Summary : Experience the wonders of the Antarctic while in the company of experienced expedition leaders specializing in fields such as marine biology, history, geology, ornithology, and photography. Marvel at the frosted wilderness of glistening white as far as the eye can see. Natural ice sculptures appear like enormous works of avant-garde art. This is the modern explorer’s final frontier. Hear the calls of penguins multiplied by the thousands, watch leopard seals perfectly at ease in the company of visitors, feel the unspeakable magnificence of a whale breaching from beneath cold ocean waters. Experience astounding animal encounters – opportunities found nowhere else on Earth on this trip of a lifetime.
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
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Embark the vessel and bid farewell to Tierra del Fuego, the ‘Land at the End of the World’. Settle in, explore the ship and meet the Expedition Team.
Spend some time on deck watching the horizon and the variety of seabirds such as albatross and petrels that glide in the air currents of the ship’s wake. Have your cameras ready to capture the magical color of a midnight sunset.
Attend wildlife, geography and historical discussions hosted by expert naturalists and guest lecturers that will prepare for the exciting adventures that lie ahead.
A flexible itinerary will allows the chance to take advantage of favorable sea and weather conditions. In the true spirit of expedition cruising, each day the Expedition Leader and Captain will determine the best course depending on weather, ice conditions and wildlife encountered. Apart from attempting to cross the Antarctic Circle here are some of the places you may visit:
Cuverville Island, Errera Channel:
Cuverville’s large bare rock areas provide nesting sites for Gentoo Penguins. Snow Petrels and Cape Petrels may also be seen whilst Wilson’s Storm Petrels nest in the higher scree of the island. Conditions permitting climb part of the hill for spectacular panoramic views. During Zodiac tours around the many icebergs, hauled-out Weddell seals may be seen.
The bay is well named for its spectacular scenery of mountains, glaciers and icebergs. From the ship or Zodiac, observe Argentina’s “Base Brown”, one of many Antarctic research stations.
View the wildlife from sea level while cruising by Zodiac. There’s a good chance you will come across a crabeater seal relaxing on an ice floe or locate Minke whales in the bay.
To reach Petermann Island and going further south the Lemaire Channel has to be crossed. This is one of the most spectacular channels with steep snow-covered mountains on both sides and icebergs of different sizes at the southern end.
Petermann Island, Wilhelm Archipelago:
The island is named for German geographer August Petermann and was first discovered by a German expedition in 1873-74. Rock surfaces show glacial polish, some glacial grooving and nice samples of frost shattering. During the landing, observe rookeries of Adelie Penguins, Gentoo Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags.
Pleneau Island, Wilhelm Archipelago:
Pleneau Island lies at the south end of the Lemaire Channel, and was first explored during Charcot’s 1903–05 French Antarctic Expedition. The island was named for the expedition’s photographer, Paul Pleneau. Amongst the common breeding birds are Gentoo Penguins, Kelp Gulls and South Polar Skuas. Southern elephant seals are often hauled-out in wallows. Enjoy spectacular glacial and ice scenery from the island during a Zodiac cruise in Pleneau Bay.
Attempting the Antarctic Circle Crossing:
On the way south pass Vernadsky, the former British Faraday Station, and see how far conditions will allow for sailing.
The South Shetland Islands run parallel to the Antarctic Peninsula and were the first part of Antarctica seen during the early 19th century, although claims exist that early European explorers might have been there some 200 years before.
As you step off the Zodiac to explore the island you will be greeted by Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins. Other annual seabirds include the Southern Giant Petrels. Leopard seal are often seen prowling the shore for penguins.
Deception Island, Port Foster and Whalers Bay:
Deception Island is an excellent example of a breached caldera flood by seawater. Sail into Port Foster through a narrow entrance called Neptune’s Bellows. The resident Geologist will be on hand to explain the unique volcanic features of the area while your naturalists might introduce you to the whaling history of Deception Island. Still visible on the island are the boilers used to make whale oil in the early 1900s.
On return through the Drake Passage, again watch for seabirds and wildlife. Take this opportunity to attend additional presentations offered by the onboard lecturers or swap photos with new found friends as the journey continues towards Ushuaia. On the final day your onboard Videographer will present the Voyage DVD with all the highlights and special encounters of your journey to Antarctica.
Disembark the vessel after breakfast.
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 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.
Ship accommodation; onboard meals; butler service; complimentary beverages served throughout the ship (an assortment of complimentary wines, champagne and spirits); parka and backpack; all onboard gratuities (except spa); port charges and handling fees; Silver, Medallion, Grand and Owner's Suite guests receive laundry service and dinner at Officer's table; 1 hour of internet access per guest/per day for passengers booked in Adventurer, Explorer, View, Vista, and Veranda Suites; unlimited internet access for passengers booked in Medallion, Silver, Grand, and Owner’s Suite. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; travel insurance; government fees and taxes; visa and passport expenses; gifts and items of a personal nature such as laundry and spa options, fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © Creative Services at Silversea Cruises, © Richard Sidey (two penguins, passenger walking), © Ray Stranagan (landscape, penguins and zodiac)