Faithful readers, you may remember our trip to Antarctica. An amazing experience.
Our first view of Antarctica (above) was from the deck of our ship and took our breath away.
Our first view of the Arctic circle was from the airport and produced a rather different reaction.
The mental picture I had created for the Arctic Cirle was nothing like this. Even the sight of our cruiseship in the middle of the bay did nothing to alleviate the shock of what lay before us. It’s sleek and stylish lines had been dulled by the scenery.
But an hour later, with a welcoming glass of champagne in our hands, things were beginning to look up.
The Fabulosity meter which just a little earlier, was refusing to step off the plane was now singing along contentedly, as we sidled up to the bar ………………..
………………….Took a look at the restaurants…………………….
………………….and settled into our cabin……………..
We were feeling so much better as we explored the decks, hoping for a look at the helicopters and the submarine. But all we could find was this …………..
A helicopter pad, but no helicopter. Somewhere in the back of my mind a tiny alarm bell was ringing gently. Why would that be?
As we wandered round, meeting some of our fellow guests there was a rising murmur of discontent.
Everyone was asking the same questions. Where was the helicopter? Where was the submarine? Finally I approached one of the Expedition crew. He was Australian. Perhaps not the best person to ask, but I spoke slowly and clearly. I explained that I was really excited about taking the submarine and helicopter trips and where could I sign up for them. He leaned on his surf board (not really), gave me his most reassuring smile, all tanned skin, white teeth like a shark and blond hair like a bimbo and answered
“We will be talking to everyone about that at 6pm this evening”
I was not reassured.
An Australian being both tactful and discreet at the same time. Who knew they were capable of either? But at the same time – it was definitely time to worry.
By the time 6pm came, the nabobs were nattering restlessly. We were asked to assemble in the theatre.
A spectacular setting. Huge leather armchairs that swivelled. Drink holders in the armrests and foot rests that adjusted at the press of a button. All designed to lull us into a false sense of security.
At 6pm on the dot a rather distinguished looking gentleman took to centre stage. He wore a blue striped shirt with a white collar, khaki pants and a winning smile. He opened his mouth and the truth came tumbling out all dressed up with a lot of charm and a bloody Australian accent. Damn, we are surrounded by them.
He explained that there were rules and laws that had to be followed for the preservation of the pristine wilderness that was the Arctic Circle. We had already seen the pristine wilderness and it looked more like a slag heap on a long deserted coal mine. The laws, he continued, specifically precluded the use of helicopters. submarines and drones. He threw drones into the mix in a clear effort to misdirect. It didn’t work. No one cared one whit about drones. We cared about submarines and helicopters. He couldn’t understand how we had all failed to receive the email sent out weeks ago explaining all this. There was a collective moan from the audience. So then he resorted to the only possible excuse, that well used 21st century get out of jail free card
“It must have been a computer glitch”
The crowd leapt to its feet in anger, or would have if we weren’t all well past the age of leaping anywhere. It took us minutes to heave ourselves out of those comfortable chairs, and voice our complaints. But our meaning was clear.