Rob’s Arctic adventure 2009 updates

July 11th, 2009 § 20

For two months I'm working as lecturer and naturalist on an expedition ship heading to Svalbard (bet you don't know where that is), Greenland, Iceland and the Canadian Arctic. I'm blogging, and also carrying a satellite beacon that gives my real time location. So, add us to your favs, sign on for the RSS feed, or follow me on twitter and I'll do my best to take you along for the trip.

LATEST UPDATE:8 September 2009 - Greenland & Canada.
We got to Nuuk, the captial of Greenland. Of course Santa Claus is a tourist thing here, with his 'headquarters' in the tourist office. The national museum was worth the visit. On display are 4 of the famous perfectly preserved Greenland Qilakitsoq Mummies from around 1475AD. Several days later we were to visit Qilakitsoq, the actual burial site, just across from Uummannaq town. Uummannaq is very scenic, and the recent wind had choked the harbour with large icebergs enhanced the view. Lunch was served with a collection of local foods - esp. fin whale meat and much dried fish at the local hotel. Afterwards we hiked over the island for an hour to a back bay where Santa Claus has his summer house. He wasn't in when we arrived , but Christian one of our team (with authentic white beard) was on hand to pass out sweeties! The traditional turf house was furnished with his belongings. And yes Janette (my able bodied Business Manager), I did leave a note for you saying you'd been good.

Ilulissat - now that's a spectacular place in Disko Bay. Jacobshaven Glacier has the highest output of water (ice) in the northern hemisphere. It's calving more ice in one day than New York uses in water in one year apparently. The huge bergs take 2 years to travel down the fiord and out past the town. It is truly impressive, and little wonder why this is the heart of Greenland tourism, and also a UNESCO World Heritage site. It produces very tall bergs as they roll around in the fiord, and these litter Disko Bay and the surrounding Davis Strait. We had 2 days there, seeing a fantastic sunset on departure, humpback whales amongst the bergs and generally just staring in awe from the various hiking tracks at the scale of things.

Next was the Davis Strait passage across to Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. We spotted a hundred or so Pilot whales, but within sight of our first landfall, a tiny lonely piece of ice floated past with 2 polar bears eating a seal, 20NM from land. Welcome to Canada! We called at Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut. Had a look in the Government's Legislative Chamber which was festooned with indigenous icons, art, narwhal tusks and meaning. I enjoyed seeing this, and the strong connection still with nature, the environment and the strengthening culture.

Then across to Lower Savage Islands to drive zodiacs amongst them looking for Polar bears. The first bear literally popped up in rocks about 30 metres from the Zodiac I was driving. Fantastic! Sadly, in Canada, (unlike Svalbard) Polar bears are hunted, have a great fear of humans, and generally high tail it quickly. But, we saw another 11 polar bears before heading to Resolution Island and spotting another two. 13 polar bears in one day and the Aurora borealis (Northern Lights) playing overhead to end with - what a day!!

Then a visit to Lady Franklin and Monumental Islands (both names connected to the famous missing Franklin Expedition in the North West Passage). Had another few polar bear sightings before the largest one I have ever seen decided to lie and/or prance on a rock very close to the coastline with very little concern (wee below right). This was a highlight. A visit to Akpatok Island was curtailed due to high winds, but I spotted a lonely bear walking the cliff top about 800 feet above us.

This morning we called into Hopedale, a tiny mostly Inuit town of 600 in Labrador. A beaut setting and historic place with Moravian church and Mission arriving from Germany in 1782 and being possibly the oldest building in east Canada. The local kids were out in force and we spent the morning giving them joyrides in the zodiacs around the ship. We were the first outside ship to call here this year and the smiles on their faces said it all. The kids certainly made the visit enjoyable for all of us.

Leaving Ilulissat IceFjord, Greenland, at dusk
Leaving Ilulissat IceFjord, Greenland, at dusk!
Very large Polar Bear on Monumental Island, Canadian Arctic
Polar Bear mother and cub on Lady Franklin Island, Canadian Arctic.
Very large Polar Bear on Monumental Island, Canadian Arctic
Polar Bear mother and cub on Lady Franklin Island, Canadian Arctic.
Aurora borealis Northern Lights
Aurora borealis, Northern Lights, Greenland
Humpback whales amongst ice
Humpback whales amongst ice
Iceberg near Uummannaq, Greenland
Iceberg near Uummannaq, Disko
Bay, Greenland
Santa's summer house, Uummannaq, Greenland
Santa's summer house, Uummannaq,
Rob at Ilulissat, Greenland
Rob at Ilulissat, Greenland
Nunavut legislative chamber, Canada
Nunavut legislative chamber, Canada
Long finned Pilot whales at sea
Long finned Pilot whales at sea
Lady Franklin Island, Canadian Arctic
Lady Franklin Island, Canadian Arctic

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22 August 2009 - Iceland and Greenland.
Well, I've now set foot in Iceland and Greenland; two more places I've always wanted to visit.

