Biyernes, Mayo 25, 2012

Seven Wonders of Nature 2012

The New Seven Wonders of Nature Unveiled
After a claimed 100 million votes cast, the provisional results are in for the new Seven Wonders of the World. The winners are listed below, and will be announced by the New7Wonders Foundation in 2012.
The New Seven Wonders of the World Are...
  • The Amazon Rainforest
  • Halong Bay, Vietnam
  • Iguazu Falls, Argentina
  • Jeju-do (Jeju Island), South Korea
  • Komodo National Park, Indonesia
  • Puerto Princesa Underground River, Philippines
  • Table Mountain, South Africa
So far, Table Mountain is the only one of the New Seven Wonders that I've seen.
440 sites from around the world were competing. The new Seven Wonders of the World were chosen from a list of 28 finalists, which included the Great Barrier Reef, the Grand Canyon, Fundy Bay, Uluru, and Mt. Vesuvius.
Have you been to any of the new wonders? Which sites have truly earned their spots, and which sites got robbed (*ahem* Great Barrier Reef *ahem*)?
Also, does this mean that we're going to get even more "visit Halong Bay" spam?
The only surviving landmark from the original Seven Wonders, the Great Pyramid of Giza, did not win a spot on the new list. This was basically a popularity contest: landmarks with the most votes won.
The original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World were:
  • Great Pyramid of Giza
  • Hanging Gardens of Babylon
  • Statue of Zeus at Olympia
  • Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
  • Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus
  • Colossus of Rhodes
  • Lighthouse of Alexandria

Miyerkules, Agosto 24, 2011


Komodo National Park

Brief Description:
         Komodo National Park is located in the center of the Indonesian archipelago, between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores. Established in 1980, initially the main purpose of the Park was to conserve the unique Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) and its habitat. However, over the years, the goals for the Park have expanded to protecting its entire biodiversity, both terrestrial and marine. In 1986, the Park was declared a World Heritage Site and a Man and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, both indications of the Park's biological importance.

Komodo National Park includes three major islands: Komodo, Rinca and Padar, as well as numerous smaller islands creating a total surface area (marine and land) of 1817km (proposed extensions would bring the total surface area up to 2,321km2). As well as being home to the Komodo dragon, the Park provides refuge for many other  notable terrestrial species such as the orange-footed scrub fowl, an endemic rat, and the Timor deer. Moreover, the Park includes one of the richest marine environments including coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds, seamounts, and semi-enclosed bays. These habitats harbor more than 1,000 species of fish, some 260 species of reef-building coral, and 70 species of sponges. Dugong, sharks, manta rays, at least 14 species of whales, dolphins, and sea turtles also make Komodo National Park their home.
Threats to terrestrial biodiversity include the increasing pressure on forest cover and water resources as the local human population has increased 800% over the past 60 years. In addition, the Timor deer population, the preferred prey source for the endangered Komodo dragon, is still being poached. Destructive fishing practices such as dynamite-, cyanide, and compressor fishing severely threaten the Park's marine resources by destroying both the habitat (coral reefs) and the resource itself (fish and invertebrate stocks). The present situation in the Park is characterized by reduced but continuing destructive fishing practices primarily by immigrant fishers, and high pressure on demersal stocks like lobsters, shellfish, groupers and napoleon wrasse. Pollution inputs, ranging from raw sewage to chemicals, are increasing and may pose a major threat in the future.

Today, the PKA Balai Taman Nasional Komodo and PT. Putri Naga Komodo are working together to protect the Park's vast resources. Our goals are to protect the Park's biodiversity (both marine and terrestrial) and the breeding stocks of commercial fishes for replenishment of surrounding fishing grounds. The main challenge is to reduce both threats to the resources and conflicts between incompatible activities. Both parties have a long term commitment to protecting the marine biodiversity of Komodo National Park.

South Korea

Jeju (Cheju) Island

Brief Description:
         Jeju Island, also known as the "Island of the Gods," is a popular vacation spot for Koreans and many Japanese. It remains one of the top honeymoon destinations for Korean newlyweds. The island's mixture of volcanic rock, frequent rains, and temperate climate, make it very similar to the Hawaiian Islands in the U.S. The island offers visitors a wide range of activities: hiking on Halla-san (South Korea's highest peak), catching sunrises and sunsets over the ocean, viewing majestic waterfalls, riding horses, or just lying around on the sandy beaches.

Although tourism is one of the main industries on the island, many of the hotels and other tourist areas are run by mainland companies, so much of the income never gets put back into the local economy. Also, since the attractions are geared towards tourists, many of the entrance fees can be hefty (although the locally owned and operated ones tend to be cheaper). Similar to Gyeongju and some other areas, local residents can enter most places for free or for a steeply discounted price.

