Across the Antarctic Circle: Voyage to the 7th Continent
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.
Depart USA / Buenos Aires, Argentina / UshuaiaJanuary 22 — January 23
Depart 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.
Ushuaia / Embark Island SkyJanuary 24
Today, enjoy a boat trip on the Beagle Channel and disembark in Tierra del Fuego National Park for nature hikes surrounded by dramatic scenery. Board the Island Sky this afternoon and set sail for the Antarctic Peninsula.
Drake PassageJanuary 25 — January 26
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, as well as pintado and white-chinned petrels. Attend informative lectures on the history, geology, and wildlife of the Antarctic realm.
Antarctic PeninsulaJanuary 27 — January 31
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 multinational 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 icebergs 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 “Kodak Gap” 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 on 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 Island Sky 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.
Drake PassageFebruary 1 — February 2
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.
Ushuaia, Argentina / Disembark / Buenos Aires / USAFebruary 3 — February 4
Disembark in Ushuaia and transfer to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires, connecting with your independent overnight flight. Arrive in the USA the next day.