Antarctic Circle – Expedition

Resort:Antarctic Circle - Expedition
Operator: Explore
Destination: Antarctica
Price From: £6899.00

Over View

From Ushuaia we navigate the Beagle Channel, heading south across the infamous Drake Passage. Ice-capped mountains, crevassed glaciers and endless white expanses herald our arrival in Antarctica. Possible landings include Paradise Harbour, Neko Harbour or Wilhelmina Bay and cruising Lemaire Channel, Errera Channel or Neumayer Channel. Scientific research stations and abandoned whaling stations will also be of interest. Conditions permitting, we’ll attempt two excursions per day to explore the rich diversity of wildlife such as gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap penguin, fur, leopard, weddell and crabeater seal and Minke, humpback and possibly even Orca whale. We continue southward along the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, passing colossal icebergs and countless colonies of penguin. After attempting to cross the Polar Circle at 6633’S, we will head back through the inside passage, pending ice conditions, to continue our exploration of the Antarctic peninsula before heading back to Ushuaia.

Cross the Polar Circle – a true expedition a little deeper into Antarctica
Be encircled by rookeries of penguins – chinstrap, Adelie and gentoo penguins
Be dwarfed by colossal glaciers – experience icebergs towering high above you


Day 1 Join trip in Ushuaia

Arrive in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. The city has 40,000 inhabitants and is a major ski resort area for both alpine and cross-country skiers.

You can arrive at any time and an arrival transfer is included if arriving in on day one of the itinerary. Upon arrival into Ushuaia City Airport (USH) please collect your luggage and look for a representative in the Arrivals Hall, holding a sign with your name on it. If you have booked your flights independently, please make sure that you have advised us of your arrival flight details into Ushuaia, so that a transfer is booked for you. Be sure to keep all of your important documents – i.e. passport and travel insurance, and also your medication in your hand luggage, as your main luggage will be transferred separately to the hotel.

From our experience we have found that there are significant delays, especially in high season on flights from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. We highly recommend booking your travel arrangements to arrive into Ushuaia earlier in the day.

There are no activities planned today. If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to explore the city, visit the Maritime Museum or join a tour to Tierra del Fuego National Park, which offers magnificent hiking opportunities.

Day 2 Ushuaia

Group embarkation is set for 4:00 pm. The morning is free to do any last minute shopping or an optional excursion to the Terra Del Fuego National park or a good hike up to the Marshall Glacier. The evening is spent on board the ship watching the sunset over the Beagle Channel.

Please note while it is our intention to adhere to the itinerary described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. On the first day on board, your Expedition Leader will give you an expedition overview.

Day 3 Drake Passage

Our adventure begins with a 400 mile crossing of the passage that bears the name of the 16th century English explorer Sir Francis Drake. The Expedition is at home in this part of the Southern Ocean, known for the unimpeded fetch of the winds that encircle the Antarctic. At some point on the second day we cross the Antarctic Convergence, a meeting of cold polar water flowing north and warmer equatorial water moving in the opposite direction. This mixing pushes nutrient rich waters to the surface attracting a variety of seabirds, whales and other species.

As we make the passage you have time to become acquainted with the ship and frequent the common areas that include the lounge, dining hall, library and lecture hall where we meet our guides, ship’s crew and expedition staff. We also begin the lecture and information sessions to learn the extraordinary human and natural history of the Antarctic region.

Day 4 Drake Passage

As we make the passage you will have time to become acquainted with the ship and frequent the common areas that include the lounge, dining hall, library and lecture hall – where we meet our guides, ship’s crew and expedition staff. We also begin the lecture and information sessions, to learn the extraordinary human and natural history of the Antarctic region.

Day 5 Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands

This is what we’ve all been waiting for – a chance to step foot on the Great White Continent! Over the following days, we will navigate southwards making stops in the South Shetland Islands then through the Bransfield Strait and to the Antarctic Peninsula. Our goal is to attempt two excursions per day, while we navigate through the area, but our itinerary and daily schedule will be based on the local weather and ice conditions that we encounter.

Day 6 Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands

The Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands abound with wildlife activity. Penguins gather with their fast-growing chicks, whales are seen in great numbers, seals haul out onto ice floes and beaches, and numerous albatross and other seabirds trail in our wake. There is plenty of time to enjoy the sheer beauty and the breathtaking scenery of ice-choked waterways, blue and white icebergs, impressive glaciers and rugged snow-capped mountains. The Peninsula also has a remarkable history and, during the voyage, we will learn about some of the most important and dramatic expeditions to this remote corner of the world. Keeping a lookout from the Bridge or the deck of the ship, as we thread our way along the continent, you’ll feel the same sense of excitement as many of those early Explorers.

The continent itself is roughly circular with a spindly arm, called the Antarctic Peninsula, reaching northwards towards Tierra del Fuego. South America is the nearest landmass, some 600 miles away. Antarctica is a continent of superlatives. It is the coldest, windiest, iciest and highest of all the major landmasses in the world. It is the continent with the longest nights and the longest days and it is home to the world’s greatest concentration of wildlife. It is also one of the last true wilderness areas left on earth – largely unchanged since the early Explorers and Whalers first landed on its inhospitable shores, less than two centuries ago.

Day 7 Polar Circle Crossing

With a close eye on weather conditions, we set off southward along the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Passing colossal icebergs and countless colonies of penguins we push on with our goal in mind – crossing the Antarctic Polar Circle.

Day 8 Polar Circle Crossing

Few travellers have ventured this far south, but with our fully equipped ice-strengthened vessel and favourable sea conditions, we can access many remote locations other ships just can’t reach.

Day 9 Antarctic Peninsula

We will continue our exploration of the peninsula and then into the South Shetland, as we move north again. Keeping a close eye out for wildlife we might have the opportunity to do some whale watching or even go for a polar plunge in the Southern waters.

Day 10 Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands

We will stop at various landing sights along the peninsula to visit penguin rookeries, where you will enjoy spotting a variety of breeds;- Adelie, chinstrap and gentoo – all very playful at this time of year ! We also hope to make a Continental landing and to include a visit to one of the Scientific research stations, giving you further insight into ‘Life in Antarctica’ for those who live here year-round.

Day 11 Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands

Our final day in the White Continent will be spent in the South Shetland Islands, where you may be able to visit the volcanic landing sites of Half Moon Island and Deception Island. Here you will find black sandy beaches surrounded by dramatic, craggy rock faces. There is an abundance of chinstrap penguins in this area, easily identifiable by the thin black band that runs under their chin.

Day 12 The Drake Passage

Today we head back north and begin our journey back to our home port of Ushuaia.

Day 13 The Drake Passage

Our final day at sea is a perfect time to reflect on our memorable adventure. Our guides and lecturers will be on hand to review the highlights of our sensational Antarctic experience.

Day 14 Trip ends in Ushuaia

The trip ends after breakfast on board the ship.

There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart at any time after 9am. You will receive a complimentary transfer at the end of your trip. For those on morning flights, a transfer will take you directly to Ushuaia City Airport (USH). For those on later flights, you will be transferred to the luggage storage point and given time to explore the city. You will need to return later to retrieve your luggage and board a second transfer to Ushuaia City Airport in the afternoon, depending on flight times.