United States Of America
Customer Rating On return from their adventure we ask customers: “On a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the highest, how likely is it that you would recommend Swoop to a friend or colleague?”
What was your most memorable moment?
Probably seeing a pod of an estimated 45 humpback whales feeding right along the Hondius. Even veteran crew members said it was the biggest pod of whales they'd seen, perhaps ever, and they were amazed at how close the whales came to the ship -- they just passed by and came up for air one after another for a couple of hours in the Gerlache strait. Stunning.
Which of the following best describes your adventure?
On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend Swoop to a friend or colleague?
10 out of 10
Tell us about the wildlife
Yes for sure...saw three of Penguin species, three of seals, plus Humpback, Fin and Minke whales. Birds galore as well.
Tell us about Zodiac excursions
Yes they were enjoyable and safe. We dressed most warmly, and that was a good idea because of the wind off the water. We managed the getting onto and off the Zodiacs with no problems. The crew was great at always emphasizing the sailor's grip and taking the steps slowly, then sitting down and sliding along the zodiac. The most memorable was a cruise around Foyn Harbor...lots of amazing icebergs and floes, plus the shipwreck there. And seals!
Tell us about the expedition team
Great people with so much experience. They were a highlight......so many years of polar experience. Bill Smith was amazing -- 77 years young and such a thoughtful and artistic person. Not to mention a veteran polar explorer and expert on ice and snow conditions. Favorite lecture probably was by Laurence on glaciers and glaciations. Lots of knowledge and insghts there.
Tell us about the Hondius
The ship was fantastic. It handled some high winds and waves on the Drake, and we loved the observation lounge -- what a wonderful and welcoming gathering spot for viewing Antarctica and connecting with fellow passengers and expedition team members. Food was excellent...crew was fantastic.
Tell us about Ushuaia
Ushuaia was fascinating...people were so friendly and welcoming and helpful. We went to the national park and took the train ride - most educational and wonderful scenery.
Tell us about Buenos Aires
Did not circulate in the city at all...that was by design because of COVID. Airports did a lot of work and lot more staff and room....but so it goes in nations that face some very serious financial problems. Some of the Argentine citizens told us they just get used to less than ideal infrastructure and lack of staffing, long lines, etc. Just the way it is and will continue to be. Frustrating to us as Americans, but so it goes...
Overall a magical experience. Antarctica did exceed anything we had imagined or seen in pictures or video. No way to encompass the experience of stunning sights without being there. So big, so pristine. As we told some fellow passengers: Disney talks about magic in Orlando, but that is fake magic. Antarctica is the real magic on earth.
Do you have any tips or advice for other people planning a trip to Antarctica?
Remember the patch for the Drake....those seem to work great. Interact with fellow passengers and trade photos and videos. Work on cardio in advance...hiking uphill in the snow can be daunting -- the snow is dry and brittle and you often sink into the snow up to the knee....takes lot of energy and lung power to pull out of those spots and keep going up.
Has your experience changed your perspective in any way?
I have much more appreciation for this pristine wilderness. Can only hope it continues to stay a scientific and non-military and non-mining area.
Do you have any recommendations for Swoop, or feedback about the team?
Might be good if Swoop could put some travellers in touch with each other before the trip. We spotted some Swoop people with the buffs...but we didn't connect with others until the trip was about over.
Was there anything else Swoop could have done for you to help you prepare for your trip?
Not really -- the sunscreen and clothing recommendations are right on. Layers for sure and water-proof for everything exposed to the elements. The buff helped immensely -- we wore ours with pride! Might also advise travellers to bring small denominations of money...we wished he had had more dollar bills....Argentina currently has something like six or seven black market exchange rates! US dollars are much appreciated and bring a much better exchange rate! we wished he had brought maybe $40 dollars in ones.... Those would have helped with tips and small purchases in Ushuaia and at the B.A. airports.