Antarctica > Cruises > Akademik Sergey Vavilov > Quest for the Antarctic Circle

Quest for the Antarctic Circle

Itinerary
Dates & Rates

This exciting new Antarctic expedition provides a modern twist on a much loved classic. Utilizing our decades of experience exploring Antarctica, we have designed a new voyage allowing us to reach our objective of the Antarctic Circle in just 11 days. On the way south, we enjoy eight days of off-ship exploration along the Antarctic Peninsula, visiting a large number of landing sites and cruising among the ice floes in our Zodiac boats. We use our time efficiently, by embarking in the port of Stanley - the quaint capital of the Falkland Islands. Crossing south to Antarctica we witness the magnificent pelagic seabirds of the southern region, including the giant Wandering albatross. This ocean habitat teems with life above and below the water and is a fascinating ecosystem in its own right.

We navigate the ship south, hoping to reach the Antarctic Circle in the vicinity of Detaille Island. Returning to the north, we aim to visit several classic locations such as Petermann Island, and the iceberg ‘graveyard’ at Pleneau Island. We transit the Lemaire Channel if ice conditions permit and make continental landings at Paradise Harbour or nearby Neko Harbour. Both locations offer outstanding hiking opportunities. Each day we explore on shore by foot, observing wildlife colonies, visiting historic huts and science bases, photographing icebergs and soaking up the incredible landscapes that surround us. The adventure is not over and we complete our voyage with visits to several locations in the South Shetland Islands, including Deception Island. We disembark the ship at King George Island and fly back to South America in just two hours – saving more than two days crossing the open waters of the Drake Passage. For a relatively short voyage, this trip packs a serious punch and offers fantastic scenery, wildlife, historic and scientific interest.

Itinerary

Day 1: Punta Arenas, Chile to Port Stanley, Falkland Islands - Our journey commences this morning in the southern Chilean city of Punta Arenas. We meet at a central location before transferring to the airport for our scheduled flight to Stanley in the Falkland Islands. (This flight is included in the price of your voyage). After a short 90-minute journey we are met on arrival and transferred to the pier. Stanley is currently home to just over 2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a rural town in coastal Britain. It is charming with brightly colored houses, pretty flower-filled gardens, a quaint cathedral and several local pubs. The waterfront memorial, built to commemorate the lives of the servicemen lost during the Falklands War in the early 1980’s, is a sobering reminder of recent history. There is time to explore the town, before we make our way to the ship for embarkation. After settling in to our cabins and exploring the ship, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail, dinner and cast off, bound for Antarctica – and the adventure of a lifetime.

Days 2 - 3: At sea towards South Georgia - We chart a southerly course for Antarctica. This stretch of the South Atlantic is rich in its bio-diversity 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 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. If we enjoy good sailing conditions crossing to Antarctica, we may include a visit to the very historic location of Elephant Island – a place central to the Shackleton story. It is from here that Shackleton and four of his companions set off on their epic ocean crossing to South Georgia 100 years ago. Shore landings at Point Wild are notoriously tricky due to surging swell onto the rocky beach. Nevertheless this a thrilling place to visit.

Days 4 - 5: King George Island and Antarctic Peninsula - This morning we are in position at King George Island – the largest in the South Shetlands group. There are two landing sites here and a visit depends on the prevailing weather conditions. 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, navigating into the broad expanse of the Bransfield Straight – making our way ever closer to the Antarctic coastline. This is an important migration corridor for wildlife and we keep a lookout for whales in the waters surrounding the ship. 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. This is truly an ‘A-list’ location and a place we often encounter sizeable pods of humpback whales. 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: Towards the Antarctic Circle and Gerlache Coastline - We encourage you to spend time on the outer decks soaking up the scenery as we navigate south. We pass through the ice strewn waters making our way towards out ultimate objective, the Antarctic Circle. Given favorable ice conditions, our first goal will be to sail south of the Antarctic Circle and into Crystal Sound. A favored landing site here is Detaille Island, home to an abandoned British science hut from the 1950’s.This vicinity marks our turnaround point and from now on, we return in a northerly direction exploring the dramatic coastline of 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. If the conditions are right, we aim to offer our overnight camping program to all adventurers somewhere in this vicinity. We have all the gear onboard and an experienced team to make this a night to remember! Petermann Island is home to an Adelie penguin rookery. Adelies - the smallest of the Antarctic penguins nest here and share the location with Gentoo penguins and Imperial cormorants. 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 a round 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: Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands - We aim to transit the Lemaire Channel on our way 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. Both locations offer terrific hiking opportunities up to panoramic view points. For the sea kayakers, the paddling opportunities here are endless. Expect to be in full sensory overload by this time of the voyage. By morning we arrive in the South Shetland Islands. The adventure is not over and if the weather conditions allow, we sail the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera at Deception Island. This is a very dramatic place and history is all around us as we explore the old whaling station, with the rusted old boilers and dilapidated wooden huts. At the far end of the beach is an old aircraft hangar. This is where Australian, Sir Hubert Wilkins made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928. There is also an outstanding hike here, high up onto the rim of the crater.

On a sunny day, cruising along the coast of Livingston Island is a memorable experience. There are several other landing sites in the vicinity including Half Moon Island, or the broad pebbly beach at Yankee Harbour, where we sometimes encounter Weddell seals sunning themselves. This is another great spot for a hike or a zodiac cruise. It’s a fitting place to reflect on a wonderful expedition. Charting a course for King George Island in early evening light, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.

Day 11: King George Island – return to Punta Arenas, Chile - This morning we are anchored off King George Island. We say goodbye to our crew and transfer ashore by zodiac and time permitting, we will explore the surrounding area. There are several important science bases here including Chile’s Frei Station and Bellingshausen Station. We are transferred to the airstrip for the two-hour flight to Punta Arenas in southern Chile (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). We recommend you spend a night in Punta Arenas in the event of any delays returning from Antarctica today. On arrival, a transfer is provided to several hotel locations downtown. Punta Arenas is an interesting city – and also the gateway to the magnificent region of Patagonia.

About our Itinerary: Polar exploration can be unpredictable, which regularly causes variations to our itineraries. Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. The above itinerary should be read as a 'guide only' and may change. The ship's Captain in conjunction with the Expedition Leader continually review the sailing plan throughout the voyage, making adjustments to the itinerary along the way to take advantage of optimal weather and ice conditions or to maximize our encounters with wildlife. Decades of experience spent exploring these waterways mean we have a large number of outstanding landing sites and zodiac cruising locations to consider, even when the weather conditions may not be ideal or when heavy ice may block out a planned route. A flexible approach is something we encourage you to bring to the ship.

Itinerary details

Voyage:
Quest for the Antarctic Circle
Duration:
10 nights / 11 days
Start:
Punta Arenas, Chile
Finish:
Punta Arenas, Chile
Vessel:
Akademik Sergey Vavilov

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 Dec 30, 2017
End Jan 09, 2018
(K H C P E Y W)
10,695 12,695 13,695 14,395 15,795 17,395
Start Jan 20, 2018
End Jan 30, 2018
(K H C P E Y W)
10,695 12,695 13,695 14,395 15,795 17,395

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