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Please note that whilst your returned order is in transit it is still your responsibility and we therefore advise that you send item(s) by recorded or registered delivery to insure the value of your goods. Under the regulations you have the right to cancel any order within 7 working days of receiving the order. DESCRIPTION: During the Middle Ages the Greek tradition of disinterested research was stifled in Western Europe by a theological dictatorship which bade fair, for a time, to destroy all hope of a genuine intellectual revival.
Most Arab cartographers also used Ptolemya€™s instructions in the construction of their own maps. Over the years, these enlightened Arabs injected new life and a storehouse of knowledge into the relatively backward science of Western Europe, and, for centuries, Arab culture actually dominated the Iberian Peninsula and Sicily. In the year 1138, the royal palace at Palermo, Sicily was the scene of a long-awaited meeting between an unusual Christian king and a distinguished Muslim scholar. The monarch was Roger II, King of Sicily; his distinguished guest the Arab geographer Abu Abdullah Mohammed Ibn al-Sharif al-Idrisi [Edrisi].
Al-Idrisia€™s writings tell us less about his own character and personality than about those of the man who became his host and patron.
Sicily in particular was an ideal meeting ground for the two civilizations a€“ Christian Europe and the Muslim Middle East. Early in the 11th century a band of Norman adventurers, the Hautevilles, had ridden into southern Italy to wrest it from the Byzantine Greeks and the Muslims, and in 1101 Count Roger da€™Hauteville capped his career by conquering Sicily. Tall, dark-haired, bearded and corpulent, Roger, from a magnificent palace in Palermo, ruled his kingdom with a balanced mixture of diplomacy, ruthlessness, wisdom and skill that has led many historians to term his kingdom the best-governed European state of the Middle Ages. Rogera€™s interest in geography was the expression of a scientific curiosity just awakening in Europe, but inevitably he turned to a Muslim for help. A few practical maps did exista€”marinersa€™ charts showing coastlines, capes, bays, shallows, ports of call and watering and provisioning placesa€”but in a typical medieval divorce of science and technology, these remained in the hands of navigators. To carry out the project, Roger established an academy of geographers, with himself as director and al-Idrisi as permanent secretary, to gather and analyze information.
The academy began by studying and comparing the works of previous geographersa€”principal among them 12 scholars, 10 of them from the Muslim world. Al-Idrisia€™s two geographers from the pre-Islamic era were Paulus Orosius, a Spaniard whose popular History, written in the fifth century, included a volume of descriptive geography; and Ptolemy, the greatest of the classical geographers, whose Geography, written in the second century, had been entirely lost to Europe, but preserved in the Muslim world in an Arabic translation. After examining at length the geographical works they had collected, the king and the geographer observed that they were full of discrepancies and omissions, and decided to embark on original research.
During this research, al-Idrisi and Roger compared data, keeping the facts on which travelers agreed and eliminating conflicting information. Finally, however, the long 15-year geographical study was finished and the task of map making began. Al-Idrisi explained that the disk merely symbolized the shape of the world: The earth is round like a sphere, and the waters adhere to it and are maintained on it through natural equilibrium which suffers no variation.
By al-Idrisia€™s time, Muslim astronomers had made great strides in methods of reckoning latitude. Al-Idrisi himself gave three figures for the eartha€™s circumference, without deciding among them: Eratosthenesa€™ approximately correct estimate, a slightly smaller figure arrived at by Indian astronomers, and a still smaller numbera€”though larger than Ptolemya€™sa€”which was apparently agreed on by Sicilian scholars.
On the disk, according to al-Idrisia€™s own account, were incised a€?by skillful workersa€? lines marking the limits of the seven climates of the habitable world, arbitrary divisions established by Ptolemy running east and west and bounded by parallels of latitude, from the Arctic to the Equator. The map, written in Arabic, shows the Eurasian continent in its entirety, but only shows the northern part of the African continent.
The resulting book and associated maps which took 15 years to amass are, for this and the above reasons, unquestionably among the most interesting monuments of Arabian geography.
Modern geographers have attempted to reconstruct the features of the silver planisphere by using a combination of the maps of Rogera€™s Book, which has survived in several texts, and its tables of longitudes and latitudes.
Distortions, omissions, and misconceptions notwithstanding, the superiority of al-Idrisia€™s map over the world maps of medieval Europe is striking.
The first division of the first climate commences to the west of the Western Sea, which Idrisi called the Sea of Darkness. Following the Nile, still eastward, we find the nomadic Berbers who pasture their flock on the borders of a river flowing from the east, debouching into the Nile stream. It is clear that the part of southern Africa which is extended far to the east is a legacy from Ptolemy, but Arabian seafarers had taught Idrisi that the sea was open in the east, and in his own commentaries he writes: a€?The Sea of Sin [China] is an arm of the ocean which is called the Dark Sea [the Atlantic]a€?. To the south al-Idrisi pictured a great river, the Nile of the Negroes, a composite of the Senegal and the Niger Rivers that flowed from Central Africa west to the Atlantic.
Sicily, naturally, came in for special praise; it was a pearl of the age, and al-Idrisi told the story of the Norman conquest of the island by Roger da€™Hauteville, the greatest of Frankish princes, followed by the succession of the great king who bears the same name and who follows in his footsteps. Idrisi was not, however, able to put the countries around the Baltic into proper shape, even though his notes show him to have been familiar with a great many places there, as in the rest of Europe. The impressive assemblage of facts from travelersa€™ accounts and geographical writings was interrupted now and then by fables, some taken directly from Ptolemy, some from popular folklore. Al-Idrisia€™s Rome had an oriental magnificence; ships with their freight sailed up the Tiber to be drawn thus loaded right up to the very shops of the merchants. The Arabs knew these islands through Ptolemy, and called them Jazaa€™ir al-Khalidat [The Eternal Isles], presumably a version of the Greek name. After telling us that the Canaries had been visited by Alexander the Great and that the tomb of a pre-Islamic South Arabian king, made of marble and colored glass, can be seen on one of them, al-Idrisi gives the names of two of the islands. Even more interesting is al-Idrisia€™s account of an actual voyage of exploration into the western Atlantic, undertaken by 80 brave men from Lisbon whom he calls the mugharrirun, best rendered as a€?intrepid explorers.a€? The expedition must have taken place before 1147 - the date Lisbon fell to the Christians - but it is impossible to be more precise. It was from the city of Lisbon that the mugharrirun set out to sail the Sea of Darkness in order to discover what was in it and where it ended, as we have mentioned before. The inhabitants of the island of al-Sua€™ali are shaped like women and their canine teeth protrude.
The island of Qalhan is inhabited by animal-headed people who swim in the sea to catch their food. Al-Ghawr makes sense; it means a depression surrounded by higher land, and occurs elsewhere in the Arab world as a place name. Al-Idrisi gives the names of 13 islands in the western Atlantic; a 14th, visited by the mugharrirun, is nameless. On his map, Idrisi shows a long string of islands in the Western Ocean reaching north from the equator to Brittany. However, Arab geographers and astronomers were much too accurate in their latitude calculations to mistakenly spread the Canary Islands so widely over the ocean. The three intermediate islands in the chain may be the first cartographic representation of the Azores. Idrisia€™s description of other islands in the Atlantic appear to have more to do with fanciful legends than with reality. Some of these islands resemble the islands of Irish legend, and the Arabs may have incorporated parts of the Celtic tradition into their own legends. At the latitude of Tangier, in the Grand Sea, there are situated islands named a€?The Fortunate Islands.a€? These are spread in the sea, not far away from the west coast [of Africa], the Barbary Coast. Al-Idrisi presented the planisphere, a silver celestial sphere and the book to his patron in 1154, just a few weeks before Roger died at 58, probably of a heart attack; he went on to compose another geographical work for William I, Rogera€™s successor. According to Arab sources, Idrisi composed yet another more detailed text and map in 1161 for Rogera€™s son William II. In 1160, however, Sicilian barons rose in rebellion against William and during the disorders looted the palace; in a great fire in the courtyard, they burned government records, books and documentsa€”including a new Latin edition of Rogera€™s Book which al-Idrisi had presented to William.
Since the barons had attacked the Muslims of Sicily with particular ferocitya€”killing, among many others, a famous poet named Yahya ibn al-Tifashia€”al-Idrisi fled to North Africa where, six years later, he died. As he had brought the Arabic text with him, however, his great work lived on, winning widespread fame, serving as a model for Muslim geographers and historians for centuries and providing the great Muslim historian, Ibn Khaldun, with practically all his geographical knowledge. It is a curious thought that had Columbus been aware of the true distancea€”from al-Idrisia€™s estimatesa€”he might have hesitated to undertake his epoch-making voyage and might never have discovered that new world which came to light one morning on the far side of the Sea of Darkness.
