Antarctic Peninsula, Falkland Islands & South Georgia (Ocean Diamond) 2015 - 2017 Trip Notes

Antarctic Peninsula, Falkland Islands & South Georgia (Ocean Diamond) 2015 - 2017

Last Modified: 23 Jul 2015
Antarctic Peninsula, Falkland Islands & South Georgia (Ocean Diamond) 2015 - 2017
Trip code: GQMYD
Validity: 22 Nov 2015 to 07 Jan 2017
Experience an adventure tour of Antarctica and explore the unique conditions at the end of the Earth. Embark from Ushuaia and travel through the Beagle Channel to the Falkland Islands, where a treasure trove of bird life and cheeky penguins put on a show on the rocky shores. Then head through the Antarctic Convergence on the way to South Georgia, and get your first taste of Antarctic life on this remote island made famous by Shackleton. Incredible icy bays, abandoned whaling stations and an abundance of noisy wildlife are just some of the sights to greet you before sailing further along the Antarctic Peninsular to spend days exploring the area on zodiacs, witnessing ethereal icebergs and soaking in the incredible landscapes and wildlife of Antarctica. Benefit from the navigational expertise and local knowledge of a professional crew and make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Table of Contents
StyleSpending moneyEmergency contact
ThemesTippingEmergency funds
Is this trip right for you?Departure taxVisas
Why we love itImportant notesIssues on your trip
MapGroup sizeWhat to take
ItineraryYour fellow travellersHealth
Also available to purchaseSingle travellersSafety
Itinerary disclaimerAccommodationTravel insurance
Culture shock rating MealsResponsible Travel
Physical ratingTransportA couple of rules
Physical preparationGroup leaderThe Intrepid Foundation
Included activitiesJoining point Carbon offset
What's not includedArrival complicationsFeedback
Optional activitiesFinish point
Style
Comfort
  • ‘Comfort travel’ means encountering all that the real world has to offer, but with an added degree of, well… comfort. We use more private transport, the travel pace more relaxed, the accommodation a touch nicer. And by paying a little more up front, you’ll be treated to more included meals, more leader-led activities and get a greater immersion in all things local.
Themes
Sailing, Wildlife, Polar
Is this trip right for you?
- Although our ice strengthened ships are big and sturdy, Antarctic waters can be unpredictable and rough. Some people may experience seasickness, especially through the Drake Passage and other open water crossings. Please be prepared with medications to combat this. There is also a doctor on-board should you need further assistance.
- As you’d expect, temperatures in the Antarctic are freezing. A warm parka will be provided along with waterproof boots and unlimited hot drinks, but you should also bring base layers and lots of warm clothing. Please see the trip notes for further important information about what to bring.
-Weather depending, you will be making regular excursions in a Zodiac boat to explore the local area and look for wildlife. It can get very cold and wet on the Zodiac, so make sure you are dressed appropriately and that you keep your camera safe and dry. Sturdy sea legs are needed as you make wet and dry landings from the boat, and on steep terrain, snow and other uneven surfaces. Some ships have a lot of stairs, so please hold on to the handrails if seas are rough.
- The weather plays a pivotal part in this adventure and although there’s an itinerary in place, there are no guarantees that you’ll be able to do everything that is planned for. A level of flexibility and openness to embracing the unexpected are important in expedition travel, especially to such a remote area. There are nearly 200 recognised sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands; the places mentioned in the itinerary may need to be changed to others (which are equally as interesting). We may also be confined to the ship during rough weather. The on-board library and educational lectures are ideal ways for keeping entertained.
