Ushuaia, ArgentinaIn the afternoon,embark in Ushuaia and sail through the Beagle Channel.
Drake PassageDuring 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, catch a 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 favourable. Then you might be able to 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 do not allow manouvering 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.
You may start your first day in Antarctica with a landing at Hannah Point, where you will find a nice variety of Gentoo Penguins, Chinstraps and southern Giant Petrels, as well as Elephant Seals hauling out on the beach. At Deception Island, an attempt will be made toland. Deception itself is a sub ducted crater, which opens into the sea, creating a natural harbour for the ship. Here you will 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. Good walkers may hike from Baily Head over the ridge of the crater into Whalers Bay, while your ship braves its entrance into the crater through the spectacular Neptune’s Bellow into the ring of Deception Island. On your way further South sail to Orne Islands with large colonies of Chinstrap Penguins and a beautiful view across the Gerlache Strait or 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, we 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.
Sail through the spectacular Lemaire Channel to Petermann Island offering Adelie Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags. You will also try to land at Pleneau Island with Elephant Seals and fair chances to encounter Humpback, Minke and Fin Whales. Head south along the Argentine Islands to Crystal Sound, south of the polar circle. The landscape is very impressive with very high mountains and huge glaciers. At the Fish Islands land at one of the southernmost Adelie Penguin and Blue-eyed Shag colonies in the Antarctic Peninsula.
At Detaille Island, south of the Polar Circle, in Crystal Sound you will reach probably your farthest south. Sailing north again through Neumayer Channel and Gerlache Strait, 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.
Drake PassageIn the Drake Passage have a chance of seeing many seabirds and to take advantage of the knowledge of your lecture team.
Ushuaia, ArgentinaArrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark.