Author Topic: Journey to the End of the Earth: A DDF Arctic Adventure  (Read 17513 times)

Offline ash

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Re: Journey to the End of the Earth: A DDF Arctic Adventure
« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2017, 07:45:16 AM »
[quote ]
You could mark the week of 3/11/18 on your calendar :-X.

Details to be announced shortly.
[/quote]

is that the date when thext segment of the TR will be posted ?

Offline whYME

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Re: Journey to the End of the Earth: A DDF Arctic Adventure
« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2017, 12:52:14 PM »
is that the date when thext segment of the TR will be posted ?
Or maybe when the next chapter in the adventure begins...

Offline normaly

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Re: Journey to the End of the Earth: A DDF Arctic Adventure
« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2017, 01:09:05 PM »
I guess will get at least the segment of the first day before the next adventure begins...

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Journey to the End of the Earth: A DDF Arctic Adventure
« Reply #23 on: November 05, 2017, 11:08:19 AM »
Chanukah Bday like me?

ETA: SF gonna have to move this thread  8)

Yes indeed...

Please continue here.
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Online Moshe123

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Re: Journey to the End of the Earth: A DDF Arctic Adventure
« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2017, 11:11:56 AM »
lol

Offline Work-for-ur-muny

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Re: Journey to the End of the Earth: A DDF Arctic Adventure
« Reply #25 on: November 05, 2017, 01:16:03 PM »
Official group shot. R-L: @ChAiM'l, @Dan, @moish, @Something Fishy, and @whYME. Being that a few of these stooges have this weird need to remain anonymous, I took the liberty to perform some head transplants for the purpose of this picture:


@Dan Why the need for 4 tour guides? One wasn't enough...??

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Journey to the End of the Earth: A DDF Arctic Adventure
« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2017, 10:02:47 AM »
Planning and Preparing

I'm not going to go over the entire saga of the months leading up to this trip, as Dan's already done a pretty good job of covering it on the main site.

Suffice it to say that planning a trip like this was not exactly easy. It involved way too many late nights on Whatsapp experimenting with countless flight options, itinerary variations, even different country options. Mix in a host of Airbnb options and various tour outfitters and it was a planning nightmare. It was normal for Chaim'l or moish to wake up in their respective countries to hundreds of unread messages. Poor guys.

With everything booked - at long last -  the whole itinerary turned on its head, naturally. Flights to Svalbard had opened, and so a flurry of cancellations and rebooking followed. It took a while, but eventually everyone had their flights, a food plan was prepared, and lodging, cars, and excursions were booked.

Managing all these flights was migraine-inducing; no other way to put it. We were five people, coming from five different cities across three continents. Between us we had a total of 58 flights spread out over 27 PNRs, involving 14 airports in 8 countries on 7 different dates - and that's not counting the countless booked-and-then-cancelled flights.

This is what my TripIt looked like at one point. Totally bonkers:



Here's the final flight map, with my own flights highlighted in red:



This was, once more, primarily a photography-oriented trip. Considering the varied subject matter and the extreme environment we were heading to, you could well imagine the mountain of camera gear each of us carried.

My lineup:





  • Nikon D800 and D600 bodies
  • Nikon and Tamron 14-24 f2.8, 24-70 f/2.8, 85 f/1.8, and 80-400 f/4.5-5.6 lenses
  • Nikon 1.4x teleconverter and extension tubes
  • GoPro Hero4 Silver, Feiyu 3-axis gimbal, KNEKT dome port, and all manner of mounts
  • 2x aluminum, 1x carbon fiber tripod, and 1x 15' boom pole, all with ballheads
  • LEE filter system with a collection of ND and ND Grad filter, plus 82mm ND and CP filters
  • Laptop, external HDD, card reader
  • Battery grips, 8x camera batteries, 3x external battery packs, 12v inverter
  • Remotes, geotagger, compass, cleaning gear, tools, cables, and whatnot

Clothing-wise, I used the gear I got before my first Iceland trip, which were perfectly suited for this trip as well. We would need special suits for snowmobiling and dog sledding, but these would be provided through the respective outfitters.

Food was way more challenging. We were to be gone for 9 days - including Shabbos - with absolutely zero kosher food to be had. We needed to bring literally everything with us. In the end each of us was in charge of a different "department", which had the added benefit of arriving on different flights from different countries and so possibly avoiding some customs issues.

We had Pom meals from Dan which was left over from his Island Hopper trip with AJK and was only a little freezer burned. Chaim'l brought a pile of Hermolis meals from London, which was thoroughly delicious. whYME procured a massive hunk of ribs and brisket from Izzys. I brought 6 pounds of rugelach and 4 challahs from Shloimy's and a load of cold cuts. And Moish brought a metric ton of cod liver.

