|Day 1||Embarkation Ushuaia||Beagle Channel|
|Days 2-3||At Sea||Crossing the Drake Passage|
||Antarctic Peninsula||Numerous sites of interest, including landing on the Antarctic continent|
|Days 8||South Shetland Islands||Deception Island, penguins, seabirds|
|Days 9-10||At Sea||Drake Passage|
The Hondius (176 guests) takes her maiden voyage in 2019. She has an Ice class rating of 6, the most advanced to date. The Hondius will offer deluxe accommodations for a total 176 guests. One deck has been entirely reserved for lectures and presentations in one large observation lounge. The ship’s main focus remains discovery, taking advantage of wildlife opportunities and the related shore activities. Efficient zodiac embarkation is guaranteed with two separate gangways and in addition a zodiac embarkation indoor-platform which can also be used for special activities such as kayaking.
Your adventure begins at in 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. Admire the views of Beagle Channel and the Andes Mountains. If you arrive early, you may want to visit Tierra del Fuego National Park.
In the afternoon the ship will set sail. Explore the ship and get comfortable in your home away from home for the extraordinary adventure to come. Meet the other guests onboard as well as you Expedition Team and crew. Set sail for the Antarctic Peninsula along the Beagle Channel.
Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you enjoy some of the same experiences encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too. Wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels, and Antarctic petrels are a few of the birds you might see.
The Antarctic Peninsula and nearby islands provide exceptional opportunities to discover the unique wildlife and wonderful Antarctic landscapes. Depending on weather and ice conditions, the captain and expedition team will direct the ship to a variety of secluded bays and harbours to optimize Zodiac landings and wildlife viewing.
You will pass the snow-capped Melchior Islands and Schollaert Channel, sailing between Brabant and Anvers Islands. Admire the grey stone peaks sketched with snow, towers of broken blue-white ice, and dramatically different wildlife below and above.
Sites you may visit include:
Danco Island – Activities here may focus on the gentoo penguins nesting on the island, in addition to the Weddell and crabeater seals that can be found nearby.
Neko Harbour – An epic landscape of mammoth glaciers and endless wind-carved snow, Neko Harbour offers opportunities for a Zodiac cruise and landing that afford the closest views of the surrounding alpine peaks.
Paradise Bay – You may be able to take a Zodiac cruise in these sprawling, ice-flecked waters, where there’s a good chance you’ll encounter humpback and minke whales.
Pléneau & Petermann Islands – If the ice allows it, you could sail through the Lemaire Channel in search of Adélie penguins and blue-eyed shags. There is also a possibility you’ll encounter humpback and minke whales here, as well as leopard seals.
Wilhelmina Bay & Guvernøren – This is a great place to spot humpback whales. You also may embark on a Zodiac cruise ending at the ghostly wreck of the Guvernøren, a whaling vessel that caught fire here in 1915. Around the Melchior Islands, amid a frozen landscape peopled with icebergs, you may encounter even more whales, leopard seals, and crabeater seals.
The volcanic islands of the South Shetlands are windswept and often cloaked in mist. There’s a wide variety of flora (mosses, lichens, flowering grasses) as well as gentoo penguins, chinstrap penguins, southern giant petrels. In Deception Island, the ship plunges through Neptune’s Bellows and into the flooded caldera. Here you find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, and thousands of cape petrels – along with kelp gulls, brown and south polar skuas, and Antarctic terns. A good hike is a possibility in this fascinating and desolate volcanic landscape.
As an alternative, you may be able to engage in activities near Half Moon Island. Here chinstrap penguins and Weddell seals often haul out onto the beach near Cámara Base, an Argentine scientific research station. Conditions on the Drake Passage determine the exact time of departure.
While crossing the Drake, you will again be greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. Spend some time attending the educational program offered by the expedition team and sharing photos and stories with your fellow travellers.
Disembark following breakfast and join the group transfer to the airport. Alternatively you may wish to stay in Patagonia for a bit longer and explore.
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.