Welcome to Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city and starting point of your expedition. Upon your arrival at the airport be transferred to your hotel, which has been arranged and is included in the price of the voyage. For the rest of the day you are free to explore the city. Take advantage of souvenir shopping and a variety of dining options in the city center.
In the afternoon be welcomed aboard the luxury expedition ship M/V Sea Spirit. Explore the ship and get comfortable in your home away from home for the extraordinary adventure to come. Savor the anticipation of your Antarctic dreams coming true as you slip your moorings and sail toward a true wilderness where wildlife abounds. The scenery as you sail through the Beagle Channel on your first evening is wonderful and there is already the possibility of marine mammal encounters.
After passing the islands of Tierra del Fuego, turn south to begin your crossing of the Drake Passage. Watch for humpback and fin whales along the way. The majestic wandering albatross and other graceful subantarctic seabirds are common in these waters and can readily be viewed from panoramic open decks and balconies. You will also cross the Antarctic Convergence, the biological boundary of the Southern Ocean. The ship’s stabilizing fins provide comfort in the event of rough seas. Briefings, bio-security procedures and presentations by the lecture staff prepare you for your arrival in Antarctica. Arrive in the South Shetland Islands on the evening of your second day at sea.
Day 5-8: South Shetland Island | Antarctic Peninsula
This is expedition cruising at its most authentic. Your route and exploration opportunities in Antarctica are heavily dependent on weather and ice conditions. The experienced captain and expedition leader decide the itinerary and continually adjust plans as conditions and opportunities warrant. Take advantage of long daylight hours to exploit every opportunity to experience excellent wildlife viewing, amazing scenery, and excursions via Zodiac.
The Antarctic Peninsula region contains some of the world’s most impressive scenery and some of Antarctica’s best wildlife viewing opportunities. Protected bays and narrow channels are surrounded by towering mountain peaks covered in permanent snow and immense glaciers. Icebergs of every size and description complete an image of incomparable beauty. Waters rich with krill are home to a variety of whale and seal species. The whole area is alive with penguins foraging at sea and forming large nesting colonies at special places on land. The area is also home to Antarctic research stations of various nationalities. Some stations have a gift shop and post office.
The South Shetland Islands are the northernmost islands in Antarctica and your first sighting of land. This wild and beautiful island chain contains numerous landing sites with abundant wildlife and historical significance. Among them is Deception Island, where the flooded caldera of an active volcano harbors an abandoned whaling station.
Farther south, on the Antarctic Peninsula, the vast Gerlache Strait area contains sheltered bays, accessible wildlife, and stunning scenery. Places with names like Paradise Bay are the epitome of everything Antarctic: glaciated mountains, towering icebergs, feeding whales, seals on ice floes, and bustling penguin colonies.
At the southern end of Gerlache Strait is the famous Lemaire Channel, also known as “Kodak Gap” because of the photogenic way the mountainous sides of the narrow channel are reflected in calm waters strewn with icebergs.
Your days in Antarctica are filled with memorable excursions, sumptuous meals, presentations by the experts, and enough incredible scenery and wildlife to fill your camera and overwhelm your emotions.
After your amazing time in Antarctica cross back north through the bountiful waters of the Drake Passage. Presentations and workshops by expert staff, as well as a range of onboard recreation facilities, ensure that these days at sea are not idly spent. This is also the time for End of Voyage ceremonies including a slideshow and farewell dinner.
Day 11: Disembarkation in Ushuaia, Argentina
After breakfast say farewell in the city of Ushuaia, where you started. A group transfer is provided to the airport or to the town center if you wish to spend more time here. As you look back on your wonderful experience in Antarctica, you may already be looking forward to your next incredible adventure to the ice!
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