" To travel to the southern ocean and experience the power of the sea and the wilderness, birds, flowers, seals, penguins and landscapes of the subantartic islands was an experience I will never forget. Only 50 passengers is a rarity, and Heritage Expeditions' organisation was brilliant. "
" The Heritage expedition was truly wonderful, and we had a memorable voyage. The expedition leaders kept telling us that we were very lucky with the weather, and we felt lucky to be there. The journey was smooth, and we were able to do great hikes, and go out on the Zodiacs and reach new places, and see all the wildlife we could ever hope to see. All the leaders were kind, cheerful and keen, and worked very hard to make sure we made the most of every moment.
The highlight for us was Macquarie Island, where we were surrounded by all the seal, penguins and other birds, close up, and they were as inquisitive as we were. Our ranger guide was very informative and enthusiastic, and we were even invited in to the base for a cup of tea, and we could see how the Macca researchers lived and worked.
We had a lot of fun with our fellow passengers and the leaders, and became good friends with a lot of people we will probably never meet again!
We would recommend to journey to anyone, as long as they understood that the weather can play a big part in such a trip. "
" We did the two trips back to back, up to Wrangel and down the Kamchatka coast, our second time with Heritage Expeditions.
What struck us the most was the camaraderie of the expedition crew, and their inclusiveness in sharing their knowledge and thought processes with us. We were so lucky to have Helen and Samuel as expedition leaders, they were excellent. As keen birdwatchers we also appreciated the support we were shown to indulge our passion on the second voyage.
We were so lucky with the weather, with the sightings and with our fellow passengers. There were too many highlights to mention and it’s a trip that, for us, rivalled Antarctica for the scenery and beauty. "
" 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/. "
" 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....
" 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'. "
" 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.
" What a fabulous trip, absolutely awesome Judd was a brilliant leader as were all expedition staff "
" 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.
" 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. "