Remembrance of Expeditions Past

by Liz Gorrell Customer story

Today I sit in the sun, thinking back on the years I spent with my Oceanwide family since my retirement in 1997. My first trips were on a little Russian vessel, Grigoriy Mikheev, which carried only 44 passengers – but a nice size for me to get to know everyone on board.

Regio's: Antarctica, Arctis

Bestemmingen: Groenland, Spitsbergen

How it all started

Today I sit in the sun, thinking back on the years I spent with my Oceanwide family since my retirement in 1997. My first trips were on a little Russian vessel, Grigoriy Mikheev, which carried only 44 passengers – but a nice size for me to get to know everyone on board.

My Oceanwide family

I loved the crew, everyone from the bridge down to the engine room: Alexey, Oleg, Monika, Erwin, all of them my friends forever. Even today I keep in touch with them. Sadly, they have now gone to other ships, but new friends have joined my Oceanwide family: Francois, Janke, Yury, Andy, and others too numerous to name.

Why I keep coming back

Now that I am approaching my eightieth birthday, I feel my days on the sea might be coming to an end. Even so, I have been blessed with the best retirement anyone could have. I travel to the embarkation points by myself, but once I’m there I know I’m well looked after. In fact, I am treated like a queen. The capable crews keep me so safe, I have never worried even in the roughest weather. What a thrill when the waves break over the bow, and how beautiful when we are engulfed in a sudden snow storm! No wonder I keep returning.

New people, new friends

Over the years, other passengers have joined me from all over the world – both young and old, but among them are friends I will keep for the rest of my life. Some of these friends have passed on, but others I hope to see again. What joy to reunite with people who live half a world away! Once someone told me that I only go on these trips because of the friends I make. Not so, though they definitely add to the enjoyment. Where else is this “old lady” going to meet so many young people who share her interests? They keep me thinking young.

New places, new adventures

Not to mention the fabulous places we visit: Greenland, the Ross Sea, other polar venues only the few are lucky enough to see. It’s a real adrenalin rush to fly over this icy wilderness in a helicopter, twisting between the peaks, gazing down into the countless crevasses.

Surprise visit from the whales

Growing up on a dairy farm, I have never been someone who wanted pets. I prefer my animals free. Seeing the abundant polar wildlife, then, is a rare treat. I love when whales come right up to the ship: In 2002, a young sailor spotted twenty-six whale spirts before breakfast; around Christmas, the captain found whales next to the hull; and on Christmas morning, I saw a southern right whale (and later, humpbacks) feeding in Cierva Cove.

Did I mention the penguins?

And then, the penguins. How many people get to look over a valley filled with some half a million king penguins moulting, mating, going about their lives? My favorites are the feisty macaroni penguins and the little rockhoppers that bounce all the way up to their clifftop rookeries. How lucky I am to watch the penguins go out to fish, stealing stones for their nests, fighting over a new partner, as well as the tiny chicks emerging from their eggs.

Seeing things in a new way

Once I came home from a trip and told my friends that all we saw were “dead houses and birds, birds, birds.” Now I see the birds as beautiful, inquisitive, and so interesting. Familiarity has changed me a lot. Having an inquisitive skua come around at Cape Adare and look me over is a memory I will never forget. Then, down in the Antarctic Sound, I enjoyed the rare sight of snow petrels taking a snow bath.

The wonders of ice, earth, and light

I now see the beauty and diversity in the ice as well: immense bergs, one of them 125 kilometers (78 miles) long, others quite small, many colored in shades of blue, green, even yellow. It’s a pleasure to photograph them in different light conditions, getting magical pictures with stripes, icicles, arches, and windows. My most enchanting days were when the light was most unusual, during sunsets that last for hours and deep red sunrises. The icebergs would turn pink and the mountains take on a fairy tale appearance. And what a sight, the reflection of the mountains on the sea.

My adventure continues

Later in the season, I leave for another cruise aboard Ortelius – and I already have another booked for next year. Did I say this was my last trip? Not if I can help it!

Gerelateerde reizen

Noord Spitsbergen Verkenner – Diverse landschappen, zee-ijs en wilde dieren

De beste kans om actief te zijn en exotische Arctische dieren te spotten!

PLA02-24 Deze expeditie focust op de veelzijdigheid van de visueel verbluffende landschappen in het noorden van Spitsbergen, het uitgestrekte zee-ijs en de vele mogelijkheden om walvissen, ijsberen, zeevogels, walrussen en andere wilde dieren te spotten. Geniet...

m/v Plancius

m/v Plancius

Reisdatum:

6 jun. - 13 jun., 2024

Ligplaatsen starten vanaf:

4000 USD

Noord Spitsbergen, De Arctische zomer

Kijk uit naar wilde dieren in het iconische arctische landschap

RVR06-24 Deze Noord Spitsbergen zeilreis zeilt in een van de meest afgelegen en extreme gebieden van Europa, het noorden van Spitsbergen. De expeditie bezoekt interessante plekken, zoals 17e -eeuwse walvisvaarders stations en gletsjers, maakt wandelingen over...

s/v Rembrandt Van Rijn

s/v Rembrandt van Rijn

Reisdatum:

8 jun. - 18 jun., 2024

Ligplaatsen starten vanaf:

4800 USD

North and East Spitsbergen - Summer Solstice
Tot US$3600 korting

North and East Spitsbergen - Summer Solstice

HDS03d24 Combining our North Spitsbergen voyage (focusing on polar bears, bowhead whales, and pack ice) with our East Spitsbergen cruise (also emphasizing bears as well as the summer solstice), this program turns two equally amazing trips into one amazing Arctic...

m/v Hondius

m/v Hondius

Reisdatum:

10 jun. - 24 jun., 2024

Ligplaatsen starten vanaf:

6400 USD

Noord-Spitsbergen Verkenner - ijsberen, Groenlandse walvissen en meer

Deze expeditie richt zich op de veelzijdige landschappen van Noord-Spitsbergen, het ongelooflijke zee-ijs en de vele mogelijkheden om wilde dieren te spotten, zoals walvissen, ijsberen, vogels en walrussen.

HDS03-24 Het voornaamste doel van deze expeditie is het zoeken naar Groenlandse walvissen en ijsberen in de uiterste randgebieden van het pakijs van de Groenlandse Zee, een gebied waar we ze al eerder in grote aantallen hebben gezien.

m/v Hondius

m/v Hondius

Reisdatum:

10 jun. - 17 jun., 2024

Ligplaatsen starten vanaf:

5000 USD

15 Days Extended North & East Spitsbergen - Summer Solstice
Tot US$5480 korting

15 Days Extended North & East Spitsbergen - Summer Solstice

PLA03d24 We’ve linked two of our most exploratory Spitsbergen trips, one of which cruises the island’s northern shores for pack ice and polar bears, and the other that ventures into the scenic eastern shorelines during the summer solstice. The result is this...

m/v Plancius

m/v Plancius

Reisdatum:

13 jun. - 27 jun., 2024

Ligplaatsen starten vanaf:

4800 USD

Loading