Robert Clancy Group Antarctic Peninsula, Weddell Sea and the Falkland Islands
24 December 2016 - 9 January 2017
This unique itinerary has been designed for those who want the most in-depth experience possible.
As with all our expeditions, safety is our top priority. For that reason weather, ice or other conditions may require us to change our itinerary and shore excursions as we go but that is half the fun of Polar exploring. Predictability is a word that has no relevance in this environment.
Vessel: Akademik Sergey Vavilov
Embarkation: King George Island, South Shetlands
Disembarkation: Stanley, Falkland Islands
24 December: Fly to Santiago
Depart on your flight to Santiago, Chile.
25 December: Arrive Santiago
On arrival make your way to the hotel.
Overnight at the Hotel Plaza El Bosque Nueva Las Condes Hotel in double/twin rooms with breakfast. Your hotel is located within the business/commercial district of Nuevas Las Condes, Santiago, just a few steps from the subway station Manquehue and well known Parque Araucano a famous ‘green-spot’ of the area. Tonight the group will meet up and enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel.
26 December : Santiago – Punta Arenas
Today the group will be transferred to the airport to join the flight to the southern Chilean port city of Punta Arenas. On arrival we will be transferred to our hotel.
Overnight at Hotel Cabo de Hornos in twin/double standard rooms with breakfast included. As our anticipation mounts, we will enjoy a dinner together at the hotel.
27 December: Punta Arenas Chile to King George Island, Antarctica
Our journey commences this morning in Punta Arenas. We gather at a central meeting point and transfer with other passengers to the airport for the two-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Antarctica.
Upon arrival at the Chilean Antarctic base on King George Island, we embark our ship, the Akademik Sergey Vavilov, via zodiac.
After settling in to our cabins and exploring our new surroundings, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail and dinner. Everyone on board will be looking forward to the incredible adventure ahead.
28 – 29 December: Gerlache Strait and Antarctic Peninsula - Antarctica
Overnight we have navigated across the Bransfield Strait and we awake to the towering peaks of the Antarctic continent laid out before us. For the next three days we have a varied itinerary exploring the Gerlache coastline. If ice conditions allow, we cruise through the Lemaire Channel and visit sites which may include Pleneau Island and the Penola Strait. To the south lies Petermann Island, home to a sizeable penguin rookery where both Adelie and Gentoo penguins nest side by side.
A visit to an active research base nearby provides a fascinating insight into the important climate change science occurring in Antarctica. There’s a fantastic walk on a nearby island and we can make a full traverse across a snowy knoll from one side of the island to the other. The old British Antarctic Survey hut of Wordie House, begs for further investigation. Returning north, we pass the massive granite sentinels of Mount Scott and Mount Shackleton and may attempt a second transit of the Lemaire Channel.
The landscape all along this section of the Antarctic coastline feature heavily glaciated mountains permanently covered in ice and snow. Our activity program is in full swing by now, and each day we enjoy guided walks on shore, visits to wildlife colonies, and zodiac cruising among the ice with our expert guides providing insight and interpretation. Planned visits could include Paradise Harbour, Orne Harbour or Andvord Bay, or a cruise through the Errera Channel to visit the penguin rookeries at Cuverville Island. Wilhelmina Bay is another favorite location and one where we frequently encounter pods of humpback whales.
30 December: South Shetland Islands, Antarctica
We are now heading north towards Antarctic Sound – the gateway into the icy Weddell Sea. Along the way we hope to make a planned visit at Deception Island.
If weather conditions permit, we sail the ship right into the middle of a volcanic caldera. This is a very dramatic place and home to several penguin rookeries along the black sand beaches. History is all around us as we explore the old whaling station, with the rusted relics and dilapidated wooden structures. Fur seals gather among the old structures seeking protection from the elements. At the far end of the beach is an old aircraft hangar. This is where Australian, Sir Hubert Wilkins made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928. There is an outstanding hike here to a location known as ‘Neptune’s Window’ -high up onto the rim of the crater.
31 December – 2 January: Antarctic Sound and the Weddell Sea - Antarctica
At about 25 nautical miles long and about 10 nautical miles wide, the Antarctic Sound separates Joinville Island from the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. As we sail into the sound we witness, for the first time the vastness and majesty of the Antarctic icecap. It is an awe-inspiring sight. Heading into the Weddell Sea we notice a significant increase in the number of huge tabular icebergs and the presence of sea ice. These massive icebergs break from the huge ice shelves to the south and drift north on the currents. This always makes for exciting navigation and stunning photographic opportunities in the soft Antarctic twilight. This is wild and remote Antarctica and has a distinctly different feel from locations visited thus far.
The Weddell Sea region is home to Adelie penguin rookeries of staggering size. –some contain more than 100,000 nesting birds. Such colonies dwarf the rookeries we have visited so far.
Weather permitting, excursions may include Hope Bay, Paulet Island and Brown Bluff. All eyes will be trained on the ice floes through which we navigate the ship. We have enjoyed successful sightings of emperor penguins in this area in recent years. Based on the size and plumage, our naturalists believe them to be juveniles out exploring and fishing – and possible residents of the known emperor colony on the southern side of Snow Hill Island.
The history of exploration in this region is incredibly rich. Remnants of Nordenskjöld’s Swedish expedition of 1901-1904 are found in several locations in this area. The epic century-old story of Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expedition has strong links to the region. It was here that he and his men drifted north on the ice after their ship had been lost in the ice months earlier.
As we head north and out of the Weddell Sea, the lavender pink sunset off the port quarter of the ship will make some of us pause to consider the bravery (or foolhardiness) of those early explorers who traveled these waters a hundred years before us.
3 January: Elephant Island - Antarctica
We approach Elephant Island from the south. Point Lookout, on the southern tip of the island, is home to an impressive chinstrap penguin colony. Macaroni penguins also breed here and are a species we have yet to encounter to date. Both southern elephant seals and Antarctic fur seals are hauled out on the beaches in large numbers. If conditions permit we may visit the fabled location of Point Wild on the north Coast of Elephant Island. It is here that Shackleton and his men were encamped under their upturned life boats, before five men set off on a rescue mission to South Georgia in their tiny lifeboat.
4-5 January: At Sea
While sailing across to the Falkland Islands our onboard polar experts will recap our Weddell Sea adventures and prepare us for the days ahead. Much of our time is spent scanning the horizon in search of whales and other marine mammals. The spectacular seabirds including several albatross and petrel species are our constant companions as they soar above the ship. Photographing these stunning birds in flight takes great patience and skill and our resident photography expert on board will show you the best techniques. Our onboard educational program continues and our experts entertain us with interactive presentations.
6 January: West Point & Saunders Islands, Falkland Islands
Arriving into the Falkland Islands overnight, we explore the islands of West Point and Saunders, both in the West Falklands archipelago. West Point is known for its rockhopper penguin rookeries and large nesting black browed albatross colony. The opportunity to observe these spectacular birds in close proximity on the nest is an immense privilege and an experience not easily forgotten.
One final highlight awaits – a visit to the wildlife-rich Saunders Island. Along the white sand beaches and in the tussock grass we hope to encounter no less than four penguin species living in close quarters including gentoo, magellanic and rockhopper -and our ultimate goal during the Falkland Island visit, observing the impressive king penguin. Saunders is a fitting end to an epic Antarctic adventure. Charting a course for the port of Stanley in early evening light, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship and reflect on one of life’s great travel experiences.
7 January: Port Stanley, Falkland Islands- Punta Arenas - Santiago
In the early morning, we navigate through the narrows and into the harbour of Port Stanley. Stanley is currently home to just over 2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a rural town in coastal England or Scotland. It is charming with brightly colored houses, pretty flower-filled gardens, a quaint cathedral and several local pubs. There is time to explore the town, before we make our way to the airport for our return flight to Punta Arenas in southern Chile.
On arrival we will connect through to our onward flight to Santiago. On arrival we will be met and transferred to our hotel.Overnight at the Hotel Plaza El Bosque Nueva Las Condes Hotel in double/twin rooms with breakfastTonight a farewell dinner for the group at Restaurant Barrica 94 before we depart for home
8 January: Depart Santiago
Depart on your flight from Santiago, Chile back to London.
9 January: Arrive home
Arrive back in the UK
£11,395 per person in twin share cabin with semi private facilities
£650 per person supplement for twin share cabin with private facilities
£1100 per person supplement for superior cabin with private facilities
Supplements for suites on board the ship on request.
Please refer to the enclosed ship’s details document for more information on cabin types.
ALL PRICES INCLUDE:
- Return flights from the UK to start point in Santiago
- Robert Clancy to accompany the group throughout
- Special programme of Robert Clancy lectures exclusive to the group
- Pre and post voyage nights in Santiago and Punta Arenas on bed and breakfast basis
- Transfers in Santiago – from hotel to airport and from airport to hotel
- Flights Santiago/Punta Arenas/SantiagoTransfers in Punta Arenas – from airport to hotel and from hotel to central meeting point.
- Charter flights Punta Arenas/King George IslandCharter flights Stanley/Punta Arenas
- Voyage aboard Akademik Sergey Vavilov in twin cabin.
- Welcome dinner on arrival and farewell dinner on departure excluding drinks
- Dinner in Punta Arenas excluding drinks
- All meals during the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee & tea
- 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 programme
- Comprehensive pre-departure material
- Fuel surcharges as known at the time.
- Transfers from airport to hotel on first day and from hotel to airport on last day.
- Additional meals and drinks, items of a personal nature.
- Visas if required
- 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
- Customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).
- Further fuel surcharges which may be levied by the ship operator prior to departure.
Arcturus clients are required to have adequate insurance protection against medical, cancellation and other expenses. If on a ship-based itinerary, you must ensure that your insurance covers emergency evacuation/repatriation as well as costs incurred in the event of flight delays causing you to miss your voyage, or missing your homeward flight if the ship is late back into port.
Seek professional advice from your Doctor or Travel Clinic before travelling.
We recommend you visit the MASTA website at www.masta.org . This offers a service which asks several questions about your travel arrangements then issues a report. This is very useful to show your local Doctor.
PASSPORT AND VISA REQUIREMENTS
Passports must be valid for at least six months from date of return. Your passport should have a minimum of at least 3-5 blank pages.It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure that they have obtained the correct visas for their journey.