11 days

Antarctic Explorer (Ocean Diamond) 2015 - 2017

Antarctic Explorer (Ocean Diamond) 2015 - 2017

Whales

The presence of silence in Antarctica

Antarctica’s seabirds

Touring icebergs by kayak

Ushuaia

‘Slicing the silence’, voyage to Antarctica

The epic icebergs and landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula

Seals and seabirds of the Beagle Channel

Camping in tents on Antarctica

South Shetland Islands

Cruise the Beagle Channel

Light of the Antarctic

Seals

Trip rating
  • This expedition offers the 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 practice before commencing your voyage so that you are comfortable while kayaking.

    Optional Extra - Camping

    Camping is an available option on select departures. The crew will determine the best spot and conditions to undertake this adventure and all equipment is provided. Spend the night under the Antarctic sky with your 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're 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 the 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 - Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands

    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 visit, you may see them building nests or attending to their chicks. Giant petrels and kelp gulls also breed on the island.

     

    DAMOY POINT

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

     

    DANCO ISLAND

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

     

    ENTERPRISE ISLAND

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

     

    LEMAIRE CHANNEL

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

     

    MELCHIOR ISLANDS

    This is 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

    This bay was once used by the floating whale factory ship Neko. You may see some whale vertebrae used by resident gentoo penguins as shelter from the wind. There's 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. Adelie penguins, shags and south polar skuas also inhabit the island. The dome of the island rises 200 meters (650 feet) above the sea, offering a challenging hike for panoramic views.

     

    PORT LOCKROY

    Journey to Port Lockroy if weather permits. The harbour is on the west side of Wiencke Island. A secret base was built here during the Second World War as part of Operation Tabarin. It's now designated as a historic site, featuring a museum and the world's southernmost post office. Proceeds from your purchases here support the preservation of historic sites from the Heroic Age of Exploration.

     

    WATERBOAT POINT

    At low tide this historic point is connected to the Antarctic mainland. Zodiacs can be used to explore the area when the tide is in. Two scientists studying penguin behaviour lived in a water boat on the point from 1921-22. The remains of their camp have been designated as an Antarctic historic site.

     

    AITCHO ISLANDS

    This is a group of small islands, some still unnamed, situated in the northern entrance of the English Strait. You can often spot a great mix of wildlife here, including at the established rookeries of gentoo and chinstrap penguins. 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, which dominates a 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 the 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 10 January onwards.

     

    PENDULUM COVE

    Hot geothermal waters are found along the shoreline of this cove, which was named after 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 point out where the most recent evidence of volcanic eruption on Deception Island can be seen.

     

    TURRET POINT

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

     

    WHALER'S BAY

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

     

    YANKEE HARBOUR

    Gentoo penguins have established a rookery on this harbour, which is situated on the southwest side of Greenwich Island. You can also see an abandoned Argentine refuge hut and a huge glacier stretching along the east and north sides of the bay. An abandoned try-pot is all that remains of the sealing activity that brought men thousands of miles 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, ice and weather conditions to guide your route and itinerary details. The above is a tentative outline of what you might experience on this voyage; please be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed.

     

     

    Why we love it

    • Scan the seas for whales and seals, spot rare birds while passing through the Beagle Channel and witness diverse species of penguins on daily boat trips
    • The spectacular terrain of Antarctica is like nowhere else on Earth. Set foot on the plains, mountains and beaches of the White Continent and watch icebergs calve into the sea
    • Experience a polar plunge in Antarctic waters - one of the most invigorating dips you're ever likely to take
    • Optional activities such as sea kayaking or polar ice camping can take your adventure to the next level. Book early, as these sell out fast

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Ushuaia, Argentina

    • Welcome to Argentina. Begin your Antarctic Explorer adventure with an overnight stay in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Avenida San Martin and the surrounding streets are where you'll find most hotels, shops, restaurants and tourist services. If you arrive into Ushuaia with enough time to spare, you might like to explore Tierra del Fuego National Park, which is located 11 km (seven miles) west of the city.
    • Notes: Please note that an arrival transfer from the airport today is included in your voyage fare. Full details will be sent with your final joining instructions. 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

    • Today, board the ship and cruise out through the Beagle Channel. Named after the British ship the HMS Beagle, this channel is rich with birdlife. Keep an eye for penguins, cormorants, petrels and black-browed albatross from the deck. This is your first taste of life at sea and is a great time to strengthen your sea legs.
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 3-4 - Crossing the Drake Passage

    • Over the next couple of days prepare for possible rough seas as you enter the Drake Passage. This legendary channel of water separates the bottom of South America from the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, and was named after the English explorer Sir Frances Drake. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife while up on deck and stay close to the expedition team, as they'll be able to help with possible sightings. During this time you will be briefed on safety procedures and insights into the excitement that lies ahead.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 5-8 - South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula

    • Leaving the Drake Passage behind, your first sight of the White Continent is just ahead. The next few days form the core of your Antarctic adventure, as you take regular Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore different bays, channels and landing sites each day. Visit penguin rookeries, scout for humpback and minke whales and search for a number of the southern seal species, including the cunning leopard seal.
    • Let the majesty of the Peninsula’s mountains enchant you as you scramble up snowy pathways to vantage points offering 360° views of your surroundings. At Orne Harbour, you might visit a chinstrap penguin colony high up on a ridge or go for a mountain hike. Perhaps take a 'polar plunge' in the icy waters of Neko Harbour. Unpredictable weather and ice conditions mean that each expedition is different, but your team will make sure you have an unforgettable experience whatever happens.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 9-10 - Drake Passage

    • Wind down your Antarctic adventure with another trip back across the Drake Passage. Again, this a great opportunity to look out for wildlife from the deck of the ship with the help of your expedition team. Gain some more insight into the region by attending on-board lectures made by polar experts.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 11 - Disembarkation in Ushuaia, Argentina

    • Your Antarctic Explorer adventure ends today in Ushuaia. After an early morning breakfast aboard the ship, disembark and transfer to the airport for your flight onwards. When booking your flight please remember that the ship may be delayed due to weather conditions, so it's recommended that you don't book a flight out of Ushuaia before midday. If you are extending your stay in Ushuaia and would like a transfer from your hotel to the airport on another day, 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 the joining hotel (conditions apply).
    • Group transfer 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
    • 14 Nov 2016 - 24 Nov 2016
    • 02 Feb 2017 - 12 Feb 2017
    • 11 Feb 2017 - 21 Feb 2017
    • 20 Feb 2017 - 02 Mar 2017
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Trip at a glance

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

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