Had two days in Iceland - into Akureyri and then up to see the Geothermal powerstation and volcanic activity (very like home in NZ), Lake Myvatn, have a soak in hotpools, and generally dodge the millions of midges clouding the air. Beautiful countryside that reminds me much of home. On the way back to Akureyri we called into Godafoss Waterfall (waterfall of the Gods), claiming to be Iceland's finest. Not too bad I think with the dark volcanic rock.

As you can see in the comments below, there is the small matter of 'hakarl' (pronounced 'howcutl'); the fertmented flesh from the Greenlandic Shark. This shark has no true kidneys and secrets the urea or ammonia through it's flesh and skin to act as a form of anti-freeze, which makes it very toxic when it is caught. So, the crazy Icelanders bury it for 6 months, in which time the toxic components are apparently broken down, dig it up and then eat it! Only problem is that it has about the worst smell you could imagine. So bad that apparently Gordon Ramsey, in a challenge with a journo, vomited (check Wikipedia for that one). Anyway, I'm happy to say that I tried several bits, and while having to breathe out while getting it near my face, the taste was marginally better. I can't say I was rapped with the experience, but at least I can tell my grandchildren about it one day if they'll want to listen.

Managed to get a decent coffee in Akureyri before boarding the ship again (seriously missing my Vibiemme super espresso machine and freshly roasted Supreme coffee beans I can tell you). Following day we visited a picturesque little island in the NW of Iceland, called Vigur Island. The same family have lived and farmed here for many generations - farming sheep, hunting puffins, and collecting Eider Duck down feathers to sell for expensive duvets (at over US$1800/kg for the down).

Next we set sail for Greenland - wow, can't believe it. Again we had some top whale viewing, at one point having 7 Fin whales in a raft hang around right next to the ship for an hour.

First up in Greenland we headed into a very remote fiord call Skoldungen and spent sometime ashore. The scenery was fantastic and the nearest inhabitants many miles away, and there are seldom visitors. Then down through Prince Christian Sund, around the southern tip of Greenland. Later in the season now we're starting to get some colour in the sunsets, and the panorama below was a stunner - orange pink light on the mountains and icebergs.

Next day, into Qaqortoq, a small town. Interesting experience. Brightly coloured buildings everywhere, but there's also a sad tale to tell of relocation of Inuit into housing that they are not used to, and the consequential social issues. A story similar to many cultures of course, but this one really is a stone age to the internet age in a generation or two. There are parallels with the situation in New Zealand with Maori. Met a young woman Martingwa (or Martha) who said she was driven to be the first woman leader of her country after independence. She was passionate about her people and country, and had already gone to Denmark to study political science as part of her plan. I wish her well and will watch with interest.

The fish markets here are also very interesting. Many of the fishing boats in the harbours sport harpoon guns. There is small coastal whaling here, and whale meat and blubber is an important part of the local diet; always has been and always will. In the markets it is normal to see seal meat, harbour porpoise skin and steaks and Minke whale blubber, skin and meat. Having spent many years in marine mammal conservation you might think I'd have been horrified? However, if you've been here and seen the culture and the context then it's hard to criticise, except if it's through western eyes, ideology and values. Anyway, that's a whole debate for another time. I'll sign off now and catch you up later. We're heading north into Disko Bay area at the moment. Can't believe I'm in Greenland though!

Southern Greenland at dusk
Southern Greenland, leaving Prince Christian Sound at dusk!
Myvatn hotpools in Iceland
Myvatn Hotpools for a soak, Iceland
Godafoss Waterfall Iceland
Godafoss Waterall, Iceland.
Vigur Island, Iceland
Vigur Island Panorama, Iceland
Fin whale alongside!
More Fin whales alongside the ship!
Qaqortoq town, Greenland
Qaqortoq town, Greenland
Minke Whale in market
Minke whale for sale in market. An important staple food.
12 August 2009 - Svalbard and
Jan Mayen Island (seriously remote Arctic island near Greenland).

