VENTflash #183 January 14, 2015

Posted by Victor Emanuel

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Victor Emanuel

Victor Emanuel started birding in Texas 69 years ago at the age of eight. His travels have taken him to all the continents, with his areas of concentration being Texas, Ari...

Dear friends,

It’s hard to believe that we’re already halfway through January, yet I am very pleased to report that VENT’s winter travel season is well underway, with tours to New Mexico, Panama, Japan, Ecuador, and the Amazon River having departed in the first two weeks of the month, and with trips to Arizona, California, Florida, India, and Venezuela departing soon.

The year that ended was the best in the 38-year history of our company, and I very much look forward to another successful year of offering birding and natural history travel of the highest quality.

Thank you for your support, and I hope to see you on a VENT tour in 2015!

In this issue:

ALASKA TOUR DISCOUNTS EXPIRE FEBRUARY 1!
THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS: TWO DEPARTURES IN 2015
ANTARCTICA, SOUTH GEORGIA & THE FALKLANDS: OUR NEXT DEPARTURE
CLOSING THOUGHTS

ALASKA TOUR DISCOUNTS EXPIRE FEBRUARY 1!

Hawfinch, Gambell, Alaska, June 6, 2013

Hawfinch, Gambell, Alaska — Photo: Kevin Zimmer

Several months ago we announced a suite of early registration discounts on our 2015 Alaska tours. The response to this offer has been strong, as all of these tours are on their way to selling out. I want to remind you that time is running out on these special offers that will expire on February 1, 2015. Now is the time to reserve one of the remaining spaces!

As a reminder, discounts of $500/person are available on registrations we receive before February 1, 2015 for our Grand Alaska: Gambell/Nome Pre-trip and Alaska Highlights tours, and $250/person for our Grand Alaska Part I, Grand Alaska Part II, and Barrow Extension tours.

For anyone who loves birds, nature, and beautiful scenery, a trip to Alaska represents an ultimate travel experience. For over 30 years VENT has offered tours to Alaska, a destination unrivaled in North America for its combination of great birding, wildlife, and scenery. In June 2015, VENT will operate five Alaska tours. These trips cover the full range of Alaska’s best birding and wildlife areas.

Grand Alaska: Gambell/Nome Pre-trip, June 2-10, 2015 with Kevin Zimmer and David Wolf; $5,195 in double occupancy from Anchorage. Register before February 1 and pay $4,695. Only 3 spaces available. Combine this tour with Grand Alaska Part I for an additional discount of $500 in double occupancy or $750 in single occupancy. 

Horned Puffins, St. Paul Island, Alaska, June 16, 2012

Horned Puffins, St. Paul Island, Pribilofs, Alaska — Photo: Kevin Zimmer

Grand Alaska Part I: Nome & the Pribilofs, June 9-20, 2015 with Kevin Zimmer and David Wolf; $7,495 in double occupancy from Anchorage. Register before February 1 and pay $7,245. Only 4 spaces available. Combine this tour with the Gambell/Nome Pre-trip for an additional discount of $500 in double occupancy or $750 in single occupancy.

Grand Alaska Part II: Anchorage, Denali Highway & Kenai Peninsula, June 19-27, 2015 with Kevin Zimmer and Rafael Galvez; $3,945 in double occupancy from Anchorage. Register before February 1 and pay $3,695. Only 4 spaces available. Combine this tour with Grand Alaska Part I for an additional discount of $250 in double occupancy or $350 in single occupancy.

Alaska Highlights, June 16-27, 2015 with Barry Zimmer and Brennan Mulrooney; $6,695 in double occupancy from Anchorage. Register before February 1 and pay $6,195. Only 4 spaces available.

Barrow Extension, June 27-29, 2015 with Kevin Zimmer and Barry Zimmer; $2,395 in double occupancy from Anchorage. Register before February 1 and pay $2,145. Only 2 spaces available. This tour may be combined with either our Grand Alaska Part II or Alaska Highlights tours.

