Marine Mammals of Antarctica

Ioffe Cruise Ship
Ioffe
96 Passengers
Adventure Options

By March, the short Antarctic summer is drawing to a close and bays and harbors that have been ice choked since winter become free of such impediments. As a result, our access to landing sites increases significantly. Penguin chicks are almost fully-grown and are quickly shedding their downy coats in preparation to take to the sea before winter arrives.

March is also a time of great activity in and under the water and historically, we encounter a much higher concentration of whales during this period. Whales are busy feeding on the huge biomass of krill in preparation for their migrations to tropical waters far to the north. However, scientists are now discovering that some humpback whales remain in the ice-free sections of Antarctica over winter and hypothesize this may be due to the effects of climate change.

On this voyage we plan to visit several known locations along the Antarctic Peninsula that are the focus of long-term research projects by esteemed academic institutions including Oregon State University (USA) and Stanford University (USA). We are joined on the ship by several world-renowned cetacean (whale) experts and observe their important fieldwork in close proximity. They share with us unique underwater footage and scientific data and interpret the behavior, migration characteristics and feeding patterns of adult whales and their calves. Their participation on our voyage is greatly valued and provides a fascinating glimpse into world of Antarctic science.

Antarctica’s seals are also found in sizable numbers late in the season, resting and storing energy that will sustain them over the cold months ahead. For those with a passion for whales and seals - and an interest in the important science happening in Antarctica, this unique voyage should not be missed. Oh, did we mention it’s also our favorite time of the year for blistering orange and pink Antarctic sunrises and sunsets?

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Ushuaia, Argentina
Days 2 & 3 Drake Passage - At Sea towards Antarctica
Days 4 to 7 Gerlache Strait and Antarctic Peninsula Exploration
Day 8 South Shetland Islands, Antarctica
Days 9 & 10 Drake Passage – return to South America
Day 11 Ushuaia, Argentina

Day 1 — Ushuaia, Argentina

Our journey to Antarctica commences this afternoon in Ushuaia, in southern Argentina. We gather at our central meeting point and transfer to the pier and embark our expedition ship, Akademik Ioffe. 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 and dinner and cast off, bound for Antarctica and the adventure of a lifetime.

Days 2 & 3 — Drake Passage - At Sea towards Antarctica

Sailing south towards Antarctica we will be joined by hundreds of seabirds including the wandering albatross. Giant petrels and smaller Cape petrels are also constant companions as we transit the Drake Passage. 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, wildlife and history and the locations we hope to visit in the coming days. As we approach the coastline of Antarctica, whale sightings increase significantly.

Days 4 to 7 — Gerlache Strait and Antarctic Peninsula Exploration

We awaken today and the magnificent snowy peaks of continental Antarctica are laid out before us. Even our experienced expedition staff, some with more than 100 journeys south, will take a moment to pause and reflect on the immense power of Antarctica. Take a deep breath – you have arrived.

The waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula are home to deep bays, pristine coves and inlets and numerous islands. The landscape features heavily glaciated mountains permanently covered in ice and snow. Rocky outcrops, known as ‘nunataks’ are home to gentoo, adelie and chinstrap penguin rookeries and the waters are rich in marine life. We frequently encounter seals, including the powerful leopard seal, often found relaxing on an ice floe. Curious humpback whales and the smaller minke whales are found in sizeable numbers in this region. Sightings of orca are not uncommon.

Fournier Bay is a known whale ‘hot-spot’ and ice permitting, we explore in Zodiacs hoping to encounter pods of whales. The science team hopes to deploy non-invasive tracking devices on the whales to collect data on dive and feeding patterns. Observation and photography of whale flukes (tails) is something everyone is encouraged to participate in both from the ship and while Zodiac cruising. Whale flukes are unique identifiers of particular animals, in much the same way as a human fingerprint. Collecting and analyzing this data is vital to our understanding of whale migration patterns and social behavior.

In addition to our whale encounters, we enjoy a regular program of exploration on and off the ship. Popular activities include guided hikes on shore and visits to wildlife colonies with our expert naturalist guides, while the historic huts and science stations provide a fascinating glimpse into the past and the present. Zodiac cruising among the ice is a memorable activity and our sea kayakers may range several miles from the ship. Our photography guide will be on hand to help you with your camera handling, image composition and the peculiar light found in Antarctica.

Planned excursions could include Cierva Cove, Danco Island, or a cruise through the Errera Channel to visit the penguin rookeries at Cuverville Island. Wilhelmina Bay never disappoints and is another important location where the scientists hope to deploy their research tools. Neko Harbour is yet another highlight and offers an excellent hiking route providing stunning 360-degree views.

After several busy days of exploration along the Peninsula, we head north across the Bransfield Strait, bound for the South Shetland Islands. This is an important whale migration corridor and frequent sightings can be expected of humpbacks and even the fast moving orca.

