Antarctica Complete

Resort: Antarctica Complete
Operator: Explore
Destination: Antarctica
Price From: £18727.00

Overview

Experience unparalleled adventure and discovery on your ultimate Antarctic voyage. If you want to see it all, this is the trip for you. Be transported to enthralling subantarctic islands rich with human history and unique wildlife. Then venture into the deep south of the Antarctic Peninsula, crossing the coveted Antarctic Circle. Zodiac cruise in vast ice-covered landscapes, visit lively penguin colonies, watch for whales and discover the rich history of this fascinating region.

Itinerary

DAY 1 Join trip in Ushuaia

Arrive in Ushuaia. If you are arriving in on the preferred flight times, you will be met by a representative and transferred to your downtown hotel. Upon arrival into Ushuaia City Airport (USH) please collect your luggage and look for a representative in the Arrivals Hall, holding a sign with your name on it. If you have booked your flights independently and are on the preferred flights, please make sure that you have advised us of your arrival flight details into Ushuaia, so that a transfer is booked for you. Be sure to keep all of your important documents i.e. passport and travel insurance, and also your medication in your hand luggage, as your main luggage will be transferred separately to the hotel.

From our experience we have found that there are significant delays, especially in high season on flights from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. We highly recommend booking your travel arrangements to arrive into Ushuaia earlier in the day.

There are no activities planned today. If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to explore the city, visit the Maritime Museum or join a tour to Tierra del Fuego National Park, which offers magnificent hiking opportunities.

DAY 2 Embark the M/V Sylvia Earle

This morning, please ensure your luggage is taken down to hotel reception by 8 am. Your luggage will be collected from your hotel and transferred directly to port for clearance and delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Please ensure that you keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day.

Once you have checked out of your hotel by 11 am, you will have free time before meeting back in the hotel lobby at 2pm to commence a tour of Ushuaia. Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego is located at the shores of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by the Martial Mountains giving you a unique landscape in Argentina, which is the combination of mountains, sea, glaciers and forests. On this half day introductory tour, you will visit La Mision neighbourhood, the old Government House, and the upper area of the city, which offers beautiful panoramic views of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel. During the excursion you will see the antique houses that belonged to the first families settled in Ushuaia. The excursion ends with a visit to the Old Prison Museum before transferring to the pier for embarkation at approximately 4pm.

After embarkation, youll have time to settle into your cabin before the important mandatory briefings. Gather on deck as the ship pulls away from Ushuaia, enjoying spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego. This evening, you will have the opportunity to get to know your fellow expeditioners and friendly expedition team at a welcome dinner, celebrating the start of a thrilling adventure to Antarctica.

DAY 3 Drake Passage

As we commence the Drake Passage crossing, we make the most of our time getting comfortable with the motions of the sea. Our expedition team prepare you for your first landing with important wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures and start our lecture program to help you learn more about Antarcticas history, wildlife and environment.

Enjoy watching and photographing the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels following in our wake. They rise and fall skilfully, using air currents created by the ship to gain momentum.

DAY 4 Drake Passage and South Shetland Islands

Nearing the tip of the South Shetland Islands on day four, the excitement is palpable with everyone converging on the bridge watching for our first iceberg. The ocean takes on a whole new perspective once we are below the Antarctic Convergence and are surrounded by the surreal presence of floating ice sculptures. The memory of your first big iceberg sighting is likely to remain with you for a lifetime. Weather permitting, we may attempt our first landing in Antarctica by late afternoon.

DAY 5 Antarctic Peninsula

Once we arrive, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands are ours to explore and there are a host of choices available to us. Because we are so far south, you will experience approximately 18-24 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish. Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.

DAY 6 Antarctic Peninsula

We generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. Youll want to rug up before joining Zodiac cruises along spectacular ice cliffs or among grounded icebergs, keeping watch for whales, seals and porpoising penguins.

DAY 7 Antarctic Peninsula

Zodiac boats will transport you from the ship to land, where you can visit penguin rookeries, discover historic huts and explore some of our favourite spots along the peninsula.

DAY 8 Antarctic Peninsula

While ashore we aim to stretch our legs, wandering along pebbly beaches or perhaps up snow-covered ridgelines to vantage points with mountains towering overhead and ice-speckled oceans below. If you have chosen an optional activity, youll have the option to do that whenever conditions allow, and of course keen polar plungers will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in polar waters conditions permitting!

DAY 9 Antarctic Peninsula

In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, we may ship cruise some of the narrow, dramatic straits separating offshore islands from the mainland, or linger in scenic bays to watch whales travelling or feeding. This is a great time to enjoy the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge for uninterrupted views of Antarctica in all its splendour. Keep an ear out for the creak and deep rumble of glaciers as they carve their way from summit to sea and take a quiet moment to experience the wonder of this incredible white continent.

DAY 10 Antarctic Peninsula

On this voyage, we plan to cross the Antarctic Circle, an imaginary line located at the Antarctic Circle at latitude 6633 South. This is certainly a special highlight for everyone, and the moment will be celebrated with a toast on deck. Youve earned some boasting privileges, joining a small group of lucky adventurers whove made it to this part of the world. As we approach and cross the circle, you will notice subtle changes in the landscape, icescape, and also in the distribution of wildlife. The waters at this time of year are rich with krill and we hope to see plenty of whales particularly humpbacks and minkes, and enjoy the spectacle of penguins feeding their ravenous chicks.

