Trip of humpback whales sighting in Wilhelmina Bay
Sailing north along the Gerlache Strait, we arrive at the Wilhelmina bay where often we are lucky to see how humpback whales get feed. We can embark on a zodiac boat if weather conditions allow us to see the wreck of Guvernoren, an old whaling ship that caught fire in the early twentieth century. In the vicinity of the Melchior Islands surrounded by a beautiful landscape with icebergs, we can find more whales, leopard seals and crabeater seals. It have been sighted a high density of humpback whales in Wilhelmina Bay.
It is due to the large biomass of krill almost two million tonnes. The ice loss is beneficial for humpback whales as it increases the amount of krill, but in the long term due to global warming is not a good message because krill populations decrease and therefore the whales migrate to new destinations searching for food.
11/10 days - 10/9 nights
Day 1 - Departure from the port of Ushuaia
The embarkation is done in the afternoon, in the port of Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego (Argentina), the southernmost city in the world, situated on the shores of the Beagle Channel. The boat slowly will move away from the coast, showing the picturesque bay and its urban panorama. The navigation will be overnight, sailing towards the Drake Passage.
Day 2 to 3 - Sailing through the Drake Passage towards Peninsula
Throughout two days, the ship will move through the Drake Passage, a short and stirred sea route between the American continent and the Antarctic Peninsula. When we get to the Antarctic Convergence, a natural barrier where warm currents from the north mix with cold water from the south determining a wide biodiversity, we will be able to appreciate a numerous sub-Antarctic species. In this area we can see the magnificent wandering albatross, the largest bird that flies over these waters and can measure up to 3.5m; the gray-headed albatross, light-mantled, the dark and black-browed species, pigeons and cape petrels Wilson, blue and also the southern Antarctic fulmar or silver petrel. We cannot avoid mentioning the Gentoo penguins and chinstrap. Near the South Shetland Islands, we can see the first icebergs indicating the arrival to Antarctica. Only in the afternoon of the third day we will see the South Shetland Islands, which are punished by the wind. We can observe a variety of flora, such as mosses, lichens and flowering herbs.
Day 4 to 9 - Exploring the White Continent, from Cuverville and Melchior Island to the South Shetland Islands
The ship is heading directly to the "High Antarctica", passing the Melchior islands and Schollaert channel between Brabant and Anvers Islands. In the small and steep Cuverville, sheltered by the mountain chain of the Antarctic Peninsula and Danco Island, are crowded colonies of Gentoo penguins with brown skuas that choose to this area to reproduce. If we land on the Danco Coast, we can see Chinstrap penguins in addition to crabeater and Weddell seals. Neko Harbor is the right place to set foot on the White Continent, admiring the incredible glaciers. Will take a zodiac ride and we will marvel at the beauty of the landscape surrounded with snowy peaks. Paradise Bay is another amazing corner of the mainland, there are many beautiful icebergs and deep fjords, thanks to the zodiacs we can surround to closely observe and be surprised by the presence of the Humpback and Minke whales that frequent the area. The itinerary continues through the Lemaire Channel, which leads us to Pleneau and Peterman islands inhabited by Adelie penguins and blue-eyed shags. Marine environments are also frequented by the Humpback and Minke whales.
We will visit one of the scientific stations to see from the inside the life and work of the residents of the Antarctic. Further south, the people of Ukrainian base of Vernadsky offer a warm welcome, sharing their stories and experiences with all travelers. Turning north, the boat will pass through the Neumayer Channel, with the hope of being allowed to enter the British research at Port Lockroy Goudie Island, where there is a post office and a museum with objects of the first expeditions and settlements on the peninsula. A short distance from Port Lockroy we will disembark at Punta Jougla to watch colonies of Gentoo penguins and Imperial Cormorants. In the return, through the Gerlache Channel, we will visit the South Shetland, an archipelago of 22 islands and islets. These volcanic islands, hit by strong winds and fog, hide natural treasures. One of the most unique landing points is Deception Island. After maneuvering through a narrow rocky area known as the graves of Neptune, the ship will enter its natural harbor.
