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A whale comes up to say hello

Marine Mammals of Antarctica - Extended

Example 14 Day Cruise aboard RCGS Resolute
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Year after year, as the Antarctic summer comes to a close, the marine mammals come to life. Penguin chicks are almost fully grown and quickly shedding their downy coats in preparation to take to the sea before the long winter. March is a time of great activity in and under the water, and you can expect to encounter a high concentration of whales and seals. Visit several known locations along the Antarctic Peninsula that are the focus of long-term research projects by esteemed academic institutions and meet with several world-renowned cetaceans (whale) and marine mammal specialists. For those with a passion for whales and seals - and an interest in the important science happening in Antarctica, this unique voyage should not be missed.  

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Santiago, Chile
Day 2 : Fly Santiago to Stanley, Falkland Islands | Embark
Days 3-4 : At Sea - Towards Antarctica & Elephant Islands
Days 5-6 : Antarctic Sound & Weddell Sea
Day 7 : South Shetland Islands
Days 8-11 : Southern Gerlache Strait Exploration
Days 12-13 : Drake Passage
Day 14 : Ushuaia | Disembark

Highlights

  • Cross the Drake Passage and look for your first icebergs and whales
  • Explore the Antarctic Peninsula's shorelines in Zodiac boats
  • Visit Petermann Island and observe Weddell, crabeater, and elephant seals
  • Cruise through the Bransfield Strait, an important whale migration corridor

Ship

RCGS Resolute

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

A whale comes up to say hello Rockhopper penguins An old ship rusts in a Falkland Islands harbor Zodiac cruising among icebergs A whale plays near the surface at dusk.

Day 1 Santiago, Chile

Once you’ve arrived in Santiago, the cultural center of Chile, make your way to the hotel for an included pre-voyage stay. This evening, you are encouraged to visit the welcome desk set up in the lobby of the hotel to check in with the representative and to collect luggage tags for your voyage. 

Day 2 Fly Santiago to Stanley, Falkland Islands | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Depart Santiago this morning on your private air charter (this flight is included in the price of your voyage) direct to Stanley, the small capital of the Falkland Islands. You will be met on arrival and transfer from the airport into town. There is time to explore the town or enjoy a guided visit to nearby Gypsy Cove which provides your first opportunity for observing the local wildlife, including nesting Magellanic penguins and other sea birds. Making your way to the port, you board your expedition ship, RCGS Resolute in the afternoon. After settling into your cabins and exploring the ship, meet your expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as you enjoy a welcome cocktail and cast off to explore one of the most remote regions on Earth.

Day 3-4 At Sea - Towards Antarctica & Elephant Islands

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Chart a southerly course for Antarctica. The Scotia Sea is rich in bio-diversity and showcases a great abundance of wildlife. You will be joined by hundreds of seabirds including the wandering albatross. Photographing these magnificent birds takes patience and skill and the photography expert will be on hand to show you the best techniques. Throughout the day onboard experts educate you with a series of presentations about the environment, the wildlife, and history of the locations you might visit in the coming days.

There is great excitement when the dark cliffs of Elephant Island appear on the horizon. This is one of Antarctica's most important historic locations and a fitting introduction. On the rocky beach at Point Wild, Shackleton and his men camped here for many months under their three upturned lifeboats, having lost their ship, HMS Endurance in the thick sea ice, far to the south in the Weddell Sea in 1915. It was from this location that Shackleton and five companions set off on the rescue mission to South Georgia, aboard the tiny lifeboat, James Caird. To this day, the epic ocean crossing and crossing of South Georgia on foot are considered one of the greatest tales in polar history.

If weather conditions permit, aim for a Zodiac cruise to view the site from close proximity. This is a thrilling location for history buffs and sets the scene for an exciting expedition.

Day 5-6 Antarctic Sound & Weddell Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
At about 25 nautical miles long and about 10 nautical miles wide, Antarctic Sound separates Joinville Island from the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Navigating into the sound you'll witness for the first time the vastness and majesty of the Antarctic icecap. This is an awe-inspiring sight. Heading into the Weddell Sea you notice a significant increase in the number of huge tabular icebergs and the presence of sea ice. These massive icebergs break from the huge ice shelves to the south and drift north on the currents. This always makes for exciting navigation – and stunning photographic opportunities in the soft Antarctic twilight. This is wild and remote Antarctica and has a distinctly different feel from locations visited thus far.

