Antarctic Peninsula and Polar Circle
AT A GLANCE
Bird & Wildlife Cruise:
birds, whales & dolphins, mammals, scenery, historical sites & photography
Ushuaia (Argentina) – Drake Passage – Antarctic Peninsula & Islands (including down to the Antarctic Circle) – Drake Passage – Ushuaia
Penguins including Gentoo, Chintrap and Adelie, albatrosses including Wandering, Black-browed and Light-mantled Sooty, other tubenoses eg petrels, prions, diving-petrels, storm-petrels and shearwaters etc, various shags, skuas, gulls and terns. Potential marine mammals include Southern Elephant, Leopard, Weddell, Crab-eater and other seals, Humpback, Orca, Fin, Antarctic Minke and other whales. Dolphins could include Peale’s and Hourglass.
90+ passenger comfortable expedition ship. Cabins with, and without private facilities.
Antarctica is truly like nowhere else on Earth, a continent of dramatic ice-covered mountains, never-ending snowfields, innumerable glaciers and colossal icebergs fractured into fantastic shapes. Captivated and spellbound by the incredible and ever changing beauty of our surroundings, you will thrill to the unique wildlife spectacles that unfold daily on these trips.
Throughout these voyages, landings are made at the best areas for wildlife. Sturdy Zodiac inflatables allow us to go ashore at the remotest of places with ease and comfort. At times, we will also go cruising in the Zodiacs, often in and around fabulous bergs. The days spent at sea on this trip will be a major highlight for wildlife observation too. A key element of our success is that by travelling in a group we will have many keen eyes, ensuring that more birds and cetaceans are spotted than on the average voyage. We also include a day’s bird watching excursion in Ushuaia to visit our favourite local birding hotspots including several in the Tierra del Fuego National Park, and will seek the local specialities including Magellanic Woodpecker.
WildWings have been sending people to Antarctica for over 20 years now and we have learnt that the best bird and wildlife experience needs the right itinerary, on the right ship with the right staff. This new unique partnership with our preferred operator, One Ocean Expeditions, allows us to offer two superb itineraries, all featuring Dick Filby, one of the UK’s most experienced Antarctic tour leaders. Dick will be joining their larger than average expedition teams onboard, and will work closely with the expedition leaders to maximise the wildlife opportunities throughout each voyage. In addition to their expedition staff, One Ocean Expeditions are unique in offering the services of their Adventure Concierges onboard too, to look after every last little detail. There may also be an opportunity to spend a night, ‘camping’ ashore, for those that wish, a wonderful additional wilderness experience. We offer these voyages with WildWings extra inclusions (pre-voyage hotel night in Ushuaia with guided birding excursion to the Tierra Del Fuego National Park).
These voyages offer all the expected birds and mammals of the Antarctic Peninsula including the crossings of the Drake Passage. Chinstrap, Adelie and Gentoo Penguins, Wandering, Royals, Black-browed, Grey-headed and Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, both Giant Petrels, Southern Fulmar, Cape, (Lesser) Snow, Soft-plumaged, Blue and White-chinned Petrels, Antarctic and Slender-billed Prions, Wilson’s and Black-bellied Storm-Petrels, Common Diving Petrel, Antarctic Shags, Snowy Sheathbill, Chilean, Brown and South Polar Skuas, Dolphin and Kelp Gulls plus Antarctic Terns being the expected birds species. If you are lucky in the Drake Passage other species may include Great-winged, Atlantic, Kerguelan and/or Grey Petrels and down around the ice, Antarctic Petrels can appear at any time. The expected cetaceans on these voyages would be Humpback, Antarctic Minke and Killer Whales plus Peale’s Dolphins but many more species are possible and seen such as Blue, Fin and Southern Right Whales. Other marine mammals should include Weddell, Crabeater, Antarctic Fur and Leopard Seals. In addition to the spectacular wildlife you will also wonder at the ice, its shapes, colours and hues and soak in some of the most amazing scenery on earth in the ever changing light. Photographic (still and video) opportunities are superb throughout.
The 2014 voyage is two nights longer than normal, and will go much further south to cross the Antarctic Circle at 66 degrees south. This is a rare opportunity to experience a real ‘otherworld’ of surreal icescapes and huge tabular bergs in addition to all the ‘usual’ sites further north.
Our vessels for these superb expedition cruises will be our favourite ships, the Vavilov, built in 1989 and her sister “Ioffe’. With a maximum passenger capacity of 92/96, we can expect to make two landings and/or Zodiac cruises each day. These vessels offers a number of advantages over the 50 or so passenger ships, not least their larger size meaning greater stability on the open ocean, very important for maximising sea watching on the crossings of the Drake Passage. They are very stable and a ‘scope and tripod can often be used on deck, whilst at sea! Originally built for scientific polar exploration, they have lots of open deck space in all directions, ideal for sea-watching and photography and is very quiet too, allowing for closer encounters with cetaceans. These ships have a high ice-class rating, and their experienced staff and crew are dedicated to ensuring that you have a successful, comfortable, safe and enjoyable trip and that you see as much of the wildlife as possible. The Zodiac drivers will take us safely ashore, and also on more leisurely cruises as well, so we gain an even more intimate and unique perspective of the seabirds and marine mammals in this stunning wilderness.
