In early December 2022, the Ocean Endeavour will sail into sweeping landscapes and channels navigated only a few times per year in search of a true sense of adventure. With its sprawling penguin colonies, magnificent ice-laden channels and rich human history, the west side of Antarctica’s Peninsula is the most well-trodden part of the continent for good reason. Journey through Antarctic Sound brings one to the rugged and remote east side – a vast wilderness where leviathan tabular icebergs punctuate the horizon and an even truer sense of pristine Antarctica can be found among dark basaltic cliffs and the gateway to one of history’s most harrowing stories of survival. It was on this east side of the Antarctic Peninsula that the Weddell Sea ebbed and flowed Shackleton and his men through peril to their eventual deposit on Elephant Island.
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Begin your journey to the White Continent in the world’s southernmost city – Ushuaia. Backdropped by towering mountains and glaciers, the windswept town looks over the historic Beagle Channel. Enjoy exploring the streets and local café scene or even hike among alpine conifers to the foot of the Martial Glacier before an Argentine dinner at one of the city’s many waterfront establishments.
On day three of your voyage to the Antarctic, wake to the sights and sounds of the famous Drake Passage where albatross and other seabirds escort us south. In preparation for the days to come, your on-board experts in biology, oceanography, history and photography will begin their presentations in the Nautilus Lounge. Whether out on the Ocean Endeavour’s decks or from the warmth of the observation area on the ship’s bridge, keep your eyes peeled for the first sighting of an iceberg as the continent of Antarctica appears on our horizon.
In the real spirit of exploration, day five will hope to see the bow of the Ocean Endeavour round the eastern end of Antarctic Sound and point south toward the truly wild coastlines of the Peninsula’s eastern side. It’s within this ice-laden sea that Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men sledged and floated their way north from their crushed and sunken vessel and bordering this vast expanse is an endless coastline of dramatic basaltic beaches, towering islands that rise straight from the sea and a spattering of remote archipelagos barely seen by human eyes since the heroic era.
From here, the options for exploration are endless. From the secluded Danger Islands to the north, the historically important and penguin-covered Paulet Island, the sweeping Prince Gustav Channel to the south or the protected and glacier-lined coves of Duse Bay. Over three days in this area, we will work with ice conditions to land and zodiac cruise around as many remote locations as possible. Keep an eye out for minke whales as captain and expedition leader navigate the scenic channels around the eagle island group and for the most intrepid: prepare for a polar plunge like none other or even a chance to step onto your very own piece of sea ice. Whatever the weather delivers, what we are sure to find here is a rare Antarctic experience and the closest one is likely to get to a true sense of exploration on planet Earth.
Following our three days of discovery on the Peninsula’s east side, the Ocean Endeavour will plot a course to transit Antarctic Sound and to visit the more well-trodden western shores. As we attempt to enter the sound, a collection of tabular icebergs typically serves as a gateway from east to west and locations like Esperanza Station and the volcanic cliffs of Brown Bluff are viable landing points along the way. From here on out, we return to the more familiar sights and sounds of gentoo penguin colonies, a collection of Argentine and Chilean bases observable on craggy points and we lower the zodiacs again to explore famous sites like Orne Harbour, Paradise Bay or Port Lockroy. While the east side afforded us the most true sense of isolation and wilderness observable on Earth, the contrast becomes apparent on the western side as no excursion lasts long without the presence of gentoo or chinstrap penguins parading through the early-season snow and marine mammals hauling themselves onto ice-floes. After our four days of excursions in this region, we will again turn north to cross the Bransfield Strait. As we thread the Ocean Endeavour through South Shetland Islands, we will take to the aft deck of the Ocean Endeavour once more for a final toast to the Antarctic, to discovery and to the new horizon ahead.
Over days 12 and 13 we will watch as the outline of the Antarctic continent disappears over the horizon and again the albatross and seabirds of the open ocean join us for the voyage north. Whether enjoying some time out on deck to take in the sea air or making the most of our expert guides’ presentations, this is a great time to reflect on the journey behind us and all that we discovered on the Antarctic Peninsula over the previous days. For those still looking to brush up on their Antarctic knowledge, our guides will be out on deck binoculars in hand to help identify the amazing sea life that abounds in this part of the world. At night, we will take the opportunity to celebrate together and to share stories about this once in a lifetime voyage.
Following a steady night in the protection of the Beagle Channel, the early morning of our 14th day will see the Ocean Endeavour come alongside Ushuaia’s pier. Followed by breakfast, an 8am disembarkation means plenty of time to wrap up your exploration of Ushuaia before a short drive to the airport for any afternoon flight departures. Our guides will join you on the dock to say farewell and to wave goodbye to the ship’s team and crew who have shared the journey with you.
Cabin accommodation on board vessel
All meals on board including snacks
All onshore excursions and zodiac cruising
Free use of rubber boots and waterproof jacket during course of voyage
Pre-night accommodation prior to embarkation, including breakfast and transfer
Transfer to airport upon disembarkation
All port taxes
Visa and passport expenses
Beverages (other then tea and coffee)
Personal expenses such as laundry and onbaord communication
Gratuities for Staff and crew
Optional activities whilst on board
We appreciate that voyages to the Antarctic to have an impact on this pristine environment. In light of this, all our voyages are double carbon offset. In addition, we strive to eliminate as many single use plastics as possible from our supply chain. In choosing this voyage you are also supporting the fantastic work done by the Antarctic Science Foundation (ASF) and their work in understanding and protecting this unique destination. In addition all voyages support the Mawsons Huts Foundation (MHF). The MHF support the legacy of Sir Douglas Mawson, the legendary Antarctic explorer and scientist. As a member of IAATO we follow strict guidelines appointed by the Antarctic Treaty System to go above and beyond in support of minimizing negative impacts on this pristine landscape. We also encourage clients to look to book pre-and post- accommodation with us, where local businesses will be supported. Our clients also receive restaurant recommendations which support locally owned restaurants.
We carefully select all ships we work with and choose smaller sized vessels to create less impact. We use a highly regulated, licensed vessel which is well equipped to operate in the Antarctic’s delicate ecosystem. We view the voyage to the Antarctic as an expedition, not a sightseeing trip. Smaller ships such as ours can navigate narrow waterways and are far less polluting than the larger ships in Antarctic waters. By carrying less passengers, we have far less waste. The waste is carried back to the home port to allow for environmentally conscious waste management and disposal.
For more information on our sustainability policies, including how we are striving towards being a paperless organisation, click HERE