This expedition offers the perfect chance to discover the best of the Antarctic Peninsula, the last continent’s most northern region. You’ll be delighted by penguins, seals and seabirds as they accompany you on your journey along the Antarctic coastline. Landing on the continent itself is a memorable highlight, where you’ll explore the iconic sights that make this one of the world’s most pristine, exotic and unforgettable natural environments.
Day 1 — Ushuaia, Argentina
With a population of more than 63,000 people, Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world. The city has grown over the past few years, yet it has retained an easy going and accessible feel. With the sea to the south and mountains to the north, Ushuaia is a spectacular departure point for your Antarctic cruise. If you arrive early, you can spend some time in the nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park, enjoy some Argentinean wines and barbeques in the city, or visit the many boutique shops and cafés before you leave for your expedition to Antarctica.
Day 2 — Embarkation Day
Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which your vessel will sail down the historic Beagle Channel. This historic channel transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Expect an air of excitement as you depart—the next time you see land you’ll be in the world’s most southern continent!
Days 3 and 4 — Crossing the Drake Passage
Prepare yourself for potentially rough water, but hope for a smooth sailing as the Drake is unpredictable and always changing. You’ll spend these first days getting to know your shipmates, while we’ll provide safety briefings and insights into what excitement lies ahead.
Days 5 to 8 — South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula
When the Antarctic Convergence is left in our wake, you will truly begin your Antarctic adventure. It is perhaps the first sight of land itself that is embraced as the true beginning of any Antarctic expedition.
You can begin to appreciate why this region has long captivated the attention of explorers and travelers alike. Every time we visit Antarctica we witness something new or unexpected, meaning your expedition will be unlike any other—creating a unique, personal experience. We will take Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore bays, channels and landing sites each day. With wildlife always at the forefront of our minds you will visit penguin rookeries, scout for humpback and Minke whales and search for a number of the southern seal species, including the cunning leopard seal.
The majesty of the Peninsula’s mountains will enchant you as you scramble up snowy pathways to vantage points offering you 360° views of your surroundings. One of these in particular, in Orne Harbour, gives the opportunity to visit a chinstrap penguin colony high up on a ridge. Here you’ll have the choice between going for a mountain hike or spending time sitting quietly on a pebbled beach to enjoy the antics of curious penguins. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, participating in the Polar Plunge swim is about as crazy as it gets! Amidst the serene silence of Antarctica, noisy interludes now become indelible memories, such as penguins squabbling over prized pebbles, or the boom and crack of a calving glacier in Neko Harbour.
Every day will be different, having been carefully crafted by your Expedition Team so as to entertain and educate you about this wonderful part of the world.
Days 9 and 10 — Drake Passage to Ushuaia
The journey back across the Drake Passage provides you with some final opportunities to enjoy the crisp Antarctic air. Spend time on the deck watching for seabirds and scouting for whales, enjoy a few final presentations by your Expedition Team or simply relax and reminisce about your experiences.
Day 11 — Disembarkation in Ushuaia
You will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning allowing for you to continue your adventure on land or catch your flights home.
Important reminder: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a voyage. There are nearly 200 recognized sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned above may be changed to others equally as interesting.
POSSIBLE LANDINGS AND WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS
Stepping foot on Antarctica is a moment of pleasure that affects each
traveler differently. Your possible landing in Antarctica will take
place on the Peninsula, which is an extension of the Transantarctic
Mountains chain and is the most northern stretch of Antarctic land.
Formed by uplifted submarine troughs that were filled with sediment
about 220 million years ago, this is a dynamic land of both desolation
and diversity. To the east is the frozen, wild Weddell Sea. To the
west, howling winds and warming seas from the Southern Ocean create
perfect conditions for whale sightings.
A gentoo penguin rookery is situated on a rocky beach at the north
end of the island. Depending on when in the season you arrive, you may
see the penguins building nests or attending to their chicks. Giant
petrels and kelp gulls breed on the island.
If you are lucky enough to mail a postcard in Antarctica, you’ll
likely pass through Damoy Point, the northern entrance to the harbor
where Port Lockroy is located.
Home to gentoo penguins, this small island is easy to explore, at
only one mile (1.6 km) long. You can visit the marker of a former
British Antarctic Survey hut, where you can watch for a variety of
seabirds, such as snowy sheathbills, kelp gulls and blue-eyed shags.
Located in Wilhelmina Bay, this island was once used by whalers. A
Zodiac cruise around the island passes a wrecked whaling ship.