Idrisia€™s works are of exceptional quality when considered in comparison with other geographical writings of their period, partly by reason of their richness of detail, but mainly because of the afore mentioned a€?scientific methoda€™ that was employed, a procedure which was indeed unlike that adopted by most Latin scholars of that era. There is, however, a markedly retrograde character to certain portions of his work, such as East Africa and South Asia; despite his narrative of the Lisbon Wanderers (see above and Beazely, vol. In view of its modernity and high intrinsic worth, it is difficult to understand why Idrisia€™s work, composed as it was at the chronological and geographical point of contact between the Islamic and Christian civilizations, remained so long un-utilized by Christian scholars in Sicily, Italy, or other Christian countries, until we remember that the primary - we might even say the sole - interest of the Latin West in Arabic literature centered on the preparation of calendars, star tables and horoscopes, and, to some extent, the recovery of ancient lore. Al-Idrisia€™s map places Gog and Magog in northern China, behind a great wall with a tower and a door; at the wall is an inscription, translated as a€?belongs to the Kufaya mountain range which encloses Gog and Magoga€?. The first translation known of Idrisia€™s work was published in Rome only in 1619, and then in a very much shortened form (the translator did not even know the authora€™s name).
On the other hand, there is no question but that the Sicilo-Norman enthusiasm for geography exerted an indirect influence on the evolution of geographical knowledge, an influence that was to make itself felt more especially after the close of the Crusades period. Detail of the a€?The large Idrisi Mapa€? showing Europe and North Africa,a€? re-oriented with North at the top. Reproduction and re-orientation of a map of the world adapted from the Muqaddimah [Introduction] to Ibn Khalduna€™s monumental work, The History of the World, 1381; derived from the 1154 al-Idrisi map. There, as we watched the surf crash on the shore, we dined on spinach salads, curried shrimp and Mary, the breast of chicken. We passed by the Pacific Naval Command Center and then on into the small park and visitor center that houses the entrance to the Arizona Memorial. As I looked to the North, at the mountains not far away, I could imagine the first wave of 187 dive-bombers and then the second wave of torpedo planes appearing like an evil apparition over the nearby crests. These thoughts careened through my head as I looked at the raised nameplates of the mighty battle ships nearby. From the Arizona memorial, we boarded our buses and rode up into the hills to another peaceful military cemetery called the a€?Punchbowl.a€? Here, amidst the bucolic rows of trees, shrubs and neatly trimmed grass, lie 39,000 military men and women who saw service in the pacific theaters, in various wars of our history.
As we drove through Honolulu, the bus passed by several old churches and then by the Queen Iolani Palace. We were tiring with the long and active day so we retreated to our cabin, We opened the balcony door and sat for a time in the fresh sea air admiring the moonshine of the ocean beneath us.
On the journey down the mountain, we could espy Nihau, the a€?forbidden islanda€? about 11 miles from Kauai. We walked down to deck five and boarded the motorized tender for the short ride to the Lahaina docks. The small basin between them is shallow and became an ideal breeding ground for the sperm whales from time immemorial. It was misting lightly as we stood outside the center and looked across the Caldera, or Volcanoa€™s mouth. It was only 12 years ago that an enormous lava flow had slid down the mountain and destroyed 189 homes and virtually the entire town of Kalapena. We traversed the volcano on a ring road watching the lunar landscape created by the sulphur and old lava flows. From the Volcano house, we rode a brief way to the a€?Akatsuka Orchid Gardensa€? to admire the many gorgeous varieties of colorful orchids that the island produces. From the Mona Loa Nut factory, Derek drove us to the ocean shore, at the afore-mentioned site of the unfortunate town of Kalapena.
After our late morning siestas, we stopped by the deck 14 trough to ingest the appropriate caloric overload. The waiters served up the usual five star extravaganzas as we sipped a nice bottle of Mondavi Merlot and got acquainted with this charming couple. We were now some 800 miles South of Hilo and still had another 400 miles before we reached that small speck in the Pacific labeled Christmas Island. An art auction was taking place in the wheel house lounge, so we sat through that for a time enjoying the banter of the auctioneer and the lively patter about artists a€?not yet dead.a€? Then, we watched the delightful comedy a€?Analyze That,a€? with Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro.
Breakfast found us in the deck 14 Horizons court and then we sunned on the aft section of deck 12 for an hour or so before retreating to a€?Octogenarians row,a€? on covered deck 7, to read our books and enjoy the lazy motions of the ship.
Even turtles get sunburned , so we packed it in and walked three miles (12 laps around deck 7) enjoying the vigor and the sweat that the walk produced. It was another a€?formal nighta€? for dinner, so we repaired to our cabin to dress in our a€?Cinderella Clothesa€? and venture forth once again down the grand promenade on deck 7. In the dining room, Kevin and Laura shared a good Cabernet, sent by their travel agent, which we helped them enjoy. The Princess Lounge provided another interesting song and dance routine titled a€?Rhythms of the City.a€? We watched and appreciated the talent and energy these kids put forth. Just off the bow of the ship a jagged and erose peak, with a phallic shape, rose needle-nosed into the surrounding sky. The driver pulled along the side of the road and bade us look at the ubiquitous holes all along the roadside. Near the end of the tour, the guide stopped by the most famous eatery on the island, a€?Bloody Marya€™s.a€? It is a grass roofed, sand- floored and quietly elegant restaurant made famous by James Michener and others.
We were up early to watch the Dawn Princess sail into Opunohu Bay on the North Coast of Moorea, some 130 miles Southeast of Bora Bora. We assembled in the deck 7 Vista Lounge and then walked school fashion, through the ship, to the gangway on deck 3 for boarding the shipa€™s tenders.
The pier area is a simple jetty with a stone rest room and a nearby municipal building for the gendarmes. Along the sides of the road, our guide pointed out thin Mahogany trees, acacia, tulip, a€?lipsticka€? trees, guava, banana, teak, lice and Chinese chestnut trees along the roadside.
Along the coast road, we could see the island of Tahiti rising up from the ocean, some 11 miles away.
The Moorea Sheraton again has those delightful grass-hutted rondevals, with glass bottomed floors, sitting on piers looking into the bay.
We descended to deck 7, saw and talked with Laura and Kevin Hanley for a bit, before returning to the cabin to read and relax before surrendering to the welcome arrival of the sand man.
We had arrived in Tahiti, a€?The Gathering Place.a€? Just the sound of the name brings up worldwide images of soft breezes, exotic women and an escape from the harsh realities of the Old World. Most of us carry visions of Tahiti in our head from the various versions of a€?Mutiny on The Bounty.a€? The film, made from a James Norman Hall novel detailing a mutiny aboard Her Majestya€™s ship a€?Bounty,a€? captained by the now famous Captain Bligh and his first mate Fletcher Christian. Whalers, merchantmen and adventurers arrived in waves bringing new world gifts like STD and the moral standards of seamen who had been afloat for a year and away from leavening strictures of women and polite society.
During the 1840a€™s, France consolidated its control of five of these small island chains into what we now call French Polynesia. Tahiti, one of the larger islands in the group, is actually comprised of two extinct volcano mounts and the slopes surrounding them.
After breakfast on deck 14, a wooden a€?Le Truka€? shuttled us into the Centre De Ville, on the waterfront. Next, we came upon the two-story version of the central marketplace in Tahiti, a€?Le Marche,a€? or the market. It was nearing noon, so we decided to stop by one of the many portable a€?Les Roulettesa€? for a snack.
We continued walking the small streets, enjoying the feel of a culture and language not our own.
We sunned for an hour, on deck 12, had a refreshing dip in the smaller spa pool and then retreated to our cabin to consider the logistics of packing for the trip home. We packed our clothes, kept some necessary toiletries and clothes for a carry on bag, and then put the bags outside the cabin for pickup. Delivery times may vary, especially during peak periods and will depend on when your payment clears - opens in a new window or tab. If the item comes direct from a manufacturer, it may be delivered in non-retail packaging, such as a plain or unprinted box or plastic bag. Find out more about your rights as a buyer - opens in a new window or tab and exceptions - opens in a new window or tab. Contact the seller- opens in a new window or tab and request a postage method to your location. You've read and agree to the Global Shipping Programme terms and conditions - opens in a new window or tab. Import charges previously quoted are subject to change if you increase your maximum bid amount.
If you wish to cancel your order you must write to us within 7 days of receiving your order to advise us of this. With this basis the Muslims combined the accumulated knowledge gained through exploration and travel. As his visitor entered the hall, the king rose, took his hand and led him across the carpeted marble to a place of honor beside the throne.
Born in Ceuta, Morocco, across the strait from Spain, al-Idrisi was then in his late 30a€™s.
