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Antarctic Peninsula - Deep South and Polar Circle Explorer

The fabled Antarctic Circle has long held fascination for adventurers and explorers. Join us as we venture towards the circle and discover a whole new world of rarely explored bays and coves - a treasure trove of exciting and remote new places, where only a few are fortunate enough to visit. With regular landings using our fleet of zodiacs we walk among the multitude of penguin rookeries and seal colonies in the vicinity of Gerlache Strait, Paradise Bay and the Lemaire Channel. Voyaging further south than most provides an added dimension to travel in this icy world, with the opportunity to cross the Antarctic Circle at 66°33' a tantalising proposition. The voyage offers those who like to explore under the sea the opportunity to dive under the ice laden waters, a never to be forgotten experience. Our voyage is timed late in the season in order to maximise the whale watching opportunities, passing through waters travelled by Humpback, Minke and Fin whales. There is no shortage of photographic possibilities or one can simply savour the natural beauty of this ice-bound land. Whether enjoying the surreal landscapes or participating in the activities on offer the wonder of the Antarctic is yours to discover. Our itinerary, longer than many trips to the Antarctic, offers ample time to explore the rich diversity of wildlife that flourishes in the sheltered bays, clustered castles of icebergs and steep glaciers that characterise the shoreline.

Inclusions

14 breakfasts, 13 lunches and 14 dinners
Comfortable cabin accommodation and use of all public areas on cruise
Specialist expedition staff
All shore excursions from the ship including the use of Zodiacs
Lectures, videos, slide and film shows and guide services
Medical services (there is a resident medical officer and infirmary on board)
Port taxes and port charges imposed by government authorities
Pre-departure information
Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation).
Hightlights
The most wildlife-rich part of Antarctica - penguins, whales, seals, sea birds
Narrow sheltered waterways and fjords
Spectacular mountains rising directly out of the sea
Historic sites
Active scientific stations
Great variety of terrain over short distances
Icebergs and active glaciers
Optional Diving
Tour Provider World Expeditions
Number of Days
14
Price From
AUD $8,500
Start Location
Ushuaia, Antarctica
End Location
Antarctica
Age Range
Avg. 30+
Group Size
1 to 114
Tour Style
Standard
Tour Themes
Polar, Small Marine/Cruise
Physical Rating
Mild
Tour departure dates
StartEndAvailabilityPrice
18 Mar 202031 Mar 2020AvailableAUD $8,500
ItineraryExpand
Day 1
You will be warmly greeted by the crew and expedition staff as you embark Ortelius in the afternoon. Sailing down the Beagle Channel, we will settle into shipboard life and enjoy our first meal on board.
Days 2-3
During these two days, we will sail across the Drake Passage. When we cross the Antarctic Convergence, we will arrive in the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area we may see Wandering Albatrosses, Grey Headed Albatrosses, Black-browed Albatrosses, Light- mantled Sooty Albatrosses, Cape Pigeons, Southern Fulmars, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Blue Petrels and Antarctic Petrels. Near the South Shetland Islands, we will glimpse at the first icebergs.
Days 4-5
We will sail directly to “High Antarctica”, passing the Melchior islands and the Schollaert Channel between Brabant and Anvers Island. At Cuverville Island, a small precipitous island nestled between the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula and Rongé Island we will attempt our first landing. It contains a large colony of Gentoo Penguins and breeding pairs of Brown Skuas. In Neko Harbour and Paradise Bay with its myriad icebergs and deep cut fjords, we have the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent. We shall have the opportunity to zodiac cruise between the icebergs in the inner parts of the amazing water way of Paradise Bay before taking the ship through the spectacular Lemaire Channel.
Days 6-8
After a long night of sailing around the myriad of islands south of Lemaire Channel we find ourselves near the Antarctic Circle. We pass through a narrow called 'The Gullet' between Adelaide Island and the Continent with spectacular scenery all around. We will attempt to gain permission to land at Rothera which is the primary British research station in Antarctica. Alternatively we'll explore the area and make a landing one of the many islands nearby. We will try to circumnavigate Pourqoui Pas Island named after the ship of the famous French explorer Charcot. The area is spectacular with narrow fjords and high mountains with cascading glaciers all around. On Horsesh Island we find the former British Base Y from the nineteen fifties which now stands unmanned but almost fully equipped from the time it was in service. Stonington Island is home to the former US East Base (1939-41) and later the British Base E. Base E was occupied until 1975. We will attempt a landing here which will also mark our southernmost landing site of the trip. As we head north again we may attempt a landing at the small Avian Island named due to the large number of bird species found here. Among them a large colony of Adélie penguins, Antarctic shag, South Polar Skua, and Wilson’s storm petrel. Day 6 – 8: (Alternate program if the route to the south of Crystal Sound/Hanusse Bay is blocked by ice) You may take a course around the western side of Adelaide Island to reach Marguerite Bay. Should ice conditions also not allow for this approach, you could continue the program by exploring the Antarctic Peninsula in and around the Penola and Gerlache Straits.
Days 9-11
In the morning of day 9 we will find ourselves near the Antarctic Circle once again as we head north into Crystal Sound. We have an excellent chance to see Humpback whales here as we approach Fish Islands for a Zodiac cruise and possible landing. As always the scenery is unparalleled in beauty and we may well see more Adélie penguins among the myriads of icebergs large and small. Petermann and Pléneau Islands offer a great variety of bird life and some excellent opportunities to Zodiac cruise amongst icebergs with good chances to see both Leopard seal and Crabeater seals. Minke whales and Humpback whales are also most often spotted in this area along with Gentoo penguins. We aim to enter Wilhelmina Bay with truly excellent whale watching opportunities. Numerous Humpback whales often feed here and if the weather conditions allow we may try and launch the Zodiacs to experience them at closer range. At Foyn Harbour we visit the wreck of Guvernøren, and old whaling factory vessel which caught fire and burned in 1915.
Days 12-13
In the Drake Passage, we will have again a chance of seeing many seabirds, and to take advantage of the knowledge of our lecture team.
Day 14
During the early morning we will cruise up the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia. It is a busy time, with people saying farewell to our crew and others who have shared the intensity of being in a magnificent white wilderness. We will head off in our different directions, hopefully with a new found sense of the power of natural forces.