Why we love it
- Journey through the historic Beagle Channel and Drake Passage, looking out for rare birdlife and whales with the help of your expedition team
- The Antarctic Peninsula is teeming with marine and birdlife. Get up close to minke, humpback and orca whales or gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap penguins on regular Zodiac cruises and landings
- Most people will never get the chance to see the snowy mountains, icebergs and glaciers of the Great White Continent. Explore the spectacular Antarctic Peninsula from multiple perspectives on daily excursions
- Discover the remote landscapes, wildlife and rich history of South Georgia and the Falklands Islands
- Optional activities such as sea kayaking or polar ice camping are available on selected voyages and offer unforgettable adventures. Book early, as these sell out fast
Map
Antarctic Peninsula, Falkland Islands & South Georgia (Ocean Diamond) 2015 - 2017
Itinerary
Day 1 Ushuaiai
Bienvenidos. Welcome to Argentina. Begin your Antarctic adventure with an overnight stay in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world and the capital of the Tierra del Fuego provence. Ushuaia is a relatively small city and is easy to find your way around. From Avenida San Martin, the streets run uphill and you can get a great view of the Beagle Channel from the top. If you arrive early you might also like to visit Tierra del Fuego National Park, which is located 11 km west of the city.
Day 2 Embarkation Day
Today board the ship and embark through the beautiful Beagle Channel, leaving Ushuaia behind you. The channel is rich in wildlife, so rug up and head out on deck. The expedition team may be able to point out penguins, cormorants, petrels and Black-browed Albatross in the sea and air around you.
Day 3 At Sea
While out at sea, there is plenty to keep you entertained. Browse the ship's library and attend a series of presentations by on-board experts about Antarctic marine biology, history, geology and ornithology. Armed with this new knowledge, your Antarctic explorations and interactions with wildlife will be all the richer.
Days 4-5 Falkland Islands
As you approach the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), see a treasure-trove of birdlife emerge. Kelp Geese, rockhopper penguins and Magellanic penguins are native to the area, so use your newfound knowledge to identify the various species you come across. Depending on the weather, daily Zodiac trips will take you to various landing sites around the Falklands. Hike up rocky beachheads and socialise with the friendly local residents.
POSSIBLE LANDING SITES AND WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS - FALKLAND ISLANDS
CARCASS ISLAND
The 8 km long (five mile) island, northwest of West Falkland, belongs to Rob and Lorraine McGill. It's a picturesque island, where songbirds nest among the luxuriant growth that covers the gently rolling landscape. The island is named after a Royal Navy ship, the HMS Carcass, which arrived in 1766.
NEW ISLAND
The most southwesterly island in the archipelago is about 13 km (eight miles) long and 800 m wide. The western side of the island is a cliff 183 m high, while the eastern side slopes to the sea. Tony Chater and Ian Strange hold ownership of the island, and have turned their respective portions into nature reserves.
STANLEY
The deep-water harbour of Stanley was the economic mainstay of the Falkland area in the 19th century. Sailing ships damaged while rounding Cape Horn called in for expensive repairs, and vessels carrying fortune seekers on their way to the gold fields of California and Australia often docked at Stanley as well. Stanley is as lively as it gets in the Falklands, and the future of the port may be bright if hydrocarbon deposits off the coast prove to be abundant.
WEST POINT ISLAND
The Napier family has owned this island since the 1860s. Black-browed albatross and rockhopper penguins nest on cliffs along the water’s edge, and Commerson’s dolphins are often seen in the water surrounding the island.
Days 6-7 At Sea
More shipboard presentations over the few days will prepare you for upcoming shore landings and possible Zodiac cruises along the coast of South Georgia. You'll know you’re in bona fide Antarctic waters when you cross the Antarctic Convergence – the biological boundary dividing Antarctica from the rest of the southern seas.
Days 8-11 South Georgia
Your first sight of South Georgia will be of snow-capped mountains. Keep an eye out for wandering albatross and giant petrels, and don’t be surprised if you spot the odd reindeer. Although Antarctica has no native land mammals, reindeer were introduced in the early 20th century by Norwegian whalers. Over the next four days, planned activities include a series of landings at king penguin rookeries, abandoned whaling stations and the lonely gravesite of Sir Ernest Shackleton. As always, potential excursions are determined by weather and ice conditions.