Roger II, son of a Norman-French soldier of fortune who had conquered Sicily at the beginning of the 12th century, was an anomaly among Christian monarchs of his time. Captured by the Arabs in 831, the island had remained in Muslim control until the end of the 11th century. Four years later, he passed the territory on to his son, Roger, who in 1130 was crowned king as Roger II. His energy was a legenda€”one commentator remarked that Roger accomplished more asleep than other sovereigns did awakea€”and his court boasted a collection of philosophers, mathematicians, doctors, geographers and poets who had no superior in Europea€”and in whose company he spent much of his time. Christian Europea€™s approach to map-making was still symbolic and fanciful, based on tradition and myth rather than scientific investigation, and used to illustrate books of pilgrimage, Biblical exegesis and other works. He wanted to know the precise conditions of every area under his rule, and of the world outsidea€”its boundaries, climate, roads, the rivers that watered its lands, and the seas that bathed its coasts.
Sicilya€™s busy and cosmopolitan ports provided an ideal place for such an inquiry, and for years hardly a ship docked at Palermo, Messina, Catania or Syracuse without its crew and passengers being interrogated about the places they had visited.
This process of collecting and assessing material took 15 years, during which, according to al-Idrisi, hardly a day passed when the king did not confer personally with the geographers, studying accounts that disagreed, examining astronomical coordinates, tables and itineraries, poring over books and weighing divergent opinions. First, under al-Idrisia€™s direction, a working copy was produced on a drawing board, with places sited on the map with compasses, following the tables that had already been prepared.
Although Ptolemy had discussed several kinds of projection (Book I, #119), the problem of flattening out the surface of a sphere so that it could be represented on a flat map would not be solved until the 16th and 17th centuriesa€”the Age of Explorationa€”and none too satisfactorily even then. Zach states in 1806 that a€?the oldest terrestrial globe that is known was made for King Roger II of Sicily in the 12th century, and is especially remarkable for the value of the metal which was used in its construction, this being 400 pounds of silver.
Below the Equator, an unexplored southern temperate zone was thought to be separated from the familiar northern one by an impassable area of deadly heat.
Two are in the BibliothA?que Nationale de France, including the oldest, dated to about 1300 (MS Arabe 2221). From this reconstruction it is evident that, like Ptolemy, al-Idrisi pictured the habitable world as occupying 180 of the 360 degrees of the worlda€™s longitude, from the Atlantic in the West to China in the East, and 64 degrees of its latitude, from the Arctic Ocean to the Equator. Contrasted with the quaint and picturesque, but almost totally uninformative maps of the Christian scholars, the features of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East are easily recognizable in al-Idrisia€™s representationa€”Britain, Ireland, Spain, Italy, the Red Sea and the Nile.
He had no doubt met travelers and merchants from Scandinavia at the court of King Roger and received important information from them, but we know that the Arabs too had connections with the Baltic peoples and also those in Russia at that time. In Russia, winter daylight periods were so short that there was hardly time for Muslim travelers to perform all five obligatory daily prayers. Paris (Abariz) earned a condescending reference as a town of mediocre size, surrounded by vineyards and forests, situated on an island in the Seine, which surrounds it on all sides; however, it is extremely agreeable, strong, and susceptible of defense.
The Strait of Gibraltar, according to Rogera€™s Book, did not exist when Alexander the Greata€”as medieval legend had ita€”invaded Spain.
Discovered by Hanno in the fifth century BC, they were explored and colonized in 25 BC by Juba II, erudite king of Mauretania and husband of Cleopatra Selene, daughter of Antony and Cleopatra. Some sources speak of these islands as if they were legendary, telling us for example that on each of the six islands - there are in fact seven - there was a bronze statue, like the one in CA?diz, warning voyagers to turn back. The mugharrirun were so famous for their exploit that a street in Lisbon was named after them. A street in Lisbon, near the hot springs, is still known as a€?The Street of the Intrepid Explorersa€?; it is named after them. It is hard to escape the impression that we owe the preservation of this account largely to the folk etymology in the last line.
The Azores are named after a kind of goshawk - in Portuguese, aA§or - prevalent there at the time of discovery. The inhabitants threw stones at the travelers and hurt several of Alexandera€™s companions. A small fresh-water river runs down from the foot of the mountain, where the inhabitants live. Al-Mustashkin is probably a corruption of al-mushtakin, meaning a€?the complainersa€? - appropriate enough for a population in thrall to a dragon. The Two Brothers could be the two small islands off Lanzarote in the Canaries, Alegranza and Graciosa, or indeed, any two prominent rocks off their coasts. This unnamed island, together with Masfahan, Laghus, The Two Brothers and possibly Sawa, are almost certainly islands in the Canary group.
After describing the Canary Islands, Idrisi refers to an island in the Western Sea named Raqa, which is the Isle of the Birds, Djaziratoa€™t-Toyour. Distinct from the Canary Islands were the Isle of Female Devils, the Isle of Illusion, the Island of Two Sorcerers, and the Isle of Lamentation [Gazirat al-Mustashkin], which was inhabited and fertile, with tilled fields, but controlled by a terrible dragon. An exchange of ideas and reciprocal influences between the two cultures certainly took place.
This work is said to have been even more extensive than his earlier one, but only a few extracts have survived. At the same time, the silver planisphere and celestial sphere disappeared, apparently cut up and melted down. Although the Arabic text of Rogera€™s Book was published in Rome by the Medici press in 1592, it was not again available to Europeans in Latin until the 17th century.
Certainly the influence of Idrisia€™s Geography could not have been great in the world of letters or else traces of it would more easily be detected in Western literature. An explicit reference to Dul-Karnaia€™in (an Arabic name for Alexander, among others) by the gate, leaves no doubt as to Idrisia€™s source. Displays a Ptolemaic construction with an arrangement of horizontal divisions into seven parallel climate zones, originally oriented with South at the top. A Hawaiian woman gave us two flowered leis and then asked for $10 contributions for the local boy and Girl Scout troops. We walked along the world famous Waikiki beach, gazing down the beach to a€?Diamond Head.a€? The massive granite outcropping had been so named by Captain Cook, an early explorer who saw the crystallized volcanic material glinting in the noonday sun and thought the peak encrusted in diamonds. We stopped for some decent Kona coffee in the Outrigger and watched the moving tableau around us.
We managed that well enough and then had coffee and croissants in the lobby area of the Tapa tower. We were headed for the holiest of military shrines in the state, the Arizona memorial, commemorating the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7th, 1941. He told us about the a€?Hawaiian Home Program.a€? Residents of Hawaiian descent are eligible to purchase homes and receive the land for $1. A large group of high school kids were passing the time like all kids, singing, joking and clowning around.
A graceful white arch of stone, with a series of open side vents and open roof area, house two smaller enclosed marble rooms at either end.
They had launched from the Akagi, Kiryu and two other carriers sailing a short 220-mile to the Northeast.
We had a nice Fiume Blanc for openers, then a shrimp appetizer, crA?me of mushroom soup, pastry filled with shrimp calamari and other seafood, in a lobster sauce. Instead of molten rock, I could see the flow of electric lava as it slid down the mountains in the dark. We read for a time and then surrendered the hypnotic sway of the ship as we drifted off into the land of the great beyond. Our immediate impression of the islands is that it is lush and tropical, with a much smaller population (56,000) than the other isles in the chain. The driver told us humorously that in the early 1960a€™s whole families would bring picnic food and camp out nearby to watch the light change colors. The growers, ironically, found that a€?burning the fieldsa€? lowered the molasses content in the plants and increased the sugar yield from the cane. There is a moral here someplace about pretending who you are not and the consequences of that action. In many ways, the Hawaiians resemble Native Americans with their preoccupation with superstition, mythology and colorful sagas transmitted orally throughout the generations. We ascended, in a series of gradual switchbacks, 2,800 feet to the top of the islanda€™s extinct Wai ali ali volcano. The Sinclairs, a family of Slave traders from Massachusetts, had purchased the island from King Kamehameha in the 1830a€™s. We boarded the vessel and had a nice lunch of fish, fruit and vegetables in the deck 14 buffet.
After dinner, I was still reeling from a bad head cold, so we retreated to the room to read and retire. These a€?tendersa€? are wholly enclosed lifeboats that are capable of ocean sailing in an emergency.
They spawn here from December through April and then in May, begin their swim up to the Aleutian Island chain.
We walked the paved ocean path, along the beach, enjoying the swaying palms, the flowering hibiscus, the neatly manicured lawns of the huge hotels and the general aura of opulence.


We met and talked with Marty and Tom Bleckstein, who live on Maui and were aboard for the cruise to Tahiti. Jon was our waiter again this evening and we exchanged a a€?Magandang Gabia€? (good evening) and a€?Mabuti, salamata€? (I am fine, Thanks) in Tagalog. It was cloudy and warm, with the promise of rain, something that happens often on this side of the island.
Great white swaths of dried calcium and super heated sulphur remained from the flows of heated magma.(magma below ground, lava above) As the mist and rain seeped into the ground, steam rose as the water hit heated rock below. The fiery lava seeped into the ocean and created super heated mists that explodes the rocks and created the black sand beaches that we were to see in a few hours. We were stopping at the a€?Thurston Lava Tube.a€? The 360 yard, ten foot high tunnel had been carved out by heated lava.