In addition to all that we had countless snacks, Tradition soups, wraps and breads, tuna, condiments, and whatnot. For Shabbos we went all out with wines, dips, gefilta fish, chicken soup, cholent, kokosh cakes, you name it.

Just some of the food we brought, with the Arctic Ocean right outside our window:





The block of ribs from Izzy's, all dressed for travel:




It was finally time to go.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2017, 02:42:08 PM by Something Fishy »
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Offline ludmila

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Re: Journey to the End of the Earth: A DDF Arctic Adventure
« Reply #27 on: November 07, 2017, 12:32:51 PM »
 Camera gear is amazing.  :)
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Offline mmgfarb

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Re: Journey to the End of the Earth: A DDF Arctic Adventure
« Reply #28 on: November 07, 2017, 12:55:11 PM »
Wow, this is getting good!
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Offline Yaalili

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Re: Journey to the End of the Earth: A DDF Arctic Adventure
« Reply #29 on: November 07, 2017, 01:35:35 PM »
Incredible piece, can’t wait for next part!

Offline Mordyk

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Re: Journey to the End of the Earth: A DDF Arctic Adventure
« Reply #30 on: November 07, 2017, 01:38:00 PM »
#TYH

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Journey to the End of the Earth: A DDF Arctic Adventure
« Reply #31 on: November 07, 2017, 01:42:44 PM »
Check out my site for epic kosher adventures: Kosher Horizons

Offline tageed-lee

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Offline Work-for-ur-muny

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Re: Journey to the End of the Earth: A DDF Arctic Adventure
« Reply #33 on: November 07, 2017, 02:31:56 PM »
Wow! I really liked the color-coding style from the Iceland TR where everyone contributed their part, but no way am I gonna wait that long for the next segment!  :)

You hear Fishy what that means??!! You better have them out quicker. No excuses!  ;D

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Journey to the End of the Earth: A DDF Arctic Adventure
« Reply #34 on: November 07, 2017, 03:10:13 PM »
No backup drone?  :o

Nope, oddly enough.

Wow! I really liked the color-coding style from the Iceland TR where everyone contributed their part, but no way am I gonna wait that long for the next segment!  :)

That's the idea. I'm still getting their input, but without then writing too much it should move along much quicker.
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Offline superstareli55

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Re: Journey to the End of the Earth: A DDF Arctic Adventure
« Reply #35 on: November 07, 2017, 11:53:57 PM »
whos down to do this..?

Offline Dawie

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Re: Journey to the End of the Earth: A DDF Arctic Adventure
« Reply #36 on: November 08, 2017, 02:20:24 PM »
whos down to do this..?
You could mark the week of 3/11/18 on your calendar :-X.

Details to be announced shortly.

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Journey to the End of the Earth: A DDF Arctic Adventure
« Reply #37 on: November 09, 2017, 01:50:17 PM »
You could mark the week of 3/11/18 on your calendar :-X.

Details to be announced shortly.

Trip is live!

http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=62659.msg1828800#msg1828800
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Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Journey to the End of the Earth: A DDF Arctic Adventure
« Reply #38 on: November 13, 2017, 02:52:22 PM »
Being that we were all coming from different places, and with varying award availability, most of our schedules were way different. I was to leave NY on a late Motzei Shabbos flight to London, where I would have a 9-hour layover before meeting up with Chaim'l and continuing to Oslo together. In the meantime moish will fly from Israel to Oslo via Munich, where he would spend the night with Chaim'l and myself. Dan would fly from Cleveland to Newark Sunday afternoon, meet up with whYME, and fly through the night to Oslo. Monday morning we'd all meet in the airport and continue on to Svalbard via Tromsø.

My flight was on an ancient United 763, but legroom was great and the wi-fi fast, so all in all a pleasant flight.

The customs line, on the other hand, was horrid, and it was a while before I found myself in front of an agent.

"What brings you to London?"
"A long layover."
"What are your plans for the day?"
"Go and see Platform 9-3/4, of course. What else?"

To this day I don't know if he was laughing with me or at me, but he did allow me into his country. Oh well .

I followed Chaim'l's directions and left my luggage at a storage kiosk (cost around £10 for the day IIRC), bought a nice breakfast, and found a quiet spot to daven shachris.

I now had a bit over six hours to explore London with. Since this was my first time in London, it was off to the main tourist drag to see if I can capture a picture of Big Ben that isn't like the 100 trillion identical ones in existence.

