Epic Antarctica – Includes Flights To/from Port Stanley
» Dec 30 2017 – Jan 20 2018 (22 DAYS)
» EMBARKATION: Port Stanley
» DISEMBARKATION: Port Stanley
EXPEDITION IN BRIEF
This exciting new expedition has been many years in the making. It is undoubtedly the most comprehensive journey to Antarctica ever offered. Only scientists and researchers, who spend many months working at the numerous research stations in Antarctica, can claim to spend more time ‘down on the ice’.
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. In practical terms, this voyage will provide you with more than THIRTY off-ship excursions. You will also experience one of the most incredible ‘White Christmas’ and see in the New Year surrounded by the incredible peaks of the Antarctic continent.
Over the durtion of the voyage, we visit wildlife colonies, historic sites, science bases and spend plenty of time ashore enjoying extended walks, many up to stunning viewpoints. In our Zodiac boats, we cruise among the icefloes searching for whales and seals, or admiring and photographing the deep blue icebergs.
Over the course of our in-depth exploration, you are accompanied by expert guides – including qualified naturalists, marine biologists, glaciologists, bird experts, historians and adventure guides. All have their áreas of expertise and will educate you through fascinating presentations and lively, interactive discussions aboard the ship. Our resident professional photographer is also there to help you capture Antarctica through the camera lens. If you have the time, and want to experience the most in-depth Antarctic experience ever offered, this could well be the trip you’ve been looking for.
About our combination voyage:
This 21-night voyage is a combination of the 10-night ‘Quest for the Antarctic Circle’ voyage, and the 11-night ‘Ultimate Antarctica – Weddell Sea and Falklands’ 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 is comprised of two shorter expeditions, it is likely we will visit a number of our favourite 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 onshore experiences, at dozens of unique landing sites.
- Day 1 – Punta Arenas, Chile to Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
- Days 2 and 3 – At sea towards Antarctica
- Days 4 and 5 – King George Island and Antarctic Peninsula
- Days 6 to 8 – Towards the Antarctic Circle and Gerlache Coastline
- Days 9 and 10 – Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands
- Day 11 – King George Island
- Days 12 to 14 – Antarctic Peninsula
- Day 15 – South Shetland Islands, Antarctica
- Days 16 and 17 – Antarctic Sound and the Weddell Sea
- Day 18 – Elephant Island, Antarctica
- Days 19 and 20 – At sea towards Falkland Islands
- Day 21 – West Point Island & Saunders Island
- Day 22 – Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
ITINERARY DAY BY DAY
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 to Stanley in the Falkland Islands. (This flight is included in the price of your voyage). After a short 90-minute journey we are met on arrival and transferred to the pier.
Stanley is currently home to just over 2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a rural town in coastal Britain. It is charming with brightly coloured houses, pretty flower-filled gardens, a quaint cathedral and several local pubs. The waterfront memorial, built to commemorate the lives of the servicemen lost during the Falklands War in the early 1980’s, is a sobering reminder of recent history. There is time to explore the town, before we make our way to the ship for embarkation. After settling in to our cabins and exploring the ship, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. 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 and 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. 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. Photographing these magnificent birds from the deck of the ship takes patience and skill and our photography expert will be on hand to show you the best techniques. Join the ship’s Captain on the bridge and learn about the operations of our modern research vessel. 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.
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. It is from here that Shackleton and four of his companions set off on their epic ocean crossing to South Georgia 100 years ago. Shore landings at Point Wild are notoriously tricky due to surging swell onto the rocky beach. Nevertheless, this a thrilling place to visit.
