Explore a side of the Antarctic Peninsula even the luckiest of travelers don’t often see. You’ll experience the best of polar travel, including abundant wildlife, important historical sites, and ice—lots of ice. Embarking from Ushuaia, sail the legendary Drake Passage to arrive at Elephant Island, which gave Ernest Shackleton’s crew refuge in 1916. Move on to see enormous penguin colonies up close; zodiac cruise among icebergs; explore scientific bases; sail across the Antarctic Circle; and take zodiac rides to see whales—all the while surrounded by the spectacular scenery of Antarctica
Savings 2017/18 SEASON
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Explore a side of the Antarctic Peninsula even the luckiest of travelers don’t often see. You’ll experience the best of polar travel, including abundant wildlife, important historical sites, and ice—lots of ice. Embarking from Ushuaia, sail the legendary Drake Passage to arrive at Elephant Island, which gave Ernest Shackleton’s crew refuge in 1916. Move on to see enormous penguin colonies up close; zodiac cruise among icebergs; explore scientific bases; sail across the Antarctic Circle; and take zodiac rides to see whales—all the while surrounded by the spectacular scenery of Antarctica.
Day 1 — Buenos Aires, Argentina Upon arriving in this splendid city, known for its soaring architecture and rich European heritage, you will independently transfer to the group hotel (pre-night hotel included). Day 2 — Ushuaia, Argentina, and Embarkation After breakfast at the hotel, the group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Ushuaia, Argentina. Upon arrival, you will have a little time to explore this quaint port town before heading to the pier. Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which your vessel will sail down the historic Beagle Channel. This famous channel transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Expect an air of anticipation as you depart—the next time you’ll see land you’ll be in the world’s most southern continent! Days 3 and 4 — Crossing the Drake Passage The waters of the Drake Passage are unpredictable, so hope for clear skies and a calm ocean. You’ll have plenty of time to gaze out at the sea, get to know your fellow shipmates and chat with your Expedition Team. You will spend this time preparing for the exciting days ahead, with numerous educational and informative lectures presented by your Expedition Team. You’ll learn about everything from safety procedures to the history of whaling in Antarctica. Day 5 — Elephant Island Mountainous and ice-covered Elephant Island is the first land you’ll visit following the crossing. Named by early explorers for the elephant seals that dotted its shoreline, the island is best known as the refuge for Ernest Shackleton’s crew. Point Wild, the site of the crew’s camp, is an Antarctic Historic site. Days 6 to 8 — Weddell Sea Battered with ocean currents all year long, the remote east side of the Antarctic Peninsula is completely different to the more commonly visited west coast. Here, you’ll see mile-long tabular icebergs formed over hundreds or even thousands of years and broken off of ice shelves further south. Paulet Island is volcanic and thermal heat keeps part of it ice free. Over 100,000 pairs of Adélie penguins make it a popular visiting point. The wooden hut on Snow Hill Island was built in February 1902 by the main party of the Swedish South Polar Expedition led by Otto Nordenskjöld. This historic hut contains original objects from the expedition and functions as a living museum. Brown Bluff, formed by a single volcanic vent, is the perfect place to experience Antarctic flora and fauna. Days 9 to 15 — Antarctic Peninsula and Antarctic Circle Travel around the Peninsula includes a variety of experiences, including Cuverville Island and the largest colony of gentoo penguins in the region—more than 6,500 breeding pairs. Other possible landing sites include Melchiors, Cuverville Island and Orne Harbour. Glaciers, penguin colonies and breaching humpback whales will highlight your days, while friendly seals are plentiful in these waters. You can also expect to encounter what is arguably the most formidable Antarctic predator, the leopard seal. You’ll have drinks to celebrate crossing the Antarctic Circle, and you may visit the Vernadsky Lounge, the Peninsula’s southernmost bar. A sure highlight is Wilhelmina Bay—one of our expeditions once spotted 50 whales in three hours! We’ll spend a full seven days exploring as many sites as we can, ensuring you the most comprehensive Antarctic experience possible. Days 16 and 17 — South Shetland Islands In 1819, the British explorer William Smith described the South Shetland Islands as ‘barren and covered with snow, with seals in abundance.’ Places such as Half Moon Island or Livingston Island support huge numbers of nesting chinstrap, gentoo and even some macaroni penguins. Giant and cape petrels, blue-eyed shags and kelp gulls nest in the cliffs. Mosses, lichens and Antarctica’s only two flowering plants thrive during the short summer on the low-lying peninsulas of these rugged maritime islands. You will explore the busy penguin and seabird rookeries and marvel at the huge elephant seals that wallow along the shore. Deception Island is the caldera of an active volcano, where sealing and whaling operations were based in the past. Several microclimates can get quite warm, and there is a large colony of chinstrap penguins. Half Moon Island is a significant area for birds and it features a 2,200 yard (2 km) walking track to give you a close view of the wildlife. Days 18 and 19 — Drake Passage Use your second passage across the Drake to put your newfound Antarctic knowledge to use; spend time on deck, spot icebergs and name seabirds. Enjoy presentations by our onboard experts and bond with your shipmates. Day 20 — Disembark in Ushuaia and Fly to Buenos Aires We will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning, after breakfast. After disembarking, you will get a little taste of Patagonia, touring Tierra del Fuego National Park before transferring to the airport for the return group charter flight to Buenos Aires. Important reminder: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a voyage. There are nearly 200 recognized sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned above may be changed to others equally as interesting.
Included Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping. All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage. All shore landings per the daily program. Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader. All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program. Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled. Photographic Journal on DVD, documenting the voyage. A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings. An official Quark Expeditions parka to keep. Coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock. Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin. Comprehensive pre-departure materials, including a map and an informative Antarctic Reader. Group transfers upon disembarkation. All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program. All luggage handling aboard ship. Emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $100,000 per person. Excluded Buenos Aires Flight and Transfer Package ($950 per person) BUENOS AIRES FLIGHT AND TRANSFER PACKAGE INCLUDES: Pre expedition hotel night in Buenos Aires, with breakfast, Group transfer from the hotel to the airport in Buenos Aires, Charter flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia (return), Group transfer from Ushuaia airport to the ship (return). Any airfare unless otherwise specified in the itinerary. Passport and visa expenses. Government arrival and departure taxes. Any meals ashore with the exception of breakfast at the host hotel before embarkation Baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance. Excess baggage charges. Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified. Telecommunications charges. The voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew. Rates and Share Bookings Prices shown are per person in US Dollars 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 1.7 times the twin share rate. Deposits Reservations require a deposit of 20% (minimum $1000 per person) 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. Final Payments Balances are due 120 days prior to departure and may be paid by bank transfer. Cancellations All requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Expeditions Online. Cancellations received 180 days or more prior to departure, are refunded less a fee of $1000 per person. If cancellation is received between 179 days and 120 days, the full deposit is forfeited. If cancellation occurs less than 120 days prior to departure, all payments are forfeited. 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 Terms and Conditions for Expeditions Online (link at the bottom of this page). This voyage is operated by Quark 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.