Hong Kong

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The first decision when heading to Hong Kong is whether you are staying on the island or main land.  We opt for main land, because the hotel rooms are generally slightly bigger and slightly cheaper.  We decided on Butterfly on Pratt due to its easy location, it is on the main land.

First thing to know when  you arrive, is transport.  At the airport head to the information booth and get an Octopus card.  There are ordinary ones which you top up as normal and there are tourist Octopus cards, which include one or two airport line trips and two or three days of travel.  The card its self can be exchanged for 100 dollar deposit on leaving.  We opt for the three day tourist card and it is well worth the money.  The transport system is great, easy to use and very well organised.

We arrive late on our first day and head into Kowloon on the airport train, then make the terrible mistake of thinking that we would be able to walk the short distance from the station rather than try to navigate further trains. Don’t do this.  It is not a good idea!  Eventually we admit defeat and follow the signs to the transfer bus.  This is a free service that runs frequently all days of the week to the big hotels…much better idea.

imag3856-1.jpgWe spend our first morning an a free walking tour (our fav!) of Hong Kong Island.  This is a great tour with lots of interesting information about politics and the current situation in Hong Kong.  I definitely recommend this as a great starting point for your trip.

This same group offer a “jump the cue tour” for the Victoria Peak Tram.  We take advantage of this, and again I would recommend this, simply because it cut about an hour standing in the sun in a line.  The Tram is great, really is something to experience.  We then spend almost two hours walking around Victoria Peak enjoying the views, the countryside and the wildlife.  There are amazing birds of prey and wild pigs rootling around.  This is not what you would expect from Hong Kong…its cool and calm and blissful.

So ends our first foray into Hong Kong.  Bring on the rest of the trip!

More information on the Free Walking Tours

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Little Fish – Guest Blog

Little Fish

Since graduating from University, I’ve travelled to almost a dozen countries to swim their oceans, liaise with their local communities and have adventures. I’ve dived with humpback whales in the Cook Islands, surveyed coral reef fish communities off uninhabited tropical islands in Chagos and snorkelled with dugongs in Vanuatu.

My latest adventure has been to assist in establishing a brand new and truly exciting marine conservation NGO; Coral Reef CPR. Our pioneering program, the HARP (Holistic Approach to Reef Protection) Initiative has been underway since January in the Maldives. The Maldives is the most vulnerable tropical country in the world to climate change. It contains the world’s seventh largest reef system, and over 99% of the country is underwater! In January we began setting up permanent monitoring stations to collect baseline data on the health and state of a selection of reefs in two atolls. This effort was in preparation for the impacts from the longest El Niño in history! Returning in April, it was astounding to watch coral’s bleach before my eyes due to the abnormally high water temperatures. Spending up to seven hours a day underwater for a month, we documented the bleaching event, and resultant coral death. But all is not lost; we have set-up experiments to identify ‘super corals’; corals resistant to changes in temperature. When we return to the Maldives in July we will use these ‘super corals’ in nurseries and ultimately transplant them on to damaged reefs to speed up their recovery.

If you want to find out how are rehabilitation and conservation efforts go… follow us on Facebook (coralreefCPR) and visit our website www.coralreefcpr.org

If you want to help us on this adventure; you can donate at www.coralreefcpr.org/donate-now.htmlCoralreefCPR logo_transp bgr

All donations, no matter how small, make a huge difference!