Bora Bora, French Polynesia

IMG_1005IMG_1011Blue waterIMG_0988Views from our bungalowIMG_1057This is me in front of blue lagoon.

From the moment we landed on Bora Bora I knew this was a special island.

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Isn’t it beautiful ?  This is the view I saw from the plane. Notice how on the outside of the island the water is dark blue and on the inside of the lagoon is it crystal clear.

The plane flew in on a Motu, which is an island. We took a ferry over to the mainland.  This is the view from the airport.  I loved looking at the view from the airplane of the islands, its amazing, you can see the reef and see it go from dark blue to clear inside the lagoon.  Our hotel wasn’t the best, it was on the beach and that is convenient BUT we had a bungalow was in the mix of a bunch of plantings and trees and there was  a TON of bugs, especially mosquito’s.IMG_0989this is our bungalow. Sawyer and Dad slept in one bungaow and Me and Mom in another because only 2 people per bungalow can fit.  The other day I opened my chapstick because my lips were chapped, after I put it on I noticed that there were two dozen small ants crawling around in the chapstick….it was so gross and I realized it after I used it , I rushed to the bathroom to rinse out my mouth…I honestly don’t know how the ants crawled in the chapstick. It was not a pleasant moment (for all I know I might have swallowed some ants).

IMG_0995 these are the views from our beach front area.  Thats me on a floating chair. It was meant to be in the water and me and Sawyer had a lot of fun trying to surf on the chair and not tip over. It’s harder than it looks, we had a good time. Each day we snorkeled outside our beach, there was a bunch of mini coral reefs here and there.  I spotted a family of 7 Eagle Rays and a few stingrays.  As we were snorkeling DAD yelled “Riley come quick” I swam over there as fast as I can, before I knew it we were looking at a Moray EEL, we looked at it for 10 minutes before it hid in the reef.  A Moray EEL is green and has a vicious looking head with sharp teeth. It is skinny but long.

can you see why it looks vicious. These pictures are from the internet of the EEL.

FUN FACT: EEL’s like to make their home inside the coral reef, most of the time they are hiding and emerge to kill and eat. .

IMG_1000we enjoyed looking at the Over Water Bungaloes.

IMG_1002these are the famous Over the Water bungalow’s that Bora Bora is known for. The people that stay here pay more for one night in these bungalows than we did for 4 days.   They are located in all the fancy hotels.  We did not stay in the resort but it was located directly next to our hotel so we just walked over and explored. (Don’t tell anyone because we weren’t supposed to be there).  We ended up snorkeling in the water below here almost every day.  I saw sting rays bury themselves in the sand at the bottom of the ocean.  They do this to try and camaflague themselves and find food.

FUN FACT: Eagle Ray’s have white spots are their back and are a diamond shape and sting rays are more round.   Sting rays and Eagle Rays have  mouth’s that are on the bottom side of them so they are bottom feeders , creeping along the ocean floor when hungry. 

One day we took a boat excursion that circled the entire island of Bora Bora, it lasted 6 hours and we stopped in a lot of places.  We got to see the island and lagoon from the water and the blue water of Bora Bora is amazing.  We first snorkeled with sting rays.  I love petting the sting rays.  I all ready wrote about doing this in Moorea too.

Our next stop was at a beautiful reef called “coral gardens” we saw SO MANY CLAMS.  I lost count but at least 100.  no exaggeration. Also beautiful coral and colorful fish. I was fasinated with the clams, I got a piece of coral that was floating around and poked  at the opening of them .  I liked watching them close up, it was really interesting.  Sometimes the clam would bite down very hard on the coral stick and wouldn’t let go.  Good thing I didn’t use my finger.

I saw clams in all colors, green, purple, blue, shades of brown and a bunch of tie dye clams.  We saw big ones and baby ones.

