Category archives: Arctic

Snowshoeing Spitsbergen: Old School Arctic Trekking Like a Champ

Early in the Arctic expedition season each year, passengers have a unique opportunity to participate in the age old, traditional activity of snowshoeing in Norway’s Arctic paradise, Spitsbergen. Whether you’re a first-timer or a snowshoeing aficionado, these tips will help you make the most of the experience. Snowshoeing is a fantastic way to get an up close and personal look at the vast Arctic landscape around Spitsbergen, the largest island [...]

Franklin's Lost Expedition: Myths, Mystery & Modern Day Relics

The story of Franklin’s lost expedition is one that still fascinates today, so much so that international researchers are still investigating potential causes of the deaths of all 129 men and officers aboard the fateful ship. Just recently, scientists from the University of Glasgow re-examined forensic specimens gathered by Parks Canada in 2013 and concluded that lead poisoning was less a factor than previously thought. What, then, was responsible for [...]

Farewell Sochi Olympics, Hello Arctic Winter Games!

Feature photo: athletes and volunteers get pumped up for the 2014 Arctic Winter Games at a recent volunteer ceremony. Photo credit: awg2014.org The 2014 Olympic Winter Olympics have come and gone, leaving in their wake a number of new records, both sporting-related and monetary. The Sochi Olympic Games will go down in history as the most expensive to date; with a $51 billion investment, Russia far exceeded the previous $40 [...]

Climate Change & Biodiversity Priorities for Arctic Council

Photo Credit: Quark passenger Al Gellin The preservation of Arctic heritage and the environment is incredibly important for us at Quark Expeditions and we’re incredibly grateful for the work done by organizations like the Arctic Council. As their second annual Senior Arctic Officials (SAO) Canadian Chairmanship meeting in Yellowknife approaches, we want to share with you some of the excellent work they’ve undertaken to ensure the Arctic can be enjoyed [...]

Arctic Travel: Exploring on your own or with Arctic Tour Group? Two Different Ways to Discover the North

Traveling to the Arctic is a once in a lifetime adventure for some, while others have made it a semi-annual or even annual tradition, exploring different areas or returning to favorite regions with each visit. Whether it’s your first trip to the Arctic Circle or your tenth, is it better to travel alone or accompanied by an Arctic tour group? There are a number of factors to consider, but it [...]

Quark Passengers Love Showcasing Their National Pride

Wherever we go – from the Drake Passage to King George Island in the Antarctic, all the way to East Greenland and even the North Pole – Quark passengers love bringing a bit of their home country with them. Even better, they share their experiences with us in photos, videos and even guest blog posts. In light of the recent Olympics, one of the greatest displays of national pride on [...]

Polar Vortex: The Science, Myth & Media Hype Behind North American Weather Phenomenon

Since early January, the polar vortex craze has swept North America. You’ve seen it splashed across mainstream media and if you are a social media user, have probably been inundated with polar vortex warnings and memes over the past month. This influx of Arctic weather across North America has been blamed for slumping vehicle sales, record-breaking demand for natural gas, and temperature lows not seen in the Southern states in [...]

It’s Getting Hot Up Here: Arctic Circle Destinations On Holiday Hotspots Lists

Written by Quark’s extraordinary president, Hans Lagerweij. Even as frigid temperatures grip typically mild areas this winter, travelers are gearing up for Arctic expeditions this summer. In fact, 2014 is shaping up to be a banner year for travel in and around the Arctic Circle, as travelers and mainstream media alike are eager to explore and share their adventures at the top of the world. Recent “top destinations” lists from [...]

Fluffy flowers

The Arctic cottongrass is the most widespread flowering plant found in the northern hemisphere and Arctic tundra regions.  Cotton grass is not actually a type of grass, but rather a plant that  flourishes in areas that are too cold for trees. Fun fact:  in Scotland they used them to dress wounds during First World War. Photo courtesy of our passenger slideshow, 2013 Greenland Explorer Voyage.

Arctic flowers: the beautiful Purple Saxifrage

Former Canadian Museum of Nature botanist,  Nicholas Polunin,  wrote in 1940 that this plant “must be reckoned among the world’s greatest beauties, especially as it stands out in its unusually bleak and desolate surroundings.”   Purple saxifrage is an edible plant that is seen all over the high Arctic.  Purple saxifrage is the first plant to flower in the Arctic spring, and stays in bloom for 10 to 14 days.  Fun fact: Inuit [...]