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Confessions of a Polar Expedition Leader

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Have you ever wondered what life is like aboard a Quark Expeditions ship and during polar excursions, beyond what you see and read online and in the travel brochures?

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I left my heart in Uummannaq: Greenland with Acacia Johnson

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By: Acacia Johnson

I first watched Uummannaq appear from the sea. In the golden haze of morning light, a single spire loomed silhouetted on the horizon; icebergs filling the ocean ahead. Mountains lined both side of the ship, purple in the glow of dawn, glaciers zigzagging their way towards the sea. As the sun’s rays began to pour over the land, the colorful houses of Uummannaq came into view, perched upon the red stone of the town’s heart-shaped mountain.

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Antarctica bound: Books for the passionate polar buff

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One of the most frequently asked questions we get here at Quark Expeditions (aside from "What do I pack? and "Any tips for handling the Drake Passage?") is what our recommended reading for Antarctica is. When preparing for their journey south, excited history-buffs often want to read all about past explorers and get into the polar mindset.

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A Leap of Faith: The Murres of Cape Walstenholme

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Written by Acacia Johnson

After sailing east from Churchill, the Sea Explorer was promptly met with a gale warning. High winds, swell, and poor visibility kept us on the ship for a day and a half, and with white caps ripping across the sea’s surface outside the window, we instead turned our attention to lectures and presentations. Fortunately, clear skies soon appeared on the weather forecast, and when opportunity struck, we were prepared to seize the day.

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White Whale Wonderland: Cruising with Belugas in Churchill

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Written by Acacia Johnson

On a beautifully warm day in Churchill, Manitoba, the Sea Explorer welcomed a new group of passengers aboard. After a long day of travel and sightseeing for our guests, we had initially planned a restful evening for their first hours aboard the ship – but nature had other plans. In the true spirit of an expedition, we decided to seize the opportunities that presented themselves, because outside, something amazing was happening.

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Sunshine in Sisimiut

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Written by Acacia Johnson

Early morning on the Sea Explorer dawned calm and hazy, the low sun sparkling off the sea in a golden haze. In the distance, mountains lined the horizon, growing slowly larger as we made our way towards shore. Coffee in hand, I joined a group of passengers on the deck, watching seabirds and waiting with anticipation as the colorful houses of Sisimiut grew nearer. Good morning, Greenland.

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Voyage Update: Spitsbergen Circumnavigation

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Fresh From The Sea! Expedition Leader Woody, currently leading Spitsbergen Circumnavigation, shares his exciting voyage update from the Sea Spirit:

"What a morning! Arrived early near Torellneset and spotted a polar bear and two cubs. As the breakfast was almost set on the table we ventured out in perfect blue sky conditions. The mother and cubs strolled to the waters edge where they slept and occasionally wandered about. Later in the morning as we landed at Torellneset, the other and two cubs came to the beac

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Spitsbergen Explorer: Voyage update from the Sea Spirit

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If there is such a thing as a “classic Arctic” expedition cruise, Spitsbergen Explorer is it. You’ll get all the best of Spitsbergen, by exploring the western edge of the island and venturing to some northern outlying areas home to polar bears and walrus. Located above the Arctic Circle, Spitsbergen welcomes travelers from around the world to visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Packed with options for snowshoeing and sea-kayaking, this 11 day voyage is the perfect expedition for exploring the “wildlife capital of the Arctic.”

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Easter Island Blog: Part 1

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Hanga Roa Eco Resort

Easter Island, Rapa Nui, as it is known locally, is a place I have wanted to visit for as long as I can remember. I grew up a bit of a nerd, watching the features of the huge stone heads on the Discovery Channel and I wanted to see them for myself. The opportunity came as I was going to Antarctica. I thought, ‘I’m down in South America already, why not take a few extra days and go?’ I caught my flight from Santiago, Chile, the only place that flies directly to Rapa Nui. When we were coming in to land on one of the most remote places in the world, it really hit me that I was finally going to experience this amazing place for myself. I got a bit over-excited and took a picture of the onboard map. I was one of THOSE people…but I didn’t care.

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Filming The Mysterious 7th Continent

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Rhonda and Tony Wannamaker, members of the Canadian Society of Cinematographers, are a husband and wife film team. Rhonda is a Producer/Sound Recordist and Tony is a Cinematographer/Director. During the month of November 2013, the filmmakers were in the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica working on a documentary about tourism and following in the footsteps of the great heroic Polar explorers, Capt. Robert Falcon Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton. Below is a blog post about their experience:

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