IMG_1040IMG_1057some other stops on our boat included viewing Reef sharks and Black Tip sharks /  We snorkeled in deep water for this looking down about 30 or 40 feet at these black tip sharks.  Mom was a little scared because there were a lot of them but I wasn’t.  These sharks were 10 feet long at least. The little reef sharks were 4 feet long and I swam pretty close to them.this photo taken from the internet.  Cool Huh? After a bunch of snorkeling stops our boat stopped on a Motu to have a lunch buffet. There were some Tahitian food that was good. We got to see a demonstration of how to survive living off coconuts.  I tasted shreaded coconut fresh from the coconut.

FUN FACT: if you grab a handful of shreaded fresh coconut shavings you can squeeze it in your hand to make milk.

I was snorkeling in a logoon and saw lots of clams, I poked every single one I saw.

IMG_1008here is Dad waving.IMG_1048

 

After the coconut demonstration a famous person from Bora Bora who is the Champion coconut tree climber (they have contest every year where one person from each island goes to Tahiti to compete in climbing up a coconut tree first)  This guy did it in 10 seconds with no equipment.  It was really cool, you can tell he’s been doing this since he was a kid. Sawyer and I wanted to try it but didn’t get to.IMG_1005

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I am so glad I am with my family on this trip because I have a good time with them. And I love playing with Sawyer..even though we do get into fights sometimes.

Bora Bora is a amazing place. it is so beautiful.  I cant get over how blue the water is.  Its not even blue its see through.  When I get older I want to came back to the French Polynesia because its such an awesome place to be.

FUN FACTS:

The English word ‘tattoo’ comes from the Tahitian word ‘tatau’.

 The Tahitian alphabet contains only 13 letters: the vowels a, e, i, o, u and the consonants f, h, m, n, p, r, t and v.

 Noticed that there is no b in the Tahitian alphabet? That’s why Bora Bora is actually Pora Pora, meaning first-born, but early visitors heard it as Bora Bora.

 Bora Bora is known as The Romantic Island, Moorea as The Magical Island and Tahiti as Queen of the Pacific

Tahitian words for Hello .  yanana

Tahitian word for thank you. maururu

My email is rileymeckley@yahoo.com .

 

 

 

 

MOOREA, French Polynesia

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This is what Moorea looks like from the air.

We took the ferry from Tahiti to Moorea.  The ferry was 45 min. As soon as the Ferry entered the lagoon I noticed that THIS is the south pacific that I see in the pictures.  Crystal clear blue water with a reef surrounding the island.  Took a public bus to our Bungalow.  This is where we are for 5 days.  A cool bungalow literally right on the beach, steps away.  To be exact 12 steps to the beach.  See the small island in the distance (that is called a MOTU) we swam and snorkeled to it each day. The beaches here are very narrow, not like it is at home when you think of Jones Beach in NY or Montauk, NY but the water is the best here. Warm and so blue  and clear.  We snorkeled a lot here, all over.

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Our bungalow is awesome, although we have to sleep under a mosquito net. We are all bitten up.IMG_0931

IMG_0921this guy named Elvis, Yes that was his real name, climbed a tree to get us a coconut. We drank the milk, it tastes like flavored water. Dad really loved it.

FUN FACT:We watched a video about CORAL and learned about how coral breaths and excreats waste out of the same opening.  Coral is an animal. It lives , breaths, reproduces and dies.

Things we did in Moorea:

*sitting on our porch overlooking the water, watching a bunch of wild chickens running around.

*playing soccer with Sawyer

*Swimming and snorkeling in the ocean/ lagoon.

*went on snorkeling excursion on  a glass bottom boat.  We went around the lagoon and saw the island from another view .  Saw the fancy “Over the water ” bungalows too.  We swam with Stingrays and Reef sharks – they are harmless. The stingrays crowded around me, actually touching me, going over my shoulder and arms. At first I was freaked out but then I enjoyed touching them, they are very slippery and have a mouth on the bottom side.  The tail is as hard as a pipe. Long and has little points on it. There was about 15 stingrays and tons of reef sharks swimming around. We also saw large turtles swimming around. I enjoyed seeing the different kinds of coral and learning about them. I also saw a lot of small colorful fish. They looked very tropical.

