Sunday, April 6, 2008

Moon Handbooks South Pacific (8th edition)

The central Pacific has been described as the 'liquid continent', a vast ocean studded with hundreds if not thousands of inhabited islands. Traveling birders and other naturalists will eventually be drawn to some of these archipelagos in search of unique birds such as the Kagu (Rhynochetos jubatus) of New Caledonia or the Tuamotu Sandpiper (Prosobonia cancellata) of French Polynesia. Seabirds abound as do spectacular coral reefs and remote atolls. There is an abundance of places to visit and things to see.
"The Pacific, greatest of oceans, has an area exceeding that of all dry land on the planet. One theory claims that the moon may have been flung from the Pacific while the world was still young."David Stanley, Moon Handbooks South Pacific
The meat of the guide is divided into 15 major sections covering French Polynesia (Tahiti, Moorea etc), Pitcairn Islands, Easter Island, Cook Islands, Niue, Kingdom of Tonga, American Samoa, Samoa, Tokelau, Wallis and Futuna, Tuvalu, Fiji Islands, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands. For each, there is a substantial introduction (history, tips on appropriate conduct etc), followed by a detailed travel guide entitled 'Exploring the Islands'. This includes suggestions for activities (cultural, snorkeling etc), types of accommodation, visa requirements, healthy and safety and an exhaustive compendium of travel options. Finally, each major island destination is reviewed in turn with maps, hotel suggestions and so on. Really this is 15 regular guide books squeezed into one, yet the book is light enough (paperback) and small enough to easily fit in your carry-on luggage.

Canadian David Stanley has been exploring the central Pacific since the late 1970's and is a prolific travel writer. Indeed the 1st edition of his South Pacific guide was published in 1979. He researches his books in cognito and is amused by his numerous encounters will fellow travelers who are using his guides. Even for the armchair traveler this is a fascinating book and extremely useful for anyone planning a trip to the region.

Title: Moon Handbooks South Pacific (8th edition)
Author: David Stanley
Publisher: Avalon Travel Publishing
Publication date: 12 Nov 2004
Paperback, 1136 pages, 7.8 x 5.4 x 1.9 inches, numerous maps and B/W photos.
ISBN-10: 1566914116
ISBN-13: 978-1566914116
Retail Price: US$24.95

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