Antarctic Polar Discovery
11 Nights Starting at $8050
This Polar Circle and Antarctic Peninsula cruise passes through waters travelled by Humpback, Minke and Fin whales. Anchoring in various spots around the region, the expedition offers the chance to hike, kayak, and dive in the iceberg-heavy waters.
Your voyage begins where the world drops off. Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, is located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed “The End of the World,” and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening.
Day Two & Three:
Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you enjoy some of the same experiences encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too. 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 are a few of the birds you might see.
Day Four - Nine:
Options for Antarctic Peninsula activities are many, and no less great during the late summer. Humpback whales are prolific in this region, gorging themselves on krill before their migration north. The penguin chicks are also fledging, stirring up activity on the beaches while sleek leopard seals lie in wait, poised to attack the less fortunate ones.
Sites for your Antarctic adventures may include:
Livingston Island – Here you find a wide variety of gentoo and chinstrap penguins on Hannah Point, as well as southern giant petrels and elephant seals hauling out onto the beach.
Deception Island – Actually a subducted crater, this island opens into the sea and creates a natural harbor for the ship. Hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, and multiple bird species – cape petrels, kelp gulls, brown and south polar skuas, and Antarctic terns – can be seen here. Wilson’s storm petrels and black-bellied storm petrels also nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay.
Cuverville Island – A small precipitous island nestled between the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula and Rongé Island, Cuverville houses a large colony of gentoo penguins and breeding pairs of brown skuas.
Neko Harbour – An epic landscape of mammoth glaciers and endless wind-carved snow, Neko Harbour offers opportunities for a Zodiac cruise and landing that afford the closest views of the surrounding alpine peaks. You might also be able to set foot on the continent here.
Paradise Bay – You could take a Zodiac cruise in these sprawling, ice-flecked waters, where you have a good chance of seeing humpback and minke whales.
Pléneau & Petermann Islands – If the ice allows it, you may sail through the Lemaire Channel in search of Adélie penguins and blue-eyed shags. There’s also a good chance you’ll encounter humpback and minke whales as well as leopard seals.
Crystal Sound – Your journey takes you south along the Argentine Islands to this ice-packed body of water, and from here across the Polar Circle in the morning.
Detaille Island – You may make a landing at an abandoned British research station here, taking in the island’s lofty mountains and imposing glaciers.
Fish Islands – Further north you encounter one of the southernmost Adélie penguin and blue-eyed shag colonies in the Antarctic Peninsula.
Melchior Islands – These islands offer a beautiful landscape rich with icebergs. Leopard seals, crabeater seals, and whales are found here, and there are excellent opportunities for kayaking and diving.
Conditions on the Drake Passage determine the exact time of departure.
Day Ten -Eleven:
Your return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, you’re again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. But they seem a little more familiar to you now, and you to them.
Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, but with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.
Antarctica is the definition of "off the grid" - you will see and experience a place that very few people in the world get to.
Unbelievable mountains that rise up out of the ocean, massive icebergs and endless glaciers. You won't believe your eyes.
Whales, penguins, leopard seals, birds and more. Each day you will find yourself glued to the landscape to see what you spot.
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Around the Antarctic Peninsula, temperatures during the Antarctic summer are generally above
freezing (December - March). Temperatures range between -2 and 8 °C (28F and 46F). Together with a strong wind these low temperatures feel like real sub-zero temperatures. This is caused by the wind-chill factor. Warm and efficient clothing (and a flexible attitude) are the best means to overcome these sometimes harsh circumstances. Exploring remote and wild regions like Antarctica requires a sensible and flexible approach. Although there can be bright skies with sunshine the weather is unpredictable. Catabatic winds, caused by the icecaps and glaciers, can pick up suddenly and are a fierce opponent for polar travellers. This might lead to the cancellation of planned hikes as
hiking excursions can and will only take place in safe weather conditions.
What to Take
We recommend using a backpack for your convenience, or a medium-sized suitcase if you prefer. A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person. You will be responsible for carrying and handling your own luggage.
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
As conditions can change rapidly, make sure you have clothing and equipment suitable
for the worst weather. Required personal gear:
• Thermal underwear
• Fleece vest or jacket
• Downs jacket or spare fleece jacket
• Breathable (e.g. Gore-Tex®) jacket and trousers
• Trekking trousers
• Warm fleece hat
• Turtle neck (neck gaiter)
• Thermal under gloves (fleece finger gloves)
• Warm gloves (mittens)
• Thick hiking socks (plus spare socks)
• Thin under socks ( against blisters )
• Good sunglasses
• Sun cream / sun block
• Waterproof bag (for camera equipment), especially for in the zodiac.
• Optional items
• Hiking / walking poles
• Thermos bottle
• Rubber boots with good profile for zodiac landings and walks (only on s/v Rembrandt
van Rijn and s/v Noorderlicht)
The following items will be provided by Oceanwide Expeditions:
• Rubber boots with good profile for zodiac landings and walks (only available on m/v
Plancius and m/v Ortelius)
• MSR Snowshoes
Cotton clothing like normal t-shirts and jeans are not advisable as cotton tends to get wet
and stay wet while hiking.
Health & Safety:
• Face masks (required)
• Hand sanitizer (required)
• Pen (Please bring your own pen for filling out documents.)
• Rubber gloves
Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary
All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
Luggage transfer from pick-up point to the vessel on the day of embarkation, in Ushuaia.
Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation).
All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme.
Comprehensive pre-departure material.
During our “Basecamp” departures, all offered activities (including camping, kayaking, snowshoe/hiking, mountaineering, photo workshop) as well as our standard included shore excursions and zodiac cruises) are free of charge.
Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights
Pre- and post- land arrangements.
Passport and visa expenses.
Government arrival and departure taxes.
Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended).
Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.
The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).