Summary : Unpack your pioneer spirit and experience a true expedition voyage on this journey along the Antarctic Peninsula, from the Antarctic Sound to the Gerlache Strait. During this trip, you will attempt landings that have rarely—if ever—been made before. Follow the path of polar explorers of old across the Drake Passage, encounter numerous species of penguins and seals, watch for whales, and visit remote Antarctic islands. Along the way, take in amazing icescapes, attend lectures from knowledgeable guides, and navigate by Zodiac among ice floes. Flexibility is key during this voyage as the cruise program will vary depending on local ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. The on-board expedition leader will determine the final itinerary.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
- Save $1,400 per person
- Free kayaking and camping
$7,250 to $11,800
Your voyage begins where the world drops off. Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, is located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed “The End of the World,” and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening.
Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you'll encounter some of the same experiences of great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence—Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas—you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too. Wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels, and Antarctic petrels are a few of the birds you might see.
Glaciers, icebergs, and pack ice extend into the horizon. On the northern side of the Antarctic Sound is Dundee Island, where you have the chance to land at Petrel Cove. The Argentinean Base, Petrel, is located here, and its massive airplane hangar hints at the base’s heritage. It was from this stretch of flat land that Lincoln Elsworth and Herbert Hollick-Kenyon completed the first flight across the Antarctic Continent in 1935.
Alternatively, you may explore Active Sound if ice conditions allow.
Next you sail along the Wright Ice Piedmont at Graham Land, which was mapped based on photographs taken between 1955—57. The piedmont was named after the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright.
Keeping to the west coast of Graham Land, you reach Valdivia Point, named after the German ship Valdivia by Otto Nordenskjöld’s Swedish Antarctic Expedition. Further west you may also see Challenger Island and Bluff Island.
Continue sailing to the western side of Brabant Island, exploring Avicenna Bay, Buls Bay, and the analysis-inspiring Freud Passage.
At the northeast coast of Anvers Island, you next visit Fournier Bay. This location was probably first sighted by a German expedition under the command of Eduard Dallmann in 1873-1874, chartered by the French Antarctic Expedition of Jean-Baptiste Charcot (1903-1905). It was named after the French admiral Ernest Fournier. You might also make a landing at Inverleith Harbor (also on the northeast coast of Anvers), possibly spotting an Antarctic tern colony as well as Weddell seals.
Your return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, you’re again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. But they seem a little more familiar to you now, and you to them.
Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, but with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.
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.
Pre-scheduled group transfer from the ship to the airport in Ushuaia directly following disembarkation; luggage transfer from pick-up point to the vessel on day of embarkation in Ushuaia; shipboard accommodations; all shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac; program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff; gear on loan (rubber boots and snowshoes); all meals onboard the ship; snacks, coffee, and tea; all miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program. Inclusions subject to change without notice.
Airfare; pre- and post-land arrangements; transfer to the vessel in Ushuaia; 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, and telecommunication charges; customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Franco Banfi, © Hanneke Dallmeijer, © Jan Veen, © Erwin Vermeulen