Journey below the Antarctic Circle
This journey takes us further south than any of our other voyages, hopefully all the way to 66 degrees, 33’ minutes south of latitude, which officially marks the position of the Antarctic Circle.
Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina — We board our expedition ship in the late afternoon, “throw the lines”, and launch into our adventure. Heading eastwards, we navigate through the Beagle Channel and into the Drake Passage.
Days 2 – 3: Drake Passage — We awake to the gentle motion of the ship as we transit the Drake Passage. This famed stretch of water is known for the challenging weather conditions it posed to the great square-rigged ships of the sailing era. We hope to have an easier time of it as we head south toward the Antarctic Circle. Along the way, we witness many spectacular sights, from icebergs to an array of seabirds and whale species. Onboard entertainment in the form of educational presentations about the Southern Ocean, Antarctic wildlife, glaciers, ice and polar history will be punctuated by fantastic meals and announcements from our staff as a new species of bird is spotted.
Days 4 – 10: Antarctic Circle and Antarctic Peninsula — Our first goal is to sail south of the Antarctic Circle and, depending on ice conditions, we hope to make a landing at Detaille Island. This is a breathtaking location and home to an old British Antarctic Survey hut. We then chart a course north along the rugged coastline of the Antarctic Peninsula. Landing sites typically include the Yalour Islands, Petermann Island, Neko Harbour and Wilhelmina Bay – a known ‘ hotspot’ for humpback whale encounters. In all locations we will encounter an abundance of Weddell, crabeater and elephant seals, as well as skuas, penguins, and other seabirds. If weather conditions permit you will have the opportunity to spend the night camping ashore in Antarctica, an experience that you’ll never forget
Day 11: Deception Island, South Shetland Islands — We cross the wildlife ‘ super highway’ of the Bransfield Strait and make landfall at the stunning location of Deception Island. The old whaling station begs exploration onshore and there is an exceptional hike to a high point on the wall of the volcanic caldera. Nearby Livingstone Island is simply spectacular, with its snowy peaks and towering cliffs. Other great locations in the South Shetlands include Hannah Point, Half Moon Island, and the rocky spit of land at Yankee Harbour, where we often see Weddell seals sunning themselves.
Days 12 – 13: Drake Passage — Pushing out of the MacFarlane Strait and leaving the icy landscape behind, we chart a course back to South America. Our onboard presentations continue and the seabirds once again join us for our journey north. Our expedition leader delivers a memorable voyage recap and we celebrate with a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship. Ifconditions allow, we attempt a rounding of Cape Horn. It’ s a fitting place to reflect on a remarkable journey to the frozen continent.
Day 14: Ushuaia, Argentina — In the early morning, we arrive back in Ushuaia. Guests will be transported to their hotels or to the airport for onward flights.
Please note: Specific sites visited will depend on ice and weather conditions, the planned itinerary will be updated at the time of final preparations as well as throughout the voyage in order to take advantage of favourable conditions.