Rating in Namibia
$ 8089

Quest for the Antarctic Circle

Universal
Universal
min $ 8089
Per person
Tour details
Destinations: Namibia
Guide language: English
Price: min $ 8089
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Quest for the Antarctic Circle 11 days aboard Akademik Sergey Vavilov

This unique expedition provides a modern twist on a much loved classic. Utilizing our decades of experience, this innovative itinerary allows us to reach our objective of the Antarctic Circle in just 11 days. From Punta Arenas in Chile we fly to the embarkation point of Stanley in the Falkland Islands. Crossing south to Antarctica we witness the magnificent pelagic seabirds of the southern...


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Toni Hart

Namibia Birding and Photography Guide

An accomplished and experienced Namibia birding and photographic guide, Toni holds a Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality Level 3 qualification (the highest level attainable in Namibia) and is widely renowned for her extensive knowledge of the cultures, ornithology, flora, astronomy and wildlife of the country. Read more >

Toni Hart

Namibia Birding and Photography Guide

An accomplished and experienced Namibia birding and photographic guide, Toni holds a Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality Level 3 qualification (the highest level attainable in Namibia) and is widely renowned for her extensive knowledge of the cultures, ornithology, flora, astronomy and wildlife of the country.

In 1981 Toni moved to Namibia with her family and from then on her love of the outdoors and all things nature grew and grew. Her father was an exploration geologist who travelled extensively around Southern Africa, living in small mining towns and managing bush camps where Toni would spend her school holidays camping in the bush, or visiting private farms and reserves. Toni’s father passed on to her his unparalleled knowledge of all things Namibia, and she carried this with her as she became a manager and guide at some of the most remote lodges in the extreme North West of Namibia. Toni has travelled expansively across Namibia and its neighbouring countries, making regular visits to all of the National Game Reserves and developing her photographic skills which she takes great pleasure in passing on to visitors to the region.

Her deep love and knowledge of the Namibia, coupled with her infectious passion and enthusiasm to want to share it, make her one of the country’s top guides and ambassadors for this beautiful country. More than just a guide who simply points from a vehicle, Toni becomes fully involved in the experiences of her fellow travellers and places a great emphasis on finding the best adventures, wildlife encounters and photo opportunities for her tour groups. As a Managing Tour Consultant she plans safaris for a wide range of interest groups but her main focus is on birding and photographic small group tours, where she delights in each visitor gaining an up-close and personal experience of all that the country she loves and knows so well has to offer.

Jenny Luxton

Falklands Expert & Guide

Born in Chartres in the West Falklands, Jenny grew up on the family farm where her love for animals was nurtured by the25,000 sheep, horses and cows that lived alongside her. Forever a nature, conservation and wildlife enthusiast Jenny has travelled extensively throughout the Falkland Islands, visiting each and every wildlife island at least once, and even travelling around some by yacht. Read more >

Jenny Luxton

Falklands Expert & Guide

Born in Chartres in the West Falklands, Jenny grew up on the family farm where her love for animals was nurtured by the25,000 sheep, horses and cows that lived alongside her. Forever a nature, conservation and wildlife enthusiast Jenny has travelled extensively throughout the Falkland Islands, visiting each and every wildlife island at least once, and even travelling around some by yacht. She spent 11 years on Sea Lion Island as Manager of the Lodge, Warden of the Nature Reserve and as the principal tour provider, meaning her knowledge of Sea Lion Island in particular is second to none. Having spent so much time here, as expected her wildlife speciality is Elephant Seals, but she is also well versed in the ways of the seabirds, penguins, whales, dolphins and sea lions that call the Falklands their home.

After her time on Sea Lion Island Jenny moved to Stanley to work for the Falkland Islands Government and became manager of a local travel firm assisting with travel arrangements for incoming visitors, before taking semi-retirement to spend more time with her family and enjoy more time further exploring the lands she knows so well. Jenny is extremely passionate about sharing the hidden nature secrets of the Falklands with those who come to visit her homeland and will be looking forward to accompanying you and passing on her unsurpassed knowledge of the areas you will be visiting.

Highlights

  • Cross the Antarctic Circle
  • Spectacular scenery
  • Amazing marine wildlife
  • Myriad birdlife
  • Fly the Drake

What's Included

  • Flights from Punta Arenas to Stanley & King George Island to Punta Arenas
  • Full board accommodation on board ship
  • 1 night hotel stay in Punta Arenas post-expedition
  • Loan of waterproof boots
  • All zodiac excursions and landings
  • Programme of expert lectures

ITINERARY

10 Nights   11 Days

Itinerary Summary

  • Day 1 | Punta Arenas, Chile to Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
  • Days 2 - 3 | At Sea towards Antarctica
  • Days 4 - 5 | King George Island and Antarctic Peninsula
  • Days 6 - 8 | Towards the Antarctic Circle and Gerlache Coastline
  • Days 9 - 10 | Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands
  • Day 11 | King George Island to Punta Arenas
  • Day 12 | Punta Arenas

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1Day

Punta Arenas, Chile to Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

Our journey commences this morning in the southern Chilean city of Punta Arenas. We meet at a central location before transferring to the airport for our scheduled flight to Stanley in the Falkland Islands.  After a short 90-minute journey we are met on arrival and transferred to the pier. Stanley is currently home to just over 2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a rural town in coastal Britain. It is charming with brightly coloured houses, pretty flower-filled gardens, a quaint cathedral and several local pubs. The waterfront memorial, built to commemorate the lives of the servicemen lost during the Falklands War in the early 1980’s, is a sobering reminder of recent history. There is time to explore the town, before we make our way to the ship for embarkation. In the evening, we depart for Antarctica.

Please note, it is possible to arrive earlier in the Falklands and spend time experiencing the superb wildlife and/or battlefield sites.

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2 - 3Days

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. 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.

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4 - 5Days

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 Strait – 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, where we often encounter  pods of humpback whales. We navigate under the 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.

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6 - 8Days

Towards the Antarctic Circle and Gerlache Coastline

Soak up the scenery as we navigate south and pass through the ice strewn waters making our way towards the Antarctic Circle. Given favourable ice conditions, our first goal will be to sail south of the Circle and into Crystal Sound.

A favoured landing site here is Detaille Island, home to an abandoned British science hut from the 1950’s.This vicinity marks our turnaround point and from now on, we return in a northerly direction exploring the vdramatic coastline of the Antarctic Peninsula. We hope to visit a working scientific base to learn something ofthe 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 programme 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 shags. 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.

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9 - 10Days

Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands

We aim to transit the Lemaire Channel on our way north towards Paradise Harbour. This 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 view points. 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 the early evening light, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.

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11Day

King George Island to Punta Arenas

This morning we are anchored off King George Island and transfer ashore by Zodiac. 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 two hour flight to Punta Arenas in southern Chile. On arrival, a transfer is provided to several hotel locations downtown.

This itinerary includes a complimentary hotel night in Punta Arenas for all guests returning from King George Island at the end of the voyage. This evening is at your leisure. Punta Arenas is home to some cozy restaurants, cafes and bars – including the historic ‘Shackleton Bar’ at the Hotel Jose Nogueira – a fitting location to reflect on your journey to Antarctica.

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12Day

Punta Arenas

After breakfast and check-out, make your own way to the airport for your onward journey. (We recommend you book flights after midday). Otherwise, why not continue your exploration of Patagonia. Just a few hours north, lies the celebrated Torres del Paine National Park – home to towering peaks, glaciers and spectacular wilderness - a paradise for hikers and nature lovers.

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All tour descriptions and conditions are given in accordance with the information of Wildfoot Travel
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