In a few hundred years, this newest portion of Hawaii will be a tropical beach and palm grove.
We had a glass of the Merlot in the cabin as I wrote up my notes and we settled in to relax for a bit. As we watched the big island settle into the Horizon, we met and talked again with Tom Bleckstein. The sky was studded with gray clouds, the air was warm and a brisk trade wind was quartering us from the northeast. Proper dress was required, so we cleaned up some and venture in to this now familiar place of gustatory titillation.
It is every bit as funny as a€?Analyze this.a€? The really is a wealth of things to do shipboard if you seek them out. This was the a€?island tour.a€? We never did find Captain Cooka€™s Hotel or any other commercial establishment for that matter.
We enjoyed Lobster appetizers, pea and onion crA?me soup, filet of Halibut in peppercorn sauce and Macadamia nut ice cream, all accompanied by a Mondavi Merlot and good coffee. These kids might not be on Broadway, but they gave 150% in energy and we enjoyed their performances. We enjoyed the film and then made our way to deck 12 for Hagendaaz ice cream floats topside.
It was a€?Italian Nighta€? in the Florentine room and we were looking forward to the gustatory experience. This introduced crab and melon ball appetizers, a Greek Salad, Norwegian trout for me, all followed by an Austrian Sacher Torte and good coffee. The Palm trees and the vegetation here are lush and green, a result of the 74 inches of annual rainfall.
It is a collection of those lovely, small grass-roofed huts that sit out on piers right over the ocean.
The crabs are apparently nocturnal creatures and come forth at night o feed on the fallen fruit of the many trees I had noticed. These were provided by the government, at a cost of $2,000, to any of the islanders whose homes are destroyed by the various hurricanes that sweep over the island.
A large wooden gargoyle sits in front of the restaurant, near a wooden sign carved with the names of all of the a€?famousa€? people who had dined here. Shrimp cocktails, lentil soup, Alaskan crab legs and a wonderful black forest cake made for an elegant and relaxing repast. Several tents had been put up by local vendors hawking jewelry and Moorean arts and crafts.
The deep blue of the far ocean, azure sky, studded with white puffy clouds, all accented the deep emerald of the lush vegetation on the island. These are limestone temple sites where yearly the islanders had sacrificed humans in a ritual to please the great god Oro.
The 4-masted Windjammer and the Paul Gauguin were sitting at anchor in turquoise Opunohu bay, the palm trees were swaying in the breeze, against the brilliant backdrop of multi hued sapphire sea, azure sky and emerald hills. A large car ferry and a smaller and swifter catamaran ferry made regular, daily trips to nearby Tahiti. The heat and humidity were intense, so we decided to hop the tender for the air-conditioned comfort of the Dawn Princess, sitting placidly at anchor in the bay. Even a dip in the small pool couldna€™t revive us, so we headed to the cabin for a 2-hour nap. English Captain James Cook and French explorer Captain Louis Bouganville had first discovered these a€?Society Islandsa€? in the 1760a€™s. The backdrop images in the film are mostly taken from the lovely islands of Moorea and Bora Bora. The Protestant missionaries had come in the early 1800a€™s and banished most native cultural practices, including ritual sacrifice of humans. Mount Orohena, at 6,700 feet, dominates the larger chunk of the island (Tahiti Nui) Mount Aurai, at 6,200 feet sits on most of the smaller portion of Tahiti (Tahiti a€“Iti). A small tourist pavilion, adjacent to a newly constructed town square, dominates the waterfront here. The offer of $120 for a cab ride, with a driver who knew little English, didna€™t seem too enticing to us. The traffic is heavy and runs in twin ribbons of moving steel separating the town and the ocean. The first floor of this open-air barn is filled with food vendors selling everything from fruits to fish and any number of sundries.
We dodged the speedy traffic and visited another elegant Joualerie where we found a beautiful set of black pearl earrings to match the necklace pearl we had just purchased. A small bronze bust of Louis Bouganville commemorates this eminent French explorer after whom had been named the colorful tropical flower a€?Bouganvillea.a€? We sat for a time in the shade and enjoyed the lush tropical foliage, the colorful flowers and the heat of a tropical isle and each othera€™s company. The next chore was to find a€?le box postal.a€? It isna€™t like our cities, where you can find a blue, US mailbox on every corner. We walked back to the waterfront and caught a shuttle for the 15-minute ride to the commercial end of the port and the welcome air-conditioned bubble of the Dawn Princess. If you reside in an EU member state besides UK, import VAT on this purchase is not recoverable. Import charges previously quoted are subject to change if you increase you maximum bid amount.
For example, new shoes (with absolutely no signs of wear) that are no longer in their original box fall into this category.
Almost at once the two men began to discuss the project for which the scholar had been asked to come from North Africa: the creation of the first accuratea€”and scientifica€”map of the entire known world.
After studying in Cordoba, in Muslim Spain, he had spent some years in travel, covering the length of the Mediterranean, from Lisbon to Damascus.
His co-religionists, commenting on his oriental life-style, complete with harem and eunuchs, disparagingly referred to him as the a€?half-heathen kinga€? and a€?the baptized Sultan of Sicily.a€? Educated by Greek and Arab tutors, he was an intellectual with a taste for scientific inquiry, and relished the company of Muslim scholars, of whom al-Idrisi was one of the most celebrated. Like Muslim Spain, it was a beacon of prosperity to a Europe caught in the economic slow-down we call the Dark Ages. In mathematics, as in the political sphere, al-Idrisi wrote of his patron, the extent of his learning cannot be described.
Picturesque and colorful, European maps showed a circular earth composed of three continents equal in sizea€”Asia, Africa and Europea€”separated by narrow bands of water. While medieval Europe had become fragmented and parochial, both politically and commercially, the Muslim world was unified by a flourishing long-distance commerce as well as by religion and culture. The commissiona€™s agents haunted the ports, and if they discovered a traveler who had visited any particularly exotic region, he was conducted to the palace at Palermo to be questioned by al-Idrisi or even by Roger. Then a great disk almost 80 inches in diameter and weighing over 300 pounds was fabricated out of silver, chosen for its malleability and permanence. The great geographer Gerardus Mercator commented, If you wish to sail from one port to another, here is a chart . A knowledge of this globe would not have come down to our day had not Idrisi, a famous geographer of that time, given an especial description of the same, under the title Nothatol mostak [Pleasure of the Soul].a€? According to other scholars it is more probable that the reference here is to a circular disc or planisphere made by Idrisi, or an armillary sphere, but not to a terrestrial globe. Following the rough sketch prepared by al-Idrisi, the silversmiths transferred the outlines of countries, oceans, rivers, gulfs, peninsulas and islands to the planisphere. The planisphere showed the sources of the Nilea€”not explored by Europeans until the 19th century, but evidently known to 12th century Muslim travelersa€”and the cities of central Sudan. Al-Idrisi described the lost city of Ghana (near Timbuktu, on the Niger) as the most considerable, the most densely peopled, and the largest trading center of the Negro countries. Few cities are comparable in the solidity and height of buildings, the beauty of the surrounding country, and the fertility of the lands watered by the Tagus.
The Norwegians had to harvest their grain when it was still green and dry it at their hearths since the sun shines very rarely upon them. Because the inhabitants of Africa and Europe waged continual warfare, Alexander decided to separate them by a canal, which he cut between Tangier and al-Andalus (southern Spain). A passionate art collector, Juba was also interested in science and technology, inventing a new method of making purple dye from the orchil plant - and the export of orchil from the Atlantic islands was of economic importance until early this century.
But al-Idrisi tells of an attempted expedition to the Canaries in the late 12th century, during the reign of the Almoravid amir Yusuf ibn Tashafin. This is probably Tenerife, and the round mountain would be the 3,600-meter-high (12,000-foot) volcano called Pico de Teide.
Eighty men, all ordinary people, got together and built a large ship and stocked it with enough food and water for several months. The sheep are a problem, for the Azores were uninhabited when settled in the 15th century, and even if we slightly stretch the meaning of the word ghanam, which can also mean a€?goats,a€? we are still left with the problem of the origin of the creatures. There are many rivers and pools, and thickets where donkeys and long-horned cattle take refuge.
There used to be a dragon in the area, and the people were forced to feed it with bulls, donkeys or even humans, according to the legend; when Alexander arrived, the people complained to him of the dragona€™s depredations. Al-Sa€™ali is a word that refers to a kind of female demon or vampire; judging by al-Idrisia€™s description of the female inhabitants of the island, it is apt. This story of Alexander and the dragon echoes the Eleventh Labor of Hercules, the Golden Apples of the Hesperides, guarded by the dragon Ladon. It could be argued that the first six islands, spread over three entire climate zones between the equator and the Strait of Gibraltar, represent the six known Canary Islands, forced into this north-south alignment by the physical constraints of the circular map with its narrow band of the Surrounding Ocean. The first two islands are the Canary Islands, properly shown in the first climate zone and carried forward from Ptolemya€™s map as the Fortunate Islands or Islands of the Blest.
