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Great Explorers and Wildlife

18 Days FROM AUD 14,499

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Overview

This 18-day adventure takes you through the spectacular Chilean fjords, past glaciers, isolated islands, hidden bays and Patagonian wilderness before a possible landing at iconic Cape Horn. Sail across the infamous Drake Passage and on to Antarctica to explore this desolate ice wilderness that is hauntingly beautiful. The vast frozen desert is home to millions of penguins, seals and whales. Set against a backdrop of breath-taking scenery, giant tabular icebergs drift past, leopard seals patrol the shores and whales break the surface of the icy waters. Heading north we explore the wildlife-rich Falkland Islands before cruising back to Punta Arenas and flying to Chile’s capital, Santiago.

Optional Activities :

Trip Code: ACTSCFAF

Travel Style: Small Ship Expedition Cruise

Location: Chilean Fjords, Antarctica, Falklands

Ship: ROALD AMUNDSEN

CRUISE ITINERARY

The capital of Chile is exciting and diverse. There is a lot to discover here, from the Andean glaciers at the city borders, tall mountains and skyscrapers to quiet parks, colonial architecture, bohemian quarters and the fast-flowing Mapacho River. Your adventure starts with an overnight hotel stay here.

Santiago, Chile

Fly early in the morning to Punta Arenas to join a city tour before embarking on MS Roald Amundsen for your expedition to Antarctica.

Santiago – Fly South  - Punta Arenas

Enjoy cruising through the Beagle Channel, with channels, fjords and mountains plunging straight into the icy water. This wild and remote area seems almost undisturbed by humans. The ice has scoured its way between the mountains, leaving isolated islands and hidden bays and creating the unique fjord landscape of Chile.

Chilean Fjords

When ranking the most iconic places on Earth, Cape Horn is high on the list. At almost 56 degrees south, it is the southernmost point of South America. Before the Panama Canal, seafarers had to pass this infamous rocky island in order to cross from one side of the Americas to the other. We will do our best to make a landing on Cape Horn – however, this is an area known for high seas and challenging conditions, so the Captain will decide on the safety of the excursion.

MS Roald Amundsen will use 1 ½ to 2 days to cross the Drake Passage from Cape Horn, depending on the weather conditions. An enormous churn of water is funneled by western wind drift from the Pacific through the Drake Passage and into the Scotia Sea to the east. The Passage is part of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, the most voluminous current in the world. About 95 to 150 million cubic metres of water per second are transported from west to east here. As we cross the Drake, we sail over the undersea West Scotia Ridge and the nearly 6,000- metre deep South Shetland Trench. The weather can be terrible on the passage, but it may also be placid, and it is often called the “Drake Lake”. Usually, it’s somewhere in between.

Cape Horn & Drake Passage - Day 4 & 5

Antarctica is isolated from the rest of the world by ocean currents. 90 per cent of the world´s ice is here, 4.000 metres thick, covering the landmass. In winter, it is further cut off by sea ice forming off the coast - virtually doubling the size of the continent. In summer, it is a breeding ground for millions of penguins, whales and seals that, for the rest of the year, simply spend their time at sea. Most wildlife here are dependent on a cornerstone species: krill. And there is a great deal of it. The krill population in the Southern Ocean represents the largest biomass of one species on Earth – including human beings.

What is so overwhelming about Antarctica is that its location makes every voyage to the continent an expedition. Even the most sophisticated technology cannot override some of the climatic challenges that are a part of this environment. Therefore, we need to be pragmatic; we change landings, re-route and shift plans as we go along. This also means that we will take advantage of the often-ideal conditions – spend hours ashore, on the water with kayaks, hiking or simply cruising amongst huge pods of whales. Weather, wind and ice conditions have a great influence on our programme and schedule. We will attempt to land several places, including Deception Island, Half Moon Island, Brown Bluff, Cuverville Island and Neko Harbour. All of these places are serene and offer untouched nature, opportunities to observe penguin colonies, seals, glaciers, icebergs in every shape and colour and old whaling stations.

