I stepped off the plane and on to a South Pacific Island. Yet, I haven’t even left the United States. I am still ‘technically” in the United States. I had landed at the Pago Pago International Airport on the island of Tutuila in American Samoa. American Samoa is an unincorporated unorganized territory of the United States. Basically, the islands are owned by the US but operate under local rule and customs. The U.S. Federal Government has limited involvement in American Samoa politics and American Samoans are U.S. Nationals but not citizens. I have traveled to this far flung island chain south of the equator and halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii to spend four days exploring the National Park of American Samoa.
My quest to visit all 59 National Parks has taken many twists and turns. I didn’t know I was going to get a chance to visit the Virgin Islands National Park in St. John this year. I had a last minute opportunity to go so I jumped on the chance and took a flight over to St. Thomas then the ferry to St. John. The Virgin Islands National Park takes up the majority of St. John. This has limited the number of hotels and tourists on the island.
Every Thursday, I will be posting a photo from my travels and a spotlight on the location. Today’s Photo Thursday is from Washington Slagbaai National Park in Bonaire, Leeward Antilles. My parents rented a car and we spent several days exploring the rough terrain of the Slagbaai as well as snorkeling in the Bonaire National Marine Park. From the high-water mark to 200 ft deep is part of the Bonaire National Marine Park. The best snorkeling on the island is on the southwest lee side of the island. The brackish water of the low elevation lagoons attract the famous pink American flamingos. Bonaire has a donkey population introduced by the early Europeans. The island is also home ot the vulnerable Yellow-shouldered Amazon.
It’s 6 am on a Saturday morning, and two of my freshman floormates and I are getting ready to make a two-hour drive. It’s mid-January and even in Florida the temperature is a crisp 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite the chilly weather, we are driving to Cyststal River to swim in Three Sisters Spring. The weather isn’t conducive to swimming in a spring. Even if said spring is a perfect 72 degrees Fahrenheit year around.