We had a night in Tromso, northern Norway to refuel and embark new guests. Great to lie on grass and have a sunset (the first in 3 weeks!). The beer here is unbelievable - NZ$16 for 500ml. I'd be happy if it was exceptional, but alas this was too much to ask for. You'd have to be Dick Turpin for a good long night out here on the town!

Anyway, we were soon heading north again and first stop was Bear Island (Bjornoya), the southern island in the Svalbard Island group. Incredible cliffs towering above with millions of nesting seabirds. We were lucky to strike it shrouded in mist and fog which was a photographers bonus. I truly stunning place and one of my favs.

Next, back up to Svalbard and into Hornsund Fiord, a very dramatic
landscape with high peaks and glaciers. Luckily we spotted a lone polar
bear swimming in the sea and we had a great view once he was out on
shore. We zodiac cruised the fiords and glaciers before the ship pulled
in close to the front of Samarinbreen Glacier which blew a few people

The following day was a visit to the Walrus Colony at Poolepynten at
Prins Karls Forsland. People were very disappointed that there were
none ashore (and only a few in the water). Very strange to find this.
The following day in Longyearbyen we were told by guests from the ship
National Geographic Explorer that they had accidently caused the herd
of walruses to flee the beach earlier when a ship's zodiac boat was
used too close. A real shame for our people to miss the Walrus after
coming so far.

A morning was had in Longyearbyen (capital of Svalbard), before we
set sail for Jan Mayen Island, then Iceland. As predicted, as soon as
we hit the continental shelf we would see marine mammals. We were treated
wonderfully, seeing Minke whales, approx. 300 white beaked dolphins,
2 sperm whales, and perhaps 50 Fin whales all around the ship! Amazing
viewing on glassy calm seas! Some came almost alongside the ship.

Tuesday we managed to get a shore on Jan
Island. So what you might ask, well, only a few hundred people
make it here each year, and the conditions normally make landing an
impossibility. It's also one of the most remote islands on the planet
- planted up between Greenland and Iceland and topped with a 2277m high
active volcano. We were lucky and all got ashore to view the met service
station and facilities above the rugged black lava formed coastline
and jet black sands on a really wild windy day.

Off to Iceland for two days. Will look out for the Hakall (thanks for
the heads up Sonia! And I'll take our advice about the version with
added human derived ammonia). Then off to Greenland - can't wait for

Jan Mayen Island
Mt Beerenberg, Jan Mayen Island
Jan Mayen Island, a serious
remote piece of real estate!
Mount Beerenberg (2277masl
active volcano), Jan Mayen Island, North Atlantic
Jan Mayen Island signpost
They have a sense of humour here!
Jan Mayen Island signposts
They have a sense of humour
here! Jan Mayen roadsign.
Bear Island, Svalbard
Bear Island cliffs, Southern
Svalbard (with recent shipwreck visible)
Hornsund, Svalbard
Ship next to Samarinbreen
Glacier, Hornsund Fiord, Svalbard. Arctic.
White beaked dolphins
White beaked dolphins off
Fin whale alongside!
Fin whales alongside the
4 August 2009 - NordKapp (North Cape), Norway
It's been an interesting week. We managed a circumnavigation of Svalbard, and got up past 80 degrees North. The ice conditions in the North East were changing daily, but we were lucky enough to have an experienced Ice Captain, calm weather and fairly good but heavy ice conditions in Hinelopen Strait. In the end we spent about 20 hours with the ship breaking its way through fairly thick ice, one of the best ice cruising experiences I've ever had,in the Arctic or Antarctic. Of course, with pack ice you get polar bears and we were again blessed with some great viewings!

We called into Bear Island (southern most island in Svalbard) and had a very moody overcast day - the perfect conditions to make this visit unforgettable, with the towering bird cliffs and caves. There's a 170metre long narrow wave eroded tunnel through the cliffs; great fun driving my zodiac through looking at nesting kittewake birds perched precariously in the rooftop. We spotted many White beaked dolphins in the surrounding sea to the south. A few whales seen, but sea fog restricted good viewing unfortunately.

Yesterday we visited Magaroya Island in northern Norway. Home to thousands of Atlantic Puffins, we had an amazing morning amongst large rafts of these characters on the oily calm sea in bright sunlight. Afternoon, the ship repositioned to near Nordkapp (North Cape) and we were put off in Zodiacs near the base to climb 300metres to the Cape. Nordkapp is the northern most part of Europe and a big deal for many (71 degrees North and we were sweating in tee-shirts - Scott Base in comparison is 73 degrees South - big difference in temperature!). Heaps of Reindeer about, and we met a 'traditional' Sami family before returning to the ship to head overnight to Tromso. Had our first sunset in 3 weeks last night - very bizarre. Heading north again to Svalbard tomorrow.

