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Polar Travel Tips from Field Operations Manager Adam Turner

by Oceanwide Expeditions Blog

Adam Turner has many years of experience as an expedition leader. Here are his words of wisdom on what to do and not do during your Arctic or Antarctic adventure.

Regions: Antarctica, Arctic

Our field operations manager provides prime cruise tips

Adam Turner has many years of experience as an expedition leader in both the Arctic and Antarctica, and he also serves as our field operations manager. It’s hard to think of a background that makes someone more qualified to provide polar travel advice.

And so, adding to our other blogs on expedition cruise tips, here are Turner’s words of wisdom on what to do and not do during your Arctic or Antarctic adventure.

Picture by Meike Sjoer

Adam Turner’s rules of polar engagement

There are two key things to remember when traveling the polar regions: Keep an open mind and stay flexible.

We cruise some of the remotest and harshest environments on Earth, where the weather and ice conditions can change in minutes. Staying flexible will help you get the best out of your trip. We also sometimes have to alter our plans at the last moment if conditions change or if, in the Arctic, we see a bear at our landing site. Keeping an open mind is crucial.

The polar regions are spectacular in their landscape and wildlife. Don’t get drawn in to one particular part. Savor all of it, come to the lectures, learn all you can about these precious places, and observe what the wildlife is doing.

Picture by Adam Turner

Speak with the locals and learn about their heritage in places such as the Falkland Islands and Greenland. Even the bitter-cold days and storm-lashed seas are all part of the experience, making memories that last a lifetime.

The reason I love my job so much is because each trip is different. The Arctic and Antarctic hold a timeless appeal that stays with me even when I’m not there.

Take pictures using whatever camera suits you best, but also remember to enjoy the moment. Stop and take it all in, the beauty and vastness of where you are. In some places, you may also be approached by curious wildlife.

Picture by Adam Turner

And pack sensibly. We all feel the cold differently. Know what suits you best, test out different systems of layering long before your trip. Getting too cold will spoil your experience, and it is so avoidable. For this reason, we’ve written blogs about packing.

We see a lot of our guests arrive with things they never use. I recommend a good base layer (thermal underwear) and well insulated mid-layers, with a wind and waterproof outer layer.

Avoid cotton clothing, and please remember to bring waterproof trousers with you. Personally, I wear a lightweight T-shirt, Gore-Tex jacket, and a Devold merino sweater – the single best purchases I’ve made for working in the polar regions.

Gloves are also important, so I always keep a spare pair with me.

Give yourself at least a night before joining the ship and the same at the end. There are lots of things to see and do at the places we embark and disembark, so don’t let an airport delay spoil your trip. Give yourself time to reflect before flying home.

And above all, enjoy!

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