I saw that island first when it was neither night nor morning. The Moon was to the west, setting but still broad and bright. To the east, and right amid the ships of the dawn, which was all pink, the daystar sparkled like a diamond. The land breeze blew in our faces, and smelt strong of lime and vanilla . . . Here was a fresh experience . . . and the look of those woods and mountains, and the rare smell of them, renewed my blood.
There are so many beautiful islands in the South Pacific. They are alike in so many ways and yet so different. Many are commercialized and some are still unspoiled. Our students will find many of the islands we visit to be a blend of the old and the new, and some will be as adventurers found them hundreds of years ago. We visit the Kingdom of Tonga and American Samoa and learn about the Polynesian culture first hand. Astronomy played a major role in settling the vastness of the Pacific. In hand carved canoes these people crossed the oceans with confidence that their knowledge of the heavens would guide them safely to new lands.
They say Tonga is where time begins. (The Tongan word for time is taimi, derived from the English.) It is the first place across the international dateline. We begin our studies here, by celebrating the New Year where it dawns first before anywhere else in the world. Our exploration of culture and astronomy start here and carry on to other islands. What better way to understand the structure of volcanic islands than to take a 4X4 safari through a caldera or to learn about coral reefs than to snorkel among them, sharing these sights with sharks and even whales. We spend time visiting remote villages in the main island groups of Tongatapu and Vava'u and get out to uninhabited islets as well. We come back through American Samoa and Pago Pago and see how American culture has influenced the old ways. All of these places are among the most beautiful, unspoiled places on Earth.
At each stop we will focus on astronomy and the role it and the rest of science has had in molding the development of the Polynesian cultures. What did the ancients know and how did they know it? What do we know today about the heavens and the universe and how do we know it is so? Everything we see in the skies comes to us in the form of light. If we can capture and hold that light, and if we are clever enough to decode the information it carries we can learn about an objects temperature, its chemical composition, physical features and maybe even its ultimate destiny.
We bring our own telescope along to see things we cannot even begin to dream of. We'll see objects in the skies that the ancients and the explorers we read about in our history books saw long ago. They seem unchanged. We go on to learn about our place in the universe, defined by what we know and how we know it. We explore the solar system, terrestrial and gas
planets. We look at stars, the main inhabitants of galaxies, their structure and their evolution through exotic phases. We never lose that thought about who we are. By learning more about other peoples, about the physical framework of the universe we live in, we learn more about ourselves.
This is primarily an astronomy course. The location in the South Pacific affords a perspective of the night sky breathtaking in its grandeur, dark skies so objects unseen from the upper midwest will manifest themselves, and close enough to the equator to see northern and southern constellations as well. Studying the night sky from the beach and learning how stars and galaxies form and develop presents an unforgettable educational experience. We bring along a telescope and CCD camera for imaging of heavenly objects. This course will immerse the student in learning the night sky and seeing wonders they have not dreamed of.
Rules and Procedures: (Just click)
Evaluation:Based on attendance at all group activities and participation in group discussions (10%), a daily academic journal (30%) with entries on astronomy and culture, lab activities (30%), and a final exam (30%.)
Grading: Letter grade or pass/fail.
Registration Dates: April 15 - October 21, 1999. Early registration is advised, as many courses have enrollment limits and may fill early. Application forms and detailed course information may be obtained from a UMAIE Campus Representative or from the UMAIE office, Seminars International, Inc., 21530 Vernon Avenue, Prior Lake, MN 55372, (612) 440-1338, or Willemssen@aol.com. See your Campus Representative for more information and application forms.
UMAIE Campus Representatives:
Dr. Terry Flower, College of St. Catherine
(651) 690-6598, email@example.comTerry Flower is a practicing astronomer. His professional work has taken him to both hemispheres conducting studies in New Zealand, Australia, Tahiti, Midway Island, Hawaii and even the Arctic. He has taught physics and astronomy at the College of St. Catherine for 20 years and served as Distinguished Visiting Professor at the United States Air Force Academy. His research topics include comets, asteroids, supernovae and atmospheric phenomena. He has led UMAIE courses to New Zealand and Tahiti and directed several NSF Chautauqua Courses in Astronomy for college faculty. His travels have taken him to other places in the Pacific including Fiji and Midway Islands.
