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An 11-day itinerary to explore the pristine wilderness of the Antarctic Peninsula, the South Shetland Islands and the Weddell Sea. The Expedition team will take you to many islands where you will observe remarkable wildlife like rookeries of Gentoo penguins waddling on the shore. Enter an enchanting world where only a few people have travelled.
Day 1: Depart from Ushuaia
Day 2-3: Crossing the Drake Passage
Day 4-6: Exploring the Weddell Sea
Day 7-8: Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands
Day 9-10: At Sea
Day 11: Arrival in Ushuaia
You will embark the ship, the “Ushuaia”, in the afternoon and be welcomed by the Expedition team. You will settle in your cabin; the ship will then set sail and navigate through the Beagle Channel.
You will cross the iconic Drake Passage named after the renowned explorer, Sir Francis Drake, where cold polar water meets the warmer water coming from the north and create rich nutrients, essential for the biodiversity of the region. Go out on deck and admire the marine and bird life, including albatrosses flying over the ship. The open bridge policy allows you to join the officers and learn the basics of polar navigation and enjoy the view from the bridge. A full program of lectures will be offered onboard.
You can see a lot of tabular icebergs drifting and, in some years, the Erebus & Terror Gulf, as well as the Weddell Sea, are covered with multilayer ice. You will cross the Antarctic Sound to travel on the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula, which is 30 miles long and 7-12 miles wide. On the western side of the sound is Hope Bay and the Argentine Station Esperanza which are suitable for landings, as well as Brown Bluff situated south of Hope Bay.
The Weddell Sea is home to the largest population of Adélie penguins, you can see them in places like Devil Island and Paulet Island. The region is rich with history, the most bizarre is perhaps the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1901-1903. The expedition was under the command of the geologist Otto Nordenskjöld and captained by the famous Norwegian Carl Anton Larsen. The ship was trapped in the ice and sank, but their men survived and managed to carry out important scientific research in the area.
As the ship approaches the South Shetland Islands, it will reveal icebergs drifting along the coast and snow-capped mountains dotting the area. The South Shetland Islands consists of twenty islands and islets, if conditions are favourable you will be able to land ashore accompanied by lecturers and naturalists. You will see the vast rookeries of penguins as well as Antarctic fur seals and Southern elephant seals on the shore. After navigating through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island, you will cruise to King George Island, the largest of the South Shetland Islands. You will admire Adélie and Chinstrap Penguins, Kelp Gulls, Blue-eyed Cormorants, Antarctic Terns and Southern Giant Petrels. The island is also home to scientific bases of many different countries. Macaroni, Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins, as well as elephant seals, which await you at Livingston Island.
The Antarctic Peninsula will provide you with excitement, great explorers have been travelling in this pristine wilderness. You will have plenty of time to explore pristine landscapes of ice mountains and waterways. Apart from penguins and seabirds, you will see diverse wildlife such as Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals as well as Minke, killer (orca) and humpback whales. If conditions allow, you will navigate through places like the Gerlache Strait, Errera Channel and Neumayer Channel. Furthermore, the expedition cruise will take you to Paradise Bay, which has impressive glacial fronts and mountains, Cuverville Island and its vast colony of Gentoo penguin – the largest colony in the Antarctic Peninsula. You can also visit the British Museum and Post Office at Port Lockroy.
You will leave Antarctica and head back to Ushuaia through the iconic Drake Passage. You can join lectures and get on the deck for your last seabird and whale watching. You can also take the chance to share you experience and memorable moments with other travellers on your way back.
After breakfast, you will disembark the ship and say farewell to the Expedition team and travellers.
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