A Horsham woman with a passion for travel - who last year appealed for a buddy to join her on a trip of a lifetime - spoke this week of how she was chased by a seal in Antarctica.
Donna Elder, 63, of Deer Way, ended up embarking on her 20,000 mile round trip alone after failing to find a suitable travel companion when her husband was unable to join her.
But now she has spoken of her delight at her travel adventure - despite being chased at one point by a fur seal.
“It was a trip of a lifetime,” said Donna, a member of Horsham Photographic Society.
Donna initially appealed for a travel pal when planning her trip last year because her husband Tony, 79, has mobility problems.
And, although she set out alone, she said she soon made friends with fellow travellers on the trek.
Her three-week trip started in Paris and went on to Buenos Aires and stopped at South Georgia, South Orkneys and Ushuaia - the southernmost city in the world.
She discovered at the start of her 20-night cruise that she was sea-sick “which I didn’t expect” but tablets from the ship’s doctor soon righted the problem.
And from then on, it was plain sailing with a string of breathtaking sights - including penguins galore and massive icebergs.
“At one point, a ship behind us was hit by an iceberg but, thankfully, it was above the water line,” said Donna.
She confessed to being ‘a bit scared’ when she was chased by a fur seal, but it ran off when she defensively held up her camera tripod.
Some of her most charming moments came, she said, when she simply “sat down in the snow and penguins would just trot up to you.”
Donna paid tribute to travel firm Audley Travel who helped organise her trip, and rep Tom King. “He was brilliant. I didn’t have to worry about anything.”
Now Donna - who has already travelled the world with husband Tony - is already planning her next trip - this time, hopefully with Tony.
She is hoping to make a return visit to Canada to photograph bears and also wants to visit the Galapagos Islands and India where she is hoping to photograph tigers in the wild.