THE EMPEROR PENGUINS OF BELLINGSHAUSEN SEA
|1||Puerto Montt,Chile||Stunning views of Chile's Lakes District, embark Le Commandant Charcot|
|2-4||At Sea||Relax, unwind and enjoy the many facilities onboard|
|5||Crossing the Antarctic Circle||Go where few others have been by crossing the mythic Antarctic Polar circle|
|6||At Sea||Relax, unwind and enjoy the many facilities onboard|
|7 & 8||Charcot Island||Dramatic scenery, numerous seabirds such as petrals, Terns and Skuas|
|9 & 10||Peter I Island||Explore this volcanic island that is 95% covered in ice|
|11 & 12||English Coast||Search for Emperor Penguins|
|13||Marguerite Bay||Beautiful scenery, spot leopard seals or Adelie penguins|
|14||Stonington Island||Visit an abandoned British research station, spot terns and skuas|
|15||The Gullet & Detaille Island||Iceburgs, snow-covered peaks, amazing scenery|
|16||At Sea||Relax, unwind and enjoy the many facilities onboard|
|17 & 18||Drake Passage||Cross the Drake Passage bound for Ushuaia|
|19||Ushuaia, Argentina||After breakfast dismebark the Le Commandant Charcot|
Hailing as the world’s first hybrid luxury polar exploration vessel, the Le Commandant Charcot combines the top tier of luxury with sustainable development at the heart of the design. Equipped with 135 luxury staterooms featuring elegant and warm stone, wood and leather detailing’s to reflect the natural environment that the ship will be sailing in, the Le Commandant Charcot is setting a new level for opulence in the polar regions. What makes the Le Commandant Charcot so special is her ice-breaking capabilities allowing her to travel to the furthermost, remote reaches of the globe whilst still experiencing unprecedented luxury. Electricity integrates with engines running on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exceeding the current applicable environmental regulations with the capability of hybrid electric mode which produces zero emissions. There will be on board recycling of waste and an advanced wastewater treatment along with waste heat recovery systems in place. There will also be a scientific laboratory on-board equipped to study the ecosystems and biodiversity of the polar settings that you are exploring.
Please Note: The Le Commandant Charcot is currently under construction so all images are renders.
A picturesque stopover in southern Chile, the colourful city of Puerto Montt is the capital of the Lakes District.ﾠ Here, you’ll discover reminders of its colonial past at the Plaza de Armas and neoclassical cathedral. The Manuel Montt lookout offers stunning views of the bay’s sapphire beauty. Close to the town, the peaceful banks of Lake Llanquihue are conducive for a relaxing walk and the quaint, traditional villages of Puerto Varas and Frutillar are well worth a visit. Embark the Le Commandant Charcot.
Relax on board this luxurious vessel and take in the fresh air. There is plenty to do on your way to Antarctica. Perhaps you would like to unwind in the indoor pool surrounded by its winter garden, or relax in the well-being area with sauna and Snow Room or perhaps you would like to simply admire the vastness of the ocean from the panoramic bar.
Weather permitting, the ship will cross the mythic line of the Antarctic Polar Circle, located along 66°33’ south of the Equator. This iconic area demarcates the point from which it is possible to view the midnight sun during the December solstice. Within this circle, the sun remains above the horizon for 24 consecutive hours at least once a year. Crossing this line, an experience known to few people, is sure to be an unforgettable highlight of your cruise through the polar regions.
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the on-board lectures and opportunities for discussion with the specialists to learn more about the poles. Sea days also provide the chance for you to unwind and relax and make use of the many amenities provided onboard. Lay by the indoor pool surrounded by its winter garden, or relax in the well-being area with sauna and Snow Room or perhaps you would like to simply admire the vastness of the ocean from the panoramic bar.
When he discovered this island surrounded by sea ice in 1910 from aboard the Pourquoi Pas? as he mapped Alexander Island, Jean-Baptiste Charcot had not be able to get less than 65 km away from it. Situated in a zone that experiences frequent low-pressure systems and regular cloud cover, the island remains in many ways an enigma. It is entirely covered in ice and sheer cliffs, with the exception of the rocky outcrops extending over a dozen kilometres in the far north-west. The ice in the narrowest part of Wilkins Sound has been cracking in recent times, thus officially detaching this island from its neighbour, Alexander Island, lying 50 km away. Very few people have landed on this largely untouched island, whose waters attract numerous seabirds, such as petrels, Antarctic terns and skuas.
