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. On Cuverville Island, a small precipitous island, nestled between the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula and Danco Island, we will find a large colony of Gentoo Penguins and breeding pairs of Brown Skuas. If we land on Danco Island, we can observe Chinstrap Penguins, and possibly Weddell and Crabeater Seals. In 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. When sailing to Paradise Bay, with its myriad icebergs and deep cut fjords, we will have the opportunity for zodiac cruising between the icebergs in the inner parts of the fjords. In this area, we have good chances to see Humpback Whales and Minke Whales. After sailing through the Neumayer Channel, we hope to get permission to 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 also 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. 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. Sailing north through Neumayer Channel, we will arrive at the Melchior Islands with a very beautiful landscape with icebergs, where we may encounter Leopard Seals, Crabeater Seals and whales.
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.