This is a very special itinerary because not only covers the Antarctic Peninsula but it also goes over the African coasts, navigating the Atlantic Ocean. The crossing starts in Ushuaia in our first navigation strecht, like the vast majority of the trips to the white continent: the Drake Passage. The beginning of this antarctic route will take us to go through the Antarctic Convergence watching a sky full of petrels and albatrosses. Our first stopover is in the South Shetland Islands. During day 4 we will arrive in the continent, disembarking in Esperanza Bay and Brown Bluff. Later, we will continue to the south until the Weddell Sea to make our first visit to the Devil´s Island, where we have to avoid the the ice floes which stop us in the Ice Platform Larsen.
Then we will navigate to Paulet Island. We will change our direction in the navigation route, going again to the South Atlantic Ocean to disembark in the South Orcades Islands, then we will anchor to investigate the South Georgia Islands. We will go to the whalers station Grytviken, where we can visit the grave of Ernest Shackleton, who made the most important deed and it was never beated by anyone, because he crossed the Georgia Islands in 36 hours, from north to south. We go through the geographical limit of the Antarctic Convergence again, to start our adventure in the Atlantic Ocean. Our first destination is Gough Island, where we can see an amazing landscape surrounded by a unique wildlife. Getting here is such a privilege.
The Gough Island is best known as Gonçalo Alvares. In the Tristán da Cunha archipelago we will try to disembark in Nightingale Island, the biggest island of the archipelago, surrounded by a great quantity of sea birds, watching specially an endangered species: the albatros thin beak. In the last days of our navigation route, we will disembark in Santa Elena Islands, where we will be able to know its culture and watch different endemic plants and native birds. Here was where Napoleon Bonaparte lived his exile. Here we can dive or do snorkel, apart from surfing practise. We will continue navigating to our final objective: the Ascension Island. We will embark in Zodiac boats to visit the Birds´Island. Our journey ends. Those who prefere, can fly with the Royal Air Force (RAF) to Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, the other passagers can go on to Green Cape.
34 days- 33 nights
Day 1 - Ushuaia
During the afternoon, we will leave the southern city of the world, Ushuaia, in Tierra del Fuego to navigate the cold waters of the Beagle Channel.
Day 2 to 3 - Drake Passage, Antartic Convergence
We will navigate through the Drake Passage, surrounded by albatrosses, petrels and fulmars. During these days, we will cross the Antartic Convergence. We will watch the Traveler Albatrosses, Roaming Albatrosses, Grey Head, Black Eyebrow Albatrosses and Painted, Silver, Antartic, Bluish Petrels and South Fulmar. We will be able to watch the first glaciers while we are arriving in the South Shetland Islands.
Day 4 - Esperanza Bay, Brown Bluff
We will get to Antartica, disembarking in Hope Bay and Brown Bluff, in the extreme north of the Antartic Peninsula. Hope Bay was discovered by the Swedish Otto Nordenskjöld and put that name to honour the Antarctic Ship which hit against the ice and he got lost, in spite of that, Anderson and their colleagues were rescued. Brown Bluff is a sub-glacier volcano formed of Tuya, which is formed when the lava emerges of a glacier, in areas that were covered with continental ice and they had an important volcanic activity. This is very common in Iceland. It is called Brown Bluff because its hillsides are very steep and its colour goes from brown to black. It is an ideal place to watch Gentoo penguins, Papúa penguins, Weddell seals, leopard seals and the killer whale.
Day 5 - Larsen, Mar de Weddell Sea, Devil Island, Paulet Island
We will get into the Weddell Sea until getting to the Devil Island, the icebergs of the Larsen platform of ice before our arrival. This ice barrier is in the northwest of the Weddell Sea and it goes along the east coast of the Antartic Peninsula from Longing Cape to Hearst Island. We will ascend by a very light slope to the higher point of a hill to enjoy an unique visual of this natural environment. In the Paulet Island, we will watch a huge colony of Adelia Penguins, very close to the Nordenskjöld expedition ruins, at the beginning of 1900.
