Your icebreaker ship, 50 Years of Victory, will take you to a part of the world more commonly associated with fairy tales and folklore—the North Pole. Crushing through multi-year pack ice, the journey can take as long as a week, which only helps to heighten the level of excitement. Celebrate with champagne upon your arrival and soar above the entire Earth on an optional hot air balloon ride.
Join us on this amazing voyage to 90°N aboard 50 Years of Victory.
Note: Weather and other mitigating factors may result in changes to our itinerary and alteration to certain shore excursions. this is particularly important with regard to the flying of the helicopters.
If reaching the North Pole isn’t a big enough thrill, be one of only a few people in the world to soar above the sea-ice in a hot air balloon, with a sweeping 360° view to all points south. Rising as high as 30 meters, your birds-eye view of the ship and Arctic tundra will be something you’ll remember forever. Exclusive to Quark Expeditions, this option brings you a whole new perspective on the North Pole!
This option can only be booked during your voyage and is highly weather dependant. For more information about Adventure Options, including physical requirements and cost of each please contact Peregrine.
POSSIBLE LANDINGS AND WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS
Visitors to the North Pole usually number in the mere hundreds each year. Soak up the icy surroundings knowing that even polar bears and harp seals are rare visitors to this extremity of the earth.
Some World War II history, with the remains of Germany’s Schatsgräber station found here. There is also a large air landing strip and the frontier Russian station Nagurskaya, which was abandoned in 1996.
Relics from the turn of the 20th century are found along the shores of Alger Island. A number of expeditions, including the Baldwin-Ziegler expedition of 1901-02 and the Fiala-Ziegler expedition of 1903-05 set up bases here. Remains of their huts and time here are found at Camp Ziegler and West Camp Ziegler. At the center of the island is the impressive Mount Richthofen (404 m). Nearby Matilda Island also offers insights into life here more than 100 years ago.
This small island has a ridge that may provide a vantage point for viewing a walrus rookery, which are known to haul-out on the island. Zodiac cruising for watching walrus from a distance is also a possibility here.
In 1881 Benjamin Leigh-Smith’s expedition built a hut
here, but never had the opportunity to use it as their ship wrecked off the coast. The hut is in supreme condition, and has a number of interesting inscriptions on its interior walls. An old Russian isba (wood structure) is also found here, which may even pre-date the official 1873 discovery of
Franz Josef Land.
CALM BAY, HOOKER ISLAND
Sporadically in use today, this is the site of the first ever polar station in the archipelago, built in 1929. Memorials to Georgiy Sedov’s wintering in 1913-14 are built here and the remains of a glaciologist hut are also found here.
This is a well-known area for spotting polar bears. This is
a popular hunting ground for them as seals also frequent
CAPE FLIGLEY, RUDOLF ISLAND
The most northern point of the archipelago is marked with a copper plaque and memorial cross. This is also the most northern part of Europe, reaching further north than Spitsbergen. The island is almost entirely ice-covered and temperatures only rise above freezing here for a few shorts weeks each summer.
CAPE FLORA, NORTHBROOK ISLAND
More than half a dozen expeditions passed through here in the late 19th and early 20th centuries – among them was the ‘1000 Days in the Arctic’ expedition of Jackson-Harmsworth. Many buildings from the time are in ruins or have fallen into the sea, but some remain. Memorials and crosses have been erected in more recent years in memory of both the survivors and victims of those early expeditions.
CAPE FORBE, GRANT LAND
Of interesting note here is a Norwegian hut from the 1930’s, which was used for walrus hunting.
CAPE HELLER, WILCZEK LAND
Historically significant markers can be found here, including the remains of a stone hut that was used by two men from the 1898-99 Walter Wellman expedition. There is a grave site and large memorial post in honor of the one member who died here just after New Year’s in 1899.
CAPE NORWAY, JACKSON ISLAND
Sometimes unreachable, even to icebreakers, weather is always a factor at this northern part of the archipelago. A variety of Arctic flora is found in this area, making it particularly interesting for botanists. This is also the location where Fridtjof Nansen and Frederick Jackson stayed during the 1895-96 winter and the remains of their stone hut can be visited.
CAPE TEGETTHOF, HALL ISLAND
Impressive tall cliffs are home to large numbers of seabirds here, while the ruins of the Walter Wellman 1898-99 expedition are also found here. With a diverse landscape the island is great for exploring on foot, provided that polar bears aren’t in the vicinity.
Wildflowers of the tundra are a common sighting here, giving a bit of color to an often bleak landscape. Of particular interest though are the mysteriously perfectly-rounded rocks that are scattered on parts of the island. They are up to 2m in diameter and have been nicknamed ‘Devil’s Marbles.’
GRAHAM BELL ISLAND
One of two islands in the archipelago named after Alexander Graham Bell. Cape Kohlsaat on the eastern edge of the island is the most eastern point of the archipelago. Until 1995 there was a large military base in use here and the island is still subject to military restrictions.
The Fiala-Ziegler expedition of 1903-05 left behind a large depot here, named Kane Lodge. It is one of the more impressive depots from this, and other, expeditions that can be found in the archipelago.
For 40 years the geophysical observatory known as Krenkel operated here, complete with a launching ramp for sending rockets into the upper atmosphere. The station re-opened in 2004 with much smaller operations, thus a large part remains unused. Research and modern-life in the Arctic are portrayed well here, with a great sampling of abandoned items, including aircraft. The island also has a natural attraction, featuring a scenic ice dome and interesting basalt formations.
This is a scenic and narrow waterway that lies between MacKlintok Island and Hall Island towards the southern reaches of Franz Josef Land.
RUBINI ROCK, HOOKER ISLAND
Considered by many to be home to the most impressive birds cliffs anywhere in Franz Josef Land. The cliffs here are home to a bounty of seabirds and because of deep waters ships are able to get right up close to the edge of the cliffs for great views. Most of the shores here are dominated by glacier fronts, with a large part of the island ice-covered.
A number of narrow channels and varying landscapes are found near Salisbury Island, which is close to Champ, Ziegler and Wiener-Neustadt Islands. This makes it an ideal place for helicopter exploration and scenic flights. It is relatively difficult to land along the coast of the archipelago’s sixth largest island, so admire from afar.
TEPLITZ BAY, RUDOLF ISLAND
With a long history of Arctic exploration this bay was first explored during Julius Payer’s 1874 expedition. Once a base for long-distance Arctic flights, the bay is also home to an abandoned polar station. Ships have sunk in these icy waters, a wrecked aircraft lies on the icecap and monuments and graves pay homage to the early explorers who died here. For wildlife both narwhal and beluga whales have been seen in these waters.
The westernmost island of the archipelago, this very small island is actually geographically closer to Svalbard than Franz Joseph Land. The icecap here reaches almost 100m thick and is an impressive sight from a distance. Walrus, polar bears and ivory gulls are most commonly spotted here, with the island being a large breeding ground for the gulls.
The Austro-Hungarian Tegetthof expedition left their mark here after being trapped in ice in 1872. Sites include a grave of one of their team members, located high up on a ridge. The island is half ice-covered and is among the most southerly islands of the archipelago.