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The Whale Science Voyage

The Whale Science Voyage

Above Image: Whale Study Research permits, ACA2019-018, EPBCP 2018-0020

A collaboration with 

14 Days/13 Nights
Ushuaia to Ushuaia

Departure: 

Feb 27 – Mar 11, 2020 HSK

 

What is the Whale Science Voyage anyway?

We believe science plays a fundamental role in protecting our beloved Antarctic, so in 2014, we created a Citizen Science program that offers travelers the option to contribute to major research studies focused on Antarctica.

Fast forward June of 2018. An opportunity to partner with researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI*) presented itself, and we jumped at the chance. The scientists wanted to gather data on the feeding habits of Humpback whales. Their goal was to have as much time as possible on the water, tagging whales with suction cup electronic devices to record their behavior.

Designing an itinerary around the WHOI program raised some unique challenges. Putting a team of four scientists on the water each day meant that fewer zodiacs would be available for guests, so we reduced our maximum guest count for the voyage. Making sure that the ship was positioned for “whale tagging” as well as normal guest excursions everyday kept our Expedition Team on their toes.

Despite these challenges, the voyage was a resounding success. Our travelers loved being part of a scientific study, (they even came out on deck and applauded the team after a successful day of tagging), and we received numerous heart-felt letters of appreciation. The WHOI team was also very happy with the data they were able to gather, and enjoyed the support of, and interacting with, the guests.

This coming March we will be repeating that success with a few new twists. WHOI hopes to field a team of six this March (four on the water tagging, and two onboard using brand new technology to analyze water samples,). We’ve also added some Citizen Science activities specifically designed to support the WHOI team’s goals.

We hope you’ll be able to join us for what is sure to be a unique and unforgettable adventure!

DANIEL ZITTERBART, PhD
DANIEL ZITTERBART, PhD

Team Leader

WHOI Whale Study Team

Dan will be leading this study. He is a specialist in the use of motion in biological systems and uses artificial intelligence to unravel behavioral traits. He will be responsible for the study’s design, protocols and experiment execution.

KYLIE OWEN, PhD
KYLIE OWEN, PhD

Whale Behavioral Specialist

WHOI Whale Study Team

Kylie is the team’s whale foraging specialist. She will take the lead in finding the whales, following them and assessing their behavior.
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JOSEPH D. WARREN, PhD
JOSEPH D. WARREN, PhD

Krill Specialist

WHOI Whale Study Team

Joe is an expert in finding what whales eat. He will operate the sonar we use to map krill distribution during our study.
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ALESSANDRO BOCCONCELLI, MS
ALESSANDRO BOCCONCELLI, MS

Whale Tracking Technician

WHOI Whale Study Team

Alex has been involved with whale studies for more than 30 years and will be responsible for all of the technology used in this study.
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ANNETTE BOMBOSCH, PhD
ANNETTE BOMBOSCH, PhD

Polar Latitudes Marine Mammal Specialist

WHOI Whale Study Team

Annette studied humpback habitats in the Southern Ocean for her PhD, and has been part of the Polar Latitudes Expedition Team since 2014. She is one of Polar Latitudes’ Citizen Science Coordinators and leads the communication of the team’s scientific methods and results to the guests.

* WHOI is a trademark and service mark of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, all rights reserved.

Day-by-Day Overview

  • Complimentary Pre-Arrival Day
  • Day 1: Ushuaia
  • Day 2: Embarkation
  • Day 3-4: Drake Passage
  • Day 5-7: South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula
  • Day 8-11: Antarctica
  • Day 12-13: Drake Passage
  • Day 14: Disembarkation

Complimentary Pre-Arrival Day

Don’t sweat flight delays or missed connections when you begin your adventure a day early by taking advantage of our optional free pre-arrival night at the beautiful Arakur Hotel & Resort, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. Enjoy the spa, wander the trails, or unwind and soak in the surroundings.

Day 1, 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 to meet some of your fellow travelers.

Day 2, 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 3-4, Drake Passage

As we make our way ever closer to the white continent, our Expedition Team 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.The WHOI Team will present us with an overview of their study’s goals and methods. Eventually, we’ll cross the Antarctic Convergence where we’ll notice a distinct drop in temperature as we enter the waters of the Southern Ocean.Those eager to participate in citizen science can take part in seabird 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 5-7, 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, which often return to its rich waters.In the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, our Expedition Leader and Captain 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. The WHOI Team will begin their research, and will give us periodic updates on the study’s progress.

Day 8-11, 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 12-13, 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 14, Ushuaia disembarkation

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

* WHOI is a trademark and service mark of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, all rights reserved.

 Sold Out
 Limited
 Sold Out
 Limited
START DATE TRIPLE PORTHOLE WINDOW PROMENADE DELUXE VERANDA PENTHOUSE OWNER’S
Feb 27, 2020$9,995$14,295$16,295$16,795$17,295$18,795$21,295$22,995
All voyages include a Complimentary Pre-Arrival Night in Ushuaia

Prices quoted are per-person based on double/triple occupancy.
A limited number of twin suites may be sold for single occupancy at 1.7 times the twin rate.

START DATE TRIPLE PORTHOLE WINDOW PROMENADE DELUXE VERANDA PENTHOUSE OWNER’S
Feb 27, 2020$9,995$14,295$16,295$16,795$17,295$18,795$21,295$22,995
All voyages include a Complimentary Pre-Arrival Night in Ushuaia

Prices quoted are per-person based on double/triple occupancy.
A limited number of twin suites may be sold for single occupancy at 1.7 times the twin rate.

ACTIVITIES

Sign up at time of booking
Space is extremely limited

Sign up on board
Available to all guests on all voyages

FRIENDS & FAMILY

Have three people in your party?

Most suites have a sofa, which converts to a bed suitable for persons up to 5’10” in height.

Rates vary by deck

 

 

IMPORTANT DETAILS

  • The dates & prices for all of the itineraries listed above include up to two complimentary, pre-departure hotel nights at the port of embarkation.
  • Prices quoted are per-person based on double/triple occupancy.
  • A limited number of twin suites may be sold for single occupancy at 1.7 times the twin rate.
Special Citizen Science Projects for this Voyage

Click Here for details on our full Citizen Science program, available to all guests on every voyage.

Water Sampling

To support the WHOI* team during this voyage, guests will take water samples in the same areas where the WHOI study is conducted. These samples will be analyzed on board during the voyage and contribute to understanding of the relationship between humpback feeding behavior and water chemistry.

Whale Surveys

When the WHOI* Science team is out and tagging whales, we will be counting and localizing whales in the vicinity of of the ships at timed intervals. Please bring your binoculars.

* WHOI is a trademark and service mark of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, all rights reserved.