11 days

Antarctic Explorer (Ocean Diamond)

Antarctic Explorer (Ocean Diamond)

Antarctica’s seabirds

Camping in tents on Antarctica

Cruise the Beagle Channel

Light of the Antarctic

Seals

Seals and seabirds of the Beagle Channel

South Shetland Islands

The epic icebergs and landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula

The presence of silence in Antarctica

Touring icebergs by kayak

Ushuaia

Whales

‘Slicing the silence’, voyage to Antarctica

Trip rating
  • This expedition offers the perfect chance to discover the best of the Antarctic Peninsula, the last continent’s most northern region. You’ll be delighted by penguins, seals and whales as they accompany you on your journey along the Antarctic coastline. Landing on the continent itself is a memorable highlight, where you’ll explore the iconic sights that make this one of the world’s most pristine, exotic and unforgettable natural environments.

     

    Optional Extra - Sea Kayaking

    Imagine gliding along the surface of a bay in the presence of icebergs and glaciers! Our sea-kayaking adventures are the best way to feel at one with the sea.  Taken in small groups of 10-16 people, multiple times per voyage, sea-kayaking adventures are only done during calm weather conditions. Although kayaking is open to all levels of experience, it is essential that participants have some prior experience, including the ability to do a wet exit.  Beginners interested in kayaking should first undertake an introductory kayaking course.  Regardless of your level of experience, it is advisable to have some recent practise before commencing your voyage so that you are comfortable while kayaking.

    Optional Extra - Camping

    Camping is an option available on select departures.  The crew will determine the best spot and best conditions to undertake this adventure and all equipment is provided.  You will spend the night under the Antarctic sky with your intrepid shipmates.  Numbers are limited.

    Optional Extra - Snowshoeing

    A novel way to experience the beauty of the polar landscape, and discover remote alcoves and hidden valleys. The rewards of walking atop the snow are well worth the effort, as we’ll be able to visit new places that may be inaccessible on foot. This traditional means of transport across the snow comes from the indigenous people of North America. While you can appreciate a connection with the past, the snowshoes we use today are much lighter and more forgiving than the old wood-weave snowshoes used during the days of the North American fur trade.

    More information about your Adventure Options, including physical requirements and cost of each option is available by contacting Peregrine. Please note that not every option is available on every departure.

     

    Possible Landings and Wildlife Sightings

     

    CUVERVILLE ISLAND

    A gentoo penguin rookery is situated on the north end of the island on a rocky beach. Depending on the time of season you arrive, you may see them building nests or attending to their chicks. Giant petrels and kelp gulls breed on the island.

    DAMOY POINT

    If you are lucky enough to mail a postcard in Antarctica, you’ll likely pass through Damoy Point, the  northern entrance to the harbor on which Port Lockroy is located.

    DANCO ISLAND

    This small island, one mile (1.6 km) in length, is easy to explore and home to gentoo penguins. You can visit the marker of a former British Antarctic Survey hut and watch for a variety of seabirds such as snowy sheathbills, kelp gulls and blue-eyed shags.

    ENTERPRISE ISLAND

    Located in Wilhelmina Bay, the island was used by whalers. A Zodiac cruise around the island passes a wrecked whaling ship.

    LEMAIRE CHANNEL

    This strait runs between Booth Island and the Antarctic Peninsula; you’ll see that this is one of the most scenic locations on the western coast, especially during sunrise and sunset. The 6.8 mile-long (11 km) Channel may become impassable when ice fills the narrow passageway, so we’ll hope for clear waters.

    MELCHIOR ISLANDS

    A group of low islands in Dallmann Bay, on which you may see male fur seals haul-out at the end of the    breeding season to recuperate from their battles for supremacy.

    NEKO HARBOUR

    Little evidence remains that this bay was once used by the floating whale factory ship Neko. You might see some whale vertebrae used by resident gentoo penguins as shelter from the wind. There is an unmanned refuge hut here, erected by Argentina. Climb past the hut and up a steep slope for spectacular views of the glacier-rimmed harbour.

    PETERMANN ISLAND

    Here, near the Lemaire Channel, you can stand ashore and see the southernmost breeding colony of gentoo penguins. The dome of the island rises 650 feet (200 meters) above the sea, offering a challenging hike for panoramic views. Adélie penguins, shags and south polar skuas also inhabit the
    island.

    PORT LOCKROY

    A ‘fun’ destination of sorts, we always strive to journey to Port Lockroy if weather permits. The harbour is on the west side of Wiencke Island. A secret base was built on the harbour during the Second World War as part of Operation Tabarin. It is now designated as a historic site, where Port Lockroy is a museum and post office. Proceeds from your purchases here support the preservation of historic sites from the
    Heroic Age of Exploration.

