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Trip reports

Client report: THE NORTHERN SEA ROUTE - Peter Wright's chance in a million...

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“Once again, I am indebted to the organisation and personal attention to detail, most notably on the part of Fiona, for making this transit of the Northern Sea Route (North East Passage) a reality. Some years ago I had hoped to sail from east to west; but the voyage was stopped by the Russian authorities at the last minute. My greatest memory of this latest voyage will always be seeing a gathering of polar bears on Wrangel Island feasting on a bowhead whale that had washed ashore at...

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Client report: SPITSBERGEN AND GREENLAND - Peter Wright's latest voyage

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“Thank you for yet another excellent trip and all your efforts to make life easier for me to travel up to Spitsbergen and spend a few days in Copenhagen on the way back to Switzerland. Everything on that front worked well. The accommodation in Oslo was excellent (the best scrambled eggs I have had in a hotel for a very long time!) The Radisson BLU Polar at Longyearbyen is getting a little ‘tired but it was perfectly OK for the short stop before joining Plancius the following...

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Client report: ANTARCTIC PENINSULA – Rhona Cox crosses the Polar Circle

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“I had a wonderful time. I've seen the most wonderful aspects of mother nature in the most inhospitable area of the world, also the most heartrending part in the fight for survival in the animal kingdom. The service by Fiona was second to none and I would not have accomplished half of it by doing it myself. Everything I needed was at my fingertips before I left the UK without having to worry that I had forgotten anything. The ship was great, the staff were great, the scenery and...

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Client report: ARCTIC NORWAY – The Chaloner family go dog sledding

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“We board the plane from the Arctic with heavy, heavy hearts and many tears. This trip has been an overwhelming experience for all three of us. Safe to say that it has been the most memorable, incredible holiday we have ever had!!! And we've had many amazing holidays. The husky dogs, although smaller than expected, were so friendly, happy, well behaved and clearly well trained. Needless to say a big chunk of our hearts, especially Meg’s, were left with them. Our local...

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Client report: THE NORTH POLE – Peter Wright’s adventure

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“It was quite an experience to make the passage north on the 50 let Pobeby (50 Years of Victory). I knew she was a powerful icebreaker but she turned out to be much bigger and stronger than I expected!! When I was in Svalbard we were stopped by pack ice (true the ship was only ice hardened), but this time when we reached the first ice she did not slow down from 15 knots (maybe a half knot or so), she just kept going. It was only later that the speed of advance was reduced to around...

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Client report: GREENLAND – Jamie and Julia Korner in the footsteps of...

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In the summer of 2014 Arcturus organised an expedition to Greenland for Julia Korner and her husband Jamie to retrace the footsteps of her father, Colonel Andrew Croft DSO, OBE. Colonel Croft was a member of Sir Martin Lindsay’s three-man British Trans-Greenland Expedition of 1933-1934 – an epic 1,080 mile journey by dog sledge which crossed the ice cap from west to east and which identified and mapped Greenland’s highest mountains. For over 50 years the expedition was...

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Client report: SPITSBERGEN AND NORTH EAST GREENLAND – Janice Hinlopen's...

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Janice Hinlopen made two Arcturus voyages back-to-back as she had a yearning to visit the Hinlopen Strait in Svalbard! She lives in Holland, but we are never phased by having to organise trips for overseas clients. Here are some of her comments on her ‘mega’ voyage. It was an epic trip indeed. On both voyages we have visited many wonderful places, seen wonderful wildlife and scenery, all with excellent, knowledgeable, and very, very nice guides, and with so much co-operation of...

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Client report: ARCTIC NORWAY – Elspeth Hamilton's voyage of memories

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Our client Elspeth Hamilton wanted to go to Nordhauslandet last year, following in the steps of her father who was on an Oxford University expedition there in 1935-6. Arcturus arranged the trip for her on Antarctic Dream and the ship planned to try and do a special landing where his base had been. Sadly on the day it wasn’t possible, but instead, Elspeth read extracts from her father’s journals to her fellow passengers to mark the occasion. Here is an excerpt of her note to us:...

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Trip report: ICELAND – Fiona’s Icelandic adventure

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"Have you ever seen a waterfall being blown upwards by the force of the wind? Or tried to stand upright in the teeth of an icy gale, and literally been nearly swept off your feet? It’s just some of what to expect from a winter visit to Iceland, a trip for the true adventurer!…” "It was still dark as we slipped quietly out of the city and headed north west on a visit to the starkly beautiful Snaefellsnes Peninsula some two hours’ drive from Reykjavik. It’s a...

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Leader's review: WEST GREENLAND - Lorraine Craig’s recce trip

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Following an overnight in Iceland where the Arctic terns were calling for much of the short night, we gathered at the airport in Reykjavik for the flight to Kangerlusaq and then on to the fishing port of Ilulissat. The airport is located north of the city, and we managed a quick glimpse of the ice in the fjord below us. Being a recce trip, none of us were quite sure what lay ahead, and each of us had our own expectations. The town was busy, with well-stocked supermarkets open until late,...

