Entries by Sue Grimwood

Peru Lima: What a difference 23 years makes

The first time I visited Lima I arrived aboard an old overland truck with a group of other back packers who had spent the past four months exploring Patagonia and the salt flats of Bolivia before trekking the Inca trail. Lima to us seemed like a huge a sophisticated city. We stayed in a hostel […]

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Peruvian Amazon: 150 shades of green

I am often asked if it is a bit monotone in the polar regions. I don’t think it is, there are so many hues of blue with the colours of the rocks but I do concede there is very little green, unless you count the sea. In the last four months I have found myself […]

clouds as sunset

Howlers in the Morning

When at home I hit the snooze button and crawl out of bed reluctantly, thinking of every excuse to stay in bed for an extra minute or two. Yet, when on my travels, a switch seems to flick, and I am up at the crack of dawn with a spring in my step. I chose […]

Aurora Andoy Friluftssenter

Auroras, Moose and Whales of Vesteralen

With just three long nights and three short days I wasn’t expecting to see much of the Vesteralen Island in northern Norway, but I was very much mistaken. A flight via Oslo found me arriving in Harstad/Narvik Airport, Evenes at 17:30. It was dark on arrival and I knew I had a two and half […]

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Grounded in Greenland – Exploring Tasiilaq

I have always been a firm believer that the best travel experiences start when something goes wrong. So when Air Greenland delayed my flight out of Kulusuk for two days, I relished having the additional time in Tasiilaq so I could explore further this remote region of East Greenland. Tasiilaq Getting to Tasiilaq from Kulusuk […]

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Arctic Animals – The Big 5

The Arctic covers vast tracts of wilderness and is full of interesting wildlife. Here we share our favourite ‘big five’ animals of the Arctic. Sue Grimwood, our Arctic expert has put together the biggest and the best but there are so many to choose from you could make up your own list. Polar Bears The […]

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The great bear bait debate

At home I put out a range of seeds and fat balls to encourage the birds. We have bowls of hedgehog snacks and water. My husband’s office even keep their leftovers from meetings for our ‘fox box’ and any bones are kept to be taken to the bottom of the garden. I have snake and […]

, Bob yawning at sunset

Getting to know Bob

You know you are heading to the remote north when snow comes in through the airplane vents. We were skimming along the coast north of Churchill in a de Havilland DHC-3 Otter heading towards Seal River and by the time we bounced along the dirt runway I had a fine white coating. This remote upgraded […]

Tango Street Dancer, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Dining out in Argentina – Meat and Two Veg

Now I have travelled in Argentina several times so should have known better but on my recent trip I made the mistake of ordering steak. Argentina is renowned for its steak so this is a great idea but please do remember they like big portions and vegetables are a side dish. The steak that arrived […]

, Albatross flying over Saunders Island

Antarctica at the start of the season?

Don’t discount a visit the polar regions outside of the peak months of January and February. The shoulder months of October and early November offer a different experience and there are often excellent deals to be had. In the Falkland Island it will be spring with flowers in bloom, the vibrant yellow gorse and manicured cottage gardens of […]

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Ice, ice everywhere but not a bear in site

In September I headed deep into the Arctic ice pack off the coast of Spitsbergen aboard the sturdy M/V Plancius in search of polar bears. Originally built in 1976 as the MS Tyeman for oceanographic research. She has been refurbished and reconditioned to become a comfortable expedition vessel, now plying her trade in both Arctic […]

Penguin-Antarctica

Steppes Beyond |What Can An Antarctica Cruise Offer?