POSSIBLE LANDINGS AND WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS – SOUTH GEORGIA
DRYGALSKI FJORD
This is a photogenic and dramatic fjord, with sharp and jagged peaks rising out of the sea. Glaciation never reached the peaks of this fjord, giving it a unique landscape.
GOLD HARBOUR
The backdrop to this harbour is the hanging Bertrab Glacier. King and gentoo penguins call this place home, as do rowdy elephant and fur seals.
GRYTVIKEN
Only a handful of people live on South Georgia, a United Kingdom overseas territory. Two of them are curators of the South Georgia Museum, located in the former whaling station manager’s villa. A church was built for the whaling community and is the only building in Grytviken that is still used for its original purpose.
PRION ISLAND
Robert Cushman Murphy named this island for the species of petrels seen here. Wandering albatross are also known to nest on the island.
SALISBURY PLAIN
One of the largest king penguin rookeries in South Georgia is located on Salisbury Plain. The Murphy and Lucas Glaciers flank the plain, creating a perfect backdrop for photographers.
ST. ANDREW'S BAY
Thousands of breeding pairs of king penguins nest at St. Andrew’s Bay. It is the largest king penguin rookery on South Georgia and quite a spectacle to behold. Reindeer introduced by Norwegian whalers are known to feed on the grass in the area.
STROMNESS
This abandoned whaling station was in full operation the day that Ernest Shackleton and his companions staggered in after a 36-hour trek across the island. There is a small cemetery here, with the graves of 14 whalers.
Days 12-13 At Sea
Head south again, spending a few more education-filled days at sea en route to the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. Armed with unlimited hot drinks and a warm parka, enjoy time on deck searching for wildlife.
Days 14-17 Antarctic Peninsula
Leaving South Georgia behind, head to the unique landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula. Changing conditions mean that each expedition is different, but your team will make sure that every day is memorable. Venturing out on the Zodiac, you might visit a penguin rookery and the historic harbour of Port Lockroy one day, and watch icebergs calve around Petermann Island the next. Perhaps take a 'polar plunge' in the freezing waters of Neko Harbour. The options for exploration are as vast as the Peninsula itself.
POSSIBLE LANDINGS AND WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS
CUVERVILLE ISLAND
A gentoo penguin rookery is situated on the north end of the island on a rocky beach. Depending on the time of season you visit, you may see them building nests or attending to their chicks. Giant petrels and kelp gulls also breed on the island.
DAMOY POINT
If you're lucky enough to mail a postcard in Antarctica, you’ll likely pass through Damoy Point. This is the northern entrance to the harbour on which Port Lockroy is located.
DANCO ISLAND
This small island, 1.6 km (one mile) in length, is easy to explore and home to gentoo penguins. Visit the marker of a former British Antarctic Survey hut and watch out for a variety of seabirds such as snowy sheathbills, kelp gulls and blue-eyed shags.
ENTERPRISE ISLAND
Located in Wilhelmina Bay, this island was once used by whalers. A Zodiac cruise around the island passes by a wrecked whaling ship.
LEMAIRE CHANNEL
This strait runs between Booth Island and the Antarctic Peninsula, and is one of the most scenic locations on the western coast, especially during sunrise and sunset. The 11 km (6.8 mile) channel may become impassable when ice fills the narrow passageway, so we’ll hope for clear waters.
MELCHIOR ISLANDS
This is a group of low islands in Dallmann Bay, on which you may see male fur seals haul-out at the end of the breeding season to recuperate from their battles for supremacy.
NEKO HARBOUR
This bay was once used by the floating whale factory ship Neko. You may see some whale vertebrae used by resident gentoo penguins as shelter from the wind. There's an unmanned refuge hut here, erected by Argentina. Climb past the hut and up a steep slope for spectacular views of the glacier-rimmed harbour.