Antarctica & South Shetlands - Day 6 to 12

After exploring this superlative-exhausting continent, we set course back for The Falkland Islands. The Falklands consist of two large islands and around 700 smaller ones. Captain John Strong of HMS Welfare made the first recorded landing here in 1690. We will continue our lecture series that focuses on the dramatic history and diverse wildlife of the islands as we keep a watch for wandering albatross.

At Sea

Having just been in Antarctica, it might seem a bit surreal to arrive in a town that looks like a miniature England, with red phone boxes, red buses and English pubs. Stanley is the capital on the Falkland Islands. Roam the city streets, the town is easy enough to discover in a day on foot, or join one of the excursions to explore the wilderness and wildlife in the surroundings. The Falklands are teeming with wonders of wildlife and nature. This is an unpolluted environment with fantastically clear blue skies, seamless horizons, vast open spaces and stunning white sand beaches. As we reach the westernmost settled outposts in the Falklands you will see remote farms that have been family owned for six or seven generations. The sheep graze alongside immense colonies of albatross and rockhopper penguins, while predatory striated caracaras patrol overhead and upland geese forage at the water’s edge. Bird lovers will rejoice if we go ashore on Carcass Island. This is a bird paradise with several ducks, geese, penguins, albatrosses, caracaras and wrens. It is also one of few islands down here with trees. We use our small boats to go ashore for exploring, hiking or take a closer look at all the birds.

Falkland Islands - Day 14 to 16

As we complete the loop of the Magellan Strait, we will have a recap of everything we have experienced on this expedition. Make sure you spend some time on deck looking for wildlife.

The Magellan Strait

We arrive back in Punta Arenas in the morning. After the flight back to Santiago de Chile, you can extend your vacation with a post voyage extension to experience the impressive region.

Disembark – Punta Arenas – Santiago
DOWNLOAD ITINERARY PDF

Pricing & date

Great Explorers and Wildlife from AUD 14,499
Departing Ending Duration
08 Nov 2021 25 Nov 2021 18
10 Dec 2021 27 Dec 2021 18
26 Dec 2021 12 Jan 2022 18
11 Jan 2022 28 Jan 2022 18
27 Jan 2022 13 Feb 2022 18
12 Feb 2022 01 Mar 2022 18
28 Feb 2022 17 Mar 2022 18

Important Information

  • 2 overnight stays in Santiago de Chile before expedition
    1 Overnight stay in Santiago de Chile after expedition, including breakfast
    Roundtrip flights in economy class from selected cities in Australia and New Zealand to Santiago de Chile
    Flight in economy-class Santiago de Chile to Punta Arenas
    Transfer from Santiago de Chile airport to your hotel on arrival day
    Transfer from your hotel in Santiago de Chile to airport, before the expedition cruise
    Transfer from the ship to Punta Arenas airport after the expedition cruise
    Transfer from Santiago de Chile airport to you hotel, after the expedition cruise
    Transfer from your hotel in Buenos Aires to the airport on departure day
    Roundtrip Transfers in Buenos Aires Airport to hotel and vice versa
    Transfer Ushuaia Airport to Ship including brief tour of the town
    Cabin accommodation on board vessel 
    All meals whilst on board
    Guiding and lectures by experienced expedition crew
    All scheduled landings and excursions by zodiac
    Complimentary wind and water-resistant jacket

    EXCLUSIONS 

    Travel insurance
    Visa and reciprocity fees (if applicable) 
    Luggage Handling
    Optional excursions not mentioned in itinerary 
    Customary gratuities for staff and crew

  • 2 (light adventure)
  • Available upon request

  • Contact us for more details

  • Season and availability

SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

Talk to one of our Destination Specialists to plan your South American adventure and turn your dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first hand experience, our consultants will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.

Sustainability

GUIDANCE FOR VISITORS TO THE ANTARCTIC

RECOMMENDATION XVIII-1, ADOPTED AT THE ANTARCTIC TREATY MEETING, KYOTO, 1994

Activities in the Antarctic are governed by the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 and associated agreements, referred to collectively as the Antarctic Treaty System. The Treaty established Antarctica as a zone of peace and science.

