The Antarctic Circle in Luxury 15 daysAboard: Island Sky
There is no compromise of expedition experience on board this classic voyage down to the Antarctic Circle, via the South Shetland Islands. Sailing in comfort aboard the luxurious and comfortable Island Sky, we begin this 14-night expedition at the southernmost tip of South America.
We will chart a course through the Drake Passage and along the Antarctic Peninsula with the ambition of crossing the Antarctic Circle. The farther south we go, the more sea ice we are likely to encounter. Our aim is to cross the Circle before getting stopped by this ice. Should we arrive at 66°33’S, we will become members of very small band of explorers and adventurous travelers who have made it this far south!
- Spectacular scenery
- Crossing the Antarctic Circle
- Amazing avian and marine wildlife
- Historical associations
- Exciting camping and kayaking options
- Onboard photography coach
- Two nights pre-expedition hotel accommodation
- Transfers to and from ship
- Full board accommodation on board ship
- Complimentary expedition parka
- Use of rubber boots
- Zodiac excursions and shore landings
- Programme of expert lectures
- Onboard photography coach
So much to experience
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Arrive independently to Ushuaia, Argentina’s southernmost city, and spend some time enjoying the sights of the city. Ushuaia is the gateway to Tierra del Fuego National Park and is famed for its Argentinean leather markets.
An overnight hotel stay in the beautiful Arakur hotel in Ushuaia is included in the price of your package and in the evening you can attend an optional briefing to meet your fellow travellers and ask any questions you may have about the adventures ahead.
You can also avail of an optional extra night’s stay at the Arakur free of charge before your itinerary begins. Please enquire for full details.
In the morning you will have time to explore more of this unique Argentinean city before embarkation begins in the afternoon. Your expedition team and ship's officers will welcome you on board and after a safety and orientation briefing you can enjoy the Captain's welcome dinner with your new shipmates. As you settle into your comfortable cabin, in the early evening your ship will sail through the Beagle Channel, past Magellanic Penguin, Rock Cormorant, and Sea Lion colonies.
As your ship sails through the famous Drake Passage towards the white continent you can enjoy entertaining presentations and talks from your onboard Polar experts who will give you some fascinating insights into the wildlife, history and geology of Antarctica, as well as safety and bi-environmental briefings for your time on the Peninsula. During these days at sea you will want to have your camera ready for some spectacular sights, from the first spottings of icebergs to an array of seabirds and whale species that may follow the ship. For those interested in Citizen Science projects you can take part in Sea Bird sighting surveys, or help collect salinity samples and weather data along the way.
As your ship crosses the Antarctic Convergence you will notice a distinct drop in temperature as we enter the waters of the Antarctic Ocean and prepare to fully explore this magnificent region.
South Shetland Islands
Welcome to Antarctica, where towering icebergs and spectacular scenery combines with a flurry of wildlife activity to create one of nature’s most impressive spectacles. Your time in Antarctica will include a relaxed itinerary, with your Captain and Expedition Leaders choosing each day the best places to visit and explore dependent on ice, weather and opportunity. Exploring by Zodiac you will visit some of the most scenic bays and channels, making stops at penguin colonies, seal wallows, bird colonies and whale feeding areas, as well as sites of historic and scientific interest.
Your first land visits in Antarctica are likely to be in the South Shetland Islands where you will find an abundance of breathtaking scenery and beauty, as well as numerous Chinstrap penguins and Southern Elephant seals. Places we may visit here include historic Deception Island and Half Moon Island.
Sailing further south across the Bransfield Strait we will begin our quest to reach the Antarctic Circle. As these waters are significantly further south we can expect more pack ice, and as such your Captain will decide the best course to take to get the best opportunity of reaching the circle and landings sites that are of the most interest.
You can expect to sail through the spectacular waterways of the Crystal Sound as well as exploring seldom-visited areas like Detaille and Horseshoe Island. After reaching as far south as possible your ship will return northwards to cruise through the narrow waterways and channels of the Antarctic Peninsula.
Heading back north your ship will enter the Trinity Coast and Gerlache Strait. Your days will be spent exploring by Zodiac in search of unique scenic experiences and wildlife encounters. You can expect to witness an abundance of penguins including Adelies, Chinstraps and Gentoos, as well as Weddell, Crabeater, Antarctic Fur and predatory Leopard seals. In the waterways you are likely to see Minke and Humpback whales, and if lucky you may even catch sight of the elusive Orcas that frequent the region in the late season.
Your itinerary here will be flexible but places you may explore include the wildlife-filled Penola Channel, or the majestic Neumayer Channel, picturesque Neko Harbour, the Humpback whale favoured Wilhelmina Bay, the stunning Lemaire Channel and sheltered Paradise Harbour. There may also be opportunity to stop at an active scientific base such as Poland’s Arctowksi or Ukraine’s Vernadskiy as well as an historic base such as U.K.’s Port Lockroy or Wordie House.
For the more adventurous there will be ample opportunities for optional kayaking excursions and thrilling camping on ice experiences. These activities are subject to availability and must be booked in advance.
As you leave the magic of Antarctica behind it’s time to head back towards Ushuaia as your ship sails back through the Drake Passage, followed by an abundance of seabirds. Take the time to reflect on what will have been an unforgettable journey and join your fellow shipmates at a special slideshow presentation to commemorate the expedition.
After sailing through the scenic Beagle Channel your ship will reach Ushuaia in the early hours of the morning, allowing for disembarkation in time to catch onward or homeward flights. If you wish to spend more time in Ushuaia there are numerous options for excursions including trips to the beautiful Tierra del Fuego National Park.
A view from Above
Island Sky is an established and popular small ship with high quality fixtures and fittings throughout. There are just 57 suites, all with outside views and each with sitting room, en-suite shower room, mini-fridge, TV/DVD, telephone, dressing gown, slippers, etc. The main lounge is where daily briefings and lectures are held. It has modern presentation equipment which also allows guests to view these within their cabin if preferred. Other areas include a bar with 24 hour tea & coffee, library, dining room, hot tub Jacuzzi, hairdresser and clinic as well as plenty of open deck area. 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
Overall I think that it was an excellent trip that was well worth the price paid and I would have no hesitation recommending your company to others.Steve Sutton
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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Take advantage of our vast experience, passion and expertise to help you hand craft the perfect Antarctica adventure for you.
Mike has more than 15 years of experience in the travel industry and continues to be inspired by the people, places and wildlife he discovers. His in-depth personal knowledge of a diverse range of destinations ensures your adventure itinerary will be a holiday like no other.
Simon’s deep passion for and first-hand knowledge of a vast range of destinations all over the world gives him the ideal skills to help you create a truly unforgettable wildlife inspired adventure to the most exciting places on the planet.
Having amassed a host of extraordinary adventures in destinations all over the world, Amy’s experience, skills and enthusiasm for helping clients plan their ideal itinerary will help make your holiday unforgettable, action packed and life-changing.