    WATERBOAT POINT

    Of historic interest, you may venture to this unique point, which at low tide is connected to the Antarctic mainland. Zodiacs are used to explore the area when the tide is in. Two scientists studying penguin behavior lived in a water boat on the Point from 1921-22. The remains of their camp have been
    designated an Antarctic historic site.

    AITCHO ISLANDS

    This is a group of small islands, some still unnamed, situated in the northern entrance of English Strait. You can often spot a great mix of wildlife here, with gentoo and chinstrap penguins having established rookeries. Southern elephant and fur seals are frequently hauled-out here too.

    BAILY HEAD

    Also known as Rancho Point, this area is a rocky headland on the southeastern shore of Deception Island. Chinstrap penguins build nests on slopes leading to a high ridge that dominates the natural amphitheater and provides a superb setting for landscape photography.

    HALF MOON ISLAND

    This crescent-shaped island was known to sealers as early as 1821. Unlike sealers who liked to keep their best locations secret, we’re happy to bring you ashore on this impressive island. Many Antarctic birds breed here including chinstrap penguins, shags, Wilson’s storm-petrels, kelp gulls, snowy sheathbills, Antarctic terns and skua.

    HANNAH POINT

    Macaroni, chinstrap and gentoo penguin rookeries are located on the point, which is on the south coast of
    Livingston Island. Due to the rather congested area available to the nesting penguins, you can only visit here from January 10 onwards.

    PENDULUM COVE

    Hot geothermal waters are found along the shoreline of this cove, named for observations made in 1829 by a British expedition. You may see yellow algae and boiled krill floating on the surface because of the scalding hot water!

    PENGUIN ISLAND

    Antarctica has two flowering plants, both of which you can find on Penguin Island: Deschampsia antarctica and Colobanthus quitensis. Chinstrap penguins, fur seals and southern elephant seals use the island for breeding purposes.

    ROBERT POINT

    A nice spot for Zodiac cruising, this point was known to sealers as early as 1820. Chinstrap penguins, kelp gulls and pintado breed here, and whales may be seen in the surrounding waters.

    TELEFON BAY

    Your Expedition Team will be happy to point out that it is here where the most recent evidence of volcanic eruption on Deception Island can be seen.

    TURRET POINT

    Chinstrap and Adélie penguin rookeries are found on this point, situated on the south coast of King George Island. The beaches here are often crowded with southern elephant, fur, and Weddell seals hauled-out on the rocks.

    WHALER'S BAY

    To reach Whaler’s Bay it is necessary to sail through a narrow passage called Neptune’s Bellows. The bay was used by whalers from 1906 to 1931 and is part of a protected harbor created by a circular flooded caldera, known as Deception Island. Along with waddling penguins and lounging seals, you’ll see rusting remains of whaling operations on the beach. Watch for steam that may rise from geothermally heated water springs along the shoreline.

    YANKEE HARBOUR

    Gentoo penguins have established a rookery on this harbour, situated on the southwest side of Greenwich Island. Here you can see an abandoned Argentine refuge hut and a large glacier that stretches along the east and north sides of the bay. An abandoned sealing try pot is all that remains of the activity that brought men thousands of miles in tall ships to seek their fortune.

    IMPORTANT REMINDER Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. When travelling in extremely remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the sea, the ice and the weather to guide route and itinerary details. The above is a tentative outline of what you’ll experience on this voyage; please be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed.

     

     

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Ushuaia, Argentina

    With a population of more than 63,000 people, Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world. The city has grown over the past few years, yet it has retained an easy going and accessible feel. With the sea to the south and mountains to the north, Ushuaia is a spectacular departure point for your Antarctic cruise. If you arrive early, you can spend some time in the nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park, enjoy some Argentinean wines and barbecues in the city, or visit the many boutique shops and cafés before you leave for your expedition to Antarctica.
    Arrival Transfers: Please note an arrival transfer from the airport on Day 1 is included in your voyage fare. Full details will be sent with your final joining instructions.

    Accommodation: If you arrive earlier or wish to extend your stay and need accommodation, please ask Peregrine or your agent for details and costs.

    Day 2 - Ushuaia - Embarkation Day

    Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which your vessel will sail down the historic Beagle Channel. This channel transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Expect an air of excitement as you depart - the next time you see land you’ll be in the world’s southernmost continent!

    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 3-4 - Crossing the Drake Passage

    Prepare yourself for potentially rough water, but hope for a smooth sailing as the Drake is unpredictable and always changing. You’ll spend these first days getting to know your shipmates, while we’ll provide safety briefings and insights into what excitement lies ahead.

