Sail to remote locations along the spectacular Antarctic Peninsula
Fly across the Drake Passage and climb aboard the small explorer boat of the Hans Hansson on this special extended adventure to the icy Antarctic. As part of an intimate group of 12, you’ll have plenty of say over your itinerary and sail to remote islands along the spectacular Antarctic Peninsula that most ships never reach. Your skipper, Dion Poncet, was born and raised on a yacht in South Georgia and knows this part of the world better than anyone. Get right up close to seabirds, penguins, seals and whales on daily landings and listen to the wisdom and wild stories of your experienced crew. If you’re after a flexible, personal and truly unforgettable adventure on the White Continent, this is it.
- Physical rating
- Min 8
- Group size
- Min 1, Max 8
Why we love this trip
Traverse seldom-sailed seas on the Hans Hansson. This small exploration boat will take you to hard-to-reach locations that most Antarctic vessels can’t
As part of an intimate group of 12 passengers, you’ll enjoy more face time with the captain, longer excursions and plenty of flexibility. Plus you’ll have a significant say over where you visit
From humpback whales to Weddell seals and chinstrap penguins, see a wildlife show unlike anywhere else on earth
A diversity of possible landing sites allows you to see the spectacular Antarctic Peninsula from multiple perspectives
Your experienced crew have a lot of stories to tell. Who better to show you the Antarctic than a captain born and raised at sea?
A quick four-hour flight across the Drake Passage shaves almost two travel days off your itinerary, allowing more time for the important stuff (and avoiding potential sea sickness)
Is this trip right for you?
Although the Hans Hansson is built for polar conditions, Antarctic waters can be unpredictable and rough. Some people may experience seasickness. Please be prepared with medications to combat this.
As you’d expect, temperatures in the Antarctic are freezing. A warm parka will be provided along with waterproof boots and unlimited hot drinks, but you should also bring base layers and lots of warm clothing. Please see the trip notes for further important information about what to bring.
Weather depending, you will be making regular excursions in a Zodiac boat to explore the local area and look for wildlife. It can get very cold and wet on the Zodiac, so make sure you are dressed appropriately and that you keep your camera safe and dry. Sturdy sea legs are needed as you make wet and dry landings from the boat, and on steep terrain, snow and other uneven surfaces. Some ships have a lot of stairs, so please hold on to the handrails if seas are rough.
The weather plays a pivotal part in this adventure and although there’s an itinerary in place, there are no guarantees that you’ll be able to do everything that is planned for. A level of flexibility and openness to embracing the unexpected are important in expedition travel, especially to such a remote area. There are nearly 200 recognised sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands; the places mentioned in the itinerary may need to be changed to others (which are equally as interesting). You may also be confined to the ship during rough weather. This is the perfect opportunity to relax with a book or listen to the stories of your captain and crew.
See colonies of Adélie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins. The krill-rich waters offshore attract a diversity of aquatic life, including humpback whales. Keep your camera handy in case you spot the southern giant petrel, a seabird that eats everything from krill to carrion. When threatened, it responds by spraying oil produced in its stomach at predators. Leopard, Antarctic fur, Weddell and crabeater seals often visit, occasionally hitching a ride on an iceberg. One thing is for sure: every day will be different.
POSSIBLE LANDINGS AND WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS
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 below is a tentative outline of some of what you might experience on this voyage; please be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed and no expedition will include them all.
Named after the father of the Argentine Navy, this Antarctic base was opened in 1951, but destroyed by fire in 1984. It has since been partially rebuilt, and is used during summer months for scientific research.
These islands have been home to several scientific stations throughout history, the most recent of which was built by the British Government in 1977. In 1996, it was taken over by the Ukrainian Antarctic program, which continues to run the station today. Keep your eyes open for the South Polar skua, a large seabird referred to as a ‘kleptoparasite’ for its penchant to steal fish by attacking other seabirds.
If one of your expedition goals is to witness incredible icebergs and pack ice, Cierva Cove is the place to do it. A massive glacial face regularly calves into the bay and the floating ice can be quite spectacular. Seals can be spotted on ice floes, and later in the season humpback whales occasionally breach the waters.
Once a bustling sealing and whaling station, Deception Island was deserted in 1969 when its British base was destroyed by volcanic activity. Deception is environmentally pristine yet littered with remnants of the past: abandoned research stations, airplane hangars, whaling boats and military bases.
Located in Wilhelmina Bay, this island is a history buff ’s delight. A circumnavigation of the island passes the wreck of the Governoren, a whaling factory ship that caught fire with a full load of whale oil on board. Today, its rusting remains sit in Foyn Harbour, and are a curiosity for polar adventurers.
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-kilometre long channel (6.8 miles) may become impassable when ice fills the narrow passageway, so we’ll hope for clear waters.
This group of low islands in Dallmann Bay offers sightings of male fur seals hauling-out at the end of the breeding season, as they recuperate from their supremacy battles.
