Ha Long Bay in Vietnam

Hạ Long Bay (Vietnamese: Vịnh Hạ Long, about this sound listen, literally: "descending dragon bay") is a Unesco World Heritage site, and a popular travel destination, located in Quảng Ninh Province, Vietnam.

Christ of the Abyss in Italy

Christ of the Abyss (Italian: "Il Cristo degli Abissi") is a submerged bronze statue of Jesus Christ, the original of which is located in the Mediterranean Sea off San Fruttuoso between Camogli and Portofino on the Italian Riviera.

Lençóis Maranhenses National Park in Brazil

The Lençóis Maranhenses National Park (Parque Nacional dos Lençóis Maranhenses) is located in Maranhão state, in northeastern Brazil, just east of the Baía de São José.

Panjin Red Beach in China

Panjin (simplified Chinese: 盘锦; traditional Chinese: 盤錦; pinyin: Pánjǐn) is a prefecture-level city and a major oil production centre of Liaoning province, People's Republic of China.

Glass Beach, California, U.S.A.

Glass Beach is a beach in MacKerricher State Park near Fort Bragg, California that is abundant in sea glass created from years of dumping garbage into an area of coastline near the northern part of the town.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cathedral Cove, Coromandel Peninsula,New Zealand

Cathedral Cove is arguably one of the most picturesque spots (and there are many) in The Coromandel Peninsula.

From beautiful Hahei Beach you can walk to Cathedral Cove, where a naturally formed archway deserves photographic attention.

From the north end of the beach, a one hour walking track leads along the cliff top and then descends to the Cove. 

Here a gigantic arched cavern passes through a white rock headland to join two secluded coves. 

The cathedral like arch gives whole area an air of grandeur. 

The beach is sandy with shady pohutukawa trees along the foreshore a perfect place for a picnic and a swim.

Just off the beach at Cathedral Cove is a large pinnacle of pumice breccia rock known as 'Te Hoho'. 

Over centuries this has been sculpted by wind and water it now looks like the prow of a large ship steaming into the beach.

If you prefer a slightly shorter walk (about 1.5 hours return), start from the car park at the end of Grange Road in Hahei,turn left just after the Hahei shops.

For snorkellers and scuba divers, Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve provides a visual feast of sponge gardens, reef systems and marine life to observe.

This recreation reserve, gifted to the nation in the 1.980s by Vaughan and Doreen Harsant, boasts some of New Zealand’s most spectacular coastal scenery. 

A walking track gives access to Gemstone Bay, Stingray Bay and the beautiful sandy beaches at Cathedral Cove separated by a rock arch. 

Although this track is well graded, there are some hill slopes so allow plenty of time for the walk, wear appropriate footwear, and take food and water with you.

The track drops steadily from the car park into a valley where a side loop track takes you through a puriri grove and then back onto the main track. 

Alternatively, you can take a side track down to Gemstone Bay which has a bouldery beach and snorkel trail or, a little further on, another side track to Stingray Bay.

Stingray Bay has some large boulders with a beautiful sandy beach beyond. 

Special features are a sea cave and honeycomb weathering on the cliff face across the bay. 

Please note the north-western end of the beach at Stingray Bay is closed due to the danger of falling rocks and debris from the cliffs above. 

Visitors are advised not to use this end of the beach or adjacent waters. 

Signs and markers are in place to identify and warn people of the danger area.

Back on the main track, you climb out of the valley up to a high point overlooking the coastline. Stop, catch your breath and admire the view of the offshore islands. 

The track then crosses pasture and scrubland before entering pine forest with a good understorey of native shrubs. 

From here, it is all downhill to Cathedral Cove and even though this means there is a climb back off the beach for the return journey, it is well worth it to experience the beauty of the place.
Please take care when walking through the arch separating the two beaches at Cathedral Cove. 

Rockfall hazards exist in and around the arch and could occur at any time due to ongoing natural weathering and erosion. 

A management regime is in place to monitor the condition of the arch to make it as safe as possible.

There is a walking track from the western end of Hahei beach up to Cathedral Cove car park to connect with the track to Cathedral Cove. 

Allow an extra 20 - 30 minutes for this walk.

Beautiful Landscapes of Faroe Islands in Denmark

Situated in the heart of the Gulf Stream in the North Atlantic at 62°00’N, the Faroe Islands lie northwest of Scotland and halfway between Iceland and Norway. 

