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 whales 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 sometime in the nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park, enjoy some Argentinean wines and barbeques in the city, or visit the many boutique shops before 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 we depart - the next time you see land we'll be in the world's most southern continent!
Day 3 - Cape Horn
Weather permitting, we'll attempt to land on Cape Horn. The Cape Horn National Park was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in June 2005. We'll see the monument dedicated to the thousands of sailors lost on more than 800 ships that were wrecked sailing around this iconic landmark.
Days 4 and 5 - 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 6 to 8 - South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula
When the Antarctic Convergence is left in our wake, you will truly begin your Antarctic adventure. Weather permitting we'll be able to make our first landing on the afternoon of day 5. 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 travellers 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 peaceful silence of Antarctica, noisy interruptions become indelible memories such as penguins squabbling over prized pebbles or the boom and crack of a calving glacier in Neko Harbour. You can make a bit of noise yourself too by listening to the echo of voices bounce off a giant glacier.
Every day will be different, having been carefully crafted by your Expedition Team so as to entertain and educate you on 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
We'll arrive in Ushuaia in the morning 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.
Vessel: Ocean Diamond
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Images Courtesy Quark Expeditions