*We did school work on the porch, and read a lot  ( I finished the “Diary of Ann frank”)

*Kayaking

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from our hotel we were able to kayak over to a small island called a motu. It  was hard to get out of the kayak and step on the island because of the millions of pieces of broken coral  it hurt my feet but I did it. The island was the size of three classrooms but had a lot of things like crabs, coral , a cave , trees , the remains of a shack , and a beach area. It felt like I had my own private island  I even planted an apple core with seedsIMG_0960IMG_0965

I brought over an apple and ate it there and buried the apple core  and seeds there.  When I get older I want to come back here to go to this island to see if my tree grew.  Now I feel like I left my mark on the world.  I would like to do something different of leaving my mark in each country in a good way.

 

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IMG_0937we had a great area to practice our soccer, as long as we avoided the wild chickens.

FUN FACT: Moorea is a volcanic island  located 12 miles from Tahiti   It is well known for its beautiful lagoons  and clear waters.  There is a variety of places to stay from budget to very fancy 

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this is me drawing a picture of the island of Moorea  I love looking out at the beautiful blue water.  I can be reached at rileymeckley@yahoo.com

 

 

 

TAHITI, French Polynesia

TAHITI, French Polynesia,

Before we got to Tahiti we had a 10 hour overnight flight that was delayed because of a man who threw up on the plane as we were about to take off.  It was so gross and we were actually sitting behind him.  The smell was so bad and Dad and Sawyer had to move seats and sit in the back of the plane.  Mom and me had to stay.  They cleaned up what they could, and sprayed all this air freshener but still gross.  He passed out again, threw up and the medical team came on the plane to take him off.  This took another 2 hours and we went back to the gate and had to wait again.  It was 1:00 am before we left.  I slept until 8:00 am when mom woke me  for breakfast.  That was good..

Tahiti, HOT HOT HOT.  Went through customs and immigration.

FUN FACTwhen you enter another country you have to fill out forms, go through a line when they check your passport, get it stamped, some countries require you to have a certain “visa” already in your passport or you can buy at the immigration office in certain countries.   Only then you can officially enter the country.   The line in Tahiti was short. The airport small.

FUN FACT: French Polynesia is made up 33 islands, this is only one island, called Tahiti, and the capital, Papeete, is located here. 

In case you don’t know how to locate French Polynesia on the world map this will help…

We will be going to other islands also.  It is not the picture postcard white sandy beaches you think of here. Read below.

Rented a car and  drove to our Hotel.  Mom and Dad explained to us that we would be staying in locally run guest houses not big Hotel chains.  We arrived at Hitimoana and it was totally different.  Our room was overlooking the water and a turtle and fish pool that was 4 steps from our door.  No air conditioning, we were so hot with just a fan on the ceiling but slept well anyway.  We had a small kitchen and went to the grocery store to stock up.  We ate here outside on the table  everyday except one.IMG_0883This is the turtle pool and our room is right behind it.IMG_0882

IMG_0884 WE had turtle races and named our turtles. There were 16 turtles in the pool. They would fight with each other and climb up on the sand platform to bask in the sun.This is Sawyer having a crepe along the road .  It is very green here.IMG_0893

The dock was where we jumped into the water and went snorkeling everyday. It was about 10 feet above the water.  There was no beach just the dock.IMG_0881

We saw a lot of small fish and an eel.  Other days we drove to the public beach, it was a black sand beach, very hot with Huge Waves and tons of local surfers.  We went there 2 days. We body surfed at one beach with the huge waves but only stayed in the shallow area.

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The best part of staying here was the family we met from London and the 2 girls, twins age 9 Natasha and Catherine.  they were real world travelers, having lived in Africa also.  They were on a 6 month trip around the world too.  We played everyday, swam, ate, raced the turtles, played at the beach,  etc. Our rooms were right next to each other.  One night we all packed into our small car (no seatbelt law here) and drove to a local dinner van along the road with the best  food. Had so much fun with them we hope to see them in New Zealand or Australia again because they are going there too. FUN FACT: In England a bathing suit is called a “Swimming costume” and the trunk of the car is called “the boot”

Natasha and Catherine , when you are reading this I want you to know I really liked playing with you guys.  Hope to see you again soon .IMG_0904Here we are.  See the guy on the outrigger canoe behind us?  These are coconuts we are holding.

