A new voyage for the 2016-17 season - CLASSIC ANTARCTICA TASTER February 07–15, 2017.
Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands, 9 days / 8 nights. This itinerary will provide three full days in Antarctica and with luck, a first landing in the South Shetlands on Day 3. A unique opportunity and the perfect introduction to Antarctica.
07 February: Depart from Ushuaia Embark the USHUAIA in the afternoon and meet your expedition and lecture staff. After you have settled into your cabin sail along the famous Beagle Channel and the scenic Mackinlay Pass.
08 and 09 February: 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 sustains 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 3.
10-12 February: Exploring the Antarctic Peninsula and 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 this amazing island group unforgettable. The rugged mountain range is of volcanic origin and makes for a dramatic backdrop for Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins. The Antarctic Peninsula's remarkable history will provide you with a type of excitement often only associated with the early explorers. You will be able 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, killer (orca) and humpback 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 is perhaps the most aptly named place in the world and we attempt a landing on the continent proper. Further exploration may take you to the Melchior Island group, Cuverville Island, Portal Point, Neko Harbour and if ice conditions permit, to Petermann Island for a visit to the the southernmost colony of Gentoo Penguins. A visit to one of the stations in Antarctica is also planned and might take place at Port Lockroy, the British Antarctic Museum and Post Office at Goudier Island.
13 and 14 February: At Sea crossing the Drake Passage, northbound. We leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. Join the 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.
15 February: Arrival in Ushuaia. We arrive at the port of Ushuaia in the early morning and disembark the USHUAIA after breakfast.
Please note: The above itinerary is a guide only. The 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.
Images Courtesy Antarpply Expeditions