Day by Day
DAY 1 – Buenos Aires
Arrival at Buenos Aires airport. During the transfer to your hotel, an orientation tour of the city will be given. You have the rest of the day to explore at your leisure, or join one of the optional excursions.
DAY 2 – Buenos Aires – Ushuaia
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city. Once you land in Ushuaia, a tourist guide from ATN Travel Services will be waiting for you with a sign with your last name on it to transfer you to your hotel in Ushuaia. We will pick you up to invite you on a city tour around Ushuaia. After the city tour, transfer to your hotel.
DAY 3 – Depart from Ushuaia
Embark polar vessel in the afternoon and meet your expedition and lecture staff. After you have settled into your cabins, we will sail along the famous Beagle Channel and the scenic Mackinlay Pass.
DAYS 4 & 5 – Crossing the Drake Passage
Named after the renowned explorer, Sir Francis Drake, who sailed these waters in 1578, the Drake Passage also marks the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar water sinks beneath the warmer northern waters. This creates a great upwelling of nutrients, which sustain the biodiversity of this region. The Drake Passage also marks the northern limit of many Antarctic seabirds.
As we sail across the Passage, Antarpply Expeditions’ lecturers will be out with you on deck to help in the identification of an amazing variety of seabirds, including many albatrosses, which follow in our wake. The Ushuaia’s open bridge policy allows you to join our officers on the bridge and learn about navigation, watch for whales, and enjoy the view. A full program of lectures will be offered, as well.
The first sightings of icebergs and snow-capped mountains indicate that we have reached the South Shetland Islands, a group of twenty islands and islets first sighted in February 1819 by Capt. William Smith of the brig Williams. With favorable conditions in the Drake Passage, our lecturers and naturalists will accompany you ashore as you experience your first encounter with the penguins and seals on Day 5.
DAYS 6 to 9 – Exploring the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands
The South Shetland Islands are a haven for wildlife. Vast penguin rookeries, beaches ruled by Antarctic fur seals and Southern elephant seals make every day spent in this amazing island group unforgettable. Sailing through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island is breathtaking.
King George Island, the largest of the South Shetland Islands, features colonies of nesting Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins, Kelp Gulls, Blue-eyed Cormorants, Antarctic Terns and Southern Giant Petrels and is home to scientific bases of many different countries. Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins as well as elephant seals await you at Livingston Island. The Antarctic Peninsula’s remarkable history will provide you with a type of excitement often only associated with the early explorers. You will have plenty of time to explore its amazing scenery, a pristine wilderness of snow, ice, mountains and waterways, and an incredible wide variety of wildlife. Apart from penguins and seabirds you are very likely to see Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals as well as Minke, humpback and killer whales at close range.
We hope to navigate some of the most beautiful waterways (depending on the ice conditions): the Gerlache Strait, the Neumayer Channel, and the Lemaire Channel, the latter are narrow passages between towering rock faces and spectacular glaciers. We plan to make at least two landings per day and possible landing sites may include: Paradise Bay, which is perhaps the most aptly named place in the world, and where we attempt a proper landing on the continent. After negotiating the iceberg-strewn waters of the Antarctic Sound, we hope to visit the bustling Adélie Penguin (over 100,000 pairs breed here) and Blue-eyed Cormorant colonies in Paulet Island. The Nordenskjöld expedition built a stone survival hut here in 1903. Today its ruins have been taken over by nesting penguins.
Further exploration may take you to the Melchior Island group, Cuverville Island, Portal Point, Neko Harbour, Pléneau Island and, if ice conditions permit, to Petermann Island for a visit to the southernmost colony of Gentoo Penguins.
DAYS 10 & 11 – At sea crossing the Drake Passage, northbound
We leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. Join our lecturers and naturalists on deck as we search for seabirds and whales and enjoy some final lectures. Take the chance to relax and reflect on the fascinating adventures of the past days on the way back to Ushuaia.
DAY 12 – Ushuaia – Buenos Aires
We arrive at the port of Ushuaia in the early morning and disembark the Ushuaia polar vessel after breakfast.
Please note: The above itinerary is a guide only. Our exact route and program will vary to take best advantage of local weather and ice conditions and opportunities to view wildlife. Changes will be made by the Captain and/or Expedition Leader to facilitate the best results from the prevailing conditions. A daily program sheet will be issued on board. Flexibility is the key to success.
DAY 13 – Ushuaia – Buenos Aires
After breakfast, transfer to the airport. Return to Buenos Aires. You have the rest of the day to explore at leisure, or join one of the optional excursions.
DAY 14 – Buenos Aires
Transfer to Buenos Aires airport to catch your flight home.