Summary : Marvel at spectacular iceberg sculptures and calving glaciers and set foot on the continent and mainland of Antarctica. Encounter gentoo, chinstrap and Adelie penguins and spot elephant seals, Weddell seals, leopard seals and crabeater seals. Watch for whales—humpback, minke, orca, pilot, and beaked whales. Identify snowy sheathbill, Antarctic cormorant, kelp gull, Antarctic tern, cape petrels, wandering albatrosses, southern fulmars, blue-eyed shags, southern giant petrels, skuas, black-browed albatrosses, Wilson’s storm petrels, and other seabirds.
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Kayaking, Triple/Quad Cabins
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Embark Silver Cloud, settle in and attend a mandatory safety drill before leaving port. During the afternoon you will be introduced to some of the important crew members and your Expedition Team. At sail-away bid farewell to Tierra del Fuego, the ‘Land at the End of the World’.
As you set sail, familiarize yourself with the elegant Silver Cloud and the Expedition Team members. Partake in wildlife, geography and history discussions hosted an expert team of naturalists and attend talks by guest lecturers preparing you for the exciting adventures that lie ahead. While crossing the Drake Passage encounter the Antarctic Convergence, a natural boundary between cold polar water flowing northward and warmer water moving southward. Spend some time on deck watching the black-browed albatross, sooty shearwaters and white-chinned petrels gliding in the air currents of Silver Cloud’s wake.
Start your Antarctic experiences at the top of the Antarctic Peninsula, venturing into Antarctic Sound and its magnificent array of tabular icebergs, historical sites and Adelie and gentoo penguin rookeries. Depending on weather and ice conditions Silver Cloud might visit Brown Bluff, Hope Bay and cruise the Antarctic Sound.
A 2,200-foot bluff on the Antarctic continent, Brown Bluff is an ice-capped, flat-topped mountain with a prominent cliff of reddish-brown volcanic rock. The coastal area at the base of Brown Bluff is used by Adelie and gentoo penguins, kelp gulls, and cape petrels as a breeding area. Under good climatic conditions a walk onto a nearby glacier might be feasible.
With one of the largest Adelie penguin colonies in Antarctica and a Zodiac, cruise past the Argentine Station “Esperanza” to observe some of the penguins, Weddell seals and blue-eyed shags.
While sailing in Antarctica’s vast white wilderness, your itinerary will be flexible and in the true spirit of expedition cruising, each day the Expedition Leader and Captain will determine the best course depending on weather, ice conditions and wildlife you may encounter. Here are some of the places you may visit:
Discovered by Gerlache’s Belgian Antarctic expedition of 1897–99, Cuvervill Island is a display of large, bare rock areas provide nesting sites for gentoo penguins. Snow petrels and cape petrels may also be seen, whilst Wilson’s storm petrels nest in the higher scree of the island. During Zodiac cruises, hauled-out Weddell seals are quite often encountered. Under good conditions one can climb part of Cuverville’s hill for spectacular panoramic views.
Aptly named for its spectacular scenery of mountains, glaciers and icebergs, The Silver Cloud will sail past Argentina’s “Base Brown”, one of many Antarctic research stations in Paradise Bay. You can also view the wildlife from sea level while cruising via Zodiacs. Apart from observing cormorants in the cliffs there is a good chance to see crabeater seals relaxing on ice floes; whales have been seen regularly.
Named for geographer August Petermann, it was discovered by a German expedition in 1873-1874. During your landing, you will be able to observe rookeries of Adelie penguins, gentoo penguins and blue-eyed shags. Petermann has various geological features, especially rock surfaces showing glacial polish and some glacial grooving.
At the south end of the Lemaire Channel, it was first explored during Charcot’s 1903-1905 French Antarctic Expedition. Gentoo penguins, kelp gulls and south polar skuas are usually found breeding on Pleneau Island and southern elephant seals are often hauled-out in wallows. Enjoy the spectacular scenery of icebergs nearby either from shore or during a Zodiac cruise.
End your Antarctic sojourn in the South Shetland Islands.
Port Foster, Whalers Bay and Telefon Bay are all located in Deception Island, an excellent example of a caldera that can be reached from the sea. Sail into the caldera through the narrow entrance called Neptune’s Bellows. Ashore, Deception Island’s interesting history of whaling and scientific studies shows the remains of a former whaling station, including the boilers used to make whale oil in the early 1900s, and houses belonging to a British research base. The unique volcanic features of the area can be seen during hikes.
The Aitcho Islands have gentoo and chinstrap penguin colonies. Southern giant petrels and skuas are never far from penguin rookeries and elephant seals quite often look for company near the landing site.
On the return through the Drake Passage, watch for seabirds and wildlife. Take this opportunity to attend additional presentations offered by the Expedition Team lecturers and to edit photos. During the last afternoon, your Photographer/Videographer will show the Voyage DVD.
After breakfast, disembark Silver Cloud.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Although travel insurance is not mandatory to participate in this voyage, ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Kayaking will be offered complimentary and will run on a first-come-first-serve sign up basis. Guests cannot pre book the kayak tours. It will be run by two professional kayak guides. Participation requires good physical condition and right of participation is reserved. The kayak guides will make the final determination if a guest is fit to participate. Kayaking will be weather dependent.
Ship accommodation; most onboard meals (Le Champagne Restaurant excluded); butler service; kayaking; most wines, champagnes and spirits on the ship; tea, coffee, hot chocolate, water and soda; parka; onboard gratuities (except spa); port charges and handling fees; Vista and Veranda Suites receive one hour of included internet access per guest/per day; Medallion, Silver, Royal, Grand, and Owner’s Suites receive unlimited internet access; Royal, Grand, and Owner’s Suites receive laundry service throughout the voyage as well as dinner for two in Le Champagne (one evening per voyage) and two hours of worldwide phone use from your suite, per voyage segment. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; meals on board at Le Champagne Restaurant unless mentioned above as included; some alcoholic premium beverages; travel insurance; government fees and taxes; visa and passport expenses; internet use not mentioned as included; gifts and items of a personal nature such as laundry (unless mentioned as included) and spa options; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © Creative Services at Silversea Cruises, © Richard Sidey (two penguins, passenger walking), © Ray Stranagan (landscape, penguins and zodiac)