trip
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1
Discovery and Cruising
Activities
  • 11 days expedition cruising, optional kayaking & snow skiing
Accommodation
  • 1 night hotel Ushuaia
  • 11 nights aboard Polar Pioneer
Meals
  • 11 Dinners
  • 10 Lunches
  • 12 Breakfasts

13 Days$11975USD

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Trip Code: ANP

Trip highlights


  • The most wildlife-rich part of Antarctica - penguins, whales, seals, sea birds
  • Narrow sheltered waterways and fjords
  • Icebergs and active glaciers
  • Spectacular mountains rising directly out of the sea
  • Historic sites
  • Great variety of terrain over short distances
  • Opportunity to camp on ice (optional)
  • Kayaking through Antarctic waters (optional charge applies)
  • Skiing on the white continent (optional charges apply)

When the mountains reach the sea along the Antarctic Peninsula they discharge huge glaciers into the narrow fjords and sheltered bays. This hauntingly beautiful part of Antarctica provides a haven for the greatest concentration of wildlife on the continent. We have scheduled six 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. There are also ample opportunities to identify 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 as well as an option for the adventurous to camp out for the night


You will be met at the airport and transferred to the group hotel for your overnight stay. This evening you’ll meet your expedition leaders for a trip briefing.

Meals:  Nil

Ushuaia is Argentina’s most southerly town, located on the edge of the Beagle Channel and sitting beneath the spectacular mountains of Tierra del Fuego. Today you can explore Ushuaia and surrounds before boarding the Polar Pioneer at 4pm. Things to do and see include a trip to nearby Lapataia National Park for an easy walk and great views, a visit to the Maritime Museum of Ushuaia and strolling the town’s streets to stock up on presents in the souvenir shops including local art and Argentine chocolates. There are a variety of restaurants and cafes in Ushuaia to enjoy a long lunch. Local specialities to try are southern king crab, sea bass and mussels. For a warming drink, order the classic Argentinian hot chocolate called El Submarino-hot milk submerged with a bar of chocolate, yum! Board the Polar Pioneer at 4pm and settle into shipboard life as we begin our adventure sailing down the Beagle Channel. The sea kayakers will attend a briefing to distribute dry suits, pogies (paddling mitts for your hands), lifejackets, and dry bags. Skiers will sort and prepare their gear.

Meals:  B,D

Exciting times as we cross the Drake Passage and round Cape Horn, the most southerly point of the American continent. 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 dinner table back home! During our Drake crossing, we will commence our lecture program about the wildlife, geology, history and geography of the Antarctic Peninsula. We will be given guidelines for approaching wildlife and talk about the implications of the Antarctic Treaty. Antarctica is a photographers’ paradise, for the professional and amateur alike. There will be discussions about how to protect your equipment from salt water and tips about taking good pictures.

Meals:  B,L,D

Nearing the tip of the Peninsula, towards the end of the day, everyone will be out on deck or on the bridge watching for the first iceberg. Bets are taken and the whole ship waits for the call to be made over the intercom. The memory of your first big iceberg will remain with you for a very long time. As we approach the Peninsula the kayaks will be brought out of the hold and rudders adjusted for our paddling pairs. Depending on the weather, we will first approach Antarctica near the South Shetland Islands, entering Bransfield Strait either at the eastern end of King George Island or the western extremity of Livingston Island. We may pass by historic Smith Island, which is the outer limit of the South Shetlands. If we have had a quick passage across the Drake we may be able to make our first landing / paddle on one of the South Shetland Group such as Deception Island or Livingston Island this evening.

