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Adventure Options highlight: Kayaking

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Meet Quark's kayaking expert: Solan Jensen. Born and raised in coastal Alaska, Solan works as a kayak ranger and guide specializing in multi-day sea kayak trips. A highlight of his career, Solan was the co-leader of one of the first commercially guided overnight sea kayak expeditions in Antarctica. Below is an exclusive blog post from Solan:

 

Solan Jensen Solan Jensen

Kayaking in the Polar Regions is probably one of the most intimate and romantic ways to explore these majestic places. The kayak hasn't really evolved since its creation (it was invented in Greenland, BTW), so it's stuck to its primitive and principle concept of being at one with the water and therefore the animals and ice.

Kayaking

Whether it's in the Arctic or Antarctica, kayaking isn't really for everyone though. Between the tempestuous weather, the bone-chilling water, the wild animals and the colossal icebergs, this is some of the most dangerous waters in the world. Quark's kayak guides always encourage paddlers to take a weekend kayak course before they leave on their trip, where they can get a feel for the boat, practice a wet exit, and have a few more hours under their "spray skirt."

Whether it’s the slow pace at which you glide through the water, the bond with a small group of your fellow paddlers, or the primal way you’ll be immersing yourself in these regions, kayaking offers an experience unlike anything else you've ever, or will ever, have.

Kayaking

Interested in kayaking? Take a look at our Top 7 ultimate kayaking expeditions:

 

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Helly Hansen: The Captain of Polar Fashion

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In cooler temperatures, warm becomes the new black. No other brand has stood the test of time in polar fashion stronger than trailblazer, Helly Hansen. The brand started back in 1877 when Norwegian Captain Helly Juell Hansen and his wife Margarethe began producing jackets, trousers, sou'westers and tarpaulins, made from coarse linen soaked in linseed oil.

Fast forward to the 20th century, Helly Hansen has continued to make several huge fabric technology breakthroughs. In fact, they’re responsible for:

  1. The layering principal
  2. The original fleece, fiberpile, which protects and insulates the bodies temperature
  3. Helox, a thin sheet of translucent PVC plastic sewn into waterproof coats
  4. The wonder fiber, LIFA, which pushes moisture away from the body

In addition, in the late 1980’s, they launched Helly Tech technology and revolutionized the creation of breathable and waterproof garments.

Today Helly Hansen is used by world-class sailors, skiers, adventurers – and more importantly –Quark Expeditions! We’re thrilled to be selling Helly Hansen in our ships boutiques, and we’re confident the garments will provide Quark travelers with a strong and sturdy guard against the polar elements so you can snowshoe, hike, ski and sightsee with ease.

Needless to say, you're in good hands when you're with Helly and Quark.

 

 

W Verglas Down Insulator Stone Grey VERSATILE AND LIGHTWEIGHT DOWN INSULATOR FOR WOMEN

This thin, lightweight down jacket for women can be worn as a mid layer or as a coat in its own right. Easily fits into a backpack, making it ideal for active lifestyles or when you're out and about in the polar regions.

 

W Seven J Jacket Women FULL WATERPROOF PROTECTION IN A CLASSIC RAIN JACKET STYLE FOR WOMEN

A great-value, basic rainwear jacket for women. Fully waterproof with Helly Tech® Protection, this raincoat was developed for trekking, biking or just hanging out in winter weather on the ships deck.

 

Verglas Down Insulator Men VERSATILE OG LIGHTWEIGHT DOWN INSULATOR

This thin, lightweight down jacket for men can be worn as a mid layer, and easily fits into a backpack. Ideal for active lifestyles like Quark's adventure options.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sea Spirit: The Ultimate in Comfort Expedition

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Polar expeditions, by nature, are meant to be immersive, explorative adventures enabling passengers to truly get up close and personal with the wildlife and nature of these remote destinations. Some say that the key difference with expedition travel is that it’s all about the destination – not the ship. However, all Polar exploration ships are not created equal. True expedition should not come at the cost of personal comfort; the environment may be harsh and inhospitable, but your ship should be a welcome haven.

