ANTARCTIC CIRCLE 

__________________

12 DAYS

This remote stretch of the Antarctic Peninsula is visited for just a few short months each year. From January onwards, seasonal ice conditions give your best chance of crossing the Antarctic Circle. Here you will witness expansive landscapes, sizable Adelie penguin rookeries and large tabular icebergs that have drifted north from the Bellingshausen Sea. This is always an exciting expedition, navigating ice chocked waters.

ITINERARY SUMMARY
Day Place Highlights
Day 1 Ushuaia, Argentina Embark on your expedition ship bound for Antarctica
Day 2-3 At Sea Crossing the Drake Passage
Days 4 Antarctic Circle Crossing the Antarctic Circle and Martha Strait
Days 5-8 Antarctic Peninsula Yalour Island Group, hiking, Pleneau Island, Lemaire Channel, Paradise Harbour, wildlife
Days 9 South Shetland Islands Deception Island, Livingston Island, Half Moon Island
Day 10-11 At Sea Drake Passage, Cape Horn
Day 12 Arrive in Ushuaia Disembark in Ushuaia

Day 1 Ushuaia, Argentina

Ushuaia-Argentina-
Overview:

Your journey to Antarctica commences this afternoon in Ushuaia, in southern Argentina. Gather at our central meeting point and transfer to the pier and embark on the expedition ship. After settling in to your cabin and exploring the ship, meet the expedition team and fellow passengers. Enjoy a welcome cocktail and dinner and cast off, bound for Antarctica and the adventure of a lifetime.

Days 2-3 Drake Passage

wandering-albatross-at-sea-alex-burridge

The crew will chart a southerly course for Antarctica. The Drake Passage is rich in bio-diversity and showcases a great abundance of wildlife. You will be joined by hundreds of seabirds including the wandering albatross. Giant petrels and smaller Cape petrels are also constant companions as make our way south. Photographing these magnificent birds takes patience and skill and the onboard photography expert will be on hand to show you the best techniques. Join the ship’s Captain on the bridge and learn about the operations of our modern expedition vessel. Throughout the day your expedition team will educate you with a series of presentations about the environment, the wildlife and history and the locations you will hopefully get to visit in the coming days. As you approach the coastline of Antarctica, you will encounter more icebergs and perhaps some whale sightings.

Days 4 Antarctic Circle Crossing

Wake today to the magnificent snowy peaks of continental Antarctica. If conditions permit, you will navigate via Matha Strait and attempt a shore landing at Detaille Island, below the Antarctic Circle. An abandoned British science station – ‘Base W’ was established in the 1950s and is in a remarkable state of preservation. For the history buffs this is a fascinating place providing a glimpse into the harsh life of early Antarctic visitors. Toast your success on crossing the Antarctic Circle turning your gaze northwards, viewing the spectacular chain of glacier-covered peaks stretching as far as the eye can see. This coastline begs further exploration.

Days 5-8 Antarctic Peninsula and Southern Gerlache Coastline

Overnight you the captain has navigated north towards the low-lying Yalour Island group. You may visit a working scientific base to learn of the important climate-related research happening here. A hike over the snowy saddle of nearby Winter Island allows you to stretch your legs and explore the old British Antarctic Survey hut. Petermann Island is home to a sizable Adelie penguin rookery. Adelies – the smallest of the Antarctic penguins nest here and share the location with Gentoo penguins and Imperial cormorants.

The view to the north of Mount Shackleton and Mount Scott is impressive. These towering granite sentinels mark the southern entrance to the Lemaire Channel. Nearby Pleneau Island offers more opportunities for shore landings. Just offshore, in the shallow waters of the Penola Strait, massive icebergs run aground. Constant wind and wave action sculpt these gargantuan chunks of ice into fantastic shapes, revealing more shades of blue than you could ever imagine. For many, a Zodiac cruise here will be a highlight of the voyage. The aim is to transit the Lemaire Channel on your way north towards Paradise Harbour. This may be the first opportunity to set foot on the continent of Antarctica itself. Nearby Neko Harbour offers another continental landing. Both locations offer
great hiking opportunities up to panoramic view points. For the sea kayakers, the paddling opportunities here are endless. Expect to be in full sensory overload by this time of the voyage. It is somewhere in this vicinity you may be able to participate in camping overnight on Antarctica (weather permitting).

Orne Harbour is another beautiful location you may visit and the hike up to a rocky knoll provides stunning views and great access to a chinstrap penguin rookery. At Cuverville Island, there is a large Gentoo penguin colony which you can observe at close quarters. Leopard seals are often sighted cruising the shallows along the landing site. For the kayakers, a full circumnavigation of the island is a possibility. The ship will navigate into Willhelmina Bay – known for its large numbers of humpback whales which you may see from the ship or out Zodiac cruising. After several busy days of exploration along the Peninsula, head north across the Bransfield Strait, bound for the South Shetland Islands. This is an important whale migration corridor and you may see humpbacks, or the resident pod of Orca that inhabit this stretch of water.

Days 9 South Shetland Islands

By morning arrive in the South Shetland Islands. The adventure is not over and if the weather conditions allow, sail the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera at Deception Island. This is a very dramatic place and history is all around us as you explore the old whaling station, with the rusted old boilers and dilapidated wooden huts. At the far end of the beach is an old aircraft hangar. This is where Australian, Sir Hubert Wilkins made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928. There is also an outstanding hike, high up onto the rim of the crater. After leaving Deception Island, cruise along the coast of Livingston Island which in a sunny day is a memorable experience. There are several other landing sites in the South Shetlands including Half Moon Island, or the broad pebbly beach at Yankee Harbour, where you may encounter Weddell seals sunning themselves. This is another great spot for
a hike or a zodiac cruise. Hannah Point, with its elephant seal colony and nesting Antarctic petrels is another possibility. In the evening, navigate north through the McFarlane Strait and into the Drake Passage.

Days 10-11 Drake Passage

As the ship makes it’s way back to South America, the educational presentations continue as well as an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by your Expedition Leader. Join the photography experts in the multimedia room and download and back up your precious images. If weather conditions allow, the ship will make a rounding of Cape Horn. This fabled stretch of water is home to legendary tales of exploration and early navigation. It’s a fitting place to reflect on a wonderful expedition. Approaching the entrance to the Beagle Channel in early evening light, enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.

Day 12 Ushuaia

In the early morning,  you will arrive into Ushuaia, Argentina. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travellers. Guests will be transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home. It will be possible to connect to flights through to Buenos Aires or other destinations in South America. Otherwise enjoy a night in town or venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia.

To book this voyage call 1300 668 112 or email contact@antarcticatravelcentre.com.au

We will tailor the perfect holiday to suit your needs.