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The Whale Science Voyage 2021

15 Days/14 Nights
Ushuaia to Ushuaia
As the Antarctic summer comes to a close in March, migratory species like the Humpback are very active, socializing and feeding in preparation for the long journey ahead, while resident species like the Minke and Orca are also abundant. Each year we will partner with scientists doing cutting edge marine mammal studies for a special scientific voyage with our own Annette Bombosch, PhD. In March 2019, we collaborated with the world’s leading independent non-profit organization dedicated to ocean research, exploration, and education in the US, on a ground-breaking Humpback whale study. For full details on the March 2021 voyage, please enquire.

Budding Citizen Scientists will have ample opportunity to participate in marine mammal research, while photographers and videographers are busy capturing stunning images. This voyage also features all of the activities found in our standard Celebrating Antarctica itinerary.

Departure:
  • Feb 26 – Mar 12, 2021 HSK

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, our Expedition Team and Marine Mammal experts will be out on deck and on the bridge, looking for the whales and dolphins that may be seen as we travel south.   They will prepare us with presentations on everything Antarctic, from wildlife to history, including helpful briefings on environmental regulations and expedition safety.  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 Sea Bird sighting surveys, or help collect salinity samples and weather data along the way.  The length of our journey depends on sea conditions, but we should approach the South Shetland Islands in the evening of Day 4.  We will keep especially keen watch for Pelagic whales as we approach the nutrient rich upwelling areas of the Continental Shelf.

Day 6-8, Antarctica

Exploring the South Shetland Islands, we may visit Half Moon Island with its stunning backdrop of mountainous and glaciated Livingston Island.  Or perhaps we will sail the ship into an active volcano with an opportunity to take a dip in the relatively balmy waters that surround Deception Island.  Bransfield Strait, once the site of an abandoned whaling station, gives us an excellent chance to see whales, who often return to its rich waters. In the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, our Expedition Leader, Captain, and Marine Mammal experts will create a flexible itinerary based on weather, ice, and previous sightings to maximize our whale watching opportunities, while also exploring some of the lesser traveled areas of the Peninsula.  We will aim for the most scenic bays and channels, with stops at penguin rookeries, seal wallows, bird colonies and whale feeding areas, as well as sites of historic and scientific interest. 

Day 9-12, Antarctica

Heading further South, we will be sure to explore the Gerlache Strait and its surrounding channels and islands.  This may include trips to picturesque Neko Harbor, sheltered Paradise Harbor, the Humpback Whale favored 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. At this time of year, most areas have amazing marine mammal viewing opportunities with Weddell, Crabeater and Elephant Seals often found hauled out to rest along with predatory Leopard seals and the assertive Antarctic Fur seal. Minke and Humpback whales are frequent visitors during this season and Orca sightings are also common.

Day 13-14, 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 15, Ushuaia disembarkation

Morning disembarkation lets you catch a flight to Buenos Aires or stay in Ushuaia for more sights and adventure.