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Antarctic Expedition to Totality

November 26 - December 7, 2021

Eclipse Tour Destination: Antarctica

A total eclipse of the Sun doesn’t just unfold in the heavens. It transforms the minds and hearts of those fortunate enough to experience such a rare event firsthand. The same is true of journeys to the most remote regions of our planet: standing on a mountain peak or in a stark polar landscape, you can’t help but reflect on your place in the larger scheme of things.

These insights have converged in a remarkable new adventure from TravelQuest.

In 2021, we’ll be gathering a select group of guests to view the December 4 solar eclipse at the furthest possible point from their everyday lives: deep in the heart of Antarctica. Partnering with our friends at Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions (ALE), we have created a unique expedition to the least explored continent on Earth – culminating in 44 seconds of brilliant, clear, star-filled darkness as the Moon’s shadow passes over a vast, pristine expanse of ice and snow.

If you are among those lucky enough to have joined us in March of 2015 at 79° North latitude on the snow and ice in Svalbard, Norway, you know full well how brilliantly clear the sky was on eclipse day, with virtually no dust in the air. The sky ‘seeing’ at Union Glacier camp in Antarctica on eclipse day 2021 – coincidentally, this time viewed from at 79° South latitude – should offer no less stunning an experience.

There’s never been a trip like our Antarctic Expedition to Totality, deep into the seldom visited interior of Antarctica, paired with a total eclipse of the Sun. In the coming months, we’ll be announcing optional add-ons to make it even more exceptional, such as a visit to the South Pole for a picture at the ceremonial marker, and an opportunity to “Ski the Last Degree,” crossing the icecap under your own power. We’re also arranging an optional excursion to see Emperor Penguins in their natural habitat. And seasoned adventurers will have a chance to climb Mt. Vinson, the tallest peak on the White Continent.

At TravelQuest, we’ve devoted more than 20 years to creating remarkable, once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences. With this trip, we’re taking our standards as the most qualified eclipse travel team in the business to an even higher level, thanks to the technical, logistical and environmental expertise of our colleagues at ALE.

Remember, experiencing totality in Antarctica will serve as the crown jewel for anyone seeking to stand in the Moon’s shadow on all seven continents.

Do not delay. Make your dream a reality.

December 4, 2021, Antarctica Weather Prospects for Total Solar Eclipse Viewing

by TravelQuest Eclipse Meteorologist Jay Anderson

In 2021, the Moon’s shadow draws its darkest line across the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. It’s a challenging environment, as the Southern Ocean is one of the cloudiest places on the globe. To find the best weather prospects, the eclipse watcher must travel into the continent’s interior, where moisture is locked away in the ice and the ocean far off. Twenty years of satellite observations have revealed the one location along the eclipse path where weather prospects are most favorable, and the Union Glacier camp is located in the midst of that good-weather band.  Average cloud amounts at the camp range around the 40 percent mark, less than half of cloud levels over the ocean. The camp is surrounded by mountains on three sides, which helps to block the flow of low- and mid-level cloud from the north, west, and south, and forms a small microclimate that likely improves the cloud-free prospects even more.  Low clouds that form to the east, over the Weddell Sea, tend to arrive in late December, after the eclipse date.

Highlights

  • Fly via privately chartered jet to our fully equipped camp deep in the Antarctic interior
  • Spend 6 nights at our private eclipse camp, featuring a complete kitchen and dining area, outlying tents and structures that house a communications center, washroom facilities, and workshop, as well as guest accommodations using spacious and comfortable walk-in, 2-person clamshell tents
  • Organized daily activities while on the ice, tailored to the weather and your interests
  • Specially arranged viewing of the December 4 total solar eclipse from a site near our camp

WHAT TO EXPECT ON THIS EXPEDITION

This expedition definitely doesn’t qualify as luxury travel. However, Union Glacier Base Camp, the only private camp operating in the Antarctic interior, has a complete kitchen and dining area, plus outlying tents and structures that house a communications center, washroom facilities, workshop and other operations, as well as guest and staff accommodations. For our time spent at Union Glacier Camp, we sleep in double-walled nylon tents that comfortably house two people and are specially designed for the polar climate. TravelQuest guests sleep in their own or rented sleeping bags on lightweight beds, with linen and a pillow provided.

IMPORTANT:

  • Due to limited capacity this eclipse expedition accommodates only double occupancy - two people in a room in Chile and in a tent in Antarctica. Those traveling solo will be assigned a room partner of the same gender.
  • All tour prices, taxes and airfares quoted in this brochure are based on tariffs, costs and US dollar exchange rates that were in effect at the time of publication. Consequently, prices herein are subject to change. Due to fluctuations in global oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee. You will be advised of details and costs prior to departure.

