Polar Exploration

Choosing the Right Polar Exploration Vacation

Polar Exploration Tour Operators

Polar Explorers (http://www.polarexplorers.com, Tel. + 1 541 330 2454)
Expedition, adventure and cruise ships to the Antarctica and Arctic.
Quark Expeditions (http://www.quarkexpeditions.com, Tel. +1 (203) 656 0499)
A polar cruise expert specializing in comfortable but adventurous expedition cruises to Antarctica and the Arctic.
Norwegian Coastal Voyage (http://www.norwegiancoastalvoyage.us, Tel. 1 866 257 6071)
Operates a regular schedule of adventure and exploration cruises to the polar regions of the Arctic and Antarctica and works with local cultural and environmental groups.
Travel Wild (http://www.travelwild.com, Tel. (206) 463-5362)
Small ship expeditions to Iceland, Greenland and Antarctica.
Northwinds (http://www.northwinds-arctic.com, Tel. +1 867 979 0551)
Northwinds specializes in polar training for winter camping and kiting and polar expeditions to Greenland, the Arctic and Antarctica including dog sledding, kiting and skiing.
Arctic Odysseys (http://www.arcticodysseys.com, Tel. +1 (206) 325-1977)
Small-group format tours to the North Pole, Arctic Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Iceland, Spitsbergen, Russia and Antarctica include dog sledding, polar bear sight seeing and heli-skiing.
Polar Travel (http://www.polar-travel.com)
A private mountaineer offers travelers the opportunity to join him on his excursions to Greenland, Svalbard, Spitsbergen, Kamchatka (Russia), Patagonia (Argentina and Chile), and Antarctica.
Antarctica Expeditions (http://www.antarcticacruises.com.ar, Tel. (54-11) 4806-6326)
A Brazilian couple that can provide slide presentations and arrange expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula, Las Malvinas, South Georgia, Weddell Sea and the North Pole.
Alaska Icefield Expeditions (http://www.akdogtour.com, Tel. + 1 907 983 2299)
Summer dog sledding on the Denver Glacier, Skagway, Alaska and spectacular helicopter flights.
Winterdance Dogsled Tours (http://www.winterdance.com, Tel. + 1 (705) 457-5281)
Dogsled tours with Siberian Huskies in Haliburton Highlands, Ontario, Canada.
Arcturus Expeditions (http://www.arcturusexpeditions.co.uk, + 44 01432 850886)
Arctic Cruises, dog sledding and skiing, walking and camping and Antarctic programs.
Expeditions North Inc (http://www.labradorhuntingfishing.com, Tel. + 1 877 601 3733)
Black bear, caribou and moose hunting, fly fishing and wildlife viewing in Labrador, Quebec.

Do-It-Yourself Options

Do-it-yourself polar explorations like dog sledding, trekking and skiing can be undertaken without a guide. But even for easy day or overnight journeys you should have plenty of experience to draw on before you set out. Obviously if you’re planning on walking across Antarctica you’ll need epic physical and trip preparations.

If you want to try dog sledding, lodges in Alaska or Canada will provide you with the equipment and training to undertake a solo journey. You can often rent snowmobiles, snowshoes and skis in many locations. Always ask the advice of rangers or locals on trail conditions and directions.

However the dangerous oceans and weather conditions that fetter explorers attempting to reach polar regions should not be under estimated. Even if you are adequately prepared and have the necessary fitness, things can and do go wrong.

Weather conditions can suddenly alter so be prepared for sudden storms, high winds, intense sunlight and temperature changes. Bring warm clothes, rain gear, sturdy footwear, sunglasses and sunscreen. Untreated water from streams can contain parasites, no matter how clear it looks so bring along a filter. Always stay on the trail to stop erosion and prevent you losing the way and take all your rubbish with you. You may also need to take some protection against wildlife – yes that means a gun!

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