Splen­did iso­la­tion

Action Asia - - COMMENT - Steve White Editor-in-chief Email: stevew@bluinc­me­dia.com Twit­ter: @Ac­tionasia­mag

THIS IS­SUE IS FO­CUSED ON ASIA-PA­CIFIC’S MANY IS­LANDS, in­tro­duc­ing a hand­ful of our favourites, big and small, and the ad­ven­tures to be found on them. The phys­i­cal sep­a­ra­tion of an is­land is an in­vi­ta­tion to ex­plore in it­self. I think be­ing from a small col­lec­tion of isles off the coast of main­land Europe shaped my in­sa­tiable desire to sam­ple for­eign shores, though un­like many of my coun­try­folk, I usu­ally pre­fer to head in­land to ex­plore more, rather than veg­e­tate on a beach. There are of­ten men­tal bar­ri­ers to over­come in leav­ing an is­land too. In Hong Kong, peo­ple on Hong Kong Is­land talk of the ‘dark side’ when re­fer­ring to Kowloon, just a few hun­dred me­tres across the wa­ter. It’s tongue-in-cheek mostly, but the ef­fect it has on peo­ple’s will­ing­ness to cross the harbour seems real enough. Paul Niel, au­thor of our story from the city in this is­sue, and his wife Es­ther, faced bar­ri­ers, phys­i­cal and oth­er­wise, just by want­ing to walk around Hong Kong Is­land. Turn to p.48 to read his ac­count, though it’s fair to say that some of his ex­ploits en route have had to re­main off the record for fear of of­fi­cial sanc­tion. Else­where in the is­sue, we have the in­cred­i­ble story of the whale sharks of Cen­der­awasih Bay on the is­land of New Guinea. They have be­come so ha­bit­u­ated to feed­ing from fish­er­men’s nets that they pay lit­tle heed to the all the divers and snorkellers vy­ing for the best shot around them. We also race about the re­gion to pro­file 10 more is­lands we think are wor­thy of your at­ten­tion – there should be some­thing there for ev­ery­one, from nature-lovers to kiters, surfers to divers. There’s even some­thing for the more beach-bound Brits! Un­til next time,

AN IS­LAND WITH AT­TI­TUDE Sibuyan Is­land in the cen­tral Philippines of­ten car­ries a loom­ing thun­der­cloud thanks to the tall peak at its cen­tre.

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