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Marine Mammals of Antarctica: Santiago to Ushuaia

Duration
11 Days
Prices From:
AU$ 19,648

Venture to Antarctica in March to experience a flurry of activity in the frozen waters. Aboard an ice-strengthened cruise vessel, you’ll cross the Drake Passage and explore the South Shetland Islands, where you’ll see migrating humpback whales, elephant seals, and penguins inhabiting the snowy landscape.


This 11-day Antarctic cruise takes you to the South Shetland Islands to explore the frozen landscape and spot migrating whales. It features moderate accommodations aboard a cruise vessel, shared excursions, and is a great option for explorers wanting to go on a wildlife excursion on the southernmost continent.

Your journey begins in Santiago, the Chilean capital, where you’ll board your flight to Stanley, capital of the Falkland Islands off the coast of Argentina. Once you arrive in Stanley, you’ll have the option of exploring the small town or taking a guided visit to Gypsy Cove to see Magellanic Penguins and other seabirds. In Stanley, you’ll board the RCGS Resolute, an ice-strengthened cruise vessel that will be your home during your journey to the South Pole. With comfortable rooms, on-board dining, observation lounges, and a dedicated crew of scientists and experts, the Resolute is ideally equipped for expeditions to Antarctica.

Spend two days crossing the Drake Passage, the turbulent waterway that sits between Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands. Although the waters are choppy, they’re also full of fish and whales attracted by the strong water currents. Seabirds also abound in the sky above, so keep your camera ready during the journey. Enter Bransfield Strait and lay first eyes on the South Shetland Islands and Antarctica. You’ll make first landfall on Half Moon Island where you’ll see a rookery of chinstrap penguins and elephant seals on the beach. Continue to Yankee Harbour or Hannah Point for another landfall. If the weather permits, you can cruise into the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island and explore Whalers Bay, where an old whaling station rusts in the frozen landscape and an abandoned aircraft hangar sits on a black sand beach. Continue to Wilhelmina Bay, where you can take a zodiac out on the waters and spot humpback and minke whales migrating through the waves.

Continue your search for migrating whales into the Southern Gerlache Strait, relying on the expertise of your research crew to track these marine mammals. You can head to Paradise Harbour to land on the Antarctic continent itself or head to Pleneau Island to see the Gentoo Penguin rookery and watching icebergs pass by in the waters. After visiting the working science station on the island, continue to Winter Island to see the preserved explorer’s hut and enjoy your last views of Mt. Shackleton and Mt. Scott before heading back across the Drake Passage. You’ll spend another two days at sea crossing the passage and making for Cape Horn and the Beagle Channel.

End your cruise in Ushuaia, on the southernmost tip of Argentina, where you can connect back home via Buenos Aires.


 

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Duration
11 Days
Prices From:
AU$ 19,648

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Santiago (Chile) to Stanley (Falkland Islands)

Depart Santiago this morning on a special charter flight direct to Stanley, the small capital of the Falkland Islands. You are met on arrival and transfer from the airport into town. There is time to explore the town, or enjoy a guided visit to nearby Gypsy Cove which provides your first opportunity for observing the local wildlife, including nesting Magellanic penguins and other sea birds. Making your way to the port, you board your expedition ship, RCGS Resolute in the afternoon. After settling into your cabins and exploring the ship, you meet your expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as you enjoy a welcome cocktail and cast off to explore one of the most remote regions on Earth.

Meal Plan Dinner
Duration10 Nights
Accommodation

RCGS Resolute

More Info

Location View map
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    RCGS Resolute



    Designed for comfort, RCGS Resolute is modern, well appointed, safe and ice-strengthened. From small group sessions to briefings for all passengers, we have public spaces onboard the ship ideally suited for each and every need. Two separate bar and lounge areas featuring 180 degree views ...

    Designed for comfort, RCGS Resolute is modern, well appointed, safe and ice-strengthened. From small group sessions to briefings for all passengers, we have public spaces onboard the ship ideally suited for each and every need. Two separate bar and lounge areas featuring 180 degree views and a wonderfully stocked library provide ideal places to relax or catch up on some reading. The sumptuous meals prepared for you by our culinary team are enjoyed in either of our two dining rooms, one of which features our popular bistro menu offering quick and easy meals for those prioritizing time out on deck. Both dining rooms have ample and open seating paired with modern furnishings and large picture windows with 180 degree views. Other facilities include our theater style presentation room, gift-shop, gymnasium, wellness center, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room and salt water pool.

    Facilities

    • Bar
    • Fitness Rooms
    • Gift Shop
    • Jacuzzi
    • Lounge
    • Massage Rooms
    • Plunge Pool
    • Sauna

    More Details

Day 2

At Sea - Towards Antarctica

Chart a southerly course for Antarctica. The Scotia Sea is rich in bio-diversity and showcases a great abundance of wildlife. You are joined by hundreds of seabirds including the wandering albatross. Photographing these magnificent birds takes patience and skill and your photography expert will be on hand to show you the best techniques. Throughout the day the onboard experts will educate you with a series of presentations about the environment, the wildlife and history of the locations you hope to visit in the coming days.

There is great excitement when the dark cliffs of Elephant Island appear on the horizon. This is one of Antarctica's most important historic locations and a fitting introduction. On the rocky beach at Point Wild, Shackleton and his men camped here for many months under their three upturned life boats, having lost their ship, HMS Endurance in the thick sea ice, far to the south in the Weddell Sea in 1915. It was from this location that Shackleton and six companions set off on the rescue mission to South Georgia, aboard the tiny lifeboat, James Caird. To this day, the epic ocean crossing and crossing of South Georgia on foot is considered one of the greatest tales in polar history. If weather conditions permit, aim for a Zodiac cruise to view the site from close proximity. This is a thrilling location for history buffs and sets the scene for an exciting expedition.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 3

At Sea - Towards Antarctica

Another day at Sea towards the Antarctica.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 4

South Shetland Islands and Northern Gerlache Strait

Head south overnight, navigating into the Bransfield Strait, wondering about the days of exploration ahead. The coastline of the Antarctic Peninsula provides literally a hundred or more sites for potential shore landings and excursions. The expedition team will be looking forward to showcasing some of the well-known locations, and visiting a few hidden gems we have discovered over the years.

Approaching the South Shetland Islands on the way south, you may aim for a shore landing at Half Moon Island -- home to a boisterous colony of nesting chin strap penguins. A short hike brings you to elephant seal haul out. These are fascinating animals to observe as the naturalist guides explain the unique family dynamics and behavior. There are several other nearby locations, including Yankee Harbour or Hannah Point which you may chose as alternative landing sites. A thrill for many will be sailing the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island. At Whalers Bay, the remains of a rusting old whaling station provide a glimpse into history. There are a couple of excellent hiking routes here -- one up to a high point overlooking the entire bay. Another to the far end of the black-sand beach where an old aircraft hanger can be viewed. It's from here, the very first flight in Antarctica took to the air.

It's an awe-inspiring site as you approach with glacier covered mountains stretching as far as the eye can see. Enter the maze of islands and waterways and enjoy shore landings, Zodiac cruises and kayak excursions several times per day. Willhelmina Bay is always an impressive location and one you often find large pods of humpack whales. Ship cruising into the Errera Channel, you have a couple of great landing sites to consider including Cuverville Island -- with its sizeable Gentoo penguin rookery. Nearby Danco Island, has a fantastic hike to the snow-covered summit, providing staggering views. Neko Harbour is another possibility for a landing and maybe your very first opportunity to step foot on the actual continental landmass of Antarctica. A very active glacier can be heard creaking and groaning, and it is common to observe large slabs of ice calving from the glacier face into the dark waters.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 5

South Shetland Islands and Northern Gerlache Strait

Another day to explore South Shetland Islands and Northern Gerlache Strait.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 6

South Shetland Islands and Northern Gerlache Strait

Another day to explore South Shetland Islands and Northern Gerlache Strait.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 7

Southern Gerlache Strait Exploration

While you're enjoying the fabulous surroundings and revelling in your busy activity program, the research team will be out in the Zodiac's observing and recording the movements of the migrating whales. This is done through non-invasive tags which attach to the animals using suction cups for around 12-24 hours. The digitally recorded data provides great insight into the feeding behavior, dive profiles and migration patterns of several whale species. The science team will share their observations and findings once back on board the ship and are happy to discuss their important work. It provides a fascinating insight into the current scientific field research happening in Antarctica.