The Weddell Sea region is home to Adelie penguin rookeries of staggering size – some contain more than 100,000 nesting birds. Such colonies dwarf the penguin rookeries visited so far. Weather permitting, excursions in the Weddell Sea region may include Hope Bay, Paulet Island, and Brown Bluff. All eyes will be trained on the ice floes through which you navigate the ship. The expedition teams have enjoyed a number of emperor penguin sightings in this area in recent years and they are known to inhabit the area. If you are lucky, you may see them as well!

The history of exploration in this region is incredibly rich. Remnants of Nordenskjöld’s Swedish expedition of 1901-1904 are found in several locations in this area. The epic century-old story of Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expedition has strong links to the region. It was here that he and his men drifted north on the ice after the ship had been lost in the icepack months earlier. As you head north and out of the Weddell Sea, the lavender-pink sunset will make you pause to consider the bravery (or foolhardiness) of those early explorers who traveled these waters a hundred years before you.

Day 7 South Shetland Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
By morning arrive in the South Shetland Islands. The adventure is not over and if the weather conditions allow, the ship sails into the flooded volcanic caldera at Deception Island. This is a very dramatic place and history is all around as you explore the old whaling station, with the rusted old boilers and dilapidated wooden huts. At the far end of the beach is an old aircraft hangar. This is where Australian, Sir Hubert Wilkins, made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928. There is also an outstanding hike, high up onto the rim of the crater.

After leaving Deception Island, cruise along the coast of Livingston Island which on a sunny day is a memorable experience. There are several other landing sites in the South Shetlands including Half Moon Island, or the broad pebbly beach at Yankee Harbour, where sometimes you can encounter Weddell seals sunning themselves. This is another great spot for a hike or a Zodiac cruise. Hannah Point, with its elephant seal colony and nesting Antarctic petrels - is another possibility. In the evening, navigate north through the McFarlane Strait and into the Drake Passage.

Day 8-11 Southern Gerlache Strait Exploration

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
While you’re enjoying the fabulous surroundings and reveling in your busy activity program, the research team will be out in the Zodiacs observing and recording the movements of the migrating whales. This is done through non-invasive tags which attach to the animals using suction cups for around 12-24 hours. The digitally recorded data provides great insight into the feeding behavior, dive profiles and migration patterns of several whale species. The science team will share their observations and findings once back on board the ship and are happy to discuss their important work. It provides a fascinating insight into the current scientific field research happening in Antarctica.

As you push further south you have a few more glorious locations to explore. Paradise Harbour provides another opportunity for a continental landing. A climb to the top of the hill above the old Argentine refuge reveals another spectacular viewpoint. Zodiac cruising under the cliffs here allows us to observe nesting imperial cormorants, and after a short distance, come to Skontorp Cove. This narrow body of water is surrounded by immense glaciers on three sides – some likening it to a ‘heavenly ice cathedral’. It's easy to see why.

Continue to push further south, hoping that ice conditions allow for a transit of the Lemaire Channel. Snow covered cliffs tower about the Lemaire on both sides and slowly navigating on the ship through here is a thrilling experience. At Pleneau Island, visit and observe a substantial gentoo penguin rookery. In the shallow waters nearby, you witness a vast field of icebergs which have run aground after drifting on the current and the winds. For many, a Zodiac cruise there will be a highlight of the trip. A working science station is located in the vicinity and a visit to the base provides an intriguing insight into the life of permanent residents in Antarctica. The station staff welcome you ashore and provide a tour of the facilities and explain the important climate change research work taking place.

Nearby Winter Island allows for an excellent hike over a snowy saddle to an old historic hut. As you return to the ship, cast your gaze back to the north towards the soaring peaks of Mount Shackleton and nearby Mount Scott. This is an impressive sight. The time has come for us to weigh anchor and commence your return journey to South America.

Day 12-13 Drake Passage

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
As you make your way back to South America, the educational presentations continue and you can enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by the Expedition Leader. Join the photography experts at the multimedia stations and download your precious images. If weather conditions allow, you can hope to make a rounding of Cape Horn. This fabled stretch of water is home to legendary tales of exploration and early navigation. It is a fitting place to reflect on a wonderful expedition. Approaching the entrance to the Beagle Channel in the early evening light, you enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.

Day 14 Ushuaia | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
In the early morning, you arrive at Ushuaia, Argentina. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travelers. Guests will be transported to hotels or to the airport for return flights home. It will be possible to connect to flights through to Buenos Aires or other destinations in South America. Otherwise, enjoy a night in town or venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia.

