Day 1: Embarkation and departure from Ushuaia
Beginning in the world's southernmost city, this afternoon we'll embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. From here we'll set sail through the scenic waterway of the Beagle Channel amidst for the rest of the evening.
Day 2-3: At sea
During these first two days we'll sail across the Drake Passage. We'll cross the Antarctic Convergence and arrive in the circum-Antarctic up-welling zone. In this area we may meet 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.
Day 4-7: Weddell Sea
Over the next few days, a typical Weddell Sea itinerary is as follows - the final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board:
Sail into the Weddell Sea and if the Antarctic Sound is accessible, we'll sail further and search for the huge tabular icebergs that announce our arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula.
Over the next few days we'll use helicopters to search for individual Emperor Penguins as we have always been able to see on previous voyages. We also offer scenic flights and if the conditions allow, we'll also land on tabular icebergs and locations otherwise inaccessible so early in the season.
A possible landing site is Brown Bluff, one of the most scenic spots in the northern tip of the Antarctic Continent. This area has steep canyon walls, tumbling boulders, an ice-cap looming above and beautiful volcanic creations. The whole scene is completed by thousands of Adelie penguins nesting on the slopes and a few Gentoos mixed in for fun.
Helicopter flights are a great addtion to the voyage, especially on the western side of the Antarctic Sound which is an area only rarely seen from the air. You'll find the scenery here is a blend of layered sandstone, lava flows, tumbling glaciers, icebergs and pack-ice as far as the eye can see. We'll watch individual Emperor penguins and Adelie penguins on the ice floes; Cape, Snow and Giant Petrels flying high in the sky while Kelp Gulls, Skuas and Wilson’s Storm Petrels scavenge below. The landscape is dominated by jagged mountains piercing through icecaps and sheer walls of ice dropping onto slopes below.
You'll have the opportuhnity to take a scenic flight over blue icebergs and fast ice close to View Point in Duse Bay. We land on a rocky hillock close to an old refuge hut overlooking the bay. There may be a lot of snow and ice but much of our intended walk will be over frost-shattered rock covered with the lichen of all shapes and colors.
If the ice situation allows us to go further into the Weddell Sea, we'll visit Devil Island and Vega Island where we'll see a large colony of Adelie Penguins and a magnificent view awaits hikers who can make it to the top of the hill. The melting ice can provide a spectacular waterfall from the cliffs close to point ‘Well-Met’. Further south, we may also visit Seymour Island, where many fossils can be found.
On our route north through the Antarctic Sound we might pay a visit to the Argentinean station Esperanza on the Antarctic continent, constantly on the look-out for Emperor Penguins on the ice-floes. In the afternoon we may visit Gourdin Island, with three penguin species; Chinstrap, Gentoo and Adelie.
Day 8: Half Moon Island
In the morning we plan to visit Half Moon Island to see Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins, various other bird-species, southern elephant seals and Weddell seals.
Early in the afternoon we will sail to Deception Island for the last landing of our voyage, at Pendulum Cove or Whalers Bay.
Day 9-10: At sea
In the Drake Passage we'll have a second chance to see many seabirds and to hear from our knowledgeable lecture team.
Day 11: Arrival in Ushuaia and disembark
In the morning we'll return to Ushuaia and disembark.