Surrounded by stunning ice cliffs and reefs, this wide bay was discovered by a Swedish Antarctic expedition in 1901-1904. Keep your camera at hand, as gentoo penguins and skuas, as well as Weddell, Antarctic fur, leopard and crabeater seals are often seen in the region.
This channel separates Anvers Island from Wiencke and Doumer Islands. Because of its inverted S-shape and concealed entrance and exit, it seems maze-like. As we traverse the channel, passengers often line the decks and windows and look in awe at the majestic, soaring cliffs on either side.
Located on Anvers Island, Palmer Station is the only American Antarctic research facility north of the Antarctic Circle. Accommodating up to 50 people, this ecological research station focuses on the Antarctic marine ecosystem, sea ice habitats and nesting sites of seabird predators. The region surrounding Anvers Island is considered globally significant, as it exhibits the most significant winter warming trends.
This natural harbour on the West Antarctic Peninsula is surrounded by spectacular mountains, glaciers and ice cliffs. Icebergs regularly calve from the glaciers, providing a place for sea lions, penguins and seabirds to rest and play.
Near the Lemaire Channel, you can stand ashore here and see the southernmost breeding colony of gentoo penguins. The dome of the island rises 200 meters (650 feet) above the sea, offering a challenging hike for panoramic views. Adélie penguins, shags and south polar skuas also inhabit the island.
Many islands in this small archipelago are named after characters in Charles Dickens’ ‘Pickwick Papers’. The waters here are rich in krill, a sure attractor for whales of all variety. There are Adèlie and chinstrap penguins in the area, as well as southern giant petrel.
Grounded icebergs have been known to occupy the bay at Pleneau Island. Gentoo penguins gather here to breed and tend their young before heading back out to sea.
This wide bay at the north end of Booth Island was discovered by a French expedition in 1903-05. Visible remains of the expedition include a wrecked tender, stone hut and a cairn with a wooden pillar bearing the names of expedition members. Here, you may have the opportunity to view Adèlie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins, as well as petrel, skua and gull birdlife, and Antarctic fur, crabeater, leopard and Weddell seals.
This harbour on the west side of Wiencke Island was home to a secret base built during the Second World War. Now designated an historic site, Port Lockroy offers a museum and post office for visitors
to explore and enjoy. Proceeds support the preservation of historic sites from the Heroic Age of Exploration.
Located in Paradise Bay, this cove was named after Edvard Skontorp, a Norwegian whale gunner.
TWO HUMMOCK ISLAND
Named for its two rocky summits, Buache and Modev Peaks, this island is reputed to have been explored by Roald Amundsen during an expedition in 1898. Legend has it that he climbed one of the peaks to test his skis, becoming the first person to downhill ski in Antarctica. Seals, penguins and seabirds call the island home, and whale sightings are not unusual in the area.
History lovers will enjoy this Ukrainian-owned research station. Scientists carry out a wide variety of research in areas such as meteorology, ozone, glaciology, ecology and biology. While you’re here, enjoy a drink at the world’s southernmost bar!
This station is named after former Chilean President Gabriel Gonzalez Videla, who in 1940 became the first world leader to visit Antarctica. It is famous as the location of the smallest ever wintering-over party; just two men stayed in 1921-22.
Discovered during the French expedition of 1903-05, this small island is home to 1,000 breeding pairs of Adèlie penguins, seals and a variety of Antarctic shorebirds. The surrounding waters teem with krill, providing sustenance for seals, whales and other aquatic life.
Humpback whales abound in ‘Whale-mina Bay,’ as it’s nicknamed, and the scenery is spectacular. If you’re lucky, you may see the humpbacks bubble netting: they exhale while swimming in circles trapping their prey in a ‘net’ of bubbles, then swim straight up from below, mouths open. A truly spectacular sight!
The southernmost of the major islands of the Palmer Archipelago, this rocky island is covered by glaciers, snow and ice. Pursuit Point has been identified as an important bird area containing breeding colonies of chinstrap penguins and imperial shags, as well as black and white cormorants.
These islands were named after an Argentine Navy Lieutenant who rescued shipwrecked members of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition in 1903. Approximately 8,000 pairs of Adelie penguins nest in the islands, sometimes parading for visitors. Yellow lichens and grass give color to the landscape; icebergs are easy to spot with a little effort.
- Breakfast (15)
- Lunch (15)
- Dinner (15)
Meals18 breakfasts, 15 lunches, 17 dinners
TransportPlane, Ship, Zodiac
AccommodationExpedition ship, hotel
Dates & availability
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Arctic and Antarctic bookings have an increased deposit requirement. On Hans Hansson itineraries, the deposit is A$5000pp and the balance is due 120 days before departure.
If a booking is cancelled 120 days or more before departure - the cancellation fee is the full loss of the deposit paid.
If a booking is cancelled between 119 days and departure - the cancellation fee is 100% of the total price of the voyage.
Other fees may apply for air tickets and other arrangements booked in conjunction with a Polar voyage.
Your voyage is operated by our sister company, Quark Expeditions. All accommodation and transfer arrangements as listed in the itinerary are also operated by Quark Expeditions or their local representatives.