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Graeme’s thoughts on our Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

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A bloody squabble, breaks out over fish, between several of the Steller's & White Tailed Sea Eagles photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

In less than 6 months, I will be returning to Japan, for the 5th time. It is a country that never ceases to amaze me during the Winter time. Next year we are taking a smaller group to photograph the Japanese Winter Wildlife, but that should make it all the more fun. I will be stepping aside from the trip that is scheduled for 2019, but Pui Hang will be taking over the reins along with a co-guide.

A bloody squabble, breaks out over fish, between several of the Steller's & White Tailed Sea Eagles photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

But, back to the matter at hand. In February 2017, I had the great pleasure of meeting Graeme & Georgia as part of the group attending our Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayGraeme was entranced by all the wildlife that we encountered, & fully embraced the food, custom & habitat of Hokkaido. He sent in the following images & some words relating to the trip. I cannot wait to meet up with them again in 2018, but for some different species on that occasion!

We prepared well & thought we knew what to expect in Japan. But nothing could prepare us for the reality of dozens of Steller’s & White-tailed Eagles grabbing fish right beside the boat out of Rausu, Hokkaido.

A White Tailed Sea Eagle lines itself up to pluck a fish from the icy seas photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A White Tailed Sea Eagle makes a final adjustment to pluck a fish from the icy seas photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A Steller's Sea Eagle twists in the air to dive towards the icy seas photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A Steller's Sea Eagle makes a final adjustment to pluck a fish from the icy seas photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A Steller's Sea Eagle makes a speedy exit having plucked a fish from the icy seas photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday One of the Steller's Sea Eagles takes flight over the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Or the number of  Macaque Monkeys in the snow & thermal spring pool.

One of the young snow monkeys peers over the edge of the thermal pool photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Nor the elegant red crowned cranes in flight, & their beautiful courtship dance.

One of the red crowned cranes takes flight over the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday The courtship dance of the red crowned cranes the national bird of Hokkaido photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Or pure white Whooper Swans against a back drop of snow & mountains.

A whooper swan races across the ice to take to the skies photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayThe thermal pool, in which the swans find respite from the harsh winter conditions photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

The list goes on.

And that doesn’t even mention the amazing accommodation & Japanese food included in the itinerary .. or the photography lessons … or the information about Hokkaido & Japan in general.

I hope my pictures do the plethora of Japanese Winter Wildlife justice!

An airbourne squabble, over a frozen lake, between a Steller's Sea Eagle & a White Tailed Sea Eagle photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

DO YOU WANT TO PHOTOGRAPH THE JAPANESE WINTER WILDLIFE FOR YOURSELF?

With the 2018 trip full, we have opened up bookings for the 2019 trip, this is an opportunity for you to undertake photography of blakistons fish owl, red crowned crane, snow monkey, stellers sea eagle, ural owl, white tailed sea eagle, whooper swan & more in the wintery landscapes of Japan for yourself; the cost for a single traveller is £5749, with single occupancy accommodation throughout, no sharing & no single supplement!

To secure your place on this photographic tour, we require a 20% deposit – the balance will fall due on 16th November 2018 – we include all ground transportation within Japan, transport to & from shoot locations, dinners & breakfasts, accommodation, entrance fees, boat fees for six boat trips & guidance/tuition; the dates for the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Tour are February 9 – 22, 2019.

If you are a pair of travelling companions or a couple then you can share accommodation & book two places for £5175 each instead of £5749 per person! Quote JAPANPAIR in the referral code text box to have the discount applied to your booking – you can book now & hold your places with 20% deposit only! Please note, both bookings, for the travelling companions or couple, must be made at the same time & the dates for this trip are February 9 – 22, 2019.

 

European Bison, one of the main Białowieża species

A European Bison strides through the snow typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Elsewhere, we have covered the wide variety of bird species that you might encounter on the Polish Winter Wildlife Tour, including Goshawks, Buzzards White-Tailed Sea Eagles & Woodpeckers, in addition to the days spent in hides, two days are spent traversing the Białowieża Forest, locating & photographing the European Bison, that call Białowieża home.

