What a weird idea! said my friend Marie. Why go somewhere cold and wet in the summer?
Good point (I just saw on Facebook that Marie is on a beach in France, which to me is a weird idea too) but the purpose of this trip being to see polar bears in their natural habitat, it had to be in the summer. Since I have spent the past 12 years in warm and hot climates, in Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia, my closet had little thermal, waterproof and windproof clothes. Not a problem I thought, this is New York, where you can find anything anytime…well, not really. New York is also a city where space is sparse so clothes are offered on a seasonal basis, which makes sense. The recent New Yorker that I am went on a mission to find proper apparel three days only before our flight to the Arctic. A bit last minute, I agree. Lesson learned. It took me an afternoon but I finally found everything I needed.
This trip was fantastic. We saw nature in all its glory, glaciers (see above) and icebergs, lots of birds, walruses, Arctic foxes and 7 polar bears (including 3 cubs). We also, sadly, saw a lot of pollution, surprising at such a latitude up North, mostly plastic from the fishing industry…The Arctic sea water, recycled on the boat, was the best I ever had (the wine wasn’t bad either), the food delicious and I hadn’t slept that well in a long time. Sitting in the outside jacuzzi after a long hike was awesome. Total bliss.
For one week we had no internet connection, which was a perfect way to disconnect, re- center, talk, observe, listen and read. There was a fascinating mix of characters among the crew and passengers and since I understand English, German and French, I followed some interesting conversations. I took some notes…and you can imagine what’s next am sure.
Author of The Poalr Bear and the Palm Tree