Polar Bear climbing onto ice
Polar Bear climbing onto ice
Ice cruising
Ice cruising in heavy ice cover
Fully laden Puffin!
Fully laden Puffin!
30 July 2009 - North Eastern Svalbard
Mid way through your second trip around Svalbard. Weather has been variable,
but we've seen some great sights. Arctic Fox, Polar Bear & Beluga
whales all in one location - can't beat that! A recent highlight would
be landing on Fuglesangen (birdsong) Island in the North of Svalbard.
Thousands of Little Auk birds nesting amongst the rocks. We were able
to get close to the colony, with thousands of these creatures coming
and going all around us.

Another highlight has been the visit to a male Walrus haulout at Poolepynten.
About 25 Walruses lying around on a sandy beach. It's hard to get sick
of seeing such iconic symbols of the Arctic. Walruses have the largest
baculum (Penis bones) in the world (up to 60cm in length). One gentleman
here thought this was rather unfair until I suggested it might be rather
hard to carry on the survival of the species in such frigid waters without

Had dinner onboard last night with members of the Prince Albert II
Foundation Board (The Prince's environmental organisation), from Monaco.
Great to talk about marine environmental issues, and of course the All
Blacks. Surprising how there are such passionate supporters in the most
unlikely countries. Others were Consular staff from the Monaco Embassy
in New York. After dinner we ran a special zodiac cruise to find a mother
Polar Bear and cub we knew were in the area. Fantastic viewing followed
check the shot right).

We're now about to attempt navigation of the Hinlopen Strait between
Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet Island. Current ice charts indicate we
may have 30-40 hours of pushing ice to get through enroute down to Bear
Island and then Tromso, Norway. Pack ice s where we're most likely to
spot seals and polar bears out hunting, so all eyes on deck.

Little Auks coming into land at colony
Little Auks coming into land
at colony
Walrus looking very tired
Polar bear mother and cub
Polar Bear mother and cub
23 July 2009 - North Western Svalbard
Met my first Bearded Seal. The photo of which you'd have to say looks
surprisingly like Mark Sainsbury of NZ TV One news wouldn't you say!

Next, ashore at St Jonsfjord in the south west for a short hike near glaciers. Caught up with a couple of reindeer in the tundra. How can an animal grow so much antler in such a harsh environment! Obviously some powerful selection pressures here.
Then we shot up the west coast of the islands to make 80 degrees north - only 600 miles of frozen sea lay between us and the North Pole. While in the pack ice we got our first walrus encounter - one of the world's more interesting and amazing creatures that's for sure!
Then around into the NW Spitsbergen National Park for an amazing afternoon
zodiac crusing in front of the giant Monacobreen Glacier (see photo),
before heading south where we spotted a Minke Whale, and then the highlight
of the day - a mother Polar Bear and cub!

