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Wild Antarctica Express aboard the Greg Mortimer

One of our voyages which removes both crossings of the Drake Passage, this trip misses none of the regions 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 is a hauntingly beautiful region that provides a haven for the greatest concentration of wildlife on the continent, and offers some of the world's most stunning and surreal landscapes. This voyage will take you beyond the fringes of the Peninsula, venturing into the Weddell Sea where iconic tabular icebergs stretch to the horizon. Following a flexible itinerary, we'll explore the western side of the Peninsula. Depending on weather and shifting pack ice, we hope to visit the large Adelie and Gentoo penguin colonies of Brown Bluff or Paulet Island, along with the fossil-rich Seymour Island.

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
Complimentary Polar Expedition Jacket
Keepsake Photo Book (one per booking) created from photography taken during your voyage
Hightlights
Fly over the Drake Passage rather than sail through it
Explore the ice-filled Weddell Sea
The most wildlife-rich part of Antarctica - penguins, whales, seals, sea birds
Spectacular mountains rising directly out of the sea
Historic sites
Icebergs and active glaciers
Kayaking through Antarctic waters (optional charge applies)
Diving, snorkelling and stand up paddle boarding (optional charges applies)
Tour Provider World Expeditions
Number of Days
11
Price From
AUD $11,800
Start Location
Punta Arenas, Antarctica
End Location
Antarctica
Age Range
Avg. 30+
Group Size
1 to 120
Tour Style
Standard
Tour Themes
Polar, Small Marine/Cruise
Physical Rating
Mild
Tour departure dates
StartEndAvailabilityPrice
21 Feb 202103 Mar 2021AvailableAUD $11,800
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
After settling into shipboard life, we will head through the Antarctic Sound to the eastern side of the Peninsula to reach the Weddell Sea. Access into the Weddell is heavily dependent on ice conditions, and our experienced leader will use their expertise to design our voyage from day to day. We aim to make landings or Zodiac excursions two to three times a day. Days will be spent 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 rookies, seal haul outs, historic huts, and a few of our other favourite spots along the peninsula. 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! There are many exciting places we can choose to visit; a sample of some of the places where we may land, hike, photograph or view spectacular wildlife follows: Brown Bluff Situated on the eastern side of Tabarin Peninsula, the spectacular 745-metre promontory of Brown Bluff towers over some 20,000 nesting pairs of Adélie penguins and hundreds of Gentoo penguins. Nesting skuas, snow petrels and pintados inhabit the upper slopes and kelp gulls screech overhead. Brown Bluff's volcanic origins have created some fantastically shaped boulders that lie scattered across the ash beach and make colourful nesting sites for some of the penguins. Paulet Island This tiny volcanic island forms the nesting grounds of some 120,000 pairs of Adélie penguins, and the surrounding seas literally teem with penguins. There is also a blue-eyed shag colony situated at one end of Paulet's long beach front. Leopard seals are often seen cruising offshore, in search of their next meal. Weddell seals sometimes haul out here for a quiet nap on the beach. Apart from its plentiful wildlife, Paulet is also rich in the history of Antarctic exploration, for it was here that the 22 men of Larsen's ship Antarctic arrived on 28 February, 1903 after their ship had sunk. The men wintered on Paulet, living on penguins and seals, until eventually Larsen and five of the men rowed across Erebus and Terror Gulf to be reunited with members of Otto Nordenskjold's geological exploration party. James Clark Ross Island Separated from Trinity Peninsula by Prince Gustav Channel, the beaches and rocks of this mighty island are a mix of volcanic and sedimentary; creating a geologists’ paradise. The beaches are populated with kelp gulls while Antarctic terns and skuas nest on the island's higher slopes. Many of the island's rocks are decorated with bright red and orange lichens, presenting fantastic photographic opportunities. Ice fls in the surrounding waters provide temporary floating homes for Weddell and Leopard Seals. We may walk up to Hidden Lake, following a stream rich in fossilised remains of deciduous trees, ferns, and even clamshells. If ice conditions and time permit, we may also circumnavigate this fantastic island; a rarely-accomplished feat. Devil Island This very rarely-visited island was named for its two striking peaks or 'horns'. It is the nesting site for some 10,000 pairs of Adélie penguins. If weather conditions permit, we may walk up a scree slope to the top of the island's western peak. A few hundred metres in height, the summit provides superb views into Erebus and Terror Gulf. On the upper slopes, you may even see nesting snow petrels and Wilson's Storm Petrels. For those who are less active, the continuous commute of penguins on the beach and the accompanying skua population provide endless fascination. We may also cruise in our zodiacs amongst the large numbers of icebergs that are often grounded offshore. View Point, Duse Bay View Point is one of the few places where we may be able to set foot on the Antarctic continent proper. A British hut was built here in 1953 and an Argentinian refuge hut was established a few years later. In front of the old hut are the remains of crabeater seal carcasses, which provided food for the sledge dogs. Thanks to the cold conditions, the well-preserved hut looks just as it did all those years ago – a fascinating place to get a feeling for the golden days of Antarctic exploration. 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.
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.