14 days

Crossing the Circle (Ocean Diamond) 2015 - 2017

Crossing the Circle (Ocean Diamond) 2015 - 2017

Antarctica’s seabirds


South Shetland Islands

The epic icebergs and landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula

The land beyond the Antarctic Circle

Light of the Antarctic



‘Slicing the silence’, voyage to Antarctica

Seals and seabirds of the Beagle Channel

Camping in tents on Antarctica

Cruise the Beagle Channel

Trip rating
  • This expedition offers you the most in-depth exploration of the Antarctic Peninsula.  Extended time in the region allows you to go beyond the Antarctic Peninsula and venture south of the Antarctic Circle, home to fantastic ice formations and wildlife including the Weddell seal.  You’ll enjoy more time for communing with penguins and visits to less-frequented landing sites.

    Given good ice conditions, we will travel further south than any other Peregrine expedition and cruise well south of the Antarctic Circle at 66°33S, through regions of striking beauty and abundant wildlife


    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.

    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


    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.


    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.


    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.


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


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    While not a typical landing, the crossing of the Antarctic Circle is a moment to remember. The event will usually happen while at sea, so be sure to head up to the bridge and snap your photo of the GPS reading 66° 33’ S.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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!


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.




    Why we love it


    Day 1 - Ushuaia, Argentina

    • You will begin your journey in Ushuaia, a small, but bustling port town at the tip of South America. This Argentinean town is an ideal gateway for you to explore the southern extent of Patagonia while preparing for your adventure ahead. Get active in the mountains or enjoy some hand crafted chocolate at a café in town. A night in a hotel is included in the voyage price. No meals are included on Day 1.
    • 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

    • The Beagle Channel sets you on your way as the ship sails in the late afternoon. The channel opens up to the vastness of the Southern Ocean, where your next land sighting will be along the Antarctic Peninsula. Named after the famed ship in which Charles Darwin voyaged, the channel presents many great photo opportunities to capture sea birds hovering overhead.
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 3-4 - Crossing the Drake Passage

    • The waters of the Drake Passage are unpredictable, so hope for clear skies and a calm ocean. You’ll have plenty of time to stare out at the sea, get to know your fellow shipmates and chat with your expedition team. Time over these two days will be spent preparing for the exciting days ahead, with numerous educational and informative lectures from your expedition team. You’ll learn about everything from safety procedures to the history of whaling in Antarctica.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 5-7 - South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula

    • With the Drake Passage left in our wake, we make a final approach to Antarctica. Get your cameras ready, as the continent’s coastline will make its first appearance, signaling the start of your adventure in the realm of the Antarctic. You’ll see plentiful icebergs floating by and be fixated on the surface of the ocean as curious whales spout and breach before your eyes. As exciting as it can be from onboard the ship, your true exploration occurs when you disembark and set foot on the great continent. There are several potential landing sites we may visit, including Neko Harbour, Orne Harbour or Paradise Bay. While weather dictates which specific landing sites we can visit, each one presents a new collection of wildlife and natural attractions. Your days will be busy spotting wildlife and being mesmerized by the beauty of Antarctica. Watching penguins waddling on the beach and listening to the crackling and crumbling sounds of icebergs and glaciers will become your daily entertainment, while kayaking with whales and camping in Antarctica are a couple of optional activities available on selected voyages.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 8-9 - The Antarctic Circle

    • Crossing the Antarctic Circle is an impressive achievement, as most expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula do not reach this far south, which is officially noted at 66° 33’ S. You and your shipmates will celebrate in style with a well-earned glass of champagne! Make a toast and take pride in knowing you’ve made it to a part of the world still visited by very few people.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 10-11 - Northbound along the Antarctic Peninsula

    • By now, your knowledge of Adelie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins will be matched by your ability to differentiate between a leopard, fur or Weddell seal. Terms like ‘bergy bits’ and pancake ice will seem normal too, yet there are still many tales to be told. As you head back towards the Drake, Zodiac excursions will continue to fill your days, while the expedition team will help fill in any blanks that remain in your newly acquired knowledge of the Antarctic.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 12-13 - Drake Passage to Ushuaia

    • Re-crossing the Drake, Antarctica fades away and you’ll be left with a collection of memories to last a lifetime. Excited conversations with your newfound friends will make the time passing the Drake Passage fly by, independent of weather and sea conditions. Your expedition team will round up their series of lectures as well, perhaps with a slideshow of some of the great landing sites and wildlife you’ve visited over the course of your voyage.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 14 - Disembark in Ushuaia, Argentina

    • Today you’ll say goodbye to your expedition team and your fellow travellers. You’ll disembark in the morning so that you may catch your homeward bound flights.
  • 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.
    • 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 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.
    • A group transfer upon disembarkation in Ushuaia from the ship to the local airport.

    Not Included

    • Any meals ashore with the exception of breakfast at the joining hotel before embarkation.
    • Any airfare unless otherwise specified in the itinerary.
    • Passport and visa expenses.
    • Government arrival and departure taxes.
    • Baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance.
    • Excess baggage charges.
    • Telecommunications charges.
    • Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal 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

    • 15 Jan 2016 - 28 Jan 2016
    • 01 Mar 2017 - 14 Mar 2017
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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PPCC15
Start City: Ushuaia
End City: Ushuaia
Style: Polar

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