Across the Antarctic Circle
Aboard MV Plancius
- 12 days 6 Mar – 17 Mar 2016
- Ex: Ushuaia
Departure from Ushuaia
In the afternoon, we embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel and sail through this scenic waterway for the rest of the evening.
DAY 2 – 3
During these two days we sail across the Drake Passage. When we cross the Antarctic Convergence, we arrive in the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area we may see Wandering Albatrosses, Grey Headed Albatrosses, Black- browed Albatrosses, Light- mantled Sooty Albatrosses, Cape Pigeons, Southern Fulmars, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Blue Petrels and Antarctic Petrels. Near the South Shetland Islands, we spot our first icebergs. The Master of the vessel may decide to sail the narrow English Strait between Robert Island and Greenwich Island or Mc Farlane Strait between Greenwich Island and Livingston Island if the conditions are favorable. Then we might be able to enter Antarctic waters in the late evening of the third day and see Aitcho Island at the South Shetlands. If the conditions do not allow us to manoeuvre through the English Strait then we continue sailing South of Livingston. These volcanic islands or the South Shetlands are windswept and often shrouded in mist and fog, but do offer subtle pleasures. There is a nice variety of flora (mosses, lichens and flowering grasses) and fauna, such as Gentoo Penguins, Chinstrap Penguins and southern Giant Petrels.
DAY 4 – 9
We may start our first day in Antarctica with a landing at Hannah Point, where we will find a nice variety of Gentoo Penguins, Chinstraps and southern Giant Petrels, as well as Elephant Seals hauling out on the beach. At Deception Island, we will try to land. Deception itself is a sub ducted crater, which opens into the sea, creating a natural harbour for the ship. Here we find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, thousands of Cape Pigeons and many Dominican Gulls, Brown and South Polar Skuas and Antarctic Terns.
Wilson’s Storm Petrels and Black-bellied Storm Petrels nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay. Good walkers may hike from Baily Head over the ridge of the crater into Whalers Bay, while our ship braves its entrance into the crater through the spectacular Neptune’s Bellow into the ring of Deception Island. On our way further South we will sail to Orne Islands with large colonies of Chinstrap Penguins and a beautiful view across the Gerlache Strait or to Cuverville Island, a small precipitous island, nestled between the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula and Danco Island. It contains a large colony of Gentoo Penguins and breeding pairs of Brown Skuas. In Neko Harbour and Paradise Bay with its myriad icebergs and deep cut fjords, we have the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent. We shall have the opportunity for zodiac cruising between the icebergs in the inner parts of the fjords.
We sail through the spectacular Lemaire Channel to Petermann Island offering Adelie Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags. We also try to land at Pleneau Island with Elephant Seals and fair chances to encounter Humpback, Minke and Fin Whales. We head south along the Argentine Islands to Crystal Sound, south of the polar circle. The landscape is very impressive with very high mountains and huge glaciers. At the Fish Islands we land at one of the southernmost Adelie Penguin and Blue-eyed Shag colonies in the Antarctic Peninsula. At Detaille Island, south of the Polar Circle, in Crystal Sound we reach probably our farthest south. Sailing north again through Neumayer Channel and Gerlache Strait, we arrive at the Melchior Islands with a very beautiful landscape with icebergs, where we may encounter Leopard Seals, Crabeater Seals and whales.
DAY 10 – 11
On our way north we are again followed by a great selection of seabirds while crossing the Drake Passage.
Arrival in Ushuaia
We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark.
Dates & Cost
- MV Ortelius – 12 days 13 Mar – 24 Mar 2015 Ex: Ushuaia
|Quad Porthole||Triple Porthole||Twin Porthole||Twin Window||Twin Deluxe|
Superior – US$11,850
Sole occupancy: All cabins 1.7 times the share price.
• Voyage aboard the designated vessel as indicated in the itinerary.
• All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
• Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation).
• All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
• Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
• All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program.
• Comprehensive pre-departure material.
We are able to organise pre and post excursions and accommodation as required. Please contact us for further details.
What’s not included
Any airfare whether on scheduled or charter flights; pre- and post land arrangements; transfers to the vessel; passport and visa expenses; Government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended); excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges; and the customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).
It is agreed that if fuel prices will exceed US Dollar 120 per Barrel Brent 90 days prior to departure Oceanwide Expeditions reserves the right to levy a fuel surcharge of US Dollar 25 per passenger per night, to be paid by the contracting party of Oceanwide Expeditions.
How to book
To initiate your reservation, please contact us as soon as possible to place an option on the voyage and cabin grade of your choice. The Booking Form is to be signed, completed and returned to Adventure Associates along with your deposit. Reservations are established only when you receive written confirmation and acceptance of the deposit payment and Booking Form.
Ice-strengthened Expedition Vessel
MV Plancius was built in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy and was named ‘Hr. Ms.Tydeman’. The ship sailed for the Dutch Navy until June 2004 and was finally purchased by Oceanwide Expeditions. The MV Plancius has been completely rebuilt as a 110-passenger vessel and complies with the latest SOLAS-regulations (Safety Of Life At Sea), offering a restaurant/lecture room on deck 3 and a spacious observation lounge (with bar) on deck 5 with large windows, with full panorama view. The vessell has large open deck spaces (with full walk-around possibilities on deck 3), giving excellent opportunities to enjoy the scenery and wildlife. She is furthermore equipped with 10 Mark V zodiacs, including 40 HP 4-stroke outboard engines and 2 gangways on starboard side, guaranteeing a swift zodiac operation. The vessel is equipped with a diesel-electric propulsion system which reduces the noise and vibration of the engines considerably. The 3 diesel engines generate 1.230 horse-power each, giving the vessel a speed of 10 – 12 knots. The vessel is ice-strengthened and was specially built for oceanographic voyages.
MV Plancius is comfortable and nicely decorated, but is not a luxurious vessel. The voyages in the Arctic and Antarctic regions are and will still be primarily defined by an exploratory educational travel programme, spending as much time ashore as possible. This vessel is manned by 17 nautical crew, 19 hotel staff (6 chefs, 1 hotel manager, 1 steward-barman and 11 stewards / cabin cleaners), 8 expedition staff (1 expedition leader and 7 guides-lecturers) and 1 doctor.
MV Plancius accommodates 53 passenger cabins, all with private toilet and shower, as follows:
- Quadruple: 5 cabins with private facilities.
- Triple Porthole: 2 cabins with private facilities.
- Twin Porthole: 9 cabins with porthole, private facilities, lower berths.
- Twin Window: 26 cabins with window, private facilities, lower berths.
- Twin Deluxe: 2 cabins with 2 windows (aft and side view), private facilities, lower berths.
- Superior: 10 cabins with private facilities, double beds.