|Day 1||Ushuaia, Argentina||Transfer from airport, overnight hotel|
|Day 2||Embarkation Ushuaia||Beagle Channel|
|Days 3-4||At Sea||Crossing the Drake Passage|
||Antarctic Peninsula||South Shetland Islands, Half Moon Island, Livingston Island, Deception Island|
|Days 8-11||Antarctica||Gerlache Strait and surrounding channels and islands.|
|Day 12-13||At Sea||Drake Passage|
Arrive in Ushuaia anytime today, or take advantage of the complimentary flexible arrival program and arrive up to 24 hours in advance. Despite its small size, the city of Ushuaia is the world’s southernmost city, the capital of Tierra del Fuego and the main starting point for many voyages to Antarctica. You’ll be staying at the beautiful Arakur Hotel & Resort, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. Explore the trails, take a spa, relax and soak in the surroundings, or head into Ushuaia and browse the Argentinean leather markets. Our optional evening briefing is a great opportunity for you to ask questions and to meet some of your fellow travelers.
This morning enjoy a complimentary buffet breakfast. You then have time to explore Ushuaia or unwind at the resort until your mid-afternoon transfer to the ship. On board, you’ll be greeted by the Expedition Team and the Ship’s Officers. A concise safety and orientation briefing will be followed by the Captain’s welcome dinner. After dinner, relax and take in the scenery on our early evening sail through the Beagle Channel, past Magellanic Penguin, Rock Cormorant, and Sea Lion colonies.
As the ship heads toward white continent over the Drake Passage, numerous Polar Experts will prepare us with presentations on everything Antarctic, from wildlife to history. The Drake Passage spans 1,000 kilometres from the southern-most tip of South America to the South Shetland Islands (the northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula). Eventually, you’ll cross the Antarctic Convergence where you will notice a distinct drop in temperature as we enter the waters of the Antarctic Ocean.
The length of our journey depends on sea conditions, but you should approach the South Shetland Islands in the evening of Day 4. Keep a keen watch for Pelagic whales as you approach the nutrient rich upwelling areas of the Continental Shelf.
Exploring the South Shetland Islands, you may visit Half Moon Island with its stunning backdrop of mountainous and glaciated Livingston Island. Or perhaps the crew will sail the ship into an active volcano with an opportunity to take a dip in the relatively balmy waters that surround Deception Island. Bransfield Strait, once the site of an abandoned whaling station, gives an excellent chance to see whales, who often return to its rich waters.
In the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, the Expedition Leader, Captain, and Marine Mammal experts will create a flexible itinerary based on weather, ice, and previous sightings to maximize your whale watching opportunities, while also exploring some of the lesser travelled areas of the Peninsula. The expedition team will aim for the most scenic bays and channels, with stops at penguin rookeries, seal wallows, bird colonies and whale feeding areas, as well as sites of historic and scientific interest.
Heading further South, you will explore the Gerlache Strait and its surrounding channels and islands. This may include trips to picturesque Neko Harbor, sheltered Paradise Harbor, the Humpback Whale favored Wilhelmina Bay, the striking Lemaire Channel, the wildlife-filled Penola Channel, or Neumayer Channel. You may have the opportunity to stop at an active scientific base such as Poland’s Arctowksi or Ukraine’s Vernadskiy as well as a historic base such as U.K.’s Port Lockroy or Wordie House.
At this time of year, most areas have amazing marine mammal viewing opportunities with Weddell, Crabeater and Elephant Seals often found hauled out to rest along with predatory Leopard Seals and the assertive Antarctic Fur Seal. Minke and Humpback Whales are frequent visitors during this season and Orca sightings are also common.
As you leave this magical place and return north, again across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage, the presentation series will continue along with wildlife spotting. Sailing back to Ushuaia through the Beagle Channel, you and your fellow travellers will celebrate the conclusion of the expedition with a special slideshow the expedition team will put together of your trip.
Disembark following breakfast, and transfer to the airport or the city centre.