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property built in the traditional 'pantaneiro'
farm style, deep in the heart of the Pantanal,
we were stopped in our tracks.
"Jaguar, jaguar!" The driver failed to
suppress his excitement and slammed on
the brakes as a huge jaguar elegantly leapt
from the bush and landed a few feet in front.
Driving alongside, we were so
close that if I'd leant out of the
window I could have touched
its rosette-patterned coat.
And then from Brazil's lowlying
wetlands to the towering
Torngat Mountains of Labrador,
northern Canada, where I went
in search of the world's largest predator.
A journey to the Torngat Mountains and
Research Station is quite an e ort, but given
the founder of BlackBerry goes because
his phone doesn't work there, it certainly
quali es as getting away from it all. It's also
one of the only places to walk in the land of
polar bears, albeit with an armed guard.
We landed on a small, rough strip at Saglek
Bay, situated on the boundary of the Torngat
Mountains National Park, and boarded the
awaiting Zodiac boat to carry us across the
iceberg-dotted bay to tiny St John's Harbour
and our tented camp.
We travelled along the shoreline in Zodiacs
looking for polar bears. A mass moved: a
large male polar bear had awoken from his
sun-induced sleep. He looked at us curiously,
before manoeuvring his powerful, bulky
body swiftly across the rocks towards us. We
retreated through the slalom of icebergs.
The 20 square mile camp is protected by
a 10,000-volt electric fence. With sleeping
quarters of raised, insulated tents situated
just 10 feet inside the perimeter, you could
well end up slumbering blissfully unaware of
curious polar bears just a few feet away.
The base camp operates between midJuly
and early September, because it's the
only time it's possible to get in and out of
the usually frozen bays.
If you prefer the heat, then the red rust
roads of Western Australia might appeal.
Things are di erent in the Australian
Outback, where road trips
are epic in proportion and
part of the attraction is the
remoteness. Having no one
else around for hundreds of
miles can feel like a rare treat.
I embarked on a thrilling
drive through the heat and
dust from the frontier town of Broome in
Western Australia to Darwin in the Northern
Territory, 1,170 miles of Australia's 'Top End'
and the incomparable Kimberley region.
We drove through untamed territory,
drifting past tiny towns. We hit the bumps
and dips of the 'unsealed' Gibb River
Road, a 410-mile ordeal that's notoriously
unforgiving on cars. We ploughed through
miles of ne red dust, passing an occasional
vehicle whose driver acknowledged our
IT'S NOT EVERY DAY THAT YOU FIND YOURSELF
BEING LOWERED INTO A VAST, DRIED�OUT MAGMA
CHAMBER INSIDE AN ANCIENT VOLCANO
Clockwise, from left: inside Thrihnukagigur volcano; penguins in Antarctica;
go wild in the Pantanal; camping at the Torngat Mountains National Park