Discover what it means to be a true Antarctic explorer on a 14-day expedition to the Great White Continent with Intrepid. Onboard the sophisticated Ocean Endeavour, gain an insight into wildlife spotting, solar eclipse viewing, photo taking and weather watching with a series of lectures and workshops to make the most out of your voyage. On this special voyage you'll also be joined by a special guest – none other than eclipse enthusiast and all-round astrophysics, space exploration and geophysics expert John Mason MBE. Aside from the rugged icy landscapes, once-in-a-lifetime wildlife spotting and immersive Zodiac explorations, gear up for the main event: an early morning viewing of a total solar eclipse, captivating all eyes on the main deck.
Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina
Day 2: Ushuaia (Embarkation)
Days 3 - 5: At sea
Day 6: Total Solar Eclipse (Eclipse Point)
Day 7: Elephant Island
Day 8: Weddell Sea
Days 9 & 10: Antarctic Peninsula
Day 11: South Shetland Islands
Days 12 & 13: Cross the Drake Passage
Day 14: Ushuaia
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Welcome to Ushuaia, Argentina, the world’s southernmost city, for the start of your Antarctic adventure. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel to settle in before meeting your fellow travellers. If you’re arriving earlier there are plenty of activities to choose from. Visit Tierra del Fuego National Park on a full day’s adventure, tackle part of the Martial Mountains for a memorable view over the Beagle Channel, or perhaps just a walk around town and enjoy the cafe scene. Tonight’s all about introductions, and what better place to do it than to try a traditional asado – an Argentinean-style barbecue.
Today you'll board the Ocean Endeavour for your Antarctic expedition later in the day, so this morning continue to explore Ushuaia. Perhaps check out the Museo Maritimo to brush up on local history, or just enjoy a morning strolling this languid town. Once you’ve boarded the ship, meet your expert crew and take a tour of the amenities and services available on the ship. Wave goodbye to Argentina and say hello to the legendary Drake Passage.
The next three days are all about relaxing and learning about the wildlife, geography and natural weather events coming up. You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy presentations from marine biologists, astrophysicists and meteorologists to get you up to speed on all things Antarctica. You’ll also have the chance to get to know your fellow explorers in the onboard bar and dining areas. There are things on at different times of the day, so do as little or as much learning (and chatting) as you like! The Ocean Endeavour is equipped with a gym, library, heated saltwater pool, jacuzzi, sauna and more, so there’s always something to keep you busy while crossing the open waters.
This morning is your best chance to view an incredibly rare total solar eclipse in one of the best places to do so. Overnight, the ship will have travelled into what’s called the zone of 100% obscuration – a specific region of coordinates which will allow the eclipse to last the longest possible time. Early in the morning, you’ll be invited on deck to experience the eclipse in all its glory through (provided) specialised goggles. On deck and helping you to understand the phenomenon will be Dr John Mason MBE, who's been actively involved in science for over 40 years, with astrophysics, space exploration and geophysics as his main areas of expertise. For over 30 years he has been leading overseas expeditions all over the world to observe and record natural phenomena such as annular and total solar eclipses, the polar aurora and major meteor showers. There will also be expert photographers on hand to help you capture the magic moment. Afterwards, head back to your cabin to relax and take stock as the ship continues to head west to Elephant Island.
Catch a glimpse of the first stretch of land since the Beagle Channel as Elephant Island comes into view today. This landmass sits in the outer reaches of the South Shetland Islands, close to the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. The island is where British explorer Ernest Shackleton and his crew of 28 landed in 1916 after losing their ship – the Endurance – far off the coast. You’ll pass by a monument on Point Wild commemorating Captain Luis Alberto Pardo who led the rescue – survivors used the point as refuge for over four months. Icebergs, jagged mountaintops and marine life – you’ve definitely hit the Antarctic now.
Continue your exploration further south towards the Antarctic Peninsula and stop by the eastern shores of Joinville Island. Here you’ll go in search of Adelie penguins, easily recognised by the white ring around their eyes. Adelies nest at this time of year, and if you’re lucky you might get to witness some hatchlings scattered across the shores. This is one of the largest Adelie penguin colonies in the world, and as a result attracts other, predatory, marine life such as leopard seals.
Head towards the main Antarctic Peninsula today – this is where the south really comes to life. During the summer months, tens of thousands of gentoo penguins find a piece of rock that they can nest on and incubate their eggs. You’ll get the chance to jump on a Zodiac and land on shore beside the wildlife – an unforgettable experience deep in the Antarctic wilderness. Over the next two days, you’ll also catch sight of rugged glacial faces, icebergs and a heap more wildlife, including many seal species. The onboard expedition team will also be scouting for humpback whale sightings off the boat, with thousands migrating to Antarctic waters at this time of year to feed. Make sure your camera is fully charged and you’ve got ample image storage available – you won’t want to miss a thing!
The Antarctic adventure isn’t over just yet. Your ship will head north towards the Shetland Islands, known for their elephant and fur seal colonies, water-bound volcanos and a number of scientific bases. Be sure to spend twilight out on deck, too – the Shetlands have some of the best sunsets in the south. With a drink in hand and surrounded by your shipmates, toast another Antarctic day in style.
It may be time to cross the Drake Passage and head back to civilisation, but these sea days onboard the Ocean Endeavour are not without things to do. Gaze out to the horizon to spot orca and seabirds, participate in onboard workshops, learn a thing or two about photo editing, and catch up with some travel pals over a drink, sharing your best memories of the expedition.
Arrive in Ushuaia port early in the morning for disembarkation.
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