Antarctic Circle and Deep South 13 daysAboard: Akademik Sergey Vavilov
This special journey takes us further south than at any other time in the season. By flying to King George Island in Antarctica at the start of the voyage, we save two days on the ocean crossing. The time we save by flying south allows for a more substantial exploration below the Antarctic Circle. Here we witness stunning landscapes, sizable Adelie penguin rookeries and large flat-topped tabular icebergs that drift north from the Bellingshausen Sea. We anticipate exciting ice navigation when pushing this far south.
We navigate the glaciated coastline of the Antarctic Peninsula, passing through the Argentine, Fish and Yalour Island archipelagos when exploring the Gerlache Strait region. There are several important scientific stations here and a number of significant historic sites we hope to investigate. We then aim to cross 66 degrees, 33 minutes south latitude, which officially marks the position of the Antarctic Circle. With favourable weather and ice conditions we hope to reach Marguerite Bay. This is a spectacular location reached by just a handful of ships each season.
Every day we explore off the ship in the company of our expert local guides, enjoying shore visits and Zodiac cruises that may last up to three and four hours at a time. This trip is ideal for those who love the excitement and spontaneity of exploration. There is no better way to travel than via our expedition ship, cruising to remote destinations.
- Cross the Antarctic Circle
- Spectacular scenery
- Amazing marine wildlife
- Myriad birdlife
- Fly the Drake
- Flight from Punta Arenas to Antarctica
- Full board accommodation on board ship
- Transfers to & from ship
- Loan of waterproof boots
- All zodiac excursions and landings
- Programme of expert lectures
So much to experience
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Punta Arenas to King George Island
Our journey commences this morning in the southern Chilean port city of Punta Arenas. We gather at a central location and transfer to the airport for the two-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Antarctica (this is included in the price of your voyage). Upon arrival at King George Island, we embark our ship via Zodiac. After settling into our cabins and exploring our new surroundings, we meet our expedition team and set sail.
Having crossed the broad expanse of the Bransfield Strait overnight, we wake to see the towering peaks of the Antarctic continent for the very first time. We push southwards, navigating to our ultimate objective below the Antarctic Circle. There is much to see and experience on our way south. We will be opportunistic, making shore landings in locations that provide great wildlife encounters, or the chance to stretch our legs on a short or long hike, such as Paradise Harbour or Port Charcot.
Petermann Island is home to a substantial Adelie penguin rookery. Researchers are minitoring the penguin population here and study over many seasons is providing insight into possible changes to number and density of both Adelie and Gentoo penguins, with subtle changes being observed. Our onboard experts will be able to explain some of these theories and what they mean for the penguins and possible implications of climate change in Antarctica.
Petermann also provides outstanding views towards Mount Shackleton and Mount Scott. These towering granite sentinels mark the southern entrance to the Lemaire Channel through which we hope to have navigated earlier in the day. Nearby Pleneau Island offers more opportunities for shore landings. Just off shore, in the shallow waters of the Penola Strait, massive icebergs run aground. Constant wind and wave action sculpt these gargantuan chunks of ice into fantastic shapes, revealing more shades of blue than you could ever imagine. For many, a Zodiac cruise here will be a highlight of the voyage.
There are several other locations in the Yalour Island group which allow for Zodiac cruising and potential shore landings. We hope to visit a working scientific base to learn of the important climate-related research, which is ongoing. This science station is best known for research into the earth's ozone layer.
A hike over the snowy saddle of nearby Winter Island allows us to explore the old British Antarctic Survey hut - 'Wordie House'. This is a beautiful location offering amazing views from the summit of the island.
It is somewhere along this stretch of coastline that we plan a night on shore, camping in Antarctica. We have all the right gear and equipment and an expert team to make it happen - all you need is an adventurous spirit! Camping always depends on the weather and we can never guarantee it on any voyage. If the weather is good and site characteristics suit our requirements we will always go for it. Camping is included and you can decide to participate when onboard. There is no need to pre-book this activity.
Below the Circle - Detaille Island, Marguerite Bay
Given optimal ice conditions, we aim to sail south of the Antarctic Circle. A favoured landing site here is Detaille Island, home to an abandoned British science hut. ‘Base W’ was established in the 1950’s and is in a remarkable state of preservation. For the history buffs this is a fascinating place, providing a glimpse into the harsh life of early Antarctic scientists and researchers.
We are at the mercy of prevailing ice conditions navigating even further south. We may take the ‘shortcut’, through a narrow channel known as 'the Gullet' if the passage is ice-free. Otherwise, we could navigate around the outside of Adelaide Island - which will take more time, yet bring us to the same destination.
Marguerite Bay is home to several important science bases - Rothera (UK), San Martin (Argentina), Carvajal (Chile) and features rich history. We hope to make a visit to at least one of these locations.
The area is full of history and the British Graham Land Expedition (BGLE) of the early 1930's - led by intrepid Australian explorer, John Rymill, established their Southern Base in this area. They explored and surveyed large areas of the Antarctic Peninsula by airplane, establishing the Antarctic Peninsula was indeed connected to the main continental landmass - and not just a series of off-shore islands as earlier believed.
As we make our way back to South America, the educational presentations continue and we enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by our Expedition Leader. Join our photography experts in the multimedia room and download and back up your precious images. Or spend time on the outside observation decks or the bridge, observing the incredible pelagic birds soaring on the winds around the ship. Several albatross species, as well as giant petrels and other seabirds can be observed at close quarters.
If weather conditions allow, we hope to make a rounding of Cape Horn. This fabled stretch of water is home to legendary tales of exploration and early navigation. It’s a fitting place to reflect on a wonderful expedition.Approaching the entrance to the Beagle Channel in early evening light, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.
In the early morning, we arrive into Ushuaia, Argentina. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travellers. Guests will be transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home. It will be possible to connect to flights through to Buenos Aires or other destinations in South America. Otherwise enjoy a night in town or perhaps venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia.
A view from Above
Built in Finland in 1988 as a Russian polar research vessel, the Akademik Sergey Vavilov, was operating as One Ocean Voyager until recently, is a comfortable, stable, ice-strengthened ship with all the facilities for modern expedition cruising. There is a mixture of suites and cabins, all with windows or portholes and some with private facilities. Public areas include dining room, lounge, bar, library with forward facing windows, multi-media room with Apple Mac computers and photo management software, presentation room, mud room, passenger lift and gift shop. There is also a wellness centre, sauna, spa, salt-water plunge pool, fitness room and infirmary. Along with plenty of open deck space, there is a top deck with 360degrees views and a small observatory with spotting scope. The ship has an open-bridge policy.
we work hard to earn passionate reviews from our clients.
Now that I am back from my odyssey voyage, I thought I would let you know that after all that planning it really did exceed my expectations – we managed landings everywhere even on Tristan da Cuhna and had great bird sightings. The guides all knew what they were talking about too and made sure I got some great photos – still sorting them all out! Thanks for everything and see you at Birdfair!Dave Martin
I want to thank you for all you did to make my recent Falklands trip run so smoothly and comfortably. Thank you for all your help over the diet too.Dr Lorna Mairs
Just a quick note to express my sincere thanks to you and all your staff for making this an epic adventure of immense proportions. Everything went smoothly, pickups, hotels and most of all the expedition itself. Truly a mind blowing experience unlike any I have ever taken.Mr J Borg, Malta
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