True expertise in the Antarctic is defined by being able to draw a comparison between the many different ships offering Antarctic cruise holidays. Most are expeditionary while others are more luxurious. In addition you should consider the proficiency and number of guides, as well as the number of zodiacs. Our polar specialist Sue has travelled […]

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A Close Encounter With Bob

Do you know that a polar bears tongue is blue/black? I do, because I just looked into a polar bears throat, just a foot from my head. You know as a child at the zoo you have that desire to poke your face up against the wire and do everything your parents tell you not […]

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Whale watching in the Azores

I defy anyone who says they didn’t enjoy whale watching, with the possible exception of those who had a big breakfast and are having more than their hearts & mind uplifted by the experience. If you look and listen to any zodiac full of people who are in the presence of one of the great […]

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Last days in Antarctica

*Day 18* Alex called another early start with a 5am call for a 5.30 landing, he certainly is keen to make the most of our time in Antarctica, having bartered a 3pm must depart by the Captain. Neko harbour I remember as one of my favourite places from my previous trip, we had beautiful blue […]

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Enterprise and Cuverville Islands

*Day 17* – we were allowed a lie in this morning and didn’t head out into the wind until after breakfast. We are now on the Antarctic Peninsula and our first excursion was a zodiac cruise around Enterprise Island in Wilhelmina Bay in hope of seeing the wreck of the Guvernoren. The ice charts for […]

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On to Elephant Island

*Days 13 – 15* our two and a half days at sea were not as bad as anticipated, the seas were very rough when we first left South Georgia but were much calmer as we headed closer to the South Shetland Islands. The hours of staring out to sea paid off with me seeing a […]

Reaching Antarctica

*Day 16* – “Here comes the sun doo it n doo doo” Good morning; Alex woke us up gently with a song at 5 am for our first landing of the day on Barrientos Island, one of the Aitcho Island group in English Channel. It was a beautiful still crisp morning as we loaded into […]

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Final Days in South Georgia

*Day 12* – Gold Harbour bathed in golden light, those who got up at 4am were rewarded with a spectacular sunrise across the mountain and glaciers of this stunning harbour. The seas were calm and surf not too big which was good as most of us were still half asleep. The beach was strewn with […]

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Discovering South Georgia

*Day 10* – an early start with a 5am alarm call for a pre breakfast landing at Fortuna Bay, a wet and windy landing with our first sighting of the reindeer that were introduce by the Norwegian whalers which have adapted to the reverse season of their native Arctic. They have decided to irradiate them […]

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Arriving at South Georgia

*Day 8* – this whole venture started 12 months ago when I met John McKeon of Polar Latitudes, he then sent Alex (my boss) and e-mail saying “you must send Sue to South Georgia, it will blow her mind”. John was not wrong. Having sighted the Shag Rocks yesterday today we got to South Georgia […]

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Polar Bears in the Canadian Arctic

Churchill is a tiny town along the Hudson Bay, remote and inaccessible by car since no road has ever been built. This remoteness is not to everybody’s liking and it takes a strong mind and an adventurous spirit to decide a move to Churchill is a good idea. That’s probably why polar bears outnumber humans […]

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Visiting Stanley

*Day five* – we spent the morning in Stanley on the Falkland Islands, a bizarre mix of Victorian cottages with a New Zealand village feel and quintessentially English flower gardens ablaze with bright daffodils. There were two excursions on offer, a guided history walk with Jim that took in the many monuments along the waterfront […]

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South Georgia Calling

10 years ago, much to my parent’s horror, I sold my house and downsized so I could afford a trip to Antarctica, a move we all soon realised was an excellent decision. I fell in love with this vast continent, it huge vistas, kayaking through ice filled bays, watching glaciers calve huge chunks of ice […]

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Photos from happy clients

One of the most rewarding parts of working in travel is getting great feedback from clients and better still when we get to see their photos. Regular clients of Steppes, Mr & Mrs Bain, have recently returned from a whale watching voyage to Baja California and sent me the above stunning photograph. Don’t you just […]

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Wildlife of the Northwest Passage

While the history of the 300 year search for the Northwest Passage which links the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, is well documented, travellers in search of a polar adventure may be less aware of the huge variety and numbers of wildlife to be enjoyed during a voyage through the Canadian High Arctic. According to Aaron […]

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21 Blue Whales in under 2 weeks!

For those who are considering Baja California for Whale watching then you want to read the updates sent to us by the Captain of the Searcher from this February’s departure. The sightings just get better and better as the days went by: “Today was another great day! We watched several humpback whales seeing all their […]

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Paul Gauguin exhibition

To all those Paul Gauguin fans out there, a new exhibition of his work is opening in Seattle from the 9th of February to the 29th of April 2012. The exhibition showcases a large number of his works alongside a collection of Polynesian Artefacts which were such an influence on his work. The end of […]

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Wild and the Boss to be reunited again

As I am sure anyone with a passing interest in Antarctica knows, Sir Ernest Shackleton died while aboard the Quest in Grytviken Harbour, South Georgia. He was buried there and his grave has become a place of pilgrimage to many passengers on the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula voyages. Frank Wild was Shackleton’s […]

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Wrangelling polar bears in the Russian Arctic

Wrangel Island features on very few map & its neighbour Herald island fewer still. Each summer as the Arctic ice retracts a chunk of ice gets hooked on pregnant mothers an ideal location to den. The ice eventually disappears leaving the bears stranded on the islands for the short summer living off their fat reserves […]

Frozen Planet

As the nights draw in with a chill in the air why not snuggle up on the sofa with the new BBC series frozen planet. They have gone and done it again, hours of patience and an attention to every detail another astounding series documenting life in the polar regions. From comical penguins nicking stones […]

Polar Bears from the inside out

For anyone with the vaguest interest in Polar Bears then don’t miss the up- coming Thursday nights Inside Nature’s Giants at 9pm on Channel 4. The scientists collect blood and fresh tissue samples and collaborate with local people, who are permitted to hunt a small quota of bears. The hunting is strictly controlled, using traditional […]

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The call of the North

Whenever you mention you work in travel the immediate response is “I bet you get to go on lots of cheap beach holidays.” So while the UK had a mini heat wave, I decided to head north to a “beach hotel” on Hudson Bay in the small Inuit community of Arviat. Not your average beach […]

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Hunting the lost Beagle

One of the world’s leading marine archaeologists, Robert Prescott of St Andrews University, has discovered what he believes to be the final resting place of the HMS Beagle. His research using geophysical techniques with ground-penetrating radar has located the remains near Potton in Essex on the River Roach. This is known to be where the […]

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Close Encounters

I have been lucky enough to have had many close encounters with wildlife getting within a few feet of many great predators including both tigers & lions but nothing quite prepared me for my recent polar bear encounter in Spitsbergen. I have heard it said many times that polar bears are the only animal that […]

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Amazon in style

All the 5* comforts you wouldn’t usually expect in the heart of the jungle I am sure most passengers thinking of travelling deep into the Amazon are expecting the voyages to be a little “rough around the edges” – well think again. We are now offering 3 vessels that will take you into the Pacaya Samiria Reserve located […]

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Taking the Polar Plunge

As a regular morning swimmer the opportunity to take a dip in the Arctic above 79°off the coast of Spitsbergen was too good to be true. What I was hoping for was an elegant entrance, a quick lap, jovial “come in the waters lovely” and an exit like a bond girl. What I achieved was […]

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Polar Cruise to Spitsbergen

“Bear sighting, 600 yards to starboard’ It was one of those moments that instantly becomes permanently etched on one’s memory” We were only two days into our Spitsbergen Cruise aggressively shouldering our way through thick pack ice only 600 odd miles from The North Pole, when the ship’s tannoy crackled into life: ‘Bear sighting, 600 […]

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Amazon Adventurer

The Amazon conjures up images of huge rivers, amazing rainforest, weird animals & brightly coloured birds, it certainly doesn’t disappoint. I have recently returned from a 7 night voyage along the Rio Negro which flows into the Amazon at Manaus, our starting point. Manaus is a big city in the heart of the forest and […]

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Ice Patrol in Antarctica

I have just finished watching the first in the Channel 5 series Ice Patrol which follows the crew of HMS Endurance who work in conjunction with British Antarctic Survey covering all the regions around the peninsula & it gave me a hankering to re-visit the great white continent. I was lucky enough to spend 13 […]