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This Month's Hot Deals

Antarctica - My Best Solo Travel Experience of the Year

And what did I see?

Penguin chief

From the ship and during our twice daily zodiac excursions the Antarctic unfolded in incredible ways. To me the sights were so surreal that words can never adequately describe my experience. The notes in my diary say, 'This feels as if I've stepped into a National Geographic Magazine.' I saw humpback whales, a pod of 16 orcha whales cavorting with their babies, arctic birds including the famous wandering albatross. I identified spotted sea leopards, dolphins, and lazy seals basking in the sun. There were colonies of chinstrap penguins and Gentoo penguins, ice floes, turquoise-infused iceberg sculptures, shockingly clear bright blue skies that could switch to foreboding gray in moments. I cruised in and around an iceberg graveyard. I watched penguin chicks being born. There was opportunity to photograph an old whaling station in the midst of a harsh desolate landscape. I paid my respects at the graves of yesteryears explorers. One shore excursion stopped at a British research station where I was able to mail a letter to myself postmarked 'British Antarctic Territory.' And, it arrived at my home a month later. The Antarctic is a photographer's paradise. Thankfully, I have photos to prove I was actually there. Here are some of them.

A Gold Star Staff ...

Quark staff

The knowledge and skills of the international Sea Spirit staff were a big reason I chose this adventure as my 'Tops in 2013.' The team was led by a wonderful New Zealand woman named Cheli Larson who has led Antarctic Expeditions for fifteen years. She created a light-hearted atmosphere on board but when it came to important safety issues she ruled with an iron fist. Aiding her were an outgoing crew of marine biologists, an iceberg expert, a photography professional and team members that had spent enough time either in an Antarctic environment or studying 'things Antarctic' that they could rightfully be called experts. They operated the zodiacs with enviable skill and educated us with running commentary on what we were seeing. At the close of each day they led informal classes, answering passengers' questions and happily reviewing all the wonders we had seen at sea. With each session our knowledge of the Antarctic grew. I believe most of us left the Sea Spirit more aware of the wonders of the South Pole and determined to do what we could to 'save our planet.' Thank you Quark Expeditions for my 'Best Solo Travel Experience of the Year 2013.'

For Further information ...

Bright Star, Antarctica

Visit the Quark Expeditions Website: Click here:
Call: (888) 979-3894 or +1-802-490-1660 outside North America
YouTube: Meet Cheli Larsen, Quark Expeditions leader on my voyage. Click here
Brochures: To see brochures for all of Quark Expeditons Arctic and Antarctic Expeditions, click here.
P.S. Guests on this voyage were single, coupled and families with young adult children. They came from all over the world - Canada, United States, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. The greater proportion spoke English which resulted in conversations that were generally varied and interesting.


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