Map of WWF Giants of Antarctica (Ocean Endeavour) including Antarctica and Argentina

Wonder at wildlife on an expedition with leading scientists

Join Intrepid and special guests from the World Wildlife Fund – Australia (WWF-Australia) on an 11-day expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula. Scout icy waters and white shores for whales and other critters by day, then relax and enjoy a fascinating lecture program by night. Alongside our regular team of Antarctic experts, WWF-Australia scientists will join this tour to share insights into whale conservation as they conduct cutting edge research on these underwater giants. And whale tales are just the beginning! This adventure offers you the chance to explore Antarctica’s barren beauty on foot and by Zodiac, and encounter penguin rookeries, sight leopard seals and gawp at towering glaciers as they calve right before your eyes.


Start
Ushuaia, Argentina
Finish
Ushuaia, Argentina
Destinations
Antarctica, Argentina
Style
Comfort
Theme
Polar, Wildlife
Code
GQWWF
Physical rating
Ages
Min 8
Group size
Min 1, Max 200

Why you'll love this trip

  • Travelling with a team of researchers in peak humpback whale season, you’ll get the chance to learn about state-of-the-art whale research techniques and marine conservation. Good timing!

  • Get the chance to take daily excursions with experts in Antarctic biology, glaciology and history, then unwind at night with onboard lectures and presentations.

  • Intrepid expeditions on the Ocean Endeavour have an enviable crew to passenger ratio – one expedition crew member for every 8 passengers – for a more personal journey.

  • Customise your trip with optional activities like kayaking, a photography masterclass, yoga classes, massage or even a polar plunge.

  • Travel lighter with a carbon-offset expedition that serves only sustainably sourced seafood, avoids single-use plastics and uses biodegradable and phosphate-free cleaning products.

Is this trip right for you?

  • The Antarctic waters can be rough and unpredictable, but don’t worry - our ice-strengthened ship is big and sturdy and equipped with stabilizers to ensure you’ll have a safe crossing to the white continent. Some people may experience seasickness, especially through the Drake Passage and other open water crossings, so please be prepared with medications to combat this. There is also an Expedition Doctor on board should you need further assistance.

  • It’s best to dress in layers when you journey outside and we’ll provide you with waterproof muck boots that are sturdy and warm as well as an insulated inner jacket (yours to keep) and a robust outer Expedition Parka. Please see the Antarctic Travellers Guide for more detailed information on what Expedition Gear we provide and what to bring with you.

  • Depending on the weather, you’ll be zipping around in Zodiacs quite regularly to explore the area and search for wildlife. Some spray could occur, so make sure you dress appropriately and keep your camera safe and dry. Enduring the elements is one thing, having no photos to show for it is another. Sturdy sea legs are needed for wet and dry landings from the Zodiacs, as well as on steep terrain, snow and other uneven surfaces. The Ocean Endeavour has an elevator, but you’ll need to take the stairs to get to the gangway and some other parts of the ship that the elevator does not provide access to.

  • 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 in such a remote area. There are nearly 200 recognised sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands; the places mentioned in the itinerary may need to be changed to others (which are just as interesting). We may also be confined to the ship during rough weather. The ship’s Polar library and educational lectures are ideal ways to stay entertained, while the Australis spa, saunas, gym and yoga and meditation classes will keep you fresh for when the weather clears.

Boats

Ocean Endeavour sailing

Ocean Endeavour

The Ocean Endeavour is a comfortable and spacious ship with a gym, library and wide range of cabin types.