This story may be a borrowing from Greek mythology, where a dragon guarded the golden apples of the Hesperides.
In the 1400a€™s, therefore, Christopher Columbus had to rely on other sources of information.
Unlike a multitude of Arabic writings of far less intrinsic value, the Rogerian Description found no Gerard of Cremona (translator of Ptolemy into Latin) to put it into Latin, and the authoritative geographical knowledge of the Western world was destined to develop unenriched by the treasures which Roger and Idrisi together had amassed. Gog and Magog appeared on Arabian maps as Yajoj wa Majoj from the 10th century; they appear on Al-Idrisia€™s map of 1154 under the same names. The climate numbers are given along the vertical axis, and the ten longitudinal divisions are given across the top. The text was accompanied by 71 part maps, a world map and 70 sectional itinerary maps, representing the seven climates each divided longitudinally into 10 sections. The Northwest and later, the Pacific Ocean were clouded from view as a massive front roared beneath us.
Tiring, we headed back to the room to read, make some notes and surrender to the Hawaiian night.
The a€?Don Hoa€? style preacher had everyone singing God Bless America and other group songs. A list of the sailors and marines lost that day, in raise metal etchings, adorns one wall, with a plaque and several American and military flags. The sight of an entire fleet of attacking planes, on a warm Sunday morning, must have been surreal as the angry wasps spit fire and lead into the row of battleships at anchor.
In the words of a prescient Japanese Admiral, with their surprise attack, they a€?had awoken a sleeping giant and filled it with a terrible resolve.a€? The conflict wasna€™t to end for four long years. The bus took us to a virtual a€?sea of luggagea€? and calmly suggested we a€?identify oursa€? for processing. Diamond Head, Waikiki beach and the other recognizable features of Oahu blended into the Ocean dark.
The informative bus driver gave us a running narration of the fauna and flora of the island as well as a cultural overlay that we found interesting. I dona€™t know how true the story is, but it gave insight into the islanders endearing trait of not taking themselves too seriously.
The stone foundations of a a€?Russian Forta€? gave rise to another tale of Colonial treachery and Hawaiian retribution, swift and sudden. It was a beautiful day and we decided to walk from the port area to the nearby Sheraton hotel and beach area. We sipped some passable Cabernet as the erose skyline of Nawiliwili harbor and Kauai faded into the setting sun. They can seat almost 90 people and are a bit removed from the old a€?lifeboatsa€? that ships used to carry. One can only speculate at all of the events, legal and foul, that must have transpired under its shelter. Whale blubber and whale oil fueled the lamps of Europe and America during the 1800a€™s, until the advent of mass production of electricity. We had enjoyed this low-key, unhurried look at Maui, without the hustle and commotion of a guided tour.
His grasp of plate tectonics, the mechanics of volcanic eruption and a score of other disciplines, involving agriculture, local flora and fauna and marine biology were not just superficially acquired. The actual volcano mouth was surrounded by succeedingly larger depressions that extended out further.
The lava had the consistency of brittle tar that had frozen in wildly flowing waves of super heated rock. When the surface of a lava flow starts to cool, the molten lava often is still flowing beneath the surface. We had a leisurely breakfast on the balcony, watching the white caps of the blue sea swell and flow around the big shipa€™s wake.
We had brought our books with us and sat outside, on lounge chairs on the covered promenade deck.
Four photographers were busy taking pictures of passengers in their tuxedos and evening wear. We breakfasted in the deck 14 Horizons Court and then sunned on the aft fantail of deck 12, enjoying the leisurely time to read, try a cooling dip in the small pool and generally laze about the deck. After the movie, I sent some e-mails into cyber space enjoying the novelty of transmitting from the middle of the ocean via satellite, something that would have been near impossible only a few years before. The performance was blocked some by clouds, but we watched it eagerly enjoying the light play of sun on water and sky as the day turned into night at sea in its daily magical performance. We smiled at the co-incidence and enjoyed another meal with these charming young people from London. Even better, across the bay at a now abandoned similar anchorage, the area had been named Paris. After the show, Mary and I wandered topside to look at the full array of celestial beacons that adorned the heavens. Even the name conjured up visions of Polynesians in outrigger war canoes with the sound of drums resonating in the humid air. I dona€™t usually like lounge singers, but this engaging performer gave convincing renditions of Neil Diamond, Frank Sinatra, Paul Anka, Elvis Presley and a bevy of others, in a toe-tapping medley that left you smiling. W returned to our cabin to read (a€?Backspina€? Harlan Coben ), write up my notes and retire. The bay in which we were anchored, and most of the visible island, once were ensconced firmly in the center on an ancient caldera of a volcano that had risen some 13,000 feet into the Polynesian sky. The sturdy vehicles were clean and comfortable with seat pads, not anywhere near as Spartan as the guides had warned us.
We drove by and admired Papaya, Banana, coconut and the famous breadfruit trees for which the HMS Bounty had come to the Society Island looking in the 1800a€™s. The tab was a respectable $500-$800 a night for those fortunate enough to be able to stay there.
Tongue in cheek, the guide explained that, like most social programs the program has those who used it unfairly. French is spoken on the island exclusively and French Polynesian Francs the currency of choice..
Rotui was already peaking out from the gray wisps of cloudy garlands capping its erose peak. The 53 square mile island, shaped like a butterfly, is a popular destination for upscale tourism. It had rained heavily a few hours before and the small rain puddles made the walk through the open field interesting. The a€?lipsticka€? tree had small fuzzy buds that when rubbed on lips or fingers had the same effect as rouge. Small bushes, with thin and wiry leaves, are carefully tended by laborers and then harvested for their sweet fruit. All high school students have to commute daily to Tahiti as well as many workers who commute daily.
Then, Lobsters tails and a light parfait, all washed down with a Mondavi Merlot and decent coffee completed this wonderful dinner. We could watch half a dozen freighters lading cargo, the men and forklifts scurrying here and there, noisy and busy at work. The accounts they brought back electrified Europe enticing artists like Gauguin and adventurers of every type. The missionarya€™s razed the several Marae (sacrificial altars) and brought the European version of a straight-laced version of an unforgiving deity. A few hundred yards over sits the huge Ferry dock for the daily shuttles to Moorea, visible on the horizon, just 11 miles Northeast of Tahiti. The Tahitians are religious about stopping for pedestrians crossing the street, but it is still proved to be an adventure. We then walked down the main gallery of deck 7 and had some coffee in the small lounge outside of the restaurants.
Neon signs from the honk tonk clubs a€?Broadway,a€? a€?Manhattana€? and others vied for the club trade. As a young man with poetic pretensions he had written student verse celebrating wine and good company, but in the course of his journeys he had discovered his real passion: geography.
The occupying Arabs had built dams, irrigation systems, reservoirs and water towers, introduced new cropsa€”oranges and lemons, cotton, date palms, ricea€”and exploited the islanda€™s mines and fishing grounds.
Nor is there any limit to his knowledge of the sciences, so deeply and wisely has he studied them in every particular. The Garden of Eden and Paradise were at the top and Jerusalem at the center, while fabulous monsters occupied the unexplored regionsa€”Sirens, dragons, men with dogsa€™ heads, men with feet shaped like umbrellas with which they protected themselves from the sun while lying down (see #205, #207, #224, #226). The mission he entrusted to al-Idrisi was intellectually Herculean: to collect and evaluate all available geographical knowledgea€”from books and from on-the-spot observersa€”and to organize it into an accurate and meaningful representation of the world.
Muslim merchants, pilgrims and officials used so-called a€?road booksa€?, itineraries that described routes, traveling conditions and cities along the way.
What was the climate of the country, its rivers and lakes, mountains, coastal configurations and soil?
All creatures are stable on the surface of the earth, the air attracting what is light, the earth what is heavy, as the magnet attracts iron. The mathematician al-Khwarizmi reduced Ptolemya€™s estimate of the length of the Mediterranean Sea from 62 to 52 degrees; the Spanish Muslim astronomer al-Zarqali further adjusted the figure to the correct 42 degrees. Roger II of Sicily had his world map drawn on a six-foot diameter circle of silver weighing about 450 pounds. The Baltic area and Poland were represented much more precisely than on Ptolemya€™s maps, showing the fruit of the geographersa€™ investigations. In the fourth section of the first climate, al-Idrisi located the sources of the Nile in their approximately correct position, though he pictured the Nile of the Negroes as joining the Egyptian Nile at that point. The gardens of Toledo are laced with canals on which are erected water wheels used in irrigating the orchards, which produce in prodigious quantity fruits of inexpressible beauty and quality.
Juba populated the Canaries with Berber-speaking colonists, perhaps the ancestors of the Guanches.
