Head to Antarctica on an adventure to explore the frozen continent

Experience an adventure tour of Antarctica and explore the unique conditions at the end of the Earth. Embark from Tierra Del Fuego and travel through the Beagle Channel and Drake Passage to the South Shetland Islands to see the incredible landscapes created by the Antarctic climate. See multiple species of playful penguins, the imposing and graceful frames of Antarctica's whales, and a frenzy of feeding birdlife. Benefit from the navigational expertise and local knowledge of a professional crew and make the most of a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Travel to Antarctica and see the exotic, alien nature of this frozen world for yourself.

Start
Ushuaia, Argentina
Finish
Ushuaia, Argentina
Countries
Antarctica,
Argentina
Themes
Polar, Sailing, Wildlife
Code
GQMKO
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 8
Group size
Min 1 Max 189
Carbon offset
0kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Begin your adventure in the Patagonian outpost of Ushuaia, often referred to as the ‘city at the end of the world’
  • Follow in the path of historic explorers, as you sail through the Beagle and Drake channels
  • Observe abundant species of whales, seabirds and seals on regular Zodiac excursions in the South Shetland Islands
  • Visit rookeries teeming with chinstrap penguins and hike up hills to enjoy 360 degree views of the Antarctic Peninsula
  • Optional activities such as sea kayaking or polar ice camping on selected voyages can take your adventure to the next level. Book early, as these sell out fast

Itinerary

Welcome to Ushuaia, where your Antarctic adventure begins. Arrive at any time today and be transferred to the hotel. Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world. If you arrive early, there are plenty of things to see and do. Perhaps explore the nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park, visit the Maritime Museum housed in an old prison, or enjoy Argentinean wine and steak at a restaurant in town.

Notes: The arrival transfer from the airport is included if you are arriving on day 1. Full details will be sent with your final joining instructions.
Special Information
Please note, arrival transfers are included for clients arriving into Ushuaia airport today. If you are arriving any earlier, you will need to make your own way to your hotel. The airport in Ushuaia is very close to the town centre and taxis are very reasonable.
Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon. The ship makes its way into the historic Beagle Channel, which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago. The channel takes its name from the HMS Beagle, which transported Charles Darwin through the region on his around-the-world voyage in 1833. Keep an eye out for various species of seabird from the deck.
Spend the next couple of days getting to know your shipmates. You'll also be briefed on safety precautions and the exciting activities that lie ahead. During this period the ship will cross the Drake Passage, named after the British navigator, Sir Francis Drake. Sail past icebergs and keep on the look out for wildlife. Weather conditions through the Drake can be temperamental, so cross your fingers for smooth sailing but be prepared for rough waters.
Cruise towards the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. Over the next five days, take Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore different bays, channels and landing sites each day. Visit penguin rookeries, scout for humpback and minke whales and search for southern seal species, including the cunning leopard seal. Hear the boom of a calving glacier in Neko Harbour as it cuts through the silence. Weather and ice conditions dictate which landings can be made, but your expedition team will make sure that each day is unique and memorable.

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 meters (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.

The following Optional Activities are available to participate in, on some or all of the departures of this itinerary. These must be booked in advance (additional costs apply) and space is limited.

KAYAKING – Our kayaking adventures are the best way to feel at one with the sea. Taken in small groups of maximum 16 people, multiple times per voyage, kayaking adventures are only conducted during calm weather conditions. Kayaking is open to all levels of experience, however kayaking in the polar waters is not suitable for novice kayakers. Beginners interested in kayaking should first take an introductory course prior to the voyage which includes how to do a wet exit. In addition regardless of your experience, we recommend you take part in some kayaking practise prior to the voyage to ensure that you are comfortable on the water in the icy conditions.

CAMPING – Spend the night under the Antarctic sky with a hardy group of your shipmates. Numbers are limited so book early. The crew will determine the best location and conditions for your overnight adventure. Dress warmly and eat a hearty meal before you head out as no meals are permitted onshore.

INCLUDED OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES
SNOWSHOEING - A novel way to experience the beauty of the polar landscape, and discover remote alcoves and hidden valleys. The rewards of walking atop the snow are well worth the effort, as we’ll be able to visit new places that may be inaccessible on foot. This traditional means of transport across the snow comes from the indigenous people of North America. While you can appreciate a connection with the past, the snowshoes we use today are much lighter and more forgiving than the old wood-weave snowshoes used during the days of the North American fur trade.

The journey back across the Drake Passage provides you with final opportunities to enjoy the crisp Antarctic air. Spend time on the deck scouting for seabirds and whales, enjoy onboard educational presentations by the expedition team or simply relax and reminisce about your experiences.
Arrive into Ushuaia in the morning after breakfast, where your adventure comes to an end. After disembarkation, you'll be transferred to the airport for your flight onwards. Please do not book outbound flights before 12 pm today, in case of delays.
Special Information
If you are departing Ushuaia today, a transfer is included from the port to the airport. We recommend that you book flights departing Ushuaia from 12.00 midday onwards.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
11 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 10 dinners
Transport
Ship, Zodiac
Accommodation
Cruise ship (10 nights), Hotel (1 night)

Dates

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Important notes

BOOKING CONDITIONS
Arctic and Antarctic bookings have an increased deposit requirement of A$2000pp ($6000pp on Icebreaker voyages. Different amounts apply in other currencies). The balance is due 90 days before departure.
If a booking is cancelled 90 days or more before departure - the cancellation fee is the full loss of the deposit paid.
If a booking is cancelled between 89 days and departure - the cancellation fee is 100% of the total price of the voyage.
Other fees may apply for air tickets and other arrangements booked in conjunction with a Polar voyage.

ADVENTURE OPTIONS
Kayaking is available to book on all Antarctic voyages. Some voyages also offer other activities such as camping, stand up paddle boarding, cross country skiing and mountaineering. All of these activities must be booked prior to departure and incur an additional cost. Spaces are limited so please enquire at time of booking. For kayaking, previous, recent experience is essential and a good level of fitness is required for cross country skiing and mountaineering. See the itinerary for Adventure options available on this voyage.

Your voyage is operated by our sister company, Quark Expeditions. All accommodation and transfer arrangements as listed in the itinerary are also operated by Quark Expeditions or their local representatives.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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