Day 8 — South Shetland Islands, Antarctica

The adventure is not over and, if the weather conditions allow, we sail the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera at Deception Island. This is a very dramatic location. History is all around us as we explore the old whaling station, with the rusted old boilers, aircraft hangar and dilapidated wooden structures. There are several other nearby landing sites to tempt us including Half Moon Island, or the broad pebbly beach at Yankee Harbor, where we often encounter Weddell seals sunning themselves. This is a great spot for a hike or a Zodiac cruise. In the evening, we navigate north through the McFarlane Strait and into the Drake Passage, charting a course for South America.

Days 9 & 10 — Drake Passage – return to South America

As we make our way back to Ushuaia, the educational presentations continue and we enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by our expedition leader. Join our photography experts in the multimedia room and download and back up your precious images. If weather conditions allow, we hope to make a rounding of Cape Horn. This fabled stretch of water is home to legendary tales of exploration and early navigation. It’s a fitting place to reflect on a wonderful expedition. Approaching the entrance to the Beagle Channel in early evening light, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the captain of the ship.

Day 11 — Ushuaia, Argentina

In the early morning, we arrive into Ushuaia, Argentina. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travellers. Guests will be transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home. It will be possible to connect to flights through to Buenos Aires or other destinations in South America. Otherwise enjoy a night in town or venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia.

Note:
Polar exploration can be unpredictable, which regularly causes variations to our itineraries. Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. The above itinerary should be read as a 'guide only' and may change. The ship's Captain in conjunction with the expedition leader continually review the sailing plan throughout the voyage, making adjustments to the itinerary along the way to take advantage of optimal weather and ice conditions or to maximize our encounters with wildlife. Decades of experience spent exploring these waterways mean we have a large number of outstanding landing sites and Zodiac cruising locations to consider, even when the weather conditions may not be ideal or when heavy ice may block out a planned route. A flexible approach is something we encourage you to bring to the ship.

* Itinerary may be subject to change

Only show rates under
$ X
Please note that availability is updated about once a week.
Per Person USD
Rates 2015-2016
Main Deck Triple
Twin Semi-Private
Twin Private
Superior
Shackleton Suite
One Ocean Suite
Camp, Photography, Kayak, Snowshoe
$750 Discount (Prices in Red)
$12,695$11,945$14,495$13,745$16,395$15,645$17,195$16,445$17,995$17,245$20,595$19,845Full
Camp, XC Ski, Photography, Kayak, Snowshoe
$750 Discount (Prices in Red)
$7,895$7,145$9,995$9,245$10,995$10,245$11,795$11,045$12,395$11,645$13,895$13,145
Camp, Photography, Kayak
Photography Symposium

$750 Discount (Prices in Red)
$12,695$11,945$14,495$13,745$16,395$15,645Full$17,195$16,445$17,995$17,245Full$20,595$19,845Full
Camp, Photography, Kayak, Snowshoe
$750 Discount (Prices in Red)
$7,495$6,745$9,795$9,045$10,695$9,945$11,495$10,745$12,195$11,445$13,195$12,445
Camp, Photography, Kayak, Snowshoe
$8,495Full$10,795Full$11,295Full$11,795Full$12,495Full$13,995Full
Camp, Photography, Kayak
$750 Discount (Prices in Red)
$15,895$15,145$18,795$18,045Limited$20,695$19,945Full$21,795$21,045Full$22,495$21,745Full$25,295$24,545Full
Camp, Photography, Kayak
$750 Discount (Prices in Red)
$10,895$10,145$13,895$13,145$14,595$13,845$15,595$14,845$16,195$15,445Full$17,995$17,245Full
Camp, Photography, Kayak
$750 Discount (Prices in Red)
$8,495$7,745$10,795$10,045$11,295$10,545Full$11,795$11,045$12,495$11,745$13,995$13,245
Camp, Photography, Kayak
$750 Discount (Prices in Red)
$8,495$7,745$10,795$10,045$11,295$10,545$11,795$11,045$12,495$11,745$13,995$13,245
Camp, Photography, Kayak
$7,495Full$9,795Full$10,695Full$11,495Full$12,195Full$13,195Full
No trips meet your criteria. Please increase the budget above to view more results.
Click on the tour dates in the left column to view a trip itinerary. Point MOUSE at Cabin Category to view DETAILED description.

Rates are per person, based on twin-share. Single supplement is 1.5 times the cabin rate except for Suites which are 2 times the cabin rate and is not available in Triple Share Category.

Costs for standard adventure options: Photography - Free of charge, Snowshoeing - Free of charge, Camping - Free of charge, Kayaking (must be pre-booked, maximum 16 participants) – $795

Costs for Off the Beaten Track adventure options (must be pre-booked): Expedition Photography (maximum 18 participants) - $45, Expedition Snowshoeing (maximum 12 participants) - $45, Ski Touring (maximum 12 participants) - $750, Kayaking (maximum 16 participants) – $795, Overnight Kayaking - Additional $300 add-on to regular kayaking program (maximum 6 participants).

