Summary : Endeavour to cross the Antarctic Circle on a far-reaching journey along the Antarctic Peninsula. Daylight grows longer and the air gets colder as you head south across the Drake Passage accompanied by soaring albatross. Your first exploration of the White Continent is in the South Shetland Islands, historically important and rich with iconic Antarctic wildlife. Continue to Gerlache Strait where immense glaciers, towering mountains, and blue icebergs form a picture-perfect setting for amazing marine mammal and penguin encounters. Then head even further south into rarely visited territory, crossing the Antarctic Circle and exploring wherever the wind and ice will allow. This special, once-a-year voyage includes extra days in order to push deeply into rarely visited regions south of the Antarctic Circle. In so doing, you'll follow in the historic footsteps of legendary polar explorers and early scientific expeditions.
Activities : Birding, Camping, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins, Antarctic Circle
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Welcome to Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city and starting point of your expedition. Upon arrival at the airport take an included transfer to your hotel. For the rest of the day you are free to explore the city.
In the afternoon, a group transfer is provided to the pier. Embark the ship and explore your home away from home for the extraordinary adventure to come. Savor the anticipation of your Antarctic dreams coming true as the ship slips her moorings and sails toward a true wilderness where wildlife abounds. The scenery as you sail through the Beagle Channel is wonderful and there is already a possibility of marine mammal encounters.
After transiting the Beagle Channel and passing the islands of Tierra del Fuego, head south across the Drake Passage. Pelagic seabirds including the majestic albatross are common in these waters and can readily be viewed from panoramic open decks or from exterior stateroom windows and balconies. On the way you will cross the Antarctic Convergence, the biological boundary of the Southern Ocean. Briefings, orientations, and lectures prepare you for arrival in Antarctica.
This is expedition cruising at its most authentic. Your route and exploration opportunities in Antarctica are heavily dependent on weather and ice conditions. Your experienced captain and expedition leader decide the itinerary and continually adjust plans as conditions and opportunities warrant. Take advantage of long daylight hours to exploit every opportunity to experience excellent wildlife viewing, amazing scenery, and excursions via Zodiac.
The Antarctic Peninsula region contains some of the world’s most impressive scenery and some of Antarctica’s best wildlife viewing opportunities. Protected bays and narrow channels are surrounded by towering mountain peaks covered in permanent snow and immense glaciers. Icebergs of every size and description complete an image of incomparable beauty. Waters rich with krill are home to a variety of whale and seal species. The whole area is alive with penguins foraging at sea and forming large nesting colonies at special places on land. The area is also home to Antarctic research stations of various nationalities. Some stations have a gift shop and post office.
The South Shetland Islands are the northernmost islands in Antarctica and will likely by 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 vast 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.
On this special voyage you will have additional days set aside to push even farther south in an attempt to cross the Antarctic Circle. The landscape down here is especially desolate, the weather is particularly wild, and the waters are full of constantly shifting ice. This is real expedition cruising!
Your days in Antarctica are filled with memorable excursions, sumptuous meals, presentations, and enough incredible scenery and wildlife to fill your camera and delight your senses.
After your amazing time in Antarctica head north through the bountiful waters of the Drake Passage. Presentations and workshops as well as a range of onboard recreation facilities ensure that these days at sea are not idly spent. This is also the time for End of Voyage ceremonies, including a slideshow and farewell dinner.
After breakfast say farewell in the city of Ushuaia, where you first started. A group transfer will be provided to the airport or to the town center. As you look back on your wonderful experience in Antarctica, you may already be looking forward to your next incredible adventure to the ice!
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. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Bilingual Departures: All voyages are conducted in English and German.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
All guests are required to carry valid evacuation and repatriation insurance which must contain medical and evacuation coverage. 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 U.S. residents with travel protection options. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions.
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 12 years old. Children between the ages of 12 and 18 years of age at the time of their voyage must be accompanied and supervised at all times by a parent or guardian. 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 brave the elements of a polar night for an unforgettable 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. Weather permitting, sea kayakers will have the opportunity to experience the thrill and tranquility of sea kayaking in the polar regions as part of a guided paddling group. Participants must be at least 16 years old at the time of their voyage, in good health, have appropriate physical fitness, and have previous kayaking experience. Children who are 16 to 18 years of age at the time of their voyage are allowed to participate if they are accompanied and supervised at all times by a parent or guardian.
Learn and practice photography skills 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.
One 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 from airport to Ushuaia hotel on the day prior to departure; group transfer to the ship on day of embarkation; group transfer to airport or central location upon disembarkation; shipboard accommodations; scheduled landings/excursions; photography program; digital voyage log; gear to keep (complimentary expedition parka); gear on loan (rubber boots); meals on board ship; 24-hour coffee/tea station on board ship; welcome and farewell cocktail on board ship; port fees. 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; kayaking; camping; personal expenses such as laundry and onboard communications (telephone calls, faxes, and e-mail service); gratuities to shipboard personnel; emergency evacuation insurance; pre- or post-cruise travel expenses; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos © Poseidon Expeditions, ExpeditionTrips