Epic Antarctica

Punta Arenas to Punta Arenas

22 days/21 nights

 

Antarctica map ActiveTravel

Overview

This unique experience links two existing voyages to create one ‘super adventure’. Over the course of three weeks, we spend an unprecedented 16 days exploring the Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands, the spectacular icy Weddell Sea region and the wildlife-rich Falkland Islands. Our January and February departures will also journey below the Antarctic Circle – providing yet another amazing highlight!

In practical terms, this voyage will provide you with more than THIRTY off-ship excursions.

Itinerary

Day 1 / Punta Arenas, Chile to Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

Our epic 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 to Stanley in the Falkland Islands (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). There is time to explore the town, before we make our way to the ship for embarkation. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail, dinner and cast off, bound for Antarctica – and the adventure of a lifetime.

Days 2 – 3 / At Sea towards Antarctica

This stretch of the South Atlantic is rich in marine life and showcases an abundance of wildlife. We will be joined by hundreds of seabirds including the wandering albatross. Giant petrels and smaller Cape petrels are also constant companions as make our way south. Throughout the day our onboard experts educate us with a series of presentations about the environment, the wildlife and history and the locations we hope to visit in the coming days.

Day 4 – 5 / King George Island and Antarctic Peninsula

This morning we are in position at the northern end of King George Island – the largest in the South Shetlands group. This afternoon we continue our journey south making our way ever closer to the Antarctic coastline. By morning, the towering mountain peaks of the Antarctic continent loom into view and we should make landfall around Wilhelmina Bay.

Day 6 – 8 / South towards the Antarctic Circle

Given favorable ice conditions, our first goal will be to sail south of the Antarctic Circle and into Crystal Sound. Petermann Island is home to an Adelie penguin rookery. Adelies – the smallest of the Antarctic penguins nest here and share the location with Gentoo penguins and Imperial cormorants.

Days 9 – 10 / Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands

We cruise north towards Paradise Harbour. This may be the first opportunity to step foot on the continent of Antarctica itself. Expect to be in full sensory overload by this time of the voyage. By morning we arrive in the South Shetland Islands. Whalers Bay at Deception Island is a very dramatic place and history is all around us as we explore the old whaling station, with the rusted boilers and dilapidated wooden huts.

Day 11 / King George Island

This morning we are anchored off King George Island. You will say farewell to many of your fellow passengers as they disembark, transfer to the airstrip and board their charter flight back to South America. There will be an opportunity to go ashore, or you may wish to relax on board,updating the diary or visiting the multi-media room to download and back up your images. New guests are welcomed aboard the ship and we are soon underway – for the second leg of our epic adventure.

Days 12 – 14 / Gerlache Strait and Antarctic Peninsula

This whole region is one large polar ‘playground’ with a great variety of landing sites. As always the weather and ice will dictate our route. Most locations offer excellent hiking opportunities, or a cruise through the Errera Channel to land on Danco Island – a large dome shaped island affording terrific views of the whole region from its summit. Wilhelmina Bay is another favorite location we could stop at for a second visit, as we frequently encounter pods of humpback whales in this area.

Day 15 / South Shetland Islands, Antarctica

We are now on our way towards Antarctic Sound – the gateway into the icy Weddell Sea. On our port side, will be the South Shetland Islands. It won’t be the first time you have cruised these waters, but there are some terrific sites here which we may go and explore.  If the weather is good a second visit to Deception Island is also a possibility.

Days 16 – 17 / Antarctic Sound and the Weddell Sea

The Antarctic Sound separates Joinville Island from the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. This is wild and remote Antarctica and has a distinctly different feel from locations visited so far. The history of exploration in this region is incredibly rich. The epic century-old story of Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expedition has strong links to the region. It was here that he and his men drifted north on the ice after their ship had been lost in the ice months earlier.

Day 18 / Elephant Island, Antarctica

We approach Elephant Island from the south. Point Lookout, on the southern tip of the island, is home to an impressive chinstrap penguin colony. Macaroni penguins also breed here and are a species we have yet to encounter to date. If conditions permit we may visit the fabled location of Point Wild on the north coast of Elephant Island. It is here that Shackleton and his men were encamped under their upturned life boats, before five men set off on a rescue mission to South Georgia in their tiny lifeboat.

Days 19 – 20 / At Sea towards Falkland Islands

While sailing north to the Falkland Islands our onboard polar experts will recap on our Weddell Sea adventures and prepare us for the final days ahead. The spectacular sea birds including several albatross and petrel species once again join us and are our constant companions as they soar above the ship.

Day 21 / West Point & Saunders Islands

Arriving into the Falkland Islands overnight, we explore the islands of West Point and Saunders, both in the West Falkland archipelago. West Point is known for its rockhopper penguin rookeries and large nesting black browed albatross colony. One final highlight awaits – a visit to the wildlife­ rich Saunders Island.  Saunders is a fitting end to an epic Antarctic adventure. Charting a course for the port of Stanley in early evening light, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship and reflect on one of life’s great travel experiences.

Day 22 / Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

In the early morning, we navigate through the narrows and into Port Stanley. There is time to explore the town, before we make our way to the airport for our return flight to Punta Arenas in southern Chile (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). It will be possible to connect to flights through to Santiago or other destinations in Chile. If you are staying in Punta Arenas, a transfer will be provided to several downtown locations.

 

 

Adventure Options

Sea Kayaking

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

When you choose a voyage on board the Hebridean Sky, you are entitled to a US$ 100 credit on your kayaking experience.

Read more about Sea Kayaking in the Polar Regions

Polar Camping

Ice Tracks is offering on all voyages the possibility to camp out in Antarctica at no extra cost. 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.

Read more about Camping in Antarctica

(Please note that Polar Camping is less liley to happen on voyages that inlcude the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica).

Whale Watching

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

Expedition Photography

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 & Prices

DatesNightsAdventure OptionsVesselPrices from
12 Jan 2019
02 Feb 2019
21
CampingSea KayakingSnow ShoeingWalking / HikingExpedition PhotographyWhale WatchingAkademik Ioffe

$19,290


 

Inclusions

About our combination voyage:

This 21 night voyage is a combination of the 10-night ‘Antarctic Circle Quest ‘ voyage, and the 11-night ‘Antarctica, Weddell Sea and Falkland Islands’ voyage. Your trip starts and finishes in Punta Arenas, and includes the flights to and from Stanley, in the Falkland Islands. On Day 11 the ship will be anchored at King George Island. Some of your fellow passengers will disembark here, at the completion of the 10-night voyage and fly back to South America. Others will join for the 11-night trip as we make our way back to the Falklands. As this voyage comprises of two shorter expeditions, it is likely we will visit a number of our favorite locations for a second time, such as Deception Island and Neko Harbour. These are such beautiful spots, with a range of different shore activities of offer, it will be a thrill to experience these places at different times, in different weather and in different moods. This combination trip offers incredible diversity and provides a huge variety of on shore experiences, at dozens of unique landing sites.

Included in the price of this voyage:

– Itinerary/pre-departure information

– Flights from to Punta Aremas

– 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).

– Use of multimedia station to download and process your photos.

-All port fees

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

Polar Gear

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.

Wellness Program

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.