Antarctic Peninsula East and West: Explorers’ Route
This extended voyage combines the best of the Western Antarctic Peninsula with the less visited, and more remote eastern side. You will be astounded by the abundant penguin rookeries, incredible icebergs and unforgettable landing sites. A perfect voyage if you’re looking for an in depth and unique exploration of this majestic continent.
• Visit the remote, wild east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula;
• Play in the tranquil, sheltered bays of the west coast;
• Be awed by imposing, majestic tabular icebergs in the Weddell sea;
• See 100,000 pairs of Adelie penguins at the Paulet Island rookery;
• Visit Cape Horn National Park, UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve; and
• On board lecturers and educational presentations from Polar specialists.
Your Antarctic adventure begins with an overnight stay in the southernmost city in the world - Ushuaia, Argentina. If you arrive early, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy around the Tierra del Fuego archipelago; the city also offers a wide range of shops for dining and shopping. Hotel Overnight included.
Today you join your ship and head south towards Antarctica! Named for the British ship HMS Beagle, the Beagle Channel will be your gateway to the south, charming you with an abundance of birdlife. You’ll likely spot penguins, cormorants, petrels, and black-browed albatross here. Once through the channel you’ll say goodbye to land and prepare to spend your first night at sea.
Weather permitting, we’ll attempt to land on Cape Horn. The Cape Horn National Park was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in June 2005. We’ll see the monument dedicated to the thousands of sailors lost on more than 800 ships that were wrecked sailing around this iconic landmark.
The Drake Passage, named after Sir Francis Drake, is the legendary body of water that separates South America and Antarctica. Smooth or rough, the crossing of the Drake is a rite of passage for any true Antarctic adventurer. These two days will give you time to get to know the Expedition Team and your fellow shipmates while participating in educational programs onboard.
After a couple of days at sea, you’ll finally arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula. You can expect icebergs to become a more common occurrence as we approach land and make our way along the western coast of the Peninsula. Possible landing sites include Melchiors, Wilhelmina Bay, Cuverville Island and Orne Harbor. Glaciers, penguin colonies and breaching humpback whales will highlight your days, while friendly seals are plentiful in these waters as well. You can also expect to encounter what is arguably the most formidable Antarctic predator - the fearless leopard seal.
Having sailed northwards along the Peninsula you will begin your passage through the Antarctic Sound. This stretch of water separates the western side of the Peninsula from the Weddell Sea and is riddled with huge pieces of ice emanating from the Larsen Ice Shelf, so have your cameras ready!
Your Expedition Team will educate you in all things ice, as this sea is home to the world’s most impressive floes and tabular icebergs - exponentially bigger and more visually impressive than on the other side of the Peninsula. Antarctic Sound itself offers great places for you to get ashore and stretch your legs at landing sites that are home to nesting Adelie and gentoo penguins. Snow and pintado petrels as well as kelp gulls also call this area home.
Once your ship passes through the Sound, it will be time to venture out by Zodiac to cruise amongst the sea of ‘ice giants’ that float here – among the largest icebergs you’re likely to see anywhere. If conditions permit, we’ll continue further south to the historic hut on Snow Hill Island, which contains objects from a 1902 Antarctic expedition and now functions as a living museum.
Your journey then turns northwards, with Paulet Island being one of your possible landings. The island is a 350 meter high volcanic cone that juts dramatically out of the sea. You’ll discover this island to be a bird and seal paradise. Over 100,000 pairs of Adelie penguins breed here, along with blue-eyed shags, snowy sheathbills and kelp gulls. Fur and Weddell seals haul out onshore here, while leopard seals often hunt offshore.
The South Shetlands will be sure to add variety to your voyage as your time spent in Antarctica comes to a close. Just north of the Peninsula, the South Shetlands offer landings where you can see the vegetation of Antarctica - tiny mosses, lichens and algae. You’ll want to give your cameras a final workout here too, as this will be your last day to photograph the seals and penguins of Antarctica.
As you cross the Drake on the way back to Ushuaia, the lecture program continues. Armed with a collection of new memories and stories, reminiscing about the sights and sounds of Antarctica is inevitable. Share photos with your newfound friends, or, weather permitting, spend time on deck and enjoy your last days at sea.
After breakfast aboard the ship, our staff will transfer you and your luggage to the airport for your homeward flights.
* Itinerary may be subject to change
Sea Spirit Deck Plan
SPECIAL EXPEDITION DECK PLAN: