Antarctica, the last unspoiled wilderness on earth, has always captured the imagination of adventurers and explorers. Recently, Mark Davidson from Oasis Portfolio, had the privilege of joining Quark Expeditions’ ‘World Explorer’ on a once-in-a-lifetime voyage to this magnificent continent. Read on as Mark shares his insights, experiences, and reflections from this unforgettable journey.
The journey began in Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world and the gateway to Antarctica. After a tour of the Tierra del Fuego National Park, the group boarded the ‘World Explorer’, which was to be their home for the next few days. The ship, accommodating 172 guests and 125 staff and crew, was spacious, modern, and comfortable, with the most popular common area being the Observation Lounge on Deck 7, offering a bar and breath-taking views of the picturesque landscape.
During the two full days crossing the Drake Passage, the guests received numerous briefings in the ship’s auditorium, covering everything from wildlife spotting to safety measures during landings and destination-specific lectures. One of the most critical preparations was the biodiversity checks, performed in the main lounge to ensure that no contamination was brought onto land, leaving particles that could affect the ecosystem. Passengers were responsible for bringing all equipment for checking, and staff thoroughly disinfected tripods, backpacks, and other equipment, to do their part in conserving this icy haven.
As one of the few itineraries to cross the Antarctic Circle, the trip was a celebration of sorts, and a party was held in the Observation Lounge when the ship crossed the line. The atmosphere on board the ship was fantastic, with well-trained staff keeping everyone informed, entertained, and inspired.
One of the highlights of the journey was making landfall on the Antarctic Peninsula. The expedition team was the first to make landfall to mark out the walking route, using cones and red flags to prevent stumbling into a penguin colony. The place was breathtakingly beautiful, but also a wild place subject to weather changes at the last minute, so guests ought to be prepared to brave the elements when necessary.
Antarctica is a wonderfully neutral space, where peace on earth can truly be found. The fact that it’s not owned by any one country, thanks to the treaty of 1959, makes it a unique destination. During the voyage, Mark had the opportunity to appreciate its unspoiled beauty and encounter its rich and diverse wildlife, including penguins, whales, and seals.
Finally, Mark highlighted the quality of food and accommodation on the ‘World Explorer’. The buffet-style breakfast and lunch were top-notch, while the set meals in the evening were exceptional. Mark was also treated to a stay in a Veranda Suite, which was spacious, modern, and comfortable, making the voyage all the more enjoyable.
In conclusion, this adventure to Antarctica with Quark Expeditions was an incredible experience that Mark will cherish for a lifetime. From the spectacular scenery to the fascinating wildlife, it was an adventure that exceeded expectations in every way. For anyone looking to explore the last frontier, a voyage with Quark Expeditions on the ‘World Explorer’ is a must-do!