In 1991, the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties adopted the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, which designates the Antarctic as a natural reserve. The Protocol sets out environmental principles, procedures and obligations for the comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment, and its dependent and associated ecosystems. The Consultative Parties have agreed that as far as possible and in accordance with their legal system, the provisions of the Protocol should be applied as appropriate. The Environmental Protocol was ratified in January 1998.

The Environmental Protocol applies to tourism and non-governmental activities, as well as governmental activities in the Antarctic Treaty Area. It is intended to ensure that these activities, do not have adverse impacts on the Antarctic environment, or on its scientific and aesthetic values.
This Guidance for Visitors to the Antarctic is intended to ensure that all visitors are aware of, and are therefore able to comply with, the Treaty and the Protocol. Visitors are, of course, bound by national laws and regulations applicable to activities in the Antarctic.


PROTECT ANTARCTIC WILDLIFE

Taking or harmful interference with Antarctic wildlife is prohibited except in accordance with a permit issued by a national authority.

Do not use aircraft, vessels, small boats, or other means of transport in ways that disturb wildlife, either at sea or on land.
Do not feed, touch, or handle birds or seals, or approach or photograph them in ways that cause them to alter their behavior. Special care is needed when animals are breeding or molting.
Do not damage plants, for example by walking, driving, or landing on extensive moss beds or lichen-covered scree slopes.
Do not use guns or explosives. Keep noise to the minimum to avoid frightening wildlife.
Do not bring non-native plants or animals into the Antarctic, such as live poultry, pet dogs and cats, or house plants.


RESPECT PROTECTED AREAS

A variety of areas in the Antarctic have been afforded special protection because of their particular ecological, scientific, historic, or other values. Entry into certain areas may be prohibited except in accordance with a permit issued by an appropriate national authority.
Activities in and near designated Historic Sites and Monuments and certain other areas may be subject to special restrictions.

Know the locations of areas that have been afforded special protection and any restrictions regarding entry and activities that can be carried out in and near them.
Observe applicable restrictions.
Do not damage, remove, or destroy Historic Sites or Monuments or any artifacts associated with them.

RESPECT SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

Do not interfere with scientific research, facilities or equipment.

Obtain permission before visiting Antarctic science and support facilities; reconfirm arrangements 24-72 hours before arrival; and comply with the rules regarding such visits.
Do not interfere with, or remove, scientific equipment or marker posts, and do not disturb experimental study sites, field camps, or supplies.
BE SAFE

Be prepared for severe and changeable weather and ensure that your equipment and clothing meet Antarctic standards. Remember that the Antarctic environment is inhospitable, unpredictable, and potentially dangerous.

Know your capabilities and the dangers posed by the Antarctic environment, and act accordingly. Plan activities with safety in mind at all times.
Keep a safe distance from all wildlife, both on land and at sea.
Take note of, and act on, the advice and instructions from your leaders; do not stray from your group.
Do not walk onto glaciers or large snow fields without the proper equipment and experience; there is a real danger of falling into hidden crevasses.
Do not expect a rescue service. Self-sufficiency is increased and risks reduced by sound planning, quality equipment, and trained personnel.
Do not enter emergency refuges (except in emergencies). If you use equipment or food from a refuge, inform the nearest research station or national authority once the emergency is over.
Respect any smoking restrictions, particularly around buildings, and take great care to safeguard against the danger of fire. This is a real hazard in the dry environment of Antarctica.

KEEP ANTARCTICA PRISTINE

Antarctica remains relatively pristine, the largest wilderness area on Earth. It has not yet been subjected to large-scale human perturbations. Please keep it that way.

Do not dispose of litter or garbage on land. Open burning is prohibited.
Do not disturb or pollute lakes or streams. Any materials discarded at sea must be disposed of properly.
Do not paint or engrave names or graffiti on rocks or buildings.
Do not collect or take away biological or geological specimens or man-made artifacts as a souvenir, including rocks, bones, eggs, fossils, and parts or contents of buildings.
Do not deface or vandalize buildings or emergency refuges, whether occupied, abandoned, or unoccupied.​​

 

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