Fresh Tracks

Aug 1, 2003
Outside Magazine

** REEF RELIEF "Coral reefs have been damaged more in the past 20 years than in the previous thousand," says Gregor Hodgson, director of UCLA-based REEF CHECK, an organization fighting to SAVE CORAL REEFS worldwide. That's why the nonprofit is working with local communities in every tropical ocean to combat overfishing, invasive algae, pollution, and sedimentation with an all-volunteer, three- to 14-day training program. Instructors teach locals and visiting divers like you how to gather data on fish populations and to document coral damage. In the six years since the study started, Reef Check has surveyed 1,317 REEFS IN MORE THAN 60 COUNTRIES. The organization has identified the reefs off the Maldives, Jamaica, and Oahu as in particularly rough shape. It has also compiled a list of the world's most pristine reefs. Hodgson won't reveal any GPS coordinates, but, he says, it's worth diving along the reefs on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia; in Milne Bay, off southeastern Papua New Guinea; and off the northwest coast of Madagascar. To find out how you can participate, visit or call 310-794-4985. For another great reef-saving adventure, see our New Trip, below right.
** ISLAND BOPPING A new player in the David vs. Goliath battle to lure sun-chasing vagabonds, CARIBBEAN SUN AIRLINES has four 37-passenger DHC-8 turboprops and is UNDERCUTTING INDUSTRY GIANTS in the region. Sample fare: Fly round-trip from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to St. Martin for $165 (American charges $225 for the same flight). Within the next three months it will have service to Antigua, St. Thomas, and St. Croix. Contact: 954-359-7846,

** HONEYMAROONING This spring, the ultra-exclusive NORTH ISLAND RESORT opened on a private island in THE SEYCHELLES, off southeastern Africa. Raised on stilts to catch cooling Indian Ocean breezes, the resort's 11 huge OPEN-WALLED VILLAS—each one is 4,890 square feet—are handmade from wood and local stone. The surrounding waters are home to an immense coral reef system. The all-inclusive rates are $815 to a staggering $4,555 per night, but honeymooners looking for a bit of privacy will love it. Contact: 800-882-9453,

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