Experience the last great wilderness on Earth, sail among massive icebergs in the frozen wastes of Antarctica. Enjoy an exciting and educational cruise on a comfortable vessel departing from Ushuaia.
Please ask for prices – vary by season and ship
Your Antarctic tour begins in Ushuaia, right at the bottom of Argentina. Located on the banks of the Beagle Channel, this is a city of 70,000 people and the most southerly city in the world. Puerto Williams in Chile is farther south but not classed as a city. Ushuaia is also the only Argentine city on the other side of the Andes. Passengers board the M/V Antarctic Dream (or similar vessel, depending on budget and availability) where you will be greeted by your expedition staff and shown to your cabin. Check in will begin at 2:30 pm on departure day.
Days 2 & 3 – The Drake Passage
All manner of sea birds such as Wandering albatrosses and storm petrels will follow the vessel as we cruise south across this famous stretch of water named after Sir Francis Drake, the 16th-century English navigator. We will then continue to sail to the Antarctic Convergence, an area where cold polar waters sinks below the warmer waters of the more temperate northern zone. In 1819 the British explorer William Smith described the South Shetland Islands as “barren and covered with snow, with seals in abundance”, we will shortly see them too.
Day 4 – King George Island
King George Island will give us an early taste of what the Antarctic is really like. It is the biggest island of the South Shetlands. We will disembark in Potter Bay via the zodiac inflatable boats. In the afternoon we will disembark at Aitcho Island which is between Greenwich and Robert Islands. We will then continue with the crossing of the Bransfield and Gerlache Straits to enter Andvord Bay where we find Neko Bay.
Day 5 – Antarctic Peninsula & Neko Bay
Besides the magnificent scenery of mountains, snow and ice, you will see a wide variety of the native wildlife while in Antarctica. Notable birds to look out for are blue-eyed shags, gulls, cape petrels, skuas, snowy sheathbills and Antarctic terns. Marine mammals that you are likely to see include Weddell crab-eaters and leopard seals while orcas, humpback and mink whales may be spotted at close range. Your program today includes your first landing on the White Continent (Neko Bay) and another on Port Lockroy (Gaudier Island). Neko Bay was discovered by Adrian de Gerlache, a Belgian explorer. Port Lockroy is close to Wiencke Island in the Antarctic Peninsula and was the principle base of the 1944 Tabarin Operation – the scientific research included the Antarctic’s first ionosphere measurements. Beside its dramatic scenery it is also home to one of the largest colony of Gentoo penguins and skuas. This rocky island is on the north side of the Errera Channel, between Ronge Island and the Arctowski Peninsula.
Day 6 – Pleneau – Petermann Island
Today we will sail south through the narrow Lemaire Channel who’s high, sheer cliffs suggest that no passage could be found. Once through the channel, (known as one of the most beautiful places in the world), and provided that climate and ice conditions allow, we will be able to visit Petermann Island which is the most southern land point of our expedition. Here we will disembark and will be able to see the most Southerly colony of Gentoo penguins which nest near our landing spot. On this island we will also be able to see a colony of beautiful Adelei penguins, skuas and blue-eyed shags. At Pleneau we should have the opportunity to take our zodiacs and visit impressive ice formations.
Day 7 – Paradise Bay – Cuverville Island
At this point of our program we will begin our return voyage. During the morning and, and stressing again that if weather permits, we will disembark or use our zodiacs in Paradise Bay. In the evening we will visit Cuverville Island. Beside its dramatic scenery it is home to one of the largest colony of Gentoo penguins and skuas. This rocky island is on the north side of the Errera Channel, between Ronge Island and the Arctowski Peninsula.
Day 8 – Deception Island – Whaler’s Bay – Pendulum Cove
We continue sailing to Deception Island which is the largest active volcano in the area at the northwest side of the Peninsula. During the morning we will try to disembark in Whaler’s Bay and Pendulum Cove where you can live the unique experience of swimming in this water. In the afternoon we will disembark at Hannah Point (Livingstone Island). This is one of the best places in the Antarctic to see fauna and we should see Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins, giant petrels, Wilson petrels, skuas and blue-eyed shags. With luck, we should also see elephant seals.
Days 9 & 10 – Back through the Drake Passage
Today, we will leave the Antarctic and head north back through the Drake Passage. Take the chance to compare and revise notes and reflect on the exciting adventures of the past week, take in final lectures and to enjoy the delicious gastronomy on board as you return to Ushuaia.
Day 11 – Ushuaia, Argentina
After an early breakfast we will land at 9:00 A.M. and bid farewell to our guests. Thus ends an incredible and unique expedition first recording of an atmospheric whistle.