cute little guys. The Galapagos National Park Service does not allow tourists in certain areas, so before booking a tour, it’s best to determine with them that you will be able to see the penguins from a reasonable distance.

Phillip Island, Australia

Credit: 4FR / iStock

The smallest species of all penguins, called the Little Penguin, live mainly on Phillip Island, about a 90-minute drive from Melbourne (where you can also see koalas, seals, whales, anteaters, and wallabies). The only other place they can be found is in New Zealand. These penguins are about a foot tall and weigh less than 3 pounds. Today, the most typical way to see them is from an elevated viewing platform when they get back from the day’s fishing to feed their young. If you would like to see this grand parade of penguins up-close, there are limited tour options available, allowing people to walk among the penguins on a remote beach.

Sub-Antarctic New Zealand

Credit: Darren Creighton / iStock

While 13 species of penguin have been spotted in New Zealand, only nine breed there, and only three on the mainland. Those three, which people can visit, are the Little Penguin, the Hoiho Penguin, and the Fiordland Crested Penguin. You can see the Little Penguin in the evening or at night when they are on shore in Oamaru, Akoaroa Harbour, Marlborough Sounds, Dunedin, and Stewart Island. At Otago Peninsula, not too far south from Dunedin, you’ll be able to visit the rare, yellow-eyed Hoiho Penguins up-close in their natural habitat. The Fiordland Crested Penguin is one of the rarest of them all, and they live on New Zealand’s South Island in the rainforests of Lake Moeraki, Stewart Island, Fiordland, and Haast. Because these wild penguins are on the decline, many tour operators offer sustainable ecotourism.

Some penguin species are endangered and some aren’t (yet). The best time to pay wild penguins a visit, outside of Antarctica, is during the Southern Hemisphere summer season. During this time these charming tuxedoed creatures spend more time breeding and nesting onshore.

Landscapes Around the World You Won’t Believe Exist

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

Landscapes Around the World You Won’t Believe Exist

Earth is home to some spectacular natural vistas – dense forest, raging rivers and rugged mountains are sights we are all familiar with. But there are a few places that you may be surprised that you can even visit on this planet. Here are some landscapes from around the world that you won’t believe exist.

DAILY QUESTION

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

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This expansive salt flat covers over 4,000 square miles high in the Bolivian Andes. Formed by the slow growth, reduction, and disappearance of many different lakes over the last 50,000 years, Salar de Uyuni is like no place on Earth. While the unending plain of snow-white salt is something to see on its own, the real show begins after a rain has passed over and transforms Salar de Uyuni into the world’s largest mirror.

Lake Baikal, Russia

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The largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Baikal holds more water than all the Great Lakes combined. But it becomes much more than just a massive lake during the winter, when the lake freezes over for five months. The frozen water is so clear that you can see almost 150 feet below the surface. In March, as temperatures begin to rise, the icy crust begins to crack, and ice shards are pushed above the surface. Sunlight streams though the blocks of ice and shines in an unearthly shade of turquoise.

Waitamo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

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There are over 300 limestone caves in the Waitamo region of New Zealand. One has been capturing the imagination of visitors for generations – the Waitamo Glowworm caves. The roof of this cave is home to a massive population of Arancamoa Luminosa, glow worms that bathe the cave in pale greenish blue light as visitors glide across the shallow waters of the cave.

Mount Roraima, Venezuela

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This flat-top mountain sits at the intersection of Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana. It has inspired both the native South Americans and visitors to the region for centuries. Somewhat more recently, the unique landscape served as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s inspiration for his novel, The Lost World.

In the novel, Sir Doyle imagines a world apart from the rest of the planet, cut off and inaccessible, still inhabited by dinosaurs and other creatures from bygone eras. If you have a chance to see Mount Roraima’s flat, 12-square mile summit towering above the clouds, surrounded by cliffs over 1,000 feet high, you’ll understand how Sir Doyle envisioned a world where life could continue undisturbed.

