THE GREAT ADVENTURE
Jean-Baptiste Charcot, Adrien de Gerlache, Ernest Shackleton: sail in the wake of these great Antarctic explorers during a 16-day polar expedition cruise. Your trip will begin in Ushuaia, the Argentinian capital of Tierra del Fuego which offers breathtaking landscapes. After crossing the mythical Drake Passage, your ship will make its way to the White Continent, realm of the unexpected. Weather and ice conditions permitting, this extreme environment where nature reigns supreme will reveal to you its most beautiful secrets through numerous discoveries. You will then discover South Georgia, its impressive glaciers and its black-sand beaches where imposing colonies of king penguins have taken up residence.
|Day 1||Buenos Aires||Arrive in Buenos Aires and spend the night|
|Day 2||Ushuaia, Argentina||Board the ship in Ushuaia the afternoon.|
|Days 3-4||At Sea||Crossing the Drake Passage|
|Days 5-7||Antarctic Peninsula||Discover more about the ecosystems, fauna and landscape in the Antarctic regions|
|Days 8-9||At Sea||Birdlife, onboard lectures, ship facilities|
|Days 10-12||South Georgia||Salisbury Plain, Fortuna Bay, Stromness. Saint Andrews Bay, Grytviken, Gold Harbour, Cooper Bay|
|Days 13-16||At Sea||Onboard lectures, fine dining, lectures|
|Day 17||Montevideo||Disembark in the southern tip of Uruguay as you farewell your new found friends and expedition leaders.|
L’Austral (200 guests) was launched in May, 2011 and is a sister ship to Le Boreal and Le Soleal. She features 132 staterooms offering elegant design as well innovative state-of-the-art marine technology. The vessel boasts a convenient layout, aided by three passenger elevators. She offers a single seating dining room, al fresco dining, an outdoor heated pool, and a modern lecture facility and theatre, as well as an ample and comfortable gathering area and library.
Arrive in Buenos Aires and meet the cruise representative at the hotel. Spend the afternoon relaxing or perhaps exploring the city. In the evening enjoy dinner with your fellow travellers.
After a light breakfast board your flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. In the afternoon in Ushuaia, Argentina, you will board L’Austral and set sail in the direction of the Drake Passage. The famous stretch of water, notoriously known for either it’s rough seas, “the drake shake” or the calm “drake lake”. Travelling through here will take you to the Antarctic Peninsula, where the real adventure begins.
If there is one place, one sea, one waterway dreaded by tourists, researchers and hardened seafarers alike, it is undoubtedly Drake Passage. Situated at the latitude of the infamous Furious Fifties winds, between Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands, it is the shortest route to Antarctica. Seasoned navigators will tell you that you must earn your visit to the White Continent! As the Antarctic convergence zone where cold currents rising up from the South Pole meet warmer equatorial water masses, Drake Passage harbours a very diverse marine fauna. Don’t forget to look to the sky to catch a glimpse of elegant albatross and Cape petrels, playfully floating about in the wind around your ship. Relax on board this luxurious vessel and take in the fresh air as you cross the Drake Passage. There is plenty to do on your way to Antarctica. Perhaps you would like to unwind at the spa or simply admire the vastness of the ocean from the panoramic lounge.
Succumb to the magic of a place unlike any other. To this day, the mythical Antarctic Peninsula still holds real fascination and promises its visitors unforgettable moments. Throughout your adventure in this icy realm, you will find yourself in the heart of a spectacular decor in subtle shades of blue and white, surrounded by exceptional wildlife. Penguins, humpback whales, seals and giant petrels are at home here, as are elephant seals, fur seals, Antarctic minke whales, and orcas. Depending on which sites you will be lucky enough to visit, you may get the chance to observe them and share with them the beauty of these extreme parts.
Each day, based on ice conditions, the Captain and the Expedition Leader will suggest Zodiac outings or landings to discover the infinite riches of the Antarctic Peninsula. Glaciers, ice floe, tabletop icebergs, mountain peaks that plunge straight into the sea, volcanic beaches, research stations, enchanting bays, and vestiges of the whaling industry: these are the faces of the Antarctic that will likely reveal themselves to you, in a hushed and surreal atmosphere. You will sail in the wake of Jean-Baptiste Charcot, Adrien de Gerlache and Sir Ernest Shackleton, great Antarctic explorers who, from the 19th century, set out to conquer these remote and uninhabited lands.
During your time at sea you may wish to visit the theatre to view a film or attend an information session or perhaps you would like to relax by the heated pool. You may wish to spend some time on your private balcony spotting sea birds or keeping your eyes peeled for some whales heading south.
Aboard your ship, discover South Georgia, a region formed by an underwater mountain chain that extends from the Andes to the Antarctic Peninsula. All the wildlife of the Far South can be found there: king and Gentoo penguins, elephant seals, fur seals… You might get the chance to discover the majestic glaciers of Gold Harbour and the vast plains of Fortuna Bay. If you are fortunate enough to land at Salisbury Plain, you can expect a wonderful spectacle: more than 300,000 king penguins, which you will recognise by the bright orange mark on their head and neck, have taken up residence there.
Enjoy some of the onboard facilities whilst keeping an eye out for bird life and whales. As you head further south you will begin to see icebergs floating past.
Perched on the far southern tip of Uruguay, Montevideo is one of the loveliest capital cities of South America. Come and admire the beautiful historical remains dating from Spanish rule; you’ll find the most interesting within the Cuidad Vieja, formerly fortified, its old town dates from the 18th century. The best preserved are the cathedral and the former governmental palace of the Cabildo, both listed historical monuments. In the crook of a vast blue bay, the city is also blessed with beautiful beaches.