Crossing the Circle
16 Days/15 Nights
Ushuaia to Ushuaia
Sailing in comfort aboard one of our luxurious and comfortable ships, we begin this 14-night expedition at the tip of South America. We will chart a course through the Drake Passage and along the Antarctic Peninsula with the ambition of crossing the Antarctic Circle.
The farther south we go, the more sea ice we are likely to encounter. Our aim is to cross the Circle before getting stopped by this ice. Should we arrive at 66°33’S, we will become members of very small band of explorers and adventurous travelers who have made it this far south.
Day 1, Ushuaia
We’ve eliminated the anxiety of missed connections and flight delays by providing a two-night hotel stay at the beautiful Arakur Resort & Spa. Most flights arrive in Ushuaia in the late afternoon or early evening. Bring your bathing suit, lounge in the spa, or take a bath, and then get over your jet lag with good night’s sleep. You’ll have a full day on day two to relax at the resort or explore town, before embarkation on day three.
Day 2, Ushuaia
Today is all yours: explore some of the sights that Ushuaia has to offer, from museums to Argentinean leather markets, or continue relaxing at the lovely Arakur. Our optional evening briefing is a great opportunity for you to ask questions and meet some of your fellow travelers. All guests need to arrive at the hotel no later than the evening of day two.
Day 3, Embarkation
After a complimentary buffet breakfast, you’re free to explore Ushuaia or unwind at the resort until our mid-afternoon transfer to the ship. Once on board, you’ll be greeted by our Expedition Team and the ship’s officers. A concise safety and orientation briefing will be followed by the Captain’s welcome dinner. After dinner, relax and take in the scenery on our early evening sail through the Beagle Channel, past porpoising Magellanic penguins, Rock Cormorant, and Black-browed Albatross.
Day 4-5, Drake Passage
As we make our way ever closer to the white continent, numerous Polar Experts will prepare you with presentations on everything Antarctic, from wildlife to history. Eventually, we’ll cross the Antarctic Convergence where we’ll notice a distinct drop in temperature as we enter the waters of the Antarctic Ocean.
Those interested in Citizen Science can take part in SeaBird sighting surveys, or help collect salinity samples and weather data along the way. We’re likely to witness some spectacular sights, from icebergs to an array of seabirds and whale species. If we’re lucky, we may see some of them fully breach from the sea.
Day 6-7, South Shetland Islands
In the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, we will hope to make as much time as possible to explore by inflatable Zodiac boats and marvel up close at nature’s glory. Our Expedition Leader and Captain will create a flexible itinerary based on weather, ice, and opportunity. We will aim for the most scenic bays and channels of the Peninsula with stops at penguin rookeries, seal wallows, bird colonies and whale feeding areas, as well as sites of historic and scientific interest.
Our first sight of land will likely be that of the South Shetland Islands. These highly volcanic islands offer amazing abundance and beauty. We may visit Half Moon Island nestled inside Livingston’s eastern shore, or conditions permitting visit historic Deception Island. Being further north, sub-Antarctic species are more commonly found here, including Chinstrap penguins and Southern Elephant seals
Day 8-10, Antarctic Circle
As we head south across the Bransfield Strait, we sail towards the Antarctic Circle. From our most southerly point (south of the Antarctic Circle), we will make our way back north, cruising through the narrow waterways and channels of the Antarctic Peninsula.
Spectacular waterways such as Crystal Sound, or the living museums of Detaille or Horseshoe Island are some of the less visited places of the Antarctic Peninsula. These waters are significantly further south making sea ice more common. The ice ultimately directs what adventures we will have in these lesser traveled waterways.
Day 11-13, Antarctic Peninsula
Heading Southwest, we enter Gerlache Strait and Trinity Coast. Here we may explore picturesque Neko Harbor, sheltered Paradise Harbor, or Wilhelmina Bay, the striking Lemaire Channel, the wildlife-filled Penola Channel, or the majestic Neumayer Channel. We may stop at an active scientific base such as Poland’s Arctowksi or Ukraine’s Vernadskiy as well as a historic base such as U.K.’s Port Lockroy or Wordie House. Adelie, Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins abound, and Weddell and Crabeater seals are often found hauled out to rest along with predatory Leopard seals and the assertive Antarctic Fur Seal. Minke and Humpback whales are frequent visitors in the late season and Orca sightings are also common.
Day 14-5, Drake Passage
As we leave this magical place and make our way north, heading again across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage, we will continue our presentation series and wildlife spotting. Sailing back to Ushuaia through the Beagle Channel, we celebrate the conclusion of our expedition with a special slideshow.
Day 16, Ushuaia disembarkation
Morning disembarkation lets you catch a flight to Buenos Aires or stay in Ushuaia for more sights and adventure.