Active Exploration of the Antarctic Peninsula
Antarctica is the last wild, unspoiled place on earth; the largest, purest wilderness we know, the only continent that has been almost free of human contact since the beginning of time. It is a realm whose beauty is so spectacular and otherworldly, it often leaves visitors speechless.
And on the Antarctic Peninsula, a 700-mile-long finger of land pointing toward the tip of South America, it’s not just the breathtaking scenery that beckons, it’s also the spectacular display of wildlife—thousands of penguins and countless other seabirds like petrels, skuas, and albatross. There is also an abundance of marine mammals in this region of Antarctica, including most of the world’s great whale species and many kinds of seals.
Aboard a small, maneuverable expedition ship and in the company of expert guides, we’ll journey south for an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Sea conditions determine the actual itinerary, but our shipsusually call on remarkable places such as Deception Island, a volcanic caldera that we can sail into and a great place for visiting rookeries and hiking on volcanic slopes, and Paradise Bay, a favorite spot for Zodiac cruising along the face of an ever-calving glacier and iceberg sculptures of fantastic shape and form. The rocky cliffs are full of nesting seabirds, including Antarctic terns, blue-eyed shags, pintados, kelp gulls, and brown skuas.
We travel through this wildlife paradise during Antarctica’s brief but beautiful austral summer, when the weather is sunny and mild and the conditions for photography and exploration are ideal. Whatever your expectations of Antarctica are before your visit, we guarantee that this mystical, unearthly land will exceed and overwhelm them!
Our voyages aboard small ships offer you passage on rugged, yet surprisingly comfortable expedition vessels. All ships we have selected are polar class, with state of the art equipment, and designed specifically for exploration in polar waters, and all ships are equipped with Zodiacs for shore and sea excursions. These vessels feature a small fleet of kayaks for paddling (needs to be booked in advance). We also feature an optional night of camping on land (weather permitting). For more information, see page 8.
Note—While this trip is not an exclusive Mountain Travel Sobek departure, you can book with confidence knowing that we have selected only the finest—and safest—expedition ships in the world, with the best itineraries available in polar waters, operated by companies who have longstanding experience in active shipboard expeditions and impeccable safety records. You’ll also know that you will receive the high level of service you expect from Mountain Travel Sobek.
Easy ship travel, optional walks and Zodiac rides. (Optional sea kayaking and camping)
- A once-in-a-lifetime experience to the "last continent," the most remote destination on earth
- See a spectacular wonderland of mountains, glaciers, icebergs and wildlife in a pristine environment
- Interactive Antarctica on an expedition-style ship - not from the deck of a huge cruise ship!
Duration: 11 days Start Location: Ushuaia End Location: UshuaiaDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Ushuaia - Board ship and set sail
Board your expedition vessel and begin the journey to Antarctica with a scenic sail through the Beagle Channel, then enter the waters of the Drake Passage.
Days 2 - 3 : At sea, crossing the Drake Passage
Continue to motor across the 620 miles of the Drake Passage, passing over the Antarctic Convergence, where nutrient-rich waters attract many species of seabirds and whales.
Days 4 - 8 : Explore the islands, bays, and channels of the Antarctic Peninsula
Explore the islands, bays, and channels of the Antarctic Peninsula, with plenty of time for shore walks through penguin colonies and "ice cruises" by Zodiac for close-up inspection of towering bergs and creaking glaciers. Our itinerary focuses on scenic areas with large concentrations of wildlife, including Paulet and Cuverville Islands, the flooded caldera of Deception Island, Paradise Bay, and the Lemaire Channel, hemmed in by mountain walls rising thousands of feet straight out of the water (it's nicknamed "Kodak Alley"). We also usually visit one or more research stations, possibly Frei (Chilean) and adjoining Bellingshausen (Russian), Arctowski (Polish), or Vernadsky (Ukrainian).
Days 9 - 10 : At sea, crossing the Drake Passage
At sea, crossing the Drake Passage and rounding Cape Horn en route to Ushuaia.
Day 11 : Ushuaia – fly home
We plan to arrive back in Ushuaia in the early morning. After breakfast on board the ship, transfer to the airport for flights home.
