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Weddell Sea - Antarctic Discoverer

Journey south to the incomparable Antarctic Peninsula, home to a vast array of wildlife and a dramatic landscape which never fails to astound. Our voyage will take us beyond the fringes of the peninsula, venturing into the Weddell Sea where tabular icebergs stretch to the horizon. We hope to visit Paulet Island - home to millions of Adelie penguins, set foot on the continent at Brown Bluff, and explore Brandy Bay & Snow Hill Island. Heading for the South Shetland islands we hope to visit Half Moon Island and Deception Island before returning to Ushuaia. With regular shore excursions to walk among the many penguins and other wildlife, along with a fascinating and informative lecture program presented by our expert expedition crew, the wonder of the Antarctic is yours to discover.

Inclusions

11 breakfasts, 10 lunches and 11 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
Scuba Diving (optional)
Tour Provider World Expeditions
Number of Days
12
Price From
AUD $7,950
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
11 Mar 201922 Mar 2019AvailableAUD $7,950
ItineraryExpand
Day 1
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.
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. The Master of the vessel may decide to sail the narrow English Strait, between Robert Island and Greenwich Island, if the conditions are favourable. We will then be in sight of Aitcho Island at the South Shetlands in the late evening of the third day. If the conditions do not allow us to manuvre through the English Strait, then we will continue sailing south of Livingston. These volcanic islands or the South Shetlands, are windswept and often shrouded in mist and fog, but do offer subtle pleasures. There is a nice variety of flora (mosses, lichens and flowering grasses) and fauna; such as Gentoo Penguins, Chinstrap Penguins and southern Giant Petrels.
Days 4-8
We will sail directly we will sail into the Weddell Sea through the often ice-clogged Antarctic Sound. Huge tabular icebergs will announce our arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. The Weddell Sea is largely covered in sea ice during the entire year but the northwest corner offers great opportunities for discovery in places that only few ever visit. The sites for our activities may include: Paulet Island with a huge number of Ad lie penguins and Brown Bluff where we may set foot on the Continent. On Dundee Island, we may reach the uninhabited Argentinean Petrel station with the large aircraft hangar and a myriad of Antarctic fur seals and Southern elephant seals along the coastline. Further into the Weddell Sea, we have a wide range of options depending on the ice conditions. James Clark Ross Island offers a number of rarely visited places that can be explored. The imagination is spurred on by names like Brandy Bay and Whiskey Bay. Devil Island has a large Ad lie penguin rookery and some stunning views of Erebus and Terror Gulf, while Snow Hill Island offers spectacular sedimentary rocks and tell tales of incredible Antarctic exploration in the early 20th Century. The Weddell Sea is prone to difficult ice conditions and it will demand and open and adventurous mind to embark on this journey in to the wild Weddell Sea.
Day 9
The volcanic islands of the South Shetlands are windswept and often shrouded in mist, but do offer subtle pleasures. There is a nice variety of flora (mosses, lichens and flowering grasses) and fauna, such as Gentoo penguins, Chinstrap penguins and Southern Giant petrels. In Deception Island, our ship braves through the spectacular Neptune's Bellows and into the flooded caldera. Here we find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, thousands of Cape petrels and many Kelp gulls, Brown and South polar skuas and Antarctic terns. Wilson's storm petrels and Black-bellied storm petrels nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay. Alternatively, we may try to conduct activities near Half Moon Island. Here we find Chinstrap penguins and Weddell seals often haul out on the beach near the Argentinean station Camara. Around noon, we depart for the Drake Passage.
Days 10-11
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 12
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.