A WOMAN has told of the excitement of seeing glaciers breaking up and polar bears swimming close by while she was on a scientific polar sailing expedition.

Lucy Reynolds, 35, of Dartington, near Totnes, has just returned from a trials voyage to the Arctic on board a wooden schooner which is a rehearsal for the expedition to gather scientific data on sea and ice and flora and fauna changes next summer.

Lucy has overcome her fear of heights by scaling rigging and surprised herself by not being seasick aboard the SV Linden while on the two-week trip with other amateur citizen scientists along with a professional ship’s crew and professional scientists from Plymouth University and Plymouth Marine Laboratory.

The voyage is a precursor to an environmental expedition organised by explorer Jim McNeill, of Princetown-based Ocean Warrior to Norway, Canada and Greenland to gather data from the sea, coast and glaciers to provide ‘live’ evidence of climate change.

Lucy Reynolds
Lucy Reynolds (Submitted)

Lucy said: “It was very inspiring to see the beauty of the largely unspoiled landscape so close and I felt especially privileged to see the wildlife in its natural habitat. The polar bear was so curious, it swam from the rocks to see us and circled the boat. It also stood up on its back legs and stood on a hunters’ cabin we’d previously visited ashore. Then I realised how big and possibly dangerous they are. Climate change is manmade and it’s in our hands to do something about it and that’s what I feel strongly about — to do my bit towards a better future. Humanity is harming the previously untouched Arctic and we saw evidence with large-scale bird deaths on the sea from avian flu, which is worsened by intensive farming methods, also iceberg calving or splitting up, and the polar bear visit which we think was influenced by people feeding it.”

Lucy is raising funds to pay for next year’s trip and can be contacted by potential sponsors at [email protected] or on 07718 077351