Antarctic Peninsula 11-Day Voyage

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Ushuaia, Argentina.
After a spectacular flight over the mountains of Tierra del Fuego, we check into our hotel in Ushuaia where we enjoy beautiful views of the Beagle Channel from the window.

Day 1

Ushuaia-Tierra del Fuego.
Today you are free to explore Ushuaia, the most southern city in the world. It is a romantic place built on forested slopes and flanked by waterfalls and snow-capped peaks. There is time to absorb this striking city before embarking in the afternoon on our expedition ship. Sailing east through the Beagle Channel, we enjoy another dramatic view of the mountains of Tierra del Fuego. This vast archipelago of thousands of verdant islands evokes images of shipwrecks, local Indians, rough seas and an icy windswept land, an intimidation that still survives today. However this mystical land boasts some of the most superb scenery in the world with its valleys carpeted in flowers, flocks of wild geese, beautiful rivers and lakes, wild glaciers and avenues of snow-capped mountains.

Day 2

Cruising the Antarctic Peninsula
Wandering albatros on Drake Passage.

Drake Passage.
After passing the famed Cape Horn, excitement increases as we head south into the vast expanse of the great Southern Ocean and commence our crossing of the Drake Passage. Named after Sir Francis Drake, this deep waterway spans 965 km from the tip of South America to the South Shetland Islands. As we cruise this historic passage, you can attend fascinating audio visual presentations on Antarctic marine and bird life and briefings about our landings. Entering the realm of the giant albatross, one can stroll the outer decks to witness these graceful birds gliding between the waves, taking advantage of the air turbulence created by our ship. Soon we cross the Antarctic Convergence, a natural barrier where cold polar water dives beneath the warmer oceans to the north. The sudden change in water temperature incapacitates many planktonic organisms, thus producing a nutrient-rich marine environment. Many albatrosses and other sea birds congregate to feast in this biologically important area.
Days 3-8
Antarctica Peninsula.
Our first encounter is the South Shetland group. These rugged islands were discovered by British explorer William Smith and are adjacent to the Antarctic Peninsula. King George and Livingston Islands are home to huge numbers of penguins, with seabirds nesting on the cliffs and elephant seals lounging along the shores. If conditions allow, we may enter the large, collapsed and now flooded caldera of Deception Island. Sailing through the narrow passage and into the crater of this dormant volcano is an exceptional experience. For our more intrepid passengers, there is the opportunity to experience warm Antarctic swimming in the thermally heated seawater.
Pushing south, we cross the Bransfield Strait and approach the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Soon we enter the Gerlache Strait with its countless islands, where great numbers of seals line every rock and ice ledge and sightings of Humpback and Minke whales are common. We plan to visit the dramatic islands of Cuverville and Ronge, home to many thousands of Gentoo penguins.

At Port Lockroy on Wiencke Island, we will find thriving colonies of Gentoo penguins and Blue eyed shags on the low-lying islands in the bay. Crabeater and Leopard seals dot the ice floes as we thread between them in our Zodiacs, all dominated by a dramatic panorama of alpine peaks. Bleached whale bones attest to Port Lockroys' whaling history. It later became a British scientific research station and has recently been renovated as a fascinating museum.

The highlight of the expedition is a visit to the aptly named Paradise Bay that is one of the most scenic and beautiful parts of Antarctica. Glaciers flowing from the 3,000m Foster Ice Plateau calve into the bay's quiet waters. We go ashore here and whether your preference is to cruise around the bay, marvel at the icebergs, walk, ski, climb or just sit, this truly is Antarctica at its best.

Further south we reach the Lemaire Channel, considered the most beautiful and spectacular passage in Antarctica. Sailing through this deep, narrow chasm between Booth Island and Graham land on the peninsula, one can look up at the sheer cliffs towering above the sea. Crabeater seals rest on the ice flows and Minke whales may follow in the ship's wake.

Once again we edge further south to land on Peterman Island, where Adelie and Gentoo penguins, skuas and Blue-eyed shags nest close to the landing site.

Days 9-10

Killer Whales in Penola Straight
Killer Whales in Penola Straight

Drake Passage.

Turning north we cruise back towards Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego. Strolling the outer decks you will once again have the opportunity to photograph the majestic albatrosses and ponder the immensity of the Great Southern Ocean. Our series of lectures continues and there will be time to review the adventures of our journey. We pass Cape Horn at the southern tip of the South American continent and with good weather we may see this legendary landmark.

Day 11


After sailing up the Beagle Channel and enjoying an early breakfast, we will dock at the port of Ushuaia in Argentina. Disembarking from the vessel, you will be transferred to the exit of the port, centrally located in Ushuaia.

Please note: Because to the expeditionary nature of our expeditions, and the variability of the ice, weather and wildlife, specific itineraries cannot be guaranteed. The programmes detailed are a proposal, and the ship's captain and expedition leaders will determine the exact route on a daily basis.

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