The impressive seven-metre tail span of the largest animal ever to have lived on Earth. © Amos Nachoum

The impressive seven-metre tail span of the largest animal ever to have lived on Earth. © Amos Nachoum

So where exactly is the “east”? And who made that decision? I mean, if you go far enough in what we think of as an “easterly”, direction, you surely end up in the west, right?

A little digging reveals that the word “east” comes from the Sanskrit “usãs” which means “morning” or “dawn”. So while it really is relative (where the sun comes up depends entirely on where you’re standing), it looks like it was the ancient Indians that pipped everyone to the post in determining the cardinal points.

By the time those European colonial types took over and started throwing their weight around with all their map-making and the like, it was decided that all the colonies and countries to the east of India would be considered the “Far East”.

The phrase soon captured the public imagination and became synonymous with adventures in exotic faraway lands, and with the thrill of the unknown, unexplored, and untamed.

To those of us already living in the East, this place might not seem all that exotic. But the region is vast, and so, in this issue, we’ve gone off the beaten track, into some eastern extremes, looking for a bit of that old-school sense of adventure.

And we’ve found some of the kinds of thrills and spills in middle-of-nowhere places that could be worthy of the early explorers: From the little-known Burmese archipelago on South Asia’s eastern boundary, to the depths of Papua New Guinea, from hunting for glittering and undescribed critters in the waters off the most beautiful island in the Far East, to dives on the world’s largest aircraft graveyard in one of the most remote atolls in the Pacific.

We’ve gone so far east, we’re giving the Wild West a run for its money!

Ocean Watch – Conserving a Shark, Supporting an Island

How thresher sharks are helping rebuild the economy in Malapascua after typhoon Haiyan, and, in the process, securing a future for other shark species.

East Asia – Critters of the East

A treasure trove of underwater jewels are waiting to be discovered in the waters off the Far East’s most “beautiful island”.

Journey East – The Most Exciting Place You’ve Never Heard Of

Sunken WWII planes, sharks, ships that were once radioactive, thriving coral reefs, and hardly any other divers. Journey east to Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, a place that really does put the “far” in “flung”.

Into the East – As East as East

For world-class diving adventures in the Pacific’s eastern-most wilderness, look no further – get these places on your bucket list.

South/Southeast Asia – Marvellous Mergui

For some of the best diving in the Andaman Sea, savvy adventure hunters are heading to the easterly fringe of South Asia, to Burma’s Mergui Archipelago.

Oceania – Seas of the Unexpected

Sharks and nudis and corals, oh my! Divers at Tufi in eastern Papua New Guinea are spoilt for choice.

In Folio – Amos Nachoum

The master of big animal photography tells the stories behind some of his most famous pictures, tales that are sure to have you ready to accompany him on his next big adventure.

Alert Diver

Find Alert Diver facing page 64, packed with essential information from the Divers Alert Network Asia-Pacific – the experts in dive safety, training and accident management.