Explore the Antarctic Peninsula and enjoy the most dramatic scenery and the widest variety of wildlife in Antarctica on this special 11-day cruise. Visit the volcanic islands of the South Shetlands and explore the wide variety of flora and fauna in South Shetland. This classic route to the Antarctic Peninsula aboard MV Plancius is a popular way to make the most of your polar voyage experience.
Sail across the Drake Passage - enjoy bird watching and spotting icebergs
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
Explore the wide variety of flora and fauna in the South Shetland Islands
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 crosing 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 of the first icebergs.
Graystone peaks sketched with snow, towers of broken blue-white ice, and dramatically different wildlife below and above. You first pass the snow-capped Melchior Islands and Schollaert Channel, sailing between Brabant and Anvers Islands.
Sites you may visit 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 – You may be able to take a Zodiac cruise in these sprawling, ice-flecked waters, where there’s a good chance you’ll encounter humpback and minke whales.
Port Lockroy – After sailing through the Neumayer Channel, you may get a chance to visit the former British research station – now a museum and post office – of Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. You may also be able to partake in activities around Jougla Point, meeting gentoo penguins and blue-eyed shags.
There are great opportunities also for kayaking and camping in this area, and when conditions are right, you can even snowshoe around the shore and to the old ski-way at nearby Damoy Point.
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 you 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, you may be able to 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 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.