This adventurous itinerary visits several well-known landing sites in the South Shetlands, before crossing the Gerlache Strait and navigating the waters of the Antarctic Peninsula.We round the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula and south into the icy Weddell Sea. We are hoping to voyage as far south as Snow Hill Island where there is a known colony of emperor penguins. They are tricky to find and there are no guarantees we will see these majestic birds, although we have enjoyed a number of sightings on recent visits. The huge tabular icebergs are also a feature of the Weddell Sea and make for spectacular photographs.
The history of exploration in this region of Antarctica is equally rich. The epic story Shackleton and the HMS Endurance is forever linked to the region. We also hope to visit the old huts built during the time of the Swedish Nordenskjöld expedition of 1901-1904. In the Falkland Islands we aim to visit the wildlife-rich Saunders Island, home to gentoo, rockhopper and magellanic penguins plus a colony of spectacular king penguins! West Point Island, home to an incredible colony of black browed albatross, caps off a remarkable trip.
Day 1 - Punta Arenas Chile to King George Island, Antarctica
Our journey commences this morning in the southern Chilean port city of Punta Arenas. We gather at a central meeting point 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 the Chilean Antarctic base on King George Island, we embark our ship, via zodiac. After settling in to 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 cocktail and dinner. Everyone on board will be looking forward to the incredible adventure ahead.
Day 2 - South Shetland Islands
Having flown directly into the South Shetland Islands, we chart a southwesterly course along this dramatic island chain planning to visit a number of well established chinstrap and gentoo penguin rookeries as well as southern elephant seal haul-outs. Weather permitting, we aim to visit Deception Island with its sizeable chinstrap penguin rookery at Baily Head. Here, inside the sunken volcanic caldera, is a perfect museum of natural and exploration history, with its old buildings and rusting remnants from the whaling era. For those wanting to stretch their legs, a spectacular hike to the crater rim offers a challenge. In the evening we cross the Bransfield Strait and approach the majestic white continent for the first time.
Days 3 & 4 - Gerlache Strait and Antarctic Peninsula
Today we enter the steely blue waters of Antarctica’s Gerlache Strait. Protected by two large offshore islands, the waterways are home to deep bays, pristine coves and numerous small islands. The landscape features heavily glaciated mountains permanently covered in ice and snow. Rocky outcrops are home to gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap penguin rookeries and the waters are rich in marine life. We enjoy several days of exploration here. Breaking into small groups of just 10-12 guests, we enjoy guided walks on shore, visits to wildlife colonies, and zodiac cruising among the ice. Planned visits could include Cierva Cove, Danco Island, or a cruise through the Errera Channel to visit the penguin rookeries at Cuverville Island. Wilhelmina Bay is another favorite location and one where we frequently encounter playful humpback whales.
Days 5-7 - Antarctic Sound and the Weddell Sea
At about 25 nautical miles long and about 10 nautical miles wide, the Antarctic Sound separates Joinville Island from the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. As we sail into the sound we witness, for the first time the vastness and majesty of the Antarctic icecap. It is an awe-inspiring sight. Heading into the Weddell Sea we notice a significant increase in the number of huge tabular icebergs and the presence of sea ice. These massive icebergs break from the huge ice shelves to the south and drift north on the currents. This always makes for exciting navigation.
This region is home to Adelie penguin rookeries of staggering size. We maximize our time onshore as well as in our zodiac boats, absorbing as much of the wilderness as possible. Weather permitting, excursions may include Paulet Island, Brown Bluff and even the southerly Snow Hill Island, where we observe Weddell and elephant seals, skuas and other seabirds as well as a staggering abundance of penguins.
We plan to set foot on the continent in this vicinity and, if the weather allows, some may choose to camp ashore overnight. Sailing among the islands of the Weddell Sea, we are in the realm of the emperor penguin, the largest of the penguins, and everyone will be on deck keeping a lookout. Juvenile emperors are sometimes sighted riding the ice floes.
The region features a rich exploration history. We hope to visit Nordenskjöld’s winter hut on Snow Hill Island. It was built in 1902 and remains intact. The Shackleton story also features strongly and it was here that he and his men drifted north on the ice after their ship had been lost in the ice months earlier. As we head north and out of the Weddell Sea leaving Antarctica behind, the lavender pink sunset off the port quarter of the ship will make some of us pause to consider the bravery and/or foolhardiness of those early explorers who traveled these waters a hundred years before us.
Day 8 - Elephant Island
We approach Elephant Island from the south. Point Lookout, on the southern tip of the island, is home to an impressive macaroni penguin colony. Gentoo penguins are also known to nest here and there are often sizeable numbers of Antarctic fur seals hauled out on the beaches. Shore landings at the fabled Point Wild on the north coast of Elephant Island, where Shackleton and his men were encamped under their upturned life boats, are notoriously difficult due to the surging ocean currents and pounding surf on the rocky beach. If conditions are right, we will attempt a landing. This is a thrilling location and a major highlight for history buffs.
