Day 4-6: End of the world, start of a journey
Starting in the afternoon, we’ll embark from this small resort town at The End of the World,” and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening.
Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you enjoy some of the same experiences encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too. Wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels, and Antarctic petrels are a few of the birds you might see.
Day 7-12: Entering Antarctica
Gray stone peaks sketched with snow, towers of broken blue-white ice, and dramatically different wildlife below and above. You first pass the snow-capped Melchior Islands and Schollaert Channel, sailing between Brabant and Anvers Islands.
Places we may visit include:
Neumayer Channel – The vessel may position itself here, launching its multiple basecamp activities from the protected waters around Wiencke Island. You can enjoy the splendors of this alpine environment at sea with Zodiac and kayaking trips, or if you’re in the mood for a walk, there are possible snowshoe hikes and soft-climb mountaineering options farther inland. Naturally, favorable weather conditions determine the possible activities.
Port Lockroy – After sailing through the Neumayer Channel, you may get a chance to visit the former British research station – now a museum and post office – of Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. You may also be able to partake in activities around Jougla Point, meeting gentoo penguins and blue-eyed shags. There are great opportunities also for kayaking and camping here, and when conditions are right, you can even snowshoe around the shore.
Pléneau & Petermann Islands – If the ice allows it, you can sail through the Lemaire Channel in search of Adélie penguins and blue-eyed shags. There’s also a good chance you’ll encounter humpback and minke whales here, as well as leopard seals. Kayaking, glacier walks, and more ambitious mountaineering trips are the potential activities of this location.
Neko Harbour – An epic landscape of mammoth glaciers and endless wind-carved snow, Neko Harbour offers opportunities for a Zodiac cruise and landing that afford the closest views of the surrounding alpine peaks.
Paradise Bay – You have the chance to make camp here like a true polar explorer (but with a better tent), enjoying a supreme overnight Antarctic adventure.
Errera Channel – Possible sites in this area include Danco Island and Cuverville Island, but also the lesser known (though equally picturesque) Orne Island and Georges Point on Rongé Island.