Fabled Islands of the Indian Ocean 1

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I have a confession: this trip is not an overland expedition. In fact, it really isn’t much of a true “expedition” to most of us who frequent Expedition Portal or write/subscribe to Overland Journal. It is though, a dream come true trip.

For many years I have kept old brochures in my bedside table, travel “catalogs” for group excursions and adventures from Lindblad Expeditions and others. As a young teen, I heard about these exotic trips to Egypt, Africa, the Galapagos Islands, and the Antarctic from family friends. One day, I thought, I too, would be able to go on trips like that.

Life, though, had different plans. All of the dreams were put on hold for college, training, family, and job. It wasn’t until I was into my forties that I realized the dream of doing medical mission work in Africa, took a number of short safaris in the Serengeti, and began to experience some of the places I had only heard or read about in the past.

But, life stepped in last year again, when a friend just a couple of years older that I, developed an inoperable cancer and died within 6 months, never seeing some of his dreams come to fruition. That was the turning point. I decided I had to have a bit of a new mantra: “Have a blast while you last.”

So when the National Geographic Society announced a joint venture with Lindblad, and a series of new itineraries, I was very excited when the brochure arrived in the mail. Included, was a trip called, “Fabled Islands of the Indian Ocean,” that included not land exploring in the Seychelles and Madagascar, wildlife viewing, a bonafide National Geographic photographer on board as a resource, plus scuba diving. I was in!

So here I am, sitting in my cabin aboard the “National Geographic Explorer” a small ship carrying fewer than 120 passengers, heading for the island of La Digue, the fourth largest populated island in the Seychelles.

It was a long couple of days getting here. In fact, it is rather a blur at the moment. It took 24 flying hours and gobs of layover hours to get here from Tucson; it feels like it’s been nearly a week on the road. After arriving just after sunrise we had a nice hotel for a half day, time to eat, shower, and nap. A tour of the island lasted a couple of hours but felt like all day! The zigs and zags up and over the island center were particularly trying for a jet lagged brain and body.

Finally after what seemed an eternity we boarded the ship. More on that later, perhaps.

My cabin is actually much larger than I expected. I was afraid that it might be a tight squeeze for my two bags (one scuba gear, the other clothes and space for future souvenirs no doubt), but in fact it is very roomy. The bathroom is huge compared to some of the hotels I’ve experienced in the past. It’s very impressive.

So after a blur of a trip to get here I am enjoying the amenities aboard, getting ready for our first excursions starting tomorrow. And hopefully getting some much needed rest tonight.

I will attempt to post a “blog” entry every few days at the Overland Journal website blog. I’ll send out a message once I get that going. Though maybe it should be an if. There’s a lot to do here. We shall see how good I am at blogging.



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