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Weddell Sea & Antarctic Peninsula

The Antarctic Peninsula provides a haven for the greatest concentration of wildlife on the continent. We have scheduled three days to explore the deep bays and fjords of the western Antarctic Peninsula. 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. Nestled amongst ice fls of the northern Weddell Sea is the little known Seymour Island. Locked away in its fossil-rich rocks is the story of the disappearance of the dinosaur and the collapse of the mythical Gondwanaland. 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 historic sites.

Inclusions

10 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 9 dinners
Comfortable cabin accommodation and use of all public areas on cruise
One night twin share accommodation in Punta Arenas
Flight from Punta Arenas, Chile to King George Island
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
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
Kayaking through Antarctic waters (optional)
Tour Provider World Expeditions
Number of Days
11
Price From
AUD $9,700
Start Location
Punta Arenas, Antarctica
End Location
Antarctica
Age Range
Min :14
Group Size
1 to 54
Tour Style
Original
Tour Themes
Marine/Cruise
Physical Rating
Mild
Tour departure dates
StartEndAvailabilityPrice
10 Mar 201920 Mar 2019AvailableAUD $9,700
ItineraryExpand
Day 1
Arrive at the group hotel in Punta Arenas for overnight accommodation on a twin share basis.
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 Polar Pioneer in the afternoon. We will settle into shipboard life and enjoy our first meal on board.
Days 3-5
We spend the next few days exploring the ice-filled Weddell Sea where weather systems and shifting pack ice dictate our schedule: we hope to visit the large Adelie and gentoo penguin colonies of Brow Bluff, and fossil-rich Seymour Island. We may hike to spectacular vantage points on Beak or Devil Islands; large tabular icebergs and volcanic scenery create long lasted memories.
Days 6-8
The Antarctic Peninsula's western flanks offer long days and relatively ice-free waters. We visit historic huts and Zodiac cruise through narrow straits and majestic icebergs, and if we're lucky, whale watch from the bow of the ship. A few landing points we hope to visit include Half Moon Bay, Lemaire Channel, Hydrurga Rocks and more. Aboard robust Zodiacs, we explore penguin rookeries, historic sites and scientific stations. Zodiac cruising brings us close to intricately shaped icebergs and seals basking on ice fls. Dwarfed by massive bergs, kayakers glide into secluded bays. We focus on immersing ourselves in nature, spontaneity and flexibility enhancing our enjoyment. Bubble-netting humpbacks demand a wake-up call, even at midnight! A curious leopard seal cruising amongst spectacular icebergs may mean postponing lunch. A host of choices are now open to us, and depending on the ice and weather conditions, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula is ours to explore. Our experienced leaders, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use this expertise to design our voyage from day to day. This allows us to make best use of the prevailing weather and ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.
Days 9-10
Some of us will approach this historic crossing with more than a little trepidation. But despite its reputation, there are many times when the Drake Passage resembles a lake, with lazy Southern Ocean swells rolling under the keel. On the other hand, we sometimes encounter rough crossings with large waves. The size of the waves and the force of the gale will take on gigantic proportions when related around the fire back home. A favourite pastime is to stand at the stern deck watching the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels, following in our wake, skillfully using the air currents created by the ship to gain momentum.
Day 11
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 to fellow passengers, who have shared the intensity of exploring this magnificent white wilderness. We will head off in our different directions, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature.