Begin this 11-day Antarctic adventure in Ushuaia, Argentina aboard the MV Plancius. Cross the infamous Drake Passage and head towards the Antarctic Peninsula. Search for wildlife such as albatross, penguins, whales and seals while sailing through the Antarctic waters and amongst icebergs. Keep an open mind while exploring Antarctica, as this itinerary may change due to weather and ice. Each day is determined by the Expedition Leader.
Sail across the infamous Drake Passage to reach the Antarctic Peninsula
Zodiac cruise between icebergs and fjords
Observe wildlife such as penguins, albatross, whales, and seals
Enjoy trips ashore each day to explore the Antarctic landscape
The voyage begins where the world drops off. Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, is located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed “The End of the World” and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening.
During these two days, sail across the Drake Passage. When crossing the Antarctic Convergence, arrive in the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area, 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.
Gray stone peaks sketched with snow, towers of broken blue-white ice and dramatically different wildlife below and above. First pass the snow-capped Melchior Islands and Schollaert Channel, sailing between Brabant and Anvers Islands.
Site visits include:
Danco Island – Activities here may focus on the gentoo penguins nesting on the island, in addition to the Weddell and crabeater seals that can be found nearby.
Neko Harbour – An epic landscape of mammoth glaciers and endless wind-carved snow, Neko Harbour offers opportunities for a Zodiac cruise and landing that afford the closest views of the surrounding alpine peaks.
Paradise Bay – Be able to take a Zodiac cruise in these sprawling, ice-flecked waters, where there’s a good chance to encounter humpback and minke whales.
Port Lockroy - After sailing through the Neumayer Channel, get the chance to visit the former British research station- now a museum and post office- of Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. Have the chance to partake in activities around Jougla Point, meeting gentoo penguins and blue-eyed shags. There are great opportunities also for kayaking and camping here, and when conditions are right, snowshoe around the shore.
The volcanic islands of the South Shetlands are windswept and often cloaked in mist, but they do offer subtle pleasures. There’s a wide variety of flora (mosses, lichens, flowering grasses) and no small amount of fauna (gentoo penguins, chinstrap penguins, southern giant petrels.) In Deception Island, the ship plunges through Neptune’s Bellows and into the flooded caldera. Here, find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station and thousands of cape petrels – along with kelp gulls, brown and south polar skuas and Antarctic terns. A good hike is a possibility in this fascinating and desolate volcanic landscape.
As an alternative, engage in activities near Half Moon Island. Here, chinstrap penguins and Weddell seals often haul out onto the beach near Cámara Base, an Argentine scientific research station. Conditions on the Drake Passage determine the exact time of departure.
The return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, be again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. But they seem a little more familiar to you now, and you to them.
Kate was great to work with in the planning stage. She was prompt, helpful, and efficient. Our tour guide, Edwin, was knowledgeable and passionate. We were very happy to have traveled with Adventure Life, it made the trip easy and a true pleasure. We could concentrate on enjoying the experience rather than the details of travel.