Get the chance to learn about state-of-the-art whale research techniques and marine conservation from Dr Ari Friedlaender and a team of researchers during peak humpback whale season.. Get the chance to take daily excursions with experts in Antarctic biology, glaciology and history – with extra days for landings on this extended expedition – then unwind at night with onboard lectures and presentations.. Enjoy a more personal journey on the Ocean Endeavor, which boasts an enviable crew to passenger ratio – one expedition crew member for every 8 passengers.. Customise your trip with optional activities like kayaking, a photography masterclass, yoga classes, massage, a polar plunge or even an overnight camp on Antarctic shores.
Join Intrepid and special guests from the World Wildlife Fund – Australia (WWF-Australia) on a 14-day expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula and Circle. Search the icy waters and white shores for whales and other creatures by day, then relax and enjoy an illuminating lecture program by night. Joining our regular team of Antarctic experts will be WWF-Australia scientists, sharing their insights into whale conservation while they conduct cutting edge research on these underwater giants. And that’s just the icing on this Antarctic cake. This adventure offers you the chance to explore Antarctica’s barren beauty on foot and by Zodiac, to encounter penguin rookeries, sight leopard seals and marvel at towering glaciers as they calve right before your eyes.
Breakfast Included: 13 Lunches Included: 11 Dinner Included: 12
Welcome to Ushuaia, Argentina, the world’s southernmost city. You’ll be briefed at the hotel tonight on the journey and details for tomorrow’s embarkation, but if you happen to arrive early there are a surprising amount of ways to entertain yourself at ‘the End of the World’. Check out the Museo Maritimo to brush up on the region’s history, or take a stroll down Avenida San Martin if you’re after any last-minute essentials before departing. Oh, and did we mention this is Argentina – if all else fails, head to a local restaurant to get your fill of red wine and steak.
Ushuaia – Embarkation Day
This afternoon you’ll board the Ocean Endeavour, settle into your cabin and begin cruising down the stunning Beagle Channel, named for Charles Darwin’s ship. The channel transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America, and as the ship pulls away from port there’s always an air of anticipation. Travelling with you on this voyage is marine ecologist Dr Ari Freidlaender and a small team of scientists, who are heading to Antarctica to undertake crucial research on the migration and feeding patterns of baleen whales. Wave goodbye to Argentina and know that the next time you see land you’ll be staring at Antarctica.
The time has come to cross the Drake Passage, the legendary body of water named after English explorer Sir Francis Drake. If the conditions are right, enjoy some time out on deck to spot dolphins, orcas or perhaps albatross. If the waters are a little rough, the Ocean Endeavour is equipped with some seriously lush facilities for you to take advantage of. As well as safety briefings, a comprehensive lecture program will run throughout the journey delivered by experts in Antarctica’s history, geology and biology, Dr Freidlaender and his team of researchers. With any luck we’ll make it to land by early evening on Day 4 – a moment that always brings much excitement.
South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula
The adventure truly begins once the Antarctic Convergence is left in your wake and exchanged for four incredible days of exploring the Antarctic Peninsula. Stare wide-eyed at glaciers, mountains and an unimaginable array of wildlife as the sheer magnitude and rawness of the area comes to light. Every day is a new adventure, and you’ll explore ice-filled bays and channels as well as Antarctica itself on Zodiac excursions and by foot. While the landscapes will no doubt take your breath away, Antarctica is all about the wildlife. Visit penguin rookeries, spot humpback and minke whales and look out for leopard seals, all while calving glaciers crack through the immense silence. As you head out on your guided Zodiac cruises and immersive shore landings, the research team travelling with you will take another Zodiac to search of whales. Dr Friedleander and his team will deploy non-invasive tracking tools to gather data such as whale orientation, movement and speed. The suction-capped devices used also have two cameras attached, providing a firstperson (or first-whale!) view of underwater lives. The researchers will also use drone technology to track whale size and movement from above, as well as to observe krill populations in the southern oceans. While they may be exploring in different regions to you on any given day, they will report back regularly at the evening recap presentations. Dr Friedlaender presents engaging research lectures worldwide, and will contribute to your onboard lecture program as well as being available for less formal interactions on the vessel.
The Antarctic Circle
Venturing to the ends of the earth is a moment to revel in as not all expeditions come this far south. Few people can say they’ve crossed the Antarctic Circle, and you are one of them. Weather conditions permitting, celebrations will be in order after reaching 66°33’ S. This is now deep Antarctica, home to Weddell seals, spectacular ice formations and the midnight sun. This region is also home to the densest concentration of wildlife in Antarctica. Toast to the sheer rawness of the surrounds and take it all in as a dream comes to fruition – while not a typical landing, the crossing of the Antarctic Circle leaves a lasting memory.
Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands
Say goodbye to the Antarctic Peninsula as we begin our return leg to Ushuaia. Take the opportunity to share photographs with fellow travellers, enjoy some final lectures from polar experts and speak with the WWF-Australia team about their whale research findings from their time on the Peninsula. Ultimately, Dr Friedlaender and his team hope that their research will lead to the establishment of an Antarctic marine protection area, preventing krill fishing in the region and safeguarding the health of baleen whales. With The Intrepid Foundation helping to facilitate this research voyage and supporting WWF-Australia’s Protecting Antarctic Giants project, this is a cause to get behind.
The journey’s final leg offers an opportunity to reflect on the spectacular scenery and prolific wildlife encountered over the course of the voyage. Your last days on board are also a great opportunity to make use of the Ocean Endeavour’s health and wellness facilities, including its saunas, spa, heated pool, yoga classes and gym. Spend some time with your shipmates, who you’ve no doubt bonded with, and enjoy a final together to toast the end of this Antarctic adventure.
Your Antarctic adventure draws to a close after breakfast this morning. Farewell your shipmates and transfer to the airport if you’re flying out today, or perhaps spend some more time exploring this incredible part of the world.