Arctic

Polar Expeditions to the Far North

Experience the Arctic

A journey to the Arctic is, for most of us, the adventure of a lifetime. In the planning stages, it’s a prospect you research at length and consider from every angle, aiming to experience the remote beauty of the polar regions at their very best. You expect shore excursions in spectacular landscapes and opportunities to see remarkable wildlife. And above all, you want to travel with a team of seasoned professionals in the realm of polar exploration.

At Adventure Associates, we understand those aspirations, because they define our company. Since our first journey over 33 years ago, we have led the way in adventure travel, making these wild regions accessible to intrepid travellers who previously could only dream of setting foot there. We are especially proud to offer these amazing icebreaker expeditions by the pioneers in polar icebreaker travel, Quark Expeditions, who are known for many Arctic-travel milestones: the first North Pole expedition by icebreaker for adventure travellers, the first transpolar voyage, the first crossing of Russia’s Northeast Passage and the first Arctic circumnavigation – not to mention, at the other end of the globe, the first passenger circumnavigation of Antarctica and the first voyage to the Weddell Sea.

Exploring firsthand

Since the 1990’s we have pioneered the use of icebreakers to carry travellers deep into the Arctic in safety and comfort. Bringing together international specialists on everything from polar exploration to Arctic birds and marine life, we provide the context and hands-on leadership you need to fully appreciate the Far North. Whether you’re exploring a remote shore where no one may have walked before, sighting a whale from a Zodiac or watching your powerful ship plow through pack ice under the midnight sun, you’ll discover the High Arctic not as a passing vista, but as an immediate, vital, constantly changing environment – a place where the indescribable mystery of raw nature can still be experienced firsthand.

Throughout this website you’ll find details of five extraordinary adventures in northern Russia, Canada and Greenland, along with one-of-a-kind voyages to the North Pole. As we continue to develop innovative expeditions to the world’s last unexplored corners, we hope you’ll join us for one of these unique Arctic experiences.

Photographic tips for Polar travel

Whilst in Antarctica and the Arctic there will be many opportunities for photographing the stunning scenery and the incredible abundance of wildlife. To help you get the best out of your photographs, we suggest the following:
• Check that your camera is working well, before you leave home.
• If you are using a digital camera bring plenty of memory cards.
• If using a film based camera we recommend using 50 ASA or 100 ASA for slides and 100 ASA or 200 ASA for prints in Antarctica (100 for very bright days when the sun reflects off the snow harshly, and 200/400 for overcast days)
• Bring twice the amount of film you think you will be using.
• If your camera uses batteries, don’t forget to take spares with you, since cold temperatures reduce their life span considerably.
• It is best to have two cameras and lenses from 28 mm to 200 mm telephoto, or, if you have one, a 500 mm lens for close ups.
• Good lenses are: 20-35 mm, 35-70 mm, and 80-200 mm.
• Don’t forget a wide-angle lens to capture the real expanse of this unique continent.
• The use of a polarising filter is not recommended. It takes the sparkle away from the ice and snow, which is what brings it to life. Also a polariser tends to make the skies too dark.
· If you are serious about getting excellent shots, a tripod gives you more potential but it certainly is not mandatory.
Always respect the MINIMUM DISTANCE of 5 METERS, and get close only via a zoom lens. Telephoto is the best way to capture wildlife.
· When photographing, do not approach wildlife to the point where it becomes frightened, or in ways that causes them to alter their behaviour.
• Be aware that polar conditions can be very harsh on camera equipment. Carry plenty of protection for your camera against salt spray, snow, or rain. Please bring sealable cases, waterproof day packs or ‘dry bags’ but DO NOT bring lightweight plastic or rubbish bags as these can be easily blown away and are contrary to our environmental obligation.
• Please be aware of other passengers who may wish to capture the same shot as you.

And most importantly…
… forget your camera from time to time and just enjoy the spectacular scenery and wildlife!

Arctic


 

 

Baffin

Several of our team members have mountains named after them

Our people

We have assembled the most exclusive team of polar experts in the world. They are some of the most recognized scientists, naturalists, historians, extreme athletes, ornithologists, geologists, zoologists and biologists anywhere. But more than that, like you, they share a passion for exploration and adventure.

They are members of some of the most select and distinguished institutions around the globe, including the Explorer’s Club, the Royal Geographic Society, the Arctic Club, and the Antarctica Club. One of our Expedition Team members wrote the chapter on Antarctica for the Encyclopedia Britannica. They have established many, many firsts in their fields. Several have mountains named after them.

They’re a fascinating group. Enthusiastic. Accomplished. Totally dedicated, you’ll enjoy travelling with them.

Polar arts program

Throughout history, great voyages have been captured on paper and film. From Edward Wilson’s watercolours of Scott’s Antarctic expeditions to Amundsen’s famous photographs of his trek to the South Pole, the visual record of a journey is an integral part of great exploration. Your expedition will be no exception. Our “Polar Arts Program” features artists-in-residence who will record the journey. They’ll also conduct lectures and lead photography and painting workshops for travellers. These artists have been selected from all over the world for their outstanding talent and familiarity with the polar regions. They will enhance the way you see and experience your expedition. You will see things differently through their eyes, and your own.