Bicycle: Given Jeju's wide expanses, bicycling here is much safer than in most of Korea. Many of the roads have sufficient room to ride along the edge, and some even have special bike lanes- not just a painted line between you and traffic, but a separate road with curbs between you and the drivers. Unfortunately, many of the local residents are convinced that the bikes lanes were actually built especially for them to dry their seeds and herbs, so in some places you may have to take short detours onto the road.
Boat: The ferry terminals in Jeju City has daily boats to Busan, Yeosu, Mokp'o, Wando, Noktong, and Incheon on the mainland, as well as several boats to Japan (see the Jeju Port section for schedules). Several other smaller ports have boats to the outlying islands of Kapa-do, Mara-do, Piyang-do, and U-do.
Bus: The bus terminal in Jeju City has buses to numerous destinations around the island. Most do circuits between here and Seogwip'o or Jungmun Resort on the south coast, stopping at various points of interest along the way. Several Jeju City buses criss-cross the city. The main bus is #100, running between the airport and the port, passing the bus terminal and most major hotels. Major hotels and tourist agencies run 1- and 2-day tours around the island.
Car: Several rental car agencies have various models for hire, starting from around W35,000 per half day.
Plane: Jeju International Airport has several flights daily via Korean Air and Asiana to Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Jinju, Kunsan, Gwangju, Mokp'o, P'ohang, Ulsan, Yecheon, and Yeosu. Domestic flights have an airport tax of W3,000. It also has international flights to Japan: Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka, and Tokyo. International flights have an airport tax of W9,000.

Food and Drink:
Besides tourism, Cheju's main industries are fishing and agriculture. Fresh fish, squid, octopus, sea cucumber, and various other creatures can be easily bought in markets, restaurants, and even right on the beach. Cheju's tropical weather and high preciptation are perfect for growing pineapples and tangerines. The island is also famouse for its Shitake mushrooms and cactus plants. Honey made from local flowers has a special taste.


Halong Bay (Vietnam)

Brief Description:
         Halong Bay is located in Quáng Ninh province, Vietnam. The bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various sizes and shapes. The bay has a 120 kilometre long coastline and is approximately 1,553 square kilometres in size with 1969 islets. Several of the islands are hollow, with enormous caves, other support floating villages of fishermen, who ply the shallow waters for 200 species of fish and 450 different kinds of mollusks. Another specific feature of Halong Bay is the abundance of lakes inside the limestone islands, for example, Dau Be island has six enclosed lakes. All these island lakes occupy drowned dolines within fengcong karst.

Halong City is the gateway to Halong Bay but not the ideal introduction to this incredible World Heritage site. Developers have not been kind to the city and most visitors sensibly opt for tours that include sleeping on a boat in the bay. In short, Halong Bay is the attraction; Halong City is not.
As the number-one tourist attraction in the northeast, Halong Bay draws a steady stream of visitors year-round. From February to April the weather in this region is often cool and drizzly. The ensuing fog can make visibility low, but this adds an ethereal air to the place and the temperature rarely falls below 10°C. During the summer months tropical storms are frequent, and tourist boats may have to alter their itineraries, depending on the weather.
Halong Bay is the stuff of myths and naturally the Vietnamese have concocted one. Halong translates as ‘where the dragon descends into the sea’. Legend has it that the islands of Halong Bay were created by a great dragon that lived in the mountains. As it charged towards the coast, its flailing tail gouged out valleys and crevasses. When it finally plunged into the sea, the area filled with water, leaving only the pinnacles visible.
Dragons aside, the biggest threat to the bay may be from souvenir-hunting tourists. Rare corals and seashells are rapidly being stripped from the sea floor, and stalactites and stalagmites are being broken off from the caves. These items get turned into key rings, paperweights and ashtrays, which are on sale in the local souvenir shops. Obviously the fewer people buy, the less the local people will take to sell, so don’t encourage the trade.

Read more:


The Amazon Rainforest

Brief Description:
           The Amazon River Basin is home to the largest rainforest on Earth. The basin -- roughly the size of the forty-eight contiguous United States -- covers some 40% of the South American continent and includes parts of eight South American countries: BrazilBoliviaPeruEcuadorColombia,VenezuelaGuyana, and Suriname, as well as French Guiana, a department of France. Reflecting environmental conditions as well as past human influence, the Amazon is made up of a mosaic of ecosystems and vegetation types including rainforests, seasonal forests, deciduous forests, flooded forests, and savannas. The basin is drained by the Amazon River, the world's largest river in terms of discharge, and the second longest river in the world after the Nile. The river is made up of over 1,100 tributaries, 17 of which are longer than 1000 miles, and two of which (the Negro and the Madeira) are larger, in terms of volume, than the Congo (formerly the Zaire) river. The river system is the lifeline of the forest and its history plays an important part in the development of its rainforests. 

