Day 1: Embarkation in Ushuaia
In the afternoon, we embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel and sail through this scenic waterway for the rest of the evening.
Day 2 - 3: At sea
During these two days we sail across the Drake Passage. When we cross the Antarctic Convergence, we arrive in the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area we may see Wandering Albatrosses, Grey Headed Albatrosses, Black- browed Albatrosses, Light- mantled Albatrosses, Cape Petrels, Southern Fulmars, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Blue Petrels and Antarctic Petrels. Near the South Shetland Islands, we spot our first icebergs.
Day 4 – 5: Antarctica
We will sail directly to “High Antarctica”, passing the Melchior islands and the Schollaert Channel between Brabant and Anvers Island. At Cuverville Island, a small precipitous island nestled between the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula and Rongé Island we will attempt our first landing. It contains a large colony of Gentoo Penguins and breeding pairs of Brown Skuas. In Neko Harbour and Paradise Bay with its myriad icebergs and deep cut fjords, we have the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent. We shall have the opportunity to zodiac cruise between the icebergs in the inner parts of the amazing water way of Paradise Bay before taking the ship through the spectacular Lemaire Channel.
Day 6 - 8: We pass through the narrow The Gullet between Adelaide Island and the Continent
After a long night of sailing around the myriad of islands south of Lemaire Channel we find ourselves near the Antarctic Circle. We pass through the narrow The Gullet between Adelaide Island and the Continent with spectacular scenery all around. We will attempt to get permission to land at Rothera which is the primary British research station in Antarctica. Alternatively we explorer the area and make a landing one of the many islands in the area. We will try to circumnavigate Pourqoui Pas Island named after the ship of the famous French explorer Charcot. The area is spectacular with narrow fjords and high mountains with cascading glaciers all around. On Horseshoe Island we find the former British Base Y from the 1950’ies which now stands unmanned but almost fully equipped from the time it was in service. Stonington Island is home to the former US East Base (1939-41) and later the British Base E. Base E was occupied until 1975. We will attempt a landing here which will also mark our southernmost landing site of the trip. As we head north again we may attempt a landing at the small Avian Island named due to the large number of bird species found here. Among them a large colony of Adélie penguins, Antarctic shag, South Polar Skua, and Wilson’s storm petrel.
Day 9 - 11: Wilhelmina Bay
In the morning of day 9 we will find ourselves near the Antarctic Circle once again as we head north into Crystal Sound. We have an excellent chance to see Humpback whales here as we approach Fish Islands for a Zodiac cruise and possible landing. As always the scenery is unparalleled in beauty and we may well see more Adélie penguins among the myriads of icebergs large and small. Petermann and Pléneau Islands offer a great variety of bird life and some excellent opportunities to Zodiac cruise amongst icebergs with good chances to see both Leopard seal and Crabeater seals. Minke whales and Humpback whales are also most often spotted in this area along with Gentoo penguins. We aim to enter Wilhelmina Bay with truly excellent whale watching opportunities. Numerous Humpback whales often feed here and if the weather conditions allow we may try and launch the Zodiacs to experience them at closer range. At Foyn Harbour we visit the wreck of Guvernøren, and old whaling factory vessel which caught fire and burned in 1915.
Day 12: South Shetland Islands
On our final day in the Antarctic Peninsula Region we hope to land at Hannah Point, Livingston Island. He where we will find a nice variety of Gentoo Penguins, Chinstraps and southern Giant Petrels, as well as Elephant Seals hauling out on the beach. Here in the late season we may well see quite a number of Antarctic fur seals here. The sea surrounding this place is teeming with life and we have a great chance to enjoy even more Humpback whales. We will depart to the Drake Passage around noon.
Day 13 - 14: At sea
On our way north we are again followed by a great selection of seabirds while crossing the Drake Passage.
Day 15: Disembarkation in Ushuaia
We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark.
Note: 03-18-19 departures has one less night (total 13 nights)