DAY 11 At Sea

En route for South Georgia well head across the Scotia Sea, following the route that Shackleton and five of his men took in order to find help for the rest of their crew. On 24 April, 1916, they piled into the James Caird, the most seaworthy of their open boats, to attempt this perilous journey to South Georgia, some 1290 km away. Shackleton hoped to reach South Georgia in two weeks. There he would enlist the help of the whalers to return to Elephant Island and rescue the men who had been left behind. As excitement builds for South Georgia, catch up with fellow expeditioners in the bar, keep watch for wildlife alongside our naturalist from the open bridge, or learn more of the Shackleton story from our historian.

DAY 12 At Sea

Enjoy more informative lectures to prepare you for your upcoming landings, as we edge closer to South Georgia.

DAY 13 South Georgia

As you near the rugged island of South Georgia, spare a thought for Captain James Cook, who arrived here in 1775 and believed it to be the northern tip of a Great Southern Continent. In fact, it is a small island only 176 km long, but with a 3,000 m snow-capped mountain range, some of the worlds largest congregations of wildlife and a truly fascinating human history, South Georgia is an island of incredible riches. On approach, jagged mountain peaks rise steeply, while seabirds are often spotted soaring around the ship. Youll sail down the east coast, taking in the spectacular glaciated scenery and enjoying a little shelter from the prevailing westerly winds. This enchanting coastline is yours to explore.

DAY 14 South Georgia

We generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. Make sure you layer up before joining Zodiac cruises around craggy coves and along the rocky coastline in search of nesting penguins, seal haul-outs and bird cliffs. Remember to keep an eye out for South Georgias kelp forests as well these remarkable underwater ecosystems are quite mesmerising as their fronds sway back and forth on the waters surface.

DAY 15 South Georgia

Zodiacs will also transport you from ship to shore, where you can visit some of the largest king penguin colonies on earth, take a guided walk among fur seals and elephant seals and wander along pebbled streams and grassy glacial outwash plains. We also hope to visit the remnants of South Georgias thriving whaling stations and pay our respects to Sir Ernest Shackleton, whose incredible voyage of survival is synonymous with this island. If you have chosen an optional activity, youll have the option to do that, whenever conditions allow.

DAY 16 South Georgia

In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, we may ship cruise through fjords with towering cliffs of ancient stone, or into deeply indented bays towards dramatic glacier fronts. This is a great time to find a comfy spot in the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge to enjoy uninterrupted views of South Georgias majestic coast.

DAY 17 South Georgia

You will have a final day to explore the delights of South Georgia, including its 100,000-strong penguin rookeries, before the ship heads out to sea towards the Falkland Islands.

DAY 18 At Sea

Between South Georgia and the Falklands~Malvinas, you will be entranced by the ceaseless flight of the many seabirds that follow our wake, skilfully using the air currents created by the ship to gain momentum.

DAY 19 At Sea

On this leg, we are usually travelling into the prevailing weather so it is difficult to estimate our arrival time in the Falklands. Our lecture program will continue and highlight all of the amazing sights we have witnessed over the past few days. Well have ample time to enjoy the rest of our time observing the sea birds, whale watching from the bridge, or simply relaxing in the bar with a book.

DAY 20 At Sea

If time and weather conditions permit, we could pass close to Shag Rocks, a fascinating group of jagged rocky islets protruding from the sea, in the proximity of South Georgia.

DAY 21 Falkland Islands

The Falklands comprises of two large islands (East and West Falklands) with over 700 islands scattered off the coast. All but seven of these are uninhabited, with windswept coastlines, white sand beaches and crystal clear water. These beautifully barren islands are true wildlife havens, sheltering an impressive diversity of birdlife, including the largest black-browed albatross colony on earth. The cold, nutrient-rich waters surrounding the islands make this a prime location for spotting marine life. There are many beautiful areas to explore across the Falklands~Malvinas, each offering a unique perspective on this magnificent archipelago. Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing winds, weather and wildlife opportunities.

We generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. Even though were north of the Antarctic Convergence it can be quite chilly here, so youll want to layer up before joining Zodiac cruises into rocky coves or along sea cliffs, keeping watch for seals, sea lions, dolphins and porpoising penguins. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you may be able to visit albatross colonies, penguin rookeries and perhaps even have a traditional English tea and scones\ at a local cottage. We also aim to land in historic Stanley, the capital of the Falklands~Malvinas. This charming town has a distinctly British character, with terraced town houses, pioneer cottages and even an iconic red telephone box! Colourful buildings house cosy cafes, English pubs, souvenir shops, a post office and the fascinating Historic Dockyard Museum, with displays on the maritime history of the Falkland Islands, natural history and links to Antarctica.

DAY 22 At Sea

You may choose to spend the sea days returning to Ushuaia editing your photos, enjoying the onboard facilities, or listening to an informative lecture. Celebrate the end of an unforgettable voyage with newfound friends at a special Captains farewell dinner.

DAY 23 Trip ends in Ushuaia

During the early morning, we cruise up the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia. The trip ends after breakfast on board the ship. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart at any time after 12 pm. For those on morning flights, a transfer will take you directly to Ushuaia City Airport (USH). For those on later flights, you will be transferred to downtown Ushuaia and given time to explore the city, before continuing on to the airport in time for your flight.

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