It took a couple of miles of hiking through the bowels of Heathrow, but I finally did find the train station. Took the Heathrow Express to Paddington, and from there the tube to Westminster. The express wasn't cheap at £25, but it was easy, fast, and comfortable. And considering that the tube wasn't running to the airport due to construction, it was worth every penny shilling farthing pence ounces whatever it is these Brits use that's less than a pound.

Stepping out of the express at Paddington, I found myself in a typical London morning: cold, wet, and dreary. This was the first thing I saw - I don't think it could get any more British than this, unless the Queen herself was sitting there drinking tea in a ridiculous hat:



Finding the train to Westminster was easy, and it was only a few minutes later that I emerged directly in front of Big Ben. I was a bit taken aback for a moment, as I had not expected my first view of it to be so in my face. My first - rather stupid - thought was "wow, it looks exactly like in the pictures!" My second thought was "how do I take a picture of this that hasn't been done to death?"

I hung around for a bit, then walked up and down the street looking for a composition. I noticed that aside from the iconic clock face, there are a million elaborate details on the tower that I had never known were there. So I fished out my 80-400mm lens gave it my best shot at capturing something unique:





View from the Westminster Bridge:





The bridge was packed with tourists, but this dude was just standing there serenely making horrible noises with his bagpipes:





This lady was marching around London carrying a Norwegian flag. Seemed apropos...



The London Eye was directly across the River Thames from me. Yet another over-photographed spot...







After two hours or so I got bored and headed back to the tube, bound for King's Cross and, if everything goes well, Hogwarts.

I found Platform 9-3/4 packed with Muggles, of course, and couldn't get through the wall (darn Dobby!). I had to settle for a picture instead:



I checked out the adjacent gift shop filled with breathtakingly-overpriced merchandise, before taking the train to Golders Green and some lunch. Outside the Golders Green station was a 5-way intersection, and between the cars going the wrong way, a misbehaving GPS, and the rain, I walked a fair bit in the wrong direction until I was able to get my bearings again.

Chaim'l had suggested White House Express as a good place to get a decent lunch, and so I ordered what seemed to be a decently-sized burger and some fries.

Here's what arrived - it was a good eight inches tall:



Unbelievably, I was able to compress it far enough to fit into my mouth, only to find it to be the most blah burger I had ever tasted. It was dry, bland, and way too difficult to eat. But I was hungry enough, and so I persevered:



As I was finishing up Chaim'l arrived, and together we drove to a local grocery, got some sandwiches for dinner, and headed back to the airport for our flight to Oslo. Check in with SAS was smooth, and although we were on one PNR all the way through to Svalbard, our bags were only checked to Oslo due to our overnight layover.

We landed on a snow-covered runway after a short two-hour flight and made our way to the Radisson. This was attached to the airport by a short covered walkway (which was important, as it was snowing fairly heavily), so the convenience can't be beat. The price was right too, at 1036NOK (around $120). We had called ahead and confirmed that the room had two double beds, so we were all set.

So Chaim'l and I walk into the lobby, and the lone check in agent glances up at us. He gives this very weird smile, and starts busily tapping away at his computer. A minute or two later he hands us our key cards and wishes us good night, still wearing that slightly disconcerting smile. We found his behavior a bit odd, but didn't think much of it.

So we get to our room, open the door, and just stand there staring. It took a few seconds to process what we seeing, but our surprise soon turned to hilarity and we just stood there shaking with laughter. Instead of the room with two double beds we had reserved, our friendly check in agent had "upgraded" us to a room with a single king bed, complete with a light-up, rainbow headboard.

Luckily for us, apparently "king bed" in Europe means "two twins pushed together", and so we were able to simply separate the beds into something a bit less - ahem - happy. We also found the off switch for the headboard's lighting, so we decided to stay in the room rather than move all our luggage yet again.

We got a good night's sleep, and checked out bright and early (where thankfully a different agent was on duty ). We met moish at this point, who had stayed the night here too but had already been asleep when we arrived.

A short walk back to the airport later, and we were checking in. It was now that we met up with Dan and whYME, who had just landed from Newark, and when the whole luggage saga began.

Now the real adventure was starting.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2017, 11:32:41 PM by Something Fishy »
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Offline Work-for-ur-muny

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Re: Journey to the End of the Earth: A DDF Arctic Adventure
« Reply #39 on: November 13, 2017, 03:20:33 PM »
this dude was just standing there serenely making horrible noises with his bagpipes:




Oh my! With this stuff already at hand, why even the need to travel all the way till Svalbard for something interesting??  :o