|Day 1||Ushuaia, Argentina||Transfer from airport, overnight hotel|
|Day 2||Embarkation Ushuaia||Beagle Channel|
|Days 3-4||At Sea||Crossing the Drake Passage|
|Days 5-6||South Shetland Islands||Penguin rockeries, seals, historic sites|
||Antarctic Sound||Tabular icebergs|
|Days 10-12||Antarctic Peninsula||Gerlache Strait and Trinity Coast, Neko Harbour|
|Day 13-14||At sea||Drake Passage|
Arrive in Ushuaia anytime today, or take advantage of the complimentary flexible arrival program and arrive up to 24 hours in advance. Despite its small size, 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. You’ll be staying at the beautiful Arakur Hotel & Resort, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. Explore the trails, take a spa, relax and soak in the surroundings, or head into Ushuaia and browse the Argentinean leather markets. Our optional evening briefing is a great opportunity for you to ask questions and to meet some of your fellow travelers. Enjoy a complimentary buffet breakfast in the morning.
This morning, you have time to explore Ushuaia or unwind at the resort until your mid-afternoon transfer to the ship. On board, you’ll be greeted by the Expedition Team and the Ship’s Officers. A concise safety and orientation briefing will be followed by the Captain’s welcome dinner. After dinner, relax and take in the scenery on our early evening sail through the Beagle Channel, past Magellanic Penguin, Rock Cormorant, and Sea Lion colonies.
As the ship heads toward white continent over the Drake Passage, numerous Polar Experts will prepare us with presentations on everything Antarctic, from wildlife to history. The Drake Passage spans 1,000 kilometres from the southern-most tip of South America to the South Shetland Islands (the northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula). Eventually, you’ll cross the Antarctic Convergence where you will notice a distinct drop in temperature as we enter the waters of the Antarctic Ocean.
Those interested in Citizen Science can take part in Sea Bird sighting surveys, or help collect salinity samples and weather data along the way. You are likely to witness some spectacular sights, from icebergs to an array of seabirds and whale species. If you are lucky, you may see some of them fully breach from the sea.
In the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, you will explore by inflatable Zodiac boats and marvel up close at nature’s glory. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will create a flexible itinerary based on weather, ice, and opportunity. We will aim for the most scenic bays and channels of the Peninsula with stops at penguin rookeries, seal wallows, bird colonies and whale feeding areas, as well as sites of historic and scientific interest.
Your first sight of land will likely be that of the South Shetland Islands. These highly volcanic islands offer an abundance of wildlife and beauty. Whilst exploring the islands you may visit Half Moon Island nestled inside Livingston’s eastern shore, or conditions permitting, visit historic Deception Island. Being further north, sub-Antarctic species are more commonly found here, including: Adelie, Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins. Weddell, Crabeater and Elephant Seals are often found hauled out along with Leopard Seals and the Antarctic Fur Seal. Minke and Humpback Whales are frequent visitors in the late season and Orca sightings are also common.
As the ship heads south across the Bransfield Strait, you will sail towards the Antarctic Sound. Located at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, the Antarctic Sound is located within the Weddell Sea. A massive clockwise current pushes cold, ice-filled waters north, making this part of the Antarctic Sound dramatically different from the Western Peninsula. Here, depending on weather conditions, you will explore an area rich in Heroic Age history and take in the varied ecology found surprisingly this far north.
Adelie penguins thrive in these colder, ice filled waters. The ice ultimately directs what adventures you will have in these lesser-travelled waterways, but the stark difference in scenery found here is likely to be a major highlight for all those onboard, with massive tabular icebergs, lots of sea ice, and geology far different from anywhere you will visit this trip.
As the ship travels Southwest you will enter Gerlache Strait and Trinity Coast. Here you may explore picturesque Neko Harbor, sheltered Paradise Harbor, or Wilhelmina Bay, the famous Lemaire Channel, the wildlife-filled Penola Channel, or the majestic Neumayer Channel. You may stop at an active scientific base such as Poland’s Arctowksi or Ukraine’s Vernadskiy as well as a historic base such as U.K.’s Port Lockroy or Wordie House. Adelie, You may visit Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins rockeries, and see seals hauled out in the Antarctic Sun.
As you leave this magical place and return north, again across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage, the presentation series will continue along with wildlife spotting. Sailing back to Ushuaia through the Beagle Channel, you and your fellow travellers will celebrate the conclusion of the expedition with a special slideshow the expedition team will put together of your trip.
Following breakfast it is time to say farewell to the crew and expedition team as you disembark in Ushuaia. From the port there will be a transfer to the airport or the city centre.