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Mike Arkus
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An inveterate traveler, Mike Arkus worked for more than four decades as a Reuters journalist, much of it as foreign correspondent, being based in posts as disparate as France and Cuba, Israel and Brazil for over three years at a time.

He has so far visited 273 of the 321 countries and territories listed worldwide by the Travelers' Century Club - from Greenland and Iceland to Antarctica, Patagonia and the Falklands, and from Papua-New Guinea and Borneo to Sao Tome and Principe and Gabon. In a typical year he spent a week in the Virgin Islands; another week in Saba, Statia, St. Barths and Anguilla; a month in the Galapagos and Ecuador's Andean and Amazon regions; and seven weeks in Angola, both Congos, Djibouti, Somalia (Somaliland) and Ethiopia.

Entries by Mike Arkus

On the Greenland 'Riviera' in the Depths of Winter: Going Barmy Instead of Balmy on the Looney Front - Part 3

(0) Comments | Posted March 30, 2015 | 9:14 AM

When Erik the Red landed in Greenland in 982, arguably the first European to do so, during his three-year exile for killing some people back home, it took him forever to get here just from near neighbour Iceland, not a mere hour or two, and it's highly unlikely he ever...

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Around Greenland's Coldest Settlement in the Depths of Winter: Going Barmy instead of Balmy on the Looney Front - Part 2

(0) Comments | Posted March 23, 2015 | 5:48 PM

Greenland's indigenous Inuit, inured though they were to the rigours of the far north, never established any permanent settlement in Kangerlussuaq at the top end of a 118-mile-long fjord on the west coast of the world's largest island. It wasn't that it was 60 miles above the Arctic Circle; many...

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Dog sledding In Nunavut, Arctic Canada: Nanook of the North on the Looney Front - Part 2

(0) Comments | Posted March 17, 2015 | 12:10 PM

Now what would a visit to Nunavut in the depths of early spring be without a 'Yoiks Tally Ho' and a bit of dog sledding? OK, I don't suppose you actually shout 'Yoiks Tally Ho' when you're crisscrossing the Arctic on a sled, as those nasty British foxhunters do when...

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In Canada's Inuit Territory of Nunavut: Nanook of the North on the Looney Front - Part 1

(6) Comments | Posted March 16, 2015 | 4:31 PM

As the last blogs were on Greenland in the depths of winter, here is a series on the Inuit territory of Nunavut, northern Canada in the depths of early April from a trip I took a couple of years back.

The 1,303-mile flight from Ottawa to Iqaluit, Nunavut's capital, is...

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Greenland's Massive Ice Cap in the Depths of Winter: Going Barmy Instead of Balmy on the Looney Front -- Part 1

(0) Comments | Posted March 16, 2015 | 12:00 PM

Talk about wrong way Mike! Everybody else is escaping the extra harsh cold in the north-eastern United State by flying south to the Caribbean, so how come I'm flying north to deepest Greenland in the depths of winter?

Notwithstanding Mother Earth's late February planetary rigor mortis on the Ice Cap...

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Let Loose the Sled Dogs of War in the Depths of Greenland's Winter: Going Barmy instead of Balmy on the Looney Front (Part 5)

(0) Comments | Posted March 11, 2015 | 5:17 PM

You don't try and pet the Greenland sled dog with a cheery Mickey Mouse-like "Come here Pluto," a pat on the head and a treat in your hand, because the treat will be your hand.

The Greenland Husky, a handsome, powerful, sturdy creature with slanted eyed, is a direct...

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Calving Icebergs in the Depths of Greenland's Winter: Going Barmy instead of Balmy on the Looney Front - Part 4

(3) Comments | Posted March 10, 2015 | 4:00 PM

It's a glorious sunny day here on the Greenland 'Riviera' in the depths of a February winter, the sky is a pale blue, there's hardly a wisp of cloud, and it's a bracing -8 Fahrenheit, that's -22.222 for those of the Celsius persuasion. Brrrrr!

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Around St. Helena Aboard the Enchanted Isle: Getting Really, Truly, Terminally Away From It All on the Looney Front (Part 11)

(0) Comments | Posted February 2, 2015 | 1:02 PM

Having crisscrossed the mountainous interior and multiple microclimates of St. Helena on land there remains one more major trip - the circumnavigation of one of the world's most remote island.

It takes only two and a half hours to sail right round the six-mile by 10-mile speck lost in...

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A Day in the Life of Jamestown, St. Helena - Part 2, Afternoon: Getting Really, Truly, Terminally Away From It All on the Looney Front (Part 9)

(0) Comments | Posted January 19, 2015 | 1:04 PM

If you could see forever over Earth's curves as you gaze south from this most remote of islands, the next land to meet your eye across the blue swell of the vast South Atlantic would be Antarctica. But as you can't, let's continue our lazy day by turning back from...

