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Dreaming in Disko Bay

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I was out on deck early the morning we entered Disko Bay. Fog surrounded the ship, hazy blue-grey into infinity, light rain and calm seas. As I watched, a giant iceberg appeared through the mist, looming ominously before it faded away into oblivion. Another appeared, then yet another. Soon the ship wove carefully through a landscape of ice, each piece as unique as an individual person. “It was as if they had been borne down from a world of myth, some Gotterdammerung of noise and catastrophe”, Barry Lopez had written. “Fallen pieces of the moon”. I stared out in wonder at their silence and their magnitude.

Photo by Acacia Johnson 

We spent days around the ice and each one was different. One eerie night we anchored near the glacier Eqip Sermia, which thundered all night and whose jagged face gleamed blue in the morning to greet us, again enshrouded in fog. We walked a great distance to see it from above, fording river after river around the base of sweeping black mountains. We were alert that day, watching the glacier and the sea, wary of tsunamis rising up from the massive walls of ice that cracked magnificently and collapsed into the water. Our caution rewarded us, and as we crested the ridge of moraine, the fog lifted. The whole world of Eqip Sermia’s ice lay below us, galaxies of its remains floating out into the green-blue sea.

 

Photo by Acacia Johnson

 

Photo by Acacia Johnson

 

That night we stopped the ship outside the town of Ilulissat, launching our zodiacs out into the evening light. Immense walls of ice stood, fortress-like, at the mouth of Jakobshavn Icefjord. The gateway to another world. I thought of the Norwegian word isfjell - ice mountain. We slowly cruised their perimeter at a distance, watching new landscapes appearing in the spaces between the bergs. Time passed and the sky grew a brilliant purple, the ice glowing turquoise white in contrast. I looked at the colorful buildings of Ilulissat in the distance and wondered what it must be to grow up in this wondrous place, to accept such dramatic and constant change every single day. I thought perhaps it teaches you something about the nature of life, something that can be all too easy to forget at times.

 disko26

 

The sky gleamed suddenly yellow for a brief moment, reflecting brilliant off the glassy water. Then darkness overtook the seascape, and this world of ice faded from view and into the night.

 

Acacia Johnson is currently aboard the Sea Explorer on our Arctic Quest Expedition.

Find out more about Quark's Arctic expeditions.

 

 

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To the Arctic with Quark Expeditions

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We sat down with Quark's Polar Travel Manager Terri Chalmers and asked her to tell us a little bit about her Three Arctic Islands voyage with us last fall. She also shared a few of her favourite photos from the voyage - thanks Terri! Thinking of taking this expedition? Read all about it from the eyes of a Quark passenger below!

 

Name: Terri Chalmers

Job title: Polar Travel Manager

Trip Name: Three Arctic Islands

Pre-post night city: Oslo/Reykjavik

Date of Travel: Sept 4-17, 2012

 

1. How would you describe your personal travel style & why?

I'm always looking for excitement and something new. I like to visit remote places.

 

2. What were the weather conditions like during your trip?

It was a mix but was mostly sunny and mild temperatures. Not as cold as you'd think!

Three Arctic Islands by Terri Chalmers

3. Best memory on the ship or your overall impression of the ship and/or staff:

I know I might sound biased but we really do have fantastic expedition staff – always striving to provide the best, most memorable experience possible.

 

4. Top 3 things you did or experienced on your Polar expedition:

- Snuck up on a group of musk ox on the side of a hill in Greenland

- Saw a polar bear on an ice floe, with her fresh kill

- The Northern lights!

Three Arctic Islands by Terri Chalmers

5. Describe a wow moment or particularly special memory from your trip:

- Cruising in the zodiacs along the beach, watching a mother polar bear and her cub.

- The water was so cold during our Polar plunge, that they had to use a Zodiac to break the thin layer of iced that had formed at the surface before we could run in! But don’t let that stop you from trying it - the warm ship and hot beverages are not far away!

 

6. Sum up your trip in 3 words:

Breathtaking

Exhilarating

Emotional

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7. What would you say to anyone who is considering travelling to the Polar Regions:

Don’t let the thought of going to a cold environment dissuade you from visiting. The stunning landscapes and the immersion in nature and its wildlife are more than worth it.

Three Arctic Islands by Terri Chalmers

8. Are there any other experiences, restaurants, food, people, places or sites you would like to highlight?

Reykjavik is a great city in which to extend your trip. Easy to get around on foot, lots of interesting sights and culture, fantastic food. Ask your polar travel adviser for details on extending your trip!

 

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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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Antarctic Shake

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This just in!

The Quark office staff has just received this video from our Expedition Team on the Sea Spirit. Check out that Antarctic Shake! This time...it's NOT just the Drake Passage.

Thanks to the team on the Sea Spirit for putting together this video...you made our day!

 

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