Quark Expeditions® recently announced that Canadian astronaut Colonel Chris Hadfield will be joining our Arctic Icebreaker Expedition: Best of the Canadian High Arctic in late August / early September . In what he calls a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity, Hadfield will bring his science and technology variety show, Chris Hadfield's Generator, on board the legendary Russian icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov.
It's a match made in the heavens. The most popular astronaut on the planet, thanks to his great sense of humor and openness on social media, Hadfield shared the wonders of the world with fans on Earth during his time in space, often through aerial photos of remote regions like the Arctic and Antarctica.
Now Hadfield joins Quark passengers on an epic journey from Kangerlussuaq and up Greenland's west coast to Cobourg Island, Hell Gate, Chapman Glacier and more in Canada's Far North. The idea of an adventure that would take the famous astronaut into the Polar Regions he'd admired from space began when Karl Kannstadter, Quark's product d , attended Chris Hadfield at Massey Hall in Toronto, where, as host, Hadfield shared the stage with guests such as Robin Ince, of The Infinite Monkey Cage, and Able Bionics, Canada's builder of exoskeleton technology.
Generator a good fit for Arctic Expedition
By the end of the evening, having seen one inspirational science- and technology-based vignette flow into another, Kannstadter thought that Generator was a natural fit with an arctic vacation. He immediately reached out to producer Evan Hadfield, Colonel Hadfield's son. The Hadfields loved the concept and helped iron out the trip's logistics.
In a recent Instagram post, Colonel Hadfield commented: “They have outfitted a Soviet icebreaker, brought aboard scientists and guests, and are preparing to allow us the opportunity to see an unparalleled part of this world and put on a once-in-a-lifetime show. How could I say no? The whole idea is impossible to resist.”
Kapitan Khlebnikov Is the Perfect Venue
One of few icebreakers that can travel through dense pack ice, polar pioneer Kapitan Khlebnikov always attracts interest to its expeditions. Adding Generator to the September trip has magnified that interest, says Kannstadter.
“Nature-loving adventure seekers have a zest for life sciences,” Kannstadter says. “And since the essence of our trips is the exploration of both physical and mental human boundaries, what factors high on the list for many of our guests is space or anything unknown. ”
The 18-day Arctic Icebreaker Expedition will feature several Generator performances. Outside of those times, Hadfield and his team will enjoy the same arctic holiday as other passengers.
In an interview with Condé Nast Traveler, Hadfield said the concept behind the show is to present Canada in a new light.
“When we were approached to bring the show on board the expedition, it aligned very well with the overall goals we were looking to achieve,” Hadfield said. “Being aboard Kapitan Khlebnikov, forcing its way through the Arctic Ocean, allows us the opportunity to change the dynamic. By bringing aboard a dozen artists from a variety of backgrounds and countries with hundreds of thousands of listeners, viewers, readers and fans, we can provide a glimpse into a rarely seen side of the North to people who might otherwise never get to experience it.”
Polar Exploration Differs from Space Exploration
While he loves the idea of exploration, Hadfield says there are significant differences between space exploration and arctic exploration.
“Space exploration is quite possibly the most complicated task that humans have ever achieved,” Hadfield told Condé Nast Traveler. “Cruising is by definition meant to be relaxing. I'd say as a passenger you'd probably prefer that your ocean voyage be as little like space travel as possible.”
Although cruising isn't his norm, Hadfield says that an arctic expedition with Quark isn't exactly cruising.
“I see it more as a trip aboard a storied Russian vessel to a place that is more remote than almost anywhere else on the planet,” he says. “A cruise, to me, implies simplicity and ease. What excites me about what we're undertaking is that there is a level of implied complexity and life experience.”
And don't forget the entertainment! Composed of 10 people, the Generator crew includes award-winning photographers, plus videographers, artists, musicians and comedians.
For more information about the Arctic Icebreaker Expedition: Best of the Canadian High Arctic, contact one of our experienced Polar Travel Advisers today.
Photos courtesy of Quark passengers.