The archipelago is composed of 18 islands covering 1399 km2 and is 113 km long and 75 km wide, roughly in the shape of an arrowhead

Marked by dramatic landscapes where earth meets sea, the Faroe Islands, where the capital is inhabited by only 19,000 people, is one of the most stunning locations in the northern hemisphere.

The 18 island archipelago is located between Iceland, Norway and Scotland and has been a self-governing territory of Denmark since 1.948.

The Vikings had a lasting impact on the islands. 

The grass roofed houses in the capital city of Torshavn are remnants of the Vikings that arrived in the 9th century, and the Faroese language is the closest Scandinavian language to Old Norse. 

The volcanic landscapes on the Faroe Islands add to the sense of stepping back into the past. 

The rock forest on the island of Mykines features jagged, geometric cliffs, and the sea is a constant presence, never far away.

Despite being located north of the United Kingdom, the Faroe Islands have a mild climate due to the Gulf Stream, and the summer days last for up to 19 hours.

Panjin Red Beach, China

Panjin (simplified Chinese: 盘锦; traditional Chinese: 盤錦; pinyin: Pánjǐn) is a prefecture-level city and a major oil production centre of Liaoning province, People's Republic of China.

It is situated on the northern coast of Liaodong Bay of the Bohai Gulf. 

It borders Anshan to the northeast and east, Yingkou across the Liao River, as well as Jinzhou to the west and northwest. 

The city has an administrative area of 4,071 square kilometres (1,572 sq mi), in which 1.28 million people reside.

Panjin is located between 40° 40'−41°27' N and 121° 31'−122° 28' E. 

It has a continental climate with four distinct seasons and some maritime influence, an annual mean temperature of 9.2 °C (48.6 °F) and receives over 2700 hours of sunshine a year. 

The city sits on the open field between the Liaodong Peninsula and the western portion of Liaoning Province. 

The Shuangtaizi River, which diverts from the Liao River upstream from the city, runs through the city and flows into the Liaodong Bay. 

The Liao River serves as the border between Panjin and the city of Yingkou. 

The two other prefecture-level cities that borders Panjin are Jinzhou and Anshan.

Major Attractions

Shuangtaihekou State Natural Reserve, a marshland that serves as natural habitat to 321 species of animals. 

It also serves as one of the few breeding grounds for endangered birds such as the red crowned crane and Saunders' Gull. 

Millions of birds of as much as 172 different species stop at the area during their migration, including more than 20 endangered species such as the red-crowned crane, 

Demoiselle Crane, white stork, black stork, white-fronted goose, whooper swan, and brown goshawk. 

On a special note, Panjin is also called "Home of the Cranes" for the above reasons.

Red Seabeach

Hubin Park in Panshan, featuring the Liaohe Tablets. 

These stone tablets bear inscriptions of Chinese calligraphy by historical and contemporary artists.

Glass Beach, California, U.S.A.

Glass Beach is a beach in MacKerricher State Park near Fort Bragg, California that is abundant in sea glass created from years of dumping garbage into an area of coastline near the northern part of the town.

In the early 20th century, Fort Bragg residents threw their household garbage over cliffs owned by the Union Lumber Company onto what is now Glass Beach, discarding glass, appliances, and even vehicles.

Locals referred to it as "The Dumps."

Fires were lit to reduce the size of the trash pile.

The California State Water Resources Control Board and city leaders closed the area in 1.967.

Various cleanup programs were undertaken through the years to correct the damage. 

Over the next several decades the pounding waves cleaned the beach, by breaking down everything but glass and pottery and tumbling those into the small, smooth, colored pieces that cover Glass Beach.

In 1.998, the private owner of the property determined that Glass Beach should belong to the public, and began a five year process of working with the California Coastal Conservancy and the California Integrated Waste Management Board for the cleanup and sale of the property to the state. 

Following completion of the clean up, the California Department of Parks and Recreation purchased the 38-acre (15 ha) Glass Beach property, and it was incorporated into MacKerricher State Park in October 2.002.

The beach is now frequently visited by tourists.

Collecting is not permitted on the park's beach, although sea glass can be found on other local beaches outside the park boundary.

A Glass Festival is held annually on Memorial Day weekend.

Thousands of tourists visit Fort Bragg's glass beaches each day in the summer. 

Most collect some glass. 

Because of this and also because of natural factors (wave action is constantly grinding down the glass), the glass is slowly diminishing. 

There is currently a move to replenish the beaches with discarded glass.

Similar beaches are found at Benicia, California and Hanapepe, Hawaii.

Several endangered and protected native plants occur at Glass Beach including hybrid Menzies’ wallflower.