Travel Writing Competition 2010 Shortlist

A Surprise Encounter

It was 1959, and I was on Ice Station Charlie in the deep Arctic, doing research on ice drift, melting and refreezing. During the summer, aircraft cannot land on the soft undependable sea ice riddled with melt ponds...

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A travel moment in Ciudad Cahuatemoc

Tired as a well-worn cliché, I finally reached Ciudad Cahuatemoc, a “city” on the Guatemala-Mexico border, that consisted of two identical wooden shacks, one a customs shed, the other a bar. Lying on a wobbly bench...

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A travel moment in Koh Lanta, Thailand

Little did we know that our dive boat was the safest place to be when the tsunami ripped through Asia. I had flown to Thailand to spend Christmas with my sister and brother-in-law on Koh Lanta, a small island with few visitors...

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Finding a Ride in Bali

I never meant to walk into Desi’s place; I didn’t ask for what I saw in there. Finding transport in Canggu, a quieter Balinese surfing village north of Kuta, had proven to be a burden and all I wanted to do was hire my own...

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Finding everything in Egypt

As I sat in the coach that was transferring this handful of tired tourists to our ship at Luxor, I cried. They were tears of happiness. Alone, I had flown here to Egypt to finally visit the country that had fascinated me for years...

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How to sell mangoes

Tucked in behind the fish gutting plant, away from tourists, the market was made up of make-shift stalls and carpets where all the produce was lain out. I was on my gap year in the town of Malindi, Kenya, staying with the local...

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One Okavango Night

We settled into our tent aware that the noise of the night did not observe fabric boundaries. I thought I heard a crunching sound coming from the far end of the tent clearing. The crunching crept closer and closer and...

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Orca Twilight

The sound comes again, nearer and louder. A brief intake of breath followed by a sighing, snorting exhalation. Last time, I thought I heard something. This time I’m certain. A killer whale, orca, is heading towards me...

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The Pelicans

The slightest tic-tic-ticking of the motor harmonized perfectly with the steady rise and fall and rise on the tidal waves of the Senegal River. I rocked slowly, through the Djoudj National Bird Park to absorb the crisp salt air...

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Underwater Flight

‘This should be a good area, let’s see what we can find’. Daniel donned his flippers, adjusted his mask and snorkel, and dived backwards off the rubber dinghy. As our trusty guide, born and bred in the Galapagos Islands...

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