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Penguins, Glaciers & Marine Mammals
Antarctica, the “White continent” is one of the last truly pristine regions on Earth. This is a remarkable land of massive glaciers and ethereal icescapes, this region is also home to an enormous abundance of unique wildlife.
Our Antarctica expedition focuses on some of the continent’s most impressive wildlife and dramatic landscapes. We should see three species of penguin in the Peninsula; the Adelie, the Gentoo, and the Chinstrap. Weddell, leopard, elephant and crab eater seals are known residents while orcas and humpback whales can sometimes be seen plying the waters.
We can expect to see flocks of seabirds including Southern fulmars and Pintado Petrels. Scientific research stations and abandoned whaling stations will also be of interest. Throughout the voyage our team of lecturers and guides will share their knowledge of the regions remarkable natural history and stories from its earliest and most notable expeditions. Also joining the cruise is Oceanic Society's Executive Vice President Rod Mast, a marine biologist, author and lecturer who will provide a global perspective to your journey.
- View magnificent mountains, towering icebergs, and ice formations that make up the dramatic Antarctic landscape.
- Cruise aboard sturdy Zodiac landing craft in search of leopard seals.
- Kayak in protected waters, paddling around icebergs as penguins swim nearby.
- Walk on shore amid thousands of penguins, including gentoo, Adélie, and chinstrap.
- Explore the world's last great wilderness in the company of a team of top naturalists.
For this once-in-a-lifetime expedition, we have selected The National Geographic Explorer, a state-of-the-art, ice-class expedition ship, the Explorer accommodates 148 guests in 81 spacious cabins, each with outside views; private bathrooms; and sleek, modern furnishings.
The ship carries kayaks and a fleet of Zodiac motorized landing craft, as well as sophisticated video equipment that allows access to the underwater world. Public areas include a lounge and bar; a library; a spa; a fitness center; a sauna; and a selection of dining options that offer regionally inspired cuisine using fresh, local ingredients. Services include a full-time doctor, a wellness specialist, and an Internet café.
Days 1 & 2 — U.S./Buenos Aires, Argentina
Depart on an overnight flight to Buenos Aires. Settle into your hotel before heading out on an afternoon tour of the city. Gather for a welcome reception and dinner.
Caesar Park Hotel (D)
Day 3 — Buenos Aires/Ushuaia
Fly to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, and enjoy lunch on a catamaran cruise of the Beagle Channel. Then set sail on the National Geographic Explorer.
Day 4 — At Sea/Drake Passage
While crossing the spectacular Drake Passage, spot whales and other marine life that glide alongside the ship.
Days 5 through 10 — Exploring Antarctica
With nearly 24 hours of daylight at this time of year, we have ample opportunity to explore the Antarctic Peninsula and the surrounding islands. In keeping with the nature of an expedition, the schedule is flexible, allowing us to take advantage of the unexpected—watching whales perform off the bow, taking an after-dinner Zodiac cruise, or heading out on an extra landing during the day. We anticipate making several Zodiac landings each day to hike, kayak among the icebergs, and experience close encounters with wildlife.
Depending on weather and sea conditions, we plan to make the following stops:
This pristine bay is edged by soaring ice-covered peaks. Hike to a summit for a breathtaking view, or kayak along a cliff-side rookery in search of blue-eyed shags.
Lemaire Channel and Petermann Island
Cruise through the Lemaire Channel between towering snowcaps and blue icebergs. Step ashore at Petermann Island to the cries of thousands of gentoo penguins standing along the shoreline as if awaiting your arrival.
Dock in Neko Harbor. Walk among the penguins on the beach or climb high onto an ice field for a panoramic vista of untouched peaks surrounding this idyllic bay.
Historic Port Lockroy
In 1944, the British government began a top-secret expedition code-named Operation Tabarin, creating a series of base stations in Antarctica. Base A, at Port Lockroy, is now a museum and Antarctica's only public post office.
Days 11 & 12 — At Sea
Enjoy the ship's amenities as the Antarctic coast disappears from view. Round the southernmost tip of South America, and see the meeting of the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. Celebrate your voyage at a farewell dinner on board.
Days 13 & 14 — Ushuaia, Argentina/Buenos Aires/U.S.
Disembark in Ushuaia. After lunch, fly to Buenos Aires and connect with your overnight flight home.