Our journey begins in Ushuaia where we will overnight in a hotel.
Morning is free to explore Ushuaia and the surrounding area, to do some last minute shopping, stroll around Ushuaia and down to the port or maybe go for a walk in the nearby National Park. The transfer to the ship takes place in the afternoon. Once on board there is a get together for introductions to the expedition team, to learn about the ship and its layout, talk about the itinerary for the next 10 days and participate in the obligatory lifeboat drill. Departure from Ushuaia is normally around 6:00 p.m, and we set sail through the Beagle Channel in the early evening. The long days mean plenty of evening light in which to experience the beauty of the channel, and to perhaps enjoy your first wildlife sightings.
Day 3 - 4
Sea conditions in the Drake Passage can vary from dead calm (known as 'Drake Lake'), to rough and stormy (known as 'Drake Shake'). As you cross the Drake Passage our team of experts is out on deck to help you spot whales and identify seabirds. There is also a programme of talks, covering the wildlife, the ice, and polar history. This prepares you for your adventure to the 'White Continent'. The excitement intensifies as you cross the Antarctic Convergence, where the cold waters of the Antarctic Ocean meet the warmer waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. You feel the change as the air gets cooler. Huge icebergs loom up against the horizon in increasing numbers, and Wandering albatrosses, petrels and other birds which thrive in this cold, remote ocean are frequently seen.
Day 5 - 7
Icebergs are the first attractions that welcome us to Antarctica. Massive floating bergs become more common as we get closer to land and we catch our first glimpse of the Peninsula, with its grand snow-covered mountains. In addition to spotting icebergs, we'll likely spot penguins chilling out on ice floes and whales feeding and swimming in the frigid waters.
As soon as we can, the Zodiacs will be readied for our first landing in the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula. The first time you experience this immense wilderness up close can be a numbing experience. The silence is great, the vastness is even greater. Thankfully the noisy locals - penguins and seals - are there to remind us that this wonderful landscape isn't just a dream.
The Expedition Team will monitor the ice and weather conditions to determine which landing sites we can visit. With many sites to choose from, each expedition presents new opportunities for exploring the white continent by Zodiac and land. Swimming in Antarctica is perhaps the most adventurous option you can enjoy, by taking a polar-dip in the water at Neko Harbor. A typical day in this wildlife wonderland will be spent listening to calving glaciers at Petermann Island, watching penguins waddle around a beach, or taking a hike atop a hill for a panoramic view of Port Lockroy. Whatever you prefer, the photographic opportunities are endless.
From King George Island, we will fly across the Drake Passage to Punta Arenas to spend the night. We will be transferred from the airport to your hotel to spend the night.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport in Punta Arenas for your homeward flight.