After spending 10 nights on board our vessel exploring this wonderful part of the world, we are certain our guests will leave Antarctica with a completely different perspective than when they arrived. After all, it would be impossible to feel quite the same after gazing upon an unimaginable profusion of penguins tobogganing and waddling their way across the snow - or watching yet another species of whale crest the waves in close proximity. And then there is the awe you will feel when you first glimpse the sweeping ice sheet that spans an entire continent. Antarctica gets under your skin unlike any other place on earth.
Sailing in comfort aboard either the Akademik Ioffe or the Akademik Sergey Vavilov, we begin this 10 night expedition at the tip of South America. We chart a course through the Drake Passage and make visits along the way through the South Shetland Islands. When we arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula, be prepared to be dazzled. Even our experienced crew members many of whom have visited the southern region a hundred times or more are still astonished by its pristine beauty. The abundance of wildlife here is truly extraordinary including five seal species, massive penguin rookeries of gentoo, Adelies and chinstraps as well as a profusion of seabirds from albatross to skuas. It is nature you will experience up close and personal on frequent excursions inland.
Our journey will take us to Petermann Island or Wilhelmina Bay where we encounter colossal icebergs and, of course, the ice landscapes that stretch as far as the eye can see. Hardy adventurers or those with a yen for history have the chance to camp out on the ice overnight and feel the thrill and audacity of early explorers who attempted to conquer this continent.
As with all of our expeditions, safety is our top priority. For that reason weather, ice or other conditions may require us to change our itinerary and shore excursions as we go but that is half the fun of Polar exploring. Predictability is a word that has no relevance in this environment.
Day 1: Ushuaia - Today is the first day of our adventure. As we board the vessel in Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city at the tip of Argentina, and start to become familiar with 'our home' for the next 11 days we cannot help but wonder about the exciting journey ahead of us. In the early evening, we set sail and begin our voyage leaving behind Ushuaia and charting a course through the Beagle Channel.
Days 2 - 3: Drake Passage - Crossing the Drake Passage, there is so much excitement in the air as we make our way ever closer to the white continent. Guests eagerly soak up the friendly atmosphere onboard as our numerous Polar experts prepare us for our adventures with presentations on everything Antarctic, from wildlife to history. Eventually, we will cross the Antarctic Convergence where we will notice a distinct drop in temperature as we enter the waters of the Antarctic Ocean. Along the way, we will witness many spectacular sights from icebergs to an array of seabirds and even several whale species some of which are known on occasion to fully breach from the sea.
Days 4 - 8: Antarctic Peninsula - In the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, we will hope to make as much time as possible to explore by inflatable Zodiac boats and marvel up close at nature's glory. Planned excursions might include Neko Harbour, Wilhelmina Bay and even the southerly Petermann Island, where we will observe Weddell, crabeater and elephant seals, skuas and other seabirds as well as a shocking abundance of penguins including some very large colonies of the comical Adelie penguin. At Half Moon Island we will observe a breeding colony of chinstrap penguins that share their territory with fur seals and blue-eyed shags. We also hope to see the gentle humpback whale dining on krill in its feeding grounds and possibly have an opportunity to observe orcas and Minke whales as we go.
We finally arrive on the continent of Antarctica at Paradise Harbour or Neko Harbour. Prepare to be dazzled by your first glimpse of the continent. The scenery here is amazing. In particular we will be struck by the oddly-shaped icebergs that look like sculptures, as well as the colossal 'tabular' icebergs that break away from the continent's ice shelf. We hope the weather will be mild enough to allow us all to step foot on the White Continent itself. Some may wish to camp on shore overnight. Whatever your vantage point, whether it is onboard or onshore expect to feel transformed as you experience twilight from the very bottom of the planet.
Days 9 - 10: Drake Passage - As we leave this magical place and make our way north, heading again across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage before rounding Cape Horn, we have no doubt that time will be spent sharing and reflecting on the wonderful experiences of the last few days. Sailing down the Beagle Channel, we celebrate the conclusion of our Polar expedition at a special dinner.
Days 11: Ushuaia - In the early morning, we will arrive back in Ushuaia. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travelers. Guests will be transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home.
|Dates & Rates||Cabins (all Prices in US$ Dollar)|
|Date||Triple Share||Twin Semi
|Start Feb 20, 2018
End Mar 02, 2018
(K H LC P E Y W)
|Start Mar 02, 2018
End Mar 12, 2018
(K H LC P E Y W)
|Start Mar 22, 2018
End Apr 01, 2018
(K H LC P E Y W)
DETAILS FOR SPECIAL ADVENTURE ACTIVITIES ON THIS VOYAGE:
Sea Kayaking – pre-booked option, fee of US$795. Maximum number of clients is 16.
Overnight Sea Kayaking – pre-booked option for those already enrolled in the standard sea kayak program. Additional fee of US$300. Sea kayak & camping experience is necessary and participation in option is dependent upon our Sea Kayak Guide approval onboard. Max number of clients is 6, min 4.
Ski Touring – pre-booked option, fee of US$750. Back country experience essential and participation in this option is dependent upon our Ski Touring Guide approval onboard. Gear is not provided by our. Please review our required gear list prior to departure. Max number of clients is 12, min 6.
Expedition Snowshoeing – pre-booked option, fee of US$45, gear is provided. Maximum 12 people.
Expedition Field Photography- pre-booked option, fee of US$45. Maximum of 18 people.
Overnight Camping - no pre-booking necessary, no additional fee, gear is provided. No maximum.
Hiking- no pre-booking necessary, no additional fee,No maximum.
Traditional Snowshoeing - no pre-booking necessary, no additional fee, gear is provided. 10 pairs of snowshoes will be available.
As with all of our expeditions, safety is our top priority. For that reason weather, ice or other conditions may require us to change our itinerary and shore excursions as we go, however that is half the fun of Polar exploring. Predictability is a word that has no relevance in this environment.
Extensive program of relevant educational presentations
Advice from experienced team of naturalists
Advice and encouragement from resident photographer
All Zodiac excursions
On board welcome reception
On board welcome dinner
One Ocean Farewell Dinner (hosted by our Captain)
All meals during the voyage prepared by onboard professional chefs
Afternoon tea with fresh snacks each afternoon
Coffee, tea, hot chocolate throughout the day
Onboard medical officer
Access to our special programs on board (such as hiking, photography)
Overnight camping- please note that this activity is free of charge, we provide all
the necessary equipment and gear and you can decide once on board if you wish to participate – no pre booking required. Camping is only available on some departures.
Use of multimedia station. We have a multimedia room where you can download your photos at the end of the day if you wish,
Please note that the kayaking activity is an extra cost at US$795 per person (if you wish to participate please let us know at time of booking as we have limited space).
Foul weather gear set – rain jacket, bib pants and Lacrosse gumboots (wellington boots) Or SeaLine water proof backpack, Bushnell waterproof binoculars and Lacrosse gumboots (wellington boots) (Carrying Wellington boots in your luggage can add to weight limit imposed by the airlines .
Transfers from the meeting point in Ushuaia to the pier to board the ship on day 1 of the cruise and transfers from the pier to the meeting point or airport on the last day of the cruise
Visa and passport fees, airport departure taxes
Pre-cruise or post-cruise hotel accommodation
Personal laundry charges
Postage, telephone calls, drinks, medical expenses
Meals / accommodation / transfers in welcome/departure cities
Trip interruption / cancellation insurance
Travel medical insurance including medical evacuation (mandatory)
Gratuities to staff and crew