Crossing the Circle

Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy—and excitement—of expedition travel. When traveling in extremely remote regions, your Expedition Team must consider the sea, ice and weather to guide the route and itinerary details. This itinerary is a tentative outline of what you may experience on this voyage; please be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed. By the same token, wildlife encounters as described are expected, but not guaranteed. Your Expedition Team will use their considerable experience to seek out wildlife in known habitats, but the presence of any particular species of bird or marine wildlife is not guaranteed.

It is hard to imagine that there is another place that has an even greater population of king penguins, but there is – St. Andrews Bay! It hosts a breeding colony numbering more than 150,000 king penguin pairs with a stunning backdrop of snow-covered mountains – a sight you will never forget. And the beaches of St. Andrews Bay are also occupied by relaxed fur seals and feisty southern elephant seals.

Keeping in mind that when penguins are present, so are the third largest seal in the world: the leopard seal. We hope to see these predators of the south pole as they have an acquired taste for Gentoo, Chinstrap, King, Rockhopper and even Emperor penguins. They can reach up to 1300 lbs (590 kgs) in weight and grow up to 10 feet/3 meters. Their bodies are long and slender and their heads appear to be too large for their thin, serpent-like bodies. Because their body is streamline-shaped, it is excellent for propelling through the water at speeds up to 25 miles per hour. They are solitary except until breeding time which occurs from November until March. They have few predators and can be dangerous to humans.

The island of Steeple Jason extends off the far northwest side of the Falkland Islands into the Atlantic Ocean. Over 70% of the global population of Black-browed Albatross breed here. According to a recent aerial survey, about 183,000 pairs of Black-browed Albatrosses nest along one side of the island—one elevated nest after another spanning for miles. It is a noise-filled place of continuous Albatross chatter competing with the squawking of Rockhopper Penguins who have elected to nest on the ground directly beneath the elevated Albatross nests. In addition, a screeching chorus is often heard from attacking Striated Caracara. Steeple Jason is the largest nesting colony of these aggressive birds of prey who continually patrol above and around the Albatross and Penguins searching for food for themselves and their chicks.

Every day on shore is packed with unforgettable eye-to-eye wildlife experiences. It is not possible to adequately describe all of them here. And during our time at sea cruising from island to island, we may be lucky to spot several different whale species.

This is an incredible adventure that you don’t want to miss. And go as soon as possible because Antarctica is experiencing global warming with a devastating impact on the natural environment. At the time of writing this text, Antarctica was experiencing the highest temperatures recorded in history – +70ºF/+20ºC during their fall season.

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Encounter even more wildlife and experience the awe of splendid isolation. You can personalize your adventure with options that suit your interests, and cross the 7th Continent off your list—your way. Antarctica has been inspiring explorers for centuries and our expeditions offer the chance for you to discover why. Join us on Quarks newest ship Ultramarine. 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, Ultramarine offers the most robust portfolio 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 deliver the ultimate luxury polar expedition experience!

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JOIN US ON AN ANTARCTIC ADVENTURE! With a more in-depth exploration of the Antarctic Peninsula, our Crossing the Circle: Southern Expedition voyage gives you the chance to venture beyond the Antarctic Circle, a milestone few have reached. Including an in-depth exploration of the penguin colonies, glaciers, bays and historical sites of the Peninsula, you’ll also navigate beyond 66⁰33´ South.

Date: Jan 9-22, 2022

Price: from $19,000