Hola and welcome to Chile. Your journey begins on the southern tip of the country in Punta Arenas. On the north bank of the Strait of Magellan, this was once a penal colony but is now a friendly town port town with many historic sites and museums to see. After exploring during the day, join the rest of the group for dinner in the evening, where you’ll also meet the Antarctic expedition team.
Fly from Punta Arenas to King George Island
Today board the chartered flight to Antarctica. The four-hour journey over the Drake Passage provides spectacular views of the sea below. If skies are clear, Antarctica comes into view just before the descent to King George Island. On landing, use some free time to take your first photographs and stretch your legs before heading out to the ship via Zodiac boat.
As you approach the Antarctic Peninsula, watch wildlife swim in the cold waters below and witness penguins in their natural habitat. Over the next few days, make several excursions by Zodiac to the peninsula and surrounding islands. While weather and sea conditions determine which landings can be made, the expedition team will ensure that each day of your Antarctic adventure is unforgettable. Climb to the top of a hill for panoramic views of the continent, or explore the historic site of Port Lockroy and send a postcard from the world’s southernmost post office. Watch glaciers calving into the sea at Petermann Island or cruise around Pleneau Island in a Zodiac in search of elephant and fur seals. Each day will be completely different.
Possible Landings and Wildlife Sightings
A gentoo penguin rookery is situated on the north end of the island on a rocky beach. Depending on the time of season you visit, you may see them building nests or attending to their chicks. Giant petrels and kelp gulls also breed on the island.
- DAMOY POINT
If you're lucky enough to mail a postcard in Antarctica, you’ll likely pass through Damoy Point. This is the northern entrance to the harbour on which Port Lockroy is located.
- DANCO ISLAND
This small island, 1. 6 km (one mile) in length, is easy to explore and home to gentoo penguins. Visit the marker of a former British Antarctic Survey hut and watch out for a variety of seabirds such as snowy sheathbills, kelp gulls and blue-eyed shags.
- ENTERPRISE ISLAND
Located in Wilhelmina Bay, this island was once used by whalers. A Zodiac cruise around the island passes by a wrecked whaling ship.
- LEMAIRE CHANNEL
This strait runs between Booth Island and the Antarctic Peninsula, and is one of the most scenic locations on the western coast, especially during sunrise and sunset. The 11 km (6. 8 mile) channel may become impassable when ice fills the narrow passageway, so we’ll hope for clear waters.
- MELCHIOR ISLANDS
This is a group of low islands in Dallmann Bay, on which you may see male fur seals haul-out at the end of the breeding season to recuperate from their battles for supremacy.
- NEKO HARBOUR
This bay was once used by the floating whale factory ship Neko. You may see some whale vertebrae used by resident gentoo penguins as shelter from the wind. There's an unmanned refuge hut here, erected by Argentina. Climb past the hut and up a steep slope for spectacular views of the glacier-rimmed harbour.
- PETERMANN ISLAND
Here, near the Lemaire Channel, you can stand ashore and see the southernmost breeding colony of gentoo penguins. Adelie penguins, shags and south polar skuas also inhabit the island. The dome of the island rises 200 meters (650 feet) above the sea, offering a challenging hike for panoramic views.
- PORT LOCKROY
Journey to Port Lockroy if weather permits. The harbour is on the west side of Wiencke Island. A secret base was built here during the Second World War as part of Operation Tabarin. It's now designated as a historic site, featuring a museum and the world's southernmost post office. Proceeds from your purchases here support the preservation of historic sites from the Heroic Age of Exploration.
- WATERBOAT POINT
At low tide this historic point is connected to the Antarctic mainland. Zodiacs can be used to explore the area when the tide is in. Two scientists studying penguin behaviour lived in a water boat on the point from 1921-22. The remains of their camp have been designated as an Antarctic historic site.
- AITCHO ISLANDS
This is a group of small islands, some still unnamed, situated in the northern entrance of the English Strait. You can often spot a great mix of wildlife here, including at the established rookeries of gentoo and chinstrap penguins. Southern elephant and fur seals are frequently hauled-out here too.
- BAILY HEAD
Also known as Rancho Point, this area is a rocky headland on the southeastern shore of Deception Island. Chinstrap penguins build nests on slopes leading to a high ridge, which dominates a natural amphitheater and provides a superb setting for landscape photography.
- HALF MOON ISLAND
This crescent-shaped island was known to sealers as early as 1821. Unlike the sealers who liked to keep their best locations secret, we’re happy to bring you ashore on this impressive island. Many Antarctic birds breed here, including chinstrap penguins, shags, Wilson’s storm-petrels, kelp gulls, snowy sheathbills, Antarctic terns and skua.
- HANNAH POINT
Macaroni, chinstrap and gentoo penguin rookeries are located on the point, which is on the south coast of Livingston Island. Due to the rather congested area available to the nesting penguins, you can only visit here from 10 January onwards.
- PENDULUM COVE
Hot geothermal waters are found along the shoreline of this cove, which was named after observations made in 1829 by a British expedition. You may see yellow algae and boiled krill floating on the surface because of the scalding hot water.
- PENGUIN ISLAND
Antarctica has two flowering plants, both of which you can find on Penguin Island: Deschampsia antarctica and Colobanthus quitensis. Chinstrap penguins, fur seals and southern elephant seals use the island for breeding purposes.
- ROBERT POINT
A nice spot for Zodiac cruising, this point was known to sealers as early as 1820. Chinstrap penguins, kelp gulls and pintado breed here, and whales may be seen in the surrounding waters.
- TELEFON BAY
Your expedition team will point out where the most recent evidence of volcanic eruption on Deception Island can be seen.
- TURRET POINT
Chinstrap and Adelie penguin rookeries are found on this point, which is situated on the south coast of King George Island. The beaches are often crowded with southern elephant, fur, and Weddell seals hauled-out on the rocks.
- WHALER'S BAY
To reach Whaler’s Bay, sail through the narrow passage of Neptune’s Bellows. The bay was used by whalers from 1906 to 1931 and is part of a protected harbour created by a circular flooded caldera, known as Deception Island. Along with waddling penguins and lounging seals, you’ll see the rusty remains of whaling operations on the beach. Watch for steam rising from geothermally-heated springs along the shoreline.
- YANKEE HARBOUR
Gentoo penguins have established a rookery on this harbour, which is situated on the southwest side of Greenwich Island. You can also see an abandoned Argentine refuge hut and a huge glacier stretching along the east and north sides of the bay. An abandoned try-pot is all that remains of the sealing activity that brought men thousands of miles to seek their fortune.
It may signal your last days at sea, but crossing the Drake Passage is a spectacular experience. Up on deck, your expedition team may be able to point out albatross in the sky above or minke and humpback whales in the water below. The team will also conclude their series of engaging presentations on subjects such as marine biology, polar history and glaciology, so there will be plenty of time to rest your weary sea legs.
Disembark in Ushuaia
After breakfast on the ship, say farewell to the crew and disembark in Ushuaia. Transfer to the hotel and explore the town on your last day. Perhaps head to the shops for some souvenirs, capture an obligatory picture beside the ‘end-of-the-world’ sign or sample Ushuaia’s classic dish of king crab. The Museo Maritimo and Museo del Presidio offer fascinating insights into the town’s penal and maritime history.
There are no activities planned for today and you’re free to make your way to the airport for departure at any time. If you’d like to extend your stay in Ushuaia, please let Global Journeys know at least 14 days prior to departure.