Ian and his wife Lisa explored the Arctic Circle on a ten-day journey with Silversea Cruises, that merged three things they love; polar bears, peacefulness and adventure.
There are some iconic wild animals that adventure travellers dream of seeing up-close, and the polar bear is most definitely one of them. “The driving force for our trip was Lisa’s love of polar bears,” Ian says. “She has always been mad about them, and we’ve both always loved soft adventure expeditions, where you can push out into the wilderness.”
The itinerary that Caroline created for the couple also took into account the fact they’re not fans of crowds, so she chose a ship that only accommodated one hundred passengers, and that also had expert naturalists on board, including a historian, and a botanist. “You can be as involved or as private as you like on this type of cruise, which is great for people like us who like our space, but also enjoy good company. And the naturalists taught us so much on walks and in their on-board talks and presentations,” says Ian.
Ian and Lisa saw seven polar bears from the cruise, including a mother and her cub, and something that really stayed with Ian, was how small and insignificant human beings seem when in the Arctic. “One day we went ashore and walked up the side of a steep glacier,” he says. “We looked back at our cruise ship and it was absolutely dwarfed by the enormity of the landscape,” Ian says. “It’s an incredible sight, and one that makes you realise that some of the problems that you face in life are really not as daunting as you may have thought.”
An analogy that the botanist came up with also resonated with Ian. He said that the Arctic and Antarctica are like two people at a party. Antarctica is the loud, brazen person singing out their attributes. On the other hand, the Arctic is like the shy person in the corner, one that you must really get to know before you begin to understand what they are all about.
“Another thing that I learnt on that trip is how flora adapts to its surroundings and the weather conditions,” Ian says. “How wildflowers for instance, adapt to exist. You might look out your cabin window and think, ‘There’s nothing here.’ But look a little closer, and there is so much there. Our botanist explained all of those tiny nuances that make the Arctic such a special place.”
Ian wouldn’t use any other travel advisor to plan their journeys, as he feels that anything Caroline plans is going to great. “She leaves no stone unturned and everything within her control goes to plan,” he says. “If it doesn’t, things are back on track before you know it. She also doesn’t try to be all things to all people — she really listens and understands what her clients want and need, sometimes even before they do.”
A journey to the Arctic with Silversea is a highly educative experience. There is much to learn about the damage that human beings are doing, to creatures great and small, and to the environment. Here is a poignant quote from the legendary Sir David Attenborough to remind us that we need to take care of the world around us.
“Now, over half of us live in an urban environment. My home, too, is here in the city of London. Looking down on this great metropolis, the ingenuity with which we continue to reshape the surface of our planet is very striking. It’s also very sobering, and reminds me of just how easy it is for us to lose our connection with the natural world. Yet it’s on this connection that the future of both humanity and the natural world will depend. And surely, it is our responsibility to do everything within our power to create a planet that provides a home not just for us, but for all life on Earth.” Sir David Frederick Attenborough, OM, CH, CVO, CBE, FRS, FLS, FZS, FSA English veteran broadcaster and naturalist.