Sea Spirit

Although purpose-built for expedition cruising, Quark’s all-inclusive ship, Sea Spirit, is the epitome of comfort and class, carrying out the same expedition experience as those former Russian scientific vessels Quark once operated, however using significantly less fuel then we used to consume. Of course, less fuel means a lighter carbon footprint. Sea Spirit is also capable of carrying out all those hallmarks of expedition cruising such as flexibility of changing course or altering plans to take advantage of weather, sea conditions, wildlife sightings or any other serendipitous occasion.

Sea Spirit

No comfort is spared aboard this intimate but spacious luxury expedition ship, which carries just 114 passengers with an seasoned expedition team of historians, biologists and ornithologists. Your expedition will be led by two of the most seasoned Expedition Leaders, Cheli Larsen and Shane Evoy for the Antarctic 2013.14 season. The smaller number of passengers also means those interested in adventure options such as kayaking can enjoy the intimacy of smaller group outings.

Sea Spirit’s amenities do set it apart from the rest of Quark’s fleet. The all-inclusive beverages feature allows guests the freedom to enjoy their trip without being concerned about the final bill, and three categories of generously-sized cabins — are an absolute premium selling feature – especially for Quark’s longer itineraries.

Sea Spirit SuiteSea Spirit

Whatever your preferred travel style, Quark has a diverse fleet of modern ships to ensure every passenger experiences true expedition in comfort.

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Part 2: Journey to the Arctic with Janet & John Tangney

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Janet & John Tangney have been married for almost 41 years and live in Oregon. John's full time job is writing Computer Aided Design software, and Janet was previously a pre-school teacher and substitute teacher for high school special education class. While John is a photo enthusiast, Janet also enjoys the hobby. They primarily go to National Parks in the USA on their travels, and love the Northwest. John had previously gotten to go to Antarctica with Quark Expeditions, and hopes to be able to return to there with Janet in a couple of years. They have a website, www.pbase.com/jctangney where they post photos for all to view and enjoy.

Janet & John Tangney embarked on Quark's 11 day Spitsbergen Explorer, Wildlife Capital of the Arctic. This Arctic paradise is perfect for first-time visitors. Below is Part 2 of the their exciting journey!

Saturday, 06-29-2013

Overnight the ship sailed back through the Freemansundet (Freeman Strait), south along Spitsbergen Island, around the southern tip and then sailed north to Bellsund Fjord. Bellsund is dominated by high peaks and rocky cliffs, interspersed with glaciers. The 1 km wide island of Akeloya separaes Bellsund from its two main branches, Van Mijenfjorden and Van Keulenfjorden Fjords and extends up to 80 km inland. We were sup-posed to land on the north shore of Bellsund at Van Mijenfjord, but due to wind and waves, switched to a south shore landing at a small fjord, Recherchefjorden (#10 on map). So, this was a fairly easy landing and return, unlike our previous landing. We hiked around on the tundra for a couple of hours, but other than a few birds didn't see any wildlife. Trappers built the structures that remain in the area in the early 1900’s. There are graves with crosses which have fallen because the land moves with the freezing & thawing cycle of the seasons. Due to the permafrost, the trappers could only dig shallow graves, so they were easy to dig up by animals.

Bellsund Purple Sandpiper

Sunday, 06-30-2013
Overnight, we sailed out of Bellsund Fjord north along the coast of northeast Spitzbergen (island), around the northest tip of Spitzbergen and then into Woodfjorden (4th longest fjord in Svalbard) with plans to land on Worsleyneset, a promontory or small peninsula (#11 on map). A male polar bear was spotted on the shore be-fore we even got in the zodiacs, so we could only cruise around the fjord. We watched him walk briskly by 3 reindeer, but none of the reindeer seemed to care because they could easily outrun him. We would continue to see this same male bear as he made his way along the shore of the fjord.
Once on the zodiacs, a second bear (a female) was seen walking along the shore as we moved further into the fjord. The guides can tell even from a distance if it’s a male or female by the size since males are really much bigger.