Days 4 and 5 – King George Island and Antarctic Peninsula
This morning we are in position at King George Island – the largest in the South Shetlands group. There are two landing sites here and a visit depends on the prevailing weather conditions. Penguin Island and nearby Turret Point offer good opportunities for shore landings to view Adelie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins. Southern giant petrels, kelp gulls and Antarctic terns are also known to nest here. 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. Large icebergs will be present from this point onwards and make for striking photographs in the evening light. By morning, the towering mountain peaks of the Antarctic continent loom into view and we should make landfall around Wilhelmina Bay. This is truly an ‘A-list’ location and a place we often encounter sizeable pods of humpback whales. We navigate under the towering cliffs of Spigot Peak and into the Errera Channel hoping for a shore landing at Cuverville Island – home to a rookery of Gentoo penguins. It’s a fantastic location for a Zodiac cruise or a paddle in the sea kayaks.
Days 6 to 8 – Towards the Antarctic Circle and Gerlache Coastline
We encourage you to spend time on the outer decks soaking up the scenery as we navigate south. We pass through the ice strewn waters making our way towards out ultimate objective, the Antarctic Circle. Given favourable ice conditions, our first goal will be to sail south of the Antarctic Circle and into Crystal Sound. A favoured landing site here is Detaille Island, home to an abandoned British science hut from the 1950’s.
This vicinity marks our turnaround point and from now on, we return in a northerly direction exploring the dramatic coastline of the Antarctic Peninsula. We hope to visit a working scientific base to learn something of the important climate-related research happening here. 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. We have all the gear onboard and an experienced team to make this a night to remember!
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. The view to the north of Mount Shackleton and Mount Scott is impressive. These towering granite sentinels mark the southern entrance to the nearby Lemaire Channel. Pleneau Island offers more opportunities for shore landings. Just off shore, massive icebergs run a round in the shallows. Constant wind and wave action sculpt these gargantuan chunks of ice into fantastic shapes, revealing more shades of blue than you can possibly imagine. For many, a Zodiac cruise here may well be a highlight of the voyage.
Days 9 and 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. Nearby Neko Harbour offers another continental landing. Both locations offer terrific hiking opportunities up to panoramic view points. For the sea kayakers, the paddling opportunities here are endless. 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. At the far end of the beach is an old aircraft hangar. This is where Australian explorer and pioneer aviator, Sir Hubert Wilkins made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928. There is also an outstanding hike, high up onto the rim of the crater.
Day 11 – King George Island, return to Punta Arenas, Chile
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 visit 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 to 14 – Antarctic Peninsula
For the next three days we have a varied itinerary exploring the Gerlache coastline. 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. Planned visits could include Port Charcot, Orne Harbour or Andvord Bay. All three locations offer excellent hiking opportunities, or a cruise through the Errera Channel to and land on Danco Island – a large dome shaped island affording terrific views of the whole region from its summit. Wilhelmina Bay is another favourite location we could stop at for a second visit, as we frequently encounter pods of humpback whales in this area. If the channel south of Brooklyn island is ice-free, we may ship cruise through here as we push to the north into the broad expanse of the Gerlache Strait. Cierva Cove and Mikkelsen Harbour are also possible locations we could visit – both providing good Zodiac cruising opportunities
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. Half Moon Island is nearby and is home to a sizeable chinstrap penguin rookery. Across the MacFarlane Strait is Yankee Harbour – with its broad pebble beach – a known location for Weddell seals. If the weather is good a second visit to Deception Island is also a possibility. It’s always a thrill to navigate the ship into ‘Neptune’s Bellows’ – and to explore inside the submerged volcanic caldera by ship and Zodiac.
Days 16 and 17 – Antarctic Sound and the Weddell Sea
At about 25 nautical miles long and about 10 nautical miles wide, the Antarctic Sound separates Joinville Island from the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. As we sail into the sound we witness, for the first time the vast sweep of the Antarctic icecap becomes an awe-inspiring sight. Heading into the Weddell Sea we notice a significant increase in the number of huge tabular icebergs and the presence of sea ice. These massive icebergs break from the huge ice shelves to the south and drift north on the currents. This always makes for exciting navigation – and stunning photographic opportunities in the soft Antarctic twilight. This is wild and remote Antarctica and has a distinctly different feel from locations visited so far.
