We anticipate exciting ice navigation on this expedition, aiming to make landfall at Detaille Island - below the Antarctic Circle, where we venture on-shore to explore an old science base. We then navigate north into the Gerlache region and plan on visiting a working research station, more historic sites, and we enjoy a Zodiac cruise through the spectacular ‘iceberg graveyard’ at Pleneau Island.

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Starting from $13,695

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Itinerary

Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina

Our journey to Antarctica commences this afternoon in Ushuaia, in southern Argentina. We gather at our central meeting point, transfer to the pier and embark our expedition ship. After settling into our cabins and exploring the ship, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail and dinner and cast off, bound for Antarctica and the adventure of a lifetime.

Days 2-3: At Sea – towards the Antarctic Circle

We chart a southerly course and can reach our goal of the Antarctic Circle due to the capabilities of our expedition vessel - RCGS Resolute. Her superior speed ensures a swift crossing of the Drake Passage on our way south of the circle. This stretch of water is rich in its bio-diversity and showcases an abundance of wildlife. We will be joined by hundreds of seabirds including the celebrated wandering albatross. Giant petrels and smaller Cape petrels are also constant companions as we make our way south. Photographing these magnificent birds takes patience and skill and our photography expert will be on hand to show you the best techniques. Later, perhaps join the ship’s Captain on the bridge and learn about the operations of our modern research vessel. Throughout the journey our onboard experts educate us with a series of presentations about the environment, the wildlife and history. The presence of icebergs announces our arrival into Antarctic waters.

Day 4: Matha Strait and the Antarctic Circle

We awaken today, and the magnificent snowy peaks of continental Antarctica are laid out before us. We plan to navigate via Matha Strait and will attempt a shore landing at Detaille Island, below the Antarctic Circle. An abandoned British science station - ‘Base W’ was established in the 1950s and is in a remarkable state of preservation. For the history buffs this is a fascinating place providing a glimpse into the harsh life of early Antarctic visitors. We toast our success on crossing the Antarctic Circle turning our gaze northwards, viewing the spectacular chain of glacier-covered peaks stretching as far as the eye can see. This coastline begs further exploration.

Days 5-8: Antarctic Peninsula Exploration and Southern Gerlache Coastline

Overnight we have navigated north towards the low-lying Yalour Island group. We hope to visit a working scientific base to learn of the important climate-related research happening here. A hike over the snowy saddle of nearby Winter Island allows us to stretch our legs and explore the old British Antarctic Survey hut. Petermann Island is home to a sizable Adelie penguin rookery. Adelies - the smallest of the Antarctic penguins nest here and share the location with Gentoo penguins and Imperial cormorants. The view to the north of Mount Shackleton and Mount Scott is impressive. These towering granite sentinels mark the southern entrance to the Lemaire Channel. Nearby Pleneau Island offers more opportunities for shore landings. Just offshore, in the shallow waters of the Penola Strait, massive icebergs run aground. Constant wind and wave action sculpt these gargantuan chunks of ice into fantastic shapes, revealing more shades of blue than you could ever imagine. For many, a Zodiac cruise here will be a highlight of the voyage. We aim to transit the Lemaire Channel on our way north towards Paradise Harbor. This may be the first opportunity to step foot on the continent of Antarctica itself. Nearby Neko Harbor offers another continental landing. Both locations offer great hiking opportunities up to panoramic view points. For the sea kayakers, the paddling opportunities here are endless. Expect to be in full sensory overload by this time of the voyage. It is somewhere in this vicinity we hope to offer camping. Orne Harbor is another beautiful location we hope to visit and the hike up to a rocky knoll provides stunning views and great access to a chinstrap penguin rookery. At Cuverville Island, there is a large Gentoo penguin colony which we observe at close quarters. Leopard seals are often sighted cruising the shallows along the landing site. For the kayakers, a full circumnavigation of the island is a possibility. We navigate into Willhelmina Bay – a known location for large numbers of humpback whales which we view in close proximity from the ship or when out Zodiac cruising. After several busy days of exploration along the Peninsula, we head north across the Bransfield Strait, bound for the South Shetland Islands. This is an important whale migration corridor and we expect sightings of humpbacks, or the resident pod of Orca that inhabit this stretch of water.

