A photographer's dream!

Emperor Penguin Quest: Expedition to Snow Hill

Antarctica's Weddell Sea

Join one of the most exclusive wildlife viewing experiences in the world and witness scenes reminiscent of BBC’s “Frozen Planet”! This is a one-of-a-kind voyage, where you can experience a true polar quest on a journey with the new Polar6-class ship, Ultramarine, which is equipped with two twin-engine H145 helicopters that will fly you to the vicinity of the rarely-visited emperor penguin rookery at Snow Hill Island in Antarctica's Weddell Sea. Walk across the thick sea ice to stand within metres of the most coveted penguin species on the planet

  • Travel aboard the Polar 6 Class luxury vessel, Ultramarine, with its onboard helicopters
  • Cross the famous Drake Passage on your way to explore the Snow Hill Emperor penguin colony
  • Enjoy helicopter sightseeing and Zodiac cruising
  • Experience thousands of pairs of Emperor penguins, including chicks, in their natural habitat
  • View other iconic Antarctic wildlife, such as whales, seals and seabirds

In 2004, polar history was made with the first-ever ground visit to the remote emperor penguin colony near Snow Hill Island, Antarctica.  Today, it is one of the most exclusive wildlife viewing experiences on the planet. We invite you to embrace the thrill of the search as we once again set out to visit to the emperor penguins at Snow Hill Island. Sail past masses of dense ice and thick, tabular icebergs into the Weddell Sea to experience the legendary rookery, which now numbers 8,000 breeding pairs of emperor penguins.

Experience a true polar quest as you journey on the new Polar6 ice class ship, Ultramarine, equipped with two twin-engine helicopters that will fly guests to the vicinity of this rarely-visited rookery, whereupon you can walk across the thick sea ice. Stand within metres of the most coveted penguin species on the planet. Anticipate scenes reminiscent of “March of the Penguins” and BBC’s “Frozen Planet.” Just imagine the penguins tobogganing across the ice towards the sea. Such wildlife moments are too precious for words!

Act quickly while space lasts!


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Nov 26 2018
 
The expedition was amazing, there is really nothing I can say!

Stewart's Take

An experience like no other, it’s like a wildlife documentary come to life!

