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From the Air: Appendix
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With the various From the Air posts I've created lately, it's no surprise that I'm a bit of a geography buff. And it's not that I can simply spend hours on Google Maps and Google Earth, literally traveling the globe from my office, it's the information housed in the map. Wikipedia tags are popping up all over the world, allowing users to learn more about what they're looking at. So I thought I'd give some background on some of the interesting places I've listed on the From the Air challenges.

Victoria Falls
(From the Air II)
Wikipedia Article :: Google Maps
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Niagara, you've been called out. Victoria Falls has made you it's bitch, and you're nothing more than a urine trickle on the US-Canada border. While honeymooners head to Niagara to ride the Maid of the Mist and get their pictures taken while staying in a comfortable resort, Victoria Falls is redefining "breathtaking" and asking that you leave your room service back in the States. According to Wikipedia:
While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, [The World Heritage List] claims it is the largest. Victoria Falls is based on a width of 1.7 kilometers (1 mi) and height of 108 meters (360 ft), forming the largest sheet of falling water in the world.
And it truly is a site to be seen. Dropping straight into a gorge sideways, the entire volume of the falls exits out a 360ft gap near the middle. If you're feeling adventurous, head to the Devil's Swimming Pool, a natural depression at the edge of the falls.

Stromboli
(From the Air IV)
Wikipedia Article :: Google Maps
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Stromboli is not just a food. It's also a 3,000 foot highly active volcano looming over the Mediterranean off the coast of Sicily. What makes this island interesting isn't just that people live on it, but that it's home to the Sciara del Fuoco (Stream of Fire). If falling asleep to the sounds of magma exploding in the distance weren't enough for you, head to the Sciara - a horseshoe shaped depression - where lava and Saab sized molten rocks tumble at great speeds into the ocean.

Farallon Islands
(From the Air I)
Wikipedia Article :: Google Maps
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I first spotted the Farallones on a particularly clear day in the Marin Headlands north of San Francisco. Off in the distance, these jagged teeth of islands reached up out of the ocean and seemed so ... menacing. And they are. Prone to shipwrecks and a staggering shark population as documented in Susan Casey's spectacular novel, The Devils Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks. The islands are uninhabited save for the occassional scientist and an array of seabirds and seals. And if nature weren't enough to deter you from visiting, perhaps being in ridiculously close proximity to two major nuclear waste undersea storage dumps would be cause to ask the travel agent for a new itinerary.

Iguaçu Falls
(From the Air III)
Wikipedia Article :: Google Maps
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"Three times it drops."
Thus spoke John Hurt in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, describing his and his fellow adventurers travels down a series of waterfalls in South America. I'm not sure if the falls were supposed to be Iguaçu, but the scene was filmed there. Called "the most beautiful waterfalls in the world" it's hard to argue with that based on the photos. The Devil's Throat or Garganta del Diablo in Spanish is the most impressive. A U-shaped, 82-meter-high, 150-meter-wide and 700-meter-long (490 by 2300 feet) cataract, the throat the marks the border between Argentina and Brazil.

Maverick's
(From the Air III)
Wikipedia Entry :: Google Maps
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Ice cold water? Check. Meat grinder rocks? Check. Waves taller than small buildings? Oh hell yes. This is Maverick's, a unique spot on the California coast where a confluence of factors creates some of the best wave riding on the West Coast. Named after a dog, Maverick's had been ridden by only a small group of hard-core surfers for decades. It wasn't until a picture of the waves at Mavericks appeared in Surfer magazine in the early 90's that it became the big-wave surf spot it's known as today. Tragically, this was also the site of surf legend Mark Foo's death in 1994.

For more information, I recommend checking out the superb surf film Riding Giants, specifically it's 2nd act on Jeff Clark's determination to surf Maverick's. Also, this article explains how and why the waves form as they do at Maverick's. (Incidentally, this is the only spot in the appendix I've actually been to, but never found the balls to surf it.)

The Salton Sea
(From the Air I)
Wikipedia Page :: Google Maps
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Sorry for the plethora of California based locations, it was not intentional. While the other locations may be filled with beauty, the Salton Sea is something else altogether. An inland salt lake, Salton is below sea-level and has a higher salinity than the ocean. There is farming to the northwest and southeast of the lake, as well as settlements (like Bombay Beach) scattered around the lake's edge. The heavy salt air corrodes metal quickly, and ruins of machines and houses that look as if they've been melted, can be found in the region.

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3 Comments

Cool pictures. Geography is fun.
Also, the Farallon Islands look cool to me. If you want to get away from people.

said E on February 27, 2009 6:12 PM.

Uh...where's the world's only Corn Palace?

said Douches on February 27, 2009 8:02 PM.

Give us some more, Echowood! I have never heard of Salton Sea. It really looks like a place out of a different time, doesn't it?

said CindylovesScara on March 1, 2009 8:56 AM.
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