Zhangjiajie, China

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Deep within the Wulingyuan scenic area of China’s Hunan province lies the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. Abundant greenery hides the true star of the park – freestanding pillar formations that were carved out over centuries of physical erosion. These pillars also served as the inspiration for a famous science-fiction setting: the alien jungle of James Cameron’s film Avatar. It was modeled after the Zhangjiajie forest.

Zhangye Danxia, China

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The Zhangye National Geopark consists of natural rock formations with fabulous bands of color streaked through them. The formations are the result of more than 20 million years of sandstone and other minerals depositing in the area. The deposits were then twisted to their current angle by steady tectonic movements, which give them the striking appearance they have today.

Valley of the Ten Peaks, Canada

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High in Canada’s Banff National Park lies Moraine Lake, an Alpine destination where crystal-clear waters are bordered by a tall evergreen forest, which is in turn dwarfed by ten imposing peaks, all of which are over 10,000 feet. The lake can be easily reached by road, which means you can visit one of the most awe-inspiring destinations in North American with little more than a long drive.

The world’s 6 rainiest cities

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

The world’s rainiest cities

Do you love the rain? Read on! You’re about to learn some great destinations that’ll give you all the rain you can handle. Do you hate the rain? You should read on too! You’ll get a good sampling of locations to absolutely avoid the next time you plan a trip. Love it or hate it, keep reading to hearing about the world’s wettest, rainiest, and soggiest cities. (Rainfall data courtesy of World Atlas.)

6. Debundscha, Cameroon

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Average annual rainfall: 10,299 mm (405 inches)

First on our list (though sixth in overall ranking), we have the African village of Debundscha. This region is among the wettest places in the world for two reasons: its position near the equator (providing a long rainy season) and its proximity to Mount Cameroon. This massive mountain tends to block rain clouds from drifting away, forcing them to dump copious amounts of rain on Debundscha every year.

5. San Antonio de Ureca, Bioko Islands, Equatorial Guinea

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Average annual rainfall: 10,450 mm (411 inches)

Like Debundscha, the African village of San Antonio de Ureca features a tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons, which contributes significantly to its overall rainfall. The small region receives a staggering 411 inches of rainfall each year, making it the wettest place on the entire African continent.

4. Cropp River, New Zealand

Credit: Lukas Bischoff / istock

Average annual rainfall: 11,516 mm (453 inches)

Heading across the globe, we have New Zealand’s Cropp River. Running over 6 miles before connecting with the larger Whitcomb River, the Cropp region receives copious rainfall each year, with its record-breaking downpours once reaching over 41 inches in a 48-hour period. Of course, few residents live in the mountainous Cropp River region, so locals aren’t fazed by these drastic downpours. And fortunately, this surplus of water plays a big role in New Zealand’s economy, so you aren’t likely to hear anyone here complain about the rain.

3. Tutunendo, Colombia

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Average annual rainfall: 11,770 mm (463 inches)

Earning the title as wettest region in South America, residents of Tutunendo, Columbia, are no stranger to the damp. Over 463 inches of rainfall drench the region each year, even during the not-so-dry “dry” season, when rain falls nearly 20 days per month. Like many others on this list, Tutunendo’s proximity to the equator and tropical climate are the culprits behind its record-holding precipitation rate. Combined with its consistently high temperatures and high humidity, Tutunendo’s tropical rainforest climate isn’t for the faint of heart.

2. Cherrapunji, India

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Average annual rainfall: 11,777 mm (464 inches)

Let’s head east to the Indian subcontinent to visit the runner-up for rainiest city in the world: Cherrapunji. Located in the eastern Indian state of Meghalaya, Cherrapunji receives an average annual rainfall of 464 inches, outstripping nearly every other city on Earth. Its heavy rainfall is a result of its location; situated in a highland climate with monsoonal seasons and nestled close to the elevated Khasi Hills, the combination of subtropical climate and geography creates the perfect storm for precipitation. Unfortunately, and ironically, locals have a tough time finding water in Cherrapunji. The encroaching pressures of deforestation and soil erosion have created serious dryness problems in the area, despite its regular rainfall.

