Antarctic Circle Quest
Ushuaia to Ushuaia
On board the Hebridean Sky
15 days/14 nights
Punta Arenas to Punta Arenas
On board the Akademik Vavilov and Akademik Ioffe (flights included)
11 days/10 nights
Sailing comfortably aboard one of our well-appointed vessels, we begin expedition at the tip of South America. We will slowly make our way back up the peninsula, visiting penguin rookeries as we go. The abundance of wildlife here is truly extraordinary including five seal species, massive penguin rookeries of Gentoo, Adélies and Chinstraps as well as a profusion of seabirds from Snow Petrels to Skuas. Our journey will take us to Petermann Island or Wilhelmina Bay where we encounter colossal icebergs and, of course, the ice landscapes that stretch as far as the eye can see.
Day 1 – Ushuaia
Arrive in Ushuaia anytime today. Enjoy a complimentary stay at the beautiful Arakur Hotel & Resort. Explore the trails, take a spa, head into town, or relax and soak in the surroundings. Our optional evening briefing is a great opportunity for you to ask questions and to meet some of your fellow travelers. Enjoy a complimentary buffet breakfast in the morning.
Day 2 – Embarkation
Today is the first day of our adventure. As we board the Hebridean Sky in Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city at the tip of Argentina, and start to become familiar with ‘our home’ for the next 13 days we cannot help but wonder about the exciting journey ahead of us. In the early evening, we set sail and begin our voyage leaving behind Ushuaia and charting a course through the Beagle Channel.
Days 3-4 – Drake Passage
Crossing the Drake Passage, there is so much excitement in the air as we make our way ever closer to the white continent. Guests eagerly soak up the friendly atmosphere onboard as our numerous Polar experts prepare us for our adventures with presentations on everything Antarctic, from wildlife to history. Eventually, we will cross the Antarctic Convergence where we will notice a distinct drop in temperature as we enter the waters of the Antarctic Ocean. Those keen in Citizen Science can take part in collecting salinity samples, wind and temperature readings along the way. On our sea crossing we will witness many spectacular sights from icebergs to an array of seabirds and even several whale species, some of which are known on occasion to fully breach from the sea.
Days 5-12 – The Antarctic Peninsula
In the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, we will hope to make as much time as possible to explore by inflatable Zodiac boats and marvel up close at nature’s glory. Our goal will be to sail south of the Antarctic Circle and into Matha Strait or Marguerite Bay. Given favorable ice conditions, we will push our exploration even further southward, looking for historic and wildlife sites.
We will plan on making our first landing on the continent of Antarctica at Paradise Harbor or Neko Harbor. The scenery here is amazing; particularly the oddly shaped icebergs looking like sculptures, as well as the colossal ‘tabular’ icebergs that break away from the continent’s ice shelf. From our most southerly point (south of the Antarctic Circle), we will make our way north, cruising through the narrow waterways and channels of the Antarctic Peninsula.
Spectacular waterways such as Crystal Sound, the Lemaire Channel, the Neumeyer Channel and the Gerlache Strait will all feature in our itinerary. Landing sites might include Neko Harbour, Wilhelmina Bay, Petermann Island and the Yalours, where we will observe Weddell, crabeater and elephant seals, skuas and other seabirds as well as an abundance of penguins including colonies of the comical Gentoo.
Days 13-14 – Drake Passage
As we leave this magical place and make our way north, heading again across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage we have no doubt that time will be spent sharing and reflecting on the wonderful experiences of the last few days. Sailing down the Beagle Channel, we celebrate the conclusion of our Polar expedition at a special slideshow and dinner.
Day 15 – Disembarkation
As we arrive back in Ushuaia, it is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travelers. Morning disembarkation lets you catch a flight to Buenos Aires or stay in Ushuaia for more sights and adventure.
Day 1 / Punta Arenas, Chile to Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
Our journey commences this morning in the southern Chilean city of Punta Arenas. We meet at a central location before transferring to the airport for our scheduled flight (included in the price of your voyage) to Stanley in the Falkland Islands. After a short 90-minute journey we are met on arrival and transferred to the pier.
Days 2 – 3 / At Sea towards Antarctica
We chart a southerly course for Antarctica. This stretch of the South Atlantic is rich in its bio-diversity and showcases an abundance of wildlife. If we enjoy good sailing conditions crossing to Antarctica, we may include a visit to the very historic location of Elephant Island – a place central to the Shackleton story. Shore landings at Point Wild are notoriously tricky due to surging swell onto the rocky beach. Nevertheless this a thrilling place to visit.
Day 4 – 5 / King George Island and Antarctic Peninsula
This morning we are in position at King George Island – the largest in the South Shetlands group. This afternoon we continue our journey south, navigating into the broad expanse of the Bransfield Straight – making our way ever closer to the Antarctic coastline. This is an important migration corridor for wildlife and we keep a lookout for whales in the waters surrounding the ship. By morning, the towering mountain peaks of the Antarctic continent loom into view and we should make landfall around Wilhelmina Bay.
Day 6 – 8 / Towards the Antarctic Circle and Gerlache Coastline
As we pass through the ice strewn waters making our way towards out ultimate objective, the Antarctic Circle, we encourage to spend as much time as you can out on deck. Given favourable ice conditions, our first goal will be to sail south of the Antarctic Circle and into Crystal Sound. A hike over the snowy saddle of nearby Winter Island allows us to stretch our legs and explore a historic British Antarctic Survey hut. If the conditions are right, we aim to offer our overnight camping program to all adventurers somewhere in this vicinity.