PETERMANN ISLAND
Here, near the Lemaire Channel, you can stand ashore and see the southernmost breeding colony of gentoo penguins. Adelie penguins, shags and south polar skuas also inhabit the island. The dome of the island rises 200 metres (650 feet) above the sea, offering a challenging hike for panoramic views.
PORT LOCKROY
Journey to Port Lockroy if weather permits. The harbour is on the west side of Wiencke Island. A secret base was built here during the Second World War as part of Operation Tabarin. It's now designated as a historic site, featuring a museum and the world's southernmost post office. Proceeds from your purchases here support the preservation of historic sites from the Heroic Age of Exploration.
WATERBOAT POINT
At low tide this historic point is connected to the Antarctic mainland. Zodiacs can be used to explore the area when the tide is in. Two scientists studying penguin behaviour lived in a water boat on the point from 1921-22. The remains of their camp have been designated as an Antarctic historic site.
AITCHO ISLANDS
This is a group of small islands, some still unnamed, situated in the northern entrance of the English Strait. You can often spot a great mix of wildlife here, including at the established rookeries of gentoo and chinstrap penguins. Southern elephant and fur seals are frequently hauled-out here too.
BAILY HEAD
Also known as Rancho Point, this area is a rocky headland on the southeastern shore of Deception Island. Chinstrap penguins build nests on slopes leading to a high ridge, which dominates a natural amphitheater and provides a superb setting for landscape photography.
HALF MOON ISLAND
This crescent-shaped island was known to sealers as early as 1821. Unlike the sealers who liked to keep their best locations secret, we’re happy to bring you ashore on this impressive island. Many Antarctic birds breed here, including chinstrap penguins, shags, Wilson’s storm-petrels, kelp gulls, snowy sheathbills, Antarctic terns and skua.
HANNAH POINT
Macaroni, chinstrap and gentoo penguin rookeries are located on the point, which is on the south coast of Livingston Island. Due to the rather congested area available to the nesting penguins, you can only visit here from 10 January onwards.
PENDULUM COVE
Hot geothermal waters are found along the shoreline of this cove, which was named after observations made in 1829 by a British expedition. You may see yellow algae and boiled krill floating on the surface because of the scalding hot water.
PENGUIN ISLAND
Antarctica has two flowering plants, both of which you can find on Penguin Island: Deschampsia antarctica and Colobanthus quitensis. Chinstrap penguins, fur seals and southern elephant seals use the island for breeding purposes.
ROBERT POINT
A nice spot for Zodiac cruising, this point was known to sealers as early as 1820. Chinstrap penguins, kelp gulls and pintado breed here, and whales may be seen in the surrounding waters.
TELEFON BAY
Your expedition team will point out where the most recent evidence of volcanic eruption on Deception Island can be seen.
TURRET POINT
Chinstrap and Adelie penguin rookeries are found on this point, which is situated on the south coast of King George Island. The beaches are often crowded with southern elephant, fur, and Weddell seals hauled-out on the rocks.
WHALER'S BAY
To reach Whaler’s Bay, sail through the narrow passage of Neptune’s Bellows. The bay was used by whalers from 1906 to 1931 and is part of a protected harbour created by a circular flooded caldera, known as Deception Island. Along with waddling penguins and lounging seals, you’ll see the rusty remains of whaling operations on the beach. Watch for steam rising from geothermally-heated springs along the shoreline.
YANKEE HARBOUR
Gentoo penguins have established a rookery on this harbour, which is situated on the southwest side of Greenwich Island. You can also see an abandoned Argentine refuge hut and a huge glacier stretching along the east and north sides of the bay. An abandoned try-pot is all that remains of the sealing activity that brought men thousands of miles to seek their fortune.
IMPORTANT REMINDER: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. When travelling in extremely remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the sea, ice and weather conditions to guide your route and itinerary details. The above is a tentative outline of what you might experience on this voyage; please be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed.
Days 18-19 Drake Passage
Prepare for potentially rough seas as you journey homeward through the Drake Passage. This legendary waterway, named after Sir Francis Drake, separates the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula from South America, making for a scenic voyage back to the mainland. Spend your last days at sea appreciating the vast open waters and surrounding wildlife, using sturdy sea legs when up on deck.
Day 20 Disembark in Ushuaia
After a shipboard breakfast this morning, disembark in Ushuaia, where you'll be transferred to the airport for your flight home. Your Antarctic adventure comes to an end here. If you're booking a flight out of Ushuaia today, please ensure it doesn't leave before midday, in case you encounter delays coming into the harbour.
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
Please note that not all optional activities operate on every Polar voyage. Please enquire with your travel agent for information on what is on offer on your voyage.
Although kayaking is open to all levels of experience, it is essential that participants have some prior experience, including the ability to do a wet exit. Beginners interested in kayaking should first undertake an introductory kayaking course. Regardless of your level of experience, it is advisable to have some recent practise before commencing your voyage so that you are comfortable while kayaking.
Other optional activities such as mountaineering and cross-country skiing require a good level of fitness.
More information and separate waivers will be provided on confirmation of optional activities.
  • Kayaking - Antarctic ()
    Itinerary disclaimer
    Polar travel requires an amount of flexibility as weather, ice conditions and wildlife can all affect where your ship is able to access, and where your Expedition Team think you will get the best experience possible from your trip. On board, daily updates are given to advise what the specific itinerary will be for the next day based on local conditions. Published itineraries are subject to change when local conditions dictate.
    Culture shock rating

    This is the least confronting of Intrepid's product range. English is the native language and the food, customs and access to services will be similar to home.
    Physical rating

    These trips are a relaxing break. You don't have to worry about doing anything physically demanding unless you want to.
    Physical preparation
    Although you don't need to be particularly fit to take part in an Antarctic expedition, you do need to have a good level of mobility. You must be able to complete the on board safety drills and emergency evacuation procedures unaided. Rolling seas and windy conditions require you to be stable on your feet while negotiating the ship over potentially slippery decks and gangways. The zodiacs are accessed via a steep gangway or stairs. Some of our ships have lifts, but these may not access all decks so some stair climbing on board will be necessary.
    On shore conditions will vary. Ice and snow underfoot can make conditions slippery. Some locations have steep climbs or longer walks to reach a place of interest but wherever possible, the expedition guides will offer options of shorter or longer stays on shore, and varying levels of activity. The crew are on hand to assist passengers on and off the zodiacs at all landings.
    For fly/Cruise itineraries landing at King George Island, a walk of approximately 2km's is required between the aircraft landing strip and the zodiac landing site (and vice versa). Luggage will be transferred for you, but clients must make the journey on foot.
    Included activities
    Please note that some of our included activities are contingent on weather conditions. We'll arrange an alternative if an included activity is deemed unsafe.
    Also included in the price of your voyage:
    * One night pre-expedition hotel accommodation with breakfast in Ushuaia, Punta Arenas or Buenos Aires as indicated in the itinerary.
    * Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping.
    * All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage. (Please inform us of any dietary requirements as far in advance as possible. Unfortunately, the ships’ galleys cannot prepare kosher meals.)
    * All shore landings according to the daily program.
    * Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leaders
    * All Zodiac transfers and cruising according to the daily program.
    * Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled.
    * Photographic Journal documenting the voyage.
    * A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings.
    * An Expedition parka to keep.
    * Coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock.
    * Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin.
    * Comprehensive pre-departure materials
    * Transfers as described in the itinerary
    * All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program.
    * All luggage handling aboard ship.
    * Emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $100,000 per person.
    What's not included
    * Any airfare unless otherwise specified in the itinerary
    * Passport and visa expenses
    * Government arrival and departure taxes.
    * Any meals ashore with the exception of breakfast at the joining hotel
    * Baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance.
    * Excess baggage charges.
    * Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges
    * Telecommunications charges.
    * The voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew
    * Compulsory waterproof pants for zodiac cruising
    Optional activities
    On some voyages there is the option of a photography program. This includes a series of photography-focused lectures and shore excursions. Some voyages also offer snowshoeing on some shore landing. There is no cost for these activities and they do not need to be booked in advance. Please check with your travel agent for the departures that these activities are offered on.
    Spending money
    Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
    The US Dollar is the standard currency on board. Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, Discover Card and American Express are accepted on board for settling your shipboard account.
    At the time designated in the shipboard program, please give the Hotel Manager the credit card you would like to use for all your incidental expenses. An account will be opened for your cabin for purchases aboard ship. This will include bar services, laundry, postage, and communication charges. A ‘chit’ system will operate for on board payments. You will sign for any bar, wine, communication charges, laundry, etc. An account for payment will be presented to you on the final day of the voyage. Final payment can be made using cash, travellers’ checks or major credit cards. Personal cheques are not accepted on board. If you are sharing a cabin and would like separate accounts, you must advise the Hotel Manager.
    It is wise to travel with sufficient cash to pay for incidentals such as shipboard items on the last day of the voyage, airport taxes and taxicab transfers.
    Tipping
    The voyage price does not include the customary gratuity to the ship’s personnel, which is divided amongst the crew, Expedition Team and Hospitality Team. We suggest this guideline for your convenience: aboard ship US $13 to US $15 per traveller, per day. The amount you choose to give is at your discretion. It can be added to your shipboard account.
    Departure tax
    Please allow USD 36 for international airport departure tax.
    Important notes
    Mail may be posted from the ship and will be charged to your shipboard account although few of the ports we visit accept
    mail, making delivery slow and erratic.
    Full details on contacting the ships will be included with your final documents. Please note that satellite communications can be out of range in remote areas like narrow channels surrounded by mountains. You may, at an additional charge, make telephone calls, and send and receive e -mails. Fax service is also available. Costs of these optional services will be communicated in your final documents. Internet service via satellite is available for an additional cost.
    ANTARCTICA DEPOSIT:
    An increased non-refundable deposit of A$2000 per person is required at time of booking. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure.
    Group size
    Maximum of 18 travellers per group.
    Your fellow travellers
    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
    Single travellers
    POLAR VOYAGES
    Single occupancy is available in most cabin categories for 1.7 or 2 times the twin berth price (dependent on which cabin category). Some ships have designated single occupancy cabins. Single travellers wishing to share will be matched with another solo traveller of the same sex. Please note that it is not possible to share with a stranger in all cabin types. Please speak to a consultant for full details.
    Accommodation
    OCEAN DIAMOND
    There are seven different cabin types on board the Ocean Diamond:
    Triple - 2 lower and 1 upper berth, private facilities, 2 portholes
    Twin Obstructed View - 1 double bed or 2 twin beds, private facilities, picture window with view obstructed by lifeboats
    Single Porthole - 1 double bed, private facilities, 2 portholes
    Twin Window - 2 lower berths (double or twin), private facilities, picture window
    Single Obstructed View - 1 double bed, private facilities, picture window with view obstructed by lifeboats
    Suite - 2 lower berths (double or twin), private facilities, 2 picture windows
    Balcony Suite - 2 lower berths (double or twin), private facilities, full-size window with sliding glass door leading to private deck
    Please note that if booking the Suite or the Balcony Suite, we are unable to match you with another traveller of the same sex. If travelling on your own you will need to book the whole cabin and pay for two berths.
    A deck plan showing the layout of the ship is below.

    Meals
    19 Breakfasts, 17 Lunches, 18 Dinners
    Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
    USD 100.00
    Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the dining room. Hours of operation will be posted and are subject to change to accommodate the expedition. Coffee, tea and cocoa are available around the clock. The tap water on board is safe to drink.
