Antarctica > Cruises > Akademik Ioffe > Epic Antarctica

Epic Antarctica

Itinerary
Dates & Rates

This unique experience links two existing voyages to create one ‘super adventure’. Over the course of three weeks, we spend an unprecedented 16 days exploring the Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands, the spectacular, icy Weddell Sea region and the wildlife-rich Falkland Islands.

Itinerary

Day 1: Punta Arenas, Chile - Our epic journey commences this morning in Punta Arenas. Here we board our 90 minute flight to Stanley in the Falkland Islands. We are met on arrival and transferred to the pier. Stanley is home to 2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a charming rural town in coastal Britain, with brightly colored houses, flower-filled gardens, a quaint cathedral and several local pubs. There will be time to explore the town before embarkation. Excitement is in the air as we cast off, bound for Antarctica, and the adventure of a lifetime.

Days 2 - 3: Drake Passage - We chart a southerly course for Antarctica. This stretch of the South Atlantic is rich in marine life and showcases an abundance of wildlife. We will be joined by hundreds of seabirds including the wandering albatross. Giant petrels and smaller Cape petrels are also constant companions as we make our way south. Photographing these magnificent birds from the deck of the ship takes patience and skill and our photography expert will be on hand to show you the best techniques. Join the ship’s Captain on the bridge and learn about the operations of our modern research vessel. Throughout the day our onboard experts educate us with a series of presentations about the environment, the wildlife and history and the locations we hope to visit in the coming days.

Days 4 - 5: King George Island and Antarctic Peninsula - This morning we are in position at the northern end of King George Island – the largest in the South Shetlands group. Penguin Island and nearby Turret Point offer good opportunities for shore landings to view Adelie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins. Southern giant petrels, kelp gulls and Antarctic terns are also known to nest here. This afternoon we continue our journey south making our way ever closer to the Antarctic coastline. Large icebergs will be present from this point onwards and make for striking photographs in the evening light. By morning, the towering mountain peaks of the Antarctic continent loom into view and we should make landfall around Wilhelmina Bay. We navigate under the towering cliffs of Spigot Peak and into the Errera Channel hoping for a shore landing at Cuverville Island – home to a rookery of Gentoo penguins. It’s a fantastic location for a zodiac cruise or a paddle in the sea kayaks.

Days 6 - 8: Antarctic Circle -We pass through the ice strewn waters making our way towards out ultimate objective, the Antarctic Circle and into Crystal Sound. A favoured landing site here is Detaille Island, home to an abandoned British science hut from the 1950’s. This vicinity marks our turnaround point to head northerly, exploring the Antarctic Peninsula. We hope to visit a working scientific base to learn something of the important climate-related research happening here. A hike over the snowy saddle of nearby Winter Island allows us to stretch our legs and explore a historic British Antarctic Survey hut. Petermann Island is home to an Adelie penguin rookery. The view to the north of Mount Shackleton and Mount Scott is impressive. These towering granite sentinels mark the southern entrance to the nearby Lemaire Channel. Pleneau Island offers more opportunities for shore landings. Just off shore, massive icebergs run aground in the shallows. Constant wind and wave action sculpt these gargantuan chunks of ice into fantastic shapes, revealing more shades of blue than you can possibly imagine. For many, a Zodiac cruise here may well be a highlight of the voyage.

Days 9 - 10: Antarctica - We cruise north towards Paradise Harbour. This may be the first opportunity to step foot on the continent of Antarctica itself. Nearby Neko Harbour offers another continental landing. By morning we arrive in the South Shetland Islands towards Whalers Bay at Deception Island, a very dramatic place and history is all around us as we explore the old whaling station. This is where Australian explorer and pioneer aviator, Sir Hubert Wilkins made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928.

Day 11: King George Island - This morning we are anchored off King George Island. You will say farewell to many of your fellow passengers as they disembark, transfer to the airstrip and board their charter flight back to South America. There will be an opportunity to go ashore, or you may wish to relax on board, updating the diary or visit the multi-media room to download and back up your images. New guests are welcomed aboard the ship and we are soon underway – for the second leg of our epic adventure.

