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There are few superlatives in theEnglish language to fully describe thebreathtaking beauty of Greenland.This huge ice-covered island is edged withjagged mountains - the highest in theArctic - and deep valleys down which thelargest glaciers in the northern hemisphereslowly flow. As they reach Greenland'sintricate coastline, towering cliffs of icecalve into giant icebergs which dot thenumerous fjords and bays - the deepblues of centuries-old ice contrasting withthe clean white snow on the mountainsand the dark rocky tundra at their feet.This spectacular landscape is home to anexciting variety of polar wildlife such asArctic Fox, Long-tailed Skua, PurpleSandpiper, Grey Phalarope and GyrFalcon. It is the underwater world,however, that draws naturalists andscientists to Disko Bay in westernGreenland, for each Arctic spring thisdramatic iceberg-dotted coastline not onlybecomes a temporary home for HumpbackWhales, but the bay's cold nutrient-richwaters, coupled with its proximity to theice-edge, attracts one of the animalkingdom's true polar enigmas, the rareBowhead Whale!Much of Greenland is inaccessible byland, so the best way to explore this Arctic island is from the water. For this excitingwildlife and scenery cruise we have takenfull charter of the 34-berth sailingschooner, the SV Rembrandt van Rijn. Freefrom the shackles of having to visit non-wildlife sites, our cruise will focus solely onthe region's unique natural history anddramatic landscapes, spending time inparticular to the south of Disko Island insearch of Bowheads and other cetaceans.The holiday begins, however, with a flightto Keflavik in Iceland where we spend onenight. From here we fly over thespectacular coastal mountains and inlandicecap of Greenland before landing atAasiaat in west Greenland, the fifth largestsettlement on the island. Aasiaat sits onthe shores of Disko Bay and is thedeparture point for our 7-night cruise. We will keep the exact itinerary of ourcruise flexible, in order to take intoaccount the ice conditions, location of thepack-ice edge, recent wildlife sightings,and the advice of the captain andexpedition crew. Before heading outtowards Disko Island, however, we will takethe opportunity to enjoy the breathtakingscenery that abounds in westernGreenland. We will cruise towards the vastIlulissat Glacier which flows into thebeautiful Ilulissat Kangerlua (JakobshavnIcefjord), a 'World Heritage Site'. Here wecan enjoy a panorama of huge deep-blueicebergs sculpted into an inexhaustiblevariety of shapes by wind, water and ice.Bearded and Ringed Seals are often seenresting on the smaller floes, whilst birds tolook out for include King Eider, GlaucousGull, Arctic Tern and perhaps even apassing white-phase Gyr Falcon. We will spend the next couple of days insearch of Bowhead Whales out in themouth of Disko Bay, most likelyimmediately south of Disko Island, afavoured feeding area. The first Bowheadsarrive in Disko Bay in late February andthey stay until June when they head furthernorth as they follow the retreating icetowards Baffin Bay and beyond. Whilstnothing is certain in the world of wildlife-watching, we stand a very good chance oflocating one or more of these rarecreatures and, once found, their slow-moving nature and tendency to feed nearthe water's surface make them fairly easyto observe. Sadly, these sluggish habitsalso made Bowheads an easy target forthe early whalers. It has recently beendiscovered that Bowheads are one of thelongest living animals - a harpoon headdating from 1885 having been removedfrom an adult Alaskan Bowhead in 2007proving that the animal was at least 130years old. Indeed, it is now widelyaccepted that these amazing creaturesmay live for as long as 200 years! We will also take time to enjoy landings onDisko Island and some of the smalloffshore islands such as Hunde Ejland andKronprinsen's Ejland where Long-tailedSkuas, Snow Buntings, NorthernWheatears, Greenland White-frontedGeese and twirling Grey Phalaropes allbreed. Finally we must make our way back, pastthe icebergs, to Aasiaat. There we boardour flight back to Iceland and, after a finalnight in Keflavik, we head home. West Greenland - Bowheads,Icebergs & Glaciers!A 10-day holiday, including a 7-night cruise, around Disko Bay in search of Bowhead and Humpback Whales, huge icebergs and spectacular West Greenland