Thursday, March 14, 2019


Stanley - Thursday

The word antipodes means opposite. So in terms of geography, it means the place opposite you on the planet. So, if you dig a very deep hole from where you are standing, through the centre of the earth, where you pop out would be the antipodes of where you are.

When I grew up, I thought the word antipodes referred to Australia and New Zealand. In fact, that is what the Brits mean by the word. However, it is only vaguely correct as the antipodes of London is south of New Zealand. In fact, no place in England has land as its antipodes. Conversely, it is an interesting fact that the antipodes of every place in Australia is wet. That's amazing because Australia is a huge place.

As far as I can determine there are only two towns with airports that are the antipodes of each other, namely Ibn Battouta Airport in Tangier, Morocco, and Whangarei Aerodrome, New Zealand. That would be a 20,000 kilometre flight.

I always thought that the antipodes of Cape Town is in the state of Hawaii. Wrong again! It is is north of Hawaii, also in the ocean. I'm pleased I was wrong because I recently set off on an antipodean journey from Cape Town. Thank goodness the pilot ignored my request to go to the antipodes and set me down in Kona on Big Island instead - after a journey of 22,000 kilometres.

Start digging in London

The antipodes? Whoops! Wet!
So here I am on the island of Hawaii (known as Big Island), not to be confused with the state of Hawaii. The island is about the size of the state of Connecticut and is extremely varied in terms of climate - from rain forest to semi-arid. It is also home to a number of volcanoes, including Kilauea that erupted last April, destroying 700 homes and changing the landscape for ever. The island grew by about 400 hectares (nearly a square mile).

Lava is everywhere
My view
Another view
The area around Kona, where I am staying with friends, is well known for its coffee. We visited a coffee farm today and was struck by the similarities between the growing and preparation of coffee beans and the growing and production of grapes.

Coffee bushes

Coffee beans drying
But what has struck me most in the day that I've been here are the flowers - not surprising since Cape Town is not at all tropical.

Here are some of the things I saw.

Apple bananas with hanging flower

We were told this is a Bella donna - deadly nightshade. Is it? I'm not sure.

One big avocado


Of course there are things in the ocean too.

Sea urchin - too nervous to see if it's edible (an uni)

Underwater flower

Sea cucumber - ugh

Sea cucumber - ugh, ugh

Sea cucumbers

Who knows what this is.
And some birds.

Red-crested cardinal (photo - Mark Grabe)

Saffron finch
And the end of day 1!

 (photo - Mark Grabe)


  1. Great pictures! Hmm. This could make the bucket list...

  2. I never knew that Hawaii had birds in the ocean. Do they have gills? Or how do they breathe?

    I'm SO confuuuuuused...

  3. Gorgeous photos, Stan.

    It’s funny. It occurred to me a few days ago, to wonder where I would be if I went straight down from NYC. You inspired me today to look it up. Here is what I learned:
    New York City's antipodal point is in the Indian Ocean, just southwest of Perth, Australia

    The antipodal city to Manhattan is Augusta. This means that, among all the populated locations in the world, the farthest city from Manhattan is Augusta, Australia. So much for the China Syndrome.

    1. Mine is 100-150 miles northeast of Île de l'Est, east/SE of South Africa. A very long swim...

  4. The 'who knows what this is' looks like a sea star relative or my attempt at making a jello mold. But on a more significant topic, I trust you realize that trotting out all these fabulous photos of Hawaii is only encouraging Barbara to redouble her efforts at convincing us to move there.

  5. Papatowai, Otago, New Zealand is the antipodes of Glasgow. I bet it rains there as well. We have been known to pronounce that word as Anti Podes. As you were, have fun!