Summary : Welcome to the ice factory! Thanks to vast ice shelves that calve monstrous tabular icebergs, waters rich in krill and otherworldly landscapes, the Weddell Sea is one of Antarctica's most unique regions. This brand-new expedition ship is ice-strengthened to take you comfortably between the Weddell Sea and the Antarctic Peninsula's west coast for the best of both worlds! Witness vast tabular icebergs pass by in Antarctic Sound. Retrace some of Shackleton's and Nordenskoljd's route. Visit fascinating fossil fields with an on board paleontologist. Capture Antarctic light with an onboard polar photography guide. Delight in the abundance of Antarctic wildlife: Adelie, gentoo and chinstrap penguins, hunting orcas, feeding humpbacks, and minkes too!
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkeling, Triple/Quad Cabins, Antarctica Air-Cruise
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Arrive in Punta Arenas, where you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to your downtown hotel. Overlooking the Straits of Magellan, the city sits astride one of the world’s most historic trade routes. Today, Punta Arenas reflects a great mix of cultures, from English sheep ranchers to Portuguese sailors, and it remains an utterly fascinating testament to Chile’s rich history.
Tonight, gather to meet your fellow expeditioners and enjoy a briefing on the first leg of your expedition – your flight to Antarctica!
This morning you'll be transferred to Punta Arenas airport for your early morning charter flight to King George Island, Antarctica. The flight will take approximately one-and-a-half hours.
On arrival into King George Island your expedition team is on hand to greet you for your Zodiac transfer to board the Greg Mortimer. You’ll have time to settle into your cabin before important briefings begin.
NOTE: King George Island is located at the northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula in the South Shetland Islands and is one of the most remote places on Earth. A clear sky with perfect visibility is required in order for the plane to take off and land safely.
After settling into shipboard life, head through the Antarctic Sound to the eastern side of the Peninsula to reach the Weddell Sea.
Access into the Weddell is heavily dependent on ice conditions, and your experienced leader will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day. The aim is generally to try for two landings or Zodiac excursions each day. Days will be spent cruising along spectacular ice cliffs, following whales that are feeding near the surface, and landing on the continent and its off-shore islands to visit penguin rookies, seal haul outs, historic huts, and a few of other favorite spots along the peninsula.
Cross the Drake Passage and keep an eye out for soaring albatross and flitting petrels. Celebrate your extraordinary voyage while entering the Beagle Channel on your approach to Ushuaia.
After breakfast, disembark in Ushuaia and transfer to the airport.
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.
Charter Flight Contingency Plan:
See Payment & Cancellation Policies page for more details.
Charter Flight Luggage Weight Limit:
Punta Arenas/King George Island: 7kg per person carry on; 20kg per person checked
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase emergency evacuation/repatriation insurance at a minimum coverage of $250,000. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. Insurance should cover personal accident and medical expenses, evacuation and repatriation, baggage loss, and cancellation or curtailment of holiday. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Exploration by sea kayak is an ideal way to surround yourself in the sights and sounds of Antarctica. Paddle among icebergs and brash ice, get up close to wildlife and observe in an unobtrusive manner. Some kayak excursions may be long in duration and on choppy water, so a reasonable level of kayaking experience is required to participate in this activity. Fee required to participate. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to book.
Charter flight from Punta Arenas to King George Island; one pre-cruise hotel night in Punta Arenas with breakfast; group transfer from Punta Arenas airport to hotel if on the group flight; group transfer from hotel to airport for flight to King George Island; transfer to downtown or airport on disembarkation day in Ushuaia; shipboard accommodations; personalized photo book (post voyage, one per booking); gear to keep (expedition jacket); gear on loan (gumboots); all meals onboard ship; house wines, beers, and soft drinks with dinner onboard ship. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare except flight to King George Island; passport and visa expenses; hotels and meals not included in itinerary; transfers not mentioned as included; optional activity supplements; alcohol and soft drinks not mentioned as included; items of a personal nature such as Wi-Fi, laundry service, spa charges, medical expenses, etc.; required travel insurance; excess baggage charges; airport arrival or departure taxes; gratuities (Note: A $15 USD per person per day gratuity for the crew is automatically added to your onboard account. It is at your discretion if you would like to remove the tip (or increase/decrease the amount) when you settle your bill); fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos: © Aurora Expeditions