Please visit our website and view the tour descriptions, tour reports, and field lists from our 2014 Alaska tours.

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THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS: TWO DEPARTURES IN 2015

VENT will operate two birding and natural history cruises to the famed Galapagos Islands in 2015: July 10-19 and October 30-November 8.

M/V Evolution

M/V Evolution — Photo: International Expeditions

For both departures we have chartered (full charter in July, half charter in October) the 32-passenger M/V Evolution, one of the best ships that cruise these waters. Our itinerary visits a majority of the islands in the archipelago and seeks the many special birds and animals for which the Galapagos are so revered. Giant Tortoises, Marine Iguanas, Sally Lightfoot Crabs, Flightless Cormorants, Waved Albatrosses, and Galapagos Penguins are all to be expected, while the Galapagos finches and mockingbirds of Darwin fame will be sought after as well.

The Galapagos Islands feature an incredible biological heritage, of which birds are but one element. With so many attractions, I want to emphasize that our cruises are birding trips as well as full natural history expeditions. With opportunities to engage in other activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, sightseeing, and more, this trip is well-suited for those whose interest is primarily birding, as well as those who travel with a non-birding spouse or companion. Moreover, our trips are led by VENT leaders who possess years of tour leading experience in the Galapagos.

Galapagos Islands Cruise aboard M/V Evolution, July 10-19, 2015 with Michael O’Brien and Louise Zemaitis; $6,795 in double occupancy from Quito.

Galapagos Islands Cruise aboard M/V Evolution, October 30-November 8, 2015 with Paul Greenfield and David Wolf; $6,795 in double occupancy from Quito.

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ANTARCTICA, SOUTH GEORGIA & THE FALKLANDS: OUR NEXT DEPARTURE

One of the hallmarks of VENT’s tour program is our annual cruise to Antarctica, South Georgia & The Falkland Islands. As we prepare to release our 2016 schedule of tours, I am pleased to inform you that our next departure to this amazing destination is January 7-28, 2016.

Gentoo Penguins

Gentoo Penguins — Photo: Greg Lasley

The ultimate travel experience in the minds of many, a cruise to Antarctica has it all: landscapes of overwhelming beauty, amazing wildlife spectacles, rich human history, and adventure! VENT will team with Zegrahm Expeditions for our next Southern Ocean voyage that includes visits to all the classic locations of the South Atlantic including the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island, and the Antarctic Peninsula. In this remote corner of the planet, replete with natural wonders, the traveler may bask in the cacophony of sound that emanates from enormous penguin colonies; lay eyes on towering icebergs; follow pods of Killer Whales; and behold the wonder of Antarctic sunsets that leave the sky awash in purple, orange, and pink.

Our vessel for this voyage is the Sea Adventurer, in our opinion, one of the best all-around ships for an Antarctic voyage. In addition to VENT leader, Michael O’Brien, you’ll travel with a highly skilled and knowledgeable expedition staff including historians, geologists, and bird marine mammal experts.

Sea Adventurer

Sea Adventurer — Photo: Andrew Whittaker

Please note that we will also operate a short Buenos Aires Pre-trip that seeks a range of Argentine birds we won’t see on the cruise.

I have made numerous voyages to Antarctica and relish the memories I have of that extraordinary destination. I believe a trip to the White Continent that is organized by Zegrahm and VENT offers one of the finest travel adventures available. I hope you will join us.

Antarctica, South Georgia, and the Falkland Islands, January 7-28, 2016 with Michael O’Brien; cabins start at $18,890 in double occupancy from Ushuaia, Argentina. Please note that all unsold space will be released on April 7, 2015.

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CLOSING THOUGHTS

After several years of drought Central Texas is receiving good winter rains, with precipitation occurring about once a week. If these rains continue through March, we will have one of the best wildflower shows in many years with fields of bluebonnets, paintbrush, Winecups, Blue Curls, and many other flowers.

I hope winter has not been too severe where you live and that you too can anticipate the appearance of the year’s earliest wildflowers.