Summer on the Antarctic Peninsula is the feeding ground for a large number of krill predator’s, including Humpback and Minke whales and the top predator, Orcas (also known as ‘ocean’ wolves). February/March is the ideal time to watch these leviathans gorge themselves before the long migration North to their tropical breeding grounds or the ice bound winter ahead.
On any of our Marine Mammal or Ultimate Whale adventure voyages you will have the opportunity to study whales at close quarters – from the deck of the expedition ship, or the seat of a kayak! A resident Whale expert is onboard each of our expeditions, and you will have the chance to help their research efforts by submitting photos of individuals, as well as recording numbers to add to the 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.
Although we recommend March as the best time to see a huge variety of whales, we offer a number of voyages of varying duration, ports of call and on differing vessels. The itinerary below gives you a glimpse of what your Marine Mammals Voyage could entail, but no one voyage is the same, so please give us a call or drop us an email (and we can call you back!) so that we can find the perfect voyage for you.
Welcome to Ushuaia, Argentina. Day 1 is yours to explore some of the sights that this southern Argentinian Port town has to offer, from museums to leather markets. In the evening you are invited to join our pre-boarding meet and greet to ask any questions and meet some of your fellow travellers.
After a complimentary buffet breakfast, you’re free to explore Ushuaia or unwind at the resort until our mid-afternoon transfer to the ship. Once on board, you’ll be greeted by our Expedition Team and the Ship’s Officers. A concise safety and orientation briefing will be followed by the Captain’s welcome dinner. After dinner, relax and take in the scenery on our early evening sail through the Beagle Channel, past Magellanic Penguin, Rock Cormorant, and Sea Lion colonies.
As we make our way ever closer to the white continent, numerous Polar Experts will prepare you with presentations on everything Antarctic, from wildlife to history. Eventually, we’ll cross the Antarctic Convergence where we’ll notice a distinct drop in temperature as we enter the waters of the Antarctic Ocean. Those interested in Citizen Science can take part in SeaBird sighting surveys, or help collect salinity samples and weather data along the way. We’re likely to witness some spectacular sights, from icebergs to an array of seabirds and whale species. If we’re lucky, we may see some of them fully breach from the sea.
Exploring the South Shetland Islands, we may visit Half Moon Island with its stunning backdrop of mountainous and glaciated Livingston Island. Or perhaps we will sail the ship into an active volcano with an opportunity to take a dip in the relatively balmy waters that surround Deception Island. Bransfield Strait, once the site of an abandoned whaling station, gives us an excellent chance to see whales, who often return to its rich waters.
In the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, our Expedition Leader, Captain, and Marine Mammal experts will create a flexible itinerary based on weather, ice, and previous sightings to maximize our whale watching opportunities, while also exploring some of the lesser traveled areas of the Peninsula. We will aim for the most scenic bays and channels, with stops at penguin rookeries, seal wallows, bird colonies and whale feeding areas, as well as sites of historic and scientific interest.
Heading further South, we will be sure to explore the Gerlache Strait and its surrounding channels and islands. This may include trips to picturesque Neko Harbor, sheltered Paradise Harbor, the Humpback Whale favored Wilhelmina Bay, the striking Lemaire Channel, the wildlife-filled Penola Channel, or the majestic Neumayer Channel. We may stop at an active scientific base such as Poland’s Arctowksi or Ukraine’s Vernadskiy as well as a historic base such as U.K.’s Port Lockroy or Wordie House.
At this time of year, most areas have amazing marine mammal viewing opportunities with Weddell, Crabeater and Elephant Seals often found hauled out to rest along with predatory Leopard Seals and the assertive Antarctic Fur Seal. Minke and Humpback Whales are frequent visitors during this season and Orca sightings are also common.
As we leave this magical place and make our way north, heading again across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage, we will continue our presentation series and wildlife spotting. Sailing back to Ushuaia through the Beagle Channel, we celebrate the conclusion of our expedition with a special slideshow.
Morning disembarkation lets you catch a flight to Buenos Aires or stay in Ushuaia for more sights and adventure.
We highly recommend extending your trip into South America so that you can re-acclimatise yourself back to the ‘real’ world. Contact Us and we would be happy to talk you through our exciting options.
On every trip you do with us, we ensure that you are accompanied by exceptional local experts and guides with intimate knowledge of the flora, fauna and cultural history of the area.
...with a whale expert! Outings onboard zodiacs, or from the bow of the ship: here is the chance to see these majestic giants up close and personal as they float asleep like semi-submerged submarines, fluke, 'spy hop', breach, hunt and feed.
There will be numerous opportunities to photograph and capture truly wonderful moments. From multimedia presentations to group workshops on the outer decks or in a Zodiac, our on board photographer will offer advice and instruction.
For our latest discounts and exclusive deals see our special offers page.
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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