Day No. Day Date Location Program 1 Thu Dec 28 Twin Cities Departure Assemble at 3:00 pm Depart 1700 on NWA #303 to Los Angeles (check baggage through to Nandi in Fiji); arrive 1858 and proceed to connecting flight, Air Pacific FJ#811 departing at 2230 from the Tom Bradley International Terminal for Nandi, Fiji 2 Fri Dec 29 Travel Cross International Dateline 3 Sat Dec 30 Nandi
Arrive Nandi 0515 and proceed to connecting flight, Air Pacific FJ#211 departing at 0830 for Tonga; arrive 1025 and transfer with assistance, to DATELINE HOTEL; afternoon tour of Royal Palace; group dinner at 1900 at the hotel. Tonga is a real kingdom with a king and crown prince.It is the only South Pacific country never to have been colonized by a foreign power. Tonga is ruled by His Majesty King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV. The country preserves its ancient traditions alongside modern policies designed to stimulate economic development. 4 Sun Dec 31 Tongatapu
Depart by boat to Ataata Island for Royal Sunset Hotel; polynesian dinner, New Years Eve celebration. Tonga is the first place in the world where the new year dawns. Class discussion of calendars and dating of events. 5 Mon Jan 1 Ataata Island Rest and enjoy roaming about the island
Evening Star Lab
6 Tues Jan 2 Ataata Island
Return by boat to Tongatapu for hotel checkin; afternoon tour (1330) of Royal Tongan Beer factory.
Evening Star Lab.
7 Wed Jan 3 Tongatapu Tour of the island (1000 departure) will include the Royal Tombs, Ha'amonga Trilathon Monument, National Historic Reserve, village of Kolovai, Homua, and Tonga National Center.
Tongatapu may be the ancient capital of all of Polynesia. The Ha'amonga Trilathon is a polynesian Stonehenge. Other ruins tell us of sophisticated understanding of the heavens.
Introducation to astronomy/archeoastronomy of the ancient polynesians and others.
8 Thur Jan 4 Tongatapu
Fly to Vava'u Island group (part of kingdom of Tonga)
These islands are some of the most unspoiled in the world! 0700 departure on Royal Tongan WR#871 to Vava'u, transfer to Paradise Hotel.
Evening Star Lab
9 Fri Jan 5 Vava'u Transition of astronomy as an art to astronomy as a science. Quantitative aspects - Newton's contributions
Evening Star Lab
10 Sat Jan 6 Vava'u Group Dinner -Feast of Epiphany
Astronomical reckoning of birth of Christ and visit of the Wisemen
Evening Star Lab
11 Sun Jan 7 Vava'u Nature of the Solar System
Navigating by the Stars
Evening Star Lab
12 Mon Jan 8 Vava'u Afternoon Coral Reef visit and Swallows Cave.
Evening Star Lab
13 Tues Jan 9 Vava'u Remote members of the Solar System
Evening Star Lab
14 Wed Jan 10 Vava'u Full day sailing to remote motus 15 Thurs
Transfer to airport for 1615 departure on Royal Tongan WR#852 to Tongatapu; arrive 1735 (store luggage) group dinner at 1900 at Dateline Hotel prior to returning to airport for 2340 departure on Polynesian Air # 745 to Western Samoa (Apia) (Cross the International dateline again and go backwards a day)
Arrive Apia Faleolo Airport at Midnight and transfer to hotel for overnight at Hotel Kitano Tusitala for check-in.
Criss crossing the dateline puts us back and forth in days. Not to worry. Stick together. The next part gets tricky because of small airplanes - we can't all fit.
16 Thurs Jan 11 Western Samoa
Group A: Transfer to Fagali Island Airport for 1000 departure on Polynesian Air #232 to Pago Pago; arrive 1040 and transfer to Pago Pago Airport Inn for check-in. (10 participants); Group B: second group of 10 departs on Polynesian Air #252 at 1245 with arrival at 1325;and transfer to Pago Pago Airport Inn for check-in. 17 Fri Jan 12 Morning 0900 transfer to tramway to Mount Alava; afternoon tour including Haydon Museum, Fono Buildings and Village Green
Evening Star Lab
18 Sat Jan 13 Pago Pago Centennial Celebrations - 100 years of close friendship and cooperation between American Samoa and the United States of America. It was 100 years ago that the U.S. Navy raised the US flag on Samoan soil, annexing the islands of Tutuila and Aunu'u (and eventually the Manua islands of Tau, Ofu and Olosega four years later) to form American Samoa. To Samoans, April 17th is American Samoa's centennial birthday
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star - How I wonder what you are? The Nature of Stars - how they shine; nucleosynthesis of elements
Evening Star Lab
19 Sun Jan 14 Pago Pago
Transfer (0800) by plane to Ta'u, home of the original Samoans stay at Vaoto Lodge.