Deception is a large submerged crater, which opens into the sea due to an explosion. At the same time, the island offers hot springs, in addition to abandoned ruins of a whaling station where there are thousands of pigeons, Antarctic terns, skuas and petrels brown and species Wilson nesting. There we can make a long walk and kayak excursion, as long as weather conditions are favorable. After leaving Deception Island, we will pass by Media Luna Island. There grows a wide variety of flora, mosses, lichens, lush pastures and animal species as gentoo penguins and southern giant petrels, also there is a large colony of chinstrap penguins and seals that usually lie on the beach. The journey continues north to cross the narrow passage into the open sea towards Ushuaia.
Another option is to start in the Shetland Islands to finish in Cuverville and Melchior Islands, the opposite way to the previous itinerary.
On the fourth day we will reach the largest island of the South Shetlands: The King Jorge Island, with more than 1,150 m2, is the epicenter of the scientific activity of the Antarctic continent. In the southwest region of the island are ice-free places where international scientific stations are located, as is the case of the Chilean and Russian stations. In King George can find different species of penguins and seals, as Gentoo penguins, elephant seals and Antarctic seals. The next day we will leave King George Island to sail to Deception Island. If weather conditions are favorable we can go kayaking or go for a hike. Deception there is a whaling station which now is occupied by Cape Pigeons, Dominican Gulls and Brown besides Antarctic terns and skuas. We will stop to admire the storm petrels nesting in Whalers Bay.
The expedition continues to Trinidad and Mikkelsen Harbor Island. We will sail through the Gerlache Strait. There we will visit the British research station and post office located in Port Lockroy on Goudie Island. We will try to descend to spot the Jougla Gentoo penguins and shags. We will be able to see leopard seals, crabeater seals and whales further north we can spot minke and humpback whales. After a while, we will arrive at the Cuverville Island, a tiny and very rugged island, located between the solid area of ??the Peninsula and Danco Island where there is a large colony of Gentoo Penguins and Skua. In Neko Harbor we will use the zodiac to navigate between icebergs. Then follow the Melchior Islands with breathtaking scenery of icebergs, where we expect the presence of crabeater and leopard seals and humpback whales. We say goodbye to the Melchior Islands to go up north reaching the open sea in the Drake Passage.
Anmerkung: Some expeditions last for 12 days and another 11 days. The additional day corresponds to these days, in 12-day itinerary go from the day 4 to 9 and the 11-day itinerary goes from 4 to 8. It might also be an itinerary of 10 days long, in this case range from day 4 to 7.
Day 10 to 11 - Sailing back
While the ship is heading to the Drake Passage in our way back to the American continent we will sight various species of birds such as petrels, albatrosses, terns and cormorants flew over the ship.
Day 12 - Arrival at Ushuaia
The ship reached the port of Ushuaia in the early morning, to land and to end the expedition to Antarctica.
Anmerkung: All itineraries described are presented only as a reference. Programs may vary depending on weather and ice conditions in the area, as well as accessibility for landings and the opportunity to observe the local wildlife. The final route will be determined by the Expedition Leader. Flexibility is the key to enjoying the first expedition cruises.
Map of Route
All rates are per person in american dollars, in double twin accommodation. The prices in dollars apply for all the sales made outside Europe. A 5% of discount will be granted for bookings of one or more consecutive voyages (except for the programa "Atlantic Odyssey"). Please, consider that all the dates and prices are subjet to possible changes. All the trips operate with a minimum of 70 passengers. The "Plancius" can accommodate a top of 110 passengers.
Individual occupancy (single base)
All the cabins are available for Single occupancy to 1.7 times the price for this cabin.
- Trip on board as indicated in the itinerary
- All meals during the trip on board, including snacks, coffee and tea
- Free use for rubber boats and snowshoes
- Regular Transfer from the cruise to Ushuaia Airport (right after the disembarkation)
- All land tours and activities during the voyage in Zodiac boats
- Conference programs by well known naturalists and coordination by the experimented team expedition
- All taxes and port expenses during the program
- Informative reading material before embarking
Services not included:
Any air prices (regular or charter flights), any previous and/ or later service to the cruise, transfers to the cruise; passport and visa expenses; any arrival or return govern taxes in the country, meals on land, luggage, cancellationa and personal insurance (which is advisable), expenses for excess luggage and any other aditional expense, such as laundry, bar, drinks or calls; also the tips to waitresses and other personal service on board, after the trips.