The Weddell Sea region is home to Adelie penguin rookeries of staggering size – some contain more than 100,000 nesting birds. Such colonies dwarf the rookeries we have visited so far. Weather permitting, excursions may include Hope Bay, Paulet Island and Brown Bluff. All eyes will be trained on the ice floes through which we navigate the ship. We have enjoyed successful sightings of emperor penguins in this área in recent years. Based on the size and plumage, our naturalists believe them to be juveniles out exploring and fishing – and possible residents of the known emperor colony on the southern side of Snow Hill Island.
The history of exploration in this region is incredibly rich. Remnants of Nordenskjöld’s Swedish expedition of 1901-1904 are found in several locations in this area. 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. As we head north and out of the Weddell Sea, the lavender pink sunset off the port quarter of the ship will make some of us pause to consider the bravery (or foolhardiness) of those early explorers who travelled these waters a hundred years before us.
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. Both southern elephant seals and Antarctic fur seals are hauled out on the beaches in large numbers. 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 and 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 seabirds including several albatross and petrel species once again join us and are our constant companions as they soar above the ship. Our onboard educational program continues and our experts entertain us with presentations and lead lively discussions.
Day 21 – West Point Island & Saunders Island
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. The opportunity to observe these spectacular birds in close proximity on the nest is an immense privilege and an experience not easy forgotten. One final highlight awaits – a visit to the wildlife-rich Saunders Island. Along the white sand beaches and in the tussock grass we hope to encounter no less than four penguin species living in close quarters including gentoo, magellanic and rockhopper – and our ultimate goal during the Falkland Island visit, observing the impressive king penguin. 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 our port. Stanley is currently home to just over 2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a rural town in coastal England or Scotland. It is charming with brightly coloured houses, pretty flower-filled gardens, a quaint cathedral and several local pubs. 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.
CABINS & PRICES
|Triple Share||USD 15,295|
|Twin-Semi Private||USD 18,195|
|Twin Private||USD 19,895|
|Shackleton Suite||USD 22,995|
|One Ocean Suite||USD 25,195|
All rates per person in USD
- Extensive pre-departure information package
- Educational presentations from experienced guides such as ornithologists, glaciologists, historians, geologists, naturalists and marine mammals experts
- Photography advice and instructions from the resident photographer. Extended photography workshops available on select departures
- All zodiac and landing excursions
- Zodiac cruising, hiking, guided walks, photography workshops, fitness and yoga
- Overnight camping, including high-quality equipment. No pre-registration required. Camping is available on select departures only and can be affected by itinerary and
- weather conditions. Please see your full itinerary for further details
- All meals during the voyage prepared by One Ocean Expeditions chefs
- Welcome reception and welcome dinner
- One Ocean Expeditions Farewell dinner hosted by the Captain
- Daily afternoon tea with fresh snacks
- Coffee, tea and hot chocolate available anytime
- Access to wellness area (Finnish sauna, plunge pool filled with sea water, hot tub)
- Natural essential oil amenities
- Use of multimedia room to download images. Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop and card readers are available for use on MAC and PC computers
- Windproof/waterproof jacket and bib pants on loan
- Insulated rubber boots on loan
- Water resistant binoculars on loan
- Waterproof backpack on loan
- Trekking poles available on shore
- Services of English speaking medical officer
- Access to ship’s infirmary
- Transfers from/to designated meeting points to/from the ship
- Required flights to/from the ship (only applicable on certain departures)
- Luggage transfer to/from your cabin
- International and national airfares
- Visa and passport fees, airport taxes
- Pre- or post-cruise hotel accommodation in arrival/departure cities
- Meals and transfers in arrival/departure cities
- Personal expenses
- Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
- Massages from registered therapist
- Personal laundry charges
- Postage, telephone calls and email set up
- Medical expenses such as fees, prescriptions or medications
- Travel medical insurance including medical evacuation (mandatory)
- Trip interruption/cancellation insurance
- Gratuities to staff and crew