Weddell Sea Quest 11 daysAboard: MV Ushuaia
Follow in Shackleton's footsteps on a voyage known for its busy penguin colonies, abundant seabirds, seals and whales amidst imposing mountain ranges, glaciers and tabular icebergs. This exciting expedition will bring us to the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula with the added bonus of a 3 day exploration of the spectacular Weddell Sea area. Discover tales of expeditions past, a unique array of wildlife and remarkable landscapes.
Family Special - One child under the age of 16 travels FREE when sharing a triple superior or triple suite with two adults.
- Amazing wildlife including penguins, seals and a variety of whales
- Myriad birds
- Beautiful ice and snow scenery
- Historical associations
- Discover the fascinating Weddell Sea area and step foot on the Antarctic continent
- Full board accommodation on board ship
- Guided Zodiac excursions and landings
- Programme of expert lectures
- Service taxes and port charges
So much to experience
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After having arrived independently to Ushuaia, the southernmost town in Argentina, you will embark your ship in the afternoon. Settle in to your cabin and meet your expedition team and lecture staff as we set sail through the scenic Beagle Channel on our way to Antarctica.
Crossing the Drake Passage
These 2 days will be filled with excitement as we make our way to Antarctica through the famous Drake Passage. As we sail we recommend spending some time on deck with your expedition leaders who will help you to identify the amazing variety of seabirds, including many albatrosses, which follow in our wake, along with whales attracted to the nutrient rich seas below us. Your programme of informative and entertaining lectures and presentations will begin, covering everything from navigation and polar exploration to the wildlife and geology of the areas you are about to encounter.
As we cross the Antarctic Convergence we will near the South Shetland Islands and experience the first of many iceberg sightings. The snow-capped mountains of the South Shetlands will greet us as we attempt our first landing on the afternoon of day 3, where you can go ashore with your lectures and naturalists to experience your first encounters with the penguins and seals of the islands.
Exploring the Weddell Sea
We are now in the heart of Antarctica, a land where words cannot do justice to its majestic scenery and awe-inspiring majesty. In true expedition style our route here will be flexible and dependent on weather and ice conditions. Your captain and crew will decide each day on the best course to take to gain the very best views and wildlife encounters. We will spend our days exploring by Zodiac and on foot along the Weddell Sea area, the Peninsula, and the South Shetland Islands, racking up unforgettable experiences and memories. The abundance of wildlife we expect to encounter includes various species of penguins, Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals as well as Minke, killer (orca) and humpback whales.
Our first adventure will involve sailing into the Weddell Sea area where huge tabular icebergs loam and an abundance of penguins roam. As we sail through this ice-clogged area we will witness some of the finest scenery on the expedition, with an undulating panorama of rugged ice landscapes and sunsets like you have never seen before.
Our likely passage will take us to the east side of the Peninsula into the Antarctic Sound to explore areas such as Hope Bay where we hope to make land either at the Argentine Station Esperanza or Brown Bluff. The Weddell Sea area is the epicentre of Antarctica’s Adelie Penguin population and we are very likely to witness a huge number of penguins on our journey. All-white Snow Petrels are also likely to be coursing over the floes, often joined by Pintado Petrels. If we are very lucky we may also catch a glimpse of an Emperor Penguin on the ice floes. As well as Hope Bay we also intend to visit Devil Island and Paulet Island to see more bustling Adélie Penguin colonies and perhaps a Blue-eyed Cormorant colony.
The Weddell Sea area is an exceptionally important area in terms of historic Antarctic exploration and your knowledgeable expedition team will delight in offering facts and stories on the trials of explorers such as Carl Anton Larsen, Otto Nordenskjöld and Sir Ernest Shackleton.
Antarctic Peninsula & The South Shetland Islands
After an exploration of the Weddell Sea area we will sail westwards towards the Peninsula itself. We will have ample time to explore along the Peninsula to discover its pristine landscape of snow, ice and mountains and an enchanting array of wildlife. Sailing through the exceptionally scenic Gerlache Strait and Neumayer Channel, we hope to make at least two continental landings each day, exploring areas such as the aptly named Paradise Bay, Cuverville Island, home of the biggest Gentoo Penguin colony in the Peninsula surrounded by glaciers and castellated icebergs, and the British Museum and Post office at Port Lockroy.
We will also visit the South Shetland Islands, a group of ice-tinged islands that are a haven for wildlife with vast penguin rookeries and beaches ruled by Antarctic fur seals and Southern elephant seals. Sailing through the breathtaking Neptune’s Bellow’s into the flooded caldera of Deception Island is an unforgettable experience, as is visiting the crescent shaped Half Moon Island, home to Chinstrap Penguins in breathtaking surroundings. If time and conditions allow we may also have the chance to visit the enigmatic Elephant Island, an important area in the history of Antarctic exploration where Shackleton embarked on one of the most dramatic rescue missions of all time.
As we leave the wonders of Antarctica behind it’s time to make our return to Ushuaia as we sail back through the Drake Passage. Take the chance to reflect on the unforgettable experiences you will have had over the past days and join your lecturers and naturalists on deck for some final bird spotting and whale sightings.
Arrival in Ushuaia
Arrival back into the port of Ushuaia signals the end of our thrilling Antarctica cruise and after breakfast it will be time to disembark and bid a fond farewell to your crew and shipmates.
A view from Above
Originally built for the United States agency NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration), the USHUAIA has been refurbished to accommodate a maximum of 88 passengers in 46 comfortable outside cabins and suites with windows or portholes.
This ice-strengthened polar vessel is very well appointed and provides ample deck space and an open bridge policy. The full complement of inflatable landing craft ensures superb landings and wildlife viewing opportunities on the otherwise inaccessible coastline.
All cabins include ample storage space. Public areas feature a large dining room (one sitting), an open-plan observation lounge / lecture room with modern multimedia equipment, bar and a well-stocked library. There is also a gift shop and small infirmary.
Onboard chefs prepare excellent cuisine including many local specialties and the bar is well-stocked with carefully selected wines and spirits.
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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