See everything the Antarctic Peninsula has to offer—unsurpassed scenery and abundant wildlife—plus, sail south of the Antarctic Circle. Climb aboard the Akademik Ioffe for this extraordinary adventure on the "7th Continent."
Today is the first day of our adventure. As we board the vessel in Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city at the tip of Argentina, and start to become familiar with "our home" for the next 13 days. We cannot help but wonder about the exciting journey ahead of us. In the early evening, we set sail and begin our voyage leaving behind Ushuaia and charting a course through the Beagle Channel.
Crossing the Drake Passage, there is so much excitement in the air as we make our way ever closer to the white continent. Guests eagerly soak up the friendly atmosphere onboard as our numerous Polar experts prepare us for our adventures with presentations on everything Antarctic, from wildlife to history. Eventually, we will cross the Antarctic Convergence where we will notice a distinct drop in temperature as we enter the waters of the Antarctic Ocean. Along the way, we will witness many spectacular sights from icebergs to an array of seabirds and even several whale species some of which are known on occasion to fully breach from the sea.
In the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, we will hope to make as much time as possible to explore by inflatable Zodiac boats and marvel up close at nature's glory. Our first goal will be to sail south of the Antarctic Circle and into Matha Strait or Marguerite Bay. Given favorable ice conditions, we will push our exploration even further southward, looking for historic and wildlife sites. From our most southerly point (south of the Antarctic Circle), we will make our way north along the Antarctic Peninsula, cruising through the narrow waterways and channels of the Antarctic Peninsula. Spectacular waterways such as Crystal Sound, the Lemaire Channel, the Neumeyer Channel and the Gerlache Strait will all feature in our itinerary. Landing sites might include Neko Harbour, Wilhelmina Bay, Petermann Island and the Yalours, where we will observe Weddell, crabeater and elephant seals, skuas and other seabirds as well as an abundance of penguins including some very large colonies of the comical Adelie penguin. At Half Moon Island we will visit a breeding colony of chinstrap penguins that share their territory with fur seals and blue-eyed shags. We also hope to see the gentle humpback whale dining on krill in its feeding grounds and possibly have an opportunity to spot orcas and Minke whales as we go. We will plan on walking ashore on the continent of Antarctica at Paradise Harbour or Neko Harbour. Although it will not be your first glimpse of the Antarctic, a walk ashore on the Continent will evoke emotions to carry with you for the rest of your life. The scenery here is amazing. In particular the oddly shaped icebergs looking like sculptures, as well as the colossal tabular icebergs that break away from the continent's ice shelf. Some may wish to camp on shore overnight. Whatever your vantage point, whether it is onboard or onshore expect to feel transformed as you experience twilight from the very bottom of the planet.
As we leave this magical place and make our way north, heading again across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage before rounding Cape Horn, we have no doubt that time will be spent sharing and reflecting on the wonderful experiences of the last few days. Sailing down the Beagle Channel, we celebrate the conclusion of our Polar expedition at a special dinner.
In the early morning, we will arrive back in Ushuaia. 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.
PLEASE NOTE: Kayaking must be pre-booked and paid for before departure. Space is limited and prior experience may be required.
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.