This post was previously published in July 2016
Exploring the 7th continent is best accomplished in person, of course; but polar-passionate people the world over can now explore vicariously through Quark Expeditions' 360° Virtual Reality Antarctic Experience, a series of stunning 360° VR videos shot in Antarctica. Rotate your mobile device or mouse around on a laptop to explore the sights and sounds of an authentic Antarctic landing.
Explore your ship's onboard comforts or paddle a kayak in one of the most pristine, unspoiled environments on the planet. Cruise on Zodiac landing craft, explore the Antarctic peninsula and get up close and personal with the region's unique and curious inhabitants. Throughout the journey, you'll interact with and learn about history and wildlife from Quark's expedition staff.
Up Close with Antarctica's Most Iconic Resident
Named after the father of the Argentine Navy, Base Brown is one of 13 Antarctic research stations operated by Argentina. At this site, you'll find one of the most complete biology laboratories in the Antarctic -- during its more than 60 years in operation, more than 100 scientific papers were published by the Argentine Antarctic Institute. A short walk uphill from the station reveals the austere beauty of the Antarctic landscape to adventurous travelers. Below you, Paradise Bay is ringed by mountains; ahead, a colony of gentoo penguins waits.
The spectacular wildlife are the stars of this show! Gentoo penguins are easily recognized by the wide white stripe extending across their head, and their bright orange-red bill. They also have the longest tail of any penguin species and can grow up to 30 inches (76cm) and weigh up to 13 pounds (5 kg). Gentoos gather in large colonies of breeding pairs, and are monogamous during the breeding season.
Females lay two eggs in September, making January and February the best time to see penguin chicks. The chicks are curious by nature, and chances are one or more will approach to see what you're up to when you get close to the colony! Listen to them chattering amongst themselves. Watch as they awkwardly wander about, but don't be fooled by their ungainly ways; the gentoo is lithe and graceful in the water.
A Short Climb to a Spectacular Antarctic View
Not too far away, you can climb with your fellow passengers to a vantage point 84 meters (276 ft.) above the station for a spectacular view of Paradise Bay. The vessel that serves as your home during the expedition looks no bigger than a child's toy.
From every angle, there are amazing scenes unlike anything you've ever seen before; you are truly on the trip of a lifetime! It's not until the telephone rings and interrupts your reverie that you remember you're still at home, experiencing the beauty of Antarctica virtually.
Unique Way to Plan Your Antarctic Expedition
The 360° Virtual Reality Antarctic Experience is a polar travel first, shot by a two-man film crew during a recent Crossing the Circle Expedition. The 360° film technology gives viewers control over their immersive viewing experience.
For optimal 360°viewing on a tablet or mobile phone, download the YouTube App. Control is as simple as rotating your device or swiping to change perspective and explore each shot. Experiencing the full radius of each spectacular shot is the perfect way for polar adventurers to research and plan their own expedition. It's also a great way for those who have experienced this trip of a lifetime to re-live memories!
Quark's Immersive 360° VR experience transports you to the 7th continent in a completely unique way.