Near the South Shetland Islands, spot your first icebergs. The Master of the vessel may decide to sail the narrow English Strait between Robert Island and Greenwich Island or McFarlane Strait between Greenwich Island and Livingston Island if the conditions are favorable. Then you might be able to enter Antarctic waters in the late evening of the third day and see Aitcho Island at the South Shetlands. If the conditions do not allow for maneuvering 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.
At Deception Island, a landing will be attempted. Deception itself 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. 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 Harbor and Paradise Bay, with their myriad icebergs and deep cut fjords, have the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent. 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. 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 reach your farthest point south.
Sailing north again through Neumayer Channel and Gerlache Strait, arrive at the Melchior Islands with a very beautiful landscape with icebergs, where we may encounter leopard seals, crabeater seals and whales.