An expedition cruise blends a picture of explorers suffering from harsh conditions to experience some of the world’s most secret corners. Riding in a tent and riding in a cold freighter. So hurry up guys. Book the cheapest flight ticket from JetBlue Airlines Reservations.
And yet, on a leisurely luxurious cruise ship, I found myself surrounded by explorers. There is something different about the people you meet on a campaign trail. It was not for your standard group of tourists who were just there for a buffet. Meeting people like Sajjan in his 80s, who were close to his goal of visiting all the national parks in the US and Canada, he promised himself not to appreciate travel, education, or life.
A Journey Unlike Any Other
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “You cannot step in the same river twice.” I felt keenly on the tour, as every snorkel, every dip in the water brought unknown surprises, with the tide bringing me magnificent corals and inquisitive fish that would fly again in an instant which I never did again. Likewise, you cannot take the same Zegrahm expedition trip twice. The last Seychelles I never lived with would be reintroduced with the Aldabra Atoll trip.
The company changes trips every time, offering various stops and switching sports on a daily basis. I dined with a couple, who were on several Zegrahim trips around the world, and asked how they had decided on Seychelles as their next trip. It was easy, he replied. In his final journey, he asked the staff of Zegraham who the guides traveled, who was assigned and were fighting to choose them.
What we did and we depended on where nature was in store for us. The jock running at the briefing was meant to show a mile-wide circle around the area we were in, and say we were “somewhere here.”
If you want to make Mother Nature laugh, be Irish and face the sun with an SPF 50 south of the equator. Luckily, the very fashionable French ship Le Bougainville that we were sailing was also a well-stocked gift shop, also floating. Tights (which apparently all French women wear to look good on the beach).
I convinced myself that wearing these sexy tights at least every day of the cruise came at a very reasonable price per wear. You don’t have to do anything to feel more glamorous than washing a sun-safe uniform in your luxury cruise bathroom with complimentary Hermes toiletries, but now I was ready to dive again – which was nice because we hit the Aldabra Atoll Were to come
Aldabra A Toll
Our most awaited stop on this trip was the Aldabra Atoll. Aldabra has been compared to the Galápagos Islands. Both locations are home to hundreds of endemic species, but this seems an unfair analogy for Aldabra, which is compared on a tourism basis. While the Galápagos see more than 225,000 visitors a year, only 1,000 people are privileged to set foot on the Aldabra each year.
The relative hardness of Aldabra has been its savior. No freshwater sources are found here, and the area is quite inaccessible – bumpy water makes it impossible to travel a significant part of the year.
There are four islands around a lagoon in Aldabra. The size of the island of Manhattan is Aldabra, the world’s second-largest coral atoll and more than 400 endemic species and subspecies, which you have not seen anywhere else on the planet.
The zodiac circled us to the top of the Grand Pass, where the incoming tide would take us to the lagoon of Aldabra. Before we first got into the water, one of our guides mentioned the possibility of a shark, the theme song for fear in my heart and jaw in my head.
It only took one snorkel and one encounter with a shy and gracious reef shark (who was so young, I thought I could take him to a fight if it hit him) “Please don’t let me see the shark” “Please let me watch a lot of sharks up close.” It helps that the water was crystal clear, visibility was so good that nothing could sneak up on me. Hundreds of orange fish were suspended in light rays around me, like a handful of confetti thrown into the crystal-clear water.
A drift snorkel feels like flying. As we drifted without the need to kick or swim, we had a bird’s eye view of the vibrant ecosystem below. The tides swept us along with vivid oranges and yellow and huge schools of fish in patterns, so flamboyant they were supernatural.
A turtle, as large as itself, shocked me, as it sank past in high speed. A shot of fear turned into adrenaline and a gasp of pleasure formed inside my snorkel. Whoever gave this beautiful animal a slow reputation, he would never have seen it floating. A small brown rock dug the gaps in the snorkellers’ schools before clearing them with calm water.
At the end of the drift, we were trapped in a bag and begged as children in an amusement park to go again and again, the boats bringing us back to the beginning to experience the magical ride of nature once again .
How rare it was to be one of the few people on the planet to experience this golden moment. We walked to the shore and took a stroll on the soft, white-sanded beaches, as the gold-reefed rocks swirled around the waves, visible just inches from our feet. We saw giant turtles go about their daily lives in their beautiful habitat.