The Antarctic Peninsula is part of the Antarctic Continent and is the southern continuation of the mountain chain that runs from North America through South America into the Scotia Sea. Here it continues as a mainly sub-marine ridge, the Scotia Ridge, until it comes above sea-level at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. The peninsula consists of an 800 kilometres (500 mile) long mountain chain, the highest peaks rising to approximately 2,800 metres (9,186 feet), and numerous off-lying islands. The Peninsula offers the most dramatic scenery and biggest variety of wildlife in Antarctica. Visitors are easily overcome by sensory overload by the huge amount of icebergs, glaciers, high mountains, and the abundant wildlife.
The history of discovery runs parallel to that of the South Shetland Islands. Here, exploitation was again the major force behind the early explorations. Nowadays the Antarctic Peninsula is protected by the Antarctic Treaty, which has been signed by 46 countries. The signatory parties have agreed to abstain for 50 years from recognizing, disputing, or establishing territorial sovereignty claims. The parties also agreed to set aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, established freedom of scientific investigation, and banned military activity on the continent.
Day 1 : Embark in Ushuaia Days 2-3 : Drake Passage Days 4-7 : Antarctic Peninsula Days 8-9 : Drake Passage Day 10 : Disembark in Ushuaia
In the afternoon, embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located in the shadow of the Andes and right at the Beagle Channel shore. Sail through this scenic waterway during the afternoon.
During these two days sail across the Drake Passage. When you cross the Antarctic Convergence, arrive in the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area you may see Wandering Albatrosses, Grey Headed Albatrosses, Black- browed Albatrosses, Light- mantled Sooty Albatrosses, Cape Pigeons, Southern Fulmars, Wilson's Storm Petrels, Blue Petrels and Antarctic Petrels. Near the South Shetland Islands, get your first glimpse at the first icebergs. The Master of the vessel may decide to sail the narrow English Strait between Robert Island and Greenwich Island if the conditions are favorable. Do your first landing in Antarctic waters in the late evening of the third day at Aitcho Island at the South Shetlands. If the conditions will not allow to maneuver through the English Strait then continue sailing South of Livingston. These volcanic islands or the South Shetlands are windswept and often shrouded in mist and fog, but do offer subtle pleasures. There is a nice variety of flora (mosses, lichens and flowering grasses) and fauna, such as Gentoo Penguins, Chinstrap Penguins and southern Giant Petrels.
A typical itinerary in Antarctic Peninsula could be as follows. This is a sample only, the final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board.
You may start your first day with a landing on Half Moon Island, where you will find a variety of Chinstrap Penguins. Seals often haul out on the beach. Later on, sail to Deception Island. Deception is a subducted crater, which opens into the sea, creating a natural harbor for the ship. Here find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, thousands of Cape Pigeons and many Dominican Gulls, Brown and South Polar Skuas and Antarctic Terns. Wilson’s Storm Petrels and Black-bellied Storm Petrels nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay.
On your way further South sail across the Gerlache Strait to Cuverville Island, a small precipitous island, nestled between the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula and Danco Island. It contains a large colony of Gentoo Penguins and breeding pairs of Brown Skuas. In Neko Harbour and Paradise Bay, with its myriad icebergs and deep cut fjords, you have the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent. You shall have the opportunity for zodiac cruising between the icebergs in the inner parts of the fjords. In this area there are good chances to see Humpback Whales and Minke Whales. Sail through the spectacular Lemaire Channel to Petermann Island offering Adelie Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags. Try to land at Pleneau Island with Elephant Seals and fair chances to encounter Humpback, Minke and Fin Whales.
A visit to one of the scientific stations in Antarctica will give you an insight about the life of modern Antarcticans working on the White Continent. Further south you may visit the Ukrainian Vernadsky Station, where you will receive a warm welcome from the station crew.
Sailing north through Neumayer Channel, arrive at the Melchior Islands with a very beautiful landscape and again possibilities for zodiac cruising among the icebergs, where you may encounter Leopard Seals, Crabeater Seals and whales. In the Neumayer Channel, visit the British research station and post office Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. Close to Port Lockroy make landing on Jougla Point with Gentoo Penguins and Imperial Shags.
2 cabins with private facilities, 1 bunk bed and 1 lower berth. (ca. 15 m2)
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Twin with Porthole
9 twin private cabins with porthole. Two Lower berths. (ca. 15 m2)
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Twin with Window
26 twin private cabins with window. Two Lower berths (ca. 15 m2)
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2 twin private deluxe cabins. Lower berths - two single beds.(ca. 15 m2)
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10 twin superior cabins. Lower berths (either two single beds or one queen-size bed (ca. 21 m2)
- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double or triple occupancy. Request the Twin or Triple Share Program where you are matched with a cabin mate of the same gender. Even if a cabin mate is not found for you, no single supplement will be charged.
- Single occupancy: All cabins 1.7 times the share twin price
- Due to the extreme nature of itinerary destinations, travel insurance is mandatory for all cruises aboard the Plancius - including medical, accident and repatriation/evacuation insurance.
* Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary.
* All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
* Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
* Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation).
* All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
* Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
* All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program.
* Comprehensive pre-departure material.
Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights; pre- and post land arrangements; transfers to the vessel; passport and visa expenses; Government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended); excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges; and the customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).
If world fuel prices will reach or exceed USD$90/Barrel 90 days prior to departure MV Plancius reserves the right to levy a fuel surcharge of USD25 per passenger per night.
The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.