The Marco Polo departed Rosyth on the evening of 12th July for Greenland making its way via the Faroe Isles and Iceland. My husband John was one of the Guest Speakers aboard and the following are a selection of some of the many photos we took. Greenland is such an amazing place we just wanted to share them with you. John presented his talks on photographing the delightful people and places we would be visiting. He used images we took on our brief visit to the world’s largest island in 2015. The previous cruise had been to mark the Marco Polo’s 50th Anniversary. Originally, she was the Alexandra Pushkin and operated from Leningrad (St Petersburg) to Montreal calling at London Tilbury.
As we approached the coast of Greenland we ran into fog and were advised by the Captain that we would not be able to enter our first port of call, Tasiilaq, as it was still icebound. Our ship had an ice strengthened hull and was designed to be able to operate in these waters so we were on the right vessel. This was especially reassuring as we sailed among many Icebergs, some very large icebergs on several occasions. As we left our next port, Qaqortoq, the sun started to shine and never stopped until we came back from the Arctic. It was a unique experience to have 24-hour days but being in such a cold climate walking around at times in a thin blouse with a cardigan seemed unreal.
We both enjoy our photography so this was just paradise. John’s portfolio concentrates on ‘people’ whilst mine is ‘wildlife’. We do try our best at other subjects, landscapes, seascapes and architecture. Some days we were unable to put the camera down as we sailed up the west coast of Greenland as far as Disko Bay where a wide range of sea creatures used the harbour as their playground.
A photographer’s delight is light and the light here was both amazing and difficult. It threw up challenges that had John admitting he was on a big learning curve. Never before had he travelled so far north of the Arctic Circle during the summer months.
The people of Greenland seemed very happy to be photographed. The family in Traditional Costume were not posing for the tourists, they had just had their second child christened at the Lutheran Church and were being photographed by family and friends. John in his usual way asked if he could take a photo and they all moved to one side to let him have centre stage. Just one of the many insights we gained into these lovely people of this magical land. I think that the photo of the family christening is John’s favourite of the cruise whilst mine must be one of the many photos I captured of whales. Perhaps my best being the whale’s blow as it surfaced just a short distance from the ship.
John’s final session was a show of all the entries submitted by the Guests into the Projected Images Competition which he organised. This was judged by the Cruise Director, Jonathan and Shore Excursions Manager, Susan. The winners were presented with a large print of their successful entry.
CMV provide a range of speakers for their ‘Enrichment’ programme. The other two speakers were Peter Holden MBE and Elizabeth Cassell. Peter presented lectures on birds and other wildlife that we would encounter on our journey. He founded the Junior Section of the RSPB in 1975. During his time with the RSPB Peter Holden has inspired more than one million children. You may know him from his TV appearances on Blue Peter and Springwatch. Elizabeth is a specialist in the Inuit culture so her talks gave a much more informed experience by helping us to understand their way of life and beliefs. She also presented the history of not only the Inuit but also the Vikings and the Danish influence on today’s society. Perhaps I should also say a few words about John. He is an active member of The Royal Photographic Society as Vice-Chair of the RPS Travel Group and Editor of the group’s journal ‘Travel Log’.
Cruise & Maritime Voyages have two cruises in 2018 that will once again take Marco Polo north of the Arctic Circle. She will be sailing from Hull on 28th July for the Arctic & Greenland Expedition Voyage followed by a cruise to the North Cape, White Sea & Murmansk departing 19th August from Tilbury.
The Marco Polo has a very loyal following and is indeed my favourite as she is, to me, the happiest ship on the seas.