St Jonsfjord
Monacobreen Glacier pano
Polar bear
Polar Bear
Bearded 'Mark Sainsbury'
Seal. Which is better looking?
Reindeer growing antlers
at St Jonsfjord
Walruses on pack ice at 80
degrees North
18 July 2009 - Eastern Svalbard, Edgeoya Island
Interesting couple of days. Group got a ashore at Russebukta - a nice
tundra site used by Pomor hunters in the 16th century (apparently) - had
been ashore for an hour when a polar bear was spotted several hundred
metres away. Too close for comfort the landing was closed and we got the
group of 50 off land and back on board asap. Not something to take lightly.
Next day, we got ashore at Diskobukta, a deep eroded canyon filled with
thousands of nesting Kittiwakes. A great spectacle. Photo included.
Later in the afternoon the ship steamed up to Kapp Lee hoping to find
Walruses on the beach. Alas there was no one home. Unfortunately, one
of the crew here had a medical emergency and an airlift was called. One
hour later a very large helicopter appeared to winch them off the ship
before taking htem back to Norway for treatment.
While the ship cruised off we spotted a distant polar bear. The ship was
taken in and zodiacs dropped. Fantastic experience driving a boat load
up to see our first Polar Bear at relatively close range. Magical experience.
Diskobukta canyon with nesting Kittiwakes.
Polar bear near Edgeoya Island, Svalbard.
16 July 2009 - Southern Svalbard, (first polar bear)
Well, landed in Longyearbeyn at 79 degrees North. Surreal, to land in a Boeing 737 at midnight in short sleeves! Scott Base in Antarctica isn't close to being this close to a pole. Even had hardly locals out windsurfing on the harbour next morning. After a few hours sleep, it was straight onto Prince Albert II ship by zodiac.
We embarked guests in afternoon and set off for a fiord south of here. Called in after dinner to an incredible time warp. Barentsburg - a huge rustic Russian coal mining town in the middle of nowhere. Incredible - like stepping back in time to a staunch soviet era institution - with huge peoples artwork over the massive, mostly derelict, buildings, with a big coal fired power station spewing black smoke into the pristne arctic air.
Bumsebu, SvalbardBumsebu, Svalbard. Large piles of beluga whale bones and historic hut.
We steamed overnight south into Bell Sund where we took the guests ashore at Bumsebu, an old trapper's camp, piled high with hundreds of old sun bleached Beluga whale bones. Polar bears had been reported in the area so extreme risk management is required to get everyone ashore
and watched over safely. Bears are almost impossible to see if they approach by sea, and are deceptively fast overland. We had two armed 'bear guides' posted at the perimeter zone, one zodiac partroling, and all expedition staff on constant lookout (carrying flare pistols). One polar bear seen on distant island, while we all saw our first polar bear at the foot of a glacier, not a close view, but plenty of time for that to come. Exciting stuff. Satellite internet connection very unreliable due to our extreme northerly latitude. Will try to update when transmission allows. All the best.
13 July 2009 - Olso, Norway (enroute to Svalbard tonight) It has been somewhat of an epic trip so far...Wellington to Auckland (where they showed the new viral safety video on Air NZ, to much amusement. Make sure you check it out on You Tube (nothing to hide
video). Auckland to LAX where of course all transit pax get taken off for fingerprinting (all 10 digits) and your photo taken, then back on your way. Really makes you feel like a criminal. The 'Land of the Free' doesn't feel so free somehow. Anyway, Barbara, the sweet old lady at the Koru Club desk kindly let a tired Kiwi boy in for a brew and laptop recharge.She had previously been in NY AirNZ Sales and had probably unwittingly fingered a few of my photos for marketng campaigns before. Nice lady. Sat next to Marty Jones the Los Angeles Rugby team coach..from Napier many moons back. Then through to Heathrow, a made rush to make th SAS connection to Olso and here I am. Next Svalbard, where the ship's agent drops me ina Hotel at midnight, then onboard Prince Albert II ship in the morning. More later when I get the fleas of a thousand camels off me and deal to some jetlag...
10 July 2009 - departure from NZ Well, snow boots, camera and polar suit packed - it's almost time to leave.
A 23,000km journey to get to Svalbard, max jetlag, and opposite seasons, so that alone might be worth a medal? Looking forward to it though. See
you on the other side!My Business Manager Janette thinks the real reason I'm heading up is to see Santa. I might try to fit that in. If you've
after a good word yourself, just add your wishes in the comments below
and I'll see what I can swing. It would help to have advice on whether
you've been good of course...

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§ 20 Responses to “Rob’s Arctic adventure 2009 updates”

  • Rob Templer says:

    Just had a look at your Fantastic Wapiti type Fiordland deer on the hunting and fishing website.
    Can I ask Rob do you have to make any special considerations regarding your camera batteries working in such cold temperatures where you are.


    Rob Templer

  • Rob says:

    Hi Rob
    I’ve done 12 trips to the Antarctic now with digital, film, 35mm and medium format cameras, and I’ve yet to have a problem with batteries. Yes, the cold does reduce their life a bit, but I’ve not had them (or cameras) cease to function. If I’ve had batteries run out in the cold I just put them under my armpit (fast option), or slip them inside my jacket (slower option) and I can guarantee you’ll get another 15-20% from them no probs.

    I did however do an aerial job a couple of years back where I had to film first light on the Kaikoura Ranges. We had a Cessna 206 at 10,000ft in winter pre-dawn waiting for the sun to pop over the horizon, while flying at 100 odd knots, while I sat strapped next to the large hole where the door would normally be. Click here for a look. One of my cameras threw a wobbly and refused to do anything – other two fine.
    We estimated the temperature at probably -50 celsius with altitude and wind chill. I could only have a glove off for about 15 seconds before my hand was useless. Another great adventure.

  • Sierra says:

    Your polar bear looks fat and happy, and all the better at a safe distance from the boat. Hope the airlifted crew member is okay. Give us an update when you know something about the treatment or the outcome. All the best.