     

    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 5-8 - South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula

    When the Antarctic Convergence is left in our wake, you will truly begin your Antarctic adventure. It is perhaps the first sight of land itself that is embraced as the true beginning of any Antarctic expedition. You can begin to appreciate why this region has long captivated the attention of explorers and travellers alike. Every time we visit Antarctica we witness something new or unexpected, meaning your expedition will be unlike any other.
    We will take Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore bays, channels and landing sites each day. With wildlife always at the forefront of our minds you will visit penguin rookeries, scout for humpback and minke whales and search for a number of the southern seal species, including the cunning leopard seal.
    The majesty of the Peninsula’s mountains will enchant you as you scramble up snowy pathways to vantage points offering 360° views of your surroundings. One of these in particular, in Orne Harbour, gives the opportunity to visit a chinstrap penguin colony high up on a ridge. Here you’ll have the choice between going for a mountain hike or spending time sitting quietly on a pebbled beach to enjoy the antics of curious penguins. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, participating in the Polar Plunge swim is about as crazy as it gets! Amidst the peaceful silence of Antarctica, noisy interruptions become indelible memories such as penguins squabbling over prized pebbles or the boom and crack of a calving glacier in Neko Harbour. You can make a bit of noise yourself too and listen to the echo of voices bounce off a giant glacier.
    Every day will be different, having been carefully crafted by your expedition team so as to entertain and educate you about this wonderful part of the world.

    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 9-10 - Drake Passage

    The journey back across the Drake Passage provides you with some final opportunities to enjoy the crisp Antarctic air. Spend time on the deck watching for seabirds and scouting for whales, enjoy a few final presentations by your expedition team or simply relax and reminisce about your experiences.

    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 11 - Disembarkation in Ushuaia, Argentina

    In the early morning we arrive back in Ushuaia, where our cruise ends. Please do not book outbound flights before 12.00pm.

    Transfers: If you are extending your stay and would like a transfer from your Ushuaia hotel to Ushuaia Airport, please contact Peregrine or your agent.

    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage.
    • All shore landings according to the daily program.
    • Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced expedition leader, including shore landings and other activities.
    • All Zodiac transfers and cruising according to the daily program.
    • Formal and informal presentations by our expedition team and guest speakers as scheduled.
    • Downloadable photographic journal documenting the voyage.
    • A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings.
    • An expeditions parka to keep.
    • Coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock.
    • Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin.
    • Comprehensive pre-departure materials including an informative Antarctic Reader.
    • All luggage handling aboard ship.
    • Emergency evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of US$100,000 per person.
    • Group transfers in Ushuaia from the airport to any local hotel.
    • Group transfers from a designated location in Ushuaia to the ship on embarkation day.
    • Group transfer upon disembarkation in Ushuaia from the ship to the local airport.

    Not Included

    • Any airfare unless otherwise specified in the itinerary.
    • Passport and visa expenses.
    • Government arrival and departure taxes.
    • Any meals ashore with the exception of breakfast at the joining hotel before embarkation.
    • Baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance.
    • Excess baggage charges.
    • Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified.
    • Telecommunications charges.
    • The voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew.
    • Compulsory Waterproof pants for zodiac landings.

    Safety Information

    Safety is paramount on a Peregrine voyage. Due to new International Security Regulations, you will not be able to approach the ship on your own. You will have to arrive with the rest of the group, accompanied by a Peregrine representative. Full details of embarkation/disembarkation procedures will be supplied with your final documentation. On board you will be asked to participate in the obligatory lifeboat drill. We will also conduct important briefings on landing procedures and Zodiac operations.

    All ships operating in Polar waters must comply with a variety of regulations, codes and industry standards.  All our ships adhere to regulations set by IMO (International Maritime Organisation) including ISM Code (Safety Management System), ISPS Code (for ship and port security), SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) and MARPOL (Maritime Pollution Prevention).  IN addition, Quark Expeditions is a full member of IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators) and a full member of AECO (Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators).

    Quark Expeditions have also been externally audited for it's health and safety programme and have been awarded the British Standard BS8848, the only expedition cruise company to have this accreditation.

  • Our Ships

    Ocean Diamond

    Ocean Diamond

    Sail aboard the Ocean Diamond, a modern, stable super-yacht and experience Quark's Antarctica. Carrying a maximum of 189 passengers, this outstanding vessel features numerous adventure options plus onboard amenities such as a massage and wellness program and a well-stocked polar library. The Ocean Diamond is staffed with experienced captains, officers, expedition leaders, and guides.

    Departure Dates for the Ocean Diamond

    • 10 Dec 2015 - 20 Dec 2015
    • 19 Dec 2015 - 29 Dec 2015
    • 28 Dec 2015 - 07 Jan 2016
    • 06 Jan 2016 - 16 Jan 2016
    • 15 Feb 2016 - 25 Feb 2016
    • 24 Feb 2016 - 05 Mar 2016
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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PPEXA15
Start City: Ushuaia
End City: Ushuaia
Style: Polar

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