Close up we could see that she had lost a radio collar recently, by the indent on her neck. Males are never collared because their head is smaller than their neck (or they just don’t have a “neck”). So a collar would just slide off a male easily. This female had a reddish cast over her fur. Actually her entire lower body is red. There is some mineral in the water that causes this. It’s easy to see the water line on her face and body. The zodiacs were following her from a distance. She walked along the shore out to the end of a narrow strip of land, stopped and laid down. The 8 or 9 zodiacs slowly moved in front of her as she closed her eyes. Occa-sionally she opened her eyes, saw those creatures in yellow jackets floating in front of her, then closed her eyes again. Not long after that that first large male bear approached the same area. He did not disturb her, although the guides think she was probably aware of him in the area.

Polar Bear Polar BEar

Our zodiac driver, Patrick, decided that the male would probably cross over the hill and we could zip around the hill on the water and catch sight of him again. He was right. The bear kept on walking but in a few minutes we again came across him and now he was approaching our zodiac. By now all the other zodiacs were mov-ing into position to watch him. He kept coming towards us and when he reached the water, he stopped, looked around at the zodiacs then walked into the water. He swam across the inlet, crawled out on the other side and proceeded up to the top of a ridge to shake the water off his fur, with a mountain setting behind him. John got a really good photo of him shaking. In the afternoon, we went on a zodiac cruise to the end of Leifdefjord (“love fjord”) to see Monacobreen, Monaco Glacier (#12 on map). Monaco Glacier was named for Prince Albert of Monaco who led expeditions mapping the glacier in 1906-1907.

As we cruised through the fjord, we passed many smaller glaciers. It was like a giant cul-de-sac of glaciers coming down to the sea. Monaco Glacier is over 3 miles wide where it en-ters the sea. We watched a smaller glacier calving and road out the waves. Once a glacier calves, there's literally swarms of birds circling around the area looking for tiny sea creatures that have been stirred up from the ice that fell into the sea. Then all the ice that has fallen now clogs the fjord so it's a very rough ride in the zodiac making our way back to the ship. I took over 1600 photos (90% will probably be blurry due to taking them in a moving zodiac) today alone and that must have been a record for me. John took about 1400 photos. Also saw 2 walrus in the water and 2 Minke whales. Amazing scenery, glaciers and mountains surrounding the entire fjord in all directions. As we returned to the ship, it started sprinkling. It's now raining hard. Anoth-er zodiac cruise is planned in 2 hours in front of a glacier.

Walrus Ice

Tonight at 10pm we passed the 80 degree North latitude (#13 on map) and we had a BBQ out on the top deck. We were wrapped in our yellow parkas huddling together to keep warm. Our ex-pedition leader, Woody, wore Hawaiian shirt with no parka! Off the port side of the ship as we celebrated crossing the 80 degree point, we saw a walrus “haul-out” on a nearby shore. From the collec-tive gathering of warm walrus bodies (at least 50) combined with the right atmospheric conditions, we could see steam rising from the haul-out.

80 Degrees North Walrus

Monday, 07-01-2013
So we are sailing near the ice pack in this as we sail southeast through Hinlopenstretet (Hinlopen Strait) to-day. This strait lies between the islands of Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet. We haven't seen this kind of ice until today. Up to now, we see icebergs and some sea ice, but this is like puzzle pieces all floating together as it continues to break up along with icebergs, which have calved from glaciers. In the afternoon, we did a zodiac cruise past the cliffs of Alkefjellet on Kapp (cape of) Fanshawe also known as “Mount Guillemot” in Hinlopen Strait (#14 on map) which is the breeding site of 60,000 breeding pairs of Brunnich’s Guillemots. Several species of other birds also nest there in the summer. There is an estimated 250,000 breeding pairs of all birds here for 3 months of the year. The Guillemots fly and swim like pros, but water take offs and landings are hilarious. They glide down low and after a while then just flop ungracefully into the water. Takeoffs are running across the water while flapping furiously taking a long time to actually get airborne. They frequently collide with others attempting to either land or take off. We watched a Great Skua (a large sea gull type bird) tackle one of these little guys, hold him underwater to drown him, all the while other Guillemots were swimming by glancing casually at the take down or just swim-ming by the ensuing murder without even taking notice. Even for those of us who don't fully appreciate birds, it was an amazing site.

