ANTARCTICA OFF THE BEATEN TRACK

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11 DAYS

ITINERARY SUMMARY

 

Day Place Highlights
Day 1 Santiago, Chile to Stanley, Falkland Islands  Optional excursions to Tierra Del Fuego National Park, Martial Glacier
Days 2-3 At Sea Towards Antarctica
Day 4 South Shetland Islands and  Northern Antarctic Peninsula Livingston Islands, Half Moon Island, Deception Island, Neptunes Window
Days 5-7 Gerlache Strait Region, Antarctica
Hiking, wildlife colonies, ski touring, snow shoeing, overnight camping, Neko Harbour, Errera Channel
Day 8 South Shetland Islands Aitcho Island, King George
Days 9-10 Drake Passage Cape Horn, Beagle Channel
Day 11   Stanley to Santiago  Arrive in Stanley, Falkland Islands and fly back to Santiago, Chile
Antarctica off the Beaten Track

SHIP OFFERING THIS ITINERARY

RCGS RESOLUTE
Resolute Ship

The RCGS Resolute is a modern, ice-strengthened Antarctic cruise ship with all en-suite cabins accommodating up to 146 guests. Purpose built for polar waters in Rauma Finland the Resolute not only has the highest ice class rating (Lloyds 1AS) she also offers unmatched stability and superior speed to get you to your destination and out exploring. The RCGS Resolute combines first class accommodation, excellent cuisine; dinner is a la carte, with a true expedition experience. Quite literally the best of both worlds.

Two separate lounge and bar areas allow everyone to enjoy 180 degree views whilst sharing stories from your day exploring the shores of Antarctica. The Resolute has an open bridge policy so passengers can admire the crew maneuvering the ship through the Antarctic waters. . Additional facilities include: theatre style presentation room, hot water spa, sauna, steam room and salt water pool, gymnasium and wellness centre.

Day 1 Santiago, Chile to Stanley, Falkland Islands

Stanley, Falkland Islands
 Overview:

Depart Santiago this morning on a special charter flight direct to Stanley, the small capital of the Falkland Islands. Be met on arrival and transferred from the airport into town. There is time to explore the town or enjoy a guided visit to nearby Gypsy Cove which provides your first opportunity for observing the local wildlife, including nesting Magellanic penguins and other sea birds. Making your way to the port, board the expedition ship, RCGS Resolute in the afternoon. After settling into your cabin and exploring the ship, meet the expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as you enjoy a welcome cocktail and cast off to explore one of the most remote regions on Earth.

Days 2-3 At Sea – Towards Antarctica

Chart a southerly course for Antarctica. This stretch of the South Atlantic is rich in its bio-diversity and showcases an 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 you make our way south. Photographing these magnificent birds takes patience and skill and your 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 the modern research vessel. Throughout the day the onboard experts educate you with a series of presentations about the environment, the wildlife and history and the locations you are hoping to visit in the coming days. As you approach the coastline of Antarctica, anticipate an increase in whale sightings.

Day 4 South Shetland Islands & Northern Antarctic Peninsula

Weddell Seal

Awaken today and the magnificent snowy peaks of the South Shetland Islands are laid out before you. Depending on ice and weather conditions, enter the McFarlane Strait which separates Greenwich and Livingston Islands, and Half Moon Island or nearby Yankee Harbour are possible landing sites. A short way to the south-west lies Deception Island, a flooded volcanic caldera, and navigating the ship through the very narrow passage takes great skill. This is a very dramatic location, with history all around you as you explore the old whaling station, with its rusted relics and dilapidated wooden structures. There are some fantastic hikes available along the black sand beach to investigate an old aircraft hangar and other relics, while a hike of several kilometres up to a highpoint known as Neptune’s Window is another option.

Days 5-7 Gerlache Strait Region, Antarctica

Heading south along the coastline of the continent, the busy program of activities will now be in full swing and your days are spent exploring on and off the ship. Every day an exciting range of activities is planned, including guided hikes on shore (both short and long), and visits to wildlife colonies with your expert naturalist guides. The historic huts and scientific stations located along the peninsula provide a fascinating glimpse into the past and the present. Zodiac cruising among the ice searching for seals and whales is a memorable activity.

 

Based on site characteristics, the ski-touring group may set off to explore the pristine terrain and range several kilometres inland with their experienced mountaineering guides. The expedition snowshoeing group may follow in the tracks of the skiers, climbing to high points which afford breathtaking views of the surrounding area; this option has been designed for those intrepid adventurers who enjoy waking early (0400) to have extraordinary experiences. If you are not up to the more strenuous snowshoeing program, the classic snowshoeing program is available to those who want to lead the pack while hiking at the chosen landing sites – sometimes tracking through the early deep snow is best done by snowshoe.

Kayaking Antarctica

The expedition sea kayakers will head out on excursions which may last all day; an overnight kayak/camping excursion is available to the more adventurous in the group. Everyone will have an opportunity to camp ashore overnight in Antarctica if the weather conditions are good. Photography enthusiasts will enjoy an all-day field workshop with the expedition photographer.

 

The ship will range as far south as ice conditions permit and it is hoped to navigate as far as Neko Harbour and into the Errera Channel. Witnessing the migration of the penguins early in the season as they busily re-establish their rookeries and prepare nests is an endlessly fascinating experience.

Day 8 South Shetland Islands

The adventure is not over and the plan is to spend an additional day of exploration in the South Shetlands. Prevailing weather conditions will dictate the landing locations. Aitcho Island is a possibility and is a great spot for a hike or a Zodiac cruise. There are several other landing sites in the South Shetland’s including Half Moon Island, or the broad pebbly beach at Yankee Harbour, where you will sometimes encounter Weddell seals sunning themselves. This is another great spot for a hike. At Hannah Point you may see the elephant seal colony and nesting Antarctic petrels. In the evening, navigate north and into the Drake Passage, charting a course for South America.

Days 9-10 At Sea – Return to the Falklands

Making your way back to the Falklands, the educational presentations continue as you enjoy a memorable voyage recap by the Expedition Leader. Join the photography experts in the multimedia room and download and back up your precious images. It is a fitting place to reflect on a wonderful expedition. For your last dinner, you will enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.

Day 11 Arrive Stanley, Falkland Islands fly to Santiago, Chile

British Phone Box Stanley

This morning find yourself back in the port of Stanley. Say goodbye to your crew and after some free time in town, make our way to the airport for our return charter flight to Santiago. On arrival in Santiago your journey comes to an end. Onward regional and international flight connections may be possible this evening. Discuss the options with your booking agent. A transfer is provided to a downtown location for those choosing to stay and explore Santiago and the delights of Chile.

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