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Antarctic Explorer Update from David "Woody" Wood

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Feature photo: Ushuaia. Photo courtesy of Bei Maarten.

Quark Expedition Leader David "Woody" Wood is aboard the Ocean Diamond, leading the Antarctic Explorer Voyage:

2nd December: Ushuaia

3-4 December

The Drake passage flexed some muscle as we crossed it to begin our voyage south. Winds raged above 84 knots as we sailed south and it rocked and rolled us. The Ocean Diamond managed the conditions masterfully but it moved us and not all wanted to rise from the horizontal resting position.

Our second sea day still provided some seas but the violence had decreased and with the gentling weather we were pleased to see some fin whales and then an avian orgy as we were joined by four elegant light manteled Sooty Albatross, a group of Antarctic petrels and a squadron of Cape petrels.

 

Drake Passage Drake Passage, photo courtesy of Brooke McClure.

5th December

Early risers enjoyed the splendid glacial views as we sailed into Wilhelmina Bay. Our climbers were dropped off and began their ascent. Soon we were all zodiac cruising this magnificent bay in bright clear calm conditions. Chinstrap and gentoo penguins decorated the islands and ice floes. A magnificent introduction to the scale and grandeur of the icy wilderness, Antarctica.

Cuverville Island

We climbed ice steps to be on the mini "polar plateau" at the gentoo colony. We enjoyed a march of and with the penguins as they stepped, skidded and slid their icy highways. Nest building and fortifying was in full swing as was energetic copulation.

Skiers ascended Ronge island and looked over an array of icebergs and icy mountains in all directions.

Kayakers paddled and drifted around the island enjoying shaggs on rocks, seals on ice an torpedoes of penguins.

 

Cuverville Island Gentoo penguin colony, Cuverville Island,. Photo courtesy of Quark Passenger.

At 21:30 the campers were boated to shore with simple supplys to celebrate an experience and survive a night on the ice. The sky was clear and as the light softened the temperature dropped. The icy crystal beds were a cool experience and the night for some seemed endless. Soon after six in the morning the boats returned to recover survivors and although there were many stories there were no regrets and no one perished!

Stay tuned for more exciting voyage updates!

Read Woody's recent updates from the Ocean Diamond: Lemaire, Ice fields, Neko Harbour & Polar plunge

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Pleneau Island: Iceberg Alley

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Pleneau Island is located west of Booth Island at the southern end of the Lemaire Channel and features an array of iceberg scenery. In fact, an astonishing ninety-three percent of the world’s mass of icebergs is found surrounding the Antarctic. The word "iceberg" actually comes from partial Dutch translation meaning "ice mountain." The term iceberg refers to chunks of ice larger than 5 meters (16 feet) and smaller chunks of ice are known as bergy bites (how cute!) and growlers. While Antarctic icebergs last typically ten years and Arctic bergs about two years, what's interesting to note is the glacial ice that icebergs are made of could be more than 15,000 years old!

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Beautiful and tranquil, this photo was captured from Pleneau Island, at Pleneau Bay, from one of our 2011 Antarctica Expeditions

 

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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Frost Flowers

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"The earth laughs in flowers." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

So how do these pretty bouquets bloom ? Frost Flowers are formed on new and thin ice sublimates. Ice that changes directly from a solid to a gas, bypassing the liquid stage.

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Photo credit: Chris Edwards, from our 2009/2010 Antarctic Voyage

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!
Read more: http://www.quarkexpeditions.com/blog/2013/07/penguins-and-sea-kayaks/#ixzz2bDNrpuoz
Follow us: @QuarkExpedition on Twitter | QuarkExpeditions on Facebook

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Follow the leader!

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Can you keep up? Hurry! These chinstrap penguins are strutting in fine form and will not wait for you to take their picture!

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Thanks to passenger "Dan O" for snapping this timely photo from one of our Antarctica Voyages in February 2009.

 

 

 

 

 

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Romantic Antarctica

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Did you know that we've had lots of proposals, and even a few weddings on our polar voyages? Antarctica, the North Pole, or the Arctic are all perfect settings for that special moment in your life...talk about making it unforgettable!

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Photo from the Quark Expeditions passenger slideshow, Antarctic Explorer voyage, December 2012.

Interested in making your voyage a little more special? Speak to one of our Polar Travel Advisers for details!

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Moody Deception Island

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This shot of Whaler's Bay, Deception Island in Antarctica in stark black and white really evokes a sense of Antarctic history.

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Photo from the Quark Expeditions passenger slideshow on our November 2012 Explorers & Kings voyage.

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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A peaceful moment in Antarctica

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A peaceful-looking gentoo penguin watches over Neko Harbour, Antarctica.

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Photo by Amy Allred on our Antarctic Explorer voyage, December 2012.

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Falcon Scott in the Aitcho Islands with Quark Expeditions

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Falcon Scott on Zodiac in the Aitcho Islands, South Shetland Islands.

From the Feb 9th, 2013 Antarctic Explorer voyage aboard the Ocean Diamond, with special guests Falcon Scott and Jonathan Shackleton (relatives of the famous Antarctic explorers!). Read more about this amazing voyage with Scott and Shackleton here.

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Photo by Karine Bengualid

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Iceberg Archway

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Icebergs come in all shapes and sizes. It is hard describe the feeling you get when you see an iceberg up close for the first time and see the beautiful blue colors reflecting back at you. You will encounter many iceberg that have melted away to form uneven archways. The fragile archway allowing you to catch a glimpse of the local wildlife or a zodiac of Quark passengers cruising by on the other side.

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