The sun is low on the horizon, the sea is calm. Soon the village of Uummannaq with its heart shaped mountain disappears behind us. Our sea kayaks point towards the massive island of Storøen, 8 km away. Its fiery-red lighted cliff drops 1,000 meters vertically into the sea and attracts us like a magnet. We are at latitude 70° 40’, far north of the Arctic Circle. Here, far away from the rush of human civilization, we have all the time in the world to observe the magical spectacle of nature. Under the midnight sun the sea changes colour to crimson-blue, and its surface becomes so glassy that everything is reflected as in a mirror. Mountain sides light up in powerful reds, shadows lengthen, and the icebergs seem to be under a giant spotlight.
The fascination of its biodiversity, its varied landscapes, its culture both Asian and African and its friendly people is how Madagascar has always charmed the traveler. To the north-east, the Masoala peninsula, also known as the “sanctuary of nature”, is one of the last places in the country where the primary rainforest meets the sea.
Madagascar, which is among the top five countries in the world in terms of biodiversity richness, is famous for its remarkable variety of wildlife and plants. Masoala is the largest National Park in Madagascar. The Peninsula includes both marine and forest habitats. It’s a place rich in culture and Malagasy traditions. The “Fady” or taboos are rigorously observed in some areas, illustrating the still significant links between man and the forest or between the modern and traditional worlds.
There is no better place to experience the wilderness than Canada and Alaska. Sparsely populated, amazing rivers, great fishing and wildlife that keeps one on their toes.
I would be traveling with an old childhood school friend and his partner. The trip would begin in Whitehorse and we would travel the next 40 days to the Dalton Hwy before flying up into northern Alaska where isolation and harshness shaped every day. The idea was to immerse ourselves in the wild, to create a feeling different from a weekend trip. It took a lot of pre-planning because forgetting the puncture kit for ones sleeping mat or the lighter for the cooker could really make life hard.
Exploring the Outer Hebrides islands have brought Swiss brothers, Jean-Luc and Sylvain Grossmann to the ragged northwest coast of Scotland on the very edge of Europe. Here, islanders take deep pride in both their maritime heritage and gaelic ancestry, warning paddlers to heed the Rummlin Kirn, the rumbling noise of a strong tidal race through a narrow rocky channel.