Christmas in Antarctica: Akademik Ioffe
Early Booking Offer
Book and deposit before 31 December 2017 and save a flight credit of US$1000pp.
Book and deposit before 31 December 2017 and save a flight credit of US$1000pp.
Fly from Punta Arenas and embark in the port of Stanley - the quaint capital of the Falkland Islands. Crossing south to Antarctica we witness the magnificent pelagic seabirds of the southern region, including the giant Wandering albatross. This ocean habitat teems with life above and below the water and is a fascinating ecosystem in its own right. We navigate the ship south, pushing as far south as the mid season sea ice will allow. We hope to make it as far as the Lemaire Channel which, if clear of ice, will be the gateway to several locations such as Petermann Island, and the iceberg ‘graveyard’ at Pleneau Island. We plan to make continental landings at Paradise Harbour or perhaps at nearby Neko Harbour. Both locations offer outstanding hiking opportunities. Each day we explore on shore by foot, observing wildlife colonies, visiting historic huts and science bases, photographing icebergs and soaking up the incredible landscapes that surround us. We disembark the ship at King George Island and fly back to South America in just two hours – saving more than two days crossing the open waters of the Drake Passage.
Day 1 / Ushuaia, Argentina Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina, the world’s most southerly city, where you board your expedition ship. In the early evening we set sail along the Beagle Channel and push out into the Drake Passage, towards Antarctica. Days 2 - 3 / At Sea towards Antarctica We chart a southerly course for Antarctica. This stretch of the South Atlantic is rich in its bio-diversity and showcases an abundance of wildlife. We will be joined by hundreds of seabirds including the wandering albatross. Giant petrels and smaller Cape petrels are also constant companions as make our way south. 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, the wildlife and history and the locations we hope to visit in the coming days. If we enjoy good sailing conditions crossing to Antarctica, we may include a visit to the very historic location of Elephant Island – a place central to the Shackleton story. It is from here that Shackleton and four of his companions set off on their epic ocean crossing to South Georgia 100 years ago. Shore landings at Point Wild are notoriously tricky due to surging swell onto the rocky beach. Nevertheless this a thrilling place to visit. Day 4 - 5 / King George Island and Antarctic Peninsula This morning we are in position at King George Island – the largest in the South Shetlands group. There are two landing sites here and a visit depends on the prevailing weather conditions. Penguin Island and nearby Turret Point offer good opportunities for shore landings to view Adelie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins. Southern giant petrels, kelp gulls and Antarctic terns are also known to nest here. This afternoon we continue our journey south, navigating into the broad expanse of the Bransfield Straight – making our way ever closer to the Antarctic coastline. This is an important migration corridor for wildlife and we keep a lookout for whales in the waters surrounding the ship. Large icebergs will be present from this point onwards and make for striking photographs in the evening light. By morning, the towering mountain peaks of the Antarctic continent loom into view and we should make landfall around Wilhelmina Bay. This is truly an ‘A-list’ location and a place we often encounter sizeable pods of humpback whales. We navigate under the towering cliffs of Spigot Peak and into the Errera Channel hoping for a shore landing at Cuverville Island – home to a rookery of Gentoo penguins. It’s a fantastic location for a zodiac cruise or a paddle in the sea kayaks. Day 6 - 8 / Antarctic Peninsula Exploration We encourage you to spend time on the outer decks soaking up the scenery as we navigate south. We pass through the ice-strewn waters making our way towards our ultimate objective, the Lemaire Channel. Given favorable ice conditions, our first goal will be to sail through the Lemaire, a narrow passage of water flanked by the towering peaks and glaciers of the Antarctic Continent on one side and Booth Island on the other. We hope to visit a working scientific base to learn something 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 a historic British Antarctic Survey hut. If the conditions are right, we aim to offer our overnight camping program to all adventurers somewhere in this vicinity. We have all the gear onboard and an experienced team to make this a night to remember! Petermann Island is home to an 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 nearby Lemaire Channel. Pleneau Island offers more opportunities for shore landings. Just off shore, massive icebergs run a round in the shallows. Constant wind and wave action sculpt these gargantuan chunks of ice into fantastic shapes, revealing more shades of blue than you can possibly imagine. For many, a zodiac cruise here may well be a highlight of the voyage. Days 9 - 10 / Gerlache coastline and South Shetland Islands, Antarctica Paradise Harbour is one of our favorite locations and may be the first opportunity to step foot on the continent of Antarctica itself. Nearby Neko Harbour offers another continental landing. Both locations offer terrific hiking opportunities up to panoramic viewpoints. For the sea kayakers, the paddling opportunities here are endless. Expect to be in full sensory overload by this time of the voyage. By morning we arrive in the South Shetland Islands. 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 place and history is all around us as we explore the old whaling station, with the rusted old boilers and dilapidated wooden huts. At the far end of the beach is an old aircraft hangar. This is where Australian, Sir Hubert Wilkins made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928. There is also an outstanding hike here, high up onto the rim of the crater. On a sunny day, cruising along the coast of Livingston Island is a memorable experience. There are several other landing sites in the vicinity including Half Moon Island, or the broad pebbly beach at Yankee Harbour, where we sometimes encounter Weddell seals sunning themselves. This is another great spot for a hike or a zodiac cruise. It’s a fitting place to reflect on a wonderful expedition. Charting a course for King George Island in early evening light, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship. Day 11 / King George Island – return to Punta Arenas, Chile This morning we are anchored off King George Island. We say goodbye to our crew and transfer ashore by zodiac and time permitting, we will explore the surrounding area. There are several important science bases here including Chile’s Frei Station and Bellingshausen Station. We are transferred to the airstrip for the twohour flight to Punta Arenas in southern Chile (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). We recommend you spend a night in Punta Arenas in the event of any delays returning from Antarctica today. On arrival, a transfer is provided to several hotel locations downtown. Punta Arenas is an interesting city – and also the gateway to the magnificent region 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.
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.
|Kayaking Antarctica||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.||US$795|
|Early Booking Offer||Book and deposit before the indicated date and save the following credit towards your international airfare!||US$-1500|