Itinerary

Welcome to Ushuaia, Argentina, the world’s southernmost city. You’ll be briefed at the hotel tonight on the journey and details for tomorrow’s embarkation, but if you happen to arrive early there are a surprising amount of ways to entertain yourself at ‘the End of the World’. Check out the Museo Maritimo to brush up on the region’s history, or take a stroll down Avenida San Martin if you’re after any last-minute essentials before departing. Oh, and did we mention this is Argentina – if all else fails, head to a local restaurant to get your fill of red wine and steak. Muy bueno.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
An arrival transfer from the airport on Day 1 is included in your voyage fare. Full details will be sent with your final joining instructions.
This afternoon you’ll board the Ocean Endeavour, settle into your cabin and begin cruising down the stunning Beagle Channel, named for Charles Darwin’s ship. The channel transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America, and as the ship pulls away from port there’s always an air of anticipation. Travelling with you on this voyage is marine ecologist Dr Ari Freidlaender and a small team of scientists, who are heading to Antarctica to undertake crucial research on the migration and feeding patterns of baleen whales. Wave goodbye to Argentina and know that the next time you see land you’ll be staring at Antarctica.
Accommodation
  • Ocean Endeavour (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
The time has come to cross the Drake Passage, the legendary body of water named after English explorer Sir Francis Drake. If the conditions are right, enjoy some time out on deck to spot dolphins, orcas or perhaps albatross. If the waters are a little rough, the Ocean Endeavour is equipped with some seriously lush facilities for you to take advantage of. As well as safety briefings, a comprehensive lecture program will run throughout the journey delivered by experts in Antarctica’s history, geology and biology, Dr Freidlaender and his team of researchers. With any luck we’ll make it to land by early evening on Day 4 – a moment that always brings much excitement.
Accommodation
  • Ocean Endeavour (2 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
The adventure truly begins once the Antarctic Convergence is left in your wake and exchanged for four incredible days of exploring the Antarctic Peninsula. Stare wide-eyed at glaciers, mountains and an unimaginable array of wildlife as the sheer magnitude and rawness of the area comes to light. Every day is a new adventure, and you’ll explore ice-filled bays and channels as well as Antarctica itself on Zodiac excursions and by foot. While the landscapes will no doubt take your breath away, Antarctica is all about the wildlife. Visit penguin rookeries, spot humpback and minke whales and look out for leopard seals, all while calving glaciers crack through the immense silence. As you head out on your guided Zodiac cruises and immersive shore landings, the research team travelling with you will take another Zodiac to search of whales. Dr Friedleander and his team will deploy non-invasive tracking tools to gather data such as whale orientation, movement and speed. The suction-capped devices used also have two cameras attached, providing a first-person (or first-whale!) view of underwater lives. The researchers will also use drone technology to track whale size and movement from above, as well as to observe krill populations in the southern oceans. While they may be exploring in different regions to you on any given day, they will report back regularly at the evening recap presentations. Dr Friedlaender presents engaging research lectures worldwide, and will contribute to your onboard lecture program as well as being available for less formal interactions on the vessel.
Accommodation
  • Ocean Endeavour (4 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (4)
  • Lunch (4)
  • Dinner (4)
Special Information
Potential excursions and landing sites are determined by weather and ice conditions and cannot be guaranteed in advance. For a list of possible landing sites in Antarctica, go to intrepidtravel.com/antarctica-landing-sites.
Say goodbye to the Antarctic Peninsula as we begin our return leg to Ushuaia. Take the opportunity to share photographs with fellow travellers, enjoy some final lectures from polar experts and speak with the WWF-Australia team about their whale research findings from their time on the Peninsula. Ultimately, Dr Friedlaender and his team hope that their research will lead to the establishment of an Antarctic marine protection area, preventing krill fishing in the region and safeguarding the health of baleen whales. With The Intrepid Foundation helping to facilitate this research voyage and supporting WWF-Australia’s Protecting Antarctic Giants project, this is a cause to get behind. Your last days on board are also a great opportunity to make use of the Ocean Endeavour’s health and wellness facilities, including its saunas, spa, heated pool, yoga classes and gym.
Accommodation
  • Ocean Endeavour (2 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Special Information
If you would like to further support WWF-Australia’s Protecting Antarctic Giants project via the Intrepid Foundation, find out more at theintrepidfoundation.org/wwf.
Your Antarctic adventure draws to a close after breakfast this morning. Farewell your shipmates and transfer to the airport if you’re flying out today, or perhaps spend some more time exploring this incredible part of the world.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

10 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 9 dinners

Transport

Expedition Cruise Ship, Zodiac

Accommodation

Comfortable Hotel (1 night), Expedition Cruise Ship (9 nights)

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our WWF Giants of Antarctica (Ocean Endeavour) trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

Travellers on Intrepid trips are required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. Read details here.

PRICES AND SURCHARGES
Please ensure that you familiarise yourself with our Antarctic Voyage Booking Conditions, specifically "4. - Prices and Surcharges” prior to booking a voyage. Fuel surcharges are imposed from time to time and are subject to market conditions and fluctuations. A surcharge of USD54 per ship night has been added to our early departures in the 2022/23 season.

ADVENTURE OPTIONS
Approach a looming glacier in a sea kayak, strap on snowshoes to reach the best icy viewpoints, capture the perfect penguin shot under the guidance of expert Photography guides or camp under an Antarctic night sky – these are just some of the ways you can enrich your exploration of the great White Continent with our additional activities. Our additional adventure options are subject to availability, weather and sea conditions, itinerary and departure date, so please contact your booking agent for more detailed information. Spaces on all adventure options are limited. For pre-booked activities, we recommend booking via your booking agent early to avoid disappointment.

PRE-BOOKED ADVENTURE OPTIONS (extra charge)

KAYAKING:
In small groups of 16 kayakers, under full instruction from our Expedition Kayak Guides, experience true tranquillity as you paddle through clinking ice floes in awe of the enormity of the surrounding scenery. Previous kayaking experience and a good level of fitness is required. Single and double sea kayaks are available. Please refer to our Kayaking Preparation Notes for more information.

PHOTOGRAPHY:
Capture incredible wildlife and landscape shots under the expert guidance of our world-class photographers, whilst utilising the latest photography gear available on loan throughout your voyage. Our small group dedicated Photography Program offers photography enthusiasts of any skill level the opportunity to make photography a focus of their expedition.

CAMPING:
Camp out on the ice and experience the silence that blankets the continent by night. This is your chance to completely connect with this ethereal ice world – wrap up warm and embrace the Antarctic elements. Please refer to our Camping Preparation Notes for more information. Please note: Camping is not available on late-season departures.

BOOK ON BOARD ADVENTURE OPTIONS
We also have a range of adventure options that can be booked and paid on board. These include:

SNOWSHOEING:
Get a spring in your step when you clip on a pair of snowshoes in Antarctica. Enabling you to easily scale gentle slopes, this unique activity allows you to access hard to reach places and seek out the most impressive views. Weather dependent. Please note: Snowshoeing is not available on late-season departures.

DAY PADDLE:
Enjoy an unforgettable experience on the water, taking in the breathtaking surroundings of Antarctica, whilst accompanied by Expedition Day Paddle Guides. Our expertly guided, one-off, day paddle excursions in our stable, sit-on-top inflatable kayaks give you the rare chance to see Antarctica from the same perspective as most of the wildlife – at the surface of the sea. No previous kayaking experience is required.

YOGA AND MEDITATION CLASSES:
It doesn’t get more serene than a yoga class to the tune of glacial scenery. Join the most unique exercise setting in the world after a day of exploration. Classes are complimentary and regular but are dependent on weather conditions and swell.

Essential trip information

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