Last day on the ship and it is heaving and so are my insides. We are off to Monumental Island. It is a crazy gangway and the staff’s skill and safety comes shining through. We take our time. Two staff to a Zodiac to help with loading. The ride to Monumental Island is filled with the huge sways that are rocking the ship but it feels fun and adventurous on the Zodiacs. After boating and jet skiing all summer long on a Great Lake, I am amazed at how stable and safe the Zodiacs are. We are in the worst seas of the trip and I am not even hanging on to the rope.
The ride over is rewarded with four Polar Bear sightings. First a mother and her cub, then a bear climbing up against a dark rocky mountain so that is was perfectly outlined and finally another sleepy fellow who continued to climb as well. This doesn’t get old and we are pumped up as we return to the ship.
This afternoon it is time to settle accounts and pack our bags. The staff is leaving the ship as well, leaving only Eva our cracker jack hotel manager and the galley crew to finish packing up the ship on it’s journey down to Halifax. Once it arrives it will return to its roots as a research vessel. One Ocean Expeditions will rejoin the Ioffe in November down in Argentina to start the Antarctic season.
We dress up as much as can for the Captain’s Dinner and applaud all the hard work of the staff and resource lecturers and finally head down to the presentation room for our last organized event of the trip – a “best of” photo slideshow contributed to by all the passengers. It was a great way to finish off the trip and better yet everyone left with the slideshow on a thumb drive to enjoy at home.
The Arctic has found it’s way into my bones in a very personal way and reliving the moments during the slideshow made me thoughtful and emotional. It just reminds me why I enjoy working in travel so much. I truly believe it is transformative for people - whether it was visiting the Inuit communities, listening to the impassioned words of Peter Irniq, basking in the glow of a magnificent Arctic sunset, or just being surrounded by the silence. Canada is a huge and vast country and being an explorer following in the footsteps of some pretty famous ones was a real treasure.
One last Arctic sunset for us all…