Summary : Embark on a voyage featuring the abundant wildlife and spectacular scenery of the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands, including classic sites of historic and scientific interest. Observe penguin rookeries, old whaling stations, operational research stations, and elephant seal colonies. Your time in the Antarctic Peninsula region focuses on the Gerlache Strait area, where towering mountains, immense glaciers, and blue icebergs create a picture-perfect setting for incredible penguin and marine mammal encounters. Spot humpback, orca and minke whales, adelie penguins, whirling Antarctic petrels in their true, natural habitat. Along the journey, your team of expert guides and lecturers will provide context to the sites and bring alive the region's remarkable natural history. This is an authentic expedition in a wilderness of epic proportions.
Activities : Birding, Camping, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins
$6,295 to $21,795
Arrive in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Make your way to your hotel and enjoy the evening at leisure.
Arrive at the ship in the afternoon and be greeted by the expedition team and ship's officers at a safety and orientation briefing followed by the captain's welcome dinner. After dinner, relax and take in the mountainous scenery on an early evening sail down the Beagle Channel past penguins, cormorants, and sea lion colonies.
After transiting the Beagle Channel and passing the islands of Tierra del Fuego, you will head south for the 400-mile crossing of the passage that bears the name of the 16th century English explorer Sir Francis Drake. Spot albatross and petrels as they follow the ship. Join the Expedition Team out on deck looking for whales and dolphins that may also be seen in the area. On the second day, cross the Antarctic Convergence, a meeting of cold polar water flowing north and warmer equatorial water moving in the opposite direction. This mixing pushes nutrient rich waters to the surface attracting a variety of seabirds, whales and other species.
As you make the passage you have time to become acquainted with the ship and frequent the common areas where you will meet your guides, ship’s crew and expedition staff. The lecture and information sessions begin where you can learn the extraordinary human and natural history of the Antarctic region.
The South Shetland Islands are the northernmost islands in Antarctica and will likely be your first sighting of land. This wild and beautiful island chain contains numerous landing sites with abundant wildlife and historical significance. Among them is Deception Island, where the flooded caldera of an active volcano harbors an abandoned whaling station.
Farther south, on the Antarctic Peninsula, the Gerlache Strait area contains sheltered bays, accessible wildlife, and stunning scenery. Places with names like Paradise Bay are the epitome of everything Antarctic: glaciated mountains, towering icebergs, feeding whales, seals on ice floes, and bustling penguin colonies.
At the southern end of Gerlache Strait is the famous Lemaire Channel, also known as "Kodak Gap" because of the photogenic way the mountainous sides of the narrow channel are reflected in calm waters strewn with icebergs.
Depending on weather and ice conditions, the captain and expedition team will direct the Sea Spirit to a variety of secluded bays and harbors to optimize Zodiac landings and wildlife viewing. Flexibility is the key to successful expedition cruising. With the help of your expedition team, look for the four penguin, six seal and several whale species on your Antarctic checklist. There will be a time for our most adventurous travelers to take a polar plunge, perhaps in Neko Harbor or the relatively warm waters of volcanic Deception Island.
Experience some of the world’s most inspiring scenery and unique wildlife – gentoo, chinstrap and adelie penguins; weddell, crabeater and leopard seals; and orca, humpback and minke whales. Landing sites vary depending on weather conditions.
There will be plenty of time to explore the amazing scenery– a pristine wilderness of snow, ice, mountains and waterways. Observe incredible wildlife, historically significant sites and fascinating landscapes. Watch penguins swim and amble over pebbled beaches, take a Zodiac cruise around artistically shaped icebergs, or perhaps witness a leopard seal hunt in the frigid Antarctic waters. In Antarctica, you don’t have to seek out the excitement, it is all around!
The journey back across the Drake Passage provides final opportunities for spotting seabirds and looking for whales. Listen as the expedition team gives their final presentations, recapping the great Antarctic adventure that you have experienced.
Disembark the vessel after breakfast. Transfer to the airport for your return journey home.
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.
Bilingual Departure: English/German
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
All guests are required to have comprehensive travel insurance coverage including medical, evacuation, cancellation and trip interruption. Proof of coverage is required prior to embarkation. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist you with this.
Space is limited. Sign up at the time of booking to secure your spot. You must book your spot before you join the vessel for your voyage. Weather permitting, sea kayakers will have the opportunity to paddle through tranquil waters filled with glittering icebergs and porpoising penguins while surrounded by magnificent glaciers and mountains. Participants must be at least 18 years old, in good health, have appropriate physical fitness, and have previous kayaking experience.
Space is limited. Sign up at the time of booking to secure your spot. You must book your spot before you join the vessel for your voyage. Participants must be at least 18 years old. Previous camping experience is not required, but good health and a spirit of adventure are necessary for getting the most out of this experience. Weather permitting, forgo the comforts of the ship and braving the elements of a polar night for an unforgettable experience!
Learn and practice your photography alongside an experienced professional. An expert Photographer will be on hand to answer your questions and give advice, both in the form of on-board lectures and workshops on shore. Explore the key elements of photography in a fun and relaxed setting, with plenty of opportunities for questions and feedback. Learn how to see light in a new way and experiment with the techniques of composition and framing.
Group transfers from airport to Ushuaia hotel on the day prior to departure; 1 pre-voyage hotel night in Ushuaia (if a single traveler reserves a shared cabin aboard the ship, they will automatically receive shared hotel accommodations on the pre-cruise night at the hotel); group transfer to the ship on day of embarkation; group transfer to airport or central location upon disembarkation in Ushuaia; shipboard accommodations; scheduled landings/excursions; meals on board ship; coffee/tea station 24 hours on ship; welcome and farewell cocktail on ship; a pair of rubber boots on loan for shore landings; expedition jacket (yours to keep); port fees; digital Voyage Log. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; visa and passport fees (if applicable); luggage, medical and trip cancellation insurance; excess baggage charges; soft drinks and alcoholic beverages other than those mentioned as included; camping; kayaking; personal expenses such as laundry, and onboard communications (telephone calls, faxes, and e-mail service); gratuities to shipboard personnel; fuel surcharge may apply; emergency evacuation insurance; pre- or post-cruise travel expenses.
Photos © Poseidon Expeditions