Antarctic Peninsula: Basecamp Plancius

Cruise
Duration (in days): 11

From: Ushuaia

To: Ushuaia

Price on request
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Overview

Explore the Antarctic from ‘Basecamp Plancius’ on this 11 day itinerary into High Antarctica.

'Base camp' is the starting place from which our activities start, and on selected voyages we offer activity modules which go beyond our normal shore program. Our philosophy is to keep sea days as short as possible in order to spend as much time as possible ashore.

The vessel will stay for two or three days at specific locations, giving our active passengers a comfortable hub from which to pursue onshore activities; mountaineers to climb mountain ranges (soft climbing), hikers to participate in long walks, photographers to explore photo opportunities, campers (on Antarctica only) to enjoy life at shore base camps, kayakers and zodiac passengers to explore nearby shores where the ship cannot reach.

Passengers preferrring a gentler pace will enjoy our zodiac excursions and can follow the normal shore program and land excursions (easy to moderate walks and hikes with focus on wildlife) and we aim to visit some manned research stations.

  • Spot albatross and petrels
  • Encounter Humpback, Minke & Fin whales
  • Visit the former British research station & post office
  • Stop at Jougla Point to see Gentoo penguins, Leopard seals & Blue-eyed shags
Itinerary

Day 1: Embarkation and departure from Ushuaia

In the afternoon, we embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel and sail through this scenic waterway for the rest of the evening.

Day 2-3: At sea

During these two days we sail across the Drake Passage. When we cross the Antarctic Convergence, we 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 petrels, Southern fulmars, Wilson’s Storm petrels, Blue petrels and Antarctic petrels. Near the South Shetland Islands, we spot our first icebergs.

Day 4-8: Antarctica

We will sail directly to “High Antarctica”, passing the Melchior Islands and the Schollaert Channel between Brabant and Anvers Island. We will sail to the Neumayer Channel, where we position our ship for the multi activity base camp. The protected waters around Wiencke Island will become our playground for all activities. In this alpine environment there are great opportunities to scout the region on foot, per zodiac and during kayak trips. Walkers will find opportunities to use snowshoes on hikes near the shore lines and the mountaineers will find their challenge by climbing hills and viewpoints further inland, i.e. Jabet Peak (540 m). All climbs and excursions can only be conducted in good weather conditions.

We plan to stay two overnights at anchor in order to implement two camp nights and two full activity days. We will visit the former British research station and the post office, now living museum, Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. Close to Port Lockroy we may also offer a landing on Jougla Point with Gentoo penguins and Blue-eyed shags. We look out for Leopard seals, Crabeater seals and whales.

In good conditions and time allowing we sail through the spectacular Lemaire Channel to Booth Island, Pléneau Island 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.

At Neko Harbour we will have the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent in a magnificent landscape of huge glaciers and permanent ice fields and enjoy the spectacle on zodiac cruises, hikes and kayak excursions. A small group of mountaineers may climb up on higher grounds of the glacier. We will spend the night at Neko Harbour or in nearby Paradise Bay with a camp erected ashore. We will leave early morning after breaking our last camp. We sail via Melchior Islands towards the open sea of the Drake Passage.

Day 9-10: At sea

On our way north, we are again followed by a great selection of seabirds while crossing the Drake Passage.

Day 11: Disembark ship

We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark.

Info

A Basecamp itinerary to the Antarctic Peninsula is illustrated but all itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions, the availability of landing sites and opportunities to see wildlife and the final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.

During our “Basecamp Plancius” departures all offered activities (including camping, kayaking, snowshoe/hiking, mountaineering, photo workshops as well as our standard included shore excursions and zodiac cruises) are free of charge, except for scuba diving (this is supplemented).

What's included: 

  • 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
  • Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation)
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material.

Not included: 

  •     Any airfare whether on scheduled or charter flights
  •     Pre and post land arrangements
  •     Transfers to the vessel
  •     Passport and visa expenses.
Accommodation

M/v “Plancius” was built in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy and was named “Hr. Ms. Tydeman”. The ship sailed for the Dutch Navy until June 2004 and was eventually purchased by Oceanwide Expeditions. The vessel was completely rebuilt as a 116-passenger vessel in 2009 and complies with the latest SOLAS-regulations (Safety Of Life At Sea). M/v “Plancius” is classed by Lloyd’s Register in London and flies the Dutch flag. M/v “Plancius” accommodates 116 passengers in 53 passenger cabins with private toilet and shower in 4 quadruple porthole cabins, 2 triple porthole cabins, 9 twin porthole cabins, 26 twin cabins with window and 2 twin deluxe cabins, all (ca. 15 square meters) and 10 twin superior cabins (ca. 21 square meters). All cabins offer lower berths (one queen-size bed in the superior cabins and two songle beds in the twin cabins), except for the 4 quadruple cabins (for 4 persons in 2x upper and lower beds), and 2 triple cabins (1 bunk bed plus 1 lower bed).

The vessel offers a restaurant/lecture room on deck 3 and a spacious observation lounge (with bar) on deck 5 with large windows, offering full panorama view. M/v “Plancius” has large open deck spaces (with full walk-around possibilities on deck 3), giving excellent opportunities to enjoy the scenery and wildlife. She is furthermore equipped with 10 Mark V zodiacs, including 40 HP 4-stroke outboard engines and 2 gangways on the starboard side, guaranteeing a swift zodiac operation. M/v “Plancius” is comfortable and nicely decorated, but is not a luxury vessel. Our voyages in the Arctic and Antarctic regions are and will still be primarily defined by an exploratory educational travel programme, spending as much time ashore as possible. M/v “Plancius” is manned by 17 nautical crew, 19 hotel staff (6 chefs, 1 hotel manager, 1 steward-barman and 11 stewards / cabin cleaners), 7 expedition staff in Antarctica (1 expedition leader and 6 guides/lecturers), for the Arctic we will have 8 expedition staff (1 expedition leader and 7 guides/lecturers) and 1 doctor.

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