DAY 1: Ushuaia, Argentina
On arrival at Ushuaia Airport, please make your way through to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel. They will be holding a sign with your name on it. Should you not be able to contact them, please refer to the front of your itinerary for emergency contact details of our representative office.
The first night of your voyage is spent in the quaint town of Ushuaia, the most southerly city in the world, and the capital of Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire).
The remainder of the day is at leisure and you are free to explore, perhaps making a few last-minute purchases from the many shops or artisan markets or relaxing in a café. Visit the excellent museums along the main street, Avenida San Martin, or wander the streets and take in the town’s dramatic setting, with views of the mountains to the north and the Beagle Channel to the south.
DAY 2: Embarkation in Ushuaia
This morning is again free for you to explore Ushuaia further, or maybe discover Tierra del Fuego National Park, the most southerly national park of South America. The park offers a range of hiking trails that lead you through the stunningly beautiful and dramatic scenery of snow-capped peaks, lush meadows, rugged coastline, glaciers, waterfalls, and lakes. Look out for guanaco, Andean foxes, muskrats, and the North American beaver. Birds found here include the Andean Condor, Magellanic Oystercatcher, Kelp Goose, Austral Parakeet, and Torrent Duck.
Late this afternoon we transfer to the port of Ushuaia in time for embarkation on board the Ocean Endeavour. The Expedition Team and the Ship’s Officers will be waiting to welcome you aboard.
This evening we sail along the wildlife-rich Beagle Channel, towards the White Continent of Antarctica. As we leave the lights of Ushuaia behind, look out for Magellanic Penguins, Rock Cormorants, Petrels, and Black-browed Albatross from the deck as well as noisy sea lion colonies.
DAY 3–4: At Sea – Drake Passage
The infamous Drake Passage, named after the famous English explorer, Sir Frances Drake, separates the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula from the southernmost tip of South America. It is unpredictable—often rough and turbulent, but sometimes as calm as a lake—so be prepared!
Enjoy the fabulous onboard facilities: join a yoga class or attend a presentation or two given by the Expedition Team to prepare you for what lies ahead—from the geology of Antarctica to its history and wildlife, and even the ice!
Sailing towards Antarctica there is a fall in temperature as we cross the Antarctic Convergence and enter the waters of the Antarctic Ocean. The Antarctic Convergence is marked by an increased number of seabirds, whales, and other species that are attracted by the nutrient-rich waters pushed to the surface by the colder waters of the polar region flowing north and meeting the warmer equatorial waters flowing south.
Head out on deck to look out for the mighty Albatross that fly overhead, scan the waters for breaching whales and icebergs, or gaze out from the panoramic windows of the observation deck.
We continue our course south and hope to make landfall by the evening of Day 4, depending on the weather conditions. Keep on the lookout for the first sighting of land—that heralds your arrival to the White Continent!
DAY 5–8: South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula
The next four days are spent exploring the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula, a region that has captivated explorers for centuries and now enthrals travellers. We explore by Zodiac, cruising among the magnificently sculpted icebergs and making shore landings where we mingle with penguins, climb to vantage points to absorb the spectacular panoramic views, and maybe visit a scientific or historic base. There may even be opportunities to kayak and snowshoe and, of course, learn more about photography with one of our experts.
Antarctica will enchant you with its incredible scenery, from imposing glaciers to towering snow-capped peaks, vast icebergs, and ice-strewn channels. Not to mention the wildlife—from extensive colonies of Chinstrap, Gentoo and Adelie penguins, to crabeater, Weddell, fur and elephant seals, and a plethora of fascinating seabirds. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the mighty crack of a glacier calving. Maybe you will be one of the brave few to take a polar plunge in the icy waters! Every day brings a new experience and new landing sites.
As we cruise from one landing site to the next, enjoy the continued lecture program and take in the scenery from the outer decks of the Ocean Endeavour. Make the most of the ship’s health and fitness facilities, from the relaxing spa and saunas to the pool and gym.
DAY 9-10: Antarctic Circle
Depending on the weather conditions, we will continue southwards in an attempt to reach latitude 66°33'S and cross the fabled Antarctic Circle. Our voyage south takes us past colossal, often beautifully sculpted icebergs, to a point on Earth only a few intrepid travellers have ever sailed. If we reach this momentous goal, we will toast the explorers who first ventured this far south and celebrate our own impressive achievement. This land is home to the midnight sun, shifting ice, and incredible ice formations. Weddell seals are found here, as are humpback whales and minke whales that feed on the krill-rich waters.
Weddell seals in particular are specially adapted to this icy environment, using their canines and incisors to rasp open new ice and maintain breathing holes in the ice. They also have extremely accurate powers of navigation, enabling them to seek out breathing holes when their teeth are worn down and they are no longer able to maintain or create breathing holes.
DAY 11: South Shetland Islands & Antarctic Peninsula
Having crossed the Antarctic Circle, we set a course north, exploring the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands further by Zodiac and shore landings, scanning the waters for whales and seals and looking out for the seabirds that soar above the ship.
DAY 12-13: At Sea – Drake Passage
As we leave the Antarctic Peninsula behind, we take with us our memories and photographs. We set a course for the Drake Passage as we enjoy some final lectures and presentations and look out for wildlife from the observation lounge and the outer decks. There will be ample opportunity at this time to make final use of the spa, sauna, and saltwater pool.
Having crossed the Drake Passage once more, we enter the calm and tranquil waters of the Beagle Channel bound for Ushuaia.
DAY 14: Disembarkation in Ushuaia
We are scheduled to arrive into Ushuaia early this morning, and disembark after a final breakfast aboard the Ocean Endeavour.
After saying our farewells to our Expedition Team and the crew of the Ocean Endeavour, we transfer you to the airport for your onward flight. You may also choose to spend an extra day or two in Ushuaia, giving you time to explore this fascinating town and the surrounding areas.