Overview

Join one of the most exclusive wildlife viewing experiences in the world and witness scenes reminiscent of BBC’s “Frozen Planet”! This is a one-of-a-kind voyage, where you can experience a true polar quest on a journey with the new Polar6-class ship, Ultramarine, which is equipped with two twin-engine H145 helicopters that will fly you to the vicinity of the rarely-visited emperor penguin rookery at Snow Hill Island in Antarctica's Weddell Sea. Walk across the thick sea ice to stand within metres of the most coveted penguin species on the planet.
Day 1 Arrive in Buenos Aires, Argentina Upon arriving in this fascinating city, known for its architecture and rich European heritage, you will independently transfer to your group hotel (pre-expedition hotel night included in mandatory transfer package). Day 2 Fly to Ushuaia and Embark After an early breakfast at the hotel, your group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Ushuaia, Argentina. Upon arrival, you will be transferred from the airport to a central downtown location to enjoy time on your own to explore quaint Ushuaia—the world’s southernmost city—before making your way to the pier. After a late afternoon embarkation, you will sail along the historic Beagle Channel, which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Enjoy the air of anticipation as you depart—the next land you see will be the Antarctic! Days 3 and 4 Crossing the Drake Passage The unpredictable and exciting Drake Passage, which lies at the confluence of the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Southern oceans, is an adventure unto itself. While being well taken care of by our expert onboard staff and expedition team, you’ll have plenty of time to gaze out at the expansive ocean waters, photograph seabirds as they swoop around the ship, and get to know your Expedition Team and fellow travelers. Day 5 Navigating into the Weddell Sea Onboard presentations by world-respected experts will enrich your polar quest, conveying what it was like a century ago for the brave polar heroes who embraced the unknown. You’ll also learn more about the ice-dwelling emperor penguins. Days 6 to 10 Weddell Sea and the Quest to Land at Snow Hill The journey toward Snow Hill Island will put you in explorer mode as the captain and Expedition Leader keep you updated through weather briefings, meteorological and sea ice condition reports. The thickness of ice will determine how close Ultramarine can get to Snow Hill Island, then our twin-engine helicopters will take over. Like summitting a mountain from base camp, parties will set out from Ultramarine towards the emperor penguin colony. Their adventure begins with an extended helicopter transfer that will reveal a landscape of snow-capped peaks and apartment-building-sized tabular icebergs. The rookery itself is located on the sea ice off the south coast of Snow Hill Island and the landing will be as close to the penguins as possible, yet at a safe distance to avoid disturbing the birds. Upon landing, your party will walk across the ice to the fabled emperor penguin colony. The wind. The ice beneath your feet. Walking next to paths in the snow carved by penguins that came before. And then there are the incredible sounds of the penguins in the distance as you march toward one of the rarest wildlife opportunities on the planet: the colony of thousands and thousands of rarely-seen emperor penguins. Emperor Penguins! The goal of the expedition is to get every guest to the remote rookery once. The Expedition Team and special experts will be close by to answer your questions and ensure you take in everything there is to see. You’ll observe close up how the emperor penguins behave as a tight-knit community, how they care for their young, and how they body surf across the ice in a way that can only be described as quirky yet efficient. The helicopter expedition in search of the emperor colony might just be the adventure of a lifetime Exploring the Weddell Sea on board Ultramarine And while at base on Ultramarine with your attentive Expedition Team, you’ll be immersed each day in the polar experience of the Weddell Sea. Daily activities will include Zodiac cruising among the icebergs, adventuring and learning while atop the ice, paddle-on-top kayaking, or working with our team to observe the weather forecasting and ship operations up close. A particularly enriching component of your voyage will be the bespoke educational programs tailored specifically for this expedition that offer both traditional (lecture format) and hands-on opportunities for learning about this fascinating region. Each day our polar experts, who include penguin scientists, biologists and polar historians, will present on various aspects of emperor penguins and their behaviors, ice formations such as the tabular icebergs which you’ll see from the deck of your ship, and the experiences of polar explorers who braved the Weddell Sea over a century ago. Or you might, on one of these days, decide to take the polar plunge, or test your balance on a stand-up paddleboard. Then again, maybe you’ll enjoy a little pampering. If so, you can choose from Ultramarine’s excellent onboard amenities, including the spa, sauna and fitness room. Antarctica The emperor penguin colony at Snow Hill is the goal of this expedition. However, if weather or ice conditions prevent us from visiting the colony or shorten the duration of our visit, we may explore some of these other sites. Your possible landings in Antarctica will take place on the eastern side of the Peninsula, which is an extension of the Transantarctic Mountains and is the most northern stretch of Antarctic land. Brown Bluff An immense cliff of volcanic rock, towers 2,225 feet (678 meters) over rookeries of Adélie and gentoo penguins, some of which will be incubating their eggs. Devil Island The Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1901-04 discovered the narrow island, which is 1 mile (1.6 km) long and has a low summit at each end. Hope Bay Three members of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition (1901-04) spent the winter in a hut on the shores of Hope Bay. The hut is located close to the jetty of Esperanza Station, an Argentine research station. Paulet Island Located in the northwestern Weddell Sea, Paulet Island is home to a large Adélie penguin rookery. With a volcanic cone that rises 1,158 feet (353 meters), the island reminds you that this was once a very active landscape. In addition to penguins, you may be interested in visiting a historic hut built by members of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1901-04. A cross marks the gravesite of crew member Ole Wennersgaard. Seymour Island Northeast of Snow Hill Island is a smaller island that was originally mistaken for a cape. Seymour Island is significant for fossil finds and for the remains of the KT Boundary, which marks the transition between the Cretaceous Period (dinosaurs and reptiles) and the Tertiary Period (mammals) of geological times. This era is known for the mass extinction of many forms of life, including dinosaurs. Days 11 to 13 Cruising The journey back across the Drake Passage provides a final opportunity to enjoy the invigorating Southern Ocean air. Spend time on the deck watching for seabirds and scouting for whales, enjoy presentations by your Expedition Team, and celebrate the experiences you've shared getting off the beaten track in the remarkable world of Antarctica. Day 14 Disembark in Ushuaia and Fly to Buenos Aires You will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning and disembark after breakfast. The mandatory transfer package includes a tour of Tierra del Fuego National Park for a taste of Patagonia, after which you’ll transfer to the airport for the return group charter flight to Buenos Aires. Important reminder: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a voyage. There are nearly 200 recognized sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned above may be changed to others equally as interesting.

