Whether you are heading there because you want to see polar bears before they disappear or looking for Santa's house at the North Pole, having an experienced expedition when traveling to the Arctic makes a significant difference. Vermont-based polar adventure specialist Quark Expeditions just named its five new expedition leaders for 2010, and is celebrating the announcement with free extended stays in Oslo or Reykjavik.
The expedition leaders come from backgrounds in science and history. Most are wildlife specialists and some are skilled yachtsmen and kayakers. They also have experience as Zodiac drivers, naturalists, and lecturers.
New Zealander Graham Charles is an internationally renowned kayaker who will lead expeditions to Spitsbergen, Eastern Greenland, Iceland and the Canadian Arctic from July 8 to August 20.
Dr. Kirsten le Mar uses her training and experience as a field biologist as expedition leader aboard the icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov. Kirsten will lead three expeditions from Anadyr, Russia to Resolute, Canada.
Canadian Brandon Harvey studies orcas when he is not leading an Arctic voyage. Between June and September, he will lead expeditions to Spitsbergen, Greenland and Iceland aboard the 46-passenger Akademik Shokalskiy.
David "Dutch" Willmott has has sailed and raced yachts all over the world. He will be leading expeditions to Spitsbergen, Svalbard in June 2010.
David "Woody" Wood started working on expedition vessels as a bartender,and is an experienced Zodiac driver who can handle firearms— essential in the Arctic. He will be leading expeditions to Spitsbergen, Svalbard from July to August.
Jan Bryde will lead Quark's Arctic trip to the North Pole, July 9 to 23 aboard 50 Years of Victory, the world's largest nuclear-powered icebreaker.
Extend Your Stay
The Oslo extended stay offer is available on three departures: Introduction to Spitsbergen, June 21 to 28; Spitsbergen Explorer June 27 to July 7 or July 14 to 24, 2010. Guests who book any of the listed expeditions will receive a package that includes one night in Longyearbyen and two nights in Oslo.
The Reykjavik extended stay offer is available on Iceland, Greenland and the Canadian Arctic, August 3 to 20. Guests who book this voyage will receive a package that includes four nights in Reykjavik.