Day 1 Punta Arenas, Chile | King George Island | Embark
Your journey commences this morning in the southern Chilean port city of Punta Arenas. Gather at a central location and be transferred to the airport for the two-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Antarctica (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). Upon arrival at King George Island, embark your ship via Zodiac. After settling into your cabins and exploring the new surroundings, meet your expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as you enjoy a welcome cocktail and your first meal onboard in Antarctica. No doubt, everyone is looking forward to the incredible adventure ahead
Day 2-6 Antarctic Peninsula towards the Circle
- 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners
Having crossed the broad expanse of the Bransfield Strait overnight, wake to see the towering peaks of the Antarctic continent for the very first time. This is a deeply moving experience for many on board. Push southwards, navigating to your ultimate objective below the Antarctic Circle. There is much to see and experience on your way south. Make shore landings in locations that provide great wildlife encounters, or take the chance to stretch your legs on a short or long hike, such as Port Charcot.
There are several locations in the Fish and Argentine Island archipelagos that allow for Zodiac cruising and potential shore landings. Hope to visit a working scientific base (Vernadsky Station) to learn of the important climate-related research, which is ongoing.
A hike over the snowy saddle of nearby Winter Island allows you to explore the old British Antarctic Survey hut, Wordie House, situated on the site of Rymill’s BGLE Northern Base from the 1930s.
Petermann Island is home to a substantial 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 Lemaire Channel. Nearby Pleneau Island offers more opportunities for shore landings. Just off shore, in the shallow waters of the Penola Strait, massive icebergs run aground. Constant wind and wave action sculpt these gargantuan chunks of ice into fantastic shapes, revealing more shades of blue than you could ever imagine. For many, a Zodiac cruise here is a highlight of the voyage.
It is somewhere in this vicinity that you can spend a night ashore camping. This activity is for those interested and if weather conditions permit. The ship has all the gear and an expert team of guides to make this unique experience happen. There is no need to pre-book – you can decide on the day. This activity is included in the price of your voyage.
Day 7-9 Detaille Island | Matha Strait | Marguerite Bay
- 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Given optimal ice conditions, sail south of the Antarctic Circle. A favored landing site here is Detaille Island, home to an abandoned British science hut. ‘Base W’ was established in the 1950s and is in a remarkable state of preservation. For the history buffs this is a fascinating place, providing a glimpse into the harsh life of early Antarctic scientists and researchers.
You are at the mercy of prevailing ice conditions navigating even further south. Years of experience shows that late February gives the best chance of reaching Marguerite Bay.
The ship may take the ‘shortcut’ through a narrow channel known as 'the Gullet' if the passage is ice-free. Otherwise, you could navigate around the outside of Adelaide Island, which takes more time, yet brings you to the same destination.
Marguerite Bay is home to several important science bases: Rothera (UK), San Martin (Argentina), and Carvajal (Chile), and features rich history. Hope to make a visit to at least one of these locations.
The British Graham Land Expedition (BGLE) of the early 1930s - led by the intrepid Australian, John Rymill, established their Southern Base in this area. They explored and surveyed large areas of the Antarctic Peninsula by airplane, establishing that the Antarctic Peninsula was indeed connected to the continental landmass, and not just a series of off-shore islands as earlier believed.
Day 10-11 Drake Passage
- 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
As you make your way back to South America, the educational presentations continue and you can enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by your Expedition Leader. Join the photography experts in the multimedia room and download and back up your precious images.
If weather conditions allow, hope to make a rounding of Cape Horn. This fabled stretch of water is home to legendary tales of exploration and early navigation. It’s a fitting place to reflect on a wonderful expedition. Approaching the entrance to the Beagle Channel in early evening light, enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.
Day 12 Ushuaia | Disembark
In the early morning, arrive into Ushuaia, Argentina. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travellers. Guests are transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home. It is possible to connect to flights through to Buenos Aires or other destinations in South America. Otherwise enjoy a night in town or venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia.