Antarctic Explorer Sail/Fly 11 DaysAboard: Greg Mortimer Sylvia Earle
This sail/fly itinerary skips out a Drake Passage crossing, allowing for more time to explore the pristine white continent of Antarctica. Sailing from Ushuaia aboard a new custom built polar vessel, you will enjoy a classic Antarctic Peninsula cruise before returning back to South America aboard a special flight from King George Island in Antarctica to Punta Arenas. On this exciting voyage you will discover the pristine wilderness of Antarctica where towering icebergs, bountiful wildlife and thrilling adventures combine to create an unforgettable journey. Spend time on deck looking for wildlife as you sail through the scenic channels, enjoy Zodiac excursions and optional activities, visit historic sites and step foot on the most spectacular continent on Earth.
This trip operates aboard 2 different vessels - the Sylvia Earle and the Greg Mortimer. 12 day reverse itineraries also available. Mentioned activities may not be applicable to all departure dates. Please enquire for full rates and dates.
- Fly back across the Drake Passage
- Spectacular Antarctic scenery
- Amazing wildlife including penguins, birds and whales
- Adventure options including kayaking and snorkelling (select departures - additional costs apply)
- Exciting Zodiac cruises through ice-filled bays amongst towering sculpted icebergs
- Visit historical and scientific sites
- Resident photography guide
- Full board accommodation on board ship with daily breakfast, lunch and dinner, afternoon tea and snacks
- Wines, beers and soft drinks with dinner
- 1 night accommodation in Ushuaia pre-voyage, with breakfast and half-day city tour included
- 1 night accommodation in Punta Arenas post-voyage
- Charter flight from King George Island, Antarctica to Punta Arenas, Chile
- Transfers from ship & luggage transfer to ship
- Captain's Welcome and Farewell drinks including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages
- Zodiac landings and excursions
- Programme of expert lectures
- Loan of rubber boots
- Complimentary 3-in-1 polar jacket
So much to experience
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Your journey begins in Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city. Arrive independently and transfer to the hotel for your included overnight stay. Enjoy time seeing the sights and sounds of this city which is renowned for its enchanting scenery, before enjoying a good night’s sleep in preparation for the adventures ahead.
Ushuaia - Embarkation
After a leisurely breakfast at your hotel, you can join your included half-day tour of Ushuaia and its surrounds. This beautiful city is the capital of the Tierra del Fuego province and its unique landscape of mountains, sea, glaciers and forest is simply a delight to explore. This fantastic tour will take you to some of Ushuaia’s most impressive areas including The Mission, Solier and Brown neighbourhoods where you can see the ancient houses belonging to the first families in Tierra del Fuego and superb views over Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel. There will also be time to visit the End of the World Museum where you can get an insight into the history of Tierra del Fuego, before heading to the port in the mid-afternoon to board your vessel. Settle into your comfortable cabin and get to know your home for the next 8 nights as the ship sets sail through the scenic Beagle Channel and we begin our adventure of a lifetime. A luggage transfer from the hotel is included today.
At Sea - Drake Passage
As your ship sails south through the famous Drake Passage keep an eye out in one of the many observation areas for the whales and seabirds, including albatross, which follow the ship, and the first of many iceberg sightings. Enjoy informative lectures on the wildlife, history and geology of the areas you are about to discover and attend bio security briefings for your time in Antarctica. As we approach the Shetland Islands on day 4, the excitement will build as we prepare the first of many landings in Antarctica. Possible landing sites here may include the Aitcho, Robert or Deception Islands.
As you awake on day 5 your ship will have sailed through the Gerlache Strait and the sight that awaits this morning is the stunning Antarctic Peninsula. A land of superlatives, Antarctica’s vast proportions are a sight to behold. Enjoy twice daily Zodiac excursions to explore penguin rookeries, visit historic sites and scientific stations, and get up close to the masses of elaborate icebergs. Watch seals basking on the ice floes, join an excursion in search of orca sightings, and enjoy the exhilaration of stepping foot on the white continent. As with all polar expeditions, your exact itinerary in Antarctica will be dictated by weather and wildlife sighting opportunities so be prepared for the unexpected. Making the most of every moment, your captain will choose the best course each day for wildlife viewings and adventures, with a new experience guaranteed each day.
Some of the fantastic landing sites we expect to visit throughout your time in Antarctica include the beautiful protected bay of Paradise Harbour where you can enjoy an exciting Zodiac cruise in search of whales including humpbacks, minkes and orcas, seals and various bird species including terns, gulls and blue-eyed shags. If ice conditions allow, your ship will sail through the exceptionally scenic Lemaire Channel, where time in the observation lounge or on deck will reward in incredible views of the surrounding towering cliffs and majestic icebergs reflecting off the silky still water surfaces.
Other areas along the Peninsula we hope to visit include the Hydrurga Rocks where you can search for observations of Weddell seals, leopard seals and chinstrap penguins, Neko Harbour where dramatic scenery of towering peaks and calving glaciers plays host to a large colony of gentoo penguins and more Weddell seals, and the important scientific research spot of Port Lockroy where we can learn all about Antarctica’s history and where you can send a postcard from the world’s most southern Post Office! Other possible landing sites include the Petermann and Pleneau Islands, Cuverville Island, Danco Island and the Melchior Islands.
If time allows we may return to the South Shetland Islands to visit the wildlife-rich Half Moon Island where beautiful glaciers and mountains coloured by yellow and orange lichens are home to a large chinstrap penguin colony, fur and elephant seals and various birds including gulls and blue-eyed shags. We may also visit the small Argentinean research station here.
Throughout your time in Antarctica we will have approximately 18-20 hours of daylight in which to enjoy exploration on land and by sea, with your expert expedition team and resident photography coach accompanying you throughout. For the more adventurous there will be ample opportunities for optional kayaking and snorkelling excursions. Please note, these optional activities incur an additional cost and should be booked in advance.
King George Island to Punta Arenas
After your thrilling exploration of Antarctica your ship will arrive at mountainous King George Island where you will disembark for the final time. If time and weather permits you may be able to explore the penguin and seal-rich waters of Fildes Bay and visit the surprising Trinity Church at Bellingshausen Station, before catching your charter flight to Punta Arenas in Chile. Upon arrival in Punta Arenas you will transfer to your hotel for your included overnight stay.
After breakfast in the hotel it will be time to bid farewell to your fellow passengers as you check out and head to the airport for your onward or homeward travel.
A view from Above
The brand new (2018-19) “Greg Mortimer” is a purpose-built expedition vessel capable of negotiating the strongest winds and waves, and has been built to world-class polar standards. The Greg Mortimer redefines expedition cruising for the future, utilising the ULSTEIN X-BOW, a cutting edge nautical technology which allows for gentle travel and motion at sea, reduced vibrations, improved comfort and safety on board, virtual anchoring, lower fuel consumption and lower air emissions.
Robust, powerful, and built with passengers’ comfort and safety at the forefront of design, the Greg Mortimer features a modern ice-strengthened hull at ice class 1A, four sea-level launching platforms for fast and efficient access to Zodiacs, a custom-built activity platform, the most up-to-date and concise safety features including the latest ‘return to port’ technology, and has been built to meet and exceed the strict environment standards of the Polar Code, for non-intrusive and low-impact voyages.
For exceptional at sea wildlife and scenery viewing opportunities the ship has custom-built hydraulic platforms offering unobstructed views, an indoor observation lounge, side viewing platforms and an outdoor top deck which allows for 360-degree views.
With space for 132 passengers the ship has 80 well designed staterooms with en-suite bathrooms, ranging from porthole to balcony categories, a large dining room/restaurant with family style dining, a spacious lecture room, a well stocked library, Wellness Centre complete with gym equipment, sauna and spa, a multimedia room and a fully-stocked medical centre.
Setting sail for her maiden voyage in December 2022, this outstanding purpose-built expedition vessel honours the long-standing conservation efforts of the highly accomplished marine biologist, oceanographer and explorer, Sylvia Earle. Capable of negotiating the strongest winds and waves, the vessel has been built to world-class polar standards and utilises the ground-breaking ULSTEIN X-BOW technology which allows for faster, more comfortable travel, improved safety, reduced emissions and lower fuel consumption. The vessel boasts one of the lowest polluting marine engines in the world and also utilises virtual anchoring to protect the sea floor.
In terms of safety, the ship will feature industry-leading safety technology that exceeds the requirements for a ship of this size and will also feature world class return-to-port equipment and a fully-stocked medical clinic.
In terms of comfort onboard, the Sylvia Earle will be hard to beat. The vessel features a distinctive Glass Atrium Lounge at the bow of the ship with a stunning panoramic view on both port and starboard side, a swimming pool and jacuzzi where you can admire impressive scenery while watching the world go by. A gym, sauna and wellness centre add to the luxury touches onboard and there are various places to relax after a long day of adventures including a beautiful library and a number of bars, lounges and observation areas. Delicious meals will be served in the elegant dining room and presentations will be provided in the state-of-the-art lecture theatre.
With capacity for 132 passengers, the ship has 74 elegantly designed staterooms with en-suite bathrooms, ranging from porthole to balcony categories. Each cabin features stylish design, a flat screen TV, large comfortable beds, windows or balconies and closet spaces.
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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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