Days 9 & 10 - At Sea
While sailing across to the Falkland Islands our onboard polar experts will recap our Weddell Sea adventures and prepare us for the days ahead. Much of our time is spent scanning the horizon in search of whales and other marine mammals. The spectacular seabirds including several albatross and petrel species are our constant companions as they soar above the ship. Our onboard educational program continues and our experts entertain us with interactive presentations.
Day 11 - West Point & Saunders
Arriving into the Falkland Islands overnight, we explore the islands of West Point and Saunders, both in the West Falklands archipelago. West Point is known for its sizeable rookeries of rockhopper penguins and nesting black browed albatross. While nearby Saunders Island, with its white sand beaches, features no less than four penguin species including gentoo, magellanic and rockhopper - and our ultimate goal for the Falkland Island visit, the impressive king penguin.
Day 12 - Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
In the early morning, we navigate through the narrows and into the harbor of Port Stanley. A transfer will take us to the airport for our return flight to Punta Arenas in southern Chile (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). It will be possible to connect to flights through to Santiago or other destinations in Chile. Otherwise enjoy a night in this delightful city, or venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia.
Please note – Specific sites visited will depend on ice and weather conditions, the planned itinerary will be updated at the time of final preparations as well as throughout the voyage in order to take advantage of favorable conditions.
Expedition Vessel: M/V Akademik Ioffe
Designed for polar research, the Akademik Ioffe, also known as the One Ocean Navigator is modern, comfortable, safe and ice-strengthened. From small group sessions to briefings for all passengers, the public spaces onboard the ship are ideally suited for each and every need. A separate bar and lounge, as well as a library provide ideal places to sit and relax or catch up on some reading. A selection of movies and documentaries can also be watched in the lounge.
Enjoy the sumptuous meals prepared for you by the culinary team in our dining room, which can host all clients in a single seating with ample room. Other facilities include the theatre style presentation room, gift-shop, fitness room, massage room, sauna and plunge pool.
For full information about this vessel click here:
Dates, Costs & Booking
Choose Number of Berths & Category
Date Selected: 23rd Jan 2018
Adult (1) US$11495
Sub total US$11495
||Imagine the swish of water is it passes your hull, or the clack of brash ice against your paddle blade. Sea kayaking in polar regions allows you to experience a new side of this magnificent destination. Even the smallest piece of brash ice requires a navigation decision that you as skipper of your own little boat will be required to make. Bumping through the ice, gliding across a glassy bay with the mountains and glaciers reflected in the water, or close encounters with wildlife are experiences shared by sea kayakers.
Our highly experienced guides spend more time paddling in cold water then they do in warm waters. With a combined role of safety and interpretation, they will guide and introduce you to a slower paced, quieter environment.
Kayak excursions will be offered in conjunction with the Zodiac excursions whenever weather conditions permit. The Kayak Guides and Adventure Concierges will help to explain the choices of activities at each landing site and provide some suggestions on what to participate in, based on your own interests.
Reservations require a 20% deposit at the time you receive a booking confirmation from Expeditions Online. A payment link will be sent to you and this may be paid by major credit card. Bookings within 120 days of departure require full payment.
Balances are due 120 days prior to departure and can be paid by bank transfer. Balance payments may be made by credit card subject to a 2% surcharge.
All requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Expeditions Online. Cancellations received 120 days or more prior to departure = loss of deposit. If cancellation occurs less than 120 days up to and including the day of departure: 100 % of the total price. If full payment has not yet been received, the full penalty will still apply and any unpaid balance is due immediately. We strongly recommend that you obtain adequate trip cancellation insurance.
Pricing, Sharing and Single Occupancy
Prices shown are per person on a shared basis. If you are travelling alone and wish to share, you will be matched with someone of the same gender and pay only the share rate. If desired, Single occupancy is available at 1.5 times the twin share rate (not available in the Triple category), or 2 times the rate for Suites.
Family Travel and Child Discounts
For youth up to and including 17 years of age there is a 25% reduction in price. For youth between the ages of 18-21 there is a 20% reduction in price with proof of educational enrolment (current student card). These youth bookings must accompany an adult booking. Permission is required for any traveller under the age of 18 years and a Child Consent form to be completed.
Please read carefully the general Terms and Conditions for Expeditions Online. This voyage is operated by One Ocean Expeditions and you additionally travel under their terms and conditions as the operator as well as of the Shipping Company/transport carrier. Details will be forwarded to you at the time of booking.
- Voyage and accommodation on board as indicated in the itinerary.
- One way flight Punta Arenas to King George Island, Antarctica.
- One way flight Stanley to Punta Arenas.
- All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
- Free use of onboard expedition rubber boots & wet weather gear (you are welcome to bring your own as well)
- All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac and guided hikes/walks.
- Educational presentations and leadership by experienced expedition guides, naturalist staff, and hospitality staff.
- Access to onboard multimedia room and download stations
- An emergency trained English speaking physician
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program.
- Comprehensive pre-departure material.
- Any airfare other than the listed charter flight.
- Pre- and post land arrangements.
- Transfers to the vessel.
- Passport and visa expenses.
- Government arrival and departure taxes.
- Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended).
- Excess baggage charges.
- All items of a personal nature such as additional purchases onboard in the gift shop, laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.
- The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).