Day 9: South Shetland Islands

By morning we arrive in the South Shetland Islands. The adventure is not over and if the weather conditions allow, we sail the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera at Deception Island. This is a very dramatic place and history is all around us as we explore the old whaling station, with the rusted old boilers and dilapidated wooden huts. At the far end of the beach is an old aircraft hangar. This is where Australian, Sir Hubert Wilkins made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928. There is also an outstanding hike, high up onto the rim of the crater. After leaving Deception Island, we cruise along the coast of Livingston Island which in a sunny day is a memorable experience. There are several other landing sites in the South Shetlands including Half Moon Island, or the broad pebbly beach at Yankee Harbor, where we sometimes encounter Weddell seals sunning themselves. This is another great spot for a hike or a zodiac cruise. Hannah Point, with its elephant seal colony and nesting Antarctic petrels is another possibility. In the evening, we navigate north through the McFarlane Strait and into the Drake Passage.

Days 10-11: Drake Passage – return to South America

As we make our way back to South America, the educational presentations continue and we enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by our Expedition Leader. Join our photography experts at the multimedia stations and download your precious images. If weather conditions allow, we hope to make a rounding of Cape Horn. This fabled stretch of water is home to legendary tales of exploration and early navigation. It is a fitting place to reflect on a wonderful expedition. Approaching the entrance to the Beagle Channel in early evening light, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.

Day 12: Arrive Ushuaia, Argentina – Voyage concludes

In the early morning, we arrive into Ushuaia, Argentina. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travelers. Guests will be transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home. It will be possible to connect to flights through to Buenos Aires or other destinations in South America. Otherwise enjoy a night in town or venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia.

RCGS Resolute

RCGS Resolute

Deckplan & Cabin Photos

Highlights

  • Cross the fabled Antarctic Circle visiting remote historic locations and wildlife colonies
  • In-depth exploration of the Gerlache coastline and Antarctic Peninsula
  • Visits to historic sites and science stations
  • Learn about the environment, wildlife and ecology of Antarctica from polar experts

Included

  • Comprehensive pre-voyage information package including details to help you prepare for your trip
  • Transfers to the ship on embarkation day and from the ship to the airport on disembarkation
  • Shipboard accommodation in your selected cabin category with daily housekeeping. Cabins feature outside views with windows or portholes
  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage with daily afternoon tea
  • 24-hour tea, coffee, hot chocolate in bar/lounge plus in-cabin tea and coffee making facilities
  • Experienced Expedition Leader and professional expedition team of marine biologists, naturalists, historians, adventure guides and photographers
  • Daily off-ship excursions by Zodiac boat breaking into small groups for shore landings
  • Guided hikes and walks on shore of various durations for guests of all abilities
  • Visits to wildlife colonies, historic sites, places of outstanding natural beauty and science stations
  • Educational presentations and talks by polar experts in their field (i.e. marine biologists, naturalists, historians, etc). Onboard or on shore
  • Resident photography guide available to assist all guests plus access to computers in the multimedia lab for image downloads, file back up and management
  • An emergency trained medical physician onboard every voyage
  • Dedicated hospitality team including Hotel Manager, four chefs, professional bar staff and Adventure Concierge staff
  • Onboard sauna, plunge pool, Jacuzzi and fitness center including massage options (charge applies for massage and treatments)
  • Access to well-stocked library full of polar reference books
  • End of voyage video, photos and take-home USB
  • Port fees and all permits to access visited areas

Adventure Options

  • Kayaking: $795
  • Camping: Free
 

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the nature of expedition cruising, itineraries are subject to change due to weather, ice conditions, natural and cultural events, wildlife viewing opportunities and other logistical considerations. In general, a ship's crew will endeavor to complete the itinerary provided, but the ultimate decision lies with the ship's captain and expedition leaders.

 
 
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