If you have admired the gorgeous blue-white shades of the Antarctica, enjoyed the March of the Penguins, or marvelled at the aurora borealis (or the northern lights), then visiting these two continents may be on your bucket list.
If this is something you have always wanted to do, see some of the fabulous posts concerning Antarctica and Arctic expeditions.
One Ocean Expeditions is one of the primary tour operators offered by Adventure Center that operates polar programs focused on choice and tailor made expeditions based on what passengers want to do, every way, every day. Their industry-leading Expedition Leader and Guides provide daily options ranging from where you would like to dine, to where you may want to go by Zodiac or kayak on any given excursion. Optional activities range from sea kayaking, overnight sea kayaking, camping, hiking, snow shoeing, expedition field photography and Zodiac cruising to customized fitness training and certified massage therapy…the options are endless. By embracing each voyage as unique, the One Ocean Expeditions team strives to cover every last detail so that you don’t have to.
The first I am featuring is an Antarctica expedition offered in 2014. Priced from $7390 for various levels of cabins, plus international flights and taxes, this trip looks fabulous. Feel free to contact me for more details.
Sailing in comfort aboard either the Akademik Ioffe or the Akademik Sergey Vavilov, we begin this 10 night expedition at the tip of South America. We chart a course through the Drake Passage and make visits along the way through the South Shetland Islands. When we arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula, be prepared to be dazzled. Even our experienced crew members many of whom have visited the southern region a hundred times or more are still astonished by its pristine beauty. The abundance of wildlife here is truly extraordinary including five seal species, massive penguin rookeries of gentoo, Adelies and chinstraps as well as a profusion of seabirds from albatross to skuas. It is nature you will experience up close and personal on frequent excursions inland.
Our journey will take us to Petermann Island or Wilhelmina Bay where we encounter colossal icebergs and, of course, the ice landscapes that stretch as far as the eye can see. Hardy adventurers or those with a yen for history have the chance to camp out on the ice overnight and feel the thrill and audacity of early explorers who attempted to conquer this continent.
As with all of our expeditions, safety is our top priority. For that reason weather, ice or other conditions may require us to change our itinerary and shore excursions as we go but that is half the fun of Polar exploring. Predictability is a word that has no relevance in this environment.
Ocean One Navigator / Akademik Ioffe is a modern, comfortable, safe and ice-strengthened vessel designed for polar research. See full ship info here.
Day 1 Ushuaia Today is the first day of our adventure. As we board the vessel in Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city at the tip of Argentina, and start to become familiar with ‘our home’ for the next 11 days we cannot help but wonder about the exciting journey ahead of us. In the early evening, we set sail and begin our voyage leaving behind Ushuaia and charting a course through the Beagle Channel.
2-3 Drake Passage Crossing the Drake Passage, there is so much excitement in the air as we make our way ever closer to the white continent. Guests eagerly soak up the friendly atmosphere onboard as our numerous Polar experts prepare us for our adventures with presentations on everything Antarctic, from wildlife to history. Eventually, we will cross the Antarctic Convergence where we will notice a distinct drop in temperature as we enter the waters of the Antarctic Ocean. Along the way, we will witness many spectacular sights from icebergs to an array of seabirds and even several whale species some of which are known on occasion to fully breach from the sea.
4-8 Antarctic Peninsula In the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, we will hope to make as much time as possible to explore by inflatable Zodiac boats and marvel up close at nature’s glory. Planned excursions might include Neko Harbour, Wilhelmina Bay and even the southerly Petermann Island, where we will observe Weddell, crabeater and elephant seals, skuas and other seabirds as well as a shocking abundance of penguins including some very large colonies of the comical Adelie penguin. At Half Moon Island we will observe a breeding colony of chinstrap penguins that share their territory with fur seals and blue-eyed shags. We also hope to see the gentle humpback whale dining on krill in its feeding grounds and possibly have an opportunity to observe orcas and Minke whales as we go.
We finally arrive on the continent of Antarctica at Paradise Harbour or Neko Harbour. Prepare to be dazzled by your first glimpse of the continent. The scenery here is amazing. In particular we will be struck by the oddly-shaped icebergs that look like sculptures, as well as the colossal ‘tabular’ icebergs that break away from the continent’s ice shelf. We hope the weather will be mild enough to allow us all to step foot on the White Continent itself. Some may wish to camp on shore overnight. Whatever your vantage point, whether it is onboard or onshore expect to feel transformed as you experience twilight from the very bottom of the planet.
9-10 Drake Passage As we leave this magical place and make our way north, heading again across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage before rounding Cape Horn, we have no doubt that time will be spent sharing and reflecting on the wonderful experiences of the last few days. Sailing down the Beagle Channel, we celebrate the conclusion of our Polar expedition at a special dinner.
11- Ushuaia In the early morning, we will arrive back in Ushuaia. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travellers. Guests will be transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home.