Guillemots Gulliemot

Tuesday, 07-02-2013

Backtracking now, north of Spitsbergen Island overnight, we headed south into Smeerenburgfjorden, Smeerenburg Fjord (#16 on map), on the northwest corner of Spitsbergen. John and I opted out of the zodiac landing this morning on the small island of Amsterdamoya. It's all about the whaling settlement in this area in the 1600's, not our thing. John is work-ing on photos that he wants to submit for the DVD which is a collection of photos that passengers could submit, then everyone gets a copy of it. Tonight is the end of submitting photos. I saw 3 puffins fly by me Monday morning. I was just headed in the door, so I couldn't get a shot of them, but I said it to the few people sitting in the lounge. I didn't see any more, so I asked one of the staff if I really could have seen puffins. He said there aren't many here right now, but yes, I probably did. I was bragging that I must have seen the first puffins on the trip, but people from England told me that puffins are all over the coastal areas of Great Britain. Oh well!

After lunch we went on a zodiac cruise from Smeerenburgfjorden (#16 on map) to Fuglefjorden, Fugle Fjord (#17 on map) , exploring the glaciers and looking for wildlife. This entire area is part of Nordvest-Spitsbergen Nasjonalpark, Northwest Spitsbergen National Park. We saw glaciers calving, lots of sea birds, including Common Eider Ducks (I got great photo of that) plus puffins. John got a really good photo of a pair of puffins. It is amazing to think that for nearly 3 months, it never gets dark. But then even more amazing to think that this area is in total darkness for the same amount of time. This whole adventure will be ending in 2 days. I will be glad to get home (I miss petting a dog.) But will be sad to see this end at the same time.

Atlantic Puffins Glacier

Wednesday, 07-03-2013

We sailed at night south along the northwest corner of Spitsbergen then rounding the tip of island, Prins Karls Forland, for a landing at Poolepynten on that island (#18 on map). We are going to see a walrus haul-out this morning on a zodiac landing. John is standing in line to be on the first zodiac out (they usually have 8 zodiacs). We saw a haul-out from a distance at the 80th latitude party. But, hopefully, we will be closer to the haul-out doing a landing. The first group of passengers from 3 or 4 zodiacs will approach the walrus. How they react to us will deter-mine how close we can get. In other words, if they freak and head to the water, at least we will be in the first group to try to see them. They announced all this last night, so I have a feeling they know well how this will play out. They give the worst case scenario, but expect it to be fine. They were quite sure the walrus would be in this location. This is our final zodiac landing so I'm sure they want to end on a high point. I read when we boarded the ship last week that email would end 2 days before we return to Longyearbyen. We have about 24 hours left on board and I'm still emailing. So this may be my last email. I hope not, I would like to write about the walrus when we get back to the ship.

Just got back from seeing the walrus and still have email up and running. Apparently 95 creatures in bright yellow parkas are not enough to disturb a mid-morning nap on the beach for a couple dozen walrus. The crew set out a line in the sand so the passengers would know exactly where to stand. It was 30 meters from the walrus (I haven't done the math yet to convert it to feet.) There were a few scuffles within the group, much to the quiet delight of all of us. There was no steam rising from the gathering as the air temp was warm enough for that not to occur. It was quite a privilege to stand there observing those large lumbering animals. Lunch in a few. Gotta get in line.

Photography Walrus

This will be my last email from the ship. After our walrus encounter this morning, we sailed south into Isfiorden (the fjord where Longyearbyen is located) to a landing on the north side of the fjord in the bay of Trygghamna below the mountain, Alkhornet (#19 on map). Our hike was through lush, often times, soggy tundra and up and down steep hills. The cliffs around our land-ing site were bird colonies and we were told that reindeer frequently graze in the area. The highlight of the hike was seeing 3 beautiful reindeer close-up. It's hard to take seriously an animal with the name "reindeer". They are quite beautiful, but they have this weird black mask across their face making sort of comical looking. We hiked up, way up, to see them. Not everyone made it. I'm quite proud of myself for doing it.

