Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Quark Expeditions Awards North Pole Voyage to Indiana Blogger

Quark Expeditions named Giovanni Savaglio, of Munster, Ind., the winner of its “Blog Your Way to the North Pole” contest. The 2,535 votes he received from blog readers put Savaglio in the top five, qualifying him for the prize. A four-man selection committee reviewed the top five, choosing Savaglio to become Quark’s official blogger to the North Pole, June 23 to July 7.

“I met my wife eight years ago on a Quark expedition to Antarctica,” Savaglio’s post began. “She from the U.K., I from the USA, it took a journey to the South Pole to find each other on this greenest of planets, at one of its whitest of places.”

His post continued with an account of encountering a hurricane that prompted an unscheduled overnight stay on Penguin Island. “I had come to Antarctica seeking to follow in the footsteps of my hero Ernest Shackleton. Little did I know that I would get a taste of what Shackleton and his crew had to endure.”

Hans Lagerweij, president of Quark Expeditions, was on the selection committee. “Giovanni touched me with his thought that the unexpected is part of polar travel,” he said. “That is so true!” The prize is a trip for two worth $54,000. Savaglio and his wife will be flying to Helsinki, Finland, where they will spend the night before joining Quark’s charter flight to Murmansk, Russia. Murmansk is the homeport of Russia’s nuclear-powered icebreaker fleet.

For 14 days, they’ll sail the Arctic Ocean, crushing through ice up to 10 feet thick. When they reach the top of the world, they will have a barbecue on the ice. They will participate in the shortest circumnavigation of the world as they stroll around the North Pole sign provided for the occasion.

On the return south, Savaglio and his wife will visit Franz Josef Land, uninhabited islands only 10 degrees from the North Pole. Polar bear and walrus sightings are expected on the ice that surrounds the islands all year. The voyage includes helicopter sight-seeing and Zodiac cruising at ice level. All shore activities are included in the package, as well as the shipboard education program. The 20th Anniversary Voyage is almost sold out.

Quark launched the competition to celebrate its 20th anniversary as a polar expedition specialist. The first voyage in 1991 was to the North Pole. For more information, call 888-892-0171 or visit www.quarkexpeditions.com.