The Amazon River Today 

Today the Amazon River is the most voluminous river on Earth, eleven times the volume of the Mississippi, and drains an area equivalent in size to the United States. During the high water season, the river's mouth may be 300 miles wide and every day up to 500 billion cubic feet of water (5,787,037 cubic feet/sec) flow into the Atlantic. For reference, the Amazon's daily freshwater discharge into the Atlantic is enough to supply New York City's freshwater needs for nine years. The force of the current -- from sheer water volume alone -- causes Amazon River water to continue flowing 125 miles out to sea before mixing with Atlantic salt water. Early sailors could drink freshwater out of the ocean before sighting the South American continent. 

The river current carries tons of suspended sediment all the way from the Andes and gives the river a characteristic muddy whitewater appearance. It is calculated that 106 million cubic feet of suspended sediment are swept into the ocean each day. The result from the silt deposited at the mouth of the Amazon is Majaro island, a river island about the size of Switzerland. 

Martes, Agosto 23, 2011

South Africa

Table Mountain

Brief Description:
        Table Mountain is a South African icon and the only natural site on the planet to have a constellation of stars named after it - Mensa, meaning “the table.” The flat-topped mountain has withstood six million years of erosion and hosts the richest, yet smallest floral kingdom on earth with over 1,470 floral species. Table Mountain boasts numerous rare and endangered species. It is the most recognized site in Cape Town, the gateway to Africa, owing to its unique flat-topped peaks which reach 1,086 m above sea level.


The main feature of Table Mountain is the level plateau approximately 3 kilometres (2 mi) from side to side, edged by impressive cliffs. The plateau, flanked by Devil's Peak to the east and by Lion's Head to the west, forms a dramatic backdrop to Cape Town. This broad sweep of mountainous heights, together with Signal Hill, forms the natural amphitheatre of the City Bowland Table Bay harbour. The highest point on Table Mountain is towards the eastern end of the plateau and is marked by Maclear's Beacon, a stone cairn built in 1865 by Sir Thomas Maclear for trigonometrical survey. It is 1,086 metres (3,563 ft) above sea level, about 19 metres (62 ft) higher than the cable station at the western end of the plateau.
The cliffs of the main plateau are split by Platteklip Gorge ("Flat Stone Gorge"), which provides an easy and direct ascent to the summit and was the route taken by António de Saldanha on the first recorded ascent of the mountain in 1503.[3]

The flat top of the mountain is often covered by orographic clouds, formed when a south-easterly wind is directed up the mountain's slopes into colder air, where the moisture condenses to form the so-called "table cloth" of cloud. Legend attributes this phenomenon to asmoking contest between the Devil and a local pirate called Van Hunks.[4] When the table cloth is seen, it symbolizes the contest.
Table Mountain is at the northern end of a sandstone mountain range that forms the spine of the Cape Peninsula. To the south of the main plateau is a lower part of the range called the Back Table. On the Atlantic coast of the peninsula, the range is known as the Twelve Apostles. The range continues southwards to Cape Point


Iguazu Falls

Brief Description:
         Iguazu Falls is undoubtedly the most visited place in Misiones and one of the most imposing natural attractions in Argentina, and why not in South America...

This river runs through a smooth geography until it reaches a series of faults, and suddenly an 80 m. canyon in the Devil's Throat where the water produces a thundering sound and then drains into the Parana river. 

A legend says that a big snake called "Boi" lived in the river. To calm its ferocity, aborigines sacrificed a woman every year as an offering. But once a brave guarani aborigin kidnapped the woman and saved her from the traditional rite escaping through the river. Boi burst in anger, bent its body and split the river forming the cataracts separating the man and the woman. 

Walking on the footbridge

There are more than 270 falls in an area where cliffs and islets are scattered in a half moon. 
From the visitors center you can walk around trails or in a picturesque train. 
There are two basic circuits: an upper path and a lower path. 

The lower path leads to the base of the falls, where the spray moistens visitors. It is a unique experience, worth daring the adventure. In this circuit you may also take a boat to Isla San Martín. 
From the upper path you have panoramic views from the footbridge in an unforgettable experience.

Wild Adventure

The lovers of adventure travelling can acces to more intense circuits. 

Apart from waterfalls, the jungle offers a series of alternatives in a dump but slightly fresher environment with a wide variety of animals and plants. Almost 500 species of wild fowl, 80 species of mammals and an immense variety of reptiles, fish, insects and butterflies live in this ecosystem. 

Only some meters from the Research Center is Macuco Trail, a 3 km. walking path through the dense jungle with different degrees of difficulty. It is a 2 hour walk to Salto Arrechea.