Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands 11 daysAboard: MV Ortelius
A classic Antarctic Peninsula adventure with the added attraction of a day spent in the scenic South Shetland Islands. On this voyage, expect not just spectacular scenery, but also amazing wildlife at sea, on land and ice and in the air.
- Spectacular scenery
- Penguins and other birdlife
- Marine mammals such as various whales and seals
- Historical sites
- Activity options including camping on ice and kayaking available
- Luggage transfer to ship and group transfer from ship
- Full board accommodation on board
- All zodiac excursions and landings with expert guides
- Programme of expert lectures
- Loan of rubber boots
So much to experience
Too much to choose from? This is where we come in
Take advantage of our vast experience, passion and expertise to help you hand craft the perfect Antarctica adventure for you.
Mike has more than fifteen years hands-on experience in the industry, travelling to some of the most incredible wild places on the planet. His far-reaching knowledge and invaluable skills will ensure that your wildlife travel adventure is a dream come true.
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.
Zoe’s abiding love of adventure travel has taken her to some of the most incredible wildlife-rich places on Earth. Her vast experience and genuine desire to share her knowledge makes her an outstanding and invaluable person to help you organise your wildlife adventure trip.
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All our itinerary holidays are fully customisable
Your Antarctica and South Shetland Islands expedition will begin in Ushuaia, Argentina, where after having arrived independently you will embark your ship in the afternoon. As you settle in to your cabin, your ship will sail through the scenic waterway of the Beagle Channel. 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.
We will sail directly to “High Antarctica”, passing the Melchior islands and the Schollaert Channel between Brabant and Anvers Island. The Antarctic Peninsula is famed for its icy beauty and bountiful wildlife. During the days here, we will optimize the experience to get the best of everything.
Sites that may be visited include Danco Island in the Errera Channel where activities may be focused around the Gentoo penguins nesting high on the island as well as Weddell and Crabeater seals that may be on and around the island. In Neko Harbour we may have the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent in a magnificent landscape of huge glaciers calving at sea level. Zodiac cruising and kayaking offer spectacular ways of enjoying the landscape surrounded by ice incrusted alpine peaks.
In Paradise Bay with its myriad icebergs we may again have the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent. Again, we may offer an opportunity for a zodiac cruise in the inner parts of this amazing waterway. In this area, we have good chances to see Humpback whales and Minke whales. For those who have chosen to participate in the optional camping on ice activity this is most likely to be the area chosen for this excursion.
After an exploration of the peninsula your ship will start its course northwards towards the South Shetland Islands.
South Shetland Islands
After exploring the Peninsula we arrive in the South Shetland Islands area for an extra day of discovery. These windswept volcanic islands are often shrouded in mist creating an eerie atmosphere, but as we get closer we will discover the many delights they hold. The islands are home to numerous penguins including Gentoo and Chinstrap and are also a great spot for birding, with Southern Giant Petrels, thousands of Cape petrels and many Kelp gulls, Brown and South polar skuas and Antarctic terns frequenting the area.
We plan to sail through the spectacular Neptune’s Bellows and into the flooded caldera of Deception Island where we will make land. There is a lovely variety of flora here with mosses, lichens and flowering grasses creating an impressive contrast to the ice-filled waterways, and there are great possibilities for hikes across this fascinating and desolate volcanic landscape. Alternatively our itinerary may bring us to Half Moon Island, where we are likely to find Chinstrap penguins and Weddell seals hauled out on the beach near the Argentinean research station Camara.
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 homeward 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
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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