RCGS Resolute

Santiago - Hotels

Per person starting at
$14,195
RCGS Resolute Cabin
Select a Date
Main Deck Triple
Located on Deck 3 these cabins feature the option for a double or two single beds and a third Pullman berth, which can fold out from the wall if required. A sectional lounge is placed by the portholes with a writing desk and chair, ample storage and private washroom facilities. A flatscreen entertainment system is also included. These cabins provide easy access to the expedition room and gangway.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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Twin Private Cabin
Twin Private cabins are located on Deck 4 and have the option for either a queen or two single configured beds. Features include a comfortable lounge adjacent to the large picture window, writing desk and chair, ample storage and private washroom facilities with shower.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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Superior Cabin
Located forward on Deck 5 the Superior cabins have the option for either a queen or two single beds. Features include a comfortable lounge adjacent to the large picture window, writing desk and chair, ample storage and private washroom facilities with shower.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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Superior Plus Cabin
Superior Plus cabins are located midships on Deck 5. They are spacious and well appointed with the option for either a queen or two single beds. A comfortable lounge is placed by the large picture window, writing desk and chair, ample floor to ceiling cabinet storage and private washroom facilities with shower.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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Shackleton Suite
The Shackleton Suites are situated on Deck 6. Suites include the comfort of a sectional lounge, writing desk, substantial floor to ceiling cabinetry, and washroom facilities with shower. A flat screen entertainment system is also included. Sleeping quarters feature the option for either a queen or two single beds with upgraded linen/ pillows.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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One Ocean Suite
The One Ocean Suites are situated on Deck 6 and offer an indulgent amount of space. Sleeping quarters feature a queen size bed with upgraded linen/pillows. Included is a comfortable sectional lounge with matching club chairs, a large desk, expansive floor to ceiling cabinetry, and spacious washroom facilities with both a shower and bathtub.

Notes

- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double occupancy.  

Your Expedition Includes:
  • Comprehensive pre-voyage information package including details to help you prepare for your trip
  • A pre-voyage night in the hotel in Santiago the night before the voyage commences.
  • Transfer from the hotel to the airport for private charter on embarkation day and from the ship to the airport or downtown location on disembarkation day
  • Private air charter from Santiago (Chile) to Stanley (Falkland Islands)
  • Shipboard accommodation in your selected cabin category with daily housekeeping. Cabins feature outside views with windows or portholes
  • All breakfasts, lunches, and dinners on board throughout your voyage with daily afternoon tea
  • 24-hour tea, coffee, hot chocolate in bar/lounge plus in-cabin tea and coffee making facilities
  • Experienced Expedition Leader and professional expedition team of marine biologists, naturalists, historians, adventure guides and photographers
  • Daily off-ship excursions by Zodiac boat breaking into small groups for shore landings
  • Guided hikes and walks on shore of various durations for guests of all abilities
  • Visits to wildlife colonies, historic sites, places of outstanding natural beauty and science stations
  • Educational presentations and talks by polar experts in their field (i.e. marine biologists, naturalists, historians, etc). onboard or on shore
  • Resident photography guide available to assist all guests plus access to computers in the multimedia lab for image downloads, file back up and management
  • An emergency-trained medical physician onboard every voyage
  • Dedicated hospitality team including Hotel Manager, four chefs, professional bar staff and Adventure Concierge staff
  • Onboard sauna, plunge pool, Jacuzzi and fitness center including massage options (charge applies for massage and treatments)
  • Sea Kayaking program available (additional charge of US $795pp) – must be reserved at the time of booking your voyage and you must have some prior paddling experience
  • Access to a well-stocked library full of polar reference books
  • End of voyage video, photos, and take-home USB
  • Port fees and all permits to access visited area
Expedition does not include:
  • Any international or local airfare unless otherwise specified in the voyage itinerary
  • Visa and passport expenses
  • Pre or post-cruise hotel accommodation unless otherwise specified in the itinerary (or pre-arranged)
  • Pre or post-cruise transfers unless otherwise specified in the itinerary (or pre-arranged)
  • Personal expenses on board such as alcoholic beverages, bar charges or laundry expenses
  • Telecommunication charges (i.e. email, satellite phone)
  • Baggage, cancellation or medical travel insurance-related expenses (travel insurance is mandatory on all voyages)
  • A voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for expedition staff and ship crew (suggested amount –US$15-20 per day)
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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