Across the Antarctic Circle: Voyage to the 7th ContinentFebruary 21, 2015 - March 6, 2015
Based on the expeditionary nature of our trips, there may be ongoing enhancements to this itinerary.
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
Feb 21 - Feb 22 USA / Buenos Aires, Argentina / Ushuaia
Depart from home on your independent flight via Buenos Aires, arriving in Ushuaia the next day. Transfer to Arakur Ushuaia Resort & Spa. The rest of the day is at leisure with a welcome dinner and overnight at our hotel.
February 23 Ushuaia / Embark Sea Spirit
Today, enjoy a boat trip on the Beagle Channel and disembark in Tierra del Fuego National Park for nature hikes surrounded by dramatic scenery. Or, visit Martial Glacier, followed by a city tour and lunch in Ushuaia. Board the Sea Spirit this afternoon and set sail for the Antarctic Peninsula.
Feb 24 - Feb 25 Drake Passage
Named for the 16th-century English seaman, the Drake Passage is a deep waterway spanning 600 miles from the southern tip of South America to the South Shetland Islands. Join naturalists on deck to watch for wandering and black-browed albatross, pintado and white-chinned petrels. Attend informative lectures on the history, geology, and wildlife of the Antarctic realm.
Feb 26 - Mar 2 Antarctic Peninsula
As you cruise the waters of the Antarctic Peninsula and its adjacent islands, landings are dependent upon weather and ice conditions. Our leaders have been to Antarctica numerous times, and their experience in the region enables them to adapt quickly to change, making sure every option is considered, and every opportunity seized. If the weather is in our favor, landings may be offered before breakfast or even after dinner. There is also a possibility that you may visit a research station to witness the scientific activities conducted by the multi-national community of scientists working there. Though the expeditionary nature of our voyage precludes guaranteeing specific stops, we plan to visit the following islands, bays, and coves where outstanding birdlife, dramatic scenery, and unique marine life can be seen close at hand. This list serves only as a guideline of the places you may experience.
Crystal Sound / Antarctic Circle – Dependent on ice conditions, we will attempt to cross the Antarctic Circle in Crystal Sound, so named for research conducted here on the structure of ice crystals. Board Zodiacs for a cruise among element-sculpted iceberg as you search for leopard, Weddell, and crabeater seals hauled out on ice floes. Minke and humpback whales are also frequently sighted during this time of year.
Detaille Island – Conditions permitting, step ashore on Detaille Island and explore the remains of the British Antarctic Survey Base that was abandoned in 1959.
Vernadsky Research Base – Permission pending, visit the Ukrainian-operated Vernadsky Research Station. Take a tour of the station and meet with a group of scientists to learn about their research and life in the Antarctic.
Lemaire Channel and Pleneau Island – Cruising the beautiful Lemaire Channel, keep watch for the humpback and minke whales frequently spotted here. This narrow channel is one of the most visually impressive areas of the Antarctic Peninsula and is often referred to as the “Canon Channel” or “Nikon Niche” due to the wonderful photo opportunities it offers. Steep mountain peaks jut out of the sea on both sides, and the surrounding waters are often choked with icebergs and frequented by crabeater seals. A stunning labyrinth of grounded icebergs lies in the shallow waters west of Pleneau Island, presenting a superb Zodiac cruising experience. Crabeater and leopard seals haul out on the ice, and elephant seals and gentoo penguins may be found the island itself.
Neko Harbour and Paradise Bay – Weddell seals can occasionally be found hauled out on the beach here, and a gentoo penguin colony overlooks a spectacular glacier, which is sometimes quite active in calving icebergs. In Zodiacs cruise among these fantastic shapes sculpted by wind and water. Later, the Sea Spirit navigates the scenic waters of Paradise Bay, where Chile and Argentina both maintain bases.
Deception Island – As you approach Deception through Neptune’s Bellows, a channel just wide enough for the ship to navigate, southern fulmars and pintado petrels soar overhead. Weigh anchor inside a volcano whose collapsed cone was filled by rushing seawater. Brave souls may want to take a “polar plunge” into the thermal waters near Pendulum Cove to experience swimming in the Antarctic!
Mar 3 - Mar 4 Drake Passage
Enjoy two days at sea to relax, sort through your photos, and attend lectures recapping your Antarctic adventures. On deck, keep watch for seabirds and the whales that are frequently seen in these waters.
Mar 5 - Mar 6 Ushuaia, Argentina / Disembark / Buenos Aires / USA
Disembark in Ushuaia and transfer to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires, connecting with your independent overnight flight. Arrive in the USA on March 6.