National GeoGraphic Traveller India
The Rousing Rhythms of Rum and Sun-Drenched Cuba
I kicked my heels aside. I felt the heat of the Havana pavement on my bare feet as Yerdy, my dance partner, spun me into the arms of Dennis, the other man in our rueda or “wheel.” We are doing a style of Cuban salsa where two or more couples dance in unison. The moves are scripted and called out by a leader in the group; the couples rotate partners after each step. Dennis wrapped me up in a move called “Coca-Cola,” bringing my arms to his left shoulder then spinning me behind his back with a cross step and a slide back, returning me to Yerdy’s embrace and a move called the dile que no. I accented it with a tap of my bare left foot and a twist in my hips.
I discovered my love of dancing long before I ever saw the music-filled streets of Havana and Santiago de Cuba, where many of these beats were born. Dance is a language spoken without words and each exchange left me intoxicated with even more to say. Every chance I had, I sought out the low-lit clubs where people gather to dance salsa, bachata, and cha-cha-cha. But the dance floor that beckoned me most was taboo.
The drummers were slick with sweat as they played, their music a prayer. The valley filled with the intoxicating waves of percussive sound pouring from their sacred drums.
Born half a world away in western Africa, brought to the Caribbean through slavery, and surviving against all odds, the rhythm they played resonated with the essence of dense forests, open savannahs, burning sun, and a world alive with spirits and gods.
The elaborate beats danced against my skin and my chest. My heart, I was convinced, had altered its ordinary cadence to keep time with the percussionists…
National GeoGraphic Traveller India
Solomon Islands: Lessons in Laughter
Magellan might have proven the world was round, christening the deep waters of the South Pacific a “peaceful sea” along the way, but looking out at the sparkling ocean that separated me from anything familiar, I felt like I had found the edge of the earth. The OceansWatch crew and I had just dropped anchor off Mola’a, a village in the Reef Islands of the Temotu Province in the Solomon Islands, the South Pacific. Aside from our sailing yacht, the only local transport vessels were dugout canoes, and the occasional banana boat with outboard motor. The cargo boat that delivers mail, passengers, and anything else destined for this little spit of land may come once every couple of weeks. Or four months might pass before there is enough business to justify the trip...
In Sturgis, S.D. a girl, her dad, and a bike meet 400,000 Harleys
My father started messing with motorbikes when he was 12. He’d buy them, rebuild them, race them and pop wheelies. Then he’d find another relic to start working on.
He’s full of stories. There was the 1943 Army issue Harley that he found in 1974. It had been forgotten in a barn deep in the mountains of Colorado. He paid $100 for it. Then there was the Tri-Cati, a 500 Triumph motor on a 250 Ducati frame that he named the Wheelie King. The way he tells it, that bike earned its name...
New Zealand Herald
Pacific Islanders find hope in face of climate change
For days the wind howled and the seas raged around the village of Mola'a in the Solomon Islands. Saltwater rushed over the island, flattening houses and flooding crops. When the storm finally cleared, Doreen Nolube emerged from the building where she and almost 50 other villagers had waited out the violent storm. Their homes and vegetable gardens had been destroyed. The village was framed with a gnarled mass of downed trees. The reef Doreen and the others depend on for fish to feed their children was covered with sand...
The Outdoor Journal
Stars Above and Below
The wind started to howl as we rounded the southern tip of the island of Maleluka, deep in the heart of the South Pacific. We were sailing from the Temotu Province of the Solomon Islands to Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu. "We need to reef the main! This is the wind we were waiting for!" Our skipper Chris’s face was split into a huge smile even as he shouted out directions to us. We could barely hear him over the air roaring through the rigging. Lucy and I strapped on our harnesses, clipped in, and slipped out from the cockpit onto the deck. The waves began to tower and break, jostled by the now raging wind. Anna Rose jumped and pitched through the water. As Lucy and I made our way carefully toward the mast, I flashed back to my seven year-old feet on the deck of my family’s first sailboat...
National Geographic Traveller India
Return to Roots: Hidden Depths
The rough dirt road was barely wide enough for the truck to squeeze through. Branches of poisonwood slapped against the sides of the vehicle, leaving an oily residue that we had to be careful not to touch, lest we risk the bubbling rash that we’d seen on too many embarrassed tourists. We were on Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas, armed with a hand-drawn map and on a mission to find a place called Dan’s Cave. By coming to these islands, I had come back home. But this time I had set out to discover a different side of Abaco...