Our Antarctic journeys begin in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego on the southern tip of Argentina. Ushuaia is a bustling port town and its 40,000 inhabitants are nestled between the cold mountains, and an even colder sea. ‘Downtown’ has plenty of shops including internet cafes, cafes, clothes shops, chemists and an array of good restaurants.
Crossing the Drake Passage is an unforgettable three day experience in itself and a great way to start the expedition as we spot our first Antarctic birdlife.
Our vessel will drop anchor for two or three days in the Neumayer Channel to serve as a base camp for our active passengers to allow more time than usual for wide ranging activities: mountaineers to climb mountain ranges, hikers to participate in long walks, photographers to explore photo opportunities, campers to enjoy life at shore base camps, kayakers and zodiac passengers to explore nearby shores, where the ship cannot go. Passengers who do not wish to be physically active will enjoy our zodiac excursions and follow the normal shore program and land excursions (easy to moderate walks and hikes with a focus on wildlife).
We spend a further couple of days exploring the Lemaire Channel, which offers the chance to see penguins and whales, and Neko Harbour where we have a final day of activities before returning across the Drake Passage.
Rounding Cape Horn ticks another box in every adventurer’s wish-list. The whole trip is an experience of a life time, and a rare opportunity to try a variety of activities in this spectacular Antarctic setting.
Day 1: Ushuaia - In the afternoon, we embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina; the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel and sail through this scenic waterway for the rest of the evening.
Days 2 & 3: At sea - During these two days we sail across the Drake Passage. When we cross the Antarctic Convergence, we arrive in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. In this area we may see wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, cape petrels, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels and Antarctic petrels. Near the South Shetland Islands, we will spot our first icebergs.
Days 4 – 8 (Day 4 - 9 for Trip 5) Antarctica - We will sail directly to the “High Antarctica”, passing the Melchior Islands and the Schollaert Channel, between Brabant and Anvers Island. We will sail to the Neumayer Channel, where we position the ship as our multi activity base camp. The protected waters around Wiencke Island will become our playground for all activities. In this alpine environment there are great opportunities to scout the region on foot, by zodiac and during kayak trips. Walkers will find opportunities to use snowshoes on hikes near the shore lines and the mountaineers will find their challenge by climbing hills and viewpoints further inland, i.e. Jabet Peak (540m). All climbs and excursions can only be conducted in good weather conditions.
We plan to stay two nights at anchor in order to implement two camp nights and two full activity days. We will visit the former British research station and the post office which is now a living museum, and Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. Close to Port Lockroy we may also offer a landing on Jougla Point to spot gentoo penguins and blue-eyed shags. We look out for leopard seals, crabeater seals and whales.
In good conditions and time allowing we sail through the spectacular Lemaire Channel to Booth Island, Pléneau Island and Petermann Island, where we can find Adélie penguins and blue-eyed shags. In this area there are good chances to encounter humpback, minke and fin whales.
At Neko Harbour we will have the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent into a magnificent landscape of huge glaciers and permanent ice fields, and we enjoy the spectacle on zodiac cruises, hikes and kayak excursions. A small group of mountaineers may climb up onto the higher grounds of the glacier. We will spend the night at Neko Harbour or in nearby Paradise Bay with a camp erected ashore. We will leave early morning after breaking our last camp. We sail via Melchior Islands towards the open sea of the Drake Passage.
Days 9 – 10 (Day 10 - 11 for Trip 5) At sea - On our way north, we are again followed by a great selection of seabirds while crossing the Drake Passage.
Day 11: (Day 12 for Trip 5) Ushuaia - We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark.
From the AC Blog page
Ama Dablam 2017 - Final dispatch
Island Peak 2017 - Last day
Everest 2017 - Wrapping Up