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Ocean Diamond: Aerial view from the Drone

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Wanna see something cool?

Watch this 30 second video that features an aerial view from a GoPro and Drone of the Ocean Diamond in Antarctica!

Filmed on a DJI Phantom Vision Drone , footage courtesy of Quark's amazing Product Manager, Clayton Anderson.

DroneBlog2

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A day in the life: Spitsbergen, Arctic

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Ever wonder what it's like to be on an Arctic expedition? This video gives you an intimate snapshot of a day in the life of one of our Spitsbergen voyages. Time spent in Spitsbergen is always unique from one day to the next. Epic, awesome and majestic, the Arctic region of Svalbard region is full of wildlife and amazing scenery just waiting for you. Come explore the Arctic and Antarctica with Quark Expeditions.

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A day in the life: Spitsbergen, Arctic

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Hot Docs & Quark Expeditions: First-ever Polar Floating Film Festivial

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Talk about a milestone here at Quark Expeditions! Eight documentaries have been selected by Hot Docs for the first-ever Polar Floating Film Festival. Starting November 2, 2013 the films will be featured on the Sea Spirit during the 23-day Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica via Buenos Aires: Explorers and Kings voyage.

“Quark is continually striving to provide its passengers with unique experiences when traveling to the Polar Regions,” said Hans Lagerweij, president of Quark Expeditions. “We are really excited to be able to bring this diverse roster of incredible films to our passengers for what is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience." Hot Docs selected the films with Quark’s passengers in mind – their love of adventure, the environment, globalization, the Polar Regions, and of course, pop culture.

"We are thrilled to share an eye-opening journey with Quark Expeditions' passengers through these eight outstanding documentaries,” says Brett Hendrie, Hot Docs executive director. "From witnessing the dramatic consequences of climate change to experiencing a solo sailing voyage around the globe through the eyes of a teenager, the inaugural Floating Polar Film Festival will appeal to their sense of adventure and curiosity about the world."

Sarafina DiFelice, programming manager at Hot Docs, will also be on board to help introduce the films and guide passengers through their on board festival experience. The Floating Festival will be complete with commemorative program, concession stand and souvenirs available at the Polar Boutique.

In alphabetical order, the films are:

Chasing Ice (USA).Directed by Jeff Orlowski.

  • This visually stunning film follows renowned National Geographic photographer James Balog on a harsh Arctic expedition where he captures a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers—undeniable evidence that our planet is in crisis. Director in attendance for the film festival voyages.

Watch the trailer >

Chasing Ice trailer

Expedition to the End of the World (Denmark). Directed by Daniel Dencik.

For a few weeks each year, the North Pole melts just enough to reveal once-hidden, untouched fjords. A boatload of motley artists and scientists set sail in search of life in this hilarious, breathtaking modern-day adventure.

Watch the trailer >

Expedition to the End of the World

The Human Scale (Denmark). Directed by Andreas M. Dalsgaard

“It’s either cars or humans,” says revolutionary architect Jan Gehl, asked how to accommodate the 6.5 billion who will be living in cities by 2050. From NYC to Chongqing, this controversial film examines what urban landscapes could soon be.

Watch the trailer>

The Human Scale Trailer

Maidentrip (USA). Directed by Jillian Schlesinger.

At just 14 years old, Laura Dekker sets out to become the youngest person ever to sail solo around the world. Braving waves and loneliness for two years, she shoots her own amazingly intimate coming-of-age story on the wide open sea.

Watch the trailer>

Maiden Voyage trailer

Under African Skies (USA, South Africa). Directed by Joe Berlinger.

The film celebrates the musical accomplishments of Paul Simon’s award-winning album Graceland and investigates the maelstrom of political criticism surrounding the album’s production and release in 1986.

Watch the trailer>

Under the African Skys trailer

Village at the End of the World (UK, Denmark, Greenland). Directed by Sarah Gavron.

A witty, surprising and ultimately feel-good portrait of an isolated Greenlandic village of 59 people and 100 sledge dogs, surviving against the odds.

Watch the trailer>

Village at the End trailer

Which Way is the Front Line From Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington (USA). Directed by Sebastian Junger.

In April 2011, filmmaker and photographer Tim Hetherington was killed covering the Libyan civil war. In an intimate portrait by those closest to him, Tim is revealed to be as much a humanitarian as he was an artist.

Watch the trailer>

Which way to the Front line trailer

William and the Windmill (USA). Directed by Ben Nabors.

An ingenious 14-year-old Malawian boy builds a windmill from junk, and rescues his family from famine. But when the overwhelming media attention transforms his life, can he survive the massive change?

Watch the trailer>

William and the Windmill trailer

 

How to Book?

