The Antarctic Peninsula is known for a high number of wildlife sightings in front of stunning backdrops of mountains, icy landscapes and water, which combine to provide incredible scenes as you search for whales migrating along the coast.
The peak of the migration season (February and March) is the best opportunity to see these majestic ocean dwellers, as all Antarctic whale species migrate long distances, feeding in the cold, nutrient-rich Southern Ocean during the southern summer. The most common species found in the region are humpback, minke and fin whales, as well as orcas. As whale season is in full swing, keep your eyes peeled as you head out on daily Zodiac excursions.
The WWF research team travelling with you will take another Zodiac to search of whales, deploying non-invasive tracking tools to gather data such as whale orientation, movement and speed. The suction-capped devices used also have two cameras attached, providing a first person (or first-whale!) view of underwater lives. The researchers will also use drone technology to track whale size and movement from above, as well as to observe krill populations in the southern oceans. While they may be exploring in different regions to you on any given day, they will report back regularly at the evening recap presentations.
You can be a scientist, too! Join one of the exciting on board citizen science projects, the Happy Whale Project, where you can upload photos of whale’s tails (flukes) online, along with details of where the images are taken, which are then used to analyse and identify the individual whale and track its movement across the oceans. Sightings can happen from the outer decks of the ship or during a Zodiac excursion, or on the ship's bridge with your captain, where the open bridge policy allows you into the command centre of the Ocean Endeavour for a look at the inner workings of your expedition and access to the best place to spot whales.
An average day on board begins with a wake-up call from your expedition leader around 7 am, giving you time to prepare for the day before joining your fellow expeditioners for breakfast in the Polaris restaurant. You will usually have two excursions per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, with a delicious lunch served on the Ocean Endeavour in between. (Bx4/Lx4/Dx4)