scenery.Monday 27th May - Wednesday 5th June Cost: from £3,295(This holiday can be combined with our 'Iceland' tour outlined on Page 82) Outline itineraryDay 1Fly Keflavik andovernight.Day 2Fly Aasiaat; embark SVRembrandt van Rijn andbegin cruise.Day 3/8Disko Bay cruise.Day 9Disembark SVRembrandt van Rijn andfly Keflavik.Day 10Fly London.AccommodationFor this cruise we have exclusivelychartered the 34-berth SVRembrandt van Rijn, a 56-metre(168-foot) sailing schooner fullyrefurbished and refitted in 2011.She features 17 comfortable twincabins (most with private facilities),a spacious dining room, and plentyof deck space for wildlife-viewing.Twin-bedded private inside cabins(no porthole) are included in thetour cost; private outside cabinswith portholes are available at anextra cost of £295 person.Additional information on SVRembrandt van Rijn can befound on page 281 of thisbrochure. In Iceland we use acomfortable tourist hotel withprivate facilities. FoodAll included in the price, except forlunches and dinners in Iceland andAasiaat. Allow £90.GradingGrade A.FocusWhales and other mammals, birds,Arctic flora, and spectacularscenery. LeaderTim Melling or Paul Stanbury, pluslocal expedition staff.Single room supplementFor the purchase of a twin cabin forsingle occupancy, the cost is onlyavailable on application.Web quick search: GRL02270Call now or visit your free Trip Itinerary ARCTIC CIRCLEGREENLANDDISKOISLANDBAFFIN BAYAASIAATDISKO BAYBowhead WhaleKing EiderSV Rembrandt van RijnBowhead WhalesEXCLUSIVENATURETREK CHARTER

Anyone who has travelled through Indiaby train or road will be amazed tolearn that there is actually a form ofsurface transport through the country thatoffers total serenity and comfort: for it ispossible to cruise for some 2,820 kilometresalong the rivers of India, passing greatcities, wildlife sanctuaries and historicalmonuments, and journey into the very heartof rural India by boat. Indeed once, suchrivers as the Ganges, Hugli andBrahmaputra were all vital arteries for theEast India Company, as for other empiresbefore them, and British-run passengerboats plied these rivers from the early 18thcentury until competition from the railwaysbecame just too great by the end of the 19thcentury. Passenger boats on theBrahmaputra, however, continued to operateuntil the early 1950s when the tensions thatemerged between India and Pakistan afterPartition in 1947 finally spelt the end for rivertraffic. Until that time, daily passenger boatsfrom Kolkata plied the Brahmaputra throughAssam, aboard them a complement of teaplanters, forest officers, soldiers and districtmagistrates; indeed, during the SecondWorld War, they also played a vital role inbringing in troops and evacuating casualtiesduring the great battles of Imphal andKohima in 1944. Today, however, inassociation with a pioneering Indo-Britishcruise company, Naturetrek offers you theopportunity to re-live the experience of thosedays of the Raj, aboard a luxury 24-berthvessel exclusively chartered by us to providea river cruise with a dedicated focus on thewildlife and national parks of Assam.This 10-night cruise will include most of thehighlights of Assam, with a particular focuson the wildlife, wilderness and tribal villagesand cultures that represent the key points ofinterest along the mighty Brahmaputra, for often the riverbed is 20 to 30 kilometresacross, an empty world of grass-coveredand forested islands, sand spits andchannels, favoured only by rural fishermenand a marvellous birdlife. We will also lookout for mammals, especially when passingthrough Assam's national parks, althoughthroughout our cruise we may expect to seethe endangered and enigmatic GangeticRiver Dolphin, a real highlight of this journey. We begin our cruise, after a night in thefascinating old colonial city of Kolkata and adomestic flight, near Jorhat in Assam. Ourfirst point of call will be the GibbonSanctuary at Mariani, where we will walk inthe forest in search of Hoolock Gibbons,India's only species of ape, and a wealth ofbirdlife. Next stop will be Majuli Island,reputedly the world's largest river island andshort-listed for future UNESCO WorldHeritage status on account of its richculture. Here we will visit some of theisland's unique Hindu monasteries (famousfor their dance drama performances),experience a typical Mising tribal lunch in astilted bamboo hut, and enjoy the birds