Photography Reindeer

After our photo session with the reindeer, we started our walk back. Annie, one of the guides, pointed out the native willow trees now have leaves on them. In another month they will be sporting their fall colors. These trees are no more than a half-inch high. Technically they are trees, but it's hard to get excited over a fully grown tree that's less than an inch high. Speaking of trees, it has been 10 days or so since I've seen a tree or any plant that's over a few inches high. We do not have far to travel to get back to Longyearbyen (#20 & #1 on map), so will stay in the Isfjorden to-night, then finish our journey early in the morning. We will use zodiacs to get to the dock in Longyearbyen as there are not enough docks to accommodate all the ships that arrive in Longyearbyen. Tomorrow it's back to the airport run. We'll be home Friday night. I hope you enjoyed reading my emails. I en-joyed writing them. When John went to Antarctica, it was so fun for me to get his emails. When he got home, I took the emails and made a journal of his trip inserting the appropriate photos with the emails.

Thought for the day: I have heard only 3 phones ring over the past 10 days. It's probably a communication system within the ship. The phone in the bar rang once and I head a phone in the kitchen area of the dining room a couple of times. It will be back to the world of rings and beeps tomorrow!

Saturday, 07-06-2013 (at home)

John has all our photos (probably 5000 for each of us) downloading as I type this. Yes 5000 each is extreme, but MOST of them are blurry (at least for me) because we were taking most photos on zodiacs! I do have a few photos that I took on my little Canon camera. These were from our Arctic BBQ, crossing the 80 degrees north celebration (#13 on map) and hat contest on the 30th. John and I did not enter the con-test. Temperature at the BBQ was probably about 40 degrees F with a brisk wind. The day we disembarked from the ship and waited in Long-yearbyen for the airport bus, a group of high school age kids from Longyearbyen Skole (primary and secondary school) walked through the city center. One of the stu-dents, Tim, had his husky, Spot, with him. I think this might be a daily occurrence, since all of them seemed to take delight in watching dog-owning tourists, who haven’t petted a dog in many days, take turns petting Spot.

Seed Bank

Epilogue, 07-06-2013
I wished I had Googled this before we left on our trip, as this is really interesting about Longyearbyen. (I never study up where we are going until I get back.) I would have thought the name, Longyearbyen, would have something to do with the long days for 4 months in summer when the sun does not set or the long nights for 4 months in winter when the sun does not rise. No... John Longyear, an American, started the Arctic Coal Company in 1906 employing 500 hearty men. The settlement was known as Longyear City. Today it is Longyearbyen. Coal is still mined there today and the city buzzes year-round with tourists. Winter is for snowmobile tours of the tundra, exploring ice caves and viewing the Northern Lights. It is the world's northern-most town and the northernmost settlement of any kind with greater than 1,000 permanent residents.

Other interesting facts:
- All buildings in Longyearbyen are built on stilts due to permafrost
- The sun sets on Oct 25 and rises again, ever so slightly on March 8
- Residents are required to carry high powered rifles if you leave the main settlement area due to curious and hungry polar bears
- Snow mobiles far outnumber vehicles... more than 4000 registered for it’s 2000 residents
- The world’s northernmost church, ATM, post office, museum, airport and university are located in Long-yearbyen
- Longyearbyen is home to one of the Global Seed Vaults in the world, where seeds from around the world are held in an underground cave. Over 400,000 seeds are frozen at Zero degrees F. (minus 18 degrees C.) in case of a large scale regional or global crisis

And finally, remember John’s photo of the reindeer won the first "Photo of the Day”? That photo won “Photo of the Voyage”. The prize was a DVD with a 1000 images of the Svalbard region taken over several years by one of the Zodiac drivers, Vladimir Seliverstov. John remembered Vlad from his trip to Antarctica in 2010. Gorgeous photos!

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Polar Adventure: Camping in Antarctica

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This post is featured on The Weather Channel website written by Matthew Neugeboren and Stephanie Valera. It highlights adventure couple Dave and Deb of ThePlantD as they embark on a memorable camping experience in Antarctica with Quark Expeditions:

With its breathtaking scenery and unique wildlife, many consider Antarctica as one of the most fascinating places on Earth. But it's also a land of extremes, the coldest and driest continent on Earth, and only accessible via ice-strengthened vessels that can brave the rough sea crossings. This makes Antarctica the ultimate destination for camping and outdoors enthusiasts. Couple Dave and Deb of the adventure website ThePlanetD, joined some of those enthusiasts and recently traveled with Quark Expeditions for a camping adventure "at the bottom of the world." In the following pages, they share their photos and tips.