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Luxury Expedition Vessel: Ultramarine

Ultramarine

The newest ship in Quark's fleet, Ultramarine, is designed to go beyond the familiar in polar exploration, to discover new places, and to immerse you in the best the region has to offer. Equipped with two twin-engine helicopters for extraordinary sightseeing, this outstanding vessel offers the widest range of adventure activities in the industry, the most spacious suites in its category, breathtaking public spaces, and more outdoor wildlife viewing spaces than other expedition ships its size. It also features an innovative mix of sustainability features that exceed all industry standards. With all this and more, Ultramarine is set to give you the ultimate polar expedition experience!

For full information about this vessel click here:

Included
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Soft drinks plus Wine and beer at dinner service
  • Accommodation onboard with daily housekeeping All meals, snacks, coffee, tea, cocoa and juices onboard (please inform us of any dietary requirements as far in advance as possible; unfortunately, the ships’ galleys cannot prepare kosher meals)
  • All shore landings per the daily program, weather permitting Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program
  • Photographic journal documenting the expedition
  • Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled
  • Waterproof expedition boots on loan for the duration of your voyage
  • Expedition parka to keep
  • Life jackets and immersion suits
  • Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin
  • Comprehensive pre-departure materials, including a map and an informative Antarctic Reader
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
  • All luggage handling aboard ship
  • Emergency evacuation insurance to a maximum benefit of US$500,000 per person
Excluded
  • Mandatory Flight and Transfer Package from Buenos Aires
  • International airfare
  • Passport and visa expenses
  • Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above
  • Meals ashore unless otherwise specified
  • Baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance are strongly recommended
  • Excess-baggage fees on international flights
  • Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising, or any other gear not mentioned
  • Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified
  • Phone and Internet charges
  • Additional overnight accommodation
Rates and Share Bookings Prices shown are per person in US Dollars on a shared basis. If you are travelling alone and wish to share, you will be matched with someone of the same gender and pay only the share rate. If desired, Single occupancy is available at 1.7 times the twin share rate. Deposits Reservations require a deposit of 20% (minimum $1000 per person) at the time you receive a booking confirmation from Expeditions Online. A payment link will be sent to you and this may be paid by major credit card. Bookings within 120 days of departure require full payment. Final Payments Balances are due 120 days prior to departure and may be paid by bank transfer. Cancellations All requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Expeditions Online. Cancellations received 180 days or more prior to departure, are refunded less a fee of US$1250 per person or equivalent currency. If cancellation is received between 179 days and 120 days, the full deposit is forfeited. If cancellation occurs less than 120 days prior to departure, all payments are forfeited. If full payment has not yet been received, the full penalty will still apply and any unpaid balance is due immediately. We strongly recommend that you obtain adequate trip cancellation insurance. Booking Terms Please read carefully the Terms and Conditions for Expeditions Online (link at the bottom of this page). This voyage is operated by Quark Expeditions and you additionally travel under their terms and conditions as the operator as well as of the Shipping Company/transport carrier. Details will be forwarded to you at the time of booking.
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