Day 6 - Weddell Sea
We will navigate surrounded of ice in the Weddell Sea to go to the north, leaving the mentioned sea, while we watch the Emperors penguins on the ice floes. The Weddell Sea takes part of the Antartic Glacier Sea, of which natural limits are the Antartic Peninsula (to the west), the South Orcadas Islands (to the north), the Filchner-Ronne Barrier of ice (to the south), the Land of Coats and the Land of Pincess Marta (to the east). The sea is 2.000 km wide and it covers almost 3 millions of km2. The Endurance was aground in the Weddell Sea, a famous ship which was property of Ernest Shakleton, that was trapped and destroyed by the ice. Some scientists consider as a possibility that the separation of the old continent Godwana started in the Weddell Sea.
Day 7 - South Orcadas Island
Going to the north, we can visit the South Orcadas Island, a place where the scottish Brice was aground during the hard antartic winter and where we can know an argentinian navy base. It is about a group of islands which are in the extreme north-east of the Antartic Peninsula, which was part of the antartic british territory, and, nowadays, they are claimed by the Argentina Republic, because they are considered as part of the islands of Tierra del Fuego. The Argentinian Armada has a permanent base since 1904 in Laurie Island. We will go to visit that base, of which members are the only men living in the islands.
Day 8 - South Georgia
We will go to the South Georgias Islands, together with the albatrosses, petrels and fulmars which will follows us during all the navigation route as if they were natural members of the trip. These islands are also at stake, taking part of the British territory, but claimed by Argentina, because they are considered part of the South Atlantic Islands. It shows many contrast with the landscapes, and the Paget Mount is the higher mountain at an altitude of 3.000 metres. It gives home to diverse fauna, such as elephant and leopard seals, penguins, blue petrels, etcetera.
Day 9 to 11 - Grytviken, Cooper Bat, Gold Harbour
In the South coast of Georgia, we will visit the old settlements of whalers in Grytviken, where the penguins are now the owners of the streets and we can visit the remains of Ernest Shackleton that rests where he got a great deed, which was never exceed in all this years. Grytviken is today a deserted port which is next to King Edward Point in the north of the islands, it was the epicentre of the whaler industry between 1904 and 1965. It was called Grytviken, because in norwegian it means "Cauldron´s Port", because of the cauldrons (saucepan) that were used to merge the whales fat, in the XVIII century. We will do a trekking next to the King penguins colony which are located in Salisbury Plain, apart from watching broods of Traveler Albatrosses in Prion Island. The last day in the south Georgia, we will go to Cooper Bay where we are going to watch Barbijo Penguins and Macaroni or Yellow penacho. Finally, we will navigate to Gold Harbour to visit another colony of King Penguin, together with elephant seals and furrier seals. The place is ideal to do trekking. We will not miss the tours in zodiac by the impressive Fjord Drygalski and Larsen Harbour.
Day 12 to 16 - Antarctic Convergence
We continue our navigation route to the west, crossing the antartic convergence, watching lots of antartic and sub-antartic sea birds. The antartic convergence is also called frontal polar area in the Antartic, it is a line which defines a natural limit and it is not imposed by man, it separates the cold waters of the Antartica from the mild waters in the sub-antartic region. It divides two areas with different climates and also sea life.
Day 17 - Gough Island
We will try to get to Gough Island so we can go along if we have good weather conditions. Some years ago, we circunnavigated everything, except for 4 miles of a circunference of 33 miles of the island in the ship, watching an exceptional landscape and lots of wild life. We will feel really privileged for being the few visitors who can have the experience to be in the Gough Island and, particularly, for seing it so close and in really good conditions. We will expect to be lucky and repeat this unique experience with you. It is also known as Gonçalo Alvares, the origin of this islands is volcanic and its higher peak is the Edinburgh Peak which is close to the 1000 metres of altitude.
Day 18 to 20 - Tristán da Cunha
In the Tristán da Cunha archipelago we get to a settlement which is located in the west area of the main island. We will also try to disembark in Nightingale Island with millions of sea birds, in which the albatrosses thin beak, an endangered species, stresses here. We will be covered with this days just in case it is a bad weather and we can have one day to take advantage. This archipelago is a british sovereignty and it is formed by several isles, the bigger one is Tristán da Cunha, another important island is Nightingale and the rest are directly inaccessible and they are uninhabitated.