Evening Star Lab
20 Mon Jan 15 Manu'a Islands Full day and Group dinner in Ta'u.The Samoan Taupou is by Tradition the Chosen, Unmarried Daughter of the Highest Chief of a Village. Her duties during important occasions are to prepare the Traditional Kava drink for the highest personages attending a prestigious event. This is a requirement of the greatest importance in the events most central to Samoan Village Ceremony such as the Marriages between important Families, Funerals, Title Investitures (for Chiefs), as well as all High level social contacts between High Chiefs and other important Personages among villages.The Taupou also represents her Family and Village Chiefs during any Festive Social Gathering. After the seriousness and carefully prepared formality of the Kava Ceremony, comes the joyous time for the Siva (or Dance). Here the Taupou and her family showcase her talents in Traditional Dance and the Elaborate Costume for the benefit and enjoyment of the Guests. There are several distinct styles of Siva, which may include graceful hand movements or the use of implements such as a traditional stabbing knife
Discussion of Polynesian understanding of the Cosmos. Pyramids, Easter Island Faces, etc. (Rapa Nui)
1900 Group Dinner at Hotel
21 Tues Jan 16 Manu'a Islands Visit to Olosega by bus 22 Wed Jan 17 Manu'a Islands Visit to Ofu by plane. Depart 0645 for Tau Island. Arrive 0740. Depart for full day tour. Return to Ofu at 1600. Transfer to Vaoto Lodge. 23 Thurs Jan 18 Manu'a Islands
Return travel to Pago Pago (1315 transfer) for overnight at Pago Pago Airport Inn. 24 Fri Jan 19 Pago Pago
Depart for Home
Free day; farewell dinner (1900); transfer to airport for 2355 departure on Hawaiian Air #466 to Honolulu. 25 Sat Jan 20 Honolulu
Arrive Honolulu 0635, proceed to connecting flight, Hawaiian Air #2 departing 1410 for Los Angeles (check luggage all the way home to Twin Cities); arrive 2115 and proceed to connecting flight, NW #300 departing at 0040 (that's just shortly after midnight of the 21st) for the Twin Cities; arrive in the Twin Cities at 0609 Sunday morning, Jan 21
FACTS about Tonga:
Malo e lelei!!Time:
"When everywhere in the world it is the 31st December 2000, in Tonga it will be 1st January 2001." Tonga is normally 13 hours ahead of GMT or UTC. However, to insure that it was the first country in the world to see the new day (and millenium as well) it introduced daylight savings time from November to February, making it 14 hours ahead of GMT. The Upper Midwest (Minnesota, Iowa, etc.) in January are on Central Standard Time (CST) which is 6 hours earlier than GMT. All this means that the Upper Midwest is 20 hours behind Tonga time. The Royal Kingdom of Tonga is the first country in the world to see each "new" day. So when it is noon in Minnesota (in January) on Sunday, it is 0800 Monday in Tonga. Complicated enough for you?
Airport Departure Tax:
The airport departure tax is TS$ 20.
Tonga's climate is pleasant and slightly cooler than that of most tropical areas. Mean annual temperature in Nuku'alofa is 23.7 C, with a mean humidity is 76%.
The population of Tonga is estimated to be 105,600. (July 1995), with a growth rate of 0.78%.
English is widely spoken and used in formal meetings.
Electricity is 240 volts AC.
The Tongan economy is primarily based on agriculture, manufacturing and tourism. Agricultural products comprise over 90 percent of exports, There is a large cottage industry for the manufacture of handicrafts. A push in recent years to create a light industrial sector has led to the establishment of several ventures. The Government is giving strong backing to tourism in its current development plans.
You can get FREE E-Mail in Tonga.
You can send a Virtual Postcard from Tonga as well.
Tongans do not expect tipping, though no offense will be caused if special service is rewarded in this way.
The Tongan dollar or Pa'anga equals 100 seniti (cents). Foreign exchange is available at banks and major hotels. , US$1 =Tonga $1.20 -- subject to change.
Government provides comprehensive medical and dental facilities for residents and visitors, including modern hospitals in Nuku'alofa and Vava'u. There are also dispensaries, chemists and pharmacies available. There are no major communicable diseases.
Tourists and business persons may enter Tonga for a period not exceeding 30 days providing that the visitor holds a valid passport, an onward air or sea ticket and proof of adequate funds.
Although slightly cooler than most other tropical islands, casual attire is recommended for most occasions. Brief shorts, bathing suits, bikinis are fine for the beaches and pool-sides, but are frowned upon if worn in public. Tonga law prohibits any person from appearing in a public place without a shirt.
Is chlorinated and safe to drink in the main township areas. Many places sell bottled water and usually you can count on that.
More info will be added before the course begins. Thank you for your patience.