Space is subject to availability. Some activities require experience.

Mandatory Emergency Evacuation insurance is required on all trips.

All trips subject to possible fuel surcharge.

Only show rates under
$ X
Please note that availability is updated about once a week.
Per Person USD
Rates 2016-2017
Main Deck Triple
Twin Semi-Private
Twin Private
Superior
Shackleton Suite
One Ocean Suite
Camp, Photography, Kayak, Snowshoe
$1,000 Early Booking Discount (Prices in Red)
Expires Dec 1st 2015
$13,095$12,095$14,895$13,895$16,395$15,395$17,195$16,195$17,995$16,995$20,995$19,995
Camp, XC Ski, Photography, Kayak, Snowshoe
$1,000 Early Booking Discount (Prices in Red)
Expires Dec 1st 2015
$8,095$7,095$10,295$9,295$11,295$10,295$12,095$11,095$12,995$11,995$14,995$13,995
Camp, Photography, Kayak, Snowshoe
$1,000 Early Booking Discount (Prices in Red)
Expires Dec 1st 2015
$13,095$12,095$14,895$13,895$16,895$15,895$17,695$16,695$18,995$17,995$21,995$20,995
Camp, Photography, Kayak, Snowshoe
$1,000 Early Booking Discount (Prices in Red)
Expires Dec 1st 2015
$7,795$6,795$10,095$9,095$10,995$9,995$11,695$10,695$12,995$11,995$13,995$12,995
Camp, Photography, Kayak, Snowshoe
Christmas in Antarctica

$1,000 Early Booking Discount (Prices in Red)
Expires Dec 1st 2015
$8,795$7,795$11,095$10,095$11,695$10,695$12,195$11,195$12,995$11,995$14,995$13,995
Camp, Photography, Kayak
$1,000 Early Booking Discount (Prices in Red)
Expires Dec 1st 2015
$16,395$15,395$19,395$18,395$21,295$20,295$22,495$21,495$23,995$22,995$25,995$24,995
Camp, Photography, Kayak, Snowshoe
$1,000 Early Booking Discount (Prices in Red)
Expires Dec 1st 2015
$11,195$10,195$14,295$13,295$15,095$14,095$16,095$15,095$16,995$15,995$18,995$17,995
Camp, Photography, Kayak
$1,000 Early Booking Discount (Prices in Red)
Expires Dec 1st 2015
$16,395$15,395$19,395$18,395$21,295$20,295$22,495$21,495$23,995$22,995$25,995$24,995
Camp, Photography, Kayak
$1,000 Early Booking Discount (Prices in Red)
Expires Dec 1st 2015
$8,795$7,795$11,095$10,095$11,695$10,695$12,195$11,195$12,995$11,995$14,995$13,995
Camp, Photography, Kayak
$1,000 Early Booking Discount (Prices in Red)
Expires Dec 1st 2015
$8,795$7,795$11,095$10,095$11,695$10,695$11,895$10,895$12,995$11,995$13,995$12,995
Camp, Photography, Kayak
$1,000 Early Booking Discount (Prices in Red)
Expires Dec 1st 2015
$7,795$6,795$10,095$9,095$10,995$9,995$11,695$10,695$12,995$11,995$13,995$12,995
Camp, Photography, Kayak
$1,000 Early Booking Discount (Prices in Red)
Expires Dec 1st 2015
$7,795$6,795$10,095$9,095$10,995$9,995$11,695$10,695$12,995$11,995$13,995$12,995
No trips meet your criteria. Please increase the budget above to view more results.
Click on the tour dates in the left column to view a trip itinerary. Point MOUSE at Cabin Category to view DETAILED description.

Rates are per person, based on twin-share. Single supplement is 1.5 times the cabin rate except for Suites which are 2 times the cabin rate and is not available in Triple Share Category.

Costs for standard adventure options: Photography - Free of charge, Snowshoeing - Free of charge, Camping - Free of charge, Kayaking (must be pre-booked, maximum 16 participants) – $795.

Costs for Off the Beaten Track adventure options (must be pre-booked): Standard Kayaking (maximum 16 participants) – $795, Overnight Kayaking - Additional $300 add-on to standard kayaking program (maximum 6, minimum 4 participants), Ski Touring (maximum 12, minimum 6 participants) - $750, Expedition Snowshoeing (maximum 12 participants) - $45, Expedition Field Photography (maximum 18 participants) - $45.

Space is subject to availability. Some activities require experience.

Mandatory Emergency Evacuation insurance is required on all trips.

All trips subject to possible fuel surcharge.

DeckPlan_Ioffe_b

DeckPlan_Ioffe_CabinDescriptions