"Camping in Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime experience," Dave told Weather.com. "The night we were in Antarctica, there was a full moon and it was spectacular to watch the moon rise over the Antarctic peninsula. We had penguins stop by to check us out and a leopard seal was already sleeping close by when we arrived. All night long we heard his gurgles and burps."

Camping in an unspoiled land such as Antarctica, however, means following several strict rules. "A limited number of people can camp on the continent at one time and there are many rules and regulations," Dave said. "Nothing can be left behind. To ensure that happens, no food or drink is allowed on land except for water and you are not allowed to go to the toilet unless it is an absolute emergency. If it's an absolute emergency you can use the portable potty that they bring from the ship."

 

Camping in Antarctica Dave and Deb Photo courtesy of ThePlantD

According to Dave, campers trudged through the snow to find the perfect site and stomped out their "bed," enough below the ground to provide shelter from the wind overnight. "You have to be careful not to break out in a sweat or you'll lose all your body heat," said Dave. "So before we get down to sleeping, we're all walking around with no coats on doing our work."

Campers don't sleep in tents in Antarctica. Instead, Dave and Deb put down a foam mattress and slept in "bivouac sacks" (or bivy sacs) that zipped over their heads. "We had thick sleeping bags [inside the bivy sacs] and slept snug as a bug in a rug," said Dave. "We put our coats and boots under our heads so that they wouldn't be freezing when we woke up." According to Dave, the bivy sacs actually provided more warmth than tents, because they trap in the heat. "A tent is a wide open space that lets the cold air in," said Dave. "If you are a bit claustrophobic, like I was, it makes for an uncomfortable night. I had to keep unzipping my sleeping bag whenever I woke up to catch my breath, at times I felt trapped."

To sleep in sub-zero weather of Antarctica means having the appropriate gear. Dave, Deb and other campers wore layers underneath the parkas: a base layer to wick away moisture and an insulating layer to keep warm. The outer layers were waterproof and windproof. They also wore waterproof Gore-Tex pants, warm gloves, a "neck dickie" (Canadian for mock turtleneck) made of fleece, and a very warm hat. On their feet, they wore insulated rubber boots that we wore with a thin sock base layer under a warm wool sock. "Make sure you wear good sunglasses too," said Dave. "The sun in Antarctica is bright."

 

Antarctica Camping Dave and Deb Photo courtesy of ThePlantD

Venturing into subzero temperatures in a remote land requires preparation. Dave recommends booking with a company that specializes in polar expeditions and ensuring that they have an experienced staff. "The company we went with has a staff with several years of polar experience," said Dave. "They are marine biologists and scientists with a passion for Antarctica and our captain had decades of experience. They know and understand glaciers and weather and we felt in very capable hands."

Dave also recommends doing extensive pre-departure research. "Read your pre-departure guides on what to pack and what to expect and listen to your briefings," said Dave. "The company we went with gave us parkas and rubber boots to wear ensuring that we would be warm and comfortable, but there is a lot that you have to pack as well." And once on the continent? "Don't venture off from the boundaries that your guides set when you go to explore on land and make sure to listen to what your guide tells you when you are on the zodiac," said Dave. "Hold on and pay attention."

Check out more of Dave and Deb's camping experience in Antarctica at Camping in Antarctica on ThePlanetD.

Dave and Deb are a travel couple who live by the motto "adventure is for everyone" Married for 15 years, they've visited over 80 countries on 7 continents. They aim to inspire people to follow their dreams and push their boundaries. Currently they are 2013 American Express Ambassadors, Expedia Viewfinders for Expedia.com and HouseTrip Diplomats. They have appeared on TV as regular travel experts, been featured in such publications as The National Post, BBC Travel and National Geographic and have spoken around the world about pursuing your passion. Follow their journeys on their travelblog ThePlanetD.com.

 

Interested in this experience of a life time? Contact one of our polar travel advisers for more details!

 

 

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Spitsbergen Circumnavigation - voyage update!

