Antarctic Ultimate Whale Adventure

Ushuaia to Ushuaia

11 days/10 nights

Overview

Ice Tracks Expedition’s Marine Mammals Voyage is a truly unique opportunity to join an Antarctic expedition to study Humpback, Minke and Orcas. This voyage will bring us closer to a glorious yet fragile continent leaving us with a profound feeling of privilege.

Summer on the Antarctic Peninsula is the feeding ground for a large number of krill predators, including Humpback and Minke whales and the top predator Orcas (known as the ocean wolves). February/March is the time these leviathans gorge themselves before the long migration North to tropical breeding grounds or the ice bound winter ahead.

We will have the opportunity to study the whales at close quarters under the tutelage of our whale experts.  We will frequent the bays known to lure huge numbers of cetaceans and we will spend uninterrupted time studying their habits. Passengers will have the opportunity to help with research. Photos of individuals as well as recording numbers will be welcomed by the expedition staff who are adding to a growing catalogue of known individuals.

Our educational program will focus on cutting-edge knowledge of marine mammal behaviour and discussions of the ever-changing habitat for not only whales but the different species of birds, seals and penguins that will also be on our wildlife list.

Itinerary

Day 1 – Ushuaia

As we board our ship in Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city at the tip of Argentina, anticipation and perhaps a little trepidation will mount. However, as we familiarise ourselves with our superb vessel and its equally superb staff and crew, the excitement of the next 11 days will be palpable. Our marine mammal experts will be on hand to acquaint us with the once in a life time adventure that lies ahead.

Days 2-3 – Drake Passage

Crossing the Drake Passage we will be accompanied by spectacular  bird life including the giant albatross, the mariner of the Southern Ocean. It is on this crossing we will get ‘our eye in’ for spotting whales and of course the first ice bergs!  Our wildlife experts will be constantly on tap to encourage, inform and excite!

Days 3-8 – Antarctic Peninsula

Nothing prepares you for the truly breathtaking scenes of mountains, glaciers, crevasses and enormous icebergs. As we nudge South through the Gerlache Strait, a super highway for whales travelling in and out of the Antarctic Peninsula, we will be on the look out for pods of cetaceans.   Our route will be based on typical marine mammal migrations and a changing itinerary depending on whale encounters.

As we reach the peninsula the zodiacs (inflatable dinghies) will be launched and the first of many sea patrols to spot  the gentle Humpback  feeding on krill will begin. These giants of the sea will leave us awe-struck as they spy-hop and breach and often just float as we quietly watch them from the safety of the zodiacs.  We will also be in the feeding grounds of Orcas and Minke whales and it will be common to spot Leopard seals patrolling the penguin colonies waiting for the easy catch as the chicks enter the ocean. This is the time of year the feeding fest for marine mammals is in full swing.

Wilhelmina Bay, Errera Channel and Fornier Bay are idles that for centuries have beckoned the whales. Leopard, Crabeaters and Weddell seals as well as Adelie, Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins are also on our ‘must see’ list.

The South Shetland Islands with Deception Island and the submerged caldera is unmissable before we leave the Peninsula on our way back North.

Days 9-10 – Drake Passage

Soon we will have to turn north across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage before rounding Cape Horn. You will have witnessed nature in all its glory, recorded it in hundreds of photos, ‘gone back to school’ with the outstanding lectures on board and met like-minded souls that will remain friends. The final evening’s Captain’s dinner will round off a perfect mammal adventure !

Day 11 – Ushuaia

Once back in Ushuaia it will be time to say farewell.  Guests will be transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home.

 

Adventure Options

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

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

Read more about Sea Kayaking in the Polar Regions

Polar Camping

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)

Camping on Akademik Ioffe and/or Akademik Vavilov departures has no extra cost

Read more about Camping in Antarctica

 

Dates & Prices

DatesNightsAdventure OptionsVesselPrices from
25 Feb 2018
08 Mar 2018
11
CampingSea KayakingWalking / HikingExpedition PhotographyWhale WatchingHebridean Sky

$7,995

23 Mar 2018
02 Apr 2018
10
Sea KayakingWalking / HikingExpedition PhotographyWhale WatchingAkademik Vavilov

$8,295

23 Mar 2018
02 Apr 2018
10
Sea KayakingWalking / HikingExpedition PhotographyWhale WatchingAkademik Vavilov

$8,695

02 Mar 2019
15 Mar 2019
13
CampingSea KayakingWalking / HikingExpedition PhotographyWhale WatchingIsland Sky

$9,995

03 Mar 2019
13 Mar 2019
10
Sea KayakingWalking / HikingExpedition PhotographyWhale WatchingAkademik Vavilov

$8,695


  • On board house wine/beer/soft drink with dinner
  • Complimentary Helly Hansen water/wind proof jacket (yours to keep) and a pair of Muck boots to use during the voyage.
  • Free Internet connection from the public computers in the library.

 

Inclusions

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

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:

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.