    We're able to meet most special dietary requests, as long as you have clearly indicated your requirements far in advance of your voyage. Kosher food cannot be prepared.
    Transport
    We use two different ships on this itinerary - the Ocean Endeavour or the Ocean Diamond. Please check the link from the Dates & Availability page on the website to see which ships is being used on which departure date.
    Group leader
    On the Ocean Diamond we will have 1 Expedition Leader and 1 Assistant Expedition Leader on board, plus at least 18 additional staff who will be a combination of specialists and Zodiac drivers. Final numbers will depend on the itinerary.
    Joining point
    Your Ushuaia Hotel
    .
    Ushuaia
    ARGENTINA
    Arrival complications
    We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact section below for who to contact depending upon your starting location.
    No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
    Finish point
    Ushuaia
    Ushuaia
    ARGENTINA
    Emergency contact
    In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Quark Expeditions can be reached on tel: +1 416 504 5900 (business hours - US & Canada Eastern) or 001 647 449 5303 (after hours).
    Emergency funds
    Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
    Visas
    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
    We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
    ARGENTINA TOURIST VISA
    Australia: Not required
    Belgium: Not required
    Canada: Not required
    Germany: Not required
    Ireland: Not required
    Netherlands: Not required
    New Zealand: Not required
    South Africa: Not required
    Switzerland: Not required
    United Kingdom: Not required
    United States: Not required
    ARGENTINA RECIPROCITY TAX:
    The Argentine government charges a reciprocity tax which applies to Canadian, US and Australian citizens. The amounts are as follows:
    Australians - US$100 (multiple entry for up to 1 year from date of issue)
    Canadians - US$92 (multiple entry for up to 5 years from date of issue)
    Americans - US$160 (multiple entry for up to 10 years from date of issue)
    This fee can only be paid on line through the following website:
    https://virtual.provinciapagos.com.ar/ArgentineTaxes/
    For instructions on how to process this payment, please visit:
    http://cnyor.mrecic.gov.ar/userfiles/Online_payment_instructions_0.pdf
    A receipt for this payment must be produced at every border crossing into Argentina.
    No specific visa is required to enter Antarctica beyond the requirements of the country your trip departs from - most likely Argentina or Chile.
    Issues on your trip
    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
    We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
    You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
    What to take
    You will be travelling to coastal regions during the austral summer, when conditions are mild – mean coastal temperatures are seldom far below freezing. However, sunny conditions can swiftly shift to storms with very cold winds and snow flurries. Be prepared for rapid weather changes. Average daytime temperatures in mid season are between 25 and 35 Fahrenheit or -4 and +2 Celsius. Wind and weather conditions, can make it seem colder. Daytime temperatures frequently drop below freezing.
    Clothing on board ship is generally informal. For outdoor wear, please bring wind and waterproof outer layers. Tight clothing is not recommended as it does not allow insulating air to be trapped.Wool, silk and some of the new synthetic fibres, like fleece, retain heat. We do not recommend clothing made of cotton. Plan to dress in layers.
    Essential Gear:
    Boots - Rubber boots are provided on a loan basis for the duration of the voyage. You do not need to bring these with you.
    Parkas - A complimentary parka will be provided on the ship.
    Pants - Waterproof pants are essential for zodiac travel as well as activities on shore. These, over a pair of warm pants, will keep you warm and dry.
    Gloves - To keep your hands warm and dry, pack a minimum of two pairs of gloves: a pair of thin polypropylene gloves to be worn underneath warm outer gloves. We strongly recommend that you bring at least one other set of gloves in case on pair gets wet or lost.
    Hat and Scarf - Pack a warm, woollen hat or cap that covers your ears, as well as a scarf, neck gaiter or other face protection. A peaked or brimmed hat helps protect against the sun but needs some kind of retainer for windy conditions.
