Fin del Mundo, Fin del Viajes?

Or: does this latest excursion to the Bottom of the World represent the pinnacle of my travelling ambitions and achievements? Of course not. Despite the fact that my Antarctica trip was the very best experience that I could have hoped for in those latitudes, it did not actually exceed my expectations. There are many places, Patagonia amongst them, that have widened my horizons and changed forever the way that I view our planet. Some are still whispering to be discovered and others are calling me back but Antarctica is not among them.

It is curious to review my travels and realise that all the tribulations of our Dragoman* trip down through the lower reaches of South America completely failed to dim the sublime impressions of that magnificent wilderness. If that sounds a bit too “purple”, well, just go back and look at some of those photographs again. Grahame and I have admitted that some of the disappointments with our tour organisers were due to misunderstandings about what was on offer and a number of others arose from an unfortunate mis-match of travel companions but that still leaves several issues to be resolved. Those will be taken up directly with the company but, while I have decided that I am unlikely to be tempted to travel with Dragoman again, my stories and opinions are my own and do not constitute anything by way of a review. I have also taken care not to identify any of our group by name, place of origin or (I hope) identifiable photographs. Everyone got my website details at the end of the trip anyway so they are welcome to ask for amendments if they wish.

Turning back to the comparative luxury of the Sea Spirit expedition: Antarctica, the Seventh Continent, Terra Incognita, the ultimate travellers’ high. Surely it should have been the icing on the cake (as they say)? Well, maybe but it’s extremely cold and penguin colonies stink. The only reason that I got so many close-up Orca shots was because they were too busily engaged in the slaughter of one of the smaller mammals to be bothered with us (I left out any pictures of shredded blubber dotting the surface of the waters). And after all, the tip of the Peninsula that we visited is hardly representative of the great white emptiness that extends down to the pole. I will only cocede this region the title of “icing” if Patagonia can be the “cake”: fruity and flavoursome, rich and sustaining, definitely one of Mirandas’ best creations……….(I think it’s time to abandon this metaphor but you get the picture).

It is good to be back safely though, and time to get back to work on so many of the projects that are awaiting me, not least the long awaited move to Thanet in East Kent, centre of the known universe and true home of my heart.

*Post script (21st Feb) The Dragoman travel company have responded to my concerns and I am very pleased to be able to say that they have taken on board a few of my suggestions, which I hope will be of benefit to future travellers. Our particular voyage was beset by difficulties and that has been acknowledged by the payment of a generous refund – something to put aside for June’s trip to Nepal & Tibet perhaps)

Leave a Reply