Poseidon Expeditions Blog

Antarctica, South Georgia & Falkland Islands

Dreaming of going to Antarctica? Don’t forget to include South Georgia and the Falklands!

When you hear the word “penguins”, your mind might jump straight to Antarctica and its snow-covered mountains and valleys. However, several penguin species disagree with that assumption! They prefer a milder climate and believe there is nothing wrong with laying eggs in tussac grass or muddy ground rather than rocks and snow. Who could these unconventional rebels be? Of course, we mean the king penguins, and given the name, they are rightfully entitled to their opinion. Indeed, these species inhabit the subantarctic islands – the Falklands and South Georgia – rather than the continent of Antarctica.

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Poseidon Expeditions Polar Book Club - The Terrors of Ice and Darkness

The dramatic events surrounding the Austro-Hungarian North Pole Expedition

There is probably no other novel that is as suitable for getting in the mood for an expedition to the remote Russian archipelago of Franz Josef Land than The Terrors of Ice and Darkness, the debut work of the Austrian author Christoph Ransmayr, first published in 1984. Thirty-six years later, Ransmayr, who was recently awarded the Ludwig Börne Prize, one of the most important literary awards in German-speaking countries, is now one of the major contemporary German-language authors.

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Poseidon Expeditions Polar Book Club - The Greatest Show in the Arctic

Walter Wellman (center), in Tromsø on board the Frithjof during his 1898-1899 expedition to Franz Josef Land.

Try, Try and Try Again: American Expeditions to the North Pole, 1898 to 1905

By Steve Wellmeier, Sales Director of Poseidon’s US office

For me, as an American who’s been involved in polar travel for more than 20 years, some of the most fascinating episodes about Franz Josef Land are the multiple times American adventurers in the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries selected it as a base station to reach the North Pole.

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Who Owns Antarctica?

Everyone and no one. Those four words describe perhaps the simplest way of answering questions about the sovereignty of the Seventh Continent. And, the description has been relatively accurate since 1961 when the Antarctic Treaty, signed two years earlier, came into force.

Claims of ownership by Spain of Terra Australis Incognita – lands south of South American and Africa – go back to the 15th and 16th centuries. But it wasn’t until the 18th and 19th centuries, when hardy navigators first set eyes on the continent and ice sheet surrounding it, that more serious stakes were put forth. Spain’s original claims became those of Argentina and Chile, and five other nations jumped into the picture: Norway, France, Britain and the latter’s major colonies of the time, Australia and New Zealand. Because any type of border was practically impossible to enforce, many of the territorial claims overlapped.

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Umberto Nobile - Life and Expeditions

Englishmen, Russians and Norwegians stand at the forefront of polar exploration during the “Heroic Era” of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We think of Earnest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott; Stepan Makarov and Georgy Sedov; and Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen. But an Italian aeronautical engineer, pilot and explorer stands on equal footing – Umberto Nobile.

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On Intimate Terms with My Very First Svalbard Glacier

I’ll let some science nerd give you all the geological facts and figures about Svalbard’s glaciers in another blog post. But, since I’m writing this one, and because I come from an entirely different side of Poseidon’s polar expedition cruise business – marketing and sales – I’d like to write about this subject from a different perspective…

… the perspective of being on the water in St. Jonsfjord in a sea kayak with my older and wiser brother Tom, surrounded by brash ice, with a massive glacier face looming in front of me.

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Top Experiences of a British Isles Cruise

Because of current global travel restrictions and other coronavirus-related challenges, our May 2020 British Isles cruise has been rescheduled to next year. But we can still explore the isolated villages with architecture dating back thousands of years and wild cliffs where birdlife is abundant – with a virtual journey. Read on to learn about the top experiences of a British Isles cruise and to get a feel for this incredible voyage without leaving the house.

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Poseidon Expeditions Book Club: Folk Tales by Knud Rasmussen

Knud Rasmussen, 1879-1933, was a Greenlandic–Danish polar explorer and anthropologist. He was the first European to cross the Northwest Passage via dog sled and is largely considered the ‘Father of Eskimology’. According to our expedition leader and director of expedition operations Anja Erdmann-Rutten, Knud Rasmussen should be considered a key figure in polar exploration, similar to Nansen, Amundsen, or Peary.

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Ernest Shackleton's Grave Site

Visiting the gravesite of Sir Ernest Shackleton is an emotional stop on an Antarctic cruise that includes exploration of South Georgia. A renowned polar explorer, Shackleton died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 1922, at the beginning of a new voyage. South Georgia played a key role in his previous expeditions and was very dear to him, and that is why Grytviken was chosen as the final resting place of Sir Ernest Shackleton. Paying respects to the great explorer is a special experience for many Antarctic travelers.

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Famous Arctic Expeditions

The same trip to the Arctic today and a hundred years ago are two drastically different things. For one, the time to get there – a few days on a modern expedition ship versus several years with dog sleds, skis, vessels getting stuck in the pack ice, and even on foot. Then there are everyday activities of the voyage – today, you may go on a Zodiac cruise and chill in the Jacuzzi among icebergs, when early explorers had their hands full with chipping ice off the decks, melting snow for freshwater or hunting for food. This makes us appreciate the early Arctic explorers even more – driven by sheer will and passion, they faced challenges and braved seas, making their way into history books and our memories.

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