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For Feb 24 2023 and Mar 1 2023 Departures -
DAY 1 ARRIVAL PUNTA ARENAS AND GETTING READY FOR OUR EXPEDITION CRUISE
Arrive and check in at our hotel in Punta Arenas, Chile – the capital of southern Patagonia. The historic city with rolling hills surrounding it and the Strait of Magellan in front. Its past is rich in exciting events, from being a penal colony to becoming a sheep and gold rush colony with many European settlers. The present-day city remains home to a major port; and with the Andes mountains and a multitude of national parks close by, it’s a favored staging point for many wonderful adventures. Even our own adventure is beginning!
Our 4-star hotel is centrally located, which allows you to make full use of your time outside of the scheduled events.
If you plan to arrive early, you can even take your time to explore the historical city.
Our “journey” begins at 15:00 with all the necessary safety briefings, the latest weather forecasts and embarkation information needed to enjoy our upcoming expedition cruise and trans-Drake flight. All mandatory activities are held at the hotel and you will receive information about all these as you arrive to the hotel. We finish our daily schedule with a welcome dinner, where you can enjoy a typical Chilean meal.
DAY 2 FLYING THE DRAKE. FLIGHT, KING GEORGE ISLAND, EMBARKATION AND POSSIBLE FIRST ZODIAC LANDING
We are packed-up, excited and ready-to-go from the very early morning, as we await information on the landing conditions on King George Island. Normally the flights take off early, but we are ready to wait in case the flights are postponed.
We keep ourselves close to the hotel and the Punta Arenas land team, and drive to the airport as soon as our chartered airline gives us the green light. The expectation of exploring the 7th Continent builds, as we have donned our parkas, warm clothes and boots.
Once the fasten your seatbelts sign lights up, it’s time to fly across the famed Drake Passage - a body of water that marks the intersection of the cold Antarctic with the warmer Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. We substitute 2 days of sailing with 2 hours of flying.
Our landing is smooth as the planes are built for these types of landings and runways. Our luggage is transported to the ship and we enjoy a 2 kilometer walk along the Chilean Eduardo Frei base and the neighboring Bellingshausen Russian research station. King George Island is the largest of the South Shetland Islands and home to no less than 10 research stations, 2 churches and of course the Antarctic peninsula's only airstrip in use for commercially chartered flights. The expedition team is awaiting us with Zodiacs on the Fildes Bay beach and will ferry us to our ship.
Once onboard, the exciting Antarctic wildlife comes into view with our first sight of seals, penguins and albatrosses. In other words, it’s time to explore the Antarctic islands of the South Shetland chain and be marveled by the captivating landscapes we will encounter along the way.
DAYS 3-6 EXPLORING THE SOUTH SHETLAND ISLANDS AND THE ANTARCTIC PENINSULA
Over the next days, we will begin the exciting Antarctic experience our ancestors only dreamed of. During these days we will explore the Antarctic islands of the South Shetland chain and be marveled by the captivating landscapes we will encounter along the way.
Weather permitting, our projected landfalls could include: Deception Island, an extinct volcano with waters warm enough for a polar swim. Half Moon Island with nesting Wilson's storm petrels and chinstrap penguins. But there are many other fascinating landing options.
As the white shimmer of Antarctica looms on our horizon, the presence of wildlife multiples with many species of lively penguins, inquisitive seals, nesting birds and the spray of marine mammals. Wildlife abounds along our planned route along the Antarctic Peninsula: leopard, fur and Weddell seals of Cuverville Island; humpback whales of Gerlache Strait and Paradise Bay; the dramatic Lemaire Channel's orcas and much more.
The itinerary and activities over the next few days depend on weather and ice conditions. The route and shore landings will be determined by the captain and expedition leader and communicated to guests through regularly scheduled briefings.
Please note that all the outings and landings rely on weather, sea and ice conditions being favorable both for the ship to access the areas, as for the Zodiacs and kayaks to maneuver under adequate conditions, ensuring the safety of all our guests and staff.
For this reason, during moments of harsh weather and throughout the entire trip, our ships offer excellent public areas such as wellness/sauna, restaurant, bar and a library for our guests to spend their spare time. Our ships are staffed by experts in the field who will also share great lectures along the way, ranging from exploration history to biology, geology, ice and wildlife.
DAY 7 DEPART ANTARCTICA – BACK TO PUNTA ARENAS
Today it’s time to disembark and revisit King George Island. We follow the same procedures as when we were doing the reverse route. Having walked to the airport, we calmly await the sight of airplanes landing on the legendary airstrip.
We depart from Antarctica and spend the 2-hour flight time realizing what a truly spectacular adventure we have just completed.
Once we land in Chile, we are transferred to our hotel and enjoy an overnight stay.
DAY 8 PUNTA ARENAS
This morning concludes our fly-cruise expedition, and you can continue your adventures or begin your return home.