Żubry w Puszczy Białowieskiej, 2011

One of the European Bison within the snowy environs of the Białowieża Forest typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A European Bison strides through the snow typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday One of the European Bison of the Białowieża Forest typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

The other mammal that is commonly seen & can be photographed within Białowieża, is the Red Fox, it can often be found near to the feeding sites, as these beautiful creatures want to scavenge food that is available.

A red fox at one of the hide feeding sites located near the Białowieża Forest typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday One of the red foxes of the Białowieża Forest typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday One of the beautiful red foxes of the Białowieża Forest typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

DO YOU WANT TO CAPTURE IMAGES OF THE POLISH WILDLIFE FOR YOURSELF?

We have a photography tour that is to be run at the end of January 2018, this is an opportunity for you to undertake photography of the wildlife of the Białowieża Forest, including the European Bison, for yourself; the photography holiday costs £1499 each participant, this price excludes air travel to Warsaw itself – all ground transportation from Warsaw & back, & to & from shoot locations, accommodation & guidance/tuition is included, the dates for the NaturesLens Polish Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday are January 21 – 28, 2018.

To hold a place on the trip, we only require a 20% deposit from you, with the balance due 12 weeks prior to the trip taking place.

White-Tailed Sea Eagles on the Polish Winter Wildlife Tour

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One of the White-Tailed Sea Eagles comes in to land against the backdrop of the Białowieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Elsewhere, we have covered the Goshawk, Buzzard & Woodpeckers that you might encounter on the Polish Winter Wildlife Tour, amongst the other species, & one that many people hope to be able to photograph are the White-Tailed Sea Eagles, there are two days spent in dedicated hides, hopeful that these enormous avian predators come into visit the feeding sites.

One of the White-Tailed Sea Eagles comes in to land against the backdrop of the BiaÅ‚owieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA mature White Tailed Sea Eagle circles against the backdrop of the Białowieża Forest typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA juvenile White-Tailed Sea Eagle circles against the backdrop of the BiaÅ‚owieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Obviously, the eagles visiting the feeding sites is dependent upon a number of factors, not least of which is that it is cold enough that their only food source is that which is placed out for them.

A trio of squabbling White-Tailed Sea Eagles photographed at a hide set within the environs of the Białowieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA mature White-Tailed Sea Eagle strides through the snowy environs of the Białowieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

The other bird of prey that is commonly seen & that often interacts with the White-Tailed Sea Eagles, mainly as it also wants to scavenge food that is available, is the Common Buzzard.

A pair of Common Buzzards squabbling over food photographed at a hide set within the environs of the Białowieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A pair of squabbling Common Buzzards photographed at a hide set within the environs of the Białowieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A perched Common Buzzard photographed at a hide set within the environs of the Białowieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

DO YOU WANT TO CAPTURE IMAGES OF THE POLISH WHITE-TAILED SEA EAGLES FOR YOURSELF?

We have a photography tour that is to be run at the end of January 2018, this is an opportunity for you to undertake photography of the wildlife of the Białowieża Forest, including the White-Tailed Sea Eagles, for yourself; the photography holiday costs £1499 each participant, this price excludes air travel to Warsaw itself – all ground transportation from Warsaw & back, & to & from shoot locations, accommodation & guidance/tuition is included, the dates for the NaturesLens Polish Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday are January 21 – 28, 2018.

To hold a place on the trip, we only require a 20% deposit from you, with the balance due 12 weeks prior to the trip taking place.

Winter Wildlife in Japan – Stellers & White Tailed Sea Eagles

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A White Tailed Sea Eagle stood on the ice of one of the frozen lakes photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Stellers & White Tailed Sea Eagles – more aspects of Winter Wildlife in Japan

The fourth & last instalment of Nicola’s images are dedicated to the magnificent Steller’s & White Tailed Sea Eagles. Our winter wildlife in Japan tour includes 6 boat trips to photograph these fantastic raptors. Each day, the group faced different weather conditions which presented them with different photographic opportunities. Sometimes, the eagles came so close that the group were almost over-lensed with intermediate zoom lenses!

