Beyond the Antarctic Circle - Hondius

Antarctic Peninsula

This voyage explores a number of historically significant Antarctic areas, such as the very rarely visited Bellingshausen Sea, Marguerite Bay, and Alexander Island. We focus on places discovered by Adrien De Gerlache on his Belgian Antarctic Expedition (1897 – 1899) and Jean-Baptiste Charcot on his French Antarctic Expedition (1904 – 07)

  • Voyage of discovery to Antarctic landing sites
  • Best time of year to see whales
  • Antarctic wildlife in its natural habitat
  • Land on the mainland of Antarctica
  • Enjoy daily excursions by Zodiacs
  • Expert lecturers and guides accompany your journey

Beyond the Polar Circle: Wilkins Ice Shelf

This voyage is a true expedition, exploring the rarely visited region of the Bellingshausen Sea, Marguerite Bay, and Alexander Island. We explore many of the places discovered by Adrien de Gerlache on his Belgian Antarctic Expedition (1897 – 1899) aboard the Belgica. This voyage leaves Ushuaia and heads straight beyond Antarctic Circle, where we aim to spend the rest of the trip. The variety of landings and wilderness in this region are rivalled by few other places on Earth.

We will see Antarctic ice shelves, land on islands where few people have set foot, and enjoy this awe-inspiring area far from the beaten track of regular Antarctic cruises. We may also see a range of exotic wildlife, including humpback and minke whales, orcas, and a variety of seals: leopard, elephant, crabeater, Weddell, Antarctic fur, and maybe even a Ross seal. Gentoo and Adélie penguins, skuas, terns, and giant petrels are just some of the bird species we may see as well.

Stewart's Take

Visit places discovered by De Gerlache on his polar expedition onboard the Belgica

Overview

This voyage explores a number of historically significant Antarctic areas, such as the very rarely visited Bellingshausen Sea, Marguerite Bay, and Alexander Island. We focus on places discovered by Adrien De Gerlache on his Belgian Antarctic Expedition (1897 – 1899) and Jean-Baptiste Charcot on his French Antarctic Expedition (1904 – 07).
Day 1: Ushuaia - End of the world, start of a journey Your voyage begins where the world drops off. Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, is located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed “The End of the World,” and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening. Day 2 – 3: Drake Passage - Path of the polar explorers Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you enjoy some of the same experiences encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too. Wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels, and Antarctic petrels are a few of the birds you might see. Day 4: Through the Pendleton Strait You arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula near the Antarctic Circle in the afternoon. If sea ice allows it, you can then continue through Pendleton Strait and attempt a landing at the rarely visited southern tip of Renaud Island. Here you have the opportunity to see the first Adélie penguins of the trip as well as enjoy spectacular views of the icebergs in this surreal, snow-swept environment. In the afternoon we sail to the Fish Islands and encounter one of the southernmost Adélie penguin and blue-eyed shag colonies in the Antarctic Peninsula. Spending the night in the area of Crystal Sound the scenery will leave you staying up until the small hours, there is a chance to see Orca, Humpback and Minke Whale in this area. Day 5: Detaille Island and The Gullet Detaille Island – You may make a landing at an abandoned British research station here, taking in the island’s lofty position and imposing glaciers scenery. We then sail through The Gullet, one of the most impressive narrow channels in Antarctic, with towering mountains either side, birds following the ship and playful penguins and seals frolicking in the water as we sail through this very special part of the journey. If ice conditions allow we will also carry out a landing or cruise in the afternoon. Day 6: Porquoi Pas and Horseshoe Islands Discovered and charted by the famous explorer Charcot, Pourquoi Pas offers a pleasant landing on a rocky beach against the backdrop of the mighty Moider Glacier. A gentle walk from the landing site provides an impressive view, while Antarctic furs seals relaxing behind the beach are a nice addition to the wildlife we’ve encountered on this voyage. After lunch we head toward Horseshoe Island, named for its distinctive shape. An abandoned research station provides an insight into the early days of scientific research, and original artifacts show how different life was in those pioneering days. The hut is set among some of the most beautiful scenery in Antarctica, with views over the mountains and snow of Pourquoi Pas Island as well as Horseshoe Island’s mountain range. This is a photographic landing in many senses. Two old wooden boats even remain at the landing site as if waiting for their final launch. Day 7 - 10: George IV and Wilkins Ice Shelf Provided ice and weather conditions allow, you next head toward Antarctica’s ice shelves (the George IV and Wilkins). Here we hope to show you the scale of these vast cliffs and expanses of ice that will dwarf us and our ship. A range of Antarctic wildlife like humpback whales, fur seals, Adélie penguins, and maybe even one or more Ross’ seals may appear. Day 11: Jenny and Leonie Islands Jenny Island will give another aspect to your Antarctic experience, offering raised beaches, hanging glaciers, and moss carpets. The island is also popular with wildlife: Terns, skuas, elephant seals, leopard seals, and Adélie penguins are all regular visitors. A landing at Leonie Island will take your breath away. There is also the possibility to take a hike to the peak of the island, giving you a dramatic panorama of Marguerite Bay and Adelaide Island. Day 12: Lagoon and Mikkelsen Islands Lagoon island is the most northern island of the Leonie Islands group, also discovered and charted by Jean-Baptiste Charcot. This low laying island will provide a stark contrast to the previous days with its gently sloped beaches and flat areas to explore. The wildlife here will varies depending on snow cover. If there is little snow the ground is almost desert-like in appearance. The Mikkelsen Islands offer a spectacular Zodiac cruise where we hope to encounter up to five Antarctic seal species. We may also see some beautiful birdlife, such as giant petrels and Adélie penguins. Day 13 - 15: Drake Passage - Familiar seas, familiar friends Your return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, you’re again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. But they seem a little more familiar to you now, and you to them. Day 16: Ushuaia - There and back again Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, but with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies. PLEASE NOTE: All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. Landings are subject to site availabilities, permissions, and environmental concerns per IAATO regulations. Official sailing plans and landing slots are scheduled with IAATO prior to the start of the season, but the expedition leader determines the final plan. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. The average cruising speed for our vessel is 10.5 knots.