Days 9 – 10 / Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands
We aim to transit the Lemaire Channel on our way north towards Paradise Harbour. This may be the first opportunity to step foot on the continent of Antarctica itself. Nearby Neko Harbour offers another continental landing. By morning we arrive in the South Shetland Islands. The adventure is not over and if the weather conditions allow, we sail the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera at Deception Island. This is a very dramatic place and history is all around us as we explore the old whaling station, with the rusted old boilers and dilapidated wooden huts.
Day 11 / King George Island – return to Punta Arenas, Chile
This morning we are anchored off King George Island. We say goodbye to our crew and transfer ashore by zodiac and time permitting, we will explore the surrounding area. We are transferred to the airstrip for the two-hour flight to Punta Arenas in southern Chile (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). We recommend you spend a night in Punta Arenas in the event of any delays returning from Antarctica today. On arrival, a transfer is provided to several hotel locations downtown. Punta Arenas is an interesting city – and also the gateway to the magnificent region of Patagonia.
We are very proud to offer one of the best sea kayaking programs ever!!! Whether you are an experienced kayaker or you want to try it for the first time, this activity will allow you to enjoy another side of this magnificent destination.
Price per person: U$S 795
Read more about Sea Kayaking in the Polar Regions
Ice Tracks is offering on all voyages the possibility to camp out in Antarctica. If conditions are suitable and you choose to camp on the continent, we will provide all the required gear such as tents, bivy sacs and sleeping bags. This excursion is managed with strict environmental regulations. A portable toilet is used and absolutely everything is transported back to the ship afterwards.
Price of camping per person US$ 125 (only for Hebridean Sky departures) – spaces are limited so book in advance.
Camping on Akademik Ioffe and/or Akademik Vavilov departures has no extra cost.
Read more about Camping in Antarctica
In the Polar Regions the sun shines 24/7 allowing krill and other crustaceans to grow in abundance. Whales take full advantage of this feast before the “big freeze” forces them to head to the Tropics. Humpbacks float along our zodiacs, Orcas set the heart racing and the curious minke whales never fail to delight. And ‘don’t rule out seeing Blue whales or the less common beaked whales!
Read more about Whale watching
Throughout our voyage, there will be numerous opportunities to photograph and capture truly wonderful moments, fluting whales, diving penguins, soaring albatross and rather rotund beached seals to name a few! From multimedia presentations to group workshops on the outer decks or in a Zodiac, our on board photographer will offer advice and instruction. He/she will be available to work with you and encourage you to look at scenes or events in a different way in order to capture them as best as possible.
Read more about Photography in the Polar Regions
|Dates||Nights||Adventure Options||Vessel||Prices from|
|2018021212 Feb 2018|
26 Feb 2018
|2018122929 Dec 2018|
08 Jan 2019
|2019011212 Jan 2019|
22 Jan 2019
|2019020909 Feb 2019|
19 Feb 2019
|2019022626 Feb 2019|
12 Mar 2019
|2020021010 Feb 2020|
24 Feb 2018
When travelling on board the Hebridean Sky, you get a pre-departure night’s accommodation on the port of embarkation free of charge. Contact us for more details.
Included in the price of this voyage:
– Itinerary/pre-departure information
– One night hotel accommodation in embarkation city (Hebridean Sky departures)
– Transfer from airport in embarkation city to group hotel if arriving on day 1 of the itinerary (Hebridean Sky departures)
– Transfers from the meeting point to the ship
– Transfer from ship to airport or central location at disembarkation
– Extensive program of relevant educational presentations
– Advice from experienced team of naturalists and resident photographer
– All Zodiac excursions and landings
– Welcome Cocktail and Farewell Dinner hosted by our Captain
– All meals during the voyage prepared by onboard professional chefs. Afternoon tea with fresh snacks each afternoon. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate throughout the day (24/7)
– House wine/beer/soft drink with dinner (Hebridean Sky departures)
– Onboard medical officer
– All activities offered on board (except kayaking on all departures and camping on Hebridean Sky departures).
– Use of multimedia station to download and process your photos.
– Free Internet connection from the public computers in the library (Hebridean Sky departures)
– 100 minute WiFi card, for use on your personal devices (Hebridean Sky departures)
-All port fees
– In Superior categories we offer champagne and chocolates on arrival, complimentary mini-bar and US$ 100 Gift Shop Certificate (Hebridean Sky departures)
Not included in the price of this voyage:
– International and Domestic airfares
– Visa and passport fees, airport departure taxes
– Pre-cruise or post-cruise hotel accommodation, meals, transfers in arrival/departure cities (unless otherwise stated in your invoice)
– Personal laundry and personal expenses (Postage, telephone, internet, bar bill, medical expenses)
– Travel medical insurance including medical evacuation (mandatory)
– Trip interruption / cancellation insurance (optional)
– Gratuities to staff and crew
Should you wish to simplify packing, we are proud to offer a full complement of outdoor expedition gear for you on board.
On board the Akademiks:
Free of charge foul weather gear package including jacket, bib pants and wellington boots. The package also includes roll-top waterproof knapsacks, Bushnell® or Nikon binoculars and walking poles to use during the voyage.
On board the Hebridean Sky:
You will receive a complimentary Helly Hansen water/wind proof jacket (yours to keep) and a pair of Muck boots to use during the voyage.
On board the Akademiks:
We have a Wellness program on the ships which includes a gym, sauna, hot tub, massage room and plunge pool for icy dips if you so wish! Early morning stretching and yoga sessions followed by healthy breakfast are a great way to start your expedition day.
Proof of our Polar Commitment
When traveling with Ice Tracks Expeditions, you will discover how much we care about the places and people we visit. We demonstrate this by finding ways to give back as well as taking away so many incredible memories.
Read more about our Giving Back Program.