The admiral in charge of the expedition died just as it was about to set out, so the venture came to nothing. Then they set sail with the first gentle easterly and sailed for about eleven daya€™s, until they came to a sea with heavy waves, evil-smelling, ridden with reefs and with very little light. The a€?sea with heavy waves, evil-smelling, ridden with reefs and with very little lighta€? can probably be ignored, for the passage is influenced by the a€?land of darknessa€? thought to exist in the farthest West, and the reefs may echo a passage in Platoa€™s Timeus which speaks of the shallows in the Atlantic marking the site where Atlantis sank.
No large mammals are indigenous to the Azores, and sheep or goats could only have been brought to the island by previous mariners. In the Arabic-speaking world, popular legend transferred a number of the heroic deeds of Hercules to Alexander - including the building of a land bridge across the Pillars of Hercules. The wood is deep black, and merchants come to the island to harvest it and then sell it to the kings of the farthest West. The same linear arrangement of islands appears on 14th century maps such as the 1351Laurentian portolano (Book III, #233), and, a full century later, on the Bartolomeo Pareto map (1455), since it was still impossible to determine longitude. The sixth island, shown opposite the entrance to the Mediterranean, would be al-Ghanam [Island of Sheep], Madeira. I think that Babcock comes close, but, rather than the cormorant, the bird referred to is the goshawk [Afar], a species of hawk that closely resembles an eagle and abounds in the Azores, and from which the entire archipelago gets its name.
On the Island of Two Heathen Brothers, two pirates lived until they were turned into rocks, and the inhabitants of the Island of Kalhan had the bodies of men and the heads of animals.
Using a globe prepared by a German cartographer named Martin Behaim (Book III, #258), based on Ptolemya€™s miscalculations, Columbus also added in Marco Poloa€™s equally misleading estimates of distances and concluded, incorrectly, that by sailing west from Spain he could reach Japan or India after no more than a 4,000 mile voyage. The consecutive numbers sometimes used to refer to the sectional maps are shown in the upper right corner of each section. Nieman Marcus, Nordstroma€™s, Macya€™s and many other toney shopping meccas lined the streets of the main boulevard.
We also found out later that the sand had been imported from Australia due to a lack of white sand locally. You always think it will evaporate like some ephemeral bubble that will just go a€?popa€? and disappear.
A small park area looked out across the channel to Ford Island, where the graceful white arch of the monument sat atop the sunken remains of the Battleship USS Arizona.
The rugged green mountains that split the island were just to the North of us, with gray garlands of fluffy clouds drifting across them. The channel from Ford Island to Oahu is narrow and an entire fleet of ships was berthed here. It was like an Arabian bazaar trying to search for our two black bags amidst a sea of hundreds of others.
Ozzie Nelson was paging me and we returned to the stateroom for a long afternoon nap, my favorite activity in the tropics. It was to be the first of twelve such meals that would impress us greatly and expand us measurably.
The bus passed through Poi Pu, with its alley of mahogany and Eucalyptus trees that met overhead.
Some small shops and restaurants are clustered nearby, but the real attraction if the golden beach and the bright blue ocean. We had enjoyed our visit to the island, though we thought that a goodly supply of books would be needed for an extended stay here. Radiating outward are collections of small commercial shops, hawking the usual tourist wares, and several streets of small, neat homes. It is a modern, tri-level shopping court of high priced shops like Versace, Ferragamo, Tiffany and Gucci. The Marriott, Sheraton, Hyatt and Maui Ocean Shores are beautiful in their landscaped elegance.
It gave us a softer look at a place that deserves to be further explored on another occasion. It is these incidental meetings shipboard, either at dinner or casually, that much enhance the entire experience. When you think of lava exploding all the way up through 31,000 feet of mountain, that makes for a degree of physical force that is hard for me to grasp.
It was fascinating for me to look at this cone and realize that enough volcanic material had erupted from this aperture to create 4,000 sq. Off to the Southeast, visitors were warned from walking because the sulphur fumes could be toxic. The top layer of the flow had that crystalline diamond effect as the molten surface rock cooled and crystallized. Our fellow park bears were munching at the sample a€?buffet linea€? like people who hadna€™t just consumed 1200 calories at the Volcano House. It was geriatrics row, god bless them for the gumption to be still traveling at an advanced age. Tonight was the first a€?formal dinnera€? in the Florentine room and we wanted to be alert and enjoy the affair. It is a life speed gear that I am not much familiar with, but would like to experience more of it. It was a€?French Night.a€? I had escargot, French Onion Soup, Orange roughie and an apple tart with ice cream for desert. We returned to our cabin to shower and prep for dinner, much appreciating the splendor of our surroundings in juxtaposition to those available on Christmas Island.
The Mondavi Merlot led us into squid and shrimp appetizers, Zuppa minestrone, swordfish griglia and then finally a delicate Tiremisu with good coffee.
It had been a long day in which we had witnessed the span of events from first light to twinkling evening. We met Kevin and Laura Hanley in the deck 5 lounge, had coffee and got better acquainted, before entering the Florentine Room for another wonderful experience.
The erose, emerald remains of an ancient volcano rose up in front of us, cloud shrouded, mysterious and tolkienesque in the early morning sun. I had recognized the craggy skyline from a modern painting by an Italian artist named Freshcetti, I think. When Brigitte Bardot, the French actress, had visited the islands, she took up their cause.
Almost instantly, a small army of these crabs crawled forth from their burrows and began dragging the fruit and peels back into their holes. The Bora Borans called these homes, the French equivalent of a€?re-election homesa€? for the propensity of mayors to award these homes to certain favored islanders during re-election years. We cooled off from the sun and then decided to walk the roads for a bit to see what local culture we could absorb. For reasons, unknown to me, the sun sets earlier here, by some 45 minutes, than in the Northern climes.


We walked topside to once again admire the stars emblazoned across the inky night of these former Society Island in French Polynesia, glad that we were here and together.
A dozen or so of the huge, air-conditioned land cruisers were waiting their aging cargos for the daya€™s tours.
Many of the island women wore it in place of costlier lipstick, hence the name of the tree. These sacrifices are laced through the Hawaiian legends as part of the reason the ancient Hawaiians had fled the harsher culture of Bora Bora and Moorea.
This island is the most beautiful in the chain and the one we would most like to return to.
That was something we will long remember during the cold and snowy Winters of our home in the frosty northern climes. Then, we stood nearby eating our sandwiches under the protective shade of a large Monkey pod tree.
Colorful cotton sarongs, flowered garlands and other bright pastels adorned these handsome people. We had agreed to have dinner with Jazz and Janice, from London, this evening and met them in the lounge. The river of cars left a trail of red taillights flashing in the dark, as they rounded the bend towards the air port. He is responsible for singular innovations and for marvelous inventions, such as no prince has ever before realized. His purpose was partly practical, but mostly scientific: to produce a work that would sum up all the contemporary knowledge of the physical world.
Other Muslim scholars, like the Iraqi astronomer al-Battani and the Persian al-Biruni (#214.3), composed tables giving the latitudes of leading cities.
The works of Al-Idrisi include Nozhat al-mushtaq fi ikhtiraq al-afaq - a compendium of the geographic and sociological knowledge of his time as well as descriptions of his own travels illustrated with over seventy maps; Kharitat al-`alam al-ma`mour min al-ard [Map of the inhabited regions of the earth] wherein he divided the world into seven regions, the first extending from the equator to 23 degrees latitude, and the seventh being from 54 to 63 degrees followed by a region uninhabitable due to cold and snow. The British Isles also were treated with a surprising insight, probably due to contacts between Norman England and Norman Sicily. It is a considerable island, whose shape is that of the head of an ostrich, and where there are flourishing towns, high mountains, great rivers and plains. Gradually, knowledge of the location of the Canaries was lost, even though Lanzarote, the island nearest the North African coast, lies less than 100 kilometers [60 miles] west of the mainland. Al-ldrisi says the admirala€™s curiosity was aroused by smoke rising from the sea in the west, probably the result of volcanic activity.
Neither name is Arabic, nor do they appear to be transcriptions of Greek, Latin or Romance - but the fact that these two islands had names at all means mariners must have visited them, and the names are either native designations or hark back to some lost, perhaps oral, source. They were sure they were about to perish, so they changed course to the south and sailed for twelve days, until they came to Sheep Island, There were so many sheep it was impossible to count them, and they ranged freely, with no one to watch them. The Azores lie almost 1,300 kilometers (about 800 miles) west of the coast of Portugal - one-third of the way to America. Some Greek mythographers thought the Islands of the Hesperides lay off the coast of North Africa, and we have already seen how al-Idrisi associates Alexander with two of the Atlantic islands.
The island is said to have been inhabited in the past, but it fell to ruin and serpents infested the land. Al-Sua€™ali and al-Mustashkin both sound completely legendary, but there is nothing legendary about Hasran and Qalhan, which sound as if they might belong together. During the period of rediscovery of the Azores under Prince Henry the Navigator, these birds were supposedly responsible for guiding the sailors to these distant islands. According to one historian, friendly relations were established between the Sultan of Spain and the invaders.
