Summary : Discover the Weddell Sea—a rarely visited destination largely covered by sea ice throughout the year. The Northwest corner offers fantastic opportunities for discovery in places few will ever visit. Sites for activities may include: Paulet Island with a huge number of Adelie penguins and Brown Bluff where, weather permitting, you will have the opportunity to set foot on the continent. The Weddell Sea is prone to difficult ice conditions and it will demand an open and adventurous mind to embark on this journey into this wild region. Sail onward to the volcanic South Shetland Islands, where you may see gentoo and chinstrap penguins.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Diving, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
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In the afternoon, you will embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel and sail through this scenic waterway for the rest of the evening.
During these two days you will sail across the Drake Passage. When you cross the Antarctic Convergence, you will arrive in the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area, you may see wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled albatrosses, Cape petrels, Southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels, and Antarctic petrels. Near the South Shetland Islands, you will spot your first icebergs.
Sail into the Weddell Sea through the often ice-clogged Antarctic Sound. Huge tabular icebergs will announce your arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. The Weddell Sea is largely covered in sea ice during the entire year but the northwest corner offers great opportunities for discovery in places that only few ever visit. The sites for your activities may include: Paulet Island with a huge number of Adélie penguins and Brown Bluff where you may set foot on the Continent. On Dundee Island, you may reach the uninhabited Argentinean Petrel station with the large aircraft hangar and a myriad of Antarctic fur seals and Southern elephant seals along the coastline. Further into the Weddell Sea, you have a wide range of options depending on the ice conditions. James Clark Ross Island offers a number of rarely visited places that can be explored. The imagination is spurred on by names like Brandy Bay and Whiskey Bay. Devil Island has a large Adélie penguin rookery and some stunning views of Erebus and Terror Gulf, while Snow Hill Island offers spectacular sedimentary rocks and tell tales of incredible Antarctic exploration in the early 20th Century. The Weddell Sea is prone to difficult ice conditions and it will demand and open and adventurous mind to embark on this journey in to the wild Weddell Sea.
The volcanic islands of the South Shetlands are windswept and often shrouded in mist, but do offer subtle pleasures. There is a nice variety of flora (mosses, lichens and flowering grasses) and fauna, such as gentoo penguins, chinstrap penguins, and Southern giant petrels. In Deception Island, your ship braves through the spectacular Neptune’s bellows and into the flooded caldera. Here you will find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, Cape petrels and many kelp gulls, brown and South Polar skuas, and Antarctic terns. Wilson’s storm petrels and black-bellied storm petrels nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whaler's Bay. Alternatively, you may try to conduct activities near Half Moon Island. Here you will find chinstrap penguins and Weddell seals that often haul out on the beach near the Argentinean station Cámara Base. Around noon, you will depart for the Drake Passage.
On your way north a great selection of seabirds will follow the ship while crossing the Drake Passage.
You will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning and disembark.
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.
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.
Dive under shallow water, down along walls, from the beach, or from a Zodiac. You will reach a maximum of 60 feet. Unlike no other dive—the combination of water, sunlight, and ice formations creates an ever-shifting spectacle of colors. Participants will dive in group of eight divers per guide, with a maximum of 24 divers per excursion. Compressors and weights are provided. Participants must bring their own dry suit with hood and additional equipment. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for a complete list. This activity is available for experienced divers. Participants are required to present their internationally accepted diver certificate, diver's logbook, and a statement from their doctor (not older than two years) that demonstrates they are in a good state of physical health allowing them to scuba dive. Experience with both cold water diving and dry suit diving (at least 30 dives) is required. Space is limited; request at time of booking. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea; ship-to-shore helicopter transfers; pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation); shore excursions by Zodiac; 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.
Airfare; pre- and post-land arrangements; 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; customary gratuity at the end of voyage for stewards and other service personnel aboard; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Jan Veen; © Erwin Vermeulen