Svalbard: In our first venture offshore on the big trip from pole to pole we left continental Europe behind in summer 2012 and headed towards the North. Our first stop was the rugged island of Bjørnøya before we eventually made landfall in Svalbard – the home of polar bear, walrus, arctic foxes and a myriad of other polar life. From here we set off across the empty Greenland Sea for the lonely island of Jan Mayen and then Greenland.
Greenland: We arrived in Greenland in autumn 2012 after dodging through bands of sea ice and between pods of feeding humpback whales. Scoresbysund at the north-east coast offered stunning scenery and a healthy dose of culture as we wandered amidst the shambling town of Ittoqqortoormiit. Big eyes, sweeping tundra, arctic hare and the first sea ice forming for the season all added a dash of excitement before we fled south in advance of the long winter night.
Iceland: In late autumn 2012 we were blown from Greenland to Iceland on the back of a strong storm system. Arriving in civilization was a shock, but Iceland retained a rugged charm that eased us back from the wilds with a touch of tumbling rivers, volcanos, and a huge serving of friendly help from the locals.
Western fjords and Lofoten Islands, Norway : In the summer of 2011 we sailed up the entire west coast of Norway to reposition Widdershins to Tromsø in preparation for next year’s great voyage, and also to test all the systems to make sure she was ready for the trip. The voyage of over 1500 nautical miles took us through some of the most spectacular scenery in the country and as we sailed north beyond the polar circle a spectacular array of wildlife emerged from the frigid waters.
Summer season in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia: From November 2010 to March 2011 Patrick worked as a naturalist and guide in the Antarctic Peninsula sharing his experience and passion for the icy extremes with tourists on a trip of a lifetime. With voyages operating out of Ushuaia, South America and heading for the spectacular ice, rugged landscapes and teeming wildlife of Antarctica and South Georgia the trip was an opportunity to get close to nature in its most pristine condition.
Shake-down cruise of Widdershins in Sørland, Norway: After buying our yacht SV Widdershins (previously SV Motgang) in February 2010, we needed to take her for a long trip to get familiar with her personality. While we planned a mammoth adventure, the myriad of beautiful islands and bays of Sørland in Norway’s south coast lured us into explorations of this wonderfully convoluted coastline. We made it to Flekkefjord (over 300 nautical miles from the journeys beginning in Oslo) but found ourselves too absorbed by the local landscape to travel quickly.
Motorcycle trip across South America: In 2009 Patrick, Léonie and Patrick’s best mate Al Baylis set off for a two month motorcycle trip which took them from southern Chile to Peru. Along crazy dirt tracks and over passes of more than 5000 m the adventure included the Atacama Desert, the Andean Altiplano, the lush Peruvian Amazon and the Incan ruins scattered across Peru. Riding two Kawasaki KLR650 motorcycles across the back country of Bolivia was one highlight in a trip filled with excitement.
Plant conservation in the Seychelles: In 2006/07, Léonie spent four months on some of the most stunning islands of the world. In Seychelles she participated in a research project where she studied the effect of fire on the unique native vegetation of the island Praslin and enjoyed the relaxed island life.