ofSakuli Bheel (lake). On other occasions wewill spend time gently cruising down theBrahmaputra, relaxing and birdwatchingfrom the sundeck, perhaps with a visit to atribal village. On our fourth day Kaziranga National Parkwill appear on the left bank and we nowhave a chance of seeing wild AsianElephants and wild Water Buffalo from theboat, perhaps even a Tiger! During the nextthree days we have the pleasure of India'sfinest national park alongside us, and in itwill enjoy an elephant ride and jeep safaris.Kaziranga is a 430 square kilometre park,consisting of broad tracts of tall elephantgrass interspersed with evergreen forests,shallow lakes and reedbeds. It is probablythe best place on Earth to observe the veryrare Great Indian One-horned Rhinocerosand it is possible to encounter as many as40 of these prehistoric-looking beasts duringa day in the field. Asian Elephants and wildWater Buffalo are also plentiful, as areSambar, Hog and Swamp Deer, and WildBoar, the prey of the Leopards and Tigerswhich roam the park, although amid somuch cover they are always hard to see. Wemay even chance upon some of the moreelusive residents such as Gaur, Leopard Catand Sloth Bear, whilst the rare CappedLangur, Assam Macaque and HoolockGibbon form a trio of primates that inhabitthe woodlands. Despite the profusion ofmammals, the birdlife is not eclipsed and atremendously diverse bird list features manyrare or local species such as BengalFlorican and Adjutant Stork. Leaving Kaziranga, we will next exploreNameri National Park (which lies in theHimalayan foothills an hour's drive north ofTezpur) both on foot and by means of a raftjourney through the park. Seasonal channelspermitting, we will also visit Orang NationalPark, which lies alongside the Brahmaputra,exploring it by means of a smaller boatwhich we will take up a tributary into theheart of the park where we will search forbirds and mammals by jeep.Towards the end of our river cruise we willexplore a range of jungle-covered hills andvisit the idyllic and isolated village of GaneshPahar where we will take a birdwatching walkthrough rice paddies and unspoilt forest.These pretty hills, or the Golden Langurs ofPeacock Island, are likely to be amongst ourfinal memories of the stillness and beauty ofthe mighty Brahmaputra, before we mustdisembark at Guwahati and commence ourjourney homeward. For tour memberswishing to extend their holiday, werecommend a post-tour visit to theSunderbans, the world's largest delta andmangrove swamp, renowned for itswaterbirds and man-eating Tigers!Brahmaputra Cruise A magical 14-day holiday to Assam which includes a unique 11-day wildlife cruise down the Brahmaputra River, visiting Kaziranga, Nameri and Orang National Parks, and taking in local tribal culture. Thursday 13th December - Wednesday 26th December 2012 Cost: £3,395 Thursday 7th February - Wednesday 20th February 2013 Cost: £3,295Thursday 7th March - Wednesday 20th March 2013 Cost: £3,195Thursday 7th November - Wednesday 20th November 2013 Cost: £3,495Thursday 30th January - Wednesday 12th February 2014 Cost: £3,395*Thursday 27th March - Wednesday 9th April 2014 Cost: £3,295*Sunderbans extension available on all tours Cost: £795 Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationBURMAKAZIRANGANATIONAL PARKNAMERI N.P.ORANG N.P.BRAHMAPUTRARIVERDARJEELINGBAY OFBENGALBHUTANBANGLADESHINDIAASSAMKOLKATASUNDERBANSNATIONAL PARK(EXTENSION)JORHATGUWAHATITIBETPAROOutline itineraryDay 1Depart London.Day 2Kolkata.Day 3/12Fly Jorhat for 11-dayBrahmaputra wildlifecruise.Day 13End cruise; fly Kolkata.Day 14Fly London.Sunderbans extensionDay 14/17Sunderbans NationalPark.Day 18Kolkata.Day 19Depart Kolkata.Day 20Arrive London.Accommodation For this voyage Naturetrek chartersthe RV Charaidew. For vessel detailssee page 280. In Kolkata weovernight in a comfortable 3-starhotel, all rooms with private facilities.Food Included in the price, except formain meals in Kolkata. Allow £40. Grading Grade A. Focus Birds, mammals and local culture.Leader Sujan Chatterjee, Manoj Sharma,Nick Acheson or Tika Ram Giri, pluslocal guides. Business classsupplementFrom £1,950.Single room supplement £2,195 (February, November andDecember); £1,995 (March);extension: £250.Web quick search: IND02*Dates and prices subject to confirmationin our 2014 brochure.271Brahmaputra RiverKaziranga National ParkRV CharaidewEXCLUSIVENATURETREK CHARTER