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DAY 1: Ushuaia, Argentina
Start your Antarctic journey by first exploring the charming streets and rugged mountain backdrop of Ushuaia, Argentina – the world’s southernmost city. Start out with a coffee and local souvenirs on the main street before hiking out of town to the foot of the martial glacier, enjoying views of the Beagle Channel that awaits you below.
DAY 2: Embarkation in Ushuaia
Today you will begin your Antarctic voyage. Embarkation will take place late in the day so you can take in a sunset while we wave goodbye to South America. Once aboard you will have an introduction to crew and will have time to settle into your cabin.
DAY 3-5: At Sea
En route to the Eclipse location, your time at sea can be filled with presentations from our onboard team of experts or enjoy photography and bird watching from the warmth of the viewing space on the Ocean Endeavour’s spacious bridge as albatross and other seabirds circle the ship and we spot for whales. On this special voyage, talks from our resident astrophysicists and meteorologists will prepare you for the incredibly rare event that lays ahead and evening programming will see a chance for a casual drink at the bar while you get to know your shipmates and guides.
DAY 6: Total Solar Eclipse
During the early hours of our fifth expedition day, you will be invited onto the deck of the Ocean Endeavour to view the incredibly rare spectacle that is an Antarctic Total Solar Eclipse. During the night, our ship will have sailed well into the zone of 100% obscuration, our navigators precisely measuring longitude in conjunction with local weather events to allow a viewing for approximately 1 and a half minutes - the longest possible for the region. Also on deck will be our resident experts in astrophysics and meteorology as well as our team of photography guides to interpret this astronomical phenomenon and instruct on how best to capture a once-in-a-lifetime moment. Following the early start to the day, the ship will turn back to face the west and we’ll give you an opportunity to rest and review your photographs while we aim to reach the historic Elephant Island.
DAY 7: Elephant Island
Join us on the bridge this morning as we scan the horizon for our first sighting of land since South America, when icebergs may well appear in numbers and when we first lay eyes on the continent of Antarctica. The Ocean Endeavour’s navigators will be aiming for the historic Elephant Island – a place central to the incredible survival story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men who used this very island as a camp and rendezvous point during the final and harrowing legs of their epic Endurance saga. Either from the ship or from zodiacs, we’ll witness Point Wild – the very place where Shackleton’s men clung to rocks for several months in anticipation of his return from South Georgia. Ashore, a monument marks this site and the incredible feat of survival that surmises their astonishing journey.
DAY 8: Weddell Sea
The eighth day of our voyage will see us turn south and sail toward the eastern side of Joinville Island, at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Far less trodden than the western shores, this area affords us time to truly explore some of the world’s most remote and rugged beaches and islands. This area is home to some of the largest Adelie penguin colonies on Earth which attracts an abundance of leopard seals and other marine fauna. On this day, we’ll be in true expedition mode as we take the opportunity to reconnoitre this remote region on our way further south.
DAY 9-10: Antarctic Peninsula
Perhaps the most profound experience and when the sights and sounds of the Antarctic really come to life is upon visiting one’s first Gentoo penguin colony. Here, on the Peninsula’s western side, we’ll explore some of the continent’s most famous locations where tens of thousands of penguins find a rare piece of bare rock on which to nest for the summer months. At this time of year, penguins will be sharing incubating responsibilities and perhaps a few tiny penguin chicks will be appearing. Jumping out of a zodiac onto a beach laden with these vast congregations of birds makes for an unforgettable immersion into the Antarctic ecosystem and a sensory experience like none other!
In addition to the penguins, on this voyage we will be exploring glacial faces, channels and bays of the Peninsula offering us the chance to witness icebergs of every description and to get up close and personal with the various seal species that call this part of the continent home. Along the way, our expedition team will be constantly scouting for those leviathans of the ocean – the thousands of humpback whales that migrate to this part of the world at this time of year to feed on krill.
DAY 11: Shetland Islands
After turning north again, our voyage will take us to the rugged, windswept vistas of the South Shetland Islands. Home to some peculiar species including elephant seals and fur seals, these islands also boast a water-bound volcano, a string of scientific bases and some of the best sunsets the Antarctic has to offer – making for a fantastic way to round out our excursions and take to the deck of the Ocean Endeavour for a toast to the Antarctic at sundown.
DAY 12-13: At Sea
Looking back at the 10 days of Antarctic experiences behind us, we’ll sail north across the Drake Passage with South America again in out sights. This stretch of water offers good chances to spot for orca, seabirds and whales but also a great opportunity to recap the journey with your guides, partake in workshops for photo editing or simply gaze out the window in contemplation of what the Antarctic has just delivered us. Our guides will be out on deck spotting birds and other wildlife but you can also find them in the lounge at night for a last few chances to share stories about the polar regions and swap photos of the incredible event that marked the start of our journey.
DAY 14: Disembarkation in Ushuaia
An early morning disembarkation from the Ocean Endeavour allows plenty of time to resume your exploration of Ushuaia or to make a leisurely drive to the airport for connecting flights home. Our guides will join you on the dock to farewell the ship and crew that have taken us to the last continent and back.