1. Mawsynram, India

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Average annual rainfall: 11,871 mm (467 inches)

At the very top of our list, we have Mawsynram—an Indian village located just miles from Cherrapunji. Mawsynram sees a record-setting 467 inches of rainfall per year and is regularly reported to be the wettest city in the world. The geography of Mawsynram is quite similar to Cherrapunji, with many of the same subtropical conditions and regular monsoons contributing to its near-constant rainfall. In fact, there’s some debate about which one of these Indian cities is the real wettest city, as annual rainfall scores between the two tend to fluctuate. But whichever town takes the crown, it’s clear that this region of India experiences some of the heaviest rainfall you’ll see anywhere on earth.

New Contenders for Wettest City?

Due to how much variance there can be in annual rainfall totals, the globally-recognized “wettest city” tends to change over time. The above Indian cities have consistently received the most rainfall over the years, but other regions, such as Mount Waialeale in Hawaii, have received even more in years past—as much as 683 inches back in 1982!

Thus, it’s hard to say with certainty which region is truly the rainiest. But despite these fluctuations, it’s clear that the insane rainfall experienced by these cities is hard for any region to match.

5 Southernmost Capitals in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

5 Southernmost Capitals in the World

All of the world’s top five southernmost capitals are located in the temperate zone of the southern hemisphere, and nearly all are oceanic. These cities, by and large, enjoy milder climates than regions at higher latitude and experience winters from June to September. Trade, education, and multiculturalism are hallmarks of the southernmost capitals of the world, which make them must-see sites for those with wanderlust.

5. Cape Town, South Africa

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The oldest city in South Africa is also one of the world’s southernmost capitals. The coastal “Mother City” is known for its harbor and as a destination for expats and immigrants. It is the oldest urban center of South Africa, dating back to 1652 when it served as a supply station for Dutch ships. The region was first described in writing by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias in 1488, and little is known of its first inhabitants. The nation’s end to Apartheid was marked in the 1990s, and the city currently serves as a multicultural hub. South Africans predominantly speak English with Afrikaans and Xhosa following in second and third.

4. Buenos Aires, Argentina

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The city of “fair winds” is the fourth southernmost capital in the world. As of 1994, an Argentinian constitutional amendment in the wake of a long political battle granted the city autonomy through federalization. As such, it is no longer part of the province of the same name. Quality of life in Buenos Aires is ranked among the highest in Latin America for its multicultural citizens. It is a “World City” or “alpha city,” referring to its significance in global trade, and is home to European architectural influences as well as a rich cultural heritage.

3. Montevideo, Uruguay

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Montevideo is the third southernmost capital city in the world and the southernmost in the Americas. The City’s history dates back to 1724 when Bruno Mauricio de Zabala of Spain founded the city as a strategic move in the Spanish-Portuguese regional dispute. The name of the city remains a subject of debate to this day, though there is agreement that “Monte” refers to the hill “Cerro de Montevideo” across the bay. The capital of Uruguay, Montevideo is the ninth-highest income-earning city in the world, serving as an economic, cultural, and technological hub. Montevideo is home to many of the nation’s top institutes of higher learning and the nation’s chief port.

2. Canberra, Australia

Credit: Chadwick Clark / Shutterstock.com

The capital of Australia, in addition to its being located at one of the lowest latitudes among capital cities, also makes the top ten list for largest cities in the world. In fact, it was the size of Canberra that led to its selection as a capital in 1902 over rivaling-sized Melbourne. Similar to Brasilia and Washington, D.C., the development of Canberra was entirely planned. Although the first World War and the Great Depression affected world trade to the extent of hindering initial plans for the Australian capital, modern Canberrans enjoy the influences of the garden city movement with large expanses of natural vegetation as well as geometric design motifs like circles, triangles, and hexagons.

1. Wellington, New Zealand

Credit: Mlenny / iStock

With a little over 400,000 residents, Wellington is the most populous urban area of New Zealand. Situated between Cook Strait and the Remutaka Range, Wellington is both the world’s southernmost capital and the windiest city in the world. Home to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the New Zealand Ballet, and the world’s largest wooden building (the Government building), Wellington has served as New Zealand’s capital since 1865. Though the city serves as the nation’s chief port, most of Wellington’s economy is service-based with a focus on business, finance, and social services.

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