Fantastic holiday. Very well organised, and a feast for lovers of the environment. Wonderful landscapes, amazing skies, clarity of light, an abundance of birds, snow, rocks and ice, jewel-like flowers, and silence. Nature on the edge - tough but beautiful. A photographic heaven.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The polar bear on ice, first seen as a blob in the distance, and then slowly, gingerly, the captian edged our boat ever closer, forcing our way through the ice, until we saw her clearly, feeling her way carefully along the thinning ice, then lying in wait for a seal to appear. Then after a while she rolled on her side, stretched and yawned and waved her massive paws in the air as if performing for our benefit, then turned round and watched us watching her. Eventually she seemed to get bored and fell asleep, until some low flying birds disturbed her, and she heaved herself up, and slowly made her way towards the water's edge and swam away....(But perhaps he was a he.) And on the last day, when we came upon the arctic fox carefully sucking out the birds' eggs he had stolen, then trotting nonchallantly about, without a care in the world. And finally, the auk colony, clustered together on the cliff edge, seemingly egging each other on to jump off and fly, before the others all followed on in swoops and dives, only to return and start again. Magic.
- What did you think of your group leader?
- Woody and his team worked incredibly hard to make this an enjoyable and successful holiday. All were very friendly, helpful, interesting, hugely knowledgeable, with large reserves of humour. It was hard to say goodbye, and I was left with a sense of wanting to do the trip all over again, with all the same people on board...
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Don't expect to see polar bears close up with cubs. (I did.) These sightings are very rare.
Don't worry about travelling on your own. This was a very sociable holiday, where everyone mixed and socialised together.
Usual advice - bring lots of thermal layers. Ski clothes are great, gloves, hats, sunglasses, and lots of warm socks are a must. But bring some T shirts and light-weight clothes too, for when you are indoors. The boat is very warm.
Leave your books behind - you won't have time to read them!
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
Exodus has done it again - a brilliant holiday! And thanks for the brilliant DVD, so even if your own photos don't work out, you'll have these to remember it by.
I had no idea that there would be so many experts on board as part of the crew, giving lectures on the history, geology, polar bears, birds, plants, and the different kinds of ice. And we were also especially lucky to have Angie and Jonathan Scott and Chris Packham on board, all superb wildlife photographers, spoiling us with entertaining presentations and stunning slideshows of their own work, as well us giving us helpful advice and commentaries on our own photography.