Day 1: End of the world, start of a journey
Your voyage begins where the world drops off. Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, is located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed “The End of the World,” and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening.
Day 2 – 3: Path of the polar explorers
Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you enjoy some of the same experiences encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too. Wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels, and Antarctic petrels are a few of the birds you might see.
Day 4: Icescapes of the Antarctic Sound
Glaciers, icebergs, and pack ice extend into the horizon. On the northern side of the Antarctic Sound is Dundee Island, where you have the chance to land at Petrel Cove. The Argentinean Base Petrel is located here, and its massive airplane hangar hints at the base’s heritage: It was from this stretch of flat land that Lincoln Elsworth and Herbert Hollick-Kenyon completed the first flight across the Antarctic Continent in 1935.
In the Antarctic autumn (PLA29-20), a large number of Antarctic fur seals and southern elephant seals haul up on the beaches here. Alternatively, you may explore Active Sound if ice conditions allow.
Day 5: Sailing the Wright Ice Piedmont
Next you sail along the Wright Ice Piedmont at Graham Land, which was mapped based on photographs taken between 1955—57. The piedmont was named after the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright, who in December 1903 were the first people to fly an airplane.
Day 6: Valdivia Point views
Keeping to the west coast of Graham Land, you reach Valdivia Point, named after the German ship Valdivia by Otto Nordenskjöld’s Swedish Antarctic Expedition. Further west you may also see Challenger Island and Bluff Island.
Day 7: The bays of Brabant Island
You then continue sailing to the western side of Brabant Island, exploring Avicenna Bay, Buls Bay, and the analysis-inspiring Freud Passage.
Day 8: Anvers Island adventure
At the northeast coast of Anvers Island, you next visit Fournier Bay. This location was probably first sighted by a German expedition under the command of Eduard Dallmann in 1873—74, chartered by the French Antarctic Expedition of Jean-Baptiste Charcot (1903—5). It was named after the French admiral Ernest Fournier. You might also make a landing at Inverleith Harbour (also on the northeast coast of Anvers), possibly spotting an Antarctic tern colony as well as Weddell seals.
Day 9 – 10: Familiar seas, familiar friends
Your return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, you’re again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. But they seem a little more familiar to you now, and you to them.
Day 11: There and back again
Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, but with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.