Summary : Explore the mythical White Continent. Seeing not only the Antarctic Peninsula but also South Georgia, a sub-Antarctic region formed by an underwater mountain chain that extends from the Andes to the Antarctic Peninsula. All the wildlife of the Far South can be found there. You will go ashore at the splendid sites of Gold Harbour or Fortuna Bay, walking amongst the penguins, and will be able to approach the elephant seals basking in the weak southern sun. The ancient whaling station of Deception Island will reveal its amazing colony of chinstrap penguins. Sail the famous Drake Passage and carve through waters often populated by killer whales, humpback whales and other cetaceans – an amazing sight.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
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Board your flight in Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. Transfer to the ship to stay on board this first night.
Crossing the Drake is a rite of passage as you journey to the White Continent. Located exactly between the southern tip of South America and the Antarctic Peninsula, the Drake Passage extends over 800 kilometers from Cape Horn to Livingston Island. You may have plentiful wildlife viewing opportunities, provided by sea birds such as petrels and albatross that follow in your wake.
Visiting Antarctica means exploring the largest, wildest and most extreme of all the continents; discover a land dominated by white, a mysterious stretch of ice with seemingly infinite nuances of color. At the gateway to this final frontier, surrounded by the vast expanse of sea ice, get as close as possible to the most unspoiled nature, composed of millions of animals living in vast colonies. Set off to meet peaceful penguins, the emblem of these icy regions, and journey through their colonies with their constant movement to and from the sea. During your trip, you may encounter majestic humpback whales whose huge and powerful blue tail fins pound the surface of the water. Dependent upon sea and ice conditions, your expedition explores a variety of destinations, including Deception Island, Neko Bay, Paradise Bay and Wilhelmina Bay.
Nestled at the heart of the South Shetland Islands, in the north of the Antarctic Peninsula, Deception Island is easy to recognize for its horseshoe shape. This island was once an active volcano whose crater collapsed some 10,000 years ago, producing a caldera which was then flooded by the sea, creating a natural port. Entrance to the port is via a narrow channel called Neptune’s Bellows. For a long time, this was an important whaling port and the intensity of this activity has left traces that have withstood time. On the black sand of the volcanic beaches, there are remains of abandoned huts that have been overrun by the extraordinary wildlife. It is on these beaches of ash that the largest colony of chinstrap penguins in the Antarctic Peninsula has taken up residence. Excursions aboard Zodiac will allow you to set foot on this expanse of land where more than 100,000 pairs of penguins nest.
As you sail to South Georgia, your lecture series will begin, educating you about the wildlife, environment and history of the region. Sea birds may accompany your ship and provide excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.
South Georgia is an unparalleled destination within Antarctica. This sub-Antarctic region is a peak emerging from the Scotia Arc, an underwater mountain chain that extends from the Andes to the Antarctic Peninsula.
Visit Grytviken, a former Norwegian whaling station, and follow in the footsteps of the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton and visit the tiny cemetery where he is buried. After Roald Amundsen conquered the South Pole in 1912, Sir Ernest Shackleton turned his attention to what he considered to be the last great challenge in Antarctica: The crossing of the continent from the Weddell Sea to the Ross Sea via the Pole. To achieve this he organized the Endurance expedition. This expedition was dogged with bad luck and his ship, Endurance, was a prisoner of the ice for many months and was slowly crushed, obliging the crew to disembark. A series of adventures followed that would cement Shackleton’s myth.
Explore Gold Harbour Island by Zodiac excursion. Everything you would expect to see is present at this site: magical landscapes, a majestic blue-tinged glacier, and waterfalls sparkling in the sun, pouring down. The beach here is made of volcanic black sand, heading out towards a milky blue sea. The beach swarms with wildlife, colonies of king penguins, fur seals and elephant seals.
Enjoy the comforts of the ship as your expedition leaders and naturalist guides continue their lecture series, expanding your knowledge of this unique part of the world.
Disembark in Montevideo in the morning.
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.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Bilingual Departures: All departures French/English.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase medical evacuation insurance, and a primary health insurance policy. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. 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 U.S. residents with travel protection options.
One-way flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia in Economy-class; meet and greet by your representatives in Ushuaia and transfer from airport to ship; meals onboard the ship; captain’s welcome cocktail and gala dinner; luggage transfer between pier and ship; open bar (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands, coffee, juices and soft drinks); some airport taxes; on disembarkation day, transfer from ship to airport; crew gratuities; 24-hour room service; butler service is included for guests staying on Deck 6; parka; boot rental. Subject to change without notice.
Any airfare other than that mentioned as included; passport and visa expenses and/or immigration reciprocity taxes if applicable; any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned; transfer from ship to airport on disembarkation; optional Tierra del Fuego tour; spa charges; beverages other than those mentioned; laundry services, hair salon; personal expenses, medical consultations and drug prescriptions; required travel insurance; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © Lorraine Turci, © Olivier Blaud, © Nathalie Michel, © Ponant