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Ross Sea Expedition

" We have been back from our amazing trip for just over a week now so I thought it was time to give you some feedback. The whole trip was fantastic and we were very glad that we had the Heritage Suite for a voyage of that length because it was great to have the space. It did mean that we noticed the rock and rolling of the ship more than the lower decks but we do not get seasick so that was no problem. Overall the weather was great but we did have a few days typical of the roaring forties, furious fifties and screaming sixties as well as katabatic winds off the Ross Ice Shelf one day and Mount Erebus on another. The latter were phenomenal, particularly as we were trying to visit the Historic Huts, so we could really appreciate the conditions that those early explorers had encountered - and we were in a nice warm ship with all the latest technical clothing!!

Rodney Russ was the expedition leader and what a legend! If there is something he doesnt know about the whole area - history, wildlife, weather, economics, you name it, we didnt find out what it was! He certainly went to every length to make sure all the passengers achieved their aims whether it was the history, the penguins, the albatrosses or the Barrier (or in our case all of the above!). His team was also first rate, and Heidi as the cruise director was quite outstanding. She was always working but never seemed rushed or flustered and she never had to be reminded about any request no matter how trivial. The two chefs worked wonders as well!! How they produced the food they did so efficiently and sometimes in such bad conditions was nothing short of incredible!!

The subantarctic islands are a real wonder and far exceeded our expectations. We are not ones to be ticking of species we havent seen before, but to have had real quality views of eleven different albatross and eight penguin species, plus all the other birds was amazing (sorry, I keep using that word!). The Ross Sea component was, for us, definitely a one-off simply because of the number of sea days to get there and back. We were lucky with the weather and although we had some rough seas we could usually manage to get out on deck somewhere sheltered (relatively) to watch the sea, birds, whales or scenery. The historic huts were very, very special and we were delighted that we could spend quite a bit of time viewing both the sites and the interior of the huts themselves. The visits were very tightly regulated in terms of numbers of people ashore and also in the huts at any one time, and of course we could not touch anything, but beyond that we could spend a decent amount of time in the huts and return if we wished for a second look (which we did at both Scott's and Shackleton's huts). Scott's hut in particular we found very moving, and we could recall all Ponting's superb photographs of Scott's party in the huts, and see exactly where they had been taken.

The Ross Ice Barrier and Mount Erebus were stunning, and we cruised along the ice edge at McMurdo seeing many Antarctic Type C Orca and more penguins including distant Emperors. We coudnt get to Cape Adare becasue of the ice conditions but that gave us the chance to sail near the Balleny Islands and we were once again blessed because as we arrived at Sturge Island in the early hours of the morning a lunar eclipse was taking place!

Our final port of call was Campbell Island and definitely one of the best wildlife experiences I have had, with groups of gamming Southern Royal Albatrosses at times literally within touching distance. What a finale!!

One last thing to note about Heritage and Rodney was the quality of the documentation that they sent out, and then once on board Rodney's drawings of each landing site with all the relevant information included. I dont think we have ever had such detailed and pertinent information from any company.

Last but not least I have put a selection of images on my web site - http://www.jennymvarley.co.uk/Ross-Sea-and-Subantarctic-Islands/. "

- Jenny Varley, UK (Travelled 2018)

1875

" This was a wonderful trip to the Ross sea. Highlights were the magical rata forest of Enderby Island with its bellbirds, parakeets and sealions that stuck their heads out of the bushes and roared, the Ross Ice Shelf with the penguins calling and the booming of the surf in the caverns under the ice, Mt Erebus steaming in the sunshine, the ice-covered Balleny Islands in the lunar eclipse....

"

- Camilla Tooley (travelled 2018)

Stacey Lethlean's photo from In the wake of Scott and Shakleton

In the wake of Scott and Shakleton

" In the safe hands of expedition leader Rodney and ship captain Dimitri, The Spirit of Enderby took us on a journey of a lifetime. The adventure of crossing the notorious southern ocean, the remarkable history and huts of the 'heroic age' explorers, the mesmerising wildlife encounters, the scenic snow clad mountains of the Antarctic continent, Mount Erebus and the Ross ice shelf. This trip is remote, exciting and quite unlike anything you will experience anywhere else on earth - if you are interested and able my advise is 'Just do it'. "

- Stacey Lethlean

Forgotten Islands - December 2017

" Thank you, Heritage team and Russian Captain and crew - I really loved this trip, every minute. The islands, the birds, the sealions, the megaherbs, the lectures, the people I met - the whole experience occupies a special place in my memory. Thank you also for slideshow, the log and the list of birds. You did a great job - your enthusiasm for the islands and the wildlife was catchy and your care of us was much appreciated.
"

- Jane Battersby

Fabulous Voyage

" What a fabulous trip, absolutely awesome Judd was a brilliant leader as were all expedition staff "

- Pam Holdsworth

Melanesia Discoverer

" Dear Heritage staff,

We would like to thank all the Heritage staff on the Spirit of Enderby for their wonderful work to make our recent Melanesia Discoverer trip such a fantastic journey. Aaron, Helen, Courtney, Dan, Suzanne, Heather and Stefan were always friendly and helpful and made every day an interesting and stress-free adventure. Having their expertise as well as that of Tim Flannery to educate and add depth to our experiences added so much to every day.

