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  There were many times in that year in the Pacific when resources ran low and the whole effort seemed overwhelming. But, as with the best journeys, this was often because there was no let-up in the sheer richness of what we saw and experienced. It was a journey of dazzling surprises and jarring extremes. Beauty and ugliness, sophistication and squalor, unceasing urban noise and monastic tranquillity, Los Angeles freeways and Amazonian rapids, shrieking winds of icy glaciers 16,000 feet high, and the serenity of coral reefs 100 feet deep. There was not a single day when we did not see something remarkable.

It is to Basil Pao's credit that so many of these revelations are captured in this book. For Basil, who produced Pole to Pole, this was an opportunity he could not miss and did not waste. A constantly changing gallery of experiences, a year long parade of the world's most striking faces and places.

This book means a lot to me because I saw what Basil saw as we circled the Pacific together but, as with Pole to Pole, he added another dimension to the journey. He has given the extraordinary and fleeting a permanence. He has caught beauty in a single glance and captured moments I thought had gone forever.

Full Circle: The Photographs is the best of the best. This is the Pacific Rim, illuminated.

Michael Palin, 1997

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  The introduction
  About Basil Pao

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