You will be warmly greeted by the crew and expedition staff as you embark Plancius in the afternoon. Sailing down the Beagle Channel, we will settle into shipboard life and enjoy our first meal on board.
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.
We will sail directly to "High Antarctica", passing the Melchior islands and the Schollaert Channel, between Brabant and Anvers Island. We will sail to the Neumayer Channel, where we will position our ship for the multi-activity base camp. The protected waters around Wiencke Island will become our playground for all activities. In this alpine environment there will be great opportunities to scout the region on foot, by zodiac and during kayak trips. Walkers will find opportunities to use snowshs on hikes near the shore lines, and the mountaineers will find their challenge by climbing hills and view points further inland, ie. Jabet Peak (540 m). All climbs and excursions can only be conducted in good weather conditions. We plan to stay for two nights at anchor, in order to implement two camp nights and two full activity days. We will visit the British research station and post office, Port Lockroy, on Goudier Island. Close to Port Lockroy, we may also offer a landing on Jougla Point, with Gentoo Penguins and Imperial Shags. We will sail through the spectacular Lemaire Channel to Pleneau and Petermann Island, where we can find Adelie Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags. In this area there are good chances to encounter Humpback Whales, Minke Whales and Fin Whales. Our second Basecamp night will be erected near the continent, where we will choose a camp site which is suitable and close to the next day's activity. The mountaineers will hope to reach the summit of Mt Demaria (640 m) at Waddington Bay. A visit to one of the scientific stations in Antarctica, will give you an insight into the life of modern Antarcticans working on the White Continent. Further south, we may have time to visit the Ukrainian Vernadsky Station, where we will receive a warm welcome from the station crew. When sailing to Paradise Bay, with its myriad icebergs and deep cut fjords, we will have the opportunity for zodiac cruising and kayaking between the icebergs in the inner parts of the fjords. In this area we will have good chances to see Humpback Whales and Minke Whales. Hikers, mountaineers and photographers will spend time ashore in this area. In the afternoon at Neko Harbour, we will have the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent in a magnificent landscape of huge glaciers; and enjoy the landscape during zodiac cruises, hikes and kayak excursions. A small group of mountaineers may climb up on the higher grounds of the glacier. We will spend the night at Neko, or near Paradise Bay, with a camp erected ashore. We will leave Neko Harbour in the early morning, after breaking our last camp. We will sail via the Melchior Islands, towards the open sea of the Drake Passage.
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.
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.