Summary : Celebrate crossing latitude 66° 33’ South in the wake of hallowed explorers including the first to do so, Captain James Cook. In this frozen area of extraordinary beauty, powerful orcas and leopard seals thrive, while ethereal snow petrels grace the skies against a background of bristling mountains and surreal icebergs. Threading your way through an intricate system of icy waterways, aim for the glorious Crystal Sound at the mouth of The Gullet. It’s midsummer, molting time for penguins and flight school for cormorant chicks. Experience the trip of a lifetime on a voyage with optional kayaking, polar snorkeling and scuba diving!
Activities : Birding, Culture, Diving, Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkeling
$999,999,999 to $0
Fly from Punta Arenas to Puerto Williams, Chile and enjoy a tour of the scenic port before being warmly welcomed aboard the ship. Introductory and safety briefings will occur before an evening cruise down the Beagle Channel.
Cross the Drake Passage, accompanied by albatross, petrels, fulmars and prions. Polar experts speak about Antarctica’s unique wildlife and history and prepare you for landings with environmental and Zodiac briefings.
Spirits soar as air and water temperatures fall, marking the crossing of the Antarctic Convergence. All eyes are peeled for the first iceberg, the first penguin and the first glimpse of land - the mercurial sea stacks outlying the South Shetland Islands. If conditions allow, your first shore landing will occur this afternoon.
Explore the Peninsula’s west coast with time to watch the frenzied activities of penguin parents and chicks as the summer days begin to shorten. Keep an eye out for cormorant chicks bravely making their first flights from sea cliffs. Zodiac cruise amongst icebergs and floes replete with basking Weddell and leopard seals and revel in the unparalleled beauty of vast, Antarctic landscape. Besides landing on wildlife-rich offshore islands, make a continental landing, possibly hiking up for spectacular views. Continue south as governed by ice conditions. Celebrate in style after crossing the Circle via the ‘inner route’ or the Bellingshausen Sea. With luck, reach magnificent Crystal Sound, pass through the Gullet and steam on to Marguerite Bay, where relatively few have gone before. Orcas, humpbacks and minkes are known to feed in the channels. Visits to historical Stonington, Pourquoi Pas and Detaille Islands are possible before turning north to warmer climes.
Arrive at mountainous King George Island. If time and weather permit, explore the penguin and seal-rich waters of Fildes Bay and visit the surprising Trinity Church at Bellingshausen Station before catching our charter flight back to Punta Arenas in Chile. On arrival into Punta Arenas, transfer to the hotel, where tonight’s accommodation is included.
Enjoy breakfast with fellow expeditioners in the hotel before saying farewells and continuing with your own arrangements.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions – and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
All guests are required to have emergency medical evacuation travel insurance coverage. Proof of coverage is required prior to embarkation. The policy provider, policy number and emergency contact phone number must be provided prior to departure date. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for Antarctic trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist you with this.
Kayaking Option: $925 per person
If you wish to take this option, please advise us when you make your booking as numbers are limited. Please note, some sea kayaking experience is necessary.
Scuba Diving Option: $975 per person
Experienced dry-suit divers only. Guides have extensive qualifications and Antarctic experience to ensure the highest safety standards. If you wish to take this option, please advise us when you make your booking as numbers are limited. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details of what you need and what is supplied.
Polar Snorkeling Option: $975 per person
If you wish to take this option, please advise us when you make your booking as numbers are limited.
Flight from Punta Arenas to Puerto Williams; transfer from Puerto Williams airport to ship, including tour of Puerto Williams; luggage transfer from ship to King George Island airstrip; flight from King George Island to Punta Arenas; transfer from Punta Arenas airport to hotel; one night accommodation at Cabo de Hornos hotel in Punta Arenas post voyage (2/28/2015); cabin accommodation on the ship; all meals onboard; all shore excursions; lectures and guide services; boots (for loan onboard); polar expedition jacket (to keep); hard cover photo book; medical service of the resident medical officer onboard; port taxes and service charges. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare except flight from Punta Arenas to Puerto Williams and flight from King George Island to Punta Arenas; accommodation [except for one night at Cabo de Hornos hotel in Punta Arenas post voyage (2/28/2015)] and transfers before or after the cruise; visa, passport, and vaccination charges and airport departure taxes; fuel surcharge may apply; optional sea kayaking, scuba and snorkeling activities, items of a personal nature; internet charges; travel insurance; and gratuity to the ship's crew is at your discretion.