The wildlife is simply extraordinary in this remote part of the planet. Scan the seas for seals; watch for minke, humpback and orca whales; observe rare birds against the mountainous backdrop of the Beagle Channel; and see gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap penguins go about their daily business. To call the terrain of Antarctica unique is an understatement; it’s a landscape photographer’s dream. Being among the beaches, plains and mountains of the white continent as icebergs calve dramatically into the ocean can feel like being in another world. The opportunity for a polar plunge in freezing Arctic waters is not something that occurs every day! Brave the elements and enjoy an ocean dip to remember. Onboard lectures by noted naturalists provide essential background information that enriches the experience. Learn about both the natural and human history of the area, from celebrated past expeditions to geology to wildlife
Experience the essence of the great white continent with Peregrine on the comfortable, recently-built MV Hondius vessel. Departing in late Janurary from Ushuaia, Argentina, this extraordinary mid-summer expedition crosses the mountain-lined Beagle Channel, traverses the famed Drake Passage and sees an Antarctica in full swing seasonally. As great swathes of ice and snow melt away across the peninsula, there appears one incredible white vista after the next. Beautiful rocky beaches vie for attention with whales, seabirds and penguins; excursions by Zodiac offer intimate views of the landscape and wildlife; and regular lectures from onboard experts provide natural history and context which enrichens the experience a great deal. With warm hospitality, lashings of comfort and ample leisure time along the way, Jewels of Antarctica is a perfectly paced adventure into the final frontier of adventure travel destinations.
Breakfast Included: 10 Lunches Included: 9 Lunches Included: 10
Welcome to the 'end of the world': Ushuaia, Argentina.This vibrant city, located on South America's far southern tip, is known to be the southernmost city on the planet. Embarkation takes place mid-afternoon from Hondius, a small resort town on Tierra del Fuego. Set off across the Beagle Channel, taking in the majesty of the mountains on either side, and sail away the rest of the evening. You will get to know your crew and fellow guests over some welcome drinks and dinner. Meanwhile, the wide open seas of the famous Drake Passage beckon.
Crossing the Drake Passage
As you follow in the footsteps of the great explorers before you and enter the Drake Passage, open your senses to the cool salt breezes, rollicking waves, and perhaps even a fin whale crashing through a column of ocean spray. We will pass over the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer subantarctic seas. From this point, not only does the marine life change, the avian life does also. Albatrosses and petrels rear their heads, and Cape pigeons and southern fulmars may be spotted. Then, near the South Shetlands Islands, the first icebergs come into view, and these are always a thrill to witness. Your onboard lecture program begins and continues for the course of the cruise. This is an immensely enriching aspect of the journey, offering legendary tales, information on the flora and fauna and fascinating insight into the geology of the Antarctic.
Antarctica has arrived. Welcome to the world’s most untouched wilderness, where snowy peaks of stone, towers of broken blue-white ice, and vastly different kinds of wildlife present themselves in all their glory. First we will pass the snow-capped Melchior Islands and Schollaert Channel, sailing between Brabant and Anvers Islands. Over the next few days you can enjoy plenty of free time to enjoy the warm hospitality on board. In terms of exploration, sites we may visit while here include:
Cuverville Island, nestled between Rongé Island and the Antarctic Peninsula. Cuverville plays host to a colony of several thousand gentoo penguins, as well as pairs of breeding brown skuas.
Danco Island, where the main focus may be the gentoo penguins which nest on the island. Weddell and crabeater seals may also be found nearby.
Crystal Sound, whose ice-packed body of water makes for an exciting potential landing.
Port Lockroy, with its former British Research Station turned museum and post office. Port Lockray is located on Goudier Island and is reached by sailing through Neumayer Channel.
Jougla Point, which has gentoo penguins as well as blue-eyed shags. Amazing kayaking and camping experiences are on offer here.
Paradise Bay, where it's possible to walk on the great continent again. Here we can take a Zodiac cruise in search of humpback and minke whales.
Wilhelmina Bay, another superb location for humpback whale spotting and Zodiac cruising.
Guvernøren, which offers a fascinating slice of history, as a whaling vessel caught fire here in 1915.
The Melchior Islands, sitting among a frozen landscape populated by great icebergs. This is a place to come across yet more whales, plus leopard seals and crabeater seals.
King George Island (in the South Shetland Islands), where the aim is a landing at the Chinese Great Wall Station. There are also Russia, Argentine, and Uruguayan research stations in this area.
Crossing the Drake Passage
It is time to journey back across the Drake. As your return voyage begins, be greeted once again by the wide variety of seabirds that inhabit the skies. The return crossing is always good to reflect on the experiences had so far, and share with fellow travellers some of the no doubt stunning photography accumulated throughout the trip.
The adventure draws to a close today. Bidding farewell to your fellow travellers, arrive in Ushuaia and disembark, leaving with incredible lifelong memories of the great southern continent.