Those interested in being aboard the first-ever Floating Polar Film Festival can take advantage of a special offer. Book your cabin before September 30, 2013, and receive 5% off the voyage price plus save up to $1500 per person off your international flights. For more information, or to reserve your cabin, contact a Quark Polar Travel Adviser at 888-892-0073 or visit www.quarkexpeditions.com

 

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An Antarctic Tea Tasting

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Take a sip back in time! Jaymie our Merchandise Coordinator and Michael our IT Specialist taste Silk Road Tea's limited edition Antarctic Expedition Tea. In addition to the delightful flavour, Michael, our Quark IT Specialist, remarks the tea's aroma " is divine." The tea is a re-creation of the tea enjoyed by the British Antarctic Expedition in the quest to be the first to reach the South Pole in 1911-1912. Captain Scott requested a strong black tea be created, that would lift the spirits of his team during the cold and long journey through the Antarctic. Enjoy as both a breakfast tea, or an all day pick-me-up!

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The tea will be available in the Quark Expedition ship polar boutiques this Antarctic season.

 

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Quark Expeditions Experts-in-Residence Announced

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Top image copyright Sue Flood

We are pleased to announce our Experts-in-Residence program for the 2013.14 Antarctic season! Renowned for the expedition team's expertise in the Arctic and Antarctica, our Experts-in-Residence program adds an extra layer of interest and insight to polar expeditions with best-in-class guests from the fields of polar history, scientific research, and photography.

This year we are thrilled to have the following polar experts join us:

Jonathan Shackleton 2013

Polar History

Back by popular demand, Jonathan Shackleton (cousin of Sir Ernest Shackleton) is a leading expert on the life and achievements of Ernest Shackleton and he is author of Shackleton: An Irishman in Antarctica and The Shackletons of Ballitore (1580-1987). Jonathan will be on four voyages this season:

 

Jonathan Shackleton was part of our Experts in Residence program in February of 2013 when he joined an Antarctic Explorer voyage on the Ocean Diamond with Falcon Scott. You can read all about that experience here.


Tom Hart - Experts in Residence program 2013-2014

Scientific Research

Dr. Tom Hart runs the Penguin Lifelines project at Oxford University and the Zoological Society of London. The on-going project monitors Antarctic wildlife using camera trapping, volunteer photos and population genetics. Tom's PhD at Imperial College and the British Antarctic Survey investigated penguin foraging behavior around South Georgia. www.penguinlifelines.org. Dr. Hart will be on four voyages this season:

Dr. Tom Hart has visited the Quark Expeditions office a few times over the past year and participated in "Ask a Penguinologist" - where he participated in a live web chat and answered questions about Penguin Lifelines and penguins in general. Here's a clip from his first chat with us:


Photography

sueflood

Sue Flood is a professional wildlife and travel photographer who has been working in the polar regions for over 20 years, and with more 30 trips to the Arctic and Antarctic. She won the 2011 International Photographer of the Year - prize-winner for best nature book. www.sueflood.com. Sue will be on three voyages this season:

 

How to Book
Quark is currently offering a $1000 air credit on select Sea Spirit voyages, including the 15-day Antarctic Peninsula East & West voyage, January 24, 2014 featuring Jonathan Shackleton. Book before July 31, 2013. Some conditions apply. Click here for more details.

For more information contact a Quark Polar Travel Adviser at 888-892-0073 or visit www.quarkexpeditions.com.

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Antarctica's fiercest predator

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A perfect portrait of an Antarctic ambassador, captured by a Quark passenger on our Antarctic Explorer voyage in Feb 2013.

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Leopard seals (named as such for their characteristic spotted coats), are one of the primary predators in Antarctica. In the wild they can survive up to 15 years, and are considered the most fearsome of all seal species.

In this video from National Geographic Live, Photographer Paul Nicklen describes how he wanted to understand more about leopard seals. He headed to Antarctica and got right into the water to get up close and personal with these amazing creatures...and got a surprise!

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Director of ‘Chasing Ice,’ Special Guest Aboard Quark Expeditions voyage

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Passionate about the polar regions? You aren't going to want to miss this voyage! Quark Expeditions is thrilled to announce that Jeff Orlowski, director of the Oscar-nominated climate change documentary, Chasing Ice, will join our 22-day Antarctic expedition featuring the first-ever Floating Polar Film Festival. Wanderlust magazine has named this expedition one of its '"50 Best Trips for 2013."

Orlowski’s Chasing Ice, chronicles environmental photographer James Balog’s, attempts to capture the Earth’s changing climate on film. As his team journeys north to the Arctic, they deploy time-lapse cameras, designed for the unique Arctic climates, to record irrefutable evidence that glaciers are, in fact, melting at record rates. This eye-opening film, which garnered awards at Sundance and Hot Docs, will open the festival’s lineup of illuminating documentaries. The full Floating Polar Film Festival line-up will be announced in July 2013.

