Apr 4, 2024 | Arcturus, Blog Posts, Trip Reports

The cry went out ‘orcas on the port side’ and moments later three of these awesome ocean predators were powering alongside our ship. Memorable! I’m aboard top notch 132 passenger Sylvia Earle on her 9-day Antarctic Peninsula Express – a concise sail-fly voyage from Ushuaia to the Antarctic Peninsula. This is the voyage for those with limited time but wanting to see the mesmerizing 7th continent.

The infamous Drake Passage – a two-day sail was extremely kind to us and combined with the stability of the ship and her special X-Bow, the dining room was full most days.

We travelled at 16 knots to run ahead of a brewing storm and arrived at Melchior Island ahead of time, giving space to a pod of feeding whales. Gliding by huge blue/ white icebergs with incredible striations, we entered a sheltered bay and headed out by zodiac to explore hidden coves. Further zodiac cruises in the coming days encountered light snow, limp sunshine and impressively large-scale icebergs.

In Paradise Bay, a colony of cormorants rested on bird cliffs and gentoos bustled in their rookeries outside the Argentine Brown Base. We made a continental landing at Portal Point and hiked up through deep snow to incredible view-points over sparkling Charlotte Bay.

The two landings per day were always in varied locations and full of surprise. The polar snorkellers swam with fur seals. Kayakers and hikers spotted a mound of elephant seals. We had soaring skuas and a thrilling encounter with feeding humpback whales blowing and diving all about our zodiac. We walked on rocky shores littered with whale bones, hiked volcanic sand in the flooded caldera of Deception Island and spotted a lone king penguin in the South Shetland Islands. What a thrill!

Flying out to Chile from the gravel air strip on King George Island – time to reflect. Truly a trip to remember! Ask Fiona about the numerous Antarctic and Arctic polar voyages available on Sylvia Earle and her sister ship Greg Mortimer.


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Our sister company, Far Frontiers Travel, specialises in tailor-making bespoke travel to Central Asia, China and Mongolia, the Far East, Indian Subcontinent and the Himalayas, Indochina, Myanmar, Middle East, North Africa and Europe, Russia and South America.