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Week of January 6, 2019

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Friday

At the end of our last blog entry, we had asked you to help us figure out which cardinal direction we would be traveling from Morocco to New Zealand. The majority of blog readers chose southeast. And you were correct!! Thank you - you geographical geniuses. Currently, Meri, Mr. Vuhn, and I are traveling from Morocco to New Zealand. Mr. Vuhn told me that New Zealand is part of Oceania. Neither Meri nor I had any idea what Oceania meant. Mr. Vuhn told us some fascinating information about Oceania. Did you know that Oceania is now classified as a continent? Some people still call Australia a "continent," but it is really part of Oceania. We had no idea. Oceania is located in the Pacific Ocean. And although Oceania is the smallest of all continents, it is one of the most fascinating and diverse areas in the world. We can't wait to explore this geographical gem.


Oceania is made up of many islands and countries, it is kind of confusing. Oceania is divided into four regions. Each region contains numerous countries and islands. The regions include Australasia, Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia. We attached a map that shows Oceania.


The first region (Australasia) includes Australia, New Zealand, and a few smaller islands belonging to Australia. The largest island/country in Oceania is Australia. In fact, the total land area of Oceania is approximately 9,008,000 square kilometers. Australia accounts for 7,600,000 of those square kilometers. So, as you can see over 75% of Oceania is Australia. Australia is surrounded by both the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Although Oceania is the smallest continent in the world, Australia is the sixth-largest country in the world. Geography is fascinating.


The region of Polynesia includes numerous island nations; however many are claimed or are territories of other countries nearby or from around the world, such as New Zealand, France, the United States, or the United Kingdom. Somoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu are all located in Oceania and are all actually independent nations.


The region of Micronesia consists of the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam (a United States territory), Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Naura, Northern Mariana Islands (another United States territory), and Palau.


The region of Melanesia includes East Timor, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. New Caledonia is also a country of Melanesia, but is a territory of France. Indonesia is also partly in Micronesia. This is the most fascinating country of all, in my opinion. Indonesia consists of 17,508 islands (although humans only live on about 6,000 of them). Indonesia is located on two different continents: both Oceania and Asia. Can you believe that? I never knew a country could be located on two continents.


Okay, our airplane is getting ready to land in Wellington, New Zealand (the capital city). We will write more once we are settled in our hotel.

     - Geo


This is a picture of the yellow-eyed penguin (found in New Zealand).


This is a picture of a really cool bridge in New Zealand - isn't it neat!

 

Map of Oceania
This is a really neat map of Oceania. All of the countries in Oceania are written in RED.


Sunday

The Dewey saga is really heating up. We are all set to attend the International Conference on Global Warming tomorrow morning. The Equators are second on the agenda as guest speakers. They are talking about the Northwest Passage. The Northwest Passage is a shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the Canadian Arctic. This passage is a direct route for ships to travel from Europe to Asia across the Arctic Ocean. The passage is becoming ice-free for the first time since satellite records began to be kept in the 1970s. We have been in contact with the security guards for the conference. As soon as the Equators arrive at the conference center, the security guards will take the Equators into custody and demand that they return Dewey, the truth-sniffing dog, to the USA. The Equators must have been using Dewey to find out the truth about the Northwest Passage. Holy Idaho! I am so excited to finally confront the Equators in person and to take Dewey home.


Text Message from Pandora - How R U? RUOK? No news from U? Call or text ASAP. BBFN.

Text Message to Pandora - We R N BTFL N. Zealand. Will Call U 2MORO.


In other news - NEW ZEALAND ROCKS! New Zealand is located in the South Pacific Ocean and is Southwest of Australia. New Zealand is about the same size as the state of Colorado (the home of Denver, The Mile High City). There are many natural resources found in New Zealand: natural gas, iron ore, sand, gold, coal, timber, limestone, and hydropower. Earthquakes are very common in New Zealand, but are rarely severe. This country also has numerous volcanoes. Do you suppose the earthquakes and volcanoes are related? New Zealand has three national languages (English, Maori, and sign language). I wonder why one country would have three national languages? About 80% of New Zealanders live in major cities. I guess this is because work is easier to find in the cities. Can you think of other reasons why New Zealanders (sometimes known as "kiwis" - not to be confused with kiwifruit!) might live mostly in cities? Most of the major cities are located on the coast of New Zealand, which makes it easier to ship items. Tourism is a major industry in New Zealand and a reasonable number of New Zealand residents work in the tourism industry. We will update our blog tomorrow - after our encounter with the Equators. Wish us luck!

     - Meri


Check out the amazing landscape of New Zealand!


Here is a pond we saw in the mountains of New Zealand.


Here is a beautiful picture of a rainforest in New Zealand.

 

Airpano
This site takes you an a 360 degree virtual tour of New Zealand.


Monday

Holy Idaho! I don't know where to begin. Today is the most exciting (and crazy) day of our trip. We arrived at the conference around 8am. We quickly found the security guards who told us that the Equators had not checked in. We decided to stay with the security guards until it was "time." The Equators arrived about 20-minutes later. We watched from a few steps away while the security guards approached. We could see Claude and Phoebe both acting confused and throwing their arms up in the air (obviously frustrated). Finally, we decided to walk over and speak to them. Geo told them that stealing Dewey and using his truth-sniffing for their own purposes was wrong and they needed to return the dog to us NOW. Phoebe told us we were too late and that Dewey was gone. Gone? What happened to Dewey? My first thought was that he ran away. What else could have happened to Dewey? What should we do now?

     - Meri


Here are the Equators! Can you believe it - we secretly took this picture at the convention center (before their arrest). Claude cut his hair short - but we still found him.


Tell Geo and Meri what to do:

- Should we follow the Equators to the police station and wait there for an answer?

- Should we call Uncle GT with an update and to find out what he wants us to do next?

- Should we search the conference center for Dewey?


Links to learn more :

Kiwi Conservation Club
This website provides information about the unique wildlife of New Zealand.


 

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