IMG_0907Dinner with our new friends.

OBSERVATIONS of The Island of Tahiti:

Banana’s grow upwards.  We saw many banana and fruit trees. There was a star fruit tree outside our room .  The black sand beaches are HOT, the waves here were huge, surfers come from all over the world to surf here. There were a lot of rocks on the beaches.  The water was clear but not the blue, crystal clear you see in pictures ( I think that will be on our next islands).  There was a lot of graffiti on walls and signs and houses and fences.  It was not nice. We drove half way around the entire island.  We saw all the local houses, all one story.  We saw the schools and the bus taking kids home from school.  We saw the soccer (football it is called) field and men playing.  Sawyer and I played too.  We got to practice. The houses are either small shacks on the coast or across the street from the water.  The one road goes all around the island, you can’t get lost.  The mountains here are HUGE and they cover 90% of the island so if you are not on the coast, you are in the mountains where no one lives.  Everything is either on one side of the road or the other.

Interesting Facts:  The Money here is different, it is equivalent to $1 equals about 100 Francs.  so…1,000 francs is $10 in US money.  (About)  THe money has palm trees and fish on it.  We studies currency conversion and Sawyer and I like to figure it out.  In Tahiti, as in all parts of the world other than the US, they use International Time, which in the US we call it Military Time.  So….when it is 15:00 it is actually 3:00pm.  We learned this and liked using it. It’s hard getting used to.  Also they use Celcius  for temperature and Kilometers for distance.  That is also hard to get used to but it involves a lot of Math.

IMG_0889We will miss our turtles.

Please email rileymeckley@yahoo.com for any questions.

Las Vegas, Nevada , USA


IMG_0873Las Vegas was really fun, IMG_0808especially because Grandma Nancy and Grandma Janet were with us.  Everything in Vegas was lit up, tons of lights, even at a small store like 7-11.  Lit up like it was a fancy hotel.  A lot of hotels had “themes” some were like Paris (the Parisian hotel) or Egypt (Luxor Hotel), or New York (NY  , NY hotel), Rome (Ceasars Hotel), etc.  Some are just big and fancy.  We stayed downtown in the old section for a few days at the Golden Nugget Hotel.  The coolest thing was the swimming pool that was an aquarium and it had a slide that we slid down through a tube that fish were all around.

IMG_0826Look closely at the tube, Sawyer is in there.

 

IMG_0857Here I am waving Hello to my GrandmothersIMG_0805

My Grandmothers thought we were having a ball… It was nice to see both Grandmothers here, we did a ton of things with them.  They took us to a fountain show and a fancy garden.  We also saw an ELVIS show, it was neat, I know a lot of Elvis songs because my parents love Elvis.   The man who was imitating Elvis said hello to “the 2 kids” in the audience.  That was Us!!! This is the real ELVIS, our impersonator looked just like him.

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We saw the light show on Freemont street and walked around listening to the bands that play there.  One band played “Queen- We will rock you!”   and they were good.    Mom played roulette at the Casino and won some money.  Dad played video poker.

My Grandmothers took us to breakfast and dinner.  We ate well.  We moved to the Rio Hotel for a few days and got to drive down Las Vegas Boulevard at night to see the sights.  I will miss Grandma Nancy and Grandma Janet and when we were ready to leave they were crying , especially Grandma Janet.  We started this journey off a little too fancy, because these were nice hotels and we are not going to be staying so fancy in other countries. One hotel even had bathrobes for us and slippers.IMG_0866We are going to miss Grandma Janet and Grandma Nancy……..image

 

Hoover Dam , Nevada, USA

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FUN FACT:  The Hoover Dam was originally called Boulder Dam.

My grandmothers and my family visited the Hoover Dam.  Grandma Nancy and Grandma Janet. We love traveling with them .  (they are now internet famous)IMG_0779IMG_0794

The Hoover Dam is very cool. it has a lot of history to it, here is my experience in the hover dam.

