I guess this is the week for quirky confessions. Yesterday I told you about my ignorance regarding the Prisoner of Zenda, today I’m going to tell you about my geographical ignorance.
You see, I have never in my life been more than two hours drive from the ocean.
Really. Never, ever.
I am an island girl. I was born and grew up on Moloka’i, Hawaii, an island so small that you could drive from end to end in less than an hour. And then, all you could do was turn around and drive back.
Then I went to school in the SF Bay Area, where I was never more than a few minutes from the ocean. Once we drove inland towards Sacramento as part of a birdwatching excursion for an Ornithology class, and that was as far as I ever got from the sea.
After university, I briefly worked in New York City, and that’s just another island.
And, of course, now I live in New Zealand, which is also an island, albeit a much bigger one. You can’t get more than an hour and a half from the sea on either the North or South Island.
(Cute story about the three photos above. They were taken as I arrived in Wellington for the very first time. I had no idea the names of the places I was photographing. No idea that the city would one day be my home. No idea that I would see that last view of Miramar on an almost daily basis).
Most of the places I am interested in visiting are also islands, or sit at the edge of the sea, with mountains rising behind them and islands scattered before them. Iceland, Britain, Haifa, Tasmania (which did not get included in my Aussiephobia), Taiwan, Tahiti (well, that’s actually a collection of islands, but you know what I mean!), Nauru, Japan (see Tahiti), etc, etc….
I’ve also long had a fascination with the Canadian Maritime islands, sparked by L.M. Montgomery, a family link to Nova Scotia, and Great Big Sea (you totally knew I was going to bring that up, didn’t you?). They are top of the list of islands I want to go to!
So, the things I didn’t know:
Yesterday I discovered that Wikipedia has a list of island by area (bless you Wikipedia, your corset entry may be heresy, your corduroy entry inaccurate, but you do have some wonderful resources!). Awesome.
I love comparing things – it helps to understand them.
What I found out from the list is that the South Island of New Zealand is the 12th largest island in the world, the North Island the 14th, and Newfoundland the 16th.
I had no idea Newfoundland was so big. Also, it looks like a rabbit with its nose flying off in astonishment (you know those cartoons where characters eyes bug out a few inches beyond their face when they are surprised? Yes, it’s just like that, but it’s nose is flying off. It must have smelled something pretty amazing!). I did know what it looks like, but only just noticed the rabbit.
The other things I found out that really surprised me? Prince Edward Island (5,620 sq km) is way smaller than the Big Island of Hawaii (10,434 sq km). Almost half the size in fact!
I had no idea. Somehow reading Montgomery’s books I always pictured it New Zealand island sized. Suddenly it really makes sense that it is just a wee bitty island. Or at least reasonably small.
So that’s what I’ve learned this week. What have you learned this week?