After an overnight flight, you arrive in Santiago, Chile, clear Customs and Immigration, and then board your connecting domestic flight south to Punta Arenas (Airport code: PUQ). The flight from Santiago to Punta Arenas will take you along the Andes. Providing it is a clear day, those with window seats along the left-hand side of the aircraft will be treated to stunning alpine scenes including massive calving glaciers and their lakes, rugged mountain views, volcanoes and, if the pilot is of a mind, a possible fly-by of the magnificent Torres del Paine. After transferring to our hotel, spend the remainder of the day relaxing or becoming acquainted with this fascinating, centuries-old port. In the evening, join fellow expedition members for a welcome dinner.

IMPORTANT: Due to limited capacity this eclipse expedition accommodates only double occupancy - two people in a room in Chile and in a tent in Antarctica. Those traveling solo will be assigned a room partner of the same gender.

DATE(S): Friday, November 26, 2021

MEALS: Dinner

ACCOMMODATION: Hotel Finis Terrae or similar

After breakfast, we meet with our expedition representative to check our Antarctic clothing and ensure we have all that we need to be safe and comfortable on the ice. This evening, before dinner on your own, meet up with fellow expedition members at Antarctic Logistics & Expedition’s (ALE) Punta Arenas office to meet the people that have made this entire expedition possible. Those of you that have rented expedition parkas, boots and pants will collect your gear at this time.

DATE(S): Saturday, November 27, 2021

MEALS: Breakfast

ACCOMMODATION: Hotel Finis Terrae or similar

In the morning each traveler’s luggage is weighed (baggage allowance limited to 25 kg / 55 lbs per person) and prepared for loading on our chartered jet for departure, weather permitting. Any clothing not needed in Antarctica can be stored at your hotel until our return. Please note that once our Antarctic gear is picked up for our flight, we won’t be able to access it again until we arrive at Union Glacier. Later, we assemble for our expedition pre-flight briefing, which includes information on our flight south, the current weather situation, and what to expect upon arrival in Antarctica. Once concluded, we’re all on standby for our incredible flight south.

DATE(S): Sunday, November 28, 2021

MEALS: Breakfast

ACCOMMODATION: Hotel Finis Terrae or similar

     

We call your hotel room with an update on the latest conditions in Antarctica. If the weather is suitable for our flight, the key is to move fast – we have slightly less than an hour to prepare before the bus leaves our hotel. At Punta Arenas airport we pass through security and immigration formalities before proceeding to the aircraft, climb aboard, get a special safety briefing from the flight crew, and take off toward the south. Our route – with a flying time of approximately four hours – crosses the Drake Passage, whose storm-tossed waters have challenged sailors for centuries. It follows the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula before carrying on southward along the jagged spine of the Ellsworth Mountains. As Union Glacier at last comes into view, we land on its natural blue-ice runway – and then take our first steps onto The White Continent. From the blue-ice landing strip, specially adapted vehicles carry us on the short 8-km (5-mile) drive to Union Glacier Base Camp (79.767° S and 82.867° W), where the hospitable camp team welcomes us with a hot meal. After an initial briefing, you’re shown to your sleeping accommodations in a spacious and comfortable walk-in, 2-person clamshell tent.

IMPORTANT: Due to limited capacity this eclipse expedition accommodates only double occupancy - two people in a room - in both Chile and Antarctica. Those traveling solo will be assigned a room/tent partner of the same gender.

DATE(S): Monday, November 29, 2021

MEALS: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

ACCOMMODATION: Union Glacier Camp

In the morning we meet with our expert guide for an orientation to Antarctica, and Union Glacier in particular, including environmental and safety considerations for our time on the ice. We also tour our base camp and discover the intricacies of daily life in Antarctica. For the rest of the day, you can acclimatize to our new surroundings and participate in some optional easygoing activities. You can be as active or relaxed as you like while at Union Glacier. Each morning after breakfast we will meet with you to discuss the day’s options, and organize activities tailored to the weather and your interests. Using specially adapted vehicles, we have arranged an impressive variety of group excursions, and there are plenty of activities you can do on your own around camp. Take a walk, cross-country ski, or try out one of our fat-tire bikes on the groomed 10 km (6 mile) loop. If you’re looking for something more low-key, check out a book, movie, or game in our polar library. In the evenings, enjoy a delicious, chef-prepared dinner, then join our guest lecturers who will host engaging talks on a variety of topics from polar history to glaciology, astronomy, to, of course, the December 4 total solar eclipse. Many will share photos and stories of their own expeditions to remote parts of Antarctica and beyond.