    Socks - For maximum warmth we suggest that you wear two pairs of socks inside the rubber boots that are loaned to you. In addition, pack warm, long wool or cotton socks to be worn over a thin pair of silk or polypropylene socks. Bring several pairs.
    Outer Clothing - Pack woollen or fleece sweaters and tops, plus several turtlenecks for layering.
    Underclothing - Pack silk or polypropylene underwear since it will keep you warm without adding bulk. Many polar travellers prefer a lightweight version but this depends on your own personal thermostat.
    Day Pack - To keep your hands free for shooting photographs bring a water resistant or waterproof daypack
    Shoes - Bring shoes with non-slip soles for walking around the vessel. Slip-on sandals are not suitable for use on board ship.
    Swimsuit - There may be an opportunity for a polar plunge during the voyage so we recommend that you pack a swimsuit.
    Children - Children will be required to bring their own life jacket and rubber boots as child sizes are not provided on board.
    Health
    All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of staff, any traveller is found to be unfit to complete the itinerary on the day of embarkation, they may be denied boarding and excluded from the trip without refund.
    If you are taking prescribed medication, carry an extra week’s supply just in case of flight delays or other unforeseen circumstances. If you have particular health needs, please bring with you a signed and dated letter from your physician explaining your health problems and/or the dosage required for the prescribed medication. The letter will assist our doctor on board, and any emergency medical personnel to care for you should you become ill. Please hand the letter to the expedition doctor once you are on board.
    There will be a licensed English-speaking physician on board. Your vessel will have a medical clinic with a limited supply of prescription medicines and basic first aid equipment. The clinic will not be stocked with every drug or piece of equipment required for every medical problem. If you are under regular treatment for any ailment, you must bring a sufficient supply of medicines for yourself. We cannot accept responsibility for not having a specific brand or type of drug on board.
    You should anticipate some rough seas. The motion sickness medication that is available on board is for emergencies only. To avoid motion sickness, avoid alcohol, tobacco, excess liquids, and confined spaces. Most people feel better on deck looking at the horizon or lying still with their eyes shut. You will definitely feel better with some food in your
    stomach, such as dry toast or crackers.
    We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations and in some places anti-malarial medication may also be required. Bear in mind places being visited or transited en route to Antarctica. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental checkup is also highly recommended before departure.
    Safety
    As a ship registered for international voyages, the Ocean Diamond must comply with a variety of regulations, codes and industry standards. This regime of requirements ensures that internationally accepted standards for safety and environmental protection are developed, implemented and monitored within the company management system onshore and on board the ship. The ship adheres to regulations set by IMO (International Maritime Organisation) including ISM Code (Safety Management System), ISPS Code (for ship and port security), SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) and MARPOL (Maritime Pollution Prevention), the flag state and the classification society on an accredited system. In addition, as the Ocean Diamond spends considerable time in the Antarctic waters, Quark Expeditions, Inc is a full member of IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators) and a full member of AECO (Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators).
    CHILDREN: The minimum age for travel is 8. If a child is travelling without their parent/legal guardian, their parent/legal guardian will need to fill out a waiver form. Children will also be required to bring their own life jacket and rubber boots as child sizes are not provided on board.
    On your way to join your voyage, you may take advantage of the opportunity to visit a larger South American city such as Buenos Aires or Santiago. It is worth researching matters of personal safety and security in these places before your departure. Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
    We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
    Travel insurance
    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
    When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
    If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
    Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
    Responsible Travel
    We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
    A couple of rules
    Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader or local representative has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
    Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
    The Intrepid Foundation
    Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
    The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
    Carbon offset
    Carbon Offset C02-e 2240.00 kgs per pax.
    Feedback
    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We realise that our partner company may ask you to complete paper or online feedback following your trip, however we would also like to know what you thought and encourage you to submit your feedback to us too. We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.