The wildlife is amazing and surprisingly abundant in this extreme part of the planet. Watch the ocean for seals and minke, humpback and orca whales; witness graceful seabirds with the mountains of the Beagle Channel as a backdrop; and observe gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap penguins. The unique terrain of Antarctica is a dream for landscape photographers, and the beaches, plains, mountains and icebergs of the white continent can give the impression of entering a different world. Take the opportunity for a polar plunge, a feast for the senses and quite likely the most exhilarating ocean dip you will ever take. An onboard lecture program led by noted naturalists fills in crucial context on both the human and natural history of Antarctica
Join Peregrine on a journey into the great white continent on the comfortable, brand-new MV Hondius. Departing in late January from Ushuaia, Argentina, this mid-summer adventure heads across the mountain-lined Beagle Channel, traverses the legendary Drake Passage and finds Antarctica in its seasonal element. As vast layers of ice and snow melt away across the peninsula, it’s one achingly beautiful scene after the next. Rugged rocky beaches, whales, seabirds, penguins and calving icebergs create a spectacle like nowhere else on earth. Excursions by Zodiac afford close-up views of the landscape and wildlife, and regular lectures from onboard experts give context that brings the experience to a new level. With warm hospitality, comfortable living quarters and ample leisure time, Pristine Antarctica is the ideal means of exploring this outstanding and utterly remote adventure destination.
Breakfast Included: 9 Lunches Included: 8 Lunches Included: 9
Your journey begins at the 'end of the world' – Ushuaia, Argentina. This lively town, located on South America's far southern tip, is commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world. You will embark mid-afternoon from Hondius, a small resort town on Tierra del Fuego. Cruise across the Beagle Channel, taking in the majesty of the mountain scenery, and relax into an evening of sailing. Break the ice with your crew and fellow guests over some welcome drinks and dinner, as the wide open seas of the famous Drake Passage grow nearer.
Crossing the Drake Passage
As we enter the Drake Passage, take in the salty ocean breezes and rolling waves while keeping an eye out for fin whales rearing their heads through the spray. We will pass over the Antarctic Convergence, the name for Antarctica’s natural boundary where north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer subantarctic waters. From here, not only does the marine life change, so too does the birdlife. Albatrosses and petrels can be seen cutting the sky, along with Cape pigeons and southern fulmars. Approaching the South Shetland Islands, notice the first icebergs coming into view, which are always a thrilling sight. The lecture program begins today and continues for the duration of the trip. It is an immensely enriching part of the expedition, offering legendary tales, background information on the flora and fauna, and a deeper insight into the geology of the Antarctic.
Today we arrive in Antarctica proper, the world’s most untouched wilderness. Snowy peaks of stone, towers of broken blue-white ice, and vastly different kinds of wildlife present themselves in all their summer glory, and we will have several days to explore. Firstly, 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, sitting between Rongé Island and the Antarctic Peninsula. Cuverville hosts a colony of several thousand gentoo penguins, plus pairs of breeding brown skuas.
Danco Island. Here the main focus will likely be the nesting gentoo penguins, and Weddell and crabeater seals might be found nearby.
Crystal Sound, whose ice-packed waters make for a riveting landing.
Port Lockroy, with its former British Research Station now serving as a museum and working post office. It is situated on Goudier Island and is accessed via the Neumayer Channel.
Jougla Point, a place to witness gentoo penguins and blue-eyed shags. This locale is known for superb kayaking and camping opportunities.
Paradise Bay, where we can walk on the great continent again. An excellent spot for Zodiac cruising in search of humpback and minke whales.
Wilhelmina Bay, another great location for cruising in the Zodiac and sighting humpback whales.
Guvernøren, which offers some intriguing Antarctic history. A whaling vessel famously caught fire here in 1915.
The Melchior Islands. Here great icebergs populate an impressive frozen landscape. Whales, leopard seals and crabeater seals are all possible sightings.
King George Island, in the South Shetland Islands. The aim here is to land at the Chinese Great Wall Station; there are also Russian, Argentine, and Uruguayan research stations in this area.
Crossing the Drake Passage
As your return voyage across the Drake Passage commences, be greeted once again by the wide variety of seabirds that inhabit the skies. This is a good opportunity to kick back, relax, and reflect on the experiences had so far. No doubt there will be a significant amount of photography to share and compare with your shipmates.
Arriving in Ushuaia to disembark, bid farewell to your fellow travellers as the expedition comes to an end. We depart with indelible memories of one of the greatest and most unique destinations on earth.