First of all, the water is not as high as it used to be.  On the rocks you could see where the water once was.  Now it is like a hundred feet below,  maybe  more. We took a dam tour. I learned a lot of stuff.  It has unbelievable engeneering.  If you want to learn more scroll down to my fact post.  After the tour I watched a Dam movie and went on the Dam.  Walking on the dam was the funnest part. FUN FACT I bet you didn’t know that right in the middle of the dam there is a state  border between Nevada and Arizona.   It was cool to stand with one foot in Nevada and the other in Arizona.  Below is a picture of my brother and I shaking hands in the borders of each state.

I am in Arizona and Sawyer is standing in Nevada. IMG_0797

this is my grandma Nancy standing in front of the view overlooking Lake Mead.  The white part is where the water should be but isn’t there because of all the droughts and lack of rain.IMG_0796

 

Another interesting thing I did is that I got to say “dam” a lot and didn’t get in trouble.  for example; where is the dam bathroom? I want some dam foo? Can I get a dam souvineer?  my dad was getting into it and saying dam a lot. LOL

When you are on the dam the views are really cool.  You can see mountians and you overlook beautiful water.  There is not much to say about the Hoover dam but the facts are really interesting.IMG_0785

                                                              FUN FACTS

The following facts are what I wrote down during our tour and my observations .

  1. People decided to build the hover dam because the Colorado River kept flooding.
  2. They had they idea in 1921 but didn’t take place until 1931.
  3. It took 7 years to be built
  4. The Hoover Dam was being built in the middle of the great depression so every man wanted a job. back then the dam offerd 4$ a day for the workers. that was a lot back then, especially because people were despite for work.
  5. The workers were housed and fed and they were only allowed 2 days off a year.
  6. The workers had to build tunnles that led the water away from the dam. The tunnles were sort of like a drain.  This was helpful so the water didn’t flood over the dam.
  7. To make the Hoover Dam, they had to use a LOT of cement. There was enough cement to make a high way across the country from the Pacific ocean to the Atlantic ocean.
  8. Only 96 peopled died while making the hover dam. which isn’t that much. mostly acidents like when people fell or were crushed.
  9. The Hoover Dam is one of the 7 modern wounders of the world. No one thought it could be done.
  10. If the earth stopped and all the living things were destroyed, the monument that would last the longest would be the hover dam.  This I remember from watching “after life” on discovery channel.
  11. The hight of the dam is 726 feet
  12. The lenth is 1,244 feet
  13. At the top, the hover dam is 45 feet(by the way you can drive and walk across the hover dam.) We all walked it.
  14. The dam weighs 6.6 million tons
  15. The Hoover Dam consumed up 3.25 millions cubic yards of concreate.
  16. The Colorado river is the river which caused the dam to be built.
  17. By making a dam to stop the Colorado river it formed Lake Mead.

I hope you learned a lot about the Hoover Dam.

I can be reached at rileymeckley@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

Arizona, USA – Grand Canyon National Park

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After a long plane ride and car ride, we finally arrived at the Grand Canyon. we piered over the edge and saw……. nothing. literally there was nothing. There was fog everywhere so I couldn’t see the canyon.   My famliy  was going to go on a hike today but the fog prevented us from going.  So we went in in the visitors center to watch a movie on the Grand Canyon.  I learned about explorers and the layers of the rocks and also the wildlife.  I cant believe one little river (the Colorado River) formed the whole canyon. When the fog lifted mom took the photo above.  See the fog lifting???

FUN FACT:   Did you know that the grand canyon is 277 miles long 10 miles across and 1 mile deep.

Even though the canyon is 1 mile deep it is a 9 mile hike to get to the bottom because you cant just go strait down. We also went to the geology museum and learned about the formation of the canyon through interactive displays.

The weather on the first day was really weird,  first it was sunny then it rained after that it was pelting snow,  but soon after an hour of hard snowing the fog lifted up and I could finally see the grand canyon.   In the picture above it shows the fog lifting up from the canyon.  It looks like the rocks are making the smoke.

