Antarctic Peninsula aboard Plancius
Day 1: Ushuaia
End of the World, Start of a Journey
Your voyage begins where the world drops off: Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego – nicknamed “The End of the World” – and sail the scenic, mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the rest of the evening.
Days 2 – 3: At sea
Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you catch a taste of life from the perspective of the polar explorers who first braved these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale blasting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer subantarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too: A variety of albatrosses and petrels show up, along with Cape pigeons and southern fulmars. Then, near the South Shetlands Islands, the first icebergs flash into sight.
Days 4 – 7: Antarctica
Enter the Antarctic
You may sail into the Weddell Sea via the Antarctic Sound. Here huge tabular icebergs herald your arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. During this part of the cruise, the search is on for emperor penguins. Using both the vessel and helicopters, there’s a good chance you’ll find them. You might also enjoy scenic flights and – if conditions allow – helicopter landings in locations otherwise out of reach this time of year.
Helicopter flights are a true trip changer, and may include:
Antarctic Sound – The western side of this area is only rarely seen from the air, though the landscape is truly worth the flight: Layered sandstones, lava flows, glaciers and icebergs d pack-ice extend as far as the eye can see. There are often individual emperor penguins and Adélie penguins on the ice floes, as well as kelp gulls, skuas, anvarious breeds of petrel. Jagged mountain peaks stab through the snow, and enormous walls of ice lie shattered on the slopes below.
Duse Bay – A and soaring helicopter flight may deposit you on a rocky hillock close to an old refuge hut overlooking the bay. There is still a lot of snow and ice, but much of the walk on the Antarctic is over frost-shattered rock covered with lichen of all shapes and colors.
Seymour Island – Here’s where the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1901 – 4 wintered under harrowing circumstances. Sedimentary rock, fossils, and great views define this location.
If conditions allow for deeper ventures into the Weddell Sea, Zodiac trips may include:
Devil Island – Home to a large colony of Adélie penguins, this island offers a magnificent view for hikers willing to foot it to the top of the hill. Melting ice sometimes forms a waterfall dropping from the cliffs close to Cape Well-met.
Brown Bluff – Maybe the most scenic location in the entire northern tip of the Antarctic Continent: sheer canyon walls, fallen boulders, beautiful volcanic creations capped with ice. A large Adélie penguin rookery lives here, with gentoo penguins and nesting snow petrels also to be found.
Gourdin Island – Chinstrap, gentoo, and Adélie penguins like this place, yet another option for your continuing Antarctic adventure.
Esperanza Base – This Argentine research station may be another landing site.
Days 8 : Last Landing
In the morning, you sail to Deception Island for the last landing of the voyage – at Pendulum Cove or Whalers Bay. Conditions on the Drake Passage determine the exact time of departure.
Day 9 – 10 Familiar Seas, Familiar Friends
Your return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, you’re again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. But they seem a little more familiar to you now, and you to them.
Day 11: There and Back Again
Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, but with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.
We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark.
One departure only: Nov 14 – Nov 24, 2019
- Quadruple Porthole: $11,350
- Triple Porthole: $12,150
- Twin Porthole: $12,950
- Twin Window: $13,550
- Twin Deluxe: $14,100
- Superior: $14,900