8 days

Antarctic Express - Fly the Drake 2016 - 2017

Antarctic Express - Fly the Drake 2016 - 2017

Antarctica’s seabirds

The presence of silence in Antarctica

Touring icebergs by kayak

Seals

Whales

‘Slicing the silence’, voyage to Antarctica

The epic icebergs and landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula

Light of the Antarctic

Trip rating
  • This Peregrine journey takes you to one of the world's most awe-inspiring destinations: Antarctica. Skip the often turbulent Drake Passage with return flights from Punta Arenas to King George Island. After making shore visits through the South Shetland Islands, arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula and be immediately dazzled by some of the most dramatic scenery to be found anywhere on earth. Sailing aboard your well-appointed expedition vessel, witness Antarctic nature in all its glory. These areas boast an extraordinary abundance of wildlife, including five species of seals and massive rookeries of gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap penguins. Observe magnificent whales in close proximity as they crest the surface of waves. Weather, ice and other mitigating factors may result in changes to your itinerary and alteration to certain shore excursions.

     

    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 - 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

     

     

    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

    • Your adventure begins in the most populated city in Patagonia, Punta Arenas. There are plenty of museums, restaurants and shops to keep you entertained before embarkation
    • Flying from Punta Arenas to the South Shetland Islands is the fastest, most direct way of travelling to Antarctica, and the view over the Drake Passage is unforgettable
    • Witness penguins playing in their natural habitat at inland rookeries during daily Zodiac landings along the Antarctic Peninsula
    • On-board lectures by polar specialists provide great insight in to the history and geology of Antarctica
    • Whale spotting among icebergs is easy when you have your expedition team searching for wildlife. Daily Zodiac landings afford the group great flexibility and opportunity during your time in the Antarctic

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Punta Arenas

    Welcome to Chile. Your adventure begins in Punta Arenas, which is the most populated city in Patagonia. Please arrive by the early afternoon, so that you can be transferred from the airport to your hotel. This transfer is included in your voyage fare when arriving today only. If you arrive early, there are many museums, restaurants and shops to keep you busy. In the early afternoon your leaders will meet you at the hotel, where you’ll enjoy a welcome dinner and be briefed about embarkation day. 

     

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

    Day 2 - Punta Arenas, Fly to King George Island

    In the morning take a charter-flight from Punta Arenas to Antarctica, crossing the great Drake Passage in only a few hours. Your first glimpse of Antarctic landscapes will be from above, as the plane descends for landing on King George Island. On landing, stretch your legs and spend a bit of time exploring the island before being transferred by Zodiac to your ship. Meet the rest of your shipmates and set sail for the Antarctic Peninsula.

     

     
    Notes: Luggage allowance for the charter flight is strictly limited to 15 kg for checked baggage and 5 kg for carry on.
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 3-6 - South Shetland Islands and Antarctica

    As the ship approaches the White Continent, your captain and expedition team keep their eyes open for possible whale and seabird sightings. Over the next four days, the team of specialist lecturers aboard the ship will provide in-depth explanations of the geology, history and wildlife of the region. Your first Zodiac landing may see you walk on a beach teeming with thousands of penguins and seals, which is one of the most intimate ways to experience the unique wildlife of Antarctica.

    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 7 - Disembarkation and Flight From King George Island

    After your week of exploration, bid farewell to the expedition team and disembark at King George Island. From here, it’s a three-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Punta Arenas. After transferring from the airport to the hotel, you’re free to explore the town and perhaps enjoy one final dinner with the group.

    Breakfast

    Day 8 - Punta Arenas

    After breakfast, you’re free to continue on your own travels or make your way to the Punta Arenas airport for your flight home. There are no activities planned for the final day and you're able to depart the accommodation at any time. 

    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • One night pre-night and one-post night expedition hotel accommodation with breakfast in Punta Arenas.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • A waterproof expedition parka to keep.
    • Coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock.
    • Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin.
    • Comprehensive pre-departure materials, including a map and an informative Antarctic Reader.
    • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program.
    • All luggage handling aboard ship.
    • Emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $100,000 per person.
    • All flights between Punta Arenas (PUQ) and Antarctica (KGI) as specified in the itinerary.
    • A group arrival transfer in Punta Arenas from the airport to the included hotel (for passengers arriving on Day 1 only).
    • Group transfers between the hotel and airport in conjunction with the charter flight to/ from Antarctica.
    • Briefing dinner on Day 1 in Punta Arenas

    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 pre and post voyage hotel and the welcome briefing dinner on Day 1.
    • Baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance.
    • Excess baggage charges.
    • Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges.
    • Telecommunications charges.
    • The voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew.
    • A transfer from the hotel to the airport at the end of the itinerary.
    • 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

    Sea Adventurer (formerly the Clipper Adventurer)

    Sea Adventurer (formerly the Clipper Adventurer)

    This Polar Adventure Ship was built in 1975. Sea Adventurer (formerly know as the Clipper Adventurer) underwent a $13 million conversion in 1998. Her proud reputation is complimented by her well-appointed, elegance. Sea Adventurer is the perfect expedition ship for people who enjoy soft adventures and creature comforts. All cabins have outside views and facilities en suite.

    Sea Adventurer is equipped with Zodiacs for shore landings and ocean level cruising, yet offers fine dining, and cabins with exterior views and facilities en suite.

    Departure Dates for the Sea Adventurer (formerly the Clipper Adventurer)

    • 13 Dec 2016 - 20 Dec 2016
    • 18 Dec 2016 - 25 Dec 2016
    • 23 Dec 2016 - 30 Dec 2016
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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PPFLY
Start City: Punta Arenas
End City: Punta Arenas
Style: Polar

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