Quark Expeditions, the global leader in polar adventures, extended its longstanding record of achievement in Antarctica by successfully landing 208 explorers on two voyages for an experience that few on the planet will ever have: walking on sea ice to visit the remote Snow Hill Island colony of Emperor penguins.
Quark Expeditions‘ technologically-advanced expedition ship, Ultramarine, and its team delivered these successful Snow Hill voyages in November and December, while also hosting a special onboard ceremony at the edge of Antarctica’s Weddell Sea: the official announcement of Dr Sian Proctor as Ultramarine’s godmother.
Joined by the company’s legendary Expedition Leader, Shane Evoy, together with ship’s Captain Jurak Zekan and the full Expedition Team plus Emperor-inspired Snow Hill guests, Dr Proctor embraced the maritime tradition that celebrates strong women as touchstones for a ship’s good fortune and safe passage at sea. With her unique experience as an artist, astronaut, educator, geoscientist, and advocate for inclusivity, Dr Proctor also looked boldly ahead as a trailblazer and storyteller to guide the ship and its polar ambassadors for years to come.
“My goal as an astronaut and an artist is to inspire,” said Dr Proctor. “I am so honored to be godmother for Ultramarine – a role that will allow me to lead by example and to share the personal stories that will inspire others to go out into the world, to experience something new and to become, in their own amazing way, part of the next generation of explorers.”
“It’s one thing to be the first to achieve the extraordinary, as we did nearly 20 years ago when we landed at Snow Hill,” said Andrew White, President of Quark Expeditions. “But beyond simply being first, our passion drives us to do the extraordinary again and again – staying at the forefront of capability and technology, and building an ever-deepening wealth of experience. We may not be able to voyage off the planet, as Dr Proctor has done, but we will always go together with our polar explorers to find life-changing experiences at its farthest edges.”
For the recent sailings of Emperor Penguin Quest: Expedition to Snow Hill, Quark Expeditions guests onboard Ultramarine approached to within 20 nautical miles of Snow Hill Island at the northern edge of Antarctica’s Weddell Sea. Small groups flew in Ultramarine’s Airbus H-145 helicopters to a staging site at a significant distance from the Emperor penguin colony. Every guest walked several kilometres over sea ice to reach the colony and observed IAATO wildlife protocol throughout the visit. Guests and experts alike, including researchers from the British Antarctica Survey and the Smithsonian Institute that joined the expedition, were thrilled to find the Emperor penguin colony’s adults and younger birds thriving and in good health.