ACROSS THE ANTARCTIC CIRCLE (FLY-CRUISE)
This remote stretch of the Antarctic Peninsula only available 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.
|Punta Arenas, Chile
|Day at leisure to explore Punta Arenas
|King George Island
|Fly from Punta Arenas to King George Island and board the Sylvia Earle to start your Antarctica expedition
|3 - 11
|Antarctic Peninsula & Antarctic Circle
|Explore the Antarctic Peninsula. See Gentoo, Adélie and Chinstrap Penguins, Leopard Seals and Whales, cross the Antarctic Circle
|Time to review images and keep an eye out for whales
|Disembark after breakfast
The 2nd purpose built expedition vessel by Aurora Expeditions honours the highly accomplished marine biologist, oceanographer and explorer, Sylvia Earle. As the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet in 1998 this vessel pays tribute to Sylvia’s long standing conservation efforts for marine protected areas and ocean wildlife.
Besides the same revolutionary Ulstein X BOW hull design like the Greg Mortimer, the Sylvia Earle features a distinctive Glass Atrium Lounge at the bow of the ship with a stunning panoramic view on both port and starboard side, Lecture theatre and lounge, a swimming pool and jacuzzi where you can admire impressive scenery while watching the world go by.
Please Note: The Sylvia Earle is currently under construction so all images are renders.
Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile, where you are welcomed by staff and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. You may wish to take a look around this picturesque little town on the edge of the Strait of Magellen, taking in the beautiful scenery and getting ready for your Antarctica voyage.
Your Antarctic adventure begins with a two-hour flight from Punta Arenas to King George Island, in the South Shetland Islands. As you step off the plane a rush of excitement will steam through you as clear Antarctic air fills your lungs for the first time. Here you will explore the area surrounding Chile’s Frei Station and Russia’s Bellingshausen station, before your Zodiac transfer to board your vessel, settle into your cabin and meet the expedition team.
It’s almost impossible to describe the feeling of arriving in Antarctica. Spotting your first iceberg and taking a deep breath of some of the most fresh, crisp air on earth is an experience that will stay with you forever. Once you arrive, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands are yours to explore, and you have a host of choices available to you. Because you are so far south, you will experience approximately 18-24 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish. Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities. You will generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. You’ll want to rug up before joining Zodiac cruises along spectacular ice cliffs or among grounded icebergs, keeping watch for whales, seals and porpoising penguins. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you can visit penguin rookeries, discover historic huts and explore some favourite spots along the peninsula. While ashore aim to stretch your legs, wandering along pebbly beaches or perhaps up snow-covered ridgelines to vantage points with mountains towering overhead and ice-speckled oceans below. If you have chosen an optional activity, you’ll have the option to do that whenever conditions allow, and of course keen polar plungers will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in polar waters – conditions permitting!
In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, you may ship cruise some of the narrow, dramatic straits separating offshore islands from the mainland, or linger in scenic bays to watch whales travelling or feeding. This is a great time to enjoy the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge for uninterrupted views of Antarctica in all its splendour. Keep an ear out for the creak and deep rumble of glaciers as they carve their way from summit to sea, and take a quiet moment to experience the wonder of this incredible white continent. On this voyage, the plan is to cross the Antarctic Circle, an imaginary line located at the Antarctic Circle at latitude 66°33′ South (approximately). This is certainly a special highlight for everyone, and the moment will be celebrated with a toast on the deck. You’ve earned some boasting privileges, joining a small group of lucky adventurers who’ve made it to this part of the world. As you approach and cross the circle, you will notice subtle changes in the landscape, icescape, and also in the distribution of wildlife. The waters at this time of year are rich with krill and we hope to see plenty of whales – particularly humpbacks and minkes, and enjoy the spectacle of penguins feeding their ravenous chicks.
Enjoy a final morning landing in the South Shetland Islands before we re-enter the Drake Passage for our return journey to South America.
With lectures and film presentations to complete our Antarctic experience, there is still plenty of time to enjoy the magic of the Southern Ocean and the life that calls it home. There is time for reflection and discussion about what we have seen and experienced. We hope you become ambassadors for Antarctica telling your family, friends and colleagues about your journey to this magical place, advocating for its conservation and preservation so that they might one day visit the region to experience what you have been lucky to see and do here.
As we approach the tip of South America, our Captain may sail close to legendary Cape Horn, weather and time permitting.
During the early morning, we cruise up the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia, where we disembark from approximately 8.00 am. Farewell your attentive crew, expedition team and fellow passengers as we all continue our onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature. A transfer to Ushuaia airport or to your hotel is included in the voyage fare.
Note: At the conclusion of the voyage, we do not recommend booking flights departing Ushuaia prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays.
To make the most of your time in South America we can tailor a holiday to Patagonia to suit your voyage dates. If you have a bit more time we can create a tailor-made itinerary to some of the highlights of South America. Take a look at the Patagonia sample itineraries below and contact us to begin creating your perfect holiday.