This expedition offers you the ideal introduction to the Great White Continent. Departing from and finishing in the port of Ushuaia, we take in the most exciting sights of the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. Our program is oriented to the viewing of wildlife and the breathtaking scenery of narrow waterways, glaciers, icebergs and the rugged mountains. The itinerary given below is the 11 day expedition. Of course no two expeditions can be exactly the same so the itinerary outlined here is for your guidance only. The Captain and the Expedition Leader will assess conditions daily with the intention of maximizing your time ashore.
Our passengers on a typical voyage range from their 30s to their 80s with a majority from 30-75. Our expeditions attract independent-minded travelers from around the world. They are characterized by a strong interest in exploring remote regions. The camaraderie and spirit that develops aboard is an important part of the expedition experience. All our voyages have a wide variety of nationalities abroad.
Day 1: Ushuaia. Passengers board the M/V Antarctic Dream where you will be greeted by our Expedition Leader and staff and shown to your cabin. Check-in will begin at 2:30 pm. aprox. on departure day. Includes: (D).
Days 2 & 3: Drake Passage. Wandering albatrosses, storm petrels and other seabirds will escort the vessel as you sail south across this famous passage named after Sir Francis Drake, the 16th-century English navigator. We will continue towards the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar waters sink beneath the warmer waters of the more temperate zone. In 1819, the British explorer William Smith described the South Shetland Islands as "barren and covered with snow, with seals in abundance". Yet, mosses and lichens thrive during the short summer at the low-lying peninsulas of these rugged islands located directly adjacent to the Antarctic Peninsula. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Aitcho Island - Neko Bay. Aitcho Island will give us an early taste of what the Antarctic really is. It is the biggest island of the South Shetlands, where we will disembark in Potter Bay. In the afternoon we will disembark at Aitcho Island which is in between Greenwich and Robert Islands. We will continue with the crossing of the Bransfield and Gerlache Straits to enter Andvord Bay where we find Neko Bay. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Antarctic Peninsula - Neko Bay. Besides the magnificent scenery of mountains, snow and ice, in Antarctica you can expect to see a wide variety of the native wildlife, including thousands of nests of Gentoo, Chinstrap, and Adelie penguins. Other birds to look out for are blue-eyed shags, gulls, cape petrels, skuas, snowy sheathbills and Antarctic terns. Marine mammals that you are likely to see include Weddell crab-eaters and leopard seals while Orcas, humpback and mink whales may be spotted at close range. This area is also of substantial historical interest and was extensively explored by several expeditions during the 19th century.
Passengers should feel the same sense of excitement as the early explorers as you keep a lookout from the Bridge or other vantage points while your vessel threads her way through this dramatic and pristine region. The program includes your first landing on the White Continent (Neko Bay) and another on Port Lockroy (Gaudier Island). Neko Bay was discovered by Adrian de Gerlache, a Belgian explorer between 1897 and 1899 and it is called Neko after the Norwegian whale ship. Port Lockroy is close to Wiencke Island in the Antarctic Peninsula and was the principle base of the 1944 Tabarin Operation - the scientific research included the Antarctic's first ionosphere measurements and also the first recording of an atmospheric whistle. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Paradise Bay - Cuverville Island. At this point of our program we will begin our return voyage. During the morning and, stressing again that if weather permits, we will disembark or use our zodiacs in Paradise Bay. In the evening we will visit Cuverville Island. Beside its dramatic scenery it is home to one of the largest colony of Gentoo penguins and skuas. We will continue with the crossing of the Bransfield and Gerlache Straits to enter Andvord Bay where we find Neko Bay. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Lemaire Channel - Petermann Island. We sail south through the narrow Lemaire Channel who’s high, sheer cliffs suggest that no passage could be found. Once through the channel, known as one of the most beautiful places in the world, and provided climate and ice conditions are good enough, we will be able to visit Petermann Island which is the most southern land point of our expedition. Here we will disembark and will be able to see the most southern colony of Gentoo penguins which nest near our landing spot. On this island we will also be able to see a colony of beautiful Adelei penguins, skuas and blue-eyed shags. At Pleneau we should have the opportunity to take our zodiacs and visit impressive ice formations. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Deception Island - Livingston Island. We continue sailing to Deception Island which is at the northwest side of the Peninsula. Deception Island is the largest active volcano in the area and one of the main sources of seismic and volcanic activity in the Antarctic. Sailing through the narrow passage into its huge flooded crater is a thrilling experience. Do not forget to bring your bathing suite as swimming in this water is a unique experience. During the morning we will try to disembark in Whaler's Bay and Pendulum Cove. In the afternoon and depending on weather conditions we will disembark at Hannah Point (Livingstone Island). This is one of the best places in the Antarctic to see fauna and we should see Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins, giant petrels, Wilson petrels, skuas and blue-eyed shags. With luck we should also see sea elephants. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Days 9 & 10: Drake Passage. Today, we will leave the Antarctic and head north back across the Drake Passage. Now is the chance to compare and revise notes and dwell on the adventures of the past week, to take in the final lectures and to enjoy the delicious gastronomy on board as you return to Ushuaia.
Day 11: Ushuaia. After and early breakfast we will land at 9:00 am and bid farewell to our guests. Thus ends an incredible and unique expedition.
Note: Please note that you should regard this itinerary as a guide only; our exact route and program varies according to the weather conditions we encounter. Flexibility is the key to success for all expedition of the M/V Antarctic Dream. We highly recommend scheduling your arrival in Ushuaia with at least one day in advance in order to avoid any flight delays.
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