Basecamp Antarctica 12 daysAboard: MV Ortelius
This unique and exciting Antarctica cruise combines spectacular scenery, excellent wildlife encounters and a thrilling range of adventure activities. On this exciting expedition you will sail from Ushuaia through the Drake Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula where a base camp will be set up to allow for a variety of activities. These activities offer unique and exhilarating ways of discovering the pristine wilderness of Antarctica, its environment and wildlife. All activities mentioned are included in the price of your voyage, allowing for kayaking, mountaineering, snowshoeing and overnight camping on the ice excursions. There will also be professional photographic workshops available to all guests so that you can get those wildlife and scenery pictures just right. Overall this is one of the most adventurous itineraries to the Peninsula on offer, and provides a truly once in a lifetime experience.
- Choice of free basecamp activities including kayaking, snowshoeing, mountaineering and camping on ice
- Expert-led photography workshops
- Penguins and other birdlife
- Marine mammals
- Spectacular scenery
- Historic sites
- Luggage transfer to ship and group transfer from ship
- Full board accommodation on board
- All activities mentioned
- All zodiac excursions and landings with expert guides
- Programme of expert lectures
- Loan of rubber boots
So much to experience
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Your thrilling expedition will begin in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, where after having arrived independently you will embark your ship in the afternoon. As you settle in to your new surroundings your ship will sail through the scenic waterway of the Beagle Channel, and you may want to spend some time on deck capturing the sight of the city fading into distance behind you and looking out for the seabirds that follow the ship.
During these two days we will sail across the famous Drake Passage, encountering a variety of seabirds along the way. You may want to spend some time on deck in search of bird sightings including wandering, grey-headed, black-browed and the beautiful light-mantled sooty albatross, southern fulmars, Wilson's storm, blue, Cape and Antarctic petrels. There may also be whale sightings, and your programme of entertaining and informative lectures and presentations will begin, along with safety and bio-environmental briefings for your time in Antarctica. As we pass the Antarctic Convergence and sail close to the Shetland Islands we will spot the first of many icebergs.
Welcome to Antarctica! As we arrive in the pristine wilderness of the “White Continent” we will sail directly to “High Antarctica”, passing the Melchior islands and the Schollaert Channel between Brabant and Anvers Island. The Basecamp concept on this unique expedition means that we will stay in certain locations for longer than normal in order to conduct the activities and allowing for in-depth exploration. As with all Antarctica expeditions the weather and ice conditions may dictate which areas we visit, with your captain choosing each day the best course to take, but there are several fantastic localities which offer great opportunities for adventures.
Firstly we may position the ship in the Neumayer Channel to begin the multi activity basecamp. The protected waters around Wiencke Island are the perfect location from which to explore the area by Zodiac or by kayak, moving through the frigid waters surrounded by nothing but silence and stunning landscapes. The alpine environment of this area is also perfect for exploration on foot, with ample opportunities for hiking and snowshoeing near the shoreline and soft-climb mountaineering further inland. Naturally, the weather conditions will determine the availability of all activities but every opportunity for adventure will be taken.
If the ice conditions allow, we may sail through the spectacular Lemaire Channel to the Pléneau and Petermann Islands where we are likely to find Adélie penguins and Blue-eyed shags. Kayaking in this area is a wonderful experience as you may be lucky enough to float by the humpback and minke whales which are frequently found here along with leopard seals. Scenic glacier walks are always an option and for the more ambitious there are excellent opportunities for mountaineering.
Throughout your time in Antarctica a wide range of activities will be enjoyed daily, but for many the ultimate experience is a camping on ice expedition. You will have the chance to make camp like a true polar adventurer, with quality tents provided, and spent the night surrounded by the Antarctic silence. Paradise Bay is usually the preferred location for this supreme overnight Antarctic adventure.
Although activities will be the main focus of this expedition there will be ample time for photographic opportunities as we sail to and Zodiac cruise around some of the Peninsula’s most scenic areas. It is likely that we will visit Neko Harbour, an epic landscape of mammoth glaciers and endless wind-carved snow, and sail through the Errera Channel to discover sites such as Danco Island, Cuverville Island and the lesser known (yet equally picturesque) Orne Island and Georges Point on Rongé Island.
On the last day of our time in Antarctica your ship will sail past the Melchior Islands towards the open sea, and there may be chances of spotting humpback whales in Dallmann Bay. Alternatively, if time and conditions allow we may head for Half Moon Island in the South Shetlands where there may be the opportunity for one last activity.
As our exhilarating time in Antarctica comes to end it’s time to head back north through the Drake Passage where again the ship will be followed by a vast array of seabirds. Enjoy the last presentations from your team of noted naturalists and take the time to dissolve all of the unforgettable memories you will have made on your once in a lifetime expediton.
As we sail back through the scenic Beagle Channel and arrive in Ushuaia in the early morning it’s sadly time to say goodbye to your crew and fellow shipmates. After breakfast you will disembark and a group transfer will be provided to the airport for onward or homewards journeys.
A view from Above
Ortelius was built as a Russian scientific survey ship with ice strengthened hull, ideal for polar sailing. She has been completely refurbished and has a selection of suites and cabins with windows or portholes and either private or shared facilities. There are twin dining rooms, lecture room, bar and observation lounge and lots of open deck space plus an open-bridge policy. Ortelius also has a helicopter landing pad and helicopter excursions are available on some itineraries.
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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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.
As Senior Travel Expert, Simon has an absolute wealth of experience in adventure travel in some of the most fascinating places in the world. With in-depth knowledge and fantastic organizational skills, Simon’s first-hand experience and genuine passion drive him to work to create your perfect itinerary.
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.