Join Intrepid and special guests from the World Wildlife Fund Australia (WWF-Australia) on a 14-day expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula and Circle. Search the icy waters and white shores for whales and other creatures by day, then relax and enjoy an illuminating lecture program by night. Joining our regular team of Antarctic experts will be WWF-Australia scientists, sharing their insights into whale conservation while they conduct cutting edge research on these underwater giants. This adventure offers you the chance to explore Antarctica’s barren beauty on foot and by Zodiac, to encounter penguin rookeries, sight leopard seals and marvel at towering glaciers as they calve right before your eyes.
Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina
Day 2: Ushuaia (Embarkation)
Days 3 & 4: Cross the Drake Passage
Days 5 - 8: The South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula
Days 9 & 10: The Antarctic Circle
Day 11: Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands
Days 12 & 13: Drake Passage
Day 14: Ushuaia (disembarkation)
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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 two days travelling across the legendary waters of the Drake Passage, named after the famous English seafarer, Sir Frances Drake. If conditions allow there’ll be a chance to enjoy the outer deck space and scout for dolphins, whales and the odd albatross trailing past. A comprehensive optional lecture program will also get under way, with polar experts sharing some fascinating insights into Antarctic history, geology, biology and everything in-between. If the weather gods are on our side, we should reach the Islands of the Antarctic Peninsula by early evening on Day 4 – the first sighting of land always brings great excitement on any expedition south.
The adventure truly begins once the Antarctic Convergence is left in your wake and exchanged for four incredible days of exploring the Antarctic Peninsula. Stare wide-eyed at glaciers, mountains and an unimaginable array of wildlife as the sheer magnitude and rawness of the area comes to light. Every day is a new adventure, and you’ll explore ice-filled bays and channels as well as Antarctica itself on Zodiac excursions and by foot. While the landscapes will no doubt take your breath away, Antarctica is all about the wildlife. Visit penguin rookeries, spot humpback and minke whales and look out for leopard seals, all while calving glaciers crack through the immense silence. As you head out on your guided Zodiac cruises and immersive shore landings, the research team travelling with you will take another Zodiac to search of whales. Dr Friedleander and his team will deploy non-invasive tracking tools to gather data such as whale orientation, movement and speed. The suction-capped devices used also have two cameras attached, providing a first person (or first-whale!) view of underwater lives. The researchers will also use drone technology to track whale size and movement from above, as well as to observe krill populations in the southern oceans. While they may be exploring in different regions to you on any given day, they will report back regularly at the evening recap presentations. Dr Friedlaender presents engaging research lectures worldwide and will contribute to your onboard lecture program as well as being available for less formal interactions on the vessel.
Venturing to the ends of the earth is a moment to revel in as not all expeditions come this far south. Few people can say they’ve crossed the Antarctic Circle, and you are one of them. Weather conditions permitting, celebrations will be in order after reaching 66°33’ S. This is now deep Antarctica, home to Weddell seals, spectacular ice formations and the midnight sun. This region is also home to the densest concentration of wildlife in Antarctica. Toast to the sheer rawness of the surroundings and take it all in as a dream comes to fruition – while not a typical landing, the crossing of the Antarctic Circle leaves a lasting memory.
Say goodbye to the Antarctic Peninsula as we begin our return leg to Ushuaia. Take the opportunity to share photographs with fellow travellers, enjoy some final lectures from polar experts and speak with the WWF-Australia team about their whale research findings from their time on the Peninsula. Ultimately, Dr Friedlaender and his team hope that their research will lead to the establishment of an Antarctic marine protection area, preventing krill fishing in the region and safeguarding the health of baleen whales. With The Intrepid Foundation helping to facilitate this research voyage and supporting WWF-Australia’s Protecting Antarctic Giants project, this is a cause to get behind.
The journey’s final leg offers an opportunity to reflect on the spectacular scenery and prolific wildlife encountered over the course of the voyage. Your last days onboard are also a great opportunity to make use of Ocean Endeavour’s health and wellness facilities, including its saunas, spa, heated pool, yoga classes and gym. Spend some time with your shipmates, who you’ve no doubt bonded with, and enjoy a final together to toast the end of this Antarctic adventure.
Your Antarctic adventure draws to a close after breakfast this morning. Bid farewell your shipmates and transfer to the airport if you’re flying out today, or perhaps spend some more time exploring this incredible part of the world.
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