The Cook Islands is a 15-island archipelago nation in the South Pacific, halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, southwest of Tahiti. The islands are scattered across 2.2 million square kilometers of the ocean and 240 square kilometers of land. The Islands’ ancient volcanic peaks, covered with dense vegetation, slope to brilliant white sands and quaint palm-fringed blue lagoons.
To comply with the current European standard EN 1972 (2015), a snorkel for users with larger lung capacities should not exceed 38 centimeters in length and 230 cubic centimeters in internal volume, while the corresponding figures for users with smaller lung capacities are 35 cm and 150 cc respectively. Current World Underwater Federation (CMAS) Surface Finswimming Rules (2017) require snorkels used in official competitions to have a total length between 43 and 48 cm and to have an inner diameter between 1.5 and 2.3 cm. A longer tube would not allow breathing when snorkelling deeper, since it would place the lungs in deeper water where the surrounding water pressure is higher. The lungs would then be unable to inflate when the snorkeler inhales, because the muscles that expand the lungs are not strong enough to operate against the higher pressure. The pressure difference across the tissues in the lungs, between the blood capillaries and air spaces would increase the risk of pulmonary edema.
The easternmost tip of the Polynesian Triangle (Hawaii – New Zealand – Easter Island) is the most mysterious island in Polynesia and perhaps the entire world. Discovered in 1722, Easter Island is home to nearly 1,000 strange monolithic statues known as Moai. Whether depicting ancient ancestors or alien visitors, very little is known about this strange ancient culture which disappeared due to civil war, diseases introduced by early European visitors and 19th-century slave raiding parties. What is entirely clear is that the island’s ancient civilization lived in complete isolation for nearly 1,000 years and slowly depleted the island’s natural resources. A visit to Easter Island is both eerie and enchanting, also raising questions about the future of our own planetary existence.