To find out more about this once-in-a-lifetime voyage, click here.

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Win a Greenland voyage with Quark Expeditions

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We're giving away a Greenland voyage for two and we want YOU to win!

Entering the contest is easy! Watch our special Greenland facts video to brush up on your Greenland knowledge, and then visit our Quark Loves Greenland contest page for your chance to win!

Hungry for more? Follow our Quark Loves Greenland Pinterest board for photos of some of the things you can expect to see on your trip. We'll also be doling out random Greenland facts and tidbits on our facebook page and twitter account - follow along and share with the hashtag #QuarkLovesGreenland for more chances to win!

Enter before noon EDT June 30, 2013.

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Fly-Cruise Confidential: An interview with the President of Quark Expeditions

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There is probably no bigger and more passionate fan of all things Quark Expeditions than our CEO Hans Lagerweij. Fresh from his first experience aboard one of our Antarctic Express voyages, we sat down to chat with Hans about the fly-cruise program and hear him tell the tale of another Quark “first” achievement in Antarctica!

 

Name: Hans Lagerweij
Job title: CEO (Chief “Experience” Officer)
Trip Name: Antarctica Express fly-cruise
Pre-post night city: Punta Arenas
Ship name: Sea Adventurer
Date of Travel : February 2013

 

Thanks for taking the time to do this little interview Hans. First off, how would you describe the type of traveler best-suited for Quark’s fly-cruise voyages?

Definitely you’re an adventurous and active traveler. We have great optional activities on offer such as sea-kayaking and camping, that any active traveler would enjoy. It’s a unique way to get up close and personal with the 7th continent.

 

Hans gets up close and personal with some penguins

What makes the fly-cruise program distinct from other Quark voyages?

If you’re pressed for time and still want to experience all the best highlights of the Antarctic Peninsula, these trips are fantastic as they can get across the Drake Passage and be in Antarctica in only two hours. Mind you, the flying is more sensitive to weather conditions (make sure you buy travel interruption insurance!). Unlike our regular expedition trips where embarkation/disembarkation is at the pier, for Express trips we do this in Antarctica, and then transfer you by Zodiac to/from the ship just off King George Island.

For all those aviation buffs, you may be interested to know that we use a British Aerospace 146 jet plane, which has four engines, STOL capabilities – short take off and landing –and can land on gravel. All great attributes for this type of voyage! [Editor's Note: You can watch a video of the airplane landing on King George Island right here.]

 

Did anything interesting happen during your journey to the destination?

There’s never a dull moment in expedition travel! Trying to make our way down to King George Island from Punta Arenas, it was foggy on the day we were supposed to fly, so we were delayed for 8 hours, making it evening when we were finally cleared to fly. So, as it turns out, this was the very first passenger night flight that our airline partner DAP had ever done in Antarctica, and was thus a new achievement in the history of tourism in Antarctica!

It was a really great night. The last passengers arrived on the ship at 2 a.m., where they were welcomed and served food with a smile by the hotel staff who had already put in more than 20 hours that day.

 

What are some of the highlights of your trip?

On my flight from Santiago de Chile to Punta Arenas, we had amazing views over Torres del Paine: probably one of the most spectacular views from an airplane that I have ever seen. Make sure you get a window seat on the left side of the airplane when you fly down, and right side when flying up, and have your camera ready!

Another memorable moment was when Expedition Leader Laurie Dexter gave his lecture about the failed Scott expedition to the South Pole; he is such a skilled storyteller and he recounted this historical event with such emotion that guests had tears in their eyes.

 

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

(1) Camping on the continent!

(2) Sea kayaking among the ice

(3) The polar barbeque on the outer deck – always a fun highlight, both for passengers and staff

 

You’ve seen all the iconic Antarctic wildlife before on your many trips to the region. Any unique encounters on this trip?

At Hannah Point, we observed a large number of penguin chicks “irritating” the huge elephant seals. They climbed on top of them and walked on their heads until the seals reacted by raising their bulbous heads and letting a big loud seal roar which had all the penguins scattering…only to regroup and begin their show minutes later. Truly hilarious!

 

What would you say to anyone who is considering travelling to the Polar Regions?

I highly recommend that you take advantage of the good advice from our passionate and experienced Polar Travel Advisers. Study all your options for the different ships and itineraries we have, and decide what suits you best. As the leader in Polar expeditions, we offer the largest choices to enjoy these regions, so please consider all the possibilities.

And one last thing, if you find that one of our fly-cruise voyages is for you, please note that the baggage limitation for the fly-cruise is 15kg per passenger. So pack smartly and remember that Quark has an informal atmosphere on board, so you don’t have to pack any fancy clothes – just those that keep you warm!

 

Thank you for sharing your experiences with us Hans!

Zodiac driver (and CEO) Hans Lagerweij

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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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