DATES: Best time to go: January - March, December Departures: Dec 8 - 18, 2014 On board the Akademik Ioffe. Dec 10 - 20, 2014 On board the Akademik Sergey Vavilov Dec 18 - 28, 2014 On board the Akademik Ioffe. Jan 21 - 31, 2015 On board the Akademik Ioffe Jan 27, 2015 - Feb 6, 2015 On board the Akademik Sergey Vavilov Feb 24, 2015 - Mar 6, 2015 On board the Akademik Sergey Vavilov Mar 5 - 15, 2015 SOLD OUT Mar 6 - 16, 2015 SOLD OUT Mar 15 - 25, 2015 SOLD OUT Mar 16 - 26, 2015 On board the Akademik Sergey Vavilov - Special Marine Mammals Voyage!
Winter 2014-2015 Prices (all prices are US$ per person):
Dec 8, 10 and all March Voyages:
Dec 18, Jan 21, 27, & Feb 24 Voyages:
$795 Sea Kayaking program (Spaces are strictly limited and need to be reserved at time of booking!)
Single Supplement is 1.5 times the Twin cabin price or 2 times the Suite price (singles cannot take over a Triple Cabin). If you are willing to share with a roommate of the same gender, we will waive the single supplement fee (even if no roommate is found).
The sister ships Akademik Sergey Vavilov (92 passengers) and Akademik Ioffe (96 passengers) are modern and comfortable. Scandinavian-built for the Russian Academy of Science, these sister ships were designed to travel quietly during hydro-acoustic research. The ships are maneuverable and yet exceptionally stable, due to external stabilizers and a built-in trimming system. They feature an ice-strengthened hull and a cruising speed in open water of 14.5 knots. These expedition ships are designed for polar adventure trips in Antarctica and the Arctic.
From small group sessions to briefings for all passengers, the public spaces are ideally suited for each and every need. A separate bar and lounge, as well as a library, provide ideal places to relax or catch up on some reading. A selection of movies and documentaries can also be watched in the lounge.
The ship’s bridge is open to passengers virtually 24-hours a day. The chart room is a fascinating place to visit and expedition staff or ship’s crew are often available to answer questions about the equipment and instruments found on the bridge. In addition, the bridge is an excellent place to view wildlife from. Binoculars and wildlife identification guidebooks are available.
One dining room with unreserved seating.
Theatre-style presentation room.
Lounge and bar, open late afternoon and evening with a wide selection of wines and spirits.
Library with a collection of polar-themed books.
Ship-to-shore communications via satellite.
Clinic with licensed doctor.
Gym, sauna and swimming pool.
Elevator between passenger deck levels and to the Bridge level.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way. These trips are often led by:
Aaron Lawton developed the Polar program for One Ocean Expeditions (our partner in the Polar Regions), bringing a strong commitment to conservation in the Polar Regions to his work in operations development. An avid paddler, Aaron has been paddling or rowing some form of human-powered boat for most of his life. His experience encompasses wilderness guiding and instruction by canoe and sea kayak, varsity rowing and most recently a passion for Hawaiian-style outrigger canoe racing. Thousands of miles on the water have given him an appreciation and awareness for the subtle changes in the ocean due to local weather and global climate patterns. Aaron is truly Canadian having lived in the mountains of the Yukon Territory, among the wheat fields of Manitoba, in the orchards of Southern Ontario and along the briny coast of Nova Scotia, all by the ripe old age of twelve. Continuing this passion for new places, Aaron has worked in the outdoor industry on six of the seven continents. Over the last decade, Aaron has been expedition leader or kayak guide on about a hundred trips to the Canadian Arctic, the Antarctic Peninsula and Svalbard. In 2001, Aaron and his wife Cathy embarked on a 10-night unassisted sea kayak expedition along the Antarctic Peninsula. Aaron holds a degree in forestry from the University of British Columbia. This has led to a real appreciation for and understanding of ecology and the connectivity of ecosystems.
Andrew is the Managing Director of One Ocean Expeditions Inc. (our partner in the Polar Regions) and brings his passion for polar regions and their conservation into any discussion he can. An adventurer in his own right, Andrew is an accomplished ocean racing sailor. He led a team that won a race across the Atlantic Ocean in a 30-foot sailboat; he has sailed around Cape Horn in a Southern Ocean gale and competitively raced yachts and high performance dinghies all over the world. Andrew