Antarctica In Depth - Circle Crossing - Fly/Cruise

Vavilov Cruise Ship
Vavilov
92 Passengers
Adventure Options

This voyage encompasses two additional days of exploration in Antarctica without adding to the total length of the voyage. We achieve this by flying from South America to King George Island (Antarctica) at the beginning of the voyage, which saves two days on the sea crossing. Those two days 'saved' allow us the time we need to dive far to the south with the objective of crossing the Antarctic Circle. This extra time also provides for great flexibility in daily programming. Ultimately, it equals more time on shore, more time in the Zodiacs and more time spent in the company of our expert guides soaking up the experience.

We always anticipate exciting navigation as we head for the Antarctic Circle. The region is home to several fascinating historical sites including the old British Antarctic Survey (BAS) hut, “Base W”, situated on Detaille Island. We encounter sizable Adelie penguin rookeries here and the low-lying Fish, Argentine and Yalour Island groups provide fantastic options for Zodiac cruising and wildlife observation. Many of the classic locations along the Peninsula are also included and a day in the South Shetland Islands rounds out the experience.

Our full range of activities will be offered on this voyage, walks on shore, visits to wildlife colonies, visits to historic sites and possibly even a working science station. For the more adventurous, sea kayaking is a wonderful way to discover Antarctica and, if weather conditions permit, why not spend the night camping on shore?

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Punta Arenas, Chile to King George Island
Day 2 Gerlache Strait and Cuverville Island
Day 3 Reach the Antarctic Circle
Days 4 to 7 Exploration of the Antarctic Peninsula and the Gerlache Coastline
Day 8 South Shetland Islands
Days 9 & 10 Drake Passage – Return to South America
Day 11 Arrive Ushuaia, Argentina

Day 1 — Punta Arenas, Chile to King George Island

Our journey commences this morning in the southern Chilean port city of Punta Arenas. We gather at a central location and transfer to the airport for the two-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Antarctica (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). Upon arrival at King George Island, we embark our ship via Zodiac. After settling into our cabins and exploring our new surroundings, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome refreshment and set sail. No doubt, everyone will be looking forward to the adventure ahead.

Day 2 — Gerlache Strait and Cuverville Island

Overnight we have navigated across the Bransfield Strait and wake to the towering peaks of the Antarctic continent laid out before us. Our first objective will be Cuverville Island, situated in the Errera Channel. We venture on-shore and observe a substantial colony of gentoo penguins as well as nesting Imperial cormorants. A stroll along the rocky beach here, watching the penguins come and go, is a memorable experience. The sea kayakers may take to the water for the first time and there is some great paddling around the island to be enjoyed. As we navigate our way out into the Gerlache Strait we are on our way to the south, aiming for the Antarctic Circle.

Day 3 — Reach the Antarctic Circle

With favorable ice conditions we hope to have reached Matha Strait overnight and will attempt a shore landing at Detaille Island, below the Antarctic Circle. A now abandoned British science station, ‘Base W’, was established in the 1950s and is in a remarkable state of preservation. For the history buffs this is a fascinating place providing a glimpse into the harsh life of early Antarctic visitors. We toast our success on crossing the Antarctic Circle turning our gaze northwards, viewing the spectacular chain of glacier-covered peaks stretching as far as the eye can see. This coastline begs further exploration.

Days 4 to 7 — Exploration of the Antarctic Peninsula and the Gerlache Coastline

Overnight we have navigated north towards the low-lying Yalour Island group. We hope to visit a working scientific base to learn 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 the old British Antarctic Survey hut. Nearby Petermann Island is home to a sizable 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 Lemaire Channel.

Pleneau Island offers more opportunities for shore landings. Just offshore in the shallow waters of the Penola Strait, massive icebergs run aground. Constant wind and wave action sculpt these gargantuan chunks of ice into fantastic shapes, revealing more shades of blue than you could ever imagine. For many, a Zodiac cruise here will be a highlight of the entire voyage.

Ice conditions permitting, we transit the Lemaire Channel on our way north towards Paradise Harbor. This may be the first opportunity to step foot on the continent of Antarctica itself. Nearby Neko Harbor offers another continental landing. Both locations offer great 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 in the voyage.

It is somewhere along this stretch of coastline that we plan a night on shore, camping in Antarctica. We have all the right gear and equipment and an expert team to make it happen, all you need is an adventurous spirit! Camping always depends on the weather and is never guaranteed it on any voyage. If the weather is good and site characteristics suit our requirements, rest assured, we will always go for it. Camping is included, and you can decide to participate while onboard. There is no need to pre-book.

