Antarctica - Off the Beaten Track

The 12-night expedition begins at the tip of South America. You will chart a course through the Drake Passage and make visits along the way through the South Shetland Islands. When you arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula, be prepared to be dazzled. The abundance of wildlife here is truly extraordinary including five seal species, massive penguin rookeries of gentoo, Adélies and chinstraps, as well as a profusion of seabirds from albatross to skuas. The journey will take you to Petermann Island or Wilhelmina Bay where you encounter colossal icebergs and ice landscapes that stretch as far as the eye can see. Hardy adventurers or those with a yen for history will have the chance to camp out on the ice overnight and feel the thrill and audacity of early explorers who attempted to conquer this continent.

ExpeditionTripsÂ’ Amelia Tockston has sailed aboard the Akademik Ioffe.

Itinerary

Day 1: Ushuaia

Today is the first day of your adventure. Board the Akademik Ioffe, in Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city at the tip of Argentina. Start to become familiar with ‘your home’ for the next 13 days and get excited for the journey ahead. In the early evening, you set sail and begin your voyage leaving behind Ushuaia and charting a course through the Beagle Channel.

Days 2-3: Drake Passage

Crossing the Drake Passage, there is so much excitement in the air as you make your way ever closer to the white continent. Guests eagerly soak up the friendly atmosphere onboard as numerous Polar experts prepare you for adventures with presentations on everything Antarctic, from wildlife to history. Eventually, you will cross the Antarctic Convergence where you will notice a distinct drop in temperature as you enter the waters of the Antarctic Ocean. Along the way, you will witness many spectacular sights from icebergs to an array of seabirds and even several whale species some of which are known on occasion to fully breach from the sea.

Days 4-10: Antarctica Peninsula

In the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, the hope is to make as much time as possible to explore by inflatable Zodiac boats and marvel up close at nature’s glory. Planned excursions might include Neko Harbour, Wilhelmina Bay and even the southerly Petermann Island, where you will observe Weddell, crabeater and elephant seals, skuas and other seabirds, as well as a shocking abundance of penguins including some very large colonies of the comical Adélie penguin. It is at Peterman Island that the plan is to launch your overnight kayaking experience. After observing a breeding colony of chinstrap penguins on Half Moon Island, arrive on the continent of Antarctica at Paradise Harbour or Neko Harbour. Prepare to be dazzled by your first glimpse of the continent. The scenery here is amazing. In particular you will be struck by the oddly-shaped icebergs that look like sculptures, as well as the colossal ‘tabular’ icebergs that break away from the continent’s ice shelf. Some may wish to camp on shore overnight. Whatever your vantage point, whether it is onboard or onshore, expect to feel transformed as you experience twilight from the very bottom of the planet.

Days 11-12: Drake Passage

As you leave this magical place and make your way north, heading again across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage before rounding Cape Horn, you have no doubt that time will be spent sharing and reflecting on the wonderful experiences of the last few days. Sailing down the Beagle Channel, celebrate the conclusion of your Polar expedition at a special dinner.

Day 13: Ushuaia

In the early morning, you will arrive back in Ushuaia. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travelers. Guests will be transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home.

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