A visit to one of several frozen lake in the area is always included in our tour, & this year yielded some great images of the eagles ‘striding’ across the ice.

A Stellers Sea Eagle sweeps it's wings forward on the ice of one of the frozen lakes photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayOne of Hokkaido's White Tailed Sea Eagles photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayOne of Hokkaido's Steller Sea Eagles swoops for a fish photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday Read more

Special pricing offer for Japan in Winter 2018

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One of the young snow monkeys found in the Jigokudani Valley photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

If you are a pair of travelling companions or a couple, we have an offer that might entice you to join our Japan in Winter Photography Holiday in February 2018, for a room that is shared, can you book a pair of places for £5199 each instead of £5499!

You & a companion can join us & spend time with the gorgeous snow monkeys as shown in this post, also several days with the red-crowned cranes & the whooper swans, then four days focussed on stellers sea eagles & white-tailed sea eagles on our six boat trips & also at a couple of other locations.

A young snow monkey of the Jigokudani Valley photographed on the NaturesLens Japan in Winter Photography Holiday

For travelling companions happy to share a room or a couple, you can book a pair of places for £10,398 – details of the whole trip are available here, quote JAPANPAIR in the referral code text box to have the discount applied to your booking – you can book now & hold your places with 20% deposit only! Read more

Another successful Japanese Winter Wildlife tour to Hokkaido & Honshu

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No bird typifies time on Hokkaido more than the Red Crowned Crane photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

I’ve just returned from spending two weeks, in good company of some great NaturesLens clients, where we were on a trip to attempt photograph the fantastic Japanese Winter Wildlife, including the Blakiston’s fish owl, the red crowned crane, the adorable snow monkeys in their spa & in the snow, the fantastic Steller’s Sea Eagle, & their close relations the White-Tailed Sea Eagle, dreamy Whooper Swans & more in the wintery landscapes of Japan.

One of the young snow monkeys found in the Jigokudani Valley photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

This year, for potentially the last time, we started our Japanese Winter Wildlife trip with the snow monkeys; for next year, we will be starting on Hokkaido & finishing with the snow monkeys, this is mainly so that we can get into a truly wonderful hotel, that no-one should miss out upon. This year, as every year, the snow monkeys did not disappoint, all our clients captured some fantastic images of these primates in their hot spa & in the surrounding snow-clad valley.

A young snow monkey, as can be found in the Jigokudani Valley photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

The first photographic target species on Hokkaido are always the red-crowned cranes, every year, we try for sunset, sunrise & daytime images of these graceful birds – this year, we only had a decent sunset on the first day of two in the area, but the cranes obliged & flew over the tree-line & in-front of the setting sun.

No bird typifies time on Hokkaido more than the Red Crowned Crane photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Moving on from the cranes, we spent several days photographing the beautiful whooper swans on their caldera lake, these are a subject people always fall in love with. Our hotel for the swans was one that boasts wildlife literally outside the windows, & we had a Blakiston’s fish owl & fox come up from the river. The next morning, sable & Hokkaido squirrel were spotted, along with another fox.

After a couple of days in the area, we moved on, northwards, three days of bitter cold, early morning starts & a plethora of eagle action was promised, & delivered upon. Each of the days was very different in conditions, with pack ice forcing us back into the harbour on the second day. Each day, the eagles kept us entertained & the memory cards just kept being filled with superb images of the birds diving, posing, performing flypasts & more.

