The program includes a complete itinerary that crosses the entire west side of the Antarctic Peninsula to reach the Antarctic Circle. The crossing takes 12 days, sailing through the South Shetland Islands, the Gerlache, the Neumayer, the Errera and the Lemaire channels, with landings in beautiful continental places like Paradise Bay and islands such as Goudie or Cuverville where is located the museum of Port Lockroy. The arrival at the Ukrainian Vernadsky Station in the Wilhelm Archipelago marks the proximity to the Arctic Circle. After visiting the Yalour and Peterman islands, the cruise will take the route to the north along the picturesque channels returning to the South Shetland Islands. In this archipelago we will land on Deception Island and Media Luna Island in order to visit its rich natural environment. During the trip we will not only be astonished with spectacular views of glaciers and fjords, but also to observe the abundant wildlife in the region such as: penguins, seals, whales, sea lions and countless birds that will accompany the ship on his fascinating journey.
12 days - 11 nights
Day 1 - Undertaking the journey
This amazing expedition begins in the afternoon in the port of Ushuaia (the capital of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina). After boarding and meet the team who will accompany us during the trip, the boat starts navigating the Beagle Channel and the scenic Mackinlay passage.
Day 2 to 3 - At Sea, crossing the Drake Passage and the Antarctic Convergence
The vast sea between the American Continent and the Antarctic, we will cross it through the Drake Passage. Approximately 800 to 950km, this passage that bears the name of the English corsair Francis Drake, is the shortest route to reach the Antarctic Peninsula and also marks a natural boundary known as the Antarctic Convergence. The convergence is a section delineated by the cold polar waters sink under the warmer currents from the north, thus causing abundant nutrients to sustain the biodiversity of the area. For these characteristics many species of Antarctic birds take this barrier as northern limit of their habitat. The Biologist on board of the M/V Ushuaia will provide the first talks explaining the particularities of the region, its rich ecosystem of flora and fauna and they will also practice with the passengers the birdwatching as cormorants, petrels and albatrosses from the deck. Another unique point of contemplation is the command bridge, thanks to the policy of free access on the M/V Ushuaia, it becomes a strategic place to follow the navigation, whale watching and other animals, or just admire the scenery. The first icebergs and snowy mountains announce the arrival to South Shetland Islands, an archipelago of twenty islands and islets discovered in 1819 by the British Captain William Smith on board a brigantine. In the third day of sailing, if weather conditions accompanying we will do the first landing to observe the colonies of penguins and seals characteristics of the insular region.
Day 4 to 9 - South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula, towards the Antarctic Polar Circle
The western Antarctic Peninsula is known for its beauty and biodiversity. Their strange shapes and shades of the floes and icebergs look like monumental sculptures, floating away to decorate the entire Antarctic coast. But not only is the landscape amazing, also the past, the stories about discoveries and early exploration of its hidden corners of the world. The close encounter with the natural life is experienced when crossing the numerous colonies of Adélie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins that inhabit the islands, besides the canrejeras seals, Weddell and leopard that together with the minke whales and orcas can be seen at very short distance from the coast. It is also probable to spot other groups of large cetaceans such as humpback whales and northern fin whales or whale Finn. With good sea and ice conditions, the ship will sail the Gerlache, Errera and Neumayer Channel to be astonished by its charming panoramic views until reaching the Lemaire Channel. It’s extremely narrow course with magnificent cliffs separates the peninsula from the island Booth and has one of the most wonderful views of the trip. The columns of ice make the Lemaire on one of the most beautiful pictures of the planet. Paradise Bay is one of the landing sites truly breathtaking for its natural beauty. It is also likely to visit Cuverville Island, the home of the largest colony of chinstrap penguins of the peninsula, and Port Lockroy which has a British museum along with a post office. Going south through the Lemaire Channel getting closer to the Polar Circle, the Ukrainian Vernadsky Station that belongs to the British goverment since 1996.
This station works under the name of Faraday. In this scientific base, located at the tip of the Marina Galindez islands (archipelago Wilhelm), a geophysical magnetic meteorological observatory that registered the first ozone hole. Within the same archipelago, the rugged Yalour, better known as Argentine islands, a group of coastal islands separated from the French Peterman passage. At 66 ° 33 '44' south of the Ecuador, is the Antarctic Circle, one of the top 5 places parallel to the overland map. Anywhere south of the circle, at least one day a year the sun sets on the horizon 24 hours straight, by the same laws of rotation and axis inclination the Earth, at least 1 day is hidden under the horizon 24 hours. Once you reach the goal of the trip, the ship undertakes the way back up north. And in the return, we will land in some of the South Shetland Islands and explore them. It is a group of volcanic islands, shaped by strong winds and many of them are hidden in the fog, they become a quiet moorland habitat for large colonies of penguins besides colorful petrels, cormorants and skuas, among other birds flying over the coast where usually lie marine elephant and seals. One of the landings will take place in the Media Luna Island, densely populated of chinstrap penguins. Another interesting stop will be at Deception Island. To access its wonderful beaches of black sand, flanked by two huge cliffs. Actually, we will be entering through the fissure of a submerged volcano crater, long time ago there was a strong eruption causing the crater explosion and as the result of this explosion part of the crater submerged in the sea. The scenery is fantastic and also has a unique feature in Antarctica: the existence of geothermal waters in which visitors can enjoy a warm thermal bath.
Day 10 to 11 - Crossing the Drake Passage on the return
The M/V Ushuaia leaves behind the Antartica and sails to the Drake Passage. As we slowly move away, it's time to enjoy the last talks with naturalists and discuss the experiences of this memorable trip. As a farewell, is very likely to spot from the deck, the escorting of several subantarctic birds and groups of whales that usually accompany the ship.
Day 12 - Arrival at Ushuaia
Our adventure journey came to an end, one of the most complete and exciting tours to Antarctica. Early in the morning, the cruise will stop the engines at the port of Ushuaia and after sharing breakfast we will proceed to disembark.
Note: The detailed itinerary is for reference only, since the exact route, destinations and programs can be modified in order to get the best climatic advantages, watching wildlife and ice conditions present in the zone. All changes are determined by the captain and the expedition leader to guarantee the maximum benefit and take advantage of the result of the trip. Flexibility is the key; the program will be posted daily and distributed to all passengers on board.
Map of Route