Begin your adventure as you board the Akademik Ioffe in Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city at the tip of Argentina. Familiarize yourself with your new "home" for the next ten days and as you do, stop to wonder about the exciting journey ahead. Set sail in the early evening on a course through the Beagle Channel.
Much excitement is in the air as you cross the Drake Passage, ever closer to the white continent. As you cross these fabled waters, on-board naturalists split their time between whale watching from the deck and leading lively discussions in the ship's presentation room about Arctic marine life. Scan the frigid waters for whales feasting on krill, icebergs, and an array of seabirds.
Your route through the Antarctic Peninsula is primarily based on typical marine mammal activity for this time of year. Armed with knowledge of marine mammal feeding grounds, your crew picks and chooses the best areas to explore. Based on weather conditions, you may explore the Gerlache Strait area and work your way into the coast's deep bays. Weather permitting, spend time exploring by inflatable zodiac boats and marvel up close at nature's glory.
Antarctica's best known locations are tentatively on the itinerary as you take in magnificent scenery and observe Weddell, crabeater and elephant seals, skuas and other seabirds, as well as an abundance of penguins. Several great hikes also offer excellent opportunities to take in the oddly-shaped and colossal tabular icebergs that break away from the continent.
If weather is mild enough, you may have the opportunity to step foot on the continent itself. Camping overnight on shore is optional, but whatever your vantage point - whether it is on board or on shore, expect to feel transformed as you experience twilight and the abundance of wildlife from the very bottom of the planet.
Make your way north, heading again across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage before rounding Cape Horn. Spend this time sharing and reflecting on the wonderful adventure of the last few days. Onboard photographic experts provide tips and tricks for managing your digital photos to ensure the preservation of your memories once you are back on shore. Throughout the passage, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for marine life, as Commerson's, Peale's and Dusky dolphins are all frequent visitors to this area. Celebrate the conclusion of your Polar expedition with a special dinner.
Arrive in Ushuaia early today. Following breakfast on board, say farewell to your crew and fellow travelers. Transfer to your hotel or airport, whichever your individual plans may provide for.