This remote stretch of the Antarctic Peninsula only availabel to be visited for a few short weeks per year. From January onwards, seasonal ice conditions allow ships to attempt to cross the Antarctic Circle. Here you will enjoy impressive landscapes, Adelie penguin rookeries and large icebergs.
|Day 1||Ushuaia||Day at leisure. You may wish to explore Tierra Del Fuego National Park, Martial Glacier|
|Day 2||Beagle Channel||Board the ship in the afternoon and set sail down the Beagle Channel.|
|Day 3||Drake Passage||Giant Petrels and bird life, educational program|
|Day 4||South Shetland Islands||Complete Drake Passage Crossing arriving at the South Shetland Islands|
|Day 5-11||Antarctic Peninsula||Explore the Antarctic Peninsula. See Gentoo, Adélie and Chinstrap Penguins, Leopard Seals and Whales|
|Day 12||King George Island||Disembark and fly from King George Island to Punta Arenas|
|Day 13||Punta Arenas||Itinerary concludes after breakfast|
The Greg Mortimer is a new purpose built, polar expedition vessel taking 120 guests. This vessel has been designed in close consultation with Antarctic expedition specialists and is the first expedition cruise ship designed with the ULSTEIN X-BOW hull. This cutting edge nautical technology allows for gentle travel and motion at sea, improved comfort and safety on-board, reduced vibrations, lower fuel consumption and emissions and ‘virtual anchoring’ which means the ship can float anchor-less while launching the Zodiacs without disturbing delicate sea floor areas. There are four sea-level launching platforms for fast and efficient access to and from Zodiacs.
Arrive in Ushuaia, renowned for its breathtaking scenery. Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world set on the shores of the Beagle Channel. Ushuaia is a major tourist centre, particularly for people cruising to Antarctica. The city offers magnificent hiking in Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego, the only coastal national park in Argentina.
After transferring to your downtown hotel, the rest of the day is at your leisure.
This morning, your luggage will be collected from your hotel and transferred directly to port for clearance and loading onto the ship.
After breakfast, you can independently explore Ushuaia. This duty-free port with a reputation for its delicious Argentinian chocolates and leather goods, and is a great place to buy souvenirs and presents. There are a host of excellent restaurants available, so whether you are looking for a quick coffee, an excellent meal of king crab, or an Argentinian barbecue, you are spoiled for choice.
In the late afternoon to meet your expedition team and commence boarding at approximately 4.00 pm (final embarkation time will be provided in your final documentation). As the Greg Mortimer pulls away from port, gather on the deck to commence your adventure with spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego. You’ll have time to settle into your cabin before important briefings. This evening, get to know your fellow expeditioners and friendly expedition team and crew at a welcome dinner to celebrate the start of a thrilling adventure to Antarctica.
As you commence the Drake Passage crossing, make the most of your time getting comfortable with the motions of the sea. Your expedition team prepare you for your first landing with important wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures, and start the educational program to help you learn more about Antarctica’s history, wildlife and environment. Your wildlife experiences begin as you watch and photograph the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels following in the ships wake. They rise and fall skilfully, using air currents created by the ship to gain momentum.
Nearing the South Shetland Islands and the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula on day four, the excitement is palpable with everyone converging on one of the observation decks, watching for the first iceberg. The ocean takes on a whole new perspective once the ship is below the Antarctic Convergence and surrounded by the surreal presence of floating ice sculptures. The memory of your first big iceberg sighting is likely to remain with you for a lifetime. Weather permitting; you may have your first landing in Antarctica by late afternoon.
Over the next seven days a host of choices are open to you, and depending on ice and weather conditions, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula is yours to explore. The experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day. This allows the team to make best use of the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.
Because you are so far south, you will experience approximately 18-20 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish. You will generally make landings or Zodiac excursions two, and occasionally three, times a day; cruising along spectacular ice cliffs, following whales that are feeding near the surface, and landing on the continent and its off-shore islands to visit penguin rookeries, seal haul outs, historic huts, and a few of our other favourite spots along the peninsula. There will be plenty of time for sleep when you get home! During this voyage, the crew will attempt to cross the invisible line of the Antarctic Circle at latitude 66°33’ south – this is certainly a special highlight for all onboard and you can celebrate with a champagne toast. In order to reach the Antarctic Circle, the ship will motor south every night and during meal times or when you are not ashore exploring.
As you reach and cross the circle, you will notice subtle changes in the Antarctic land and icescapes, and also in the distribution of wildlife. The waters at this time of year are rich with krill and so we are hopeful of seeing whales, particularly humpbacks and minkes, and enjoy watching as penguin chicks learn to swim. As the ship heads north again, you will understand more about the effect of southerly latitudes on Antarctic wildlife.
Places you may visit include: Paradise Harbour, Hydrurga Rocks, Half Moon Island, Lemaire Channel, Port Lockroy, Deception Island, Neko Harbour.
Arrive at King George Island for your flight to Punta Arenas. Farewell your expedition team and crew and board the charter flight. If the weather is clear you will see Antarctica from a whole new perspective. Arrive in Punta Arenas and transfer to your hotel.
The itinerary concludes after breakfast. Check out of your hotel and head to the airport for your homeward flight or perhaps stay for a bit longer to explore Patagonia. Our consultants will be able to organise any additional arrangements you need.