When I first saw the canyon my expression was  WOW! it was stupendous. IMG_0698IMG_0690

in this picture the the Grand Canyon doesn’t look that big. but it is.  I think the grand canyon is something you have to see in person to really experience it. I think the best way to see the canyon is by hiking.

THE ELK

when my famliy was driving back to the hotel my dad said “whoever spots a moose gets 5 bucks”  after a while of looking out the window I saw a herd of elk!the elk looked a lot like Moose so I thought I hit the jackpot scince I counted 16 of them. I wondered if that meant I would get 80 dollars because 16×5=80. it was not until after we saw the herd that we realised they were elk. I counted 2 males a couple of babys and the rest females. All together there were 16. When I saw the elk they were eating. We pulled onto the road and wached them. after about 20 minutes the whole herd ran across the road. It was the coolest thing.IMG_0730

 

I thought it was interesting to see elk. (too bad it wasn’t moose or my dad would of owed me 80 dollars. ) my favorite part was that I was the one who spotted them. Even though we only saw the elk for about a half and hour, it was the best part of my day.

GRAND CANYON DAY 2

The 2nd day of the grand canyon was great. We went hiking on the Bright Angel  trail and we hiked a total of  3 miles. 1 1/2 miles down.  Going down the trail was fun and enjoyable. At the 1 1/2 mile rest area we ate lunch on a big rock by the trail.  The senery throughout the trail was spectacular. it truly was awesome. this is us hiking on the trail. i liked how it wasn’t crowed scince this is the of season.some parts of the trail had cool tunnles like this one.IMG_0696IMG_0689

Occasionally we saw some mules. They have this thing where tourists can take the mules down to the camp at the bottom.here are the mules. IMG_0766

FUN FACT- mules are a combination of a horse and donkey.

     after a great day of hiking in the grand canyon my brother and i got a Junior Ranger book and completed it.  We had to attend a ranger program and we learned about the California Condor.  FUN FACT:  The condors were almost extinct, there used to be less than 24 in the USA, but the park rangers had a program to reintroduce them into the wild and now they are soaring above the canyons.   We got a badge. it looked like this…when i get older i want to go to the grand canyon again. i want to take a raft trip in the Colorado river and hike to the bottom with my dad and brother. (my mom doesn’t want to go.) Here is to a great family Grand Canyon Day.IMG_0700

Vermont

Summer 2015

We’ve been going to Vermont since I was a baby.  Mom and Dad purchased a house here before we were born and they have been fixing it up all these years.  It’s great because we get to do different things than if we were on Long Island. We made friends here and we have great neighbors too.  We’ve even gone to school here in the winter months. We grew up here doing things like hiking parts of the Appalacian trail, skiing, ice skating, building forts, playing in the snow and tapping the Maple trees for sap to make Maple syrup.  We know all about making Pure Vermont Maple Syrup and try to do so every year. Once you’ve had this, you will never eat any other syrup. Trust me!!  You need cold nights and sunny days in late February or early March to get the best sap for the syrup.  It all depends on the weather that winter. We have these buckets (above) with lids and spires to collect the sap.

We also like to hike parts of the Apalacian Trail. This summer we went to Northern Vermont to places we never visited before, like the Rock of Ages Granite Quarry,look at all this GRANITE. Even tombstones shaped as objects are made here.

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Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream factory, YUMMY. learned about how Ben met Jerry in school.

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Cabot cheese tasting

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and Burlington, Vermont to see Univ. Of Vermont and Lake Champlain.  

We visited the Aquarium to learn about Lake Champlain and the history of the lake.

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We always enjoy spending time in Vermont. I have been visiting my neighbors horse, Melody, since I was a baby.  Sawyer and I  learned to ski here since we were 3 years old. Now we are better than our parents (even Dad).

Vermont is one of my favorite places to go! We practice our archery and shooting here iceland-UK+June-July 2016 1691 iceland-UK+June-July 2016 1692iceland-UK+June-July 2016 1697 iceland-UK+June-July 2016 1703 iceland-UK+June-July 2016 1708

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