Meals:  B,L,D

Depending on the ice and weather conditions, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula is our exploration playground. Our experienced ship crew, expedition leaders and guides, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design the day’s outings, making the best use of the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities. Because we are so far south, we will experience approximately 18 hours’ daylight and the days will be as busy as you wish. During this voyage, there will be an opportunity to camp for a night on land. Intrepid campers can experience a cold night on the ice like the legendary Antarctic explorers, but with hot showers only a short distance away! Once we arrive in the calmer waters of Bransfield and Gerlache Straits, we will appreciate the distinct advantage of being on a small vessel, which gives everyone the opportunity to experience daily outings and very special close encounters with wildlife. Places we may visit during our time on the Peninsula are: HANNAH POINT, LIVINGSTON ISLAND A unique landing place on the Peninsula, Hannah Point is a tiny toe of land alive with wildlife, set against a stunning backdrop at the foot of the mountains and glaciers of Livingston Island. Two species of penguins breed here, chinstraps and gentoos with the occasional vagrant macaroni penguins getting a look in. It’s not uncommon to find wallowing elephant seals and with eyes to the sky, we may spot Giant petrels nesting on the ridgeline. Antarctic fauna can be found here- mosses, lichens and a grass species that grows in Antarctica, called Deschampsia antarctica. HALF MOON ISLAND At the eastern end of Livingston Island and tucked into a neat bay, lies wildlife-rich Half Moon Island. Located here is a large chinstrap penguin rookery, tucked in between basalt rocks coloured by yellow and orange lichens. There are often fur seals and elephant seals hauled out on the pebble beaches and at one end of the island there is a large colony of nesting blue- eyed shags. At the other end of the island is a small Argentine station that is sometimes occupied by scientists conducting research on the penguin colony and surrounding waterways. DECEPTION ISLAND We arrive into Deception Island through the narrow opening of Neptune’s Bellows and enter the flooded volcanic crater. Glaciers flow down from the edge of the crater, littered by black volcanic ash and the land is devoid of life. Outside the crater, if conditions allow, we may land at Bailey Head to explore the enormous chinstrap penguin rookery that featured in David Attenborough’s Life in the Freezer series. PARADISE HARBOUR A protected and serene bay, surrounded by magnificent skiable peaks and spectacular glaciers. Paradise Harbour lives up to its’ name and is perfect for exploring by kayak and zodiacs. The harbour is a haven for whales and we may spy humpbacks, orcas and minkes as well as crabeater seals. LEMAIRE CHANNEL If the ice conditions allow, standing on the bow of Polar Pioneer and quietly moving through the narrow Lemaire Channel will be one of the highlights of the voyage. The water can be so still that perfect reflections are mirrored on the surface. Often gigantic icebergs clog the channel, creating navigational challenges for our captain and crew, and may even obstruct our passage. Depending on the ice conditions, kayakers may choose to paddle the length of this channel. HYDRURGA ROCKS A group of low lying, unprotected granite rocks that protrude from the sea are a surprising wildlife outpost. Calm channels lead to a hidden interior where Weddell seals are hauled out on protected snow beds and noisy chinstraps raise their families on rocky platforms. Hydrurga is Latin for leopard seal and on occasions we may see these smiling penguin predators cruising the shallows. Nearby, two hummock Island has some nice easy runs for skiers. Other places we may explore around the Antarctic Peninsula are Petermann Island, Penola Strait, Neko Harbour, Andvoord Bay, Antarctic Sound, Paulet Island, Elephant Island, Nansen Island, Cuverville Island, Aitcho Island or a variety of other surprises. We may visit the scientific bases of Arctowski (Polish); Ferraz (Brazilian) or Vernadsky (Ukrainian) and Port Lockroy, an historic British base that is now a museum and post office.

Meals:  B,L,D

It’s time to leave the Peninsula and head north into the Drake Passage. We’ll use the crossing to swap photos and share stories of our amazing wildlife encounters. We’ll also party on board and see the New Year in with dancing on the deck and making merry!

Meals:  B,L,D

During the early morning we cruise up the Beagle Channel, before slipping into dock in Ushuaia around 7.00am. As soon as customs have cleared the ship we will be free to disembark. Transfer to the airport for your departure flight. End of trip arrangements.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 12 breakfasts, 10 lunches and 11 dinners
  • One night hotel accommodation in Ushuaia pre voyage (twin share)
  • Comfortable cabin accommodation and use of all public areas on cruise
  • use of gumboots on the voyage free of charge (various sizes available)
  • Specialist expedition staff
  • use of gumboots on the voyage free of charge (various sizes available)
  • 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

  • Air transport and airport transfers before and after the cruise
  • Passport and vaccination charges, reciprocity fees and airport departure taxes
  • Accommodation and meals or other services not included in the ship cruise itinerary
  • Laundry, postage, personal clothing, medical expenses, travel insurance and items of a personal nature such as bar charges, wine and phone calls.
  • Emergency evacuation charges
  • Customary end of voyage tips

Cabins


Departure dates

* Guaranteed status denotes minimum trip numbers have been met, however the trips operation will be subject to there being no COVID-19 restrictions or other government travel advisories. Please contact us for further information.


Notes

K
Kayak
O
Option
1
Camping is free of charge on this voyage however pre-booking is required

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Total Priceper person from

$11975USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Twin PublicUSD$12780
  • Twin PrivateUSD$13790
  • Mini SuiteUSD$14795
  • SuiteUSD$16874
  • KayakingUSD$1150
  • SkiingUSD$2300
*Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Experience Antarctica over Christmas trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.


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We’ve offset the carbon emitted by this trip by purchasing credits that support important projects that address the UN’s seventeen SDGs, like reducing poverty, affordable and clean energy, reducing hunger, clean water and climate action.

Proceeds from this adventure purchase carbon credits through the world’s largest and most awarded carbon project developer, South Pole, which are invested into projects accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources in developing countries.

Supported projects are based on internationally recognised standards and are third-party audited. They entail a series of positive impacts on the ground, which benefit local communities and ecosystems, that are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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