Weddell Sea Explorer 12 DaysAboard: MV Plancius
This thrilling journey will take you from the southernmost tip of South America to the incomparable “iceberg factory” of the Weddell Sea. Gigantic icebergs, dramatic landscapes, fascinating historical sites and iconic wildlife combine to make the Weddell Sea one of Antarctica’s most breath-taking areas for exploration. Thrilling Zodiac cruises and shore visits will take you up-close to some of the area’s most impressive sights, including wildlife such whales, seals, juvenile emperor penguins, and many other rarely seen seabirds. And for those seeking even more adventure, kayaking, Polar diving and camping on ice experiences are also available for an additional cost.
It’s time to set sail for one of the most remote and least explored parts of the world!
- Incredible scenery of dramatic landscapes, majestic icebergs and ice-filled seas
- Iconic wildlife including junior Emperor penguins, whales, seals and much more
- Myriad birdlife
- Historical sites
- Thrilling Zodiac cruises and shore visits
- Activity options including kayaking, Polar diving and Camping on Ice (costs apply)
- 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
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Your Antarctica Weddell Sea 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.
Weddell Sea Area
Breath-taking landscapes and magnificent icebergs are likely to herald our arrival in Antarctica’s majestic Weddell Sea area. Welcome to incomparable Antarctica! During our time here, the ice and weather conditions may dictate the exact route taken, with your experienced captain and crew taking advantage of every opportunity for unrivalled scenic and wildlife experiences. Each day will bring something new, with Zodiac cruises, shore visits and optional activities bringing you up-close to the action.
As we begin our exploration around the incredibly remote and incredibly beautiful Weddell Sea area, our first stop is likely to take us to Brown Bluff, where we will hope to see nesting Adelie penguins amongst a backdrop of seriously impressive scenery. Across the Antarctic Sound, in Kinnes Cove, we will make land for a look at the nearby Madder Cliffs with their subtle red coloration, as well as enjoying a search for gentoo penguins.
Around the southern end of the Antarctic Sound, we expect to visit a number of scenic islands including Jonassen, Andersson, and Rosamel, before sailing on to Paulet Island to see the remains of a historic hut from the 1903 Swedish Antarctic Expedition of Otto Nordenskiöld and learn all about how the crew built this hut for survival when their ship was crushed in the sea ice.
A full day in and around the impressive landing site of Devil Island will give us the opportunity to ascend the summit and take in breath-taking views of Erebus and Terror Gulf, whilst in Herbert Sound we will explore around the area of the Naze Peninsula and Comb Ridge on James Ross Island. Sailing as close as possible to the northwest area of Erebus and Terror Gulf, we will hope to make land at the volcanic Beak and Eagle islands for some spectacular scenery and the chance to say you have stood in the “the hottest place in Antarctica”.
Each day is likely to bring exciting Zodiac cruises and land visits. For added adventure, kayaking, camping on ice and polar diving activities are available at an additional cost. These additional activities should be booked in advance as numbers are limited.
Deception Island, South Shetlands
We now 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.
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
Plancius was built as a Dutch oceanographic research vessel and refurbished as a passenger ship in 2009. It has ice strengthened bow and stern and is ideal for polar sailing. There is a mixture of suites and cabins, all with window or porthole. Some have private facilities and some shared. There are twin, triple and quadruple cabins suitable for sharing. Public areas are a spacious observation lounge and bar, library, lecture theatre and dining room along with plenty of outside deck space and an open-bridge policy. Rubber boots are supplied for all passengers.
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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With a lifetime of unforgettable nature and adventure based travel under his belt, Simon shares his passion, enthusiasm and hands-on experience to help create the perfect itinerary for every client.
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.
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