December 4, 2021, Antarctica Weather Prospects for Total Solar Eclipse Viewing

by TravelQuest Eclipse Meteorologist Jay Anderson

In 2021, the Moon’s shadow draws its darkest line across the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. It’s a challenging environment, as the Southern Ocean is one of the cloudiest places on the globe. To find the best weather prospects, the eclipse watcher must travel into the continent’s interior, where moisture is locked away in the ice and the ocean far off. Twenty years of satellite observations have revealed the one location along the eclipse path where weather prospects are most favorable, and the Union Glacier camp is located in the midst of that good-weather band.  Average cloud amounts at the camp range around the 40 percent mark, less than half of cloud levels over the ocean. The camp is surrounded by mountains on three sides, which helps to block the flow of low- and mid-level cloud from the north, west, and south, and forms a small microclimate that likely improves the cloud-free prospects even more.  Low clouds that form to the east, over the Weddell Sea, tend to arrive in late December, after the eclipse date.

DATE(S): Tuesday-Saturday, November 30, December 1, 2, 3 & 4, 2021

MEALS: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

ACCOMMODATION: Union Glacier Camp

Weather permitting, the aircraft from Punta Arenas arrives at Union Glacier on our scheduled departure day with a new collection of avid explorers – and soon takes off with our group for the final leg of our Antarctic journey. Back in Punta Arenas, we transfer to our hotel. Our team will be on hand to assist wherever possible with arrangements for the conclusion of your journey.

DATE(S): Sunday, December 5, 2021

MEALS: Breakfast

ACCOMMODATION: Hotel Finis Terrae or similar

With the changeability of weather conditions inherent in this expedition, we have created this buffer day, affording flexibility as you make your plans for onward travels.

DATE(S): Monday, December 6, 2021

MEALS: Breakfast

ACCOMMODATION: Hotel Finis Terrae or similar

After breakfast, transfer to Punta Arenas airport for your flight onward.

DATE(S): Tuesday, December 7, 2021

MEALS: Breakfast

Optional Add-ons

If you’d like to arrive in Punta Arenas a night or two ahead of our expedition, TravelQuest has reserved a limited number of standard rooms at Hotel Finis Terrae or similar. 

IMPORTANT: Due to limited capacity this eclipse expedition accommodates only double occupancy - two people in a room in Chile and in a tent in Antarctica. Those traveling solo will be assigned a room partner of the same gender.


Pricing

Cost: $155 USD per person, per night double occupancy. Rate includes Punta Arenas arrival (PUQ) airport-hotel transfer, daily breakfast and tax.

As if this Antarctic Expedition to Totality is not enough, you will have the opportunity to add to your journey one or more of these select lifetime experiences. Space on these add-ons is very limited and subject to local conditions.


Pricing

Pricing details available in late 2020

Includes

Fly to the Geographic South Pole: The holy grail for polar explorers. Embrace this exclusive opportunity to stand at 90° S. Below your feet, all 360 lines of longitude meet, and in just a few steps you can walk around the world!

 

 

 

 

Camping with Emperor Penguins: Dive into the life of an Emperor Penguin, while camping on the same sea ice thousands of birds call home at the remote Gould Bay Colony on the Weddell Sea coast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summit Mount Vinson, Antarctica’s Highest Peak: Imagine yourself on the summit of Mount Vinson - 16,050 ft (4892 m), and one of the coveted Seven Summits. Majestic, snow-covered peaks stand guard over vast glaciers below, and in the distance, snow meets sky along a noticeably curved horizon. This is a moment to savor. All of the challenges you faced to get here only highlight the vast beauty before you, and the sense of accomplishment that comes from achieving the extraordinary. Prior mountaineering experience is required, and applicants will be asked to fill out a skills questionnaire.

 

 

Ski the Last Degree - 89°S to 90°S: Ski the last 60 nautical miles (69 mi/111 km) to reach the most southerly point on Earth and experience firsthand the challenges faced by early explorers. Ski the Last Degree captures the essence of polar exploration in an incredible expedition.

 

 

 

 

Fly over Mount Vinson Base Camp (half-day trip): A 2-hour scenic flight over the Heritage and Sentinel Ranges and, weather permitting, view of Antarctica’s tallest peak, Mount Vinson.

