Summary : Join an expedition where the ship becomes your basecamp for the voyage from which activities start that go beyond typical Antarctica exploration. Spend two to three days anchored at specific locations creating a comfortable hub allowing more time for activities such as camping, kayaking, snowshoeing/hiking, mountaineering, and photo workshops. Zodiac rides and shore excursions round out this once in a lifetime experience exploring Antarctica’s ice laden landscapes and discovering its abundant wildlife of penguins, seals and whales!
Activities : Birding, Camping, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins
$7,950 to $11,950
Embark the vessel in the afternoon and sail through the scenic Beagle Channel.
Sail across the Drake Passage and cross the Antarctic Convergence. Arrive in the Antarctic upwelling zone. You may encounter Wandering Albatrosses, Grey Headed Albatrosses, Black-browed Albatrosses, Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses, Cape Pigeons, Southern Fulmars, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Blue Petrels and Antarctic Petrels.
Sail to “High Antarctica”, passing the Melchior Islands and Schollaert Channel between Brabant and Anvers Island. Voyage through the Neumayer Channel, where the ship positions itself for basecamp. The protected waters around Wiencke Island will become your playground for all activities. In this alpine environment, enjoy opportunities to scout the region on foot, by Zodiac and/or during kayak trips. Walkers will find opportunities to use snowshoes on hikes near the shoreline and mountaineers can challenge themselves by climbing hills and viewpoints further inland such as Jabet Peak (540 m). All climbs and excursions are weather dependent.
Anchor and visit the British research station, and post office at Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. There may be time for a landing on Jougla Point with Gentoo Penguins and Imperial Shags. Keep an eye out for leopard and crabeater seals and whales.
In good conditions and time allowing, sail through the spectacular Lemaire Channel to Booth Island, Pleneau and Petermann Island where you can find Adelie Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags. In this area there are good chances to encounter Humpback Whales, Minke Whales and Fin Whales. Another basecamp site will be chosen for the next day’s activity.
At Neko Harbour, enjoy the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent in a magnificent landscape of a huge glacier. Explore by Zodiac, hiking and kayaking excursions. A small group of mountaineers may climb up on higher grounds of the glacier. Spend the night at Neko Harbour or near Paradise Bay with a camp erected ashore. Leave early morning after breaking camp and make your way back towards the open sea of the Drake Passage where you again have a chance to see many seabirds.
Heading north, you’ll again be followed by a great selection of seabirds while crossing the infamous Drake Passage.
Arrive in the morning in Ushuaia, disembark and transfer to the airport.
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:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase insurance including medical, accident and repatriation/evacuation insurance. 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. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Camp out under the Antarctic skies. After dinner participants will leave the ship and sail ashore via Zodiac. Participants will be accompanied by an experienced guide who will instruct participants on how to set up their sleeping area. Space is limited; request at time of booking. One night of camping is the goal, occasionally additional nights are offered when conditions allow. Special gear and field equipment will be provided, including: wind and waterproof bivouac bags (lightweight alternative to a tent system). Camping is always subject to weather, local site and environmental regulations. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Polar cruise kayaking is an amazing way to slip into the white and blue beauty of the quiet oceans around you. Kayaking excursions are limited to 14 passengers. Participants will have up to four scheduled kayaking sessions during the expedition. Kayaking groups will be accompanied by two guides, one leading in a kayak and one trailing nearby in a Zodiac. Kayaking is subject to weather and prevailing ice conditions. Basic kayaking experience is required and physical fitness is essential. Kayaks, neoprene wet suits, booties and gloves are provided. Space is limited; request at time of booking. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
This is a technical and more strenuous activity for mountaineers who wish to walk beyond the shore radius in order to reach higher grounds and view points. Mountaineers walk in rope parties under the leadership of a certified mountain guide mostly across glaciated environment. Mountaineering knowledge is preferable, but not required. Physical fitness is essential. Special glacier equipment will be provided: ropes and carabiners, harnesses, helmets, ice axes and crampons. Participants will bring their personal protective outdoor clothes, mountaineering boots suitable for using crampons. Participants must be able to master techniques of alpine skiing in off piste terrain (ascent and descent). Space is limited; request at time of booking.
Snowshoe walking is easy and does not require any technical skills. With the use of snowshoes it is easier and safer to walk on snow surfaces. Snowshoes will be provided to everyone on board.
For beginners and advanced photographers, these workshops are held under the supervision of a photo expert on board. Everybody is welcome to participate, no previous experience required. The workshop group (20 max) will be accompanied by a photo expert during shore landings. Participants should bring their own photo equipment. The workshop does not intend to instruct on how to use specific camera models, but more to give an insight on better photo results by respecting basic rules of photography.
Cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea; pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation); luggage transfer from pick-up point to the vessel on the day of embarkation in Ushuaia; shore excursions by Zodiac; camping, snowshoeing, mountaineering and kayaking; program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges; comprehensive pre-departure material; gear on loan (rubber boots and snowshoes). Subject to change without notice.
Any airfare; pre- and post-land arrangements; transfers to the vessel; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; travel insurance; excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges; and the customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for the ship's crew; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos: © Dietmar Denger, © Elke Lindner, © Sandra Petrowitz, © Richard Wadey