trip report: New Zealand – diving Milford Sound, January 2020

The experience at Milford Sound can sound like a big tourist trap with the many visitors all boarding the similar boat cruise. It was an experience we had to settle for during our first visit to the famed fjord when weather canceled our original plans. To my surprise, the natural aesthetics of the sheer rock faces and tall waterfalls among the moody clouds was more than enough to overcome the tourist crowds on these cruises and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience that day. 

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It only added to my desire to return and see the wonderland from below. Fortune would have it, a couple of diving spots opened up for Mark and I and I would get my wish the second time around.

This is the fifth entry of our Australia and New Zealand trip series covering our dives in Milford Sound and our subsequent stay in Queenstown. You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted.

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trip report: Australia – diving the Great Barrier Reef, December 2019

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the CNN’s Seven Natural World and UNESCO World Heritage Site covering approximately 133,000 sq mi (344,400 sq km) off the coast of northeastern Australia in the Coral Sea (wikipedia). With recent coral bleaching (wikipedia) from climate change (The New York Times), there was no question of where we were going in Australia. So in this edition of travel2dive, aka just my dive log, we boarded the Ocean Quest liveaboard and really went down under 17 times over the course of 4 days to bring in the New Year.

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This is the third entry of our Australia and New Zealand trip series covering our diving adventures on the Great Barrier Reef (3) from day 4 to day 8. You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted.

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trip report: Australia & New Zealand – decisions & planning, December 2019

In the travel enthusiast game, it is all about jumping on opportunities. This specific opportunity we took advantage of were a couple of one way flights from Auckland, New Zealand to the U.S. for 6000 American Airline Miles each, which is as close to free as you can get. The final result was my first visit to Australia to dive the Great Barrier Reefs and a return to the south island of New Zealand over the winter holidays. Reflecting now on that trip, which took place just before the 2020 pandemic and the travel restrictions, the notion of jumping on opportunities to travel when we can do so safely again in the future seems all the more important. For now, all I can do is to reflect on our adventures down under.

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This is the first entry of our Australia and New Zealand trip series covering our pre-trip planning (1). You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted.

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trip video: Fakarava & the South Pass (Tetamanu), March 2019

This is the final companion videos to our French Polynesia trip during March 2019 where we traveled to the atoll island of Fakarava. We went to Fakarava for the world class scuba diving at the passes that separate the ocean and lagoon of the atoll. In this video, we dove the South Pass (Tetamanu) twice, once from lagoon to ocean and once from ocean to lagoon. In between our dives, we visited pink sand beach.

You can find an linked index of our detailed trip report below.

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trip report: French Polynesia – final impressions & budget, March 2019

Over the course of just over a week, we racked up a bill that rivals some of our longest trips and by far exceeded our cost per day than any we’ve done before. That’s not even counting the point redemptions used and the amount we save through the travel enthusiast game. In the end, we were indeed left with an unforgettable experience. Some of which I am good with not return to, such as the resorts on Bora Bora. While others I would love enjoy again, like the underwater wonderland at the passes on Fakarava.

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This is the conclusion of the French Polynesia trip series. You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted.

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trip video: Fakarava & the North Pass (Passe de Garuae), March 2019

This is the second of the companion videos to our French Polynesia trip during March 2019 where we traveled to the atoll island of Fakarava. We went to Fakarava for the world class scuba diving at the passes that separate the ocean and lagoon of the atoll. In this video, we dove the North Pass (Passe de Garuae) five time over our first 2 days on the island. We found an aquatic wonderland with grey sharks, white tip reef sharks, swordfish, napoleon wrasse, and schools of smaller fish.

You can find an linked index of our detailed trip report below, as they are posted.

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trip report: Fakarava, March 2019

Did someone say a wall of sharks? That was our draw to visit the island atoll in the middle of nowhere and what we found was my most memorable scuba diving experiences to date. Oh, the beaches weren’t too bad either.

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This is the third entry of the French Polynesia trip series covering our experiences on Fakarava (4) and getting out (5). You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted.

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trip video: Bora Bora, March 2019

This is the first of the companion videos to our French Polynesia trip during March 2019. Specifically this video covers our time on the resort island of Bora Bora. We enjoyed the St. Regis and InterContinental Thalasso resorts including the beaches, the activities, and the views they had to offer. Finally we swam with the fishes as we dove with Top Dive and saw three types of sharks.

You can find an linked index of our full trip report below, as they are posted.

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trip report: Bora Bora, March 2019

Bora Bora is one of the premier resort islands in the world and probably the most traveled to island for tourists in French Polynesia. On the other hand, it also has the nickname “Boring Boring” in the backpacker world for the lack of unguided adventure available and the isolation of the resorts on the perimeter atoll islands. The truth, ofcourse, is somewhere in between.

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This is the second entry of the French Polynesia trip series covering our experiences on Bora Bora (3). You can navigate to the other parts in the index below.

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