TRIP LEVEL

Level 3 – Moderate – Participants may choose to engage in a range of activities that best suit their level of fitness.  Trips in and around camp offer comfortable adventure under normal polar conditions, and include gentle activities like scenic tours, short treks, talks and skills sessions. For a more challenging experience, participants may partake in activities that require walking up to several miles/kilometers on uneven snow and ice. All travelers will be staying in remote field camp(s), and are subject to possible severe storms, and temperatures down to -40°F (-40°C).

We at TQ want to be sure you find the trip that’s right for you and that best suits your interests and level of fitness. Each prospective participant on this expedition submit to TQ a completed ‘Medical Information Form’ for review by our expedition doctor. Please email or call if you have any questions regarding the itinerary.

Important

  • Due to limited capacity this eclipse expedition accommodates only double occupancy - two people in a room in Chile and in a tent in Antarctica. Those traveling solo will be assigned a room partner of the same gender.
  • TravelQuest, working with our partners, makes every effort to follow the published itinerary. However, please keep in mind that it is subject to change depending on weather and other local conditions.
  • It is important to acknowledge that seeing the total solar eclipse is Sun and weather dependent, and TravelQuest can make no guarantees that the Sun and weather will cooperate.
  • All tour prices, taxes and airfares quoted in this brochure are based on tariffs, costs and US dollar exchange rates that were in effect at the time of publication. Consequently, prices herein are subject to change. Due to fluctuations in global oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee. You will be advised of details and costs prior to departure.

Prices are per person in US Dollars based on the number of people in a room.

Double

$39,800

Important

  • All tour prices, taxes and airfares quoted in this brochure are based on tariffs, costs and United States dollar exchange rates that were in effect at the time of publication. Consequently, prices herein are subject to change. Due to fluctuations in global oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your expedition fee. You will be advised of details and costs prior to departure.
  • Many have heard and read about ‘extreme travel’ to virgin frontiers on our planet; rarely visited places where the most common infrastructures, such as supermarkets, hotels, gas stations, hospitals and restaurants, simply do not exist. This Antarctic Expedition to Totality truly fits into this category. As an expedition member, you must acknowledge that you are joining this program with realistic expectations. TQ and ALE have designed this expedition to give you the very best opportunity to view Totality on December 4, 2021. The itinerary is based on a flight from Punta Arenas, Chile to Union Glacier, Antarctica on November 29. This allows a buffer of 5 days prior to the eclipse to safeguard against weather conditions that may not permit a flight on our scheduled date. Based upon ALE’s 10-year historical record of Antarctic flights planned and operated between Punta Arenas Chile and Union Glacier, this itinerary gives you the best chance of arriving in Antarctica in time to witness the eclipse. However, Antarctic weather conditions are unpredictable and flight dates cannot be guaranteed. TQ and ALE cannot guarantee that expedition members will arrive prior to the December 4 eclipse and, as a member of this expedition, you must accept this possibility and understand that even under such an unfortunate circumstance this expedition will carry on and operate as planned. 
  • Further, TQ and its partners accept no liability for overcast or cloudy weather at the time of the eclipse. Failure to view the eclipse will not constitute a cancellation and is not a reason for a full or partial refund.
  • Finally, days of delay are a normal part of Antarctic travel and, frankly, they’re part of the adventure. We therefore advise that you do not plan any important events for a minimum of 7 days after your scheduled return from this expedition. Give yourself plenty of buffer time so you can enjoy this unique experience without the stress of pending commitments.

Includes

  • 5 night Punta Arenas, Chile package including accommodations, activities, transportation and meals as noted in itinerary
  • 6 night double-occupancy Antarctic Expedition to Totality package, sleeping in insulated, two-person tents, including all meals, ground transportation and activities including any extra days that may be required due to weather and other delays
  • Transfers between the airport and hotel in Punta Arenas (airport code: PUQ) per the dates of the expedition
  • Round-trip jet flight between Punta Arenas, Chile, and Union Glacier, Antarctica
  • Baggage allowance of up to 25 kg (55 lb) per person on flights between Punta Arenas and Union Glacier
  • Professional expedition guides, naturalist staff, astronomer, and on-site doctor to assist you throughout the expedition
  • Use of all Antarctic recreational equipment while at Union Glacier Base Camp, including skis and fat-tire bikes
  • Guided hiking, trekking, and light climbing trips around Union Glacier Base Camp
  • Gratuities for all Union Glacier Base Camp staff and guides
  • Commemorative Eclipse 2021 apparel
  • Eclipse viewing safety glasses
  • One-of-a-kind digital 2021 eclipse e-sourcebook

