What’s your number one reason for booking an arctic expedition?
Are you a photographer looking to document some of the rarest and most beautiful wildlife on the planet? Is your goal to learn more about the culture and history of the north? Or is your dream to travel aboard one of the largest icebreakers ever built? Here are some reasons to plan a trip to the Arctic with Quark Expeditions.
- Amazing Arctic Wildlife
One of the highlights of any expedition is amazing polar wildlife. There are more than 36 mammals living in the Arctic and 17 of them are marine species. These animals have adapted to one of the harshest environments possible. In the water, you’ll have the chance to see beluga whales, narwhal, ringed seals and walrus. On land, you can see musk ox, reindeer, Peary caribou, and arctic fox and hare.
- Rare Arctic Bird Cliffs
One of the most unique congregations in nature takes place once a year, when millions of seabirds return to shore for mating season. To avoid predators, they nest on cliff faces, and these arctic birds cliffs are a spectacular sight. Thick-billed murre, black-legged kittiwake, arctic tern and glaucous gull are among the species you may see.
- A Northern Sense of Community
Arctic communities can be small, but they are full of life. Longyearbyen, a mining town on Spitsbergen Island has a university, sports centre and gourmet restaurant with one of the largest wine cellars in Europe. Kangerlussuaq and Nuuk, in Greenland, offer chances to visit rare historical sites, play a friendly game of soccer with the locals, and learn about colorful Greenlandic folklore.
- Rich History
An area full of legends, the Arctic is rich in historical sites. The region is dotted with abandoned whaling stations, hunting and trapping camps and expedition base camps. On Ellesmere Island, you may have a chance to fly by helicopter over an ancient petrified forest; in Greenland, the land of the Vikings, at least six different Inuit cultures have survived over several centuries.
- Crushing Ice on Kapitan Khlebnikov
This world class icebreaker is an attraction in itself. And for 2016, this true expedition vessel will host Chris Hadfield’s Generator Show, a science based variety show that blends knowledge, perception, music and comedy, hosted by the celebrated astronaut and featuring special guests. No passenger ship has transited the Northwest Passage more frequently than Khlebnikov, which features 51 cabins, a dining room, lounge and bar, heated indoor plunge pool, sauna, theatre style auditorium and 2 on-board helicopters for aerial tours.
- Spectacular Aurora Borealis
In Greenland, legend has it that the lights dancing in the sky are the spirits of departed ancestors. On a clear Arctic night, Greenland is one of the best places in the world to view these Northern Nights.
- The Elusive Polar Bear
As the iconic symbol of the Arctic, the polar bear can be found roaming vast areas in search for food. During the 2015 expedition season, Quark passengers spotted a record 51 polar bears in the area of the Northwest Passage.
- The Northwest Passage
For hundreds of years explorers sought the legendary Northwest Passage, the northern route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Artifacts of past expeditions, as well as encampments thousands of years old, still dot its shores, and its pristine beauty is breathtaking.
- The North Pole
Reaching the North Pole is one of the most amazing experiences an adventurer can have. The quest to reach the summit spans hundreds of years, but it wasn’t until 1926 that Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen made the first verified exploration of this point. Visiting the North Pole today is a much more expedient and comfortable trek than the original explorers endured, and can even involve hot air ballooning
- Unbelievable Ice
Arctic ice is spectacular. In Greenland, the Ilulissat Icefjord is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This fjord is one of the few places the Greenland Ice cap reaches the sea, and the incredible Sermeq Kujalleq is the most productive glacier in the world, calving 20 billion tonnes of icebergs every year!