The Island of Borneo’s crown jewel—Brunei

Ask most folks where the oil-rich Muslim nation of Brunei is and they place it somewhere near Saudi Arabia. But in reality it’s in East Asia—plunked on top of Borneo like a cherry atop a tropical ice cream sundae. The two countries could not be more dissimilar. Borneo is a very poor, rural country with…

Read More

Treasure Island

Smack dab in the middle of San Francisco Bay is an island of relatively recent manufacture called Treasure Island. Robert Louis Stevenson made so much money from his book of the same name that he spent his entire fortune building this 400-acre island. His aim was to grow dental floss, which he predicted would both…

Read More

Kowloon or Nam Kam, City of Darkness

Part of Hong Kong is an island in the Pacific Ocean called Hong Kong Island, and on this island there was once another another island…of sorts—The Walled City of Kowloon. At its peak it was the most densely populated place on earth. 1/10th of a square mile, or about 6.5 acres. Yet there were at…

Read More

Bikini Atoll

If you look up ‘most dangerous islands’ in the world, you always find Bikini Atoll on the list. First, let’s clear this up. Is the bathing suit named for the atoll or what? Yes, it is. On July 5, 1946, French designer Louis Réard unveiled a provocative two-piece swimsuit at a popular swimming pool in…

Read More

The Island of Sumbawa

I used to think that the explosion of Krakatoa in 1883 was THE BIG ONE, but not compared to the time in 1815 when Mt. Tambora on Sumbawa Island (in today’s Indonesia) detonated. There had been nothing on this scale since the Lake Taupo eruption in New Zealand 1700 years earlier. So much ash was…

Read More

Ferdinand Magellan

This magazine is called Pacific Voyages and features both Pacific Islands as well as Pacific Voyages. There is no more legendary voyage than that of Ferdinand Magellan. He is credited as the first man to circumnavigate the world. Yet he died on a beach in today’s Philippines, his body a pincushion of bamboo spears and…

Read More

Chuuk or Truk Island

Chuuk Lagoon—formerly Truk Atoll is home to about 36,000 Micronesians who live on this quiet 820 sq. mile island which is now part of the Federated States of Micronesia. It was not always so peaceful.  The island group is known as The Carolinas and the indigenous population dates back thousands of years. In 1528 a…

Read More

Alcatraz

Not all the Pacific islands are 6,000 miles from home (if you live in San Francisco); and where, back in the day, the cannibals might eat you and your boots. No, but because I claim that San Francisco Bay is part of the Pacific, I include: “The Rock.” And just a rock it was until…

Read More

Howland Island

Amelia Earhart’s life and career have been celebrated for the past several decades on “Amelia Earhart Day,” which is held annually on July 24 — her birthday.  Nearly everyone knows the story of her flight that came to a tragic conclusion somewhere short of one of her last stops on her round-the-world record attempt. She…

Read More

Lord of the Flies Island

There are countless books and movies based on real events, but how about a real event that took place after the novel and the movie were made? One of the top 100 most read books in Western literature is Lord of the Flies, a 1951 novel by Nobel Prize winning British author William Golding. The…

Read More

TETIAROA or BRANDO’S ISLAND

You can’t exactly buy a Tahitian Island if you aren’t Tahitian, but in Marlon Brando’s case, he was able to lease one for 99 years. Tetiaroa Atoll is about 30 miles from Tahiti and was long considered a crown jewel in Polynesia. This was where Tahitian royalty went for R and R from their tough…

Read More

Hell in the Pacific Island

Hell In the Pacific is John Bormann’s 1968 film shot on an unnamed island in the Palau archipelago, which the locals call the Rock Islands. Bormann is the man who gave is Deliverance, Excalibur and Point Bank. Bormann says that in his nearly 50 years of filmmaking this one was the one that took that…

Read More

Fiji: The Cannibal Islands, a place you may very well go

If you were to visit one place in the Pacific, I would say Fiji. Here, I have never found anything but happy surprises. It wasn’t always this way. There is much to say about cannibalism in this region, but it really came into its own in Fiji. It’s been over 150 years since the last…

Read More

Pentecost Island

Pentecost Island is one of the 83 islands that comprise the Vanuatu archipelago. Pentecost island is known as the place where bungee jumping was invented. Because this is so amazing, I have always been under the impression that everyone knows about this—but I have recently discovered this is not so. No one knows how it…

Read More

Forbes Island

Forbes Thor Kiddoo built his dream houseboat back in 1980 up-river from San Francisco. Essentially, it’s a huge concrete barge topped with a fantasy island; festooned with palm trees and flagpoles, as well as a 40-foot lighthouse. It has a 1,200 bottle wine cellar and a sandy beach. For many years, it was anchored off…

Read More

Isla Nublar

Isla Nublar is at once real and entirely fictitious. Imagine an island off the west coast of Costa Rica that for centuries was a favorite place for pirates to bury treasure, and a dumping ground for tyrants to maroon doomed smallpox victims. Oh, and then cover the place with dinosaurs run amuck; mix in some…

Read More

Tanna Island

I promised you weird and wonderful—so if this isn’t it, well… Tanna is an Island in the Vanuatu archipelago. It is home to not only the Cargo Cult, but also the place where they worship both John Frum and Prince Phillip of England as gods. The origin of this singular phenomenon date back to about…

Read More

Pitcairn Island

For over 50 years I have longed to visit Pitcairn Island. Not anymore. The story of Pitcairn and the Mutiny on the Bounty is the stuff of legends. There have been several films on the subject, and many years ago I knew a fellow who was in the first one with Clark Gable and Charles…

Read More

La Isla de las Muñecas

Is The Island of Dolls in the Pacific Ocean? Not technically but, hey it’s near the Pacific…sort of. And is it really an island? Well, it was about 50 years ago when Julián Santana Barrera moved onto it in Teshuilo Lake, which was part of the Aztec canal system from 500 years ago. The ancient…

Read More

Lubang Island

Lubang Island was the home of the last the Samurai warrior of the Japanese Imperial Army from the conclusion of WWII in 1945 and for the next 29 years. Three hours by boat from Manila in the Philippines is the Island of Lubian. Today it’s a local tourist area with about 20,000 residents. But it…

Read More

Created by Captain Jamis MacNiven (Editorial) & Chief Officer Ryan Sport (Design)

© 2020 Pacific Voyages