Not Included

  • Air transportation to and from Punta Arenas, Chile (airport code: PUQ)
  • Personal expedition equipment and clothing, including polar insulated jacket, pants, snow boots, and -40°F rated sleeping bag
  • Any additional expenses incurred due to weather delays – such as extra hotel nights in Punta Arenas, meals, flight re-booking fees, etc.
  • Meals and accommodations not stated in the expedition itinerary
  • Baggage fees for exceeding the 55 lb (25 kg) limit
  • Baggage handling at airports
  • Alcoholic beverages and drinks other than coffee, tea and water
  • Passports & visa fees, along with any required immunizations
  • Items of a personal nature, including satellite phone charges
  • Expedition Emergency Medical & Evacuation coverage. All travelers are required to purchase and provide proof of their own emergency medical & evacuation coverage, with a minimum $300,000 USD emergency accident/medical evacuation coverage. This coverage does not include Trip Cancellation.
  • Optional Travel Cancellation Insurance: Given the cost of this expedition, we highly recommend that all expedition members obtain optional cancellation insurance coverage.
  • Items of a personal nature including souvenirs and satellite phone time, etc.

Payments & Terms

  • A fully refundable advance payment of $1,000 USD per person, payable by credit card or bank wire, secures your space on this 2021 Antarctic Expedition to Totality.
  • Upon receipt of your reservation request, TravelQuest will provide each registrant with an expedition Medical Information Form (MIF) and Assumption of Risk/Release of Liability Waiver, that must be completed, signed and returned back to TQ electronically within 10 business days of receipt.
  • Once your MIF and Assumption of Risk/Release of Liability Waiver are reviewed and accepted, you will be notified by TQ and a second advance payment of $8,000 USD per person, payable by bank wire only, will be due within 10 business days.
  • A third advance payment of $6,000 USD per person, payable by bank wire only, is due May 31, 2020. Any optional add-ons booked after this date will be subject to a 50% advance payment at time of booking.
  • A fourth advance payment of $10,000 USD per person, payable by bank wire only, is due March 1, 2021.
  • Final payment – payable by bank wire only – is due by July 1, 2021.

Cancellation Terms

  • Once your MIF has been approved and your deposit has been paid, all advance payments, less a $3,000 USD per person cancellation fee, are refundable until May 31, 2020.
  • From June 1, 2020 – January 1, 2021, all advance payments, less a $10,000 USD per person service fee, are refundable.
  • All advance payments become non-refundable after January 1, 2021.
  • Air cancellation/change fees are additional.

IMPORTANT NOTE

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Covid-19 as a global pandemic in March 2020, and its consequences are therefore no longer unforeseen or unexpected. These consequences include but are not limited to travel advisories and restrictions, flight and other transport disruptions and cancelations, mandatory quarantine periods, border closures and stay at home mandates, health advisories changes to applicable laws and Government Mandates and prohibitions. No deposits paid will be refunded should any of these Covid-19 events result in a travel member’s trip cancellation, interruption or mandatory quarantine.

Emergency Medical & Evacuation Coverage and Trip Cancellation Insurance

All travelers are required to purchase and provide proof of their own emergency medical & evacuation coverage, with a minimum $300,000 USD emergency accident/medical evacuation coverage. Additionally, given the cost of this expedition we highly recommend that all expedition members obtain optional cancellation insurance coverage. Details on purchasing these coverages will be provided with your expedition confirmation material.

Traveler Health

We at TQ want to be sure you find the trip that best suits your interests and level of fitness. Prior to submitting their booking, it is the responsibility of each traveler on the booking to thoroughly read this entire brochure, as well as acquire and understand all pertinent medical advice to determine whether or not they are of an appropriate physical and healthy state to undertake the trip. At minimum, participants must be able to climb into and out of buses, vans and trains without assistance, keep up with the pace of the trip, and carry their own luggage. If you have any questions about your trip’s itinerary or its level of difficulty, please contact us prior to booking.

A Note About Fuel

In the uncertain, often volatile oil market, it is difficult to predict long-term fuel costs, and more specifically, costs at the time of the voyage. Our prices are based on the prevailing fuel rates at the time of the brochure publication, which is well in advance of departure. While we will do everything possible to maintain our prices, if fuel prices increase significantly at or before the time of the voyage, it may be necessary to institute a fuel surcharge.

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