The winner of the USD$45,000 prize in the Adventure with Julie competition sponsored by Quark Expeditions and SeaWorld, is blogging from an Emperor Penguin colony in Antarctica. Chris Epting and his daughter Claire are adventure cruising with SeaWorld Animal Ambassador Julie Scardina, aboard Quark's 24,000 horsepower Russian icebreaker, Kapitan Khlebnikov.
After his first visit to the colony, Epting observed, "The concept of observing nature all of a sudden flips and you realize that the nature is also observing you - by the thousands." The 14-day vacation cruise in the Weddell Sea is one of two icebreaker expeditions to the rookery in 2010. Both are sold out.
Epting described the helicopter flight from the ship to the base camp established on the sea ice: "A brief (about 8 minutes), thrilling chopper ride from the deck across a strange, profoundly frozen, powder-blue landscape." Khelbnikov is the only icebreaker outfitted for passenger travel in Antarctica equipped with helicopters for aerial-sightseeing and transfers.
It took Epting and his daughter 36 hours to travel to the embarkation point in Ushuaia, Argentina from California. From Ushuaia, it was a two day sail to the Weddell Sea. An 8 minute helicopter flight and a 1.5 mile hike completed the journey to the Emperor Penguin colony. The Eptings hope to visit the colony twice more before beginning the return journey. Readers can follow their adventures at Adventure With Julie Antarctic Blog.
About Quark Expeditions
Since 1991, Quark Expeditions has specialized in expedition cruising to the Arctic and Antarctica, in ships with ice-strengthened hulls or in icebreakers. The first voyage operated by Quark was the Transpolar Bridge Cruise in 1991. The ship was the nuclear powered icebreaker Sovetskiy Soyuz. She sailed across the top of the world via Franz Josef Land, the North Pole, the New Siberian Islands, the Wrangel Island area and the Chukotka Peninsula, disembarking in Provideniya, Russia. 2011 is Quark Expeditions 20th anniversary as a polar adventure specialist.
SOURCE Quark Expeditions