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New Expedition Vessel: M/V Hondius

MV Hondius

The Hondius is a new-built vessel in 2019 is ice-strengthened and specially crafted for expedition voyages.  Hondius will be the first vessel to be built to class “LR PC6”, meeting the latest and highest demands of Lloyd’s Register for “Polar Class 6” vessels, the highest Polar Class notation for ice-strengthened vessels. The vessel will also fully comply with the mandatory requirements of the Polar code, for safe ship operation and the protection of the Polar environment. Hondius offers deluxe accommodations for in total 176 passengers. One deck has been entirely reserved for (multi-language) lectures and presentations in one large observation lounge and in addition one separate lecture room. The vessel offers a deluxe standard and at the same time a distinctive cozy and informal atmosphere.

The philosophy is to keep sea legs short and to focus on fast and effective access to shore and near shore activities for all nature and wildlife minded passengers. A powerful fleet of zodiacs will guarantee quality outings and swift landing operation for all passengers at the same time. Our main focus remains discovery, taking advantage of wildlife opportunities and the related shore activities, a product that has been very much appreciated by our current travelers for many years. A speedy zodiac embarkation is guaranteed with two separate gangways and in addition a zodiac embarkation indoor-platform which can also be used for special outdoor activities such as kayaking. While cruising, 72 crew and staff members (including expedition and hotel staff) will be at the passengers’ service. Hondius is equipped with 2 main engines and can reach a maximum speed of 15 knots.

For full information about this vessel click here:

Included
  • Voyage aboard the designated vessel as indicated in the itinerary.
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
  • Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes
  • Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation).
  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program.
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material.
Excluded
  • Any airfare whether on scheduled or charter flights.
  • Pre- and post land arrangements.
  • Transfers to the vessel.
  • Passport and visa expenses.
  • Government arrival and departure taxes.
  • Meals ashore.
  • Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended).
  • Excess baggage charges.
  • All items of a personal nature such as 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).
Rates, Share and Sole Use policy All rates are quoted per person, based on shared twin, triple or quad occupancy. If you are travelling alone and wish to share, you will be matched with another person of the same gender at the shared rate. Twin and Superior cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.7 times the share rate. Children Upon request (some voyages may be excluded), children under 16 with parents may receive 40 % discount in Superior, Triple (sharing with 2 parents / adults) and Quadruple Cabins (sharing with 3 parents / adults). Deposits Reservations require a deposit of 20% 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 60 days of departure require full payment. Final Payments Balances are due 60 days prior to departure. Cancellations All requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Expeditions Online. Cancellations received 90 days or more prior to departure, are refunded less a fee of 20 % of the total price. If cancellation is received between 89 days and 60 days prior to departure, are refunded less a fee of 50 % of the total price. If cancellation occurs less than 59 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. Booking Terms Please read carefully the General Booking Conditions for Expeditions Online. This voyage is operated by Oceanwide 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.
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