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Discover what it means to be a true Antarctic explorer on a 14-day expedition to the wild western side of the Antarctic Peninsula with Intrepid. This voyage gives you the best of both sides of the Peninsula – the wildlife-filled, ice-packed channels and explorer-history of the west, and the rugged remoteness of a vast wilderness found through an expedition through the Antarctic Sound. It’s here that huge tabular icebergs dominate the view and a true sense of isolation and the landscape’s purity can be found on Paulet Island, the Danger Islands and the Eagle Group. It’s here that Shackleton and his crew fought for survival. You'll set sail on this voyage to unchartered Antarctica onboard the state-of-the-art expedition vessel Ocean Endeavour and sail through spectacular icy landscapes and channels navigated only a few times per year, before returning to the more familiar but no less thrilling shore of the western coastline. For the more adventurous traveller, this is a rare opportunity to see Antarctica’s wild side.
Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina
Day 2: Ushuaia (Embarkation)
Days 3 & 4: Cross the Drake Passage
Days 5 - 7: East Antarctic Peninsula
Days 8 - 11: West Antarctic Peninsula
Days 12 & 13: Cross the Drake Passage
Day 14: Disembarkation in 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.
Spend the next few days traversing the infamous Drake Passage, named after Sir Frances Drake, on your way to the Antarctic Peninsula. While crossing the passage you can get acquainted with the many first-class amenities available on the Ocean Endeavour – maybe do a yoga class or brush up on your photography skills in preparation for your arrival. The researchers and scientists travelling with you will begin their onboard lecture program over the next few days and (if conditions are favourable) you’ll also be able to join them on deck to spot seabirds and maybe whales. Expect to reach the peninsula on the evening of Day 4.
The next few days will be spent exploring the eastern end of Antarctic Sound and peninsula. The vast Weddell Sea is edged by a seemingly endless coastline of basaltic beaches, islands that tower from the sea, and collections of islands that few humans have laid eyes on. This is where British explorer Ernest Shackleton and his crew began their legendary journey north after their ship was crushed and sunk. There are so many potential landing sites from this location, like Paulet Island with its large Adelie penguin rookery and Swedish Antarctic Expedition history; the sweeping Prince Gustav Channel to the south; and the protected and glacier-lined coves of Duse Bay. Spend the next few days exploring on Zodiac boat rides and onshore excursions across a number of potential remote landing sites around the Eagle Island group. Keep an eye out for minke whales and don’t forget about the chance to take an unforgettable polar plunge, to step onto your very own piece of sea ice or any other optional extras. No two days on any expedition are the same, and landing sites are subject to change depending on the elements and potential wildlife-spotting opportunities, but our expert expedition crew will make sure each day is memorable with a sense of exploration unlike anywhere else on earth.
After three days exploring the Peninsula’s lesser-visited east side, it’s time to cross back through the Antarctic Sound for the peninsula's western shores. Huge icebergs that have broken off from an ice shelf often greet you as the ship makes its way from east to west, and there may be opportunities to land at locations like Esperanza Station (the Argentine research hut) and Brown Bluff – a mass of volcanic rock that towers 678 metres high above the homes of the thousands of Adelie and gentoo penguins. For the next four days, explore well-known sites like Orne Harbour, Paradise Bay or Port Lockroy as you head on wildlife sightings, take to Zodiacs for small-group outings and soak up the unforgettable vistas that greet you at every turn. With multiple landing sites available, your Ocean Endeavour crew will work out the best places to stop, taking into account the elements, accessibility and the possibility for wildlife sightings. You’ll soon notice the contrast with the sense of isolation on the east side, as you won’t find an excursion on the western side lasts long without a parade of penguins or marine mammal sighting. After four memorable days, the ship will turn north again and cross the Bransfield Strait and head through the South Shetland Islands. Now’s the perfect time to join your crew and fellow explorers on the aft deck for a final toast to the Antarctic.
Settle back into your comfortable surroundings of the Ocean Endeavour for the return journey across the Drake Passage. Your ship will track north towards Cape Horn and your final destination in Ushuaia, Argentina. This is your last chance to soak up the experience and knowledge of your expert expedition crew before the end of the trip, so make sure you join them on deck with binoculars in hand to spot the surrounding wildlife. Now is also the chance to catch up with your shipmates and share stories about your voyage over a meal or a drink at the bar
This morning, you will bid farewell to the Ocean Endeavour as you disembark in Ushuaia. With no further activities planned for today, you’re free to depart at any time, with short drives to the airport for your onward flight.
The Ocean Endeavour is a comfortable, well-appointed expedition ship expertly engineered to explore the polar regions. The ship has an ice-strengthened hull (Ice Class 1B), zodiacs for exploration and remote landings, generous deck space and advanced navigation equipment. It offers a superb experience for up to 199 guests with facilities that include a nautical lounge, two restaurants, a sundeck and plenty of deck space for observation of the polar landscapes.
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