Summary : Skip the Drake Passage on this fly-cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula and beyond on an expedition below the Antarctic Circle. This special journey will take you further south than any other. By flying to King George Island in Antarctica at the start of the voyage, you will save two days on the ocean crossing. The time you save by flying south will allow for a more substantial exploration below the Antarctic Circle. Here you will witness stunning landscapes, sizable Adelie penguin rookeries and large flat-topped tabular icebergs that drift north from the Bellingshausen Sea. Navigate the glaciated coastline of the Antarctic Peninsula, passing through the Argentine Fish and Yalour Island archipelagos on your way to the Gerlache Strait region. There are several important scientific stations here and a number of significant historic sites you will hopefully be able to explore. You will then aim to cross 66 degrees, 33 minutes south latitude, which officially marks the position of the Antarctic Circle on global map. With favorable weather and ice conditions you will hopefully reach Marguerite Bay. This is a spectacular location reached by jsut a handful of ships each season.
Every day you will explore off the ship in the company of your expert local guides, enjoying shore visits and Zodiac cruises that may last up to three and four hours at a time. This trip is ideal for those who love the excitement and spontaneity of exploration. There is no better way to travel than via an expedition ship, cruising to remote destinations.
Activities : Birding, Camping, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins, Antarctic Circle
$11,495 to $19,495
Your journey commences in Punta Arenas, located in southern Chile, where you will board your two-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Antarctica. Upon arrival at the King George Island in Antarctica, you will embark on your ship via Zodiac inflatable crafts.
Overnight, you will have navigated across the Bransfield Strait and awake to the towering peaks of the Antarctic continent. For the next five days you will have a varied itinerary pushing southwards with much to see and do. You will be opportunistic, making shore landings in locations navigating to your ultimate objective below the Antarctic Circle. Planned visits might include Port Charcot, several locations in the Fish and Argentine Island archipelagos which allow for zodiac cruising and potential shore landings, a hike on Winter Island to explore the old British Antarctic Suvey Hut- Wordie House, Petermann Island, and a cruise through Lemaire Channel if ice allows. Along the way you will hope to make a visit at Pleneau Island.
Given optimal ice conditions, you will aim to sail south of the Antarctic Circle. A favored landing site here is Detaille Island, home to an abandoned British science hut, providing a glimpse into the harsh life of early Antarctic scientists and researchers. You are at the mercy of prevailing ice conditions navigating even further south. Years of experience tell that late February gives you your best chance of reaching Marguerite Bay. You may take the ‘shortcut’ through a narrow channel known as 'the Gullet' if the passage is ice-free. Otherwise, you could navigate around the outside of Adelaide Island - which will take more time, yet bring you to the same destination.
You will leave this magical place and chart a course north back to South America, heading again across the Antarctic Convergence. If weather conditions allow, you will hope to make a rounding of Cape Horn. This fabled stretch of water is home to legendary tales of exploration and early navigation. It’s a fitting place to reflect on a wonderful expedition. You will celebrate the conclusion of your Polar expedition with a special dinner.
You will arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina, in the morning and disembark.
The above itinerary is a guide only, as the exact program depends on weather and ice conditions and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition.
All guests are required to have comprehensive travel insurance which must cover accidents, injury, illness and death, medical expenses, including any related to pre-existing medical conditions, emergency repatriation (including helicopter) and personal liability. 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. The expedition team reserves the right to cancel or suspend your participation on a trip or in certain activities that comprise part of a trip, at any time, including after the commencement of your tour, with no right of refund, if you are unable to provide proof of insurance when requested. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
No pre-booking required. If conditions are suitable and you choose to camp on the continent, all the required gear such as bivy sacs and sleeping bags (no tents), will be provided. This excursion is managed with strict environmental regulations. Please Note: Camping is unlikely to happen in March due to lower average night time temperatures on shore and available hours of light. If weather and ice conditions permit and you are near a suitable location, your expedition leaders will make their best effort to facilitate this activity. Please inquire.
No pre-booking required. Trekking poles are available onboard for passenger use and instep crampons will be provided if necessary to improve traction on slick surfaces. Sturdy hiking books and warm hiking socks are needed to join this activity. Hikes will be 2-3 hours in duration and will involve negotiating challenging terrain without the assistance of trails. Antarctica hiking rewards with images of snow, ice, mountains, and glaciers.
Pre-booked option for up to 16 guests. If you have experience sea kayaking and are interested in doing this activity during the expedition, you will need to book this option prior to departure from home. You cannot book this activity once onboard. There is a separate document for sea kayakers that you will need to review beforehand. Provided equipment includes full Gore-Tex drysuits, kayak specific PFDs, neoprene booties, a waterproof deck bag, pogies, and many other vital paddling accessories.
An onboard photographer is available to work with you throughout the voyage to help you improve your photography and encourage you to look at scenes or events in a different way in order to capture them digitally. Also available is an onboard multimedia download studio with computers, cables, and hard-drives for back-up storage and for creating DVDs of your images. Select departures host an enhanced photography program, where in addition to the photographer in residence, a professional photographer will serve as one of the expedition guides. This expands the opportunities and bandwidth for those passengers looking to learn more and get more out of their images. Also available is an onboard multimedia download studio with computers, cables, and hard-drives for back-up storage and for creating DVDs of your images.
Charter flight to King George Island; cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; afternoon tea with fresh snacks each afternoon; coffee, tea, hot chocolate throughout the day; all Zodiac excursions; extensive program of relevant educational presentations; advice from experienced team of naturalists; overnight camping gear; foul weather gear set (pants/jacket/wellington boots OR waterproof backpack/waterproof binoculars/wellington boots); use of multimedia station; welcome reception; welcome dinner; farewell dinner hosted by Captain; 'Memory Book' (log book chronicling your trip, includes photos); onboard medical officer; pre-departure information; hairdryers available on request at no charge; transfers from the meeting point in Ushuaia to the pier to board the ship on day 1 of the cruise and transfers from the pier to the meeting point or airport on the last day of the cruise. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare except flights explicitly stated in the inclusions; visa and passport fees; airport departure taxes; pre-cruise or post-cruise meals, transfers, and hotel accommodation; personal laundry charges; postage; telephone calls; drinks; medical expenses; trip interruption and cancellation insurance; travel medical insurance including medical evacuation (required); gratuities to staff and crew; private fitness sessions; massage therapy; fee for optional programs; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Renato Granieri; © Ira Meyer; © David Sinclair