The atmosphere on board is relaxing and informal and meals are taken at a single open sitting in the spacious dining room. Western chefs produce an international choice of cuisine throughout the voyage. At certain points during your voyage a speedy or take away dining option maybe available to minimise time in the dining room and maximise time on deck for those that wish. The cabins are comfortable and all have an outside view (porthole or window), desk and chair plus storage space and power points. All cabins (except the triples) include bathrobes, toiletry kits, a hairdryer and a tea/coffee maker. In addition, the suites also have a CD player/mini-stereo with Ipod dock (and use of the ship’s CDs), snack basket and bottle of wine on embarkation, vanity kit plus use of binoculars and a wildlife book Other on board facilities include an fitness room, sauna and polar plunge pool, lounge, presentation room, multi-media room, gift shop and a well-stocked library. The mud-room allows boots and outdoor coats to be kept by the Zodiac gangways. The spacious bridge is usually open for those who wish to learn about navigation, see the ship's charts, or simply sea watch in comfort and is stocked with wildlife ID guides and spare pairs of binoculars. The bar on Vavilov is at the top of the ship with spectacular views from it’s windows.
Whether you are a serious birder, a keen naturalist, or just want to see the most incredible place on earth, don't miss this chance to join the best leader on the best ships, on these classic itineraries at the height of the Austral summer.
Arrive Ushuaia, overnight hotel.
WildWings Birding excursion to Tierra del Fuego National Park. Board vessel and sail down the Beagle Channel.
Days 3 - 4:
At sea, crossing the Drake Passage.
Days 5 - 9:
The Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands (planned landings may include Elephant Island, King George, Half Moon, Aicho, Livingstone and Deception Islands, Paradise Harbour or Hope Bay on the continent itself plus Zodiac cruises).
At sea, crossing the Drake Passage
Disembark Ushuaia after breakfast.
For this year, the ship will either head on a more southerly course from Ushuaia to cross the Polar Circle first, and then slowly work back up north towards the Peninsula area or in reverse. You will sail to the Peninsula area and then work south to the Circle. Total duration 13 nights/14 days.
NB: Each exact voyage itinerary is subject to ice, weather and local conditions at the time.
Please note: All itineraries are subject to weather, local conditions and final approval by the relevant authorities.
Antarctic Peninsula and Polar Circle (Ioffe) 19th – 31st January 2014 (13 nights)
5% discount if 50% of the balance is paid within 30 days of booking (booking must be made at least 180 days prior to sailing).
Leader: Ship’s expedition team including Dick Filby.
£5605 Triple with washbasin (upper & lower berths)
£7219 Twin with semi-private facilities(lower berths)
NB Bathroom shared between two cabins only.
£7599 Twin with private facilities (lower berths)
£7995 Twin superior with private facilities (lower berths)
£8315 Shackleton Suite (double & single berth)
£9219 One Ocean Suite
Single cabins 1.5 twin share price.
Exchange rate £1 = US$1.55
US Dollar prices available for non-UK residents.
Price includes: Accommodation and all meals aboard ship (with free tea and coffee 24 hours), port taxes, Zodiac landings, services of WildWing’s Dick Filby and ship’s expedition staff including lecture and film programmes at sea, optional overnight camping in Antarctica (subject to local conditions), pre-voyage WildWings hotel night in Ushuaia (with breakfast), WildWings birding excursion to Tierra del Fuego National Park in Ushuaia with picnic lunch led by a top English-speaking local bird and wildlife guide, daily sea watching sessions (at sea), evening checklist, WildWings pre-tour information pack and day-by-day checklist of mammals and birds, group transfers in Ushuaia to and from ship, souvenir voyage CD log and free onboard wet weather gear and boot loan.
Price excludes: Flights UK – Ushuaia (available from £999 including pre-paid taxes and current fuel surcharges), additional pre and or post cruise hotel nights in Ushuaia and/or Buenos Aires if required, other meals and all drinks in Argentina, other drinks, laundry and items of a personal nature onboard, crew gratuities (we suggest $10 per passenger per day aboard ship), passport fees, travel insurance.
Deposit: £1200 per person.
A colour brochure with more information about the ship is available plus our recce tour reports and species lists from the January 2006 voyage to the Antarctic Peninsula (and Polar Circle) is on our website or available from us. The January 2011, 2012 and 2013 species lists are online.
19th – 31st January 2014