One of the Sea Eagles soars over the ice laden seas of Hokkaido photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

A quick sojourn down the peninsulas on our way towards the south of Hokkaido, saw us photographing fox & deer in large quantities, & heading to a large frozen lake to photograph the morning squabble for fish amongst Black-eared Kites, White-tailed Sea Eagles & Steller’s Sea Eagles. This location produces some of the cleanest background images of the eagles that I believe are achievable, the action is frantic, like a kite-feeding station, the interactions often harsh, but the photographic opportunities are plentiful.

A steller's sea eagle flies over one of the frozen lakes of Hokkaido in the Winter photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

A Steller's Sea Eagles lands on the ice of one of Hokkaido's lakes photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

One of the Steller's Sea Eagles soars over the ice of one of Hokkaido's lakes photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

February 2018 is yet another return visit to Japan to photograph the various species on offer, including the blakiston’s fish owl, red crowned crane, snow monkey, stellers sea eagle, ural owl, white tailed sea eagle, whooper swan & more; so if you fancy photographing the wonderful winter wildlife & the amazing bleak landscapes, whilst absorbing the culture & everything else Japan in Winter has to offer, then join me for this spectacular Winter Wildlife experience, all the details of the Japanese Winter Wildlife photography holiday may be viewed here.

One place left to join me in a Winter Wonderland

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A blanket of white as far as the eye can see. Fat flakes lazily tumble down to create the illusion that you are actually sitting inside a snow globe. Across a land that lies heavy with tradition, an abundance of wildlife thrives. Snow monkeys bathing in the onsen, beautiful red crowned cranes seem to dance in the air, while Steller’s Sea Eagles & White Tailed Sea Eagles drift on pack ice. See it all with the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Holiday.

One of the Steller's Sea Eagles photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

The headline features of the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Holiday, are as follows:

  • To be conducted between the dates of February 11, 2017 – February 24, 2017.
  • Lead by David Miles.
  • Capture images of the Red Crowned Cranes, Snow Monkeys, Stellers Sea Eagles, White Tailed Sea Eagles & Whooper Swans! 
  • Three days of photographing the impressive Stellers & White-Tailed sea eagles, with a 5am & 9am cruises each day whilst on Hokkaido.
  • Photography at a sea eagle feeding site on a frozen lake, this provides some amazing opportunities for shots of interaction between the sea eagles of both types, plus black-eared kites
  • Like most of our tours – No single supplement!
  • Easy flights into & out of Tokyo.
  • All airport transfers, accommodation, meals on a half-board basis & activities whilst in Japan are included.
  • Tuition on an as-needed basis from David.

Read more

Events

Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

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One of the European Bison within the snowy environs of the Białowieża Forest typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday Details

THE WINTER WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY HOLIDAY TO POLAND IS CURRENTLY PRICED AT £1499 INSTEAD OF £1699 – THE PRICE WILL REVERT TO £1699 ON 31ST OCTOBER 2017 FOR ANY PLACES REMAINING AT THAT POINT IN TIME.

Join NaturesLens in the Białowieża Forest, Poland’s primeval winter wilderness, & home to the largest population of European Bison.  NaturesLens guides will assist you in taking stunning photographs of these magnificent mammals as well as other native residents of the ancient forest such as White-Tailed Sea Eagle, Red Fox, Red Deer & many other bird species.

One of the beautiful red foxes of the Białowieża Forest typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

We invite you to join us for 6 days of fantastic winter photography in Poland; you will be immersed in the ancient forest of Białowieża, photographing European Bison, White-tailed Sea Eagles & other mammals & bird species. Photography leaders will provide tuition on an as needed basis, assisting you in obtaining the best possible images.

A buzzard & a White-tailed Sea Eagle confront one & other on the outskirts of the Białowieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Spend 2 days capturing images of the Bison as they gather near numerous feeding places within the Białowieża Forest. Lead by our guides, you will have the chance to use both wide angle & close-up lenses, at locations from which it is favourable to capture the Bison both at eye level & from a lower perspective.

