Summary : Explore the majestic beauty and amazing wildlife of the Antarctic Peninsula. This 14-night itinerary will allow you to explore the wonders of the Antarctic Peninsula in more depth, giving you time to experience the Antarctic Sound, located within the Weddell Sea. The stark difference in scenery found here is likely to be a major highlight on this special departure, with massive tabular icebergs, lots of sea ice, and geology far different from anywhere else you visit.
Activities : Birding, Camping, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins
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Arrive in Ushuaia anytime today, with the day free to relax or experience the town and surroundings on your own. Enjoy the Argentinean markets and savory cuisine that make Patagonia famous as you explore the southernmost town in the world. Highlights of Ushuaia include an award-winning museum and trips to nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park and its popular “Train at the End of the World”. The optional evening briefing is a great opportunity to ask questions and meet some of your fellow travelers.
After a complimentary buffet breakfast, you’re free to explore Ushuaia or unwind at the resort until your midafternoon transfer to the ship. On board, you’ll be greeted by your Expedition Team and the Ship’s Officers. A concise safety and orientation briefing will be followed by the Captain’s welcome dinner. After dinner, relax and take in the scenery on our early evening sail through the Beagle Channel, past Magellanic Penguin, Rock Cormorant, and Sea Lion colonies.
As you make your way ever closer to the white continent, numerous polar experts will prepare you with presentations on everything Antarctic, from wildlife to history. Eventually, you’ll cross the Antarctic Convergence where you’ll notice a distinct drop in temperature as you enter the waters of the Antarctic Ocean.
Those interested in Citizen Science can take part in sea bird sighting surveys, or help collect salinity samples and weather data along the way. You’re likely to witness some spectacular sights, from icebergs to an array of seabirds and whale species. If you’re lucky, you may see some of them fully breach from the sea.
In the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, your expedition team will hope to make as much time as possible to explore by inflatable Zodiac boats and marvel up close at nature’s glory. Your expedition leader and captain will create a flexible itinerary based on weather, ice, and opportunity. You will aim for the most scenic bays and channels of the Peninsula with stops at penguin rookeries, seal wallows, bird colonies and whale feeding areas, as well as sites of historic and scientific interest.
Your first sight of land will likely be that of the South Shetland Islands. These highly volcanic islands offer amazing abundance and beauty. You may visit Half Moon Island nestled inside Livingston’s eastern shore, or conditions permitting visit historic Deception Island. Being further north, sub-Antarctic species are more commonly found here, including Chinstrap penguins and Southern Elephant seals.
As you head south across the Bransfield Strait, you will sail towards the Antarctic Sound. Located at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, the Antarctic Sound is located within the Weddell Sea. A massive clockwise current pushes cold, ice-filled waters north, making this part of the Antarctic Sound dramatically different from the Western Peninsula. Here you will endeavor to explore an area rich in Heroic Age history and take in the varied ecology found surprisingly this far north. Adelie penguins thrive in these colder, ice-filled waters.
The ice ultimately directs what adventures you will have in these lesser-travelled waterways, but the opportunity to experience the stark difference in scenery found here is likely to be a major highlight for all on this special departure, with massive tabular icebergs, lots of sea ice, and geology far different from anywhere you will visit this trip.
Heading Southwest, enter Gerlache Strait and Trinity Coast. Here you may explore picturesque Neko Harbor, sheltered Paradise Harbor, or Wilhelmina Bay, the striking Lemaire Channel, the wildlife-filled Penola Channel, or the majestic Neumayer Channel. You may stop at an active scientific base such as Poland’s Arctowksi or Ukraine’s Vernadskiy as well as a historic base such as U.K.’s Port Lockroy or Wordi e House. Adelie, Chinstrap, and Gentoo penguins abound, and Weddell and Crabeater seals are often found hauled out to rest along with predatory Leopard seals and the assertive Antarctic Fur Seal. Minke and humpback whales are frequent visitors in the late season and Orca sightings are also common.
As you leave this magical place and make your way north, heading again across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage, continue to enjoy an onboard presentation series and wildlife spotting. Sailing back to Ushuaia through the Beagle Channel, celebrate the conclusion of your expedition with a special slideshow.
A morning disembarkation lets you catch a flight to Buenos Aires or stay in Ushuaia for more sights and adventure.
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: All passengers are required to carry valid travel insurance. This insurance must contain medical and evacuation coverage. Cancellation and trip interruption insurance are strongly recommended as well. As any potential evacuation from Antarctica can cost up to $200,000, it is recommended that no policy carry less than this amount of coverage. Pre-departure forms will require information as to travel insurance carrier, policy number, and a 24 hour contact number. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends that the travel insurance policy covers trip cancellation insurance, trip delay (interruption or after departure coverage), baggage and repatriation. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions.
Get a taste of Antarctica as it was experienced by the early explorers. After a delicious dinner onboard, jump back in the Zodiacs and head ashore for a night of camping in Antarctica! Help to set up camp, then enjoy the sounds of the waves, the creaking of the glaciers, and perhaps even the blow of a passing whale. Anyone 12 and older can participate (with additional fee). Included: insulated sleeping bags, rated -20° F, a sleeping bag liner, one dry bag for a pillow and a change of clothes, 4-season mountaineering tents, a limited number of mountaineering bivy sacks, and insulated sleeping pads. Booking in advance is highly recommended. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Participate in active scientific research projects by helping to collect data on everything from water salinity to penguin behavior. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Kayaking offers an opportunity to participate in the most intimate Antarctica encounters. Basic paddling experience is highly recommended. Participants should be capable of getting in and out of a kayak, doing a wet exit, and performing forward and back strokes. Maximum participants: 16 passengers per voyage. Included: kayaks (mix of tandems and singles), dry suits, paddles, personal flotation devices (PFDs), and Pogies (neoprene gloves). Booking in advance is highly recommended. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Get the most out of your photography and bring home memories that will last a lifetime. On every voyage there is a dedicated photography coach who is experienced in the unique weather and lighting conditions that make Antarctica the most special place on earth while sometimes challenging to capture on film. Everyone on board is welcome to take advantage of this included service. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
One pre-voyage hotel night at the Arakur Ushuaia Resort and Spa; transfer from the Ushuaia airport to the group hotel (if arriving on Day 1 of the itinerary); transfer from the group hotel to the ship for embarkation; cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; scheduled landings and excursions; 24/7 complimentary coffee, tea, and hot chocolate; welcome/farewell cocktail; citizen science program; complimentary house beer/wine/soft drink with dinner; WiFi from the public computers in the library; 100-minute WiFi card (for use on your personal device); daily international news service; digital voyage log; gear on loan (a pair of boots); and a waterproof jacket (yours to keep). Owner's Suite, Penthouse, Veranda, Deluxe, and Promenade categories: champagne and chocolates on arrival, a complimentary mini bar (beer, wine, and soft drinks), and an en suite Nespresso machine (available on request). Inclusions subject to change without notice.
Any airfare or travel expenses associated with arrival in Ushuaia or Puerto Madryn; transfer from airport to group hotel, unless arriving on day 1 of the itinerary; pre- or post-voyage expenses in Ushuaia or Puerto Madryn; laundry and personal expenses incurred on board; alcohol and soft drinks (except as listed in the inclusions); onboard communication charges such as phone calls; WiFi from personal devices in excess of 100 minutes provided; staff gratuities; fuel surcharge (may apply in the event of significant fuel price increases).