The huge snow-covered outcrop of Danco Island looms over the ice-choked waters and the hike to the summit is well worth the effort for the epic views. We navigate north through the Gerlache Strait towards Spert Island, a little visited rocky outcrop with remarkable geology. The island is criss-crossed by narrow channels which makes for fantastic Zodiac cruising and sea kayaking. The cliffs are home to numerous nesting bird species and we often encounter whales here. Nearby Mikkelson Harbor also allows for another off-ship excursion.

After several busy days of exploration along the Peninsula we head north, bound for the South Shetland Islands. This is an important whale migration corridor and we expect sightings of humpbacks, or the resident pod of Orca that inhabit this stretch of water.

Day 8 — South Shetland Islands

The adventure is not over and we plan an additional day of exploration in the South Shetlands. Prevailing weather conditions will dictate our landing locations. Aitcho Island is a possibility and is a great spot for a hike or a Zodiac cruise. There are several other landing sites in the South Shetland's including Half Moon Island, or the broad pebbly beach at Yankee Harbor, where we sometimes encounter Weddell seals sunning themselves. This is another great spot for a hike. Hannah Point, with its elephant seal colony and nesting Antarctic petrels could also feature. In the evening, we navigate north and into the Drake Passage, charting a course for South America.

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

Making our way back to South America, the educational presentations continue and we enjoy a 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 is 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 / Arrive Ushuaia, Argentina

In the early morning, we arrive into Ushuaia, Argentina. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travelers. 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.

ABOUT OUR ITINERARY: Polar exploration can be unpredictable. 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 hinder our planned route. A flexible approach is something we encourage you to bring to the ship.

* Itinerary may be subject to change

DeckPlan_Vavilov_c

   One Ocean Suite
Located on deck 5 this cabin is separated into two very spacious rooms. A spacious lounge area is perfect for relaxation and features a sofa (convertible to bed), large table, writing desk, ample storage, plus large picture windows overlooking the bow (forward facing) that can be opened.
The separate bedroom features a double bed with upgraded linen/ pillows, night light, and window over the port side of the ship. The bathroom has a bathtub and shower. There is also a region specific iPad, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, fully stocked mini bar, iPod alarm clock with audio line and several arms chairs.
   Shackleton Suites
Located on decks 4 and 5 these cabins are separated into two spacious rooms, one that is ideal for relaxation with a sofa (convertible to bed), large table, writing desk, chair, ample storage and a large window that can be opened. A separate private bedroom has a double berth with upgraded linen/ pillows, night light, private facilities, a region specific iPad, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, fully stocked mini bar, iPod alarm clock with audio line.
   Superior Cabins
There are three superior cabins, all located on Deck 3. These spacious and well-appointed cabins feature two lower berths, a writing desk and chair and plenty of storage space. Washroom facilities are private and all cabins have a porthole, which opens. These cabins provide great access to the outer decks, the dining room and gangway.
   Twin Private Cabins
Located on decks 3, 4 and 5 these spacious, well-appointed cabins feature two lower berths, with private washroom facilities (sink, shower, toilet and bathroom cabinet). There are tall wardrobes with internal shelving for storage, a writing desk, chair, bookshelf, and a window that can be opened. Twin Private cabins on deck 3 feature portholes instead of windows.
   Twin Semi Private Cabins
Located on deck 4 these cabins have two lower berths, one of which can be converted to a sofa during the day. These cabins have tall wardrobes with internal shelving for storage, a writing desk, chair, bookshelf, and a window that can be opened. Facilities are semi-private – meaning you share the washroom with the adjacent cabin.
   Main Deck Triple Cabins
Located on deck 3 these cabins feature two lower berths and one upper berth. One lower berth can be converted to a comfortable sofa during the day. Washroom facilities are shared. There is a washbasin in the cabin, a writing desk and chair and ample storage for all cabin occupants. These cabins are efficient and well-appointed with two portholes with the option to open one.

 

Cabin and Voyage Inclusions            
Outside View With Opening Porthole/Window
Complimentary use of Wet Weather Gear
Complimentary use of Wellington Boots
Complimentary use of Waterproof Backpack and Binoculars
Innovative Dream Sleep Package
100% Cotton Bathrobes
Custom Blend Natural Canadian Made Essential Oil Amenities
Custom Color Coordinated Canadian Made Linen Package
Black Out Curtains
Clock Radio with Media Connector
Desk with Chair
Complimentary Water Bottle
In-Room Coffee & Tea Station
In-Room Private Field Guide    
In-Room Private Reference Library      
In-Room Mini Bar        
In-Room iPad Preloaded With Reference And Fictional Content        
In-Room Single Brew Coffee System        
In-Room Mini Stereo        
Complimentary Welcome Package (Wine, Fruit Basket, Natural Snacks)        
Complimentary Field Guide to the Antarctica        
Early Morning Adventure Concierge Coffee Service