Take part on this unique 12-day expedition cruise aboard the Plancius where your ship becomes your floating hotel for Antarctic adventures. These voyage include shore based walking expeditions, polar diving, zodiac excursions, wildlife viewing, and much more. Depending on the ice conditions, this cruise takes you into the Weddell Sea to explore James Clark Ross Island and Devil Island, both rarely visited sites in the Antarctic. Also discover the volcanic islands of the South Shetlands where there is a wide variety of flora and fauna including penguins, seals and more.
Discover rarely visited islands in the Weddell Sea
Zodiac cruise past giant icebergs and along icy coastlines
Observe a myriad of seabirds on Deception Island and in the Drake Crossing
Explore the geology, flora, and fauna of the South Shetland Islands
During these two days, sail across the Drake Passage. When crossing the Antarctic Convergence, arrive in the circum-Antarctic up welling zone, where you may meet many species of seabirds including the wandering albatross, grey-headed albatross, black-browed albatross, light-mantled sooty albatross, Cape pigeon, southern fulmar, Wilson's storm petrel, blue petrel and Antarctic petrel. Near the South Shetland Islands, spot your first icebergs.
This morning we hope to land at Brown Bluff with its impressive scenery and nesting Adelie penguins. In the afternoon, we head across the Antarctic Sound to Kinnes Cove for a landing, where you can see the nearby Madder Cliffs with their subtle red coloration as well as nearby gentoo penguins.
Today we explore the southern end of the Antarctic Sound, including the islands of Jonassen, Andersson, and Rosamel, depending on conditions. In the afternoon, we head to Paulet Island, where a historic hut remains from the 1903 Swedish Antarctic Expedition of Otto Nordenskiöld. This hut enabled the team, whose ship had been crushed in sea ice, to survive until they were rescued.
The aim is to spend the day on and around Devil Island, an impressive landing site that gives us the chance to ascend the summit and take in breathtaking views of Erebus and Terror Gulf, as well as our ship anchored in the bay below.
We sail as close as the ice allows to the northwest area of Erebus and Terror Gulf, where the Beak and Eagle islands await us. As with other islands in this group, they are volcanic in origin. Beak island has two freshwater lakes that are home to unique ecosystems, and Eagle Island offers spectacular scenery. It is most famous for being the hottest place in Antarctica during a heatwave that melted 20% of the island’s snow and ice in 2020.
The next plan is to visit Deception Island. Actually a subducted crater, this island opens into the sea and creates a natural harbor for the ship. Hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, and multiple bird species – cape petrels, kelp gulls, brown and south polar skuas, and Antarctic terns – can be seen here. Wilson’s storm petrels and black-bellied storm petrels also nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay.
The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.