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Trip report: EAST GREENLAND – Fiona’s Greenland adventure

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The intercom crackled into life – it was the captain of our Icelandair Fokker 50 on the approach to the tiny ice-strip at Kulusuk airport on the south east coast of Greenland. “I’m sorry, we can’t make it to Constable Pynt today. The weather is too bad so we’ll have to return to Reykjavik ”. And so started my Greenland adventure! He landed skilfully on the snowy strip and we disembarked for a short while before retracing our journey to Iceland. Almost the...

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Trip report: ANTARCTIC PENINSULA – Fiona crosses the Polar Circle

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“First it was a creaking, groaning sound, then a sharp crack, like a gunshot. Finally a whooshing thump and suddenly the expedition staff were shouting “Off the beach, off the beach!”. We ran from the shoreline and watched the waves sucked from the shore, then a wall of water bore down on us, catching numerous penguins unaware and sending them headlong into the boiling surf. This was Niko Bay, close to the Antarctic Peninsula and we had just witnessed the...

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Client report: ARCTIC NORWAY – Jude Perry & John Verschaeren's dog sledge

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We were absolutely terrified when we were first unhooked from the ‘anchor’ vehicles on Day 1 of our dog sledging trip. Here we were, leashed to these bouncing bundles of energy and the din of 30 dogs ready to head out was deafening. We soon realised why our guide gave us so few instructions before starting, other than the all important ‘brake’ and ‘anchor’ tips, because you really have to do it to find out. The equipment provided locally was great –...

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Client report: RUSSIAN FAR EAST – Chris Robb & Karen Murphy in Kamchatka

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We enjoyed the trip from beginning to end and couldn’t really fault it. The Moscow extension was a great idea. Natasha, our guide in Moscow, was lovely and gave us a great tour of the Kremlin and Red Square. Kamchatka was superb. We felt so well looked after from the moment we stepped off the plane. The sledding was probably the best organised trip we have ever been on. The snowmobiles went ahead with food and luggage so by the time we arrived, food and hot tea were ready to go!...

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Leader's review: GREENLAND - Lorraine Craig goes cross-country skiing

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Is the ice-melting? (Answer, possibly). Will we see husky dogs? (Answer, yes, lots of them, and we will hear them too). Will we see polar bears? (Answer, from time to time). There are all questions that I am asked by slightly anxious skiers each year as we head north to Greenland. The simple answer is that we never know quite what to expect. In spring 2009 our base was a hut in the village, but this year we will be back to travelling with a mobile campsite guided by the local Inuit hunters...

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Trip report: ARCTIC NORWAY – Fiona’s voyage: Aberdeen to Spitsbergen

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“Last summer I boarded a Russian former oceanographic vessel for an unusual voyage from Aberdeen through the outlying Scottish Islands to Jan Mayen and finally to Spitsbergen, at 78 degrees North in the Arctic Circle. Though not luxurious, the ship was clean and comfortable with attractive cabins, cosy bar, convivial dining room and a great open-air observation deck which enabled far-reaching views of the North Atlantic and its numerous sea birds, concentrations of whales and rugged...

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Trip report: ARCTIC NORWAY – Fiona learns to drive a dog sled team

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“I am still enchanted by the indescribable beauty of Arctic Norway, 200km north of the Arctic Circle, where I had a memorable experience learning to drive my own dog sled team! “Crossing the Arctic Circle and lining up on its final approach, the plane dipped low, first over deep fjords and then crossing turquoise waters with a backdrop of snow covered peaks where tiny bright blue, red and yellow cabins stood starkly against the rugged backdrop of Arctic Norway. Later, as we...

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Leader's review: GREENLAND – Frank Ryding looks back on his expeditions

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Scoresby Sund is a land of contrast – a vast roughly square area of wilderness of almost 200 miles on each side, with high fjords surrounding the huge mass of Milne Land Island in the middle. In winter it is frozen solid but in summer it’s more like a Scottish autumn – the lower slopes burst into a short-lived explosion of greens, yellows and reds as grasses, flowers and dwarf-willow shrubs make use of the 24 hour daylight. In small covered launches we explored the...

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Leader's review: RUSSIAN FAR EAST– Lorraine Craig encounters bears

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We sat where the river entered the lake and waited for the bears to come out of the woods and start fishing for salmon. Within a few minutes there were three bears a short distance away. After a little while one ran towards us catching the fish about three metres from us – I think our hearts missed a beat! Then Valisi, our warden, with his hand on his rifle and flare as normal, indicated to us to turn around: a bear was crossing the spit a few metres behind us, perfectly framed in front...

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