We checked in at Continental Airlines and then went through the security screens to gate #22 to await our flight eastward, to Newark airport in New Jersey.
Over 1,200 men were still entombed in the sunken wreck and the site was treated respectfully as a burial ground. Missouri, a€?Mighty Mo.a€? She and the submarine a€?Blowfina€? are anchored just around a bend in the lagoon and are available for boarding and viewing to the public. The driver noted several times the 1893 takeover of the Hawaiian republic by British and American military. Nihau still lies in the hands of Mrs.a€™ Sinclaira€™s grandsons, the Gay and Robinson Company, who also own about one third of Kauai. We sat for a time under a shade tree and watched the ocean crash against the shore on a golden day in Kauai.
When the waves are choppy, the boat can rise and sink several feel, in an instant, making getting on and off interesting, especially for the older folks on board. We browsed some shops for a bit and then hopped a cab to nearby a€?Whalera€™s Villagea€? on Ka'anapali beach.
We stopped at the Marriott for coffee on the ocean and watched the comings and goings of the many vacationers. It looked like Dantea€™s version of the nether regions and it held us spell bound at the raw power and energy contained in the process. The super heated gases, just above the molten rock, further molded and carved the area until a fairly smooth rock tunnel is created through which the lava can flow like tooth paste through a tube. We enjoyed the sea, sky and harsh lava for a time and then set off back across the fractured flow for our bus.
We wished them a good evening and returned to our cabin to read and finish yet another lazy and enjoyable day at sea. I wondered at the ancient mariners who had sailed these lonely seas for thousands of years using these same beacons as their maps.
Dawn Princess had crossed the equator several hours before, so we were watching our first sunrise on the Pacific Ocean and in the Southern Hemisphere. We were even treated to the fabled a€?green flasha€? as the sun sank beneath the waves and hissed as it hit the cool waters.
I can die happily now, I have had everything wonderful that I ever wanted to eat on this cruise. We had enjoyed the day and each other to the fullest, in the South Pacific, enroute to Bora Bora and Tahiti. We had breakfast on the balcony and enjoyed the sea air, the azure blue sky and the rolling, royal blue waves around us, We were steaming south at 19 knots and fast approaching Polynesia. In the old days I think they used to throw first time crossers over board for the novelty of the rite. We would pay for these extravaganzas with a few zillion hours in the health club for the next few months. From the high deck of the Dawn Princess, it looked like we were entering one of those mysterious isles that you see in King Kong or Jurassic Park.
This particular erose formation had probably fed the imagination of a thousand painters and artists over the centuries. Bora Bora has several large and very posh hotels that cater to the carriage trade form all over.
The women vendors gave demonstrations of how they dyed the colorful garments in a process similar to a€?Batika€? in the Caribbean.. The homes looked prosperous enough, with their stucco walls and tin roofs, used to catch the rainwater. Then we retired to our cabin to read for a time and fall into the arms of Morpheus at sea off Bora Bora.
The temple area had fallen into disrepair, but a small grass-roofed hut and some printed information boards filled in the blanks. We had just last year seen a Gauguin collection at New Yorka€™s Metropolitan Museum and yet another small collection at the Art Gallery of Toronto.
The second floor is filled with scores of small vendors peddling what we lovingly called a€?Le Jonk.a€? Sarongs, bead necklaces, carved figures of marine life, Tahitian gods and all manner of jewelry, tee shirts and other sundries, that gladden a shoppera€™s heart, are on display. They share that warm and gracious charm that we had experienced and enjoyed from their Hawaiian cousins. It is a custom we had much enjoyed in Paris and Firenze, walking about a crowded square with a sandwich and bottle of water, enjoying your busy surroundings. We watched for a time, admiring the pomp of the ceremony, whatever it was.a€? a€?Department de Francea€? shined out from a brass plaque on the lanai wall. We watched the huge car ferry and the smaller catamaran from Moorea glide by our ship for their mooring across the bay. Others belonged to a later tradition of systematic geography, like the 10th century scholars Ibn Hawqal (#213) and al-Masa€™udi (#212), who produced books intended as something more than practical guides for the tax collector or the postman: as additions to the fund of human knowledge. An element of subjectivity entered into the fact that southern Italy was represented as larger than the north, and that Sicily occupied a substantial part of the Western Mediterranean, in contrast to Sardinia and Corsica, which shrank in scale.
This country is most fertile; its inhabitants are brave, active and enterprising, but all is in the grip of perpetual winter.
The Greeks called the Canary Islands TA?n MakarA?n NA“soi [The Islands of the Blessed], and they were regarded as the furthest known land to the west.
In another passage al-Idrisi gives more details of this island - incidentally showing that a longer account of the voyage of the mugharrirun must have existed. In the 19th century, Carthaginian coins were found on the most westerly of the islands, Corvo - 31A° west longitude - and although the find has been questioned, the origin of the coins has never been satisfactorily explained. But if the word is Arabic, one would expect it to be preceded by the definite article a€?ala€?.
Since the only inhabited islands in the western Atlantic just before the coming of the Europeans were the Canaries, Hasran may belong to that groupa€”unless, of course, it is to be sought in the Caribbean!
If the isle of Raqa is indeed one of the Azores, then the discovery of these islands occurred as early as the 10th century. The surreal experience ended gradually as the tender ferried us back to the reception center. The natives, in relating the destruction of the monarchy have that mildly pissed off attitude that you hear when native Americans talk about how their lands were stolen from them. Then we walked them through a line to run them through a huge x-ray scanner for transport to the ship. The hunger monster was calling so we ventured forth to the buffet lunch on deck 14, The Horizon court. It freed you from the fear of being stuck with morons and cretins for dinner during the entire cruise, an experience we had already suffered thorough on an earlier cruise.
It was to be a medley of nationalities that had me speaking Polish, Tagalog, Spanish, French, Italian and mumbling bits of Rumanian and Hungarian. Here, the wave erosion had formed several a€?blow holesa€? where the seawater exploded from fissures in the rocks as each wave crashed upon them. Hard drinking, hard living and men who had been at sea for a year had their effect on the local populace both in terms of quality of life and gene pool additions. We browsed the shops for a time and then discovered a small whaling museum on the second level. Inside are displays explaining measurement of earthquakes, pre volcanic expansion and scores of other details relating to volcanoes. Grasses and scrub trees had already started to cover the rock, attesting to its rich mineral content. We walked the damp tunnel and were mindful of the heat and energy that had created this natural wonder. The lunch was middling to poor, a€?slop the hogsa€? variety, and the place was crowded to the gunnels with tourists from everywhere.
We didna€™t want to waste the lethargy so we repaired to our cabin for a delicious one-hour conversation with Mr.
A humorous Hungarian waiter gave a knowledgeable and entertaining lesson on appreciating and purchasing Pinot Grigio, Fiume Blanc, Shiraz, a Mondavi coastal Merlot and Korbel champagne. We put aside our glass slippers and magical robes and surrendered to the sandman, happy to be here and with each other, someplace at sea in the vast pacific.
The Dawn Princess proceeded South at a brisk 19 knot pace and we could espy nothing around us except for sky, wind and wave. The dining experience was delicious and consistent with the other elegant repasts we had enjoyed aboard the Dawn Princess. They must have gazed in wonder, even as we now did, at the full array of twinkling beauty that we now admired.
We saw and talked to Kevin and Laura Hanley, a couple from Maywood New Jersey, whom we had met on the ship.
I would never have thought of myself on a cruise like this, growing up in a working class section of Buffalo, New York.
But, it is worth it three-fold for the pleasure that we experienced in this 5 star dining emporium. The scent, on the ocean breeze, was pregnant with the healthy rot of tropical jungle just tweaking our nostrils.
The Southern Hemisphere star show rose on the horizon and we looked up at these strange constellations for a time before heading back to our cabin to shower and prepare for dinner. English seems to be spoken by workers in the tourist industry, but is neither known nor spoken by most of the populace. We were confirmed admirera€™s of this artista€™s brilliantly colored renditions of Tahiti and her people.
We browsed the shops, bought some bead necklaces for a few of the kids at home and enjoyed the color and commerce of a real market place. On the grounds of L'hotel de ville sits a large open-aired hut with a brown grass roof upon the large structure.
In addition, scientific expeditions were dispatched to areas on which information was lacking. Contrary to a still popular misconception that up to the time of Columbus everyone believed the world was flat, many scholars and astronomers since at least the fifth century B.C.
Not surprisingly, the best part of both map and text, accurate and detailed, dealt with Sicily itself.
It forms an island 300 miles long by 150 miles wide: this is surrounded by the Nile on all sides and at all seasons .
Al-Idrisi gave the names of many English towns, principally ports, with the distances between them. They caught some of the sheep and slaughtered them, but the flesh was so bitter they could not eat it. He says Sheep Island is large, shrouded in shadows, and filled with small sheep whose flesh is bitter and inedible. Corvo is marked on the Canterino map of 1351, where the name occurs as Corvini - considerably before its official discovery.