  • Michelle says:

    Walrus’ – now I’m really jealous!! It seems I totally had my fables mixed up – it’s Alice in Wonderland – the Walrus & the Carpenter… look out for oysters.. and carpenters for that matter;-)

  • Rob says:

    Yes walrus, what a buzz! Such an icon, and to have them rolling around in the surf scratching themselves right near us was a great sight. Had to make a hurried exit from out landin gon Edgeoya Island, Svalbard, today when a Polar Bear suddenly appeared. Great to be humbled by such an creature. Cheers, Rob

  • Rob says:

    Yes, great see healthy bears at this time of year (of course they all should be really, but….). Polar bears trapped on land at this time of year can be very hungry and therefore more of a threat which we take very seriously. Sounds like you’ve had a bit of experience yourself? Cheers, Rob

  • Sierra says:

    No real experience with polar bears, per se – just thought about it quite a bit. I was in Iceland last summer and I remember they killed two polar bears that had found their way to their island. It was a rare thing for the Icelanders to have the bears that far south, and the first time in 15 years! Two bears remained on the loose in the sparsely populated countryside – and as I traveled around the island, definitely thought about the way to approach “bear control” should I need to be prepared for it. Sounds like your team is doing the same. Stay safe and happy spotting, all of you!

  • Júlía says:

    Here’s more on kæstur hákarl (fermented shark):ákarl

    It’s a must-try while in Iceland. You can also sample Minke, if you’re so inclined.

  • Rob says:

    Thanks Julia. I’m definiately keen to try it out! We’re into Akureyri on 13th Aug, then up to Godafoss, Lake Myvatn, Skutustadir, Dimmuborgir, a spot of hot pool bathing, Krafia, Reykjahlid, back to Akureyri. Then Vigur Island on the 14th. Do you live in Iceland by any chance? Regards Rob

  • Rob says:

    Hi Julia
    I’m happy to report that I tried Hakarl! As the famous ‘Kenny’ would say, ‘the smell would outlast religion’….it was truly terrible. But I’m happy to report that the taste was something that I think one could grow to like! Interesting experience. Thanks for the interest. Rob

  • Daniel says:

    Hi Rob. Following your comments very interested .I´m Still laughing about that story of the “deli” fish you tried in Iceland. You know, every year I like to make homemade canned white tuna, and that made me remind, when months later, I open one of those without the proper vacuum…goosssh can´t imagine trying that… you´re a brave man folk!
    About your amazing trip, I wonder about that amazing and natural blue palette, a delight for the eye and the spirit…

    Keep on going and telling your adventures

    Big hug from basque country


  • Rob says:

    Hi Mate
    Been a while since we passed in Panaji, Goa, India – must have been this time last year. Yes,the Hakarl was not like the beautiful fish caldinha we shared in Viva la Panjim at Linda D’Souza’s place. Hope your travels are going well and we see you in NZ sometime. Kind regards, Rob

  • Kitty says:

    Hi Rob,
    I’m back in the “normal” world now, I had a real ship-lag this week.
    It was a wunderful holliday on board of the PAII, thanks for your photo tips!
    I hope you will see a lot of beautiful places during your remaining trip.

  • Rob says:

    Hi Kitty
    It hasn’t been the same since you left, and we haven’t laughed so much I think. The weather has been a bit average also – first blue sky day today for a while.

  • Janette says:

    Thanks Boss for leaving the note to Santa telling him I had been good! Will look forward to seeing what he brings me on Christmas Day:)

  • Rob says:

    I had to lie a little bit you know…Get the Vibiemme warmed up…
    Cheers, Rob

  • Thomas says:

    Hi Rob,
    Amazing pictures would of been nice to see a fellow Kiwi in Woody Point sorry i missed you. Hope your trip is going great and the Newfoundlanders are treating you well

  • Roger Stokes says:

    You must be in the winding up stages now Rob; it’s been good to read your reports and see your pictures. Something you’ll remember for a long time!
    (You may be pleased to hear the NZ National Govt has just agreed a carbon tax to try to save some of the ice for your next trip).

  • Rob says:

    Hi Thomas. Yeah, I was sitting there in Woody Point, NewFoundland talking to a local and they said they’d just imported a Kiwi boy for potential breeding purposes. Couldn’t resist dropping you a note. Kia ora mate. Rob

  • Rob says:

    Hi Roger. Thanks for the update on that. Heading home over the next week. Looking forward to getting back into the hills. Saw my first forest in two weeks only a few days ago. Miss the greenery up here! Cheers, Rob

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