Life before Swoop
Growing up in New Zealand, I always had an interest in learning what lay geographically further south. Christchurch, New Zealand is my hometown and one of five ‘Gateways to Antarctica’. Its connection with Antarctica spans over a hundred years; thousands of people turned out to farewell Scott’s 1901 Discovery expedition, Shackleton visited numerous times as he was preparing to go south and Amundsen gave a public lecture in December 1912 to the people of Christchurch after he returned from the South Pole. These days Christchurch plays host to American and Kiwi researchers and staff heading south to McMurdo and Scott Base, so our ties to Antarctica are still very strong.
Growing up in a family that was always keen to explore the outdoors opened my eyes to New Zealand’s unique birdlife. The Subantarctic Islands south of New Zealand are known as the Albatross Isles and play host to thousands of seabirds. I was lucky enough to visit these UNESCO World Heritage Sites for the first time in 2010, and the gigantic colourful mega-herbs, epic birdlife and rugged scenery blew me away.
My Antarctic experience
My most memorable experiences include being one of the very few to stand where time has stood still, in the early explorers’ Antarctic huts on Ross Island; the breathtaking experience of sitting quietly in the bright sun on the ship’s bow cruising through an iceberg graveyard as penguins bobbed on ice floes; hundreds of Minke whales and Orca surrounding the ship while the Transantarctic Mountains glistened in the background; being surrounded by inquisitive elephant seal pups and curious Royal penguins at Macquarie Island.
Witnessing the colour, noise and drama of a 500,000-strong colony of King Penguins on South Georgia Island is an experience like no other. Visiting Gold Harbour, where thousands of King Penguins huddle in front of a spectacular calving glacier, is jaw-droppingly beautiful. Seeing five penguin species on one beach on the Falkland Islands was an unexpected delight. I loved cruising through iridescent icebergs at Spert Island, the intensity of the blues and greens so strong that previously I couldn’t even imagine that the colours existed in nature.
Why I love polar travel
Being in Antarctica makes me feel both very small and incredibly connected with the earth. A trip to Antarctica is on nature’s terms, you’re a visitor to this incredible environment. Every Antarctic experience is different and awe-inspiring and it is always an absolute privilege to visit.
When you’re down on the ice, I strongly recommend taking time to sit quietly and have time to yourself. Find a sunny spot on a pebbly beach, or by a bustling penguin rookery, and put your camera down, if only for a minute or two, and truly take in your incredibly unique surroundings. Swap the holiday queues and the vacation traffic for penguin traffic jams and queues of icebergs. Antarctica is breathtaking.
What our customers think
Aimee, Cassia and Saffron were fantastic! Read the full review
Susan Tinkler Australia January 2020
Thank you for your information and always being there to ensure my safety and to answer questions when I needed. Prompt return of calls and emails were second to none. Read the full review
Marie Pryce Australia February 2019
Swoop did the best job we could have possibly asked for. A seem less and worry free travel experience! Read the full review
Vincent Ochwat United States Of America February 2020
Very organized and thorough with our travel planning. Read the full review
Patty Hunt United States Of America February 2020
Very organized, and great follow through. Read the full review
Alice Chen United States Of America February 2020
Swoop made the process really easy from start to finish with accurate and helpful info. on activities, costs, etc. It was nice to receive a full itinerary prior to leaving home, which included all of our flight info., hotels, tour details, recommendations on taxis in the various cities, etc. Well done! Read the full review
George Parson Australia February 2020
Emma, Cassia and Charlotte have all helped make our adventure the holiday of a lifetime. Thank you so much. Read the full review
Janette Harrison Australia February 2020
The close follow-ups and reminders before the voyage, they are detailed and personal and I felt attended to. Read the full review
Kwan Fitzgibbon United States Of America February 2020
Beginning with communiques, Swoop made everything happen smoothly within a tight timeframe. Thank you, Cassie and Aimee. Read the full review
Kara Knox United States Of America February 2020
Swoop were responsive and knowledgeable about what every ship offered and did a good job of steering us to the perfect ship. Read the full review
Marmie United States Of America February 2020
Very well organised with excellent information for pre travel preparations. Read the full review
Agatha Reyes Thailand February 2020
Swoop did a great job with personal contact and organizing the trip. Read the full review
Darlene Culver United States Of America January 2020
The booking process went very smoothly and you were always there for us when we had questions or were unsure of some details of the trip. Read the full review
Ellen United States Of America January 2020
Well organized and very professional. Very nice people to work with. Read the full review
John Cox United States Of America January 2020
We appreciated the information and preparation--felt well-prepared for the trip and therefore able to enjoy. Read the full review
Glenda Durano United States Of America January 2020
I loved all the information you have provided to us upfront in order to make this journey an unforgettable experience :) Read the full review
Günter & Sabine Austria December 2019
The team was super professional, friendly, responsive, awesome. Thumbs up for making our trip as enjoyable as it was. Read the full review
Günter & Sabine Austria December 2019
I just want to thank you for helping us making this experience. Read the full review
Sabine Austria December 2019
I'm extremely satisfied with the service. Swoop team provided me tons of information and followed up with me every step of the way. I had no questions left unanswered before I left for my trip. Cassia also called me before my trip to wish me 'Good Luck' which was very sweet. I've already started recommending Swoop to my friends for their Antarctic adventures. Read the full review
Abhi Pal United States Of America March 2019
Day to Day at Swoop
In September 2018, after ten years of working in the polar industry, I joined Swoop as a Polar Specialist. I love connecting travellers with the best option for them to explore the Polar Regions- which ship to travel on, when to travel, what size vessel.
The next adventure
That’s a great question! There’s so much to explore. I can’t wait to head up to Svalbard in March 2019 and of course, Antarctica keeps drawing me back…