You can still see the large circular bases of the massive gun turrets rising just above the surface.
The Arizona, the West Virginia, the Oklahoma and the California all were caught in the initial barrage and either exploded or sunk. But the memories have followed me home from that haunting place in the beautiful Hawaiian sun.
Maybe they too will discover the notion of gambling casinos and how they can fleece their lands back from us someday.
We had a nice medley of shrimp, salmon and fruit for lunch as we took stock of our surroundings. First though, we headed for the Vista Lounge on deck 7 with our large orange life jackets for the mandatory lifeboat drill.
If you were topside, you were at the furthest end of the pendulum and felt the full range of the sway. This particular formation was called the a€?spouting horna€? for the noise and spray that exploded from it.
Harpoons, scrimshaw (carved whale bone) abounded in small exhibits that told you everything you would ever want to know about whale blubber, whaling and the industry that surrounded it.
Golf courses, shopping, trendy restaurants and the finest white sand, that California could supply, make Ka€™anapali beach a comfortable and elegant escape from the everyday grind. Kilauea about 11 miles from and below us, but it was too difficult to get us safely near enough to view the phenomenon.
At the other end of the tunnel, we ascended a few sets of stairs and the hiked through the dense tropical rain forest to our bus, admiring the many varieties of plants and flowers everywhere around us. We finished quickly, browsed the cheap souvenir shops and then did a a€?Chevy Chasea€? outside looking at the scenery, before boarding the land cruiser to continue the tour. We chatted with Marty Bleckstein, the photographer from Maui, as we watched this spectacle and enjoyed her company. We read for a bit before drifting off to the roll of the ship-plowing forward, ever forward, to our exotic destination. It apparently has great medicinal effects but had a malodorous side effect that wrinkles the nose. The traffic was both swift and steady as we walked the roads with their too narrow shoulders.
Reportedly, the islander who owns the land you walk across to get there, charges a $2 levy on anyone crossing his land, capitalism in the tropics. Moorea is a gorgeous arboretum and botanical gardens that is a pleasure just to ride through and enjoy. We had also hoped to see the spectacular black sand beach and lighthouse at Point Venus, the Vaima Pearl Center and a few of the waterfalls cascading from Mt.
Draftsmen and cartographers accompanied these expeditions so that a visual record of the country could be made. The greater part of the country is only habitable on the borders of the Nile for the rest of the country . Hastings was a considerable town, densely populated, with many buildings, markets, much industry and commerce; Dover, to the east, was an equally important town not far from the mouth of the river of London, the broad and swiftly flowing Thames.
In 1402 the Normans partially conquered them, meeting stiff resistance from the indigenous Guanches. They took some sheepskins and sailed on to the south for another twelve days until they sighted an island.
Nearby is another island, called Raqa, which is the home of a red bird the size of an eagle, which catches fish in its claws and never flies far from the island.
Certain adventures of Sinbad the Sailor, from Tales of the Arabian Nights, are almost identical to those of Saint Brendan. Most of the rest of the ship is an indefinite mass that lies below, a sepulcher to those who went down with her.
Lastly, we walked through yet another line to pick up our cruise credentials and be scanned and have our carry ons searched yet again before walking up the gangway to the ship. This ship was to be at sea for twelve days in stretches of the Pacific where even the birds didna€™t fly. We watched for a time as the frothy turquoise sea crashed upon the eroded black lava formation.
I sent some e-mails into cyber space from the 12th floor business center and Mary did some laundry in a small area near our room. The surfers, divers and swimmers enjoyed their recreation while the sunbathers reveled in the warm hot Hawaiian sun. The fissure here were more brittle, like shattered pottery in a huge black piles of hardened tar. We all posed for various pictures and decided to join each other for dinner in the Florentine room.
We then sunned on the aft section of deck 11, enjoying the steaming morning sun on our bodies.
The natives say that as a reminder, the soldiers had left behind 100 children of mixed parentage. The guide pointed out that all islanders who pass on are buried under small, roofed tombs in their front yards.
Small clumps of people would stand and talk animatedly under the shade of a tree or that of a buildinga€™s awning. A filet of salmon and baked Alaska for desert was all washed down with some decent cabernet.
You may get there sooner or you may not get there as soon as you expected, but you will certainly get there.
In the mid-15th century, the Spanish took control of the Canaries and continued the conquest.
The settlers quickly burned down all the forests, so it is now hard to know for certain, but some sort of scented wood may have once grown there.
But whether the Irish borrowed these myths from the Arabs, or vice versa, or if they both obtained them from an earlier common source is a matter of conjecture. An armor-piercing bomb, from a Japanese dive-bomber, had pierced her forward magazine.The ship virtually exploded and sank in minutes on that fiery Sunday morning 62 years ago. We all paid attention to the crews explanation in the proper use of the jackets and tenders should an emergency arise.
We were tongue in cheek cautioned about removing lava samples, because Pele would bring us bad luck. Luckily for us, the rains had stopped for a few minutes to allow us this walk through the lava.
It is these chance encounters with people from everywhere that make the cruise experience so enjoyable.
I can now empathize with turtles and crocodiles for the languid pleasure of basking in the warm sun. They were an improbable pair that had been married for 26 years and they got along famously. It was nearing the end of the steamy summer season here (Dec.-April) The Spring season is reportedly much cooler.
They waved shyly back at us and returned our greeting with a soft a€?bonjoura€? before scurrying away. Al-Idrisia€™s silver disk, or planisphere, was a form of projection considerably in advance of others of its time.
Fighting was still going on when Columbus used the islands as the first stop on all four of his voyages to the Caribbean. They headed toward it in order to explore and when they were not far offshore, they suddenly found themselves surrounded by boats, which forced their ship to land beside a city on the shore.
A king of the Franks heard of this, al-Idrisi adds, and sent a ship to the island to bring him that fruit and some of the birds, but the ship was lost and never returned. It had a walker, with a red line though it, apparently warning people from walking across lava that had not yet cooled and risk being burned alive.
A refreshing dip in the small pool, in the health spa, felt wonderfully cooling after the 88-degree heat.
We enjoyed chatting with the London kids this last time and were pleased that we had met them.
The Guanches were not finally subdued until the end of the 16th century, when they and their language virtually disappeared. They saw the men who lived there; they were light-complexioned, with very little facial hair. Burning oil, smoke, noise and confusion reigned for several hours that day until the attack ended. I was enduring a bad head cold or I would have tried to mitigate the caloric onslaught as well. This light wine immediately took on a much fruitier and fuller taste to some chemical transfer or other. We didna€™t think it odd to see the well-tended graves in the front yards of the prosperous looking homes. The local school had let out for lunch and the kids were walking the roads like kids everywhere. They had an early flight out tomorrow morning and a lay over in Los Angeles, before the long flight back to Heathrow in London. And in the ninth century, 70 Muslim scholars, working under the patronage of Caliph al-Maa€™mun, gathered in the Syrian Desert to determine the length of a degree of latitude. There are arid wastes where one must walk two, four, five, or twelve days before finding water . From the few words of Guanche preserved in the Spanish chronicles, we know they spoke a form of Berber, and were therefore probably descended from Jubaa€™s colonists. We had shared the experience with Lynn and her father Peter from London and two Torontonians, Judy and Paul.
We also neither saw nor encountered beggars or pan handlers of any kind during our stay on the island. Rather than rely on travelersa€™ guesses of distance, as previous astronomers had done, they used wooden rods to measure the road they traveled until they saw a change of one degree in the elevation of the polestar. Yet when Europeans encountered them, they had no memory of the mainland; having no boats, they were unaware that the other islands in the group were inhabited.
Their calculation resulted in a figure for the eartha€™s circumference equivalent to 22,422 miles, an error of 3.6 percent, almost as accurate as Eratosthenesa€™ estimate and a considerable improvement over Ptolemya€™s. Inside, several bars and galleries led to the central three story, open well that extends from deck 5 to deck 8.
A huge waterfall, far in the distance, gave testimony to the force of the winds this high up.
On the fourth day a man who spoke Arabic entered and asked them who they were and where they were going and what was the name of their country. The shipa€™s two formal restaurants, several boutiques, the casino and other small cafes all opened off of this central court. They told him everything and he said not to worry, and that he was the kinga€™s interpreter.
It is resplendent in gleaming glass and shining brass with marble staircases and open glass elevators.
We did our a€?Chevy Chasea€? and appreciated the beauty of the a€?Grand Canyon of the Pacifica€? as Mark Twain had once called it. The next day they were taken into the kinga€™s presence and he asked the same questions they had been asked by the interpreter. They told him what they had told the interpreter the day before, of how they had embarked upon the ocean in order to find out about it and see the wonders it contained, and how they had come to this place. When dawn broke and the sun rose, we found we were in great pain because we had been so tightly bound. One of them asked us: a€?Do you know how far you are from your country?a€™ a€?No,a€™ we answered.




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