Life before Swoop
Growing up in New Zealand, my hometown’s connection with Antarctica’s Ross Sea meant that my interest in the polar regions was captured early. After my first trip south to Antarctica in 2010, my thoughts turned north and I was lucky enough to spend a month exploring the wild Russian Arctic, including remote and fascinating Wrangel Island.
My Arctic experience
After exploring Chukotka’s vast tundra, searching for polar bears on pebble beaches, seeing thousands of guillemots and puffins fighting for space on crowded ledges and meeting people generous with warm hospitality in a cold climate, I knew that I needed to return to the Arctic.
I love the feeling of flying into Longyearbyen with Spitsbergen’s epic mountain ranges, incredible glaciers and massive fjords spread out below, knowing that in just a short amount of time I’ll be climbing peaks, cruising past icebergs, scouting for polar bears and seeing spectacular bird cliffs teeming with activity. In Svalbard, the Arctic adventure begins from the moment you set foot on the ship, so it’s a great idea to make sure that your camera is charged and ready to go.
My most recent Arctic trip, exploring Svalbard’s dramatic northwestern coastline in late spring, meant seeing Svalbard as it was thawing from winter. Experiencing the midnight sun was fascinating and provided extra opportunities for wildlife spotting or enjoying the magnificent and varied views. Days were busy hiking and snowshoeing, searching for walrus lazing on ice floes and polar bears on pack ice, but there was always time for ‘Arctic silence’ and truly soaking in the experience and privilege of being in this truly remarkable part of the world.
Why I love polar travel
Being in the Arctic makes me feel both very small and incredibly connected with the earth. The Arctic, to me, offers breathtakingly beautiful scenery on a gigantic scale. A trip to the Arctic means grand vistas, so vast it is impossible to capture in a single frame. It gives me a physical reaction, it can be truly overwhelming and actually does take my breath away.
It is complete silence and utter stillness. It is epic stories of polar adventure and survival, and learning how communities and animals survive in the harshest environments. It’s an Arctic palette of beautiful dusky shades of grey pebbles, steely skies, vivid glacier greens and blues, and peachy hues from the midnight sun.
Day-to-day at Swoop
In September 2018, after ten years of working in the polar industry, I joined Swoop as a Polar Specialist. I am lucky enough to travel regularly, both north and south, to spend time aboard the ships that we work with, and to experience these incredible parts of the world. I love connecting travellers with the best option for them to explore the polar regions, giving them the keys to one of the most incredible places on earth.
We help over 1,500 people a year organise incredible Antarctic, Arctic and Patagonian experiences. Our exclusive focus on this corner of the world means that whatever kind of adventure you're looking for, we can help. We've got the knowledge, relationships and experience to help you plan a trip that matches your dreams, budget and appetite for adventure.