Weddell Sea

Antarctica – Elephant Island – Weddell Sea

Take an exploratory expedition through some of Antarctica’s most wildlife-rich waters.

Duration: 14 Days / 13 Nights

Starts: Ushuaia, Argentina

Ends: Ushuaia, Argentina

Itinerary

This adventurous polar expedition combines the exciting Weddell Sea with iconic landing sites as Ernest Shackleton’s legendary Elephant Island. You can hardly get a better experience of Antarctica than a voyage to the great Weddell Sea. Be prepared to see massive tabular icebergs, wildly dramatic landscapes, and fascinating historical sites.

Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina

Your voyage begins where the world drops off. Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, is located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed “The End of the World,” and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening.

Day 2 – 3: Drake Passage

Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you enjoy some of the same experiences encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone.

Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too. 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 are a few of the birds you might see.

Day 4: Point Wild

We will arrive early to the famous Point Wild, Elephant Island, where Shackleton’s crew made their first landing after the loss of their ship, Endurance. This inhospitable spit of land is a favorite among our guests, and if conditions permit, we will offer activities around the point before setting off for the Weddell Sea.

Day 5: Brown Bluff, Madder Cliffs and nesting penguins

This morning we hope to land at Brown Bluff with its impressive scenery and nesting Adelie penguins. In the afternoon, we head across the Antarctic Sound to Kinnes Cove for a landing, where you can see the nearby Madder Cliffs with their subtle red coloration as well as nearby gentoo penguins.

Day 6: Antarctic Sound islands and history

Today we explore the southern end of the Antarctic Sound, including the islands of Jonassen, Andersson, and Rosamel, depending on conditions. In the afternoon, we head to Paulet Island, where an historic hut remains from the 1903 Swedish Antarctic Expedition of Otto Nordenskiöld. This hut enabled the team, whose ship had been crushed in sea ice, to survive until they were rescued.

You may also visit Vega Island, experiencing the wilderness of Antarctica in its most remote places.

Day 7: Panorama from Devil Island

The aim is to spend the day on and around Devil Island, an impressive landing site that gives us the chance to ascend the summit and take in breathtaking views of Erebus and Terror Gulf, as well as our ship anchored in the bay below.

Day 8: The marvels of James Ross Island

Today you can explore the area of Herbert Sound, named after the great explorer Sir Wally Herbert. We will focus our attention on the area of the Naze Peninsula and Comb Ridge on James Ross Island.

Day 9 – 10: Exploring remote islands

We sail as close as the ice allows to the northwest area of Erebus and Terror Gulf, where the Beak and Eagle islands await us. As with other islands in this group, they are volcanic in origin. Beak island has two freshwater lakes that are home to unique ecosystems, and Eagle Island offers spectacular scenery. It is most famous for being the hottest place in Antarctica during a heatwave that melted 20% of the island’s snow and ice in 2020.

Day 11: Craters and abandoned whaling stations

The next plan is to visit Deception Island. Actually a subducted crater, this island opens into the sea and creates a natural harbor for the ship. An abandoned whaling station, and multiple bird species – cape petrels, kelp gulls, brown and south polar skuas, and Antarctic terns – can be seen here. Wilson’s storm petrels and black-bellied storm petrels also nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay.

Day 12 – 13: Drake Passage

Your return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, you’re again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. But they seem a little more familiar to you now, and you to them.

Day 14: Ushuaia, Argentina

Today you disembark in Ushuaia early in the morning, taking home priceless memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

PLEASE NOTE: All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. Landings are subject to site availabilities, permissions, and environmental concerns per IAATO regulations. Official sailing plans and landing slots are scheduled with IAATO prior to the start of the season, but the expedition leader determines the final plan. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. The average cruising speed for our vessel is 10.5 knots.

INCLUSIONS
  • Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary.
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
  • Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
  • Luggage transfer from pick-up point to the vessel on the day of embarkation, in Ushuaia.
  • Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation).
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme.
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material.
EXCLUSIONS
  • Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights.
  • Pre- and post- land arrangements.
  • Passport and visa expenses.
  • Government arrival and departure taxes.
  • Meals ashore.
  • Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended).
  • Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.
  • The customary gratuity at the end of the voyage for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION!