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A pioneering Secret Compass expedition team will commence its exploratory trek to summit Mount Hajhir, the highest peak on the UNESCO-protected Yemeni island of Socotra.

(TRAVPR.COM) BRISTOL - October 31st, 2013 - MEDIA RELEASE: 31 October 2013

Swapping pumpkins for pirates: Secret Compass expedition team arrives in Yemen.

Today, 31st October 2013, a pioneering Secret Compass expedition team will commence its exploratory trek to summit Mount Hajhir, the highest peak on the UNESCO-protected Yemeni island of Socotra.

After local flight changes which left the expedition hanging in the balance, the team is now on Socotra and keen to begin this long-awaited adventure.

Expedition leader Dave Luke said, “There were unexpected last-minute changes but thanks to Secret Compass’s thorough contingency planning and risk-assessment procedures, everything is now going smoothly to Plan…Z!”

Quentin Mason, another adventurous team-member, added, “The adventure has already been in the journey itself. It’s not just about the destination.”

Despite limited communications, team member Helen Spencer sent some initial images back to the UK with the brief message, “Weird trees everywhere!” – referring to the Dragon’s Blood and Cucumber trees for which Socotra is renowned.

Luke said, “Our goal is to travel south starting near Hadibo, the island’s main city, summiting Hajhir via the Ayhaft gorges then looking to reach Erissal Cape via the Homil Plateau. Our trek then leads us through the enchanting locations that give Socotra its moniker as the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean.

“This will be a culturally enriching experience giving us all the chance to meet with the native Socotris and learn from their unique traditions.”

Xavier Aubut, assistant expedition leader, said, “Adventure travellers often eschew Socotra due to the threat of terrorism in mainland Yemen, and for its location in the pirate-saturated waters off the Somali coast, near the Gulf of Aden.

“Secret Compass wants to change people’s perceptions and to reveal Socotra as the safe and welcoming destination it is. We hope that environmentally sensitive treks like ours will encourage further visitors to Socotra, and that its fledgling tourism economy will flourish to help safeguard its UNESCO-protected assets for the future.”

Aubut concluded, “Through its pioneering adventures and world-first expeditions, Secret Compass aims to change people’s perceptions of inhospitable, hard-to-access and post-conflict zones. Our expedition to this Yemeni island will help put the region back on the map for adventurous travellers.”

For information about Secret Compass’s upcoming or 2014 expeditions to Socotra, kindly contact marketing director Kerry O’Neill on or by calling 00 44 7815 896 533.

Visit our Socotra Expedition page (with image gallery)

Watch an inspirational two-minute film on Socotra

Link to our Socotra album on Facebook

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Secret Compass is a pioneering expedition company creating world-first experiences for teams of like-minded adventurers. Through group and bespoke adventures, Secret Compass helps each team member achieve the extraordinary in the world’s wildest places. Founded by ex-British Army Parachute Regiment officers, its expeditions reach the planet’s most remote regions in the spirit of exploration’s earliest pioneers. Its highly trained professionals deliver well-planned and safe experiences, while encouraging daring leaps out of comfort zones. Secret Compass is passionate about returning tourism to post-conflict zones and emerging economies to stimulate local development and challenge preconceptions.

Specialist Film and TV services
Secret Compass also takes film crews, journalists and photographers to remote and previously inaccessible areas thanks to its unrivalled location management expertise. Clients to date include the BBC, National Geographic, Animal Planet and Channel 4, in countries from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan.
Press enquiries: 0203 2398 038


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Name: Kerry O'Neill
Company: Secret Compass
Phone: 0203 2398 038
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