The best possible experience

Backed by remarkable technology, resources and expertise, your Expedition Team has a single goal: to create the most rewarding and unforgettable Arctic experience possible. Thanks to our professional and government contacts across the polar regions, we’re able to gain permission for landings in highly protected areas, some of them – such as the eastern shore of Ellesmere Island in Canada’s High Arctic – previously unexplored by non-specialists. Your Expedition Leaders exercise that same blend of determination and ingenuity throughout your journey, as they tailor landing options to suit varied interests and levels of activity, and respond to unforeseen opportunities – a sighting of unusual wildlife, an invitation into a remote villager’s home – at a moment’s notice.

Crew

Our Expedition Team members are a fascinating and distinguished group passionate about exploration.

CrewMirror

We’ve thought of everything

The hallmark of these expeditions is our ability to go where others simply can’t take you. We make more landings to reach the sites and wildlife you want to see, as well as incredible places you may never have heard of. Our Expedition Leaders have the flexibility to create new plans as conditions change or unexpected opportunities arise.

Breaking the Ice

State-of-the-art icebreakers are renowned not only in the realm of adventure travel, but in polar navigation generally. They’re among a select group of vessels with the capability – and the mandate – to take you through the pack ice to the remotest High Arctic. The ships’ double-thickness armor-plated hulls have high-tech polymer coatings and underwater air-bubbling systems designed to reduce friction to a minimum. They break through the ice not by plowing into it, but by riding up onto the surface and crushing it with their massive weight. With their multiple propellers and advanced propulsion systems, these ships have a unique combination of maneuverability and power that is amazing to see in action.

Helicopters and Zodiacs

Some icebreakers carry helicopters as well as a fleet of Zodiac landing craft to ensure you get ashore efficiently, safely and as often as conditions allow. The helicopters, when not being used for ice reconnaissance, are at our disposal for unforgettable sightseeing tours above the Arctic expanses or to whisk you to otherwise inaccessible sites for guided tours on foot. Similarly, your Expedition Team uses the nimble Zodiacs to make frequent small-group landings on isolated shores, and for excursions along the coast to view natural wonders – calving glaciers, pods of feeding whales, seabird colonies along the cliffs – from the closest vantage point.

Suggested clothing

Average polar temperature is approximately 0°C (32°F), although sometimes it may get lower because of the chill factor caused by the wind. For this reason, it is best to wear several layers of light, warm clothing, with a windproof and waterproof jacket and pants as outside layer. The suggested clothing for polar regions is very similar to skiing equipment.

– Sunglasses
– Thermal socks
– Thermal underwear including sweatshirts and turtlenecks.
– Fleece jacket and trousers
– Waterproof hooded parka or jacket
– Insulated or waterproof trousers
– Thermal gloves or mittens.
– Polar cap, hat, or balaclava hood
– Swimsuit (for possible hot spring dips)
– Comfortable clothes to wear on board
(Onboard temperature 20°-22°C or 68-72F)
– Comfortable rubber-soled shoes to wear onboard.

Expedition boots

As some polar landings are “wet landings”, the best footwear is knee-high waterproof boots.
Check with us to see if these are supplied on your voyage or if you will need to bring them with you.

UV protection

Good quality UV filtering sunglasses are essential. Due to the high reflectance of UV radiation, you will alsoneed good sun block lotion for your face (protection factor 30 and above) and lip balm.

And furthermore

Do not forget to take with you:
– Personal medications
– Backpack to carry your belongings during shore excursions.

Photographic tips for Polar travel

Whilst in Antarctica and the Arctic there will be many opportunities for photographing the stunning scenery and the incredible abundance of wildlife. To help you get the best out of your photographs, we suggest the following:

• Check that your camera is working well, before you leave home.
• If you are using a digital camera bring plenty of memory cards.
• If using a film based camera we recommend using 50 ASA or 100 ASA for slides and 100 ASA or 200 ASA for prints in Antarctica (100 for very bright days when the sun reflects off the snow harshly, and 200/400 for overcast days)
• Bring twice the amount of film you think you will be using.
• If your camera uses batteries, don’t forget to take spares with you, since cold temperatures reduce their life span considerably.
• It is best to have two cameras and lenses from 28 mm to 200 mm telephoto, or, if you have one, a 500 mm lens for close ups.
• Good lenses are: 20-35 mm, 35-70 mm, and 80-200 mm.
• Don’t forget a wide-angle lens to capture the real expanse of this unique continent.
• The use of a polarising filter is not recommended. It takes the sparkle away from the ice and snow, which is what brings it to life. Also a polariser tends to make the skies too dark.
· If you are serious about getting excellent shots, a tripod gives you more potential but it certainly is not mandatory.
Always respect the MINIMUM DISTANCE of 5 METERS, and get close only via a zoom lens. Telephoto is the best way to capture wildlife.
· When photographing, do not approach wildlife to the point where it becomes frightened, or in ways that causes them to alter their behaviour.
• Be aware that polar conditions can be very harsh on camera equipment. Carry plenty of protection for your camera against salt spray, snow, or rain. Please bring sealable cases, waterproof day packs or ‘dry bags’ but DO NOT bring lightweight plastic or rubbish bags as these can be easily blown away and are contrary to our environmental obligation.
• Please be aware of other passengers who may wish to capture the same shot as you.

And most importantly…
… forget your camera from time to time and just enjoy the spectacular scenery and wildlife!

Parka

Our Expedition Team members are a fascinating and distinguished group passionate about exploration.

ZodiacSteps