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Great update sent to us today from our Spitsbergen Circumnavigation voyage, currently in progress:

 xSEA_june2013_spitsmap-600x450.jpg.pagespeed.ic.YqLFRf0a4Y

"Last night we camped at Hornsund. All went well and for the campers we enjoyed a bonus walk, a beluga visit at the landing beach where we gathered to enjoy views of adults and young and then mist and sunshine created a colourful rainbow over our campers.

Today while sailing into Brepolle, we spotted a Polar Bear with cub and when we zodiaced to get a closer view we had eight ivory gulls as a bonus prize!

--

Woody

David "Woody" Wood

EL MV Sea Spirit

 

Want more updates? Follow our @QuarkAtSea twitter account!

 

Photo from the passenger slideshow on our June 24, 2013 Spitsbergen Explorer voyage.

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Penguins and sea kayaks

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In this photo, an Antarctic local carefully navigates some rocks, sea kayakers and a Quark ship in the background. Looks like a perfect day in Antarctica!

xElsa3-600x450.jpg.pagespeed.ic.NHSWhvF-JT

Feeling adventurous? Amp up your voyage with one of Quark’s adventure options. With seven activities to choose from, there’s something for every level of excitement. Have a look at our interactive Adventure opinions brochure today!
Photo credit: Elsa

Got an ice photo of your own to share? Post it to twitter and tag with #IcePhoto! Follow Quark Expeditions on twitter @quarkexpedition where we share photos and videos and chat about all things polar!

Follow us: @QuarkExpedition on Twitter | QuarkExpeditions on Facebook

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Kayaking in Antarctica, gliding through the ice

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A really great perspective photo on what it's like kayaking through ice in Antarctica! You can almost imagine yourself there right now if you look really close...

xCPA_Feb122013_IMG_1121-600x450.jpg.pagespeed.ic.-l6pZ99JkZ

Photo from the Quark Expeditions passenger slideshow on our Fly the Drake voyage, February 2013.

Got an ice photo of your own to share? Post it to twitter and tag with #IcePhoto! Follow Quark Expeditions on twitter @quarkexpedition where we share photos and videos and chat about all things polar!

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Camping in Antarctica

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Camping with the incredible scenery of Antarctica as backdrop - one for everyone's bucket list!

Stay cozy in camping equipment specially designed for cold temperatures, the soundtrack of seals and penguins lulling you to sleep (or perhaps keeping you awake!). Interested in this experience of a life time?
Contact one of our polar travel advisers for more details!

 xPJW5868-600x328.jpg.pagespeed.ic.Li0GZCpzDF

Photo by Phil Wickens, Nov 2012.

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Top 5 reasons to travel with Quark Expeditions

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1. Polar travel is all we do:
we are the leaders in polar adventure and we have been doing it for over 20 years!

 

2. Our People:
You’d be hard-pressed to find a group of people more passionate about the Polar Regions than the staff at Quark. From our office support staff and Executive team, to our incredible Expedition Team members and leaders, we are delighted to share everything we know and love about these unique and beautiful regions. We operate our expeditions (no middle man!), hand-pick experienced Expedition Teams, and we provide expertise that only a polar specialist can.

 

alex Expedition Leader Alex on the job in Antarctica3.

3. Safety comes first:

When you're traveling with Quark, you can rest assured that you are traveling with one of the most responsible and safety-conscious companies in the Polar expeditions industry.

 

4. Choice of Destination: Our itineraries are designed by the leader in polar adventures.

 

  • In Antarctica: We have the largest and most diverse fleet of passenger ships in the Antarctic operated by one entity. We deliver more departures and a greater variety of itineraries than any other company.
  • In the Arctic: We go higher and farther than anyone else. Our nuclear-powered icebreaker crushes its way to the North Pole. Our Polar Adventure Ships let us explore Spitsbergen, Svalbard, add kayaking options, and to experience channels and bays through which our icebreakers cannot sail.

 

 

 

North Pole 2012 Quark Expeditions passengers form a circle at the North Pole

 

5. More activities to choose from:
From camping, kayaking through ice, snowshoeing across pristine snow, helicopter rides at the top of the world and more, we've got lots of adventure options that are sure to make your bucket-list the envy of everyone you know!

 

 

Camping in Antarctica Camping in Antarctica
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