You’ll see firsthand why this strait, which runs between Booth Island
and the Antarctic Peninsula, is one of the most scenic locations on
the peninsula’s west coast, especially during sunrise and sunset. The
channel may become impassable when ice fills the narrow 6.8-mile (11
km) long passageway, so we’ll hope for clear waters.
This group of low islands in Dallmann Bay is where you may see
hauled-out male fur seals as they recuperate from their battles for
supremacy at the end of their breeding season.
Little evidence remains that this bay was once used by the floating
whale factory ship Neko. You might see whale vertebrae being used by
resident gentoo penguins as shelter from the wind. Climb up a steep
slope for spectacular views of the glacier-rimmed harbor.
Here, near the Lemaire Channel, you can stand ashore and see the
southernmost breeding colony of gentoo penguins. The dome of the
island rises 650 feet (200 meters) above the sea, offering a
challenging hike for panoramic views. Adélie penguins, shags and
south polar skuas also inhabit the island.
As part of Operation Tabarin during the Second World War, a secret
British base was built in this sheltered harbor, located on the west
side of Wiencke Island. Now a designated historic site, the base is a
museum and post office. Proceeds from your purchases in Port Lockroy
support the British Antarctic Heritage trust, which preserves historic
sites from the Heroic Age of Exploration. A large gentoo penguin
population resides here and is observed for any effects of tourism.
You may venture to this unique point, which at low tide is connected
to the Antarctic mainland. Zodiacs are used to explore the historic
area when the tide is in. Two scientists studying penguin behavior
lived in a water boat on the point from 1921 to 22. The remains of
their camp have been designated an Antarctic historic site.
SOUTH SHETLAND ISLANDS
The Bransfield Strait separates this archipelago from the Antarctic
Peninsula. The South Shetland Islands stretch for 335 miles (540 km)
from northeast to southwest. In the 1820s, sealers swept the islands’
beaches of seals. When the seal market collapsed, the sealers
retreated. Over the course of time, seals have returned to the
This group of small islands, some still unnamed, is situated in the
northern entrance of the English Strait. You can often spot a great
mix of wildlife in the area, with gentoo and chinstrap penguins having
established rookeries on the islands. Southern elephant and fur seals
frequently haul out here, too.
Also known as Rancho Point, Bailey Head is a rocky headland on the
southeastern shore of Deception Island. Chinstrap penguins build nests
on slopes leading to a high ridge that dominates the natural
amphitheater and provides a superb setting for landscape photography.
HALF MOON ISLAND
This crescent-shaped island was known to sealers as early as 1821.
Unlike sealers, who tried to keep their best locations secret, we’re
happy to bring you ashore on this impressive island. Many Antarctic
birds breed here, including chinstrap penguins, shags, Wilson’s storm
petrels, kelp gulls, snowy sheathbills, Antarctic terns and skua.
Macaroni, chinstrap and gentoo penguin rookeries are located on this
point, which is on the south coast of Livingston Island. Due to the
rather congested area available to the nesting penguins, you can only
visit here from January 10 onward.
Geothermal waters are found along the shoreline of this cove, named
for observations made in 1829 by a British expedition. You may see
yellow algae and boiled krill floating on the surface because of the
Antarctica has two flowering plants, both of which you can find on
Penguin Island: Deschampsia antarctica and Colobanthus quitensis.
Chinstrap penguins, fur seals and southern elephant seals use the
island for breeding purposes.
A nice spot for Zodiac cruising, this point was known to sealers as
early as 1820. Chinstrap penguins, kelp gulls and pintado petrels
breed here, and whales may be seen in the surrounding waters.
Your Expedition Team will be happy to point out that this is where
the most recent evidence of volcanic eruption on Deception Island can
Chinstrap and Adélie penguin rookeries are found on this point,
situated on the south coast of King George Island. The beaches here
are often crowded with southern elephant, fur and Weddell seals
hauling out on the rocks.
To reach Whaler’s Bay, it is necessary to sail through a narrow
passage called Neptune’s Bellows. The bay was used by whalers from
1906 to 1931 and is part of a protected harbor created by the
formation of the circular flooded caldera known as Deception Island.
Along with waddling penguins and lounging seals, you’ll see the
rusting remains of whaling operations on the beach. Watch for steam
that may rise from geothermally heated springs along the shoreline.
Gentoo penguins have established a rookery on this harbor, situated
on the southwest side of Greenwich Island. Here, you can see an
abandoned Argentine refuge hut and a large glacier that stretches
along the east and north sides of the bay. An abandoned sealing try
pot is all that remains of the activity that brought men thousands of
miles in tall ships to seek their fortune.