10 days

Antarctic Express - Fly North

Antarctic Express - Fly North

Antarctica’s seabirds

South Shetland Islands

The epic icebergs and landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula

The presence of silence in Antarctica

Seals

Ushuaia

Whales

Seals and seabirds of the Beagle Channel

Cruise the Beagle Channel

Light of the Antarctic

Trip rating
  • If you’re looking for a more efficient Antarctic experience, this is it. You will cruise south across the Drake Passage and experience the first Antarctic land and wildlife sightings with your fellow shipmates.

    After making shore visits on our way through the South Shetland Islands we arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula, on the continent of Antarctica, to be immediately dazzled by perhaps the most dramatic scenery to be found anywhere on earth. Sailing aboard our well-appointed expedition vessel, we 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 as well as a profusion of seabirds ranging from albatross to skuas. Another wildlife highlight may well be observing a variety of magnificent whales in close proximity as they crest the surface of the waves. On the 'White Continent', we also see remarkable landscapes of ice. Once the voyage is complete we skip the Drake Passage by flying from King George Island to Punta Arenas and spend a night here.

    Weather, ice and other mitigating factors may result in changes to our 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 practise 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’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.

     

    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.

     

     

     

     

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Ushuaia, Argentina

    Day 1 is an arrival day and you can arrive at any time. This quaint city at the southernmost tip of South America is your gateway to Antarctica. The city itself provides a wide range of jewellery shops, cafés, gear shops and restaurants to explore before your voyage. Outside the city, snow-capped mountains and hiking in Tierra del Fuego National Park offer ample adventure activities if you enjoy exploring nature.

    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

    You will embark in the afternoon with a journey through the picturesque Beagle Channel. This historic channel transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Historic visitors who have traversed this channel include Charles Darwin, who journeyed through this region in the famous HMS Beagle. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled and be out on deck as the channel is home to a wide variety of wildlife including seabirds and seals. Rainbows are common here too, creating a great photography opportunity to kick off the start to your Antarctic adventure.

    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 3-4 - Drake Passage

    As we cross the Drake Passage, our team of experts will be out on deck to help us spot whales and identify seabirds. We also have the chance to take part in the onboard presentation series, preparing us for our adventure to the 'White Continent'. Talks on wildlife, ice and polar history will create enormous anticipation that continues to build as we cross the Antarctic Convergence. Here the cold waters of the Antarctic Ocean meet the warmer waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. We will also notice a sharp drop in temperature at this point. Huge icebergs loom up against the horizon and seabirds such as the wandering albatross and petrels are regularly sighted.

    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 5-8 - South Shetland Islands and Antarctica

    Massive floating icebergs become more common as you get closer to land and you catch your first glimpse of the Peninsula, with its grand snow-covered mountains. In addition to spotting icebergs, you’ll likely spot Adélie penguins chilling out on ice floes and minke or humpback whales feeding and swimming in the frigid waters.

    As soon as possible, the Zodiacs will be readied for your first landing in the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula. Experiencing this immense wilderness up close for the first time can be a numbing experience. The silence is great, the vastness is even greater. Thankfully the noisy locals – penguins and seals – are there to remind you that this wonderful landscape isn’t just a dream.
    Your expedition team will monitor the ice and weather conditions to determine which landing sites can be visited. With many sites to choose from, each expedition presents new opportunities for exploring the white continent by Zodiac and land. Swimming in Antarctica is perhaps the most adventurous option to tempt you, by taking a polar plunge in the water at Neko Harbour!

    A typical day in this wildlife wonderland will be spent listening to calving glaciers at Petermann Island, watching penguins waddle around a beach, or taking a hike atop a hill for a panoramic view of Port Lockroy. Whatever you prefer, the photographic opportunities are endless.

    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 9 - Disembarkation and flight from King George Island to Punta Arenas

    As the ship turns north, you’ll say goodbye to the penguins, as well as many of your shipmates. With only the Drake Passage ahead, you’ll disembark and enjoy a bit of time on King George Island before flying off to Punta Arenas, Chile. Once you’re in Punta Arenas, we’ll transfer you from the airport to your hotel, where you’re free to explore and enjoy a final dinner out.

    (PLEASE NOTE: There is a luggage limit of 15kg checked baggage and 5kg hand baggage on the flight and this is strictly adhered to.)

    Breakfast

    Day 10 - Punta Arenas, Chile

    After breakfast, you're free to continue on your own travels or make your way to the Punta Arenas airport for your homeward flight.

    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • One night pre-expedition hotel accommodation with breakfast in Ushuaia as indicated in the itinerary.
    • Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping.
    • 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 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.
    • Group transfers from a designated location in Ushuaia to the ship on embarkation day.
    • Flight from Antarctica to Punta Arenas as specified in the itinerary. (Please note there is a maximum luggage allowance of 15kg check in and 5kg carry on for this flight.)
    • A group transfer upon disembarkation in Punta Arenas from the ship to the hotel.
    • One night post-expedition hotel accommodation in Punta Arenas with breakfast as indicated in the itineraries.

    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.
    • Transfer from the hotel to the airport in Punta Arenas at the end of the itinerary.

    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)

    • 05 Feb 2016 - 14 Feb 2016
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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PPFN15
Start City: Ushuaia
End City: Punta Arenas
Style: Polar

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