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A Day in the Life of Jamestown, St. Helena -- Part 1, Morning: Getting Really, Truly, Terminally Away From It All on the Looney Front (Part 8)

(0) Comments | Posted January 12, 2015 | 9:00 AM

Sipping a morning cup of tea on the terrace of the Consulate Hotel half way up Main Street in Jamestown, St. Helena's village capital, under a first-floor balcony effigy of Napoleon in full military regalia, right hand tickling his left tit, certainly affords a chance to capture the island vibe.

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Beyond Napoleon, Others Famous Visitors Turned up in St. Helena Voluntarily (Part 7)

(0) Comments | Posted January 5, 2015 | 5:38 PM

Before Napoleon went into forced retirement on St. Helena, courtesy of the British and Prussians who kicked his arse at the battle of Waterloo, several other historical figures set foot on this remote rock lost in the South Atlantic, 1,200 miles from Africa and 2,000 miles from Brazil.

Uninhabited when...

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Behind the Barren Volcanic Exterior, the Glorious Eden of St. Helena: Getting Really, Truly, Terminally Away From It All on the Looney Front (Part 6)

(0) Comments | Posted December 29, 2014 | 1:58 PM

When you approach St. Helena from the sea nothing could seem more forbiddingly inhospitable than the jagged cliffs and soaring crags that rise precipitously out of the frothing ocean, impenetrable ramparts that scream 'keep out.'

Black or dark grey with menace, the huge frowning folds of wrinkled volcanic rock give...

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The Much Delayed Airport - An End at Last to St. Helena's Isolation: Getting Really, Truly, Terminally Away from it All on the Looney Front (Part 12)

(1) Comments | Posted December 20, 2014 | 5:10 PM

St. Helena - 'One of the most remote islands in the world.' Thus spake Wikipedia.

Well, its geographical position -- lost in the vastness of the South Atlantic, 1,200 miles from the coast of Africa and some 1,800 from South America -- is not about to change. But that...

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Aboard RMS St. Helena in the Vast South Atlantic: Getting Really, Truly, Terminally Away From It All on the Looney Front (Part 4)

(0) Comments | Posted December 18, 2014 | 1:51 PM

I'm a total disgrace! I've just puked all over the wall and carpet on Deck A - on the port side. Of course it wouldn't have been any better if it had been on the starboard side, even if the lady deputy purser did mix up her ports and her...

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A Day in the Life of Jamestown, St. Helena - Part 3, Evening: Getting Really, Truly, Terminally Away From It All on the Looney Front (Part 10)

(0) Comments | Posted December 16, 2014 | 2:34 PM

There are still two hours left for this 'lazy' day before evening sets in and Jamestown's wild nightlife begins, so there's time for a little local hike along the rugged cliff face.

Go up Main Street, bear left where it branches into Napoleon Street, go past Moon Beam's gift...

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RMS St. Helena, Last of the Storied Royal Mail Ships: Getting Really, Truly, Terminally Away From It All on the Looney Front (Part 3)

(0) Comments | Posted December 15, 2014 | 3:39 PM

Once they proudly sailed the seven seas, mighty traveling hotels, carrying both passengers and cargo to the furthest outposts of the British Empire, earning their prestigious title of RMS (Royal Mail Ship) by dint of carrying His or Her Britannic Majesty's mail to his or her farthest-flung subjects.

Entitled to...

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Napoleon' Last Hurrah - A Grave With No Name on St. Helena: Getting Really, Truly, Terminally Away From It All on the Looney Front (Part 5)

(2) Comments | Posted December 8, 2014 | 3:19 PM

The remote South Atlantic island of St. Helena is forever linked with the name of Napoleon Bonaparte, the megalomaniacal Corsican-cum-French emperor who was exiled there by the British in 1815.

After the island of Elba, his first exile - within eyesight of his native Corsica, a mere 30 miles away,...

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Ascension Island's Stark Volcanic Cones: Getting Really, Truly, Terminally Away From It All on the Looney Front (Part 2)

(1) Comments | Posted December 8, 2014 | 2:47 PM

In the beginning there was little but lowly endemic parsley ferns on the precipitous volcanic cones of Ascension Island, that burnt, parched rock lost in the vastness of the South Atlantic -- and what there was quickly succumbed to the sheep and goats introduced by Portuguese and Spanish sailors in...

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Ascension Island, a Burnt Volcanic Cinder in the Vast South Atlantic: Getting Really, Truly, Terminally Away From It All on the Looney Front (Part 1)

(0) Comments | Posted December 1, 2014 | 3:01 PM

A 34-square-mile speck of 44 lava, ash and cinder cones lost in the middle of the South Atlantic, eight degrees south of the Equator, 900 miles from Africa and 1,400 miles from South America, it would be harder to find a more remote get-away than Ascension Island.

That is unless...

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Getting the Labrador Show on the Road -- Back to Square One: Canadian Odyssey on the Looney Front, Part 16

(0) Comments | Posted October 1, 2014 | 6:05 PM

We have to be at Goose Bay airport at 0655 in time for the 0755 flight to Makkovik, the first village we're visiting in Nunatsiavut, Labrador's autonomous Inuit area, and I'm making great strides in getting Madam organised. She's ready with her suitcase, which weighs in at 41.8 pounds for...

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