Day 1: Embarkation in Ushuaia In the afternoon, we embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel and sail through this scenic waterway for the rest of the evening. Day 2 & 3: At sea During these two days we sail across the Drake Passage. When we cross the Antarctic Convergence, we arrive in the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area, we may see Wandering albatrosses, Grey-headed albatrosses, Black- browed albatrosses, Light- mantled albatrosses, Cape petrels, Southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, Blue petrels and Antarctic petrels. Near the South Shetland Islands, we spot our first icebergs. Day 4 – 8: Antarctica/Weddell Sea We will sail directly we will sail into the Weddell Sea through the often ice-clogged Antarctic Sound. Huge tabular icebergs will announce our arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. The Weddell Sea is largely covered in sea ice during the entire year but the northwest corner offers great opportunities for discovery in places that only few ever visit. The sites for our activities may include: Paulet Island with a huge number of Adélie penguins and Brown Bluff where we may set foot on the Continent. On Dundee Island, we may reach the uninhabited Argentinean Petrel station with the large aircraft hangar and a myriad of Antarctic fur seals and Southern elephant seals along the coastline. Further into the Weddell Sea, we have a wide range of options depending on the ice conditions. James Clark Ross Island offers a number of rarely visited places that can be explored. The imagination is spurred on by names like Brandy Bay and Whiskey Bay. Devil Island has a large Adélie penguin rookery and some stunning views of Erebus and Terror Gulf, while Snow Hill Island offers spectacular sedimentary rocks and tell tales of incredible Antarctic exploration in the early 20th Century. The Weddell Sea is prone to difficult ice conditions and it will demand and open and adventurous mind to embark on this journey in to the wild Weddell Sea. Day 9: South Shetland Islands The volcanic islands of the South Shetlands are windswept and often shrouded in mist, but do offer subtle pleasures. There is a nice variety of flora (mosses, lichens and flowering grasses) and fauna, such as Gentoo penguins, Chinstrap penguins and Southern Giant petrels. In Deception Island, our ship braves through the spectacular Neptune’s Bellows and into the flooded caldera. Here we find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, thousands of Cape petrels and many Kelp gulls, Brown and South polar skuas and Antarctic terns. Wilson’s storm petrels and Black-bellied storm petrels nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay. Alternatively, we may try to conduct activities near Half Moon Island. Here we find Chinstrap penguins and Weddell seals often haul out on the beach near the Argentinean station Camara. Around noon, we depart for the Drake Passage. Day 10 - 11: At sea On our way north a great selection of seabirds will follow the ship while crossing the Drake Passage. Day 12: Disembarkation in Ushuaia We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark. PLEASE NOTE: A typical itinerary to the Weddell Sea, Antarctic Peninsula is illustrated above. All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions, the availability of landing sites and opportunities to see wildlife. The Expedition Leader on board will determine the final itinerary. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. Average cruising speed of m/v Plancius is 10.5 knots.
M/V "Plancius" was built in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy and was named "Hr. Ms. Tydeman". The ship sailed for the Dutch Navy until June 2004 and was completely rebuilt as a 114-passenger vessel in 2009. M/V "Plancius" complies with the latest SOLAS-regulations (Safety Of Life At Sea), is classed by Lloyd's Register in London and flies the Dutch flag. M/V "Plancius" accommodates 114 passengers in 53 passenger cabins with private toilet and shower in 4 quadruple porthole cabins, 2 triple porthole cabins, 9 twin porthole cabins, 26 twin cabins with window and 2 twin deluxe cabins, all (ca. 15 square metres) and 10 twin superior cabins (ca. 21 square metres).