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Emperor Penguin Quest: Expedition to Snow Hill

What To Pack For Your Snow Hill Island Expedition

Antarctic spring is the best time to venture into the ice-chocked waters of the Weddell Sea to Antarctica’s northernmost emperor penguin colony located near the southern shores of Snow Hill Island, to the east of the Antarctic Peninsula. Set on sea ice, with temperatures usually well below freezing and breezy wind conditions often accentuating the chill significantly, you should pack for maximum warmth and optimal thermo-insulations (from all sides: top to bottom) while making sure not to overheat while walking to/from the colony: thus packing layers; and layers adjustment on site will be key!
any conditions.

Packing for Snow Hill doesn’t have to be daunting, below list will help you to optimally prepare for your Antarctic adventure of a lifetime. And to make it easier for you, all Quark Expeditions voyages include a 3in1 Quark parka to keep, a collapsible reusable water bottle, and a loan of insulated waterproof boots. 

Visiting the Emperor Penguin Colony

Located on sea ice, the emperor rookery is situated some walking distance from the closest potential helicopter landing site (to not disturb the animals), so make sure you bring layered clothing suitable for covering the distance comfortably and additional layers to top-up whilst being more stationary at the colony.

Please note: The walk will be over uneven terrain of ice and varying levels of snow, so make sure you only bring what you can carry yourself without assistance!

1. ▢ Waterproof Pants (Mandatory for every Zodiac and helicopter ride. For Ultramarine guests who are participating in Helicopter flights, we recommend packing loose fitting rain pant style waterproof pants, rather than fitted ski pants. You will also be required to wear a drysuit, which our team will help you prepare for on the ship.)
2. ▢ Waterproof jacket (either the complimentary Quark 3-in-1 jacket or if you prefer, you can bring your own water & windproof winter warm anorak or extreme weather jacket (recommended: long/hooded*– complete with a solid insulating layer (fleece/down**) *hood (with (faux) fur ruff /**responsible Down Standard (RDS)
3. ▢ Warm base-layer wool or synthetic top
4. ▢ Warm base-layer wool or synthetic bottom
▢ Mid-layer(s)* warm or (smart)wool/fleece top (*to adjust depending on your thermos-regulation comfort and activity level /keep a dry spare in your bag, for layering)
5. ▢ Mid-layer(s)* warm or (smart)wool/fleece top (*to adjust depending on your thermos-regulation comfort and activity level /keep a dry spare in your bag, for layering)
6. ▢ Warm hat that covers ears (bring an extra for your daypack in case one gets wet) 
7. ▢ Balaclava, scarf, buff, or other warm face protection (against wind & snow)
8. ▢ Warm wool or synthetic socks (keep a dry pair in your bag)
9. ▢ Warm, insulating insole(s) (for included boots)
10. ▢ Warm waterproof gloves or mitts (bring an extra for your daypack in case one gets wet!)
11. ▢ Additional warm glove liners (for operating the camera or binoculars while at the colony)
12. ▢ (Reusable) Hand and feet warmers 
13. ▢ Ski goggles (protection against snow flurries and wind) and polarized sunglasses with UV protection (for sunny moments)
14. ▢ Binoculars
15. ▢ Cold protection cream with UV block (don’t bring regular, water-based Sunscreen – it will freeze!)
16. ▢ Waterproof, lightweight backpack (= Daypack to carry your spare clothing and gear to & from the colony)
17. ▢ Additional reusable (thermos-regulating) water bottle or thermos (in addition to the reusable collapsible water bottle provided)
18.  ▢ Camera(s) and pertinent equipment with enough spare batteries, ideally in a ‘warm pack’ (due to the low temperatures batteries will run out faster than usual!)
19. ▢ Folding (collapsible) ski pole walking stick with seat (for balance & stability aid for walking on uneven terrain & seating option for while at the colony)
20. ▢ small quick dry towel/handkerchief (to get rid of perspiration or snow)

Exploring the Antarctic

Basic Antarctic gear recommendations (while on outer decks aboard the ship or during Zodiac Operations for alternative Landings etc.)

1. ▢ Waterproof pants (mandatory for every Zodiac & helicopter ride)
2. ▢ Waterproof jacket (the complimentary Quark 3-in-1 is ideal for all excursion outings with our Zodiacs)
3. ▢ Binoculars
4. ▢ Base-layer wool or synthetic top
5. ▢ Base-layer wool or synthetic bottom
6. ▢ Mid-layer warm or fleece top*
7. ▢ Mid-layer warm or fleece bottom*
8. ▢ Warm hat that covers ears 
9. ▢ Warm wool or synthetic socks (keep a dry pair in your bag, and bring extras for layering)
10. ▢ Waterproof gloves or mitts 
11. ▢ Glove liners* 
12. ▢ Waterproof, lightweight backpack or dry sack for camera and gear or waterproof cell phone case / rain sleeve 
13. ▢ Ski goggles (for Zodiac cruising on snowy or windy days)
14. ▢ Hat, buff or scarf (for wind and weather protection)
15. ▢ UV protection (sun hat, polarized sun glasses, sun block, lip balm)
16. ▢ Collapsible Walking stick for hikes (if required). Quantities are available on every vessel to borrow.

* recommended layering depending on the conditions of the day and reflecting your personal thermo-regulation comfort levels.

To Wear on Board

1. ▢ The complimentary Quark 3-in-1 Parka provided on board is designed with a waterproof shell that can be worn out on deck, and a removable liner that you can wear to stay comfortable indoors)
2. ▢ Comfortable casual clothing like lighter shirts, pants or jeans, etc. (in case the ship gets warm)
3. ▢ Comfortable non-slip closed-toed unheeled shoes (flip flops, sandals or slip-on shoes should not be worn on board due to safety concerns)
4. ▢ Workout attire (for the fitness center and other indoor activities)
5. ▢ Swimsuit (for the Polar Plunge! and/or Tundra Spa & Sauna aboard Ultramarine)

Just a reminder: no formal evening wear required on our voyages but if you would like to bring something a little more dressy for the Captain’s welcome and farewell cocktails you may certainly do so!

Additional Items

1. ▢ Passport, visas, immunization records, travel documents, etc. as required
2. ▢ Camera gear 
complete with charger, storage medium, transport & cleaning kit (drybag, lens cloth etc.) and extra batteries
3. ▢ Voltage converters and plug adapters (see ship book for details)
4. ▢ Seasickness, indigestion, headache, or other medications
5. ▢ Earplugs and eye masks for sleeping
6. ▢ Moisturizer for face and hands (skin dryness due to wind and temperature changes)

Additional topics are covered on our Frequently Asked Questions page.