Days 12 - 14: Antarctic Peninsula - The Gerlache coastline is one large polar ‘playground’ with a great variety of landing sites. As always the weather and ice will dictate our route. Planned visits could include Port Charcot, Orne Harbour or Andvord Bay. All three locations offer excellent hiking opportunities, or a cruise through the Errera Channel to and land on Danco Island – a large dome shaped island affording terrific views of the whole region from its summit. If the channel south of Brooklyn Island is ice-free, we may ship cruise through here as we push to the north into the broad expanse of the Gerlache Strait. Cierva Cove and Mikkelsen Harbour are also possible locations we could visit – both providing good Zodiac cruising opportunities.

Day 15: Weddell Sea - We are now on our way towards Antarctic Sound – the gateway into the icy Weddell Sea. On our port side, will be the South Shetland Islands. It won’t be the first time you have cruised these waters, but there are some terrific sites here which we may go and explore. Half Moon Island is nearby and is home to a sizeable chinstrap penguin rookery. Across the MacFarlane Strait is Yankee Harbour – with its broad pebble beach – a known location for Weddell seals. If the weather is good a second visit to Deception Island is also a possibility. It’s always a thrill to navigate the ship into ‘Neptune’s Bellows’ – and to explore inside the submerged volcanic caldera by ship and Zodiac.

Days 16 - 17: Weddell Sea - As we sail into the sound we witness, for the first time the vast sweep of the Antarctic icecap. It is an awe-inspiring sight. Heading into the Weddell Sea we notice a significant increase in the number of huge tabular icebergs and the presence of sea ice. The Weddell Sea region is home to Adelie penguin rookeries of staggering size – some contain more than 100,000 nesting birds. Such colonies dwarf the rookeries we have visited so far. Weather permitting, excursions may include Hope Bay, Paulet Island and Brown Bluff. All eyes will be trained on the ice floes through which we navigate the ship. We have enjoyed successful sightings of emperor penguins in this area in recent years. The history of exploration in this region is incredibly rich. Remnants of Nordenskjöld’s Swedish expedition of 1901-1904 are found in several locations in this area. The epic century-old story of Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expedition has strong links to the region.

Day 18: Elephant Island - We approach Elephant Island on the southern tip of the island, is home to an impressive chinstrap penguin colony. If conditions permit, we may visit the fabled location of Point Wild on the north coast. It is here that Shackleton and his men were encamped under their upturned life boats, before five men set off on a rescue mission to South Georgia.

Days 19 - 21: Southern Ocean - While sailing north to the Falkland Islands our onboard polar experts will recap on our Weddell Sea adventures and prepare us for the final days ahead. The spectacular seabirds including several albatross and petrel species once again join us and are our constant companions as they soar above the ship. Arriving into the Falkland Islands overnight, we explore the islands of West Point and Saunders, both in the West Falkland archipelago. West Point is known for its rockhopper penguin rookeries and large nesting black browed albatross colony.

Day 22: Stanley, Falkland Islands and Punta Arenas, Chile - In the early morning, we navigate through the narrows and into our port. Stanley is currently home to just over 2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a rural town in coastal England or Scotland. There is time to explore the town, before we make our way to the airport for our return flight to Punta Arenas in southern Chile (this flight is included in the price of your voyage).

Please note

Specific sites visited will depend on ice and weather conditions, the planned itinerary will be updated at the time of final preparations as well as throughout the voyage in order to take advantage of favourable conditions.

Itinerary details

Voyage:
Epic Antarctica
Duration:
21 nights / 22 days
Start:
Punta Arenas, Chile
Finish:
Punta Arenas, Chile
Vessel:
Akademik Ioffe

Dates & Rates

Dates & Rates Cabins (all Prices in US$ Dollar)
Date Triple Share Twin Semi
Private
Twin Private Superior Shackleton
Suite
One Ocean
Suite
Start Jan 13, 2018
End Feb 03, 2018
(K P C E H Y W)
15,295 18,195 19,895 20,895 22,995 25,195

P = Photography.
C = Camping.
E = Enhanced Photography.
H = Hiking.
Y = Yoga.
K = Kayaking.
S = Snowshoeing.
ST = Ski Touring.
W = Whale watching.
LC = Represents a lower probability for camping.

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.

Included

  • Itinerary/pre-departure information

  • 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

Not included

  • All airfares

  • Visa and passport fees, airport departure taxes

  • Pre-cruise or post-cruise hotel accommodation

  • Personal laundry charges

  • Personal expenses

  • 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