End of An Era Begins: Announcing Kapitan Khlebnikov's Retirement
NORWALK, CT (October 15, 2009) – Polar adventure specialist Quark Expeditions announced that the company's flagship Kapitan Khlebnikov will retire as an expedition vessel in March 2012. This End of an Era will be marked by a series of unique itineraries and special guests that celebrate the polar-class icebreaker's unparalleled history.
Announcing the change to the largest fleet of passenger vessels in Antarctica, Patrick Shaw, president of Quark Expeditions, recalled, "In 1992, Khlebnikov was the first passenger vessel to take travelers to the Far Side of Antarctica, a sector never before accessible to expedition travel. In 1993, using the icebreaker's onboard helicopters, Quark became the first tour operator to take travelers to the Dry Valleys in Antarctica's Ross Sea sector."
Kapitan Khlebnikov is the only passenger vessel to have circumnavigated the Antarctic continent – twice. The icebreaker has transited the Northwest Passage more times than any other passenger vessel in history. Appropriately, the End of an Era expeditions begin with Khlebnikov's final west to east transit of the Northwest Passage, from July 18 to August 5, 2010. The finest naval historian of his generation, Andrew Lambert will participate in the voyage. He was inspired to write his most recent book, The Gates of Hell: Sir John Franklin's Tragic Quest for the Northwest Passage, while aboard the icebreaker in 2004.
Khlebnikov's final voyage will be from December 6, 2011 to January 5, 2012. During that expedition Quark will salute the 100th anniversary of the Australasia Antarctic Expedition while exploring Antarctica's Far East. Captain Petr Golikov, the only master mariner to have circumnavigated Antarctica in an expedition vessel twice will be the special guest. In between, the icebreaker will return to Tanquary Fjord in Canada's High Arctic, northern Greenland and an Emperor Penguin rookery in the Weddell Sea. Kapitan Khlebnikov will circumnavigate the Arctic, before sailing one last time to the Ross Sea.
About Quark Expeditions
In October 2006 and 2007, Quark was named a recipient of National Geographic Traveler's "50 Tours of a Lifetime" for their "Emperor Penguin Safari" and the "Far Side" respectively. In the March 2006 edition, Outside magazine named the "Emperor Penguin Safari" as one of the New Trips of a Lifetime.