A European Bison strides through the snow typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Photographing the impressive White-tailed Sea Eagle with a stunning backdrop provided by the Białowieża Forest, you will have endless opportunities to capture motion shots of the birds in flight, soaring overhead as they track prey, feeding, & resting within their habitat. Alongside the white tailed sea eagles live a wide variety of additional bird species; such as the Goshawk, common Buzzard, Jay, Raven, White-backed Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Great & Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, Sparrowhawk, Greenfinch, Hawfinch & various Tits, which you will hopefully have the opportunity to capture on camera.

You will spend full days in the hides, making the most of the changing light conditions throughout the day to take the most spectacular photographs. The hides offer heating & comfortable interiors, therefore protecting you from the icy conditions outside whilst ensuring that your photography experience is both lucrative & enjoyable.

Airport transfers, accommodation on a dinner, bed & breakfast basis are all included in the price, providing you with comfort & excellent hospitality when you return in the evening to relax, unwind, & reflect on events of the day.

One of Goshawks found in the Białowieża Forest typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday
Just one of the various species of woodpecker found within the Białowieża Forest typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A Goshawk perches on a log on the outskirts of the Białowieża Forest typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday One of many woodpeckers found within the Białowieża Forest typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA congress of White tailed Sea Eagles on the snow typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

The NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday is a wildlife photography excursion designed with photographers in mind to ensure you are given the best experience possible. Book early, as places are limited.

Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday Availability

Places available.

Recommended Equipment

Clothing

We recommend that you dress up warmly for early morning starts – it can get quite cold sitting in the hide in the early hours. Wearing layers is advisable so that they may be shed at a later stage where necessary.

  • Waterproof (and windproof) coat.
  • Warm trousers, preferably waterproof.
  •  Thermal clothing.
  •  Thermal socks.
  •  Non slip waterproof boots or wellington boots (no cleats or studs please).
  • Waterproof cap or hat.
  •  Gloves.
  •  Sunglasses.
  •  Warm fleece for early morning starts and once the sun has set.
  •  Clothing for hide work should be camouflage or neutral browns & greens.
  •  Water bottle or flask for tea & coffee.
  •  Sunscreen.
  •  Travel sickness pills.

Camera Equipment

  • Digital camera body.
  • Lenses in the range 70mm – 500mm.
  • Lenses with f2.8 will give the best light capture and speed of focussing.
  • An alternative to long telephoto lenses is a tele-converter (e.g. 1.4x or 2x).
  •  Tripod.
  • Remote shutter release.
  • Spare memory cards.
  • Spare battery.
  • Battery charger.
  • Lens cleaning cloth.
  •  Camera and lens waterproof cover.
  • Laptop or another type of storage device – we will be shooting lots of images.
  • Right angle finder – you will find this very handy for low level photography.
  • Extra tripod head if you also want to use lower window in some of the hides.

Additional Equipment

  • Torch.
  • Chemical foot-warmers.
  • Flask.

Additional Notes

NaturesLens photography holidays include only the travel stated on the event page, flights of any nature are not included. Flight details, where applicable, are made available to clients in plenty of time to allow for booking at the best prices available.

The photography holiday itinerary is subject to change & is to be considered provisional.

NaturesLens photography holidays require a minimum number of participants, if sufficient photography holiday places are not sold the photography holiday may not be run, this photography holiday has a minimum participant level of 4 plus NaturesLens guide(s).

Not all mentioned wildlife can be observed & photographed at all times of the year, thus some activities may be considered seasonal & not available.

Unless stated otherwise, most NaturesLens wildlife photography holidays are suitable for single travellers, we design our holidays so that each participant gets their own room, there is no sharing & no single supplement - if this is unclear for any event, please check the accomodation arrangements prior to making a booking.

Please note the cuisine on many of the NaturesLens wildlife photography holidays is authentic & typical of the region in which you are travelling, international or western cuisine is often NOT available - if this is unclear for any event, please check the cuisine arrangements prior to making a booking.

BOOKING FORM

Poland's Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday BOOKING FORM

All bookings are made subject to our terms & conditions.