Go whale watching on Saga Sapphire with Michaela Strachan

Tuesday 12 May 2015

TV wildlife presenter’s 50th birthday year to include Saga cruise to Iceland

Go whale watching on Saga Sapphire with Michaela Strachan

Can you believe ever-youthful Michaela Strachan will be celebrating her 50th birthday next year?

The bubbly TV presenter will be eligible to travel with Saga and her landmark year will include sailing on Saga Sapphire’s Ice, Fire and Fjords cruise on July 20, 2016.

The BBC Springwatch star will be presenting two talks on the 720-passenger ship and will join tours to look for wildlife and explore the dramatic lava landscape.

Michaela said: “I really want to see some whales! I know Iceland is a great place to see them. I visited the island many years ago for the Really Wild Show but it was only a brief stop and I always wanted to come back.

“I would also love to plunge into those amazing hot thermal pools. My mum and her husband did this same cruise with Saga a couple of years back and absolutely loved it.”

Michaela, who will be 50 on April 7, 2016, has travelled the globe filming wildlife programmes. She is now an ambassador for several animal charities and says she actually ‘just fell in to this passion for animals’.

She said: “A producer was looking for a well-known children’s presenter for OWL TV and it went from there. I had always loved wildlife but my passion just grew and grew.”

Michaela, who is modest about her knowledge and talents, said: “People think I am an expert but I am not, by any stretch of imagination, but I am an enthusiast!”

Michaela already has her presentations planned. She said: “I will firstly take the listener on a journey of my career with photos and there’ll be a lot of me talking. It will be a mixed bag from the early TV shows through to conservation, including the fight against the bear bile industry in China and the Borneo Orang-utan Survival Foundation which rescues, rehabilitates and releases orang-utans back to the wild.

“The other will be video-based and much less of me talking! It will focus on my experiences with whales and dolphins including when I went to Mozambique for Michaela’s Wild Challenge. I was heavily pregnant and went swimming with dolphins to see how they reacted to a foetus. It was a bit of an experiment as they are meant to know and pick up on the two heartbeats.”

Michaela, who originally comes from Surrey, is now based in Cape Town with her partner, cameraman Nick Chavallier and son Ollie, 10.

She commutes to the UK for the Spring, Autumn and Winterwatch programmes and said: “For me it’s just like getting on a bus. I am used to travelling. I always have done. When people get all worked up about packing and going away to London from South Africa I find it quite funny!”

Although Michaela racks up air miles, she has never experienced life on a small cruise ship.

She said: "I have been on a couple of large cruise ships with ‘thousands of people’ and had a really good time. I have also been on a Russian icebreaker in the Antarctic - but I have never been on a traditional cruise on a Saga ship so I am looking forward to enjoying a more intimate experience.”

She added: “I am an active person but I am also quite happy to occasionally sit on a lounger and read a book.”

Michaela will also be pleased to learn that representatives from ORCA, the whale and dolphin conservation charity, will be on deck observing marine life and supporting whale-spotting sessions.

She and Saga guests will also be able to join a boat trip to Eyjafjördur Fjord to watch for blue, fin, humpback, minke and sei whales as well as dolphins and porpoises.

A boat from Stykkishólmur will also take guests to see puffins, cormorants, black guillemots, kittiwakes and fulmars plus, a possible chance to see white-tailed eagles and seals.

To compliment the wildlife adventures there will also be an opportunity to relax in Reyjavik’s Blue Lagoon and the Myvatn Nature Baths with its mineral-rich waters and rising steam created by a deep fissure in the earth’s surface.

Now that’s really wild!

15 nights on board Saga Sapphire from £3,778, based on the lowest available outside cabin departing from Dover on July 20, 2016. Price includes chauffeur car service to and from Dover, all meals and entertainment, afternoon tea, 24-hour room service, welcome cocktail party, unlimited tea and coffee in selected venues, free Wi-Fi internet, all on-board gratuities, porterage, free shuttle bus to nearest town centre (whenever possible and when the ship is berthed more than 500 yards away), travel insurance and cancellation cover or a discount of £53 discount if passenger has own insurance cover.  Wine is included with lunch and dinner on all cruises during 2016.

For details call free on 0800 096 0079 or visit travel.saga.co.uk/cruises 


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