Day 21 to 24 - Now, in the sea, we will enter into sub-tropical waters surrounded by sea birds and dolphins.
Day 25 to 27 - Santa Elena Island
We are going to Santa Elena Island because it is possible to anchor and it is an ideal place to stop. We are going to have many opportunities to enjoy the local culture in this island, we expect to have very good weather conditions, surrounded by endemic plants and authoctone birds. We are going to visit the place where Napoleon lived in exile. There will be many opportunities to explore the island by ourselves and we will be able to dive if we wish, doing snorkel, apart from surf. It is a place where we can find a great quantity of fishes. Santa Elena belongs to the same territory as Ascensión Island and the Tristán da Cunha archipelago, all the volcanic islands slope steepy, where the higher peak is the Queen´s Mary with over 2.000 metres in Tristán da Cunha. The weather conditions in Santa Elena is tropical - mild thanks to the sea influence, unlike Tristán da Cunha which is less mild.
Day 28 to 29 - In the sea
We will continue our navigation route to Ascensión Island.
Day 30 - Ascension Island, Birds´Island
Today we will get to Ascensión Island, it is a volcanic island with a damp ground and full of vegetation. We will watch an important colony of Sooty tern, with more than a million of breeding couples, known as sea swallow, a typical bird in the tropical area in Ecuador, very characteristic in the Polynesia. We are going to do a trekking in the island, of which higher mountain is about 900 metres, this is the Green Mountain. Then, we continue embarking in zodiac to get to the Birds´Island. Some passengers will be able to disembark and take the Royal Air Force Flight (RAF) to Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, those who wish can go on the cruise to Cape Green.
Day 31 - Continue - Cruise to Cape Green.
During the afternoon, we go to Ascensión Island, which is a volcano located in the Altantic Ocean, half route between Sout-America and Africa, at Recife (Brasil) altitude and Luanda (Africa). It depends on the United Kingdom, its main city is Georgetown. The islands are governed from Santa Helena, where the governor lives. Its area is 90 km2 and it has more than 40 latent craters, that means they are asleep and not dead.
Day 32 to 36 - In the sea
We will navigate to the Ecuador, to cross it and, during the voyage we are going to be witnesses for the birds migration in spring which go to the north, that is the case of the swallows of the Artic Sea and long tale skuas.
Day 37 - Fogo Island - Cape Green
We get to Fogo Island, which is the higher island in the Cape Green archipelago, opposite to the coasts of Senegal, close to 3.000 metres of altitude, surrounded by the Santiago and Brava Islands. Cape Green is formed by two groups of islands: The Sotavento and Barlovento Islands. Fogo Island is a volcano which is located in constant activity, its last eruption was in 1995 and a new crater was formed, it is called Little Peak. It has a 9 km wide and 1 km high boiler. We can go to Portela village, famous because of its wines, they are not the best wines in the world, but they have a great worth because of its curious taste. We will leave Portela to return to San Felipe which is the main city of the island, dedicated to agriculture and tourism, then we will embark to have dinner.
Day 8 - Santiago Island - Cap Green
We are going to Santiago Island, which is the bigger and the most important of Cape Green that, together with Fogo, Brava and Maio Islands, makes the group of Sotavento Islands. We are going on a tour to Cidade Velha, with lots of history, it was the first city that the europeans lifted in this region of Africa, and it is the first city of Cape Green, called Ribeira Grande a long time ago. The city grew because of the trade which made origin to the slaves traffic who came from Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leona. We will see their architectural richness, in the Cathedral ruins, the oldest colonial church in the world, with a portuguese influence in its gothic style; the place where the slaves were lashed in the main square, the San Felipe Royal Fort which was built in 1590 to defend themselves from the british and french attacks. Also the San Francisco Monastery which dates from mid 1600, and it was destroyed by pirates 60 years after being created. There are many sugar cane fields and many rainfall. We will find a Rum distillery. Then we will make a visit to Praia city, which is the main city in Cape Green islands. There is a great variety of popular music that we are going to listen in every bar we will go to. After midnight, we will fly to Lisboa, Portugal (not included in the cruise price).
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.