[Guest Post by Mohan Banerji in the Arctic] We jetted off from Gatwick Airport for Tromso, the ‘Gateway to the Arctic’ on board Germania Airlines. This was the start of our six-day holiday, set completely within the Arctic Circle for the best chance to catch the Northern Lights. The Arctic. In the winter! It would be frrrr-ee-zzzing cold. Were we mad? No, but we were well prepared. In the weeks leading up to our departure, we had researched and bought all the essentials (or so we thought) for the trip … boots, jackets, thermals, gloves, scarves … we had it all.
After a short flight we arrived in Tromso to find it covered in white snow. A magical winter wonderland, albeit a bit slippery underfoot. Before long, we were at the dock and we got the first glimpse of our home for the next four days – Hurtigruten’s the MS Nordkapp.
On a cruise within the Arctic Circle, there was very little chance of finding anyone applying sun cream for a dip in the pool or dancing a conga outdoors. This is not to say that there was nothing to do. Each day, you could choose from: tastings of local specialities, exciting excursions like snowmobiling, and dog sledging, or if you preferred, just relaxing and enjoying the view of the ever-changing scenery; or listening to talks on fishing traditions, polar history, flora and fauna, glaciology, and even on polar bears (or the lack of them). Thanks to climate change, there is no permanent ice in the area anymore. No permanent ice, no seals. No seals, no polar bears. Simple!