For years Black Tomato has delighted old travel hands with its inventive, bespoke itineraries to various corners of the globe. The company is especially good at showcasing beautiful destinations not yet well-known to most travelers beyond the surrounding region. Among others, Belgrade, the Carpathian foothills, the Kuronian Spit, and Bhutan have all been embraced by the company.
This morning, Black Tomato launched Epic Tomato, which showcases a selection of hardcore adventure experiences to very hard-to-reach places. These adventures are scheduled for lengths of between four to 21 days, and are grouped into five categories: Polar, Desert, Jungle, Mountain, and River. They are all led by serious expert guides, some with SAS (British special service) military backgrounds.
Bolivia’s Apolobamba mountain range, Mali’s Dogon region, the Star Mountains of Papua New Guinea (see above), the Mosquito Coast of Honduras, and East Greenland are just a few of the destinations reached by Epic Tomato tours.
Epic Tomato’s frankly epic experiences don’t come cheap. At the bottom end of the scale, three adventures come in at £5995 ($9660): 14 days in Papua New Guinea’s East New Britain and Duke of York Islands; a 21-day trek in Tibet and Nepal; and eight days in Chilean Patagonia. At the very high end: 12 days on Canada’s Ellesmere Island for £67,495 ($108,720).
According to National Geographic, a new research study shows that the magnetic North Pole is changing positions at a surprisingly quick pace, sliding towards Russia at a speed of about 40 miles per year. Traditionally, the Pole has been located in Northern Canada, but these rapid shifts are causing it to jump dramatically.
Scientists believe that changes deep within the Earth’s molten core are to blame for the shift, although it is difficult to measure and track those changes. Researchers have detected a disturbance on the surface of the core that is creating a “magnetic plume” which is responsible for the change in the Pole’s location, but how that plume was created remains a mystery.
The shifting of the magnetic pole is not quite as problematic as it once would have been. For centuries the North Pole has been used for navigational purposes, but for the most part, standard compasses have been replaced with sophisticated GPS tracking systems. Still, many explorers, mountaineers, backpackers, and the like still prefer using a compass over an electronic device. As the pole shifts position, they’ll need to learn to take into account its new location when plotting their course.
At this point, scientists are unsure exactly how far the pole will move or if it will become a permanent shift in location. The mysterious plume could dissipate and cause the pole to return to its original position, not far from Canada’s Ellesmere Island, or it could continue to move for years to come.