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Antarctic Peninsula Express aboard the Greg Mortimer

One of our voyages which removes both crossings of the Drake Passage, this trip misses none of the Peninsula's highlights. Commencing and concluding with flights to King George Island we maximise our time on the white continent but minimise our time at sea. The Antarctic Peninsula provides a haven for the greatest concentration of wildlife on the continent. We have scheduled seven days to explore the deep bays and fjords of the western Antarctic Peninsula aboard the Greg Mortimer. With regular landings on our zodiacs, we walk among the multitude of penguin rookeries and seal colonies in the vicinity of Deception Island, Gerlache Strait, Paradise Bay and the Lemaire Channel. There are also ample opportunities to observe the abundant variety of seabirds and sight Humpback and Minke Whales as they surface close to our boat. Our time onshore will also include visits to scientific stations and historical sites.

Inclusions

10 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 8 dinners
Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner aboard the ship
Two nights hotel accommodation in Punta Arenas - one pre and post voyage (twin share)
Return flights Punta Arenas to King George Island
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
Keepsake Photo Book (one per booking) created from photography taken during your voyage
Complimentary Polar Expedition Jacket
Hightlights
Fly over the Drake Passage rather than sail through it
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
Icebergs and active glaciers
Kayaking through Antarctic waters (optional charge applies)
Snorkelling through Antarctic waters (optional charge applies)
Alpine trekking and snowshoeing in Antarctica (optional charge applies)
Tour Provider World Expeditions
Number of Days
11
Price From
AUD $11,500
Start Location
Punta Arenas, Antarctica
End Location
Antarctica
Age Range
Avg. 30+
Group Size
1 to 120
Tour Style
Standard
Tour Themes
Adventure, Polar, Small Marine/Cruise
Physical Rating
Mild
Tour departure dates
StartEndAvailabilityPrice
05 Jan 202115 Jan 2021AvailableAUD $11,500
ItineraryExpand
Day 1
Join in Punta Arenas and transfer (off selected flights) to the group hotel for overnight accommodation in a twin share room.
Day 2
Fly to King George Island and explore the port until we embark the ship in the afternoon. You will be warmly greeted by the crew and expedition staff as you embark the Greg Mortimer. We will settle into shipboard life and enjoy our first meal on board.
Days 3-9
Over the next few days a host of choices are open to us, and depending on ice and weather conditions, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula is ours to explore. Our experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design our voyage from day to day. This allows us to make best use of the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities. Because we are so far south, we will experience approximately 18-20 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish. We will generally try for two landings or Zodiac excursions each day; cruising along spectacular ice cliffs; following whales that are feeding near the surface; and landing on the continent and its off-shore islands to visit penguin rookeries, seal haul outs, historic huts, and a few of our other favourite spots along the peninsula. There will be plenty of time for sleep when you get home. During this voyage, there will be an opportunity to camp ashore (weather and time permitting). This will give you the chance to sample the style of adventure that Scott, Shackleton and other legendary Antarctic explorers experienced, although with slightly better equipment and in more comfort! Rest assured our warm and comfortable ship with its hot showers will only be a short distance away! There are many exciting places we can choose to visit; a sample of some of the places where we may land, hike, and photograph or view spectacular wildlife follows: Paradise Harbour A protected bay surrounded by magnificent peaks and spectacular glaciers, the rocky cliffs of this spectacular harbour provide perfect nesting sites for blue-eyed shags, terns and gulls. The serenity of Paradise Harbour envelops us once the ship’s engine is turned off. This is a haven for whales and we keep our eyes open for humpbacks, orcas, minkes, and crabeater seals, as we explore the bay in Zodiacs. Hydrurga Rocks This group of low-lying unprotected granitic rocks protrude from the sea, swept by ocean swells. At first these rocks appear uninteresting, but on closer investigation, calm channels lead to a hidden interior where Weddell seals are hauled out on protected snow beds and noisy chinstrap penguins raise their families on rocky platforms. Hydrurga is the Latin family name for leopard seal (Hydrurga Leonina), and on occasions we see some skulking in the shallows. There are many places to simply sit and watch the rise and fall of clear green water and listen to the magic sounds and calls of the wildlife. Half Moon Island This wildlife-rich island is tucked into a neat bay at the eastern end of Livingston Island. On a clear day, the glaciers and mountains of Livingston Island dominate the vista. There is a large chinstrap penguin colony tucked in between basaltic turrets coloured by yellow and orange lichens. Gulls nest on these turrets and there are often fur seals and elephant seals hauled out on the pebble beaches. There is a large rookery of nesting blue-eyed shags at one end of the island, while at the other end of the island lies a small Argentinian station that is sometimes occupied by scientists conducting research on the penguin colony and surrounding waterways. Lemaire Channel If ice conditions allow, standing on the observation deck of the Greg Mortimer quietly as the ship sails along the narrow Lemaire Channel could certainly be one of the highlights of our voyage. Cliffs tower 700 metres / 2,296 feet straight out of the ocean on either side of the ship. The water can sometimes be so still that perfect reflections are mirrored on the surface and it is clear to see why this Channel is often called “Kodak Alley”. Gigantic icebergs may clog the channel, creating navigational challenges for our Captain and crew; occasionally they may even obstruct our passage. Port Lockroy Located on Goudier Island, British Port Lockroy is an important site for both scientific research and visitors to the Antarctic continent. Designated a historic site in 1994 and opened to the Antarctic tourism industry in 1996, it was discovered in 1904 and used by the whaling industry in the first half of the 1900s. It was part of the British Operation Tabarin during World War II, and was later used as a British Research Station. Today, Pork Lockroy is manned by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust and operates as a museum, gift shop and post office for visitors from passing Antarctic expeditions. You can even send a post card home from the Penguin Post Office, the world’s most southern Post Office. Neko Harbour Located in Andvord Bay, Neko Harbour is an inlet home to gentoo penguins, and regularly welcomes Weddell seals. The scenery is dramatic - towering peaks and calving glaciers surround the harbour. The thundering crack of the glaciers as they calve is sure to stop you in your tracks. Robert Point A fine example of the South Shetland Islands – tiny ts of land that are literally alive with wildlife. Here, there are two species of penguins breeding - chinstrap and gentoo. It is not uncommon to find wallows of elephant seals that are 60 beasts strong. Giant petrels nest on the ridgeline.
Day 10
This morning we disembark the ship and take a flight to Punta Arenas to King George Island. We transfer to the hotel for overnight accommodation on a twin share basis. NOTE: King George Island is located at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. This is one of the most remote place on Earth. A clear sky with perfect visibility is required in order to take off and land safely. We apologise in advance if you experience any delays.
Day 11
After breakfast at the hotel the trip concludes.