ms expedition

flickr

Expedition 50 Soyuz Launch (NHQ201611180003) by NASA HQ PHOTO
Via Flickr:
The Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome with Expedition 50 crewmembers NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos, and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, (Kazakh time) (Nov 17 Eastern time). Whitson, Novitskiy, and Pesquet will spend approximately six months on the orbital complex. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Well, it’s happening!

I’ve had a great few days relaxing in the Scottish countryside. This evening the staff will board the MS Expedition in Edinburgh. Tomorrow we’ll welcome our first set of 120 guests and set sail through the North Sea to Norway. We’ll spend the next 2 weeks cruising up through the Norwegian fjords, and then through the Norwegian Sea into the Arctic Circle, landing in Svalbard. 

I’m full of nerves and excitement. Overwhelmed, for sure. I have a big role ahead of me as Photographer in Residence and don’t quite know what to expect. But I’m trusting I’m capable, and will do my very best. I can’t wait to meet the rest of the staff, crew and all of our guests. 

Will check in whenever I can! 

Friends! Some exciting news to share. 

I can barely find the words to tell you how thrilled I am that I’ll be spending some time in the Arctic this summer as the Photographer in Residence on board the MS Expedition, the ship that I traveled with to Antarctica (pictured here). 

I haven’t slept in days because I can’t stop thinking about how awesome it’s going to be and how fortunate I am to have the opportunity. 

Can’t wait to get up there and check out those polar bears. And to share it all with you, of course.

So yeah. Life’s been real good to me this week. 

2

Being a part of the kayaking program was my favorite bit of the entire trip. 

There were 14 of us who had signed up before hand and when we chose to, we could opt-out of the larger group landing and go on an adventure with our kayak master Ian. We’d paddle through broken brush ice and navigate in and around icebergs, occasionally getting stuck (I only almost capsized once). One day, we went whale chasing. There were always penguins swimming alongside us and occasionally seals would pop their heads up to say hello. It was quiet and pristine, the water was crystal clear, the air the freshest I’ve ever breathed. 

Absolutely unreal. 

vimeo

I didn’t take much video with my DSLR but I did manage to film a few special moments. I left the audio on because it’s fun to hear the excitement of voices, the snap of cameras and the rumble of the MS Expedition.

1. The rocking seas of a Drake Passage crossing, shot from my window on Deck 3. 

2. Our landing at Danco Island. This was out first time experiencing a Gentoo penguin colony and boy was it windy! 

3. An Antarctic sunset, roughly 10pm. 

4. Cruising through the iceberg-ridden Penola Strait. This was my favorite day. 

5. The location of my only continental landing. This was extra special to experience with my kayaking group. 

6. A gorgeous Humpback whale popping up to say hello. 

This is where I’ll be spending 6 weeks of my summer, at the very top of Google Maps. 

That’s the isle of Svalbard, just east of Greenland. We’ll get there by sailing up the coast of Norway, in and out of the famous Norwegian fjords. Once we hit the Arctic Circle, we’ll cruise by glaciers, searching for polar bears, whales, reindeer. Sea kayaking, drinking glacier-iced whiskey, shooting midnight sunsets. 

I’m excited for just about a billion different things, but most of all for the people I will meet, both guests on board the MS Expedition and fellow staff, who are undoubtedly some of the most interesting, passionate and adventurous nomads you’ll ever come across. 

Can’t wait. Just 2 months to go. 

If you’d like to help me afford a zoom lens so I can shoot those polar bears, here’s a thing that you can do… (Antarctica prints).

Oh and for the past week, “Not now, Arctic puffin!” from ELF is on looped play in my head. I better get the chance to say it iRL.