We were especially lucky that they helped us through the delay in Port Moresby and also that I was able to share an afternoon with teachers in a school on Nissan Island with Helen. I loved the mix of culture and nature on the itinerary and am very grateful that we had the chance to join this expedition to an area so close to Australia yet so unknown to us.

So heartfelt thanks again to all involved in organising and staffing this trip. We cannot recommend Heritage Expeditions highly enough to our friends.
"

- Karin & Thomas (travelled on Melanesia Discoverer 2017)

Martin R.Cohen (Travelled on North East Passage 2017)'s photo from Northern Sea Route

Northern Sea Route

" The first day on board our ship leaving Murmansk, Russia, our group leader, Rodney Russ told all the passengers we were not on a cruise but rather, on an expedition. That was spot on. Our guides were top notch. With their expert assistance, exploring the unique ecosystems and wildlife of the Siberian Tundra Islands was was a unique life experience. The only disappointment was the realization at the end of the trip that this adventure was finally over. "

- Martin R.Cohen (Travelled on North East Passage 2017)

Inexpressible Island

" I am so sorry it has taken me this long to write to you all and thank you for the most extraordinary experience of my life. I traveled with Samuel, Agnes, Helen, David, Andrew, Connor, Matt and Dr Pat and Leanne of course, to the Ross Sea back in February this year. My husband James and our friends (it was their honeymoon) have not stopped talking about our time on board the Akademik Shokalsky - the pancake ice, sun dog, seals, whales, penguins (Royal, King, Adelie, Yellow-Eye and even Emperor), pack ice, southern lights, katabatic winds, albatross....
Though for me the historic huts were the absolute highlight. (I made Helen and Samuel promise to drag me up the beach to see them even if I was half dead). I can't tell you how I felt standing at Cape Adare, Cape Evans and Cape Royds. It was the fulfillment of a lifetime's ambition. I only wish my father were alive today so I could have the pleasure of telling him about it. He took me to Annascaul far to the west of Ireland when I was a small girl to show me Tom Crean's pub 'The South Pole'. He was fascinated by the Scott and Shackleton stories having grown up in the 1930s when both men were the epitome of heroism. I wish I had paid more attention then, but you never do when you are young. He died many years ago and would have been completely astonished if he had had even a glimmer of a notion back in 1970-something that his little girl would one day stand where those great men once stood.
Probably the most mind blowing thing for me though was being able to get to 'Inexpressible Island' - thank you thank you Samuel and Capt Igor - in a tiny break in the weather. I have a dear friend who went to a very good school during the 1940s. The school principal was none other than Raymond Priestly. She met him many times and describes him as a courteous, kind and very intelligent man. You should have seen her face when I told her that I had actually stood by the slope where his ice-cave had been dug 100 years ago. I can't tell you how thrilled she was to see my photographs.
So the upshot is that I have caught the Antarctic bug good and proper. Do you remember our fellow passenger J.J. , Leanne? She told me that some people catch it and if they do it's incurable. I have it. "

- Kathleen, UK

Siberia's Forgotten Coast

" From the moment we left Avacha Bay and a Tufted Puffin appeared out of the fog, we knew it was going to be a special trip.In those 2 weeks were spectacular views of Steller's Sea Eagle, multiple sightings of Brown Bears (safely from our zodiac!), and amazingly curious walruses. Not forgetting the thousands of seabirds, and seeing Orcas and other whales from the deck.
Rodney runs a tight ship but we all appreciated it out in this remote part of the Pacific.The accommodation was comfortable and the food was excellent. The expedition staff made sure we all had great experiences.
The birdwatchers' icing on the cake was seeing the Spoon-billed Sandpiper at its nesting ground in glorious summer plumage.
The trip far exceeded expectations and we felt very privileged to be able to be part of it. "

- Barbara and David, Perth Aus.

" ...Your combined knowledge and skills was outstanding and inspiring. Don, treading the fine line between people's expectations and providing safe, rewarding experiences must at times be difficult but you did it with ease and we both had so many breathtaking, awe-inspiring experiences in expedition mode.
I had done a bit of reading to prepare for this trip, but your words, from each of you a different angle, brought the knowledge to life and made me love Antarctica more than I thought I would - although Antarctica and the penguins had a hand in that as well. I will certainly honour the pledge I amde at the Mark of the Penguin ceremony - until my last expedition is taken.
This note wouldn't be complete without special mention of the chefs - Robin and Ben. You did an amazing job and the food was exceptional and that is without factoring in the many challenges you would face cooking on the ship - thank you... "

- Kelsey (Australia, travelled 2016)

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