As the sail push further south, you have a few more glorious locations to explore. Paradise Harbour provides you with another opportunity for a continental landing. A climb to the top of hill above the old Argentine refuge reveals another spectacular viewpoint. Zodiac cruising under the cliffs here allows you to observe nesting imperial cormorants, and after a short distance we come to Skontorp Cove. This narrow body of water is surrounded by immense glaciers on three sides -- one guest likening it to a 'heavenly ice cathedral'. It's easy to see why.

Continue to push further south, hoping that ice conditions allow for a transit of the Lemaire Channel. Snow covered cliffs tower about the Lemaire on both sides and slowly navigating on the ship through here is a thrilling experience. At Pleneau Island, you'll visit and observe a substantial gentoo penguin rookery. In the shallow waters nearby, you'll witness a vast field of icebergs which have run aground after drifting on the current and the winds. For many, a Zodiac cruise here will be a highlight of the trip. A working science station is located in the vicinity and a visit to the base provides an intriguing insight into the life of permanent residents in Antarctica. The station staff welcomes you ashore and provide a tour of the facilities and explain the important climate change research work taking place.

Nearby Winter Island allows for an excellent hike over a snowy saddle to an old historic hut. As you return to the ship, you cast our gaze back to the north towards the soaring peaks of Mount Shackleton and nearby Mount Scott. This is an impressive sight. The time has come for you to weigh anchor and commence your return journey to South America.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 8

Southern Gerlache Strait Exploration

Another day for Southern Gerlache Strait exploration.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 9

Drake Passage - Return to South America

As you make way back to South America, the educational presentations continue and you'll enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by your Expedition Leader. Join the photography experts at the multimedia stations and download your precious images. If weather conditions allow, you 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, enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 10

Drake Passage - Return to Stanley and The Falkland Islands

Another day to explore Drake Passage.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 11

Arrive Ushuaia (Argentina) - Voyage Concludes

In the early morning, 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.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

RCGS Resolute
2020 -
Feb 26*; Mar 18
* This sailing operates on a 14 day itinerary. Please call Goway for details and pricing.

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • Comprehensive pre-voyage information package including details to help you prepare for your trip
  • Transfers to the ship on embarkation day and from the ship to the airport on disembarkation
  • Shipboard accommodation in your selected cabin category with daily housekeeping. Cabins feature outside views with windows or portholes
  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage with daily afternoon tea
  • 24-hour tea, coffee, hot chocolate in bar/lounge plus in-cabin tea and coffee making facilities
  • Experienced Expedition Leader and professional expedition team of marine biologists, naturalists, historians, adventure guides and photographers
  • Daily off-ship excursions by Zodiac boat breaking into small groups for shore landing
  • Guided hikes and walks on shore of various durations for guests of all abilities
  • Visits to wildlife colonies, historic sites, places of outstanding natural beauty and science stations
  • Educational presentations and talks by polar experts in their field (i.e. marine biologists, naturalists, historians etc). Onboard or on shore
  • Resident photography guide available to assist all guests plus access to computers in the multimedia lab for image downloads, file back up and management
  • An emergency trained medical physician onboard the voyage
  • Dedicated hospitality team including Hotel Manager, four chefs, professional bar staff and Adventure Concierge staff
  • Onboard sauna, plunge pool, Jacuzzi and fitness centre including massage options (charge applies for massage and treatments)
  • Access to well-stocked library full of polar reference books
  • End of voyage video, photos and take-home USB
  • Port fees and all permits to access visited areas

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

TERMS & CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire. Subject to availability and weather conditions

TB ONEOCEASAN0420CR: MMAR TWN
18 Mar 2020
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