You will then head for the legendary Peter I Island. Located 450 km away from the Atlantic coast, it was discovered in 1821 by the Russian explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, who named it in honour of the Russian Peter the Great. In 1909, Captain Charcot sighted it for the first time from aboard the Pourquoi Pas ?, but was unable to land there: “In the parting mists, one or two miles away, an enormous black mass shrouded in clouds appears suddenly before us: it is Peter I Island.” Surrounded by pack ice and with about 95% of its surface covered by ice, this volcanic island, whose highest peak reaches 1,640 metres, is protected by ice cliffs some 40 metres tall, making any approach difficult.
Along the English Coast, land on the pack ice with your expedition team and head off in search of emperor penguin colonies. If you brave the few kilometres’ walk through the magnificent, unexplored desert of ice that separates you from these colonies you will be among the lucky few to have observed these majestic penguins from this close and enjoyed this rare, moving and intense experience. Emperor penguins are the largest of all living penguin species and they are champions at adapting to the harsh Antarctic climate. They live inland, where they protect their eggs between their feet and their abdomen and cover long distances in search of food.
The icebergs are each more majestic than the next and scattered around the deep and intense blue waters of Marguerite Bay, one of the most beautiful regions in the Antarctic. It is delimited in the north by the mountainous Adelaide Island, in the south by George VI Sound and Alexander Island, and in the east by the Fallières Coast. Charcot named it after his wife during his second expedition to the Antarctic between 1908 and 1910. In 1909, in the southern summer when the skies are at their clearest, he led an important scientific mission to map and study this region. The bay is home to a number of cetaceans and you may get the chance to observe leopard seals or Adelie penguins.
In the northeastern part of Marguerite Bay, along Graham Land, you will discover the small island of Stonington. The island was a British research station from 1946 to 1950 and later from 1960 to 1975. Numerous expeditions setting off from this station on dog sledges enabled the mapping of a significant portion of the Antarctic Peninsula. The two-storey steel-framed buildings, whose vestiges are still visible, could accommodate 6 to 17 people. Equipment and facilities from that time can still be found there: the generator, the dog pens, radio equipment and weather instruments, the water reservoir and a storage space. The island is now an important breeding ground for Antarctic terns and south polar skuas.
The sumptuous landscapes of this narrow channel between Adelaide Island and Graham Land attract all visitors sailing towards Marguerite Bay. It is like an ice palace, its immaculate white walls reflected in the frozen mirror formed by the waters of the Southern Ocean, scattered with icebergs and gleaming blocks of ice. This passage was explored for the first time by the Jean-Baptiste Charcot expedition in 1909, which sketched its position. It was then surveyed in 1936 by the British expedition under John Rymill. It is here in this magical setting that some of the first subaquatic images of the Antarctic were shot during Philippe Cousteau’s four-month expedition to Antarctica between 1972 and 1973.
Detaille Island is a small island situated off the Loubet Coast in the Crystal Sound, a magnificent region surrounded by snow-covered peaks. A British research station was set up there in 1956, ahead of the International Geophysical Year 1957-58. Like the International Polar Years, organised for the first time in 1882-83, the purpose of this event was to take a coordinated approach to the geophysical research conducted by the different nations. With the island difficult to access, this station was shut down in 1959. The vestiges of the buildings and sledge dog pens that made it possible to map more than 4,000 miles around the island are now maintained by the United Kingdom Heritage Trust.
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the on-board lectures and opportunities for discussion with the specialists to learn more about the polar regions you have just visited. Sea days also provide the chance for you to unwind and relax and make use of the many amenities provided onboard. Lay by the indoor pool surrounded by its winter garden, or relax in the well-being area with sauna and Snow Room or perhaps you would like to simply admire the vastness of the ocean from the panoramic bar.
The Drake Passage has a notorious reputation for its turbulent seas due to the westerly winds and the funneling effect of the passage. The Antarctic Convergence, a natural boundary where cold polar water flows northward and warmer equatorial water moves southward, is within the Drake Passage. When these two currents meet, nutrients are pushed to the surface, often attracting a multitude of seabirds and whales. Black-browed Albatross, Sooty Shearwaters and White-chinned Petrels glide in the air currents alongside and in the wake of the ship.
The Le Commandant Charcot will arrive at Ushuaia in the morning. Following breakfast, you will disembark.
Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather, wildlife activity and ice conditions. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation. A flexible itinerary allows us to take advantage of favourable sea and weather conditions. In the true spirit of expedition cruising, each day the Expedition Leader and Captain will determine our best course depending on weather, ice conditions and wildlife we may encounter.