USHUAIA TO USHUAIA: ANTARCTIC PENINSULA
Day Place Highlights 1 Ushuaia Set Sail, meet the expedition team 2 - 3 At Sea Crossing the Drake Passage 4 Antarctic Sound Icebergs, bird life 5 - 7 Antarctic Peninsula Iceberg sculptures, carving glaciers, marine mammals 8 South Shetland Islands Chinstrap, Adelie, Gentoo and Macaroni Penguins 9 - 10 At Sea Cross the Drake Passage, arrive into Ushuaia in the evening 11 Ushuaia After breakfast disembark for your onward journey
The Silver Explorer was built in Finland in 1989 and was designed specifically for navigating waters in some of the world’s most remote destinations including Antarctica, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. The vessel was acquired by Silversea in late 2007 and has been fully refurbished in 2017 as an elegant luxury expedition cruise ship. Its ice-strengthened hull enables the ship to safely push through ice floes with ease, while a fleet of Zodiac boats allows guests to visit even the most incredible locations accompanied by the expert Expedition Team. Accommodation aboard comprises 72 spacious suites located across 4 decks, all with ocean views and some with private balconies. Passengers will also find an excellent range of facilities aboard including two lounges, restaurant, presentation theatre, library/Internet, spa, fitness centre, two jacuzzis, and outdoor viewing areas.
Embark in the afternoon. Settle in and attend a mandatory safety drill before leaving port. During the afternoon you will be introduced to some of the important crew members and your Expedition Team. At sail-away bid farewell to Tierra del Fuego, the ‘Land at the End of the World’.
The Drake Passage has a notorious reputation for its turbulent seas due to the westerly winds and the funnelling 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. Spend some time on deck watching the horizon and the variety of seabirds that glide in the air currents of our ship’s wake such as the Black-browed Albatross, Sooty Shearwaters and White-chinned Petrels. Have your camera ready to capture the magical colour of a late night sunsets.
As we set sail on our initial transit, familiarise yourself with the elegant Silver Explorer and the friendly Expedition Team members. Attend wildlife, geography and history discussions hosted by our expert naturalists and guest lecturers that will prepare you for the exciting adventures that lie ahead. When available, visit the Bridge and meet our Captain and officers; information will be posted in the “Chronicle”, our daily on-board newsletter.
The Antarctic Sound will be one of your first encounters of this whitewash kingdom, located at the northerly tip of the Antarctic Peninsula – which sprawls up like a tentacle towards Tierra del Fuego, South America’s most southerly point, otherwise known as the ‘End of the World’. Taking its name from the first ship to brave the passageway between the peninsular and the Joinville Island groups back in 1902, the Sound is a raw, sensory assault of imposing iceberg slabs, broken away from the disintegrating Larsen Ice Shelf. Come face-to-face with stadium-sized islands of ice and meet the extraordinary bird life that call this whitewash kingdom home.
Watch on, as colonies of Gentoo penguins hop around, and cape petrels sweep overhead, as the continent’s unique wildlife thrives around you. If you’re planning your first venture into Antarctica, you’ll want to brush up on your photography skills in advance, to capture this unforgiving continent in all of its unrestrained glory.
The Antarctic Peninsula unravels upwards towards South America, reaching out a beckoning finger to the adventurous, who dare to explore this untamed realm. Stretching up from the heart of the world’s southernmost continent, the Antarctic Peninsula, for many, offers a spectacular first taste of the snow-blanketed landscapes and colossal ice sculptures, which make up Earth’s least-explored continent. Unseen by humans until 1820 – a blink of an eye ago in relative terms – this is an adventure sure to make your hairs stand on end, as you experience the thrill of the truly unknown and extraordinary. The vast peninsula is sprinkled with research bases, which are at the front line of human scientific endeavour, pushing to study and understand this unique landscape, its exceptional wildlife, and the impact that humans are having on this pristine continent.
Witness cathedral-sized icebergs up close, and blue-hued glaciers, slowly slipping from imposing locations like Hope Bay. Blanched mountain peaks cover the peninsula, and you’ll find thousands of adorable Adelie penguin pairs thriving undisturbed in this peninsula’s unique setting.
Lying close to the northwestern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, separated by the Bransfield Strait, are the South Shetland Islands. Several countries maintain research bases here, and with plump elephant seals, and crowds of Gentoo, Chinstrap and Adelie Penguins also calling the islands home, it can even feel a little crowded at times. King George Island is the largest and most hospitable island, hosting the majority of the research stations – some of which are populated all-year-round by tiny, hardy crews. Don’t be fooled though, these islands offer extraordinary adventure in one of the most remote locations on earth. The triple peaks of Mount Foster tower above the archipelago, and you’ll feel your heart pumping a little quicker, as you sail into the core of Deception Island’s magnificent collapsed volcano caldera. Hike the luna landscapes within, and even dip into the improbably warm, geothermally-heated waters of Pendulum Cove.
Navigating your return through the Drake Passage, watch for seabirds and wildlife you may have missed on the first leg. Take this opportunity to attend additional presentations offered by the Expedition Team lecturers and to swap photos with new friends as you head towards Ushuaia.
Following breakfast, farewell your fellow travellers and expedition team and 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.