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Weddell Sea & Antarctic Peninsula – ‘Basecamp Plancius’
All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions and in order to take advantage of opportunities to see wildlife. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.
November 20 - December 3, 2011
Twin private cost: $8,320 USD
Departs/Returns: Ushuaia - Ushuaia
Day 1In 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 & 3During these two days we will sail across the Drake Passage. When we cross the Antarctic Convergence, we arrive in the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area we may meet Wandering Albatrosses, Grey Headed Albatrosses, Black-browed Albatrosses, Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses, Cape Pigeons, Southern Fulmars, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Blue Petrels and Antarctic Petrels. If the winds are favorable we might enter Antarctic waters in the evening of the third day near the South Shetlands.
These volcanic islands are windswept and often shrouded in mist and fog, but do offer subtle pleasures. There is a nice variety of flora (mosses, lichens and flowering grasses) and fauna, such as Gentoo Penguins, Chinstrap Penguins and southern Giant Petrels.
Days 4 – 5A typical itinerary in the Weddell Sea and the Antarctic Peninsula could be as follows. This is a sample only; the final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board.
We will sail into the Weddell Sea through the ice-clogged Antarctic Sound. Huge tabular icebergs will announce our arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. We plan to visit Devil Island and Vega Island with a large colony of Adelie Penguins and a magnificent view for those hikers who can make it to the top of the hill. Melting ice sometimes provides spectacular waterfall from the cliffs close to point ‘Well-Met’. The protected waters around Herbert Sound at the North side of James Ross Island will become our “Basecamp” for all activities. This place is hardly visited by other ships and offers us a great opportunity to scout this region first time on foot, per zodiac and during kayak trips. We plan to stay two overnights at anchor in order to implement two camp nights and one full day activity from Basecamp at either Uru Pensinsula on James Ross Island or Vega Island. If we cannot follow our itinerary into Herbert Sound due to sea ice, we can continue our voyage seeking new camping grounds somewhere else. Exploring the unknown - this is true expedition!
Day 6In the morning, after we brought the shore campers back to the ship, we will set sail to Paulet Island. Weather and conditions permitting we will land on this remote island to see the remains of the Nordenskiöld expedition and thousands of Adelie penguins. We might also have time to visit Brown Bluff in order to make a continental landing at the Northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. During hours at sea watch out for stray Emperor penguins. There might be a chance to see one on an ice-floe. If the sea is calm at Brown Bluff there is opportunity to kayak and walk along the shore line. We continue sailing through the Antarctic Sound to the West side of the Antarctic Peninsula along the Davis Coast.
Day 7We will sail along the Wright Ice Piedmont at the Antarctic continent, named after the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright who made the first flight with a plane in 1903. Exploration of Roe Island, an island lying in the entrance of the Curtiss Bay just about 2 miles west of Graham Land (Antarctic continent), named after the British pioneer aircraft designer Alliott Verdon-Roe, who made aircrafts since 1908. Seaplane Point is situated a few miles of Roe Island at the Antarctic continent. It was named in association with Curtiss Bay, after Glenn Curtiss, the American engineer who pioneered sea planes from 1911.
Day 8We hope to sail to Neko Harbor and Paradise Bay to reach the southernmost area of our voyage, where we have again the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent in a magnificent landscape of huge glaciers. In this area we have good chances to see Humpback Whales and Minke Whales. Conditions permitting we will look for a place to erect our tents for a camp night ashore.
Day 9We will sail via the Melchior Islands towards the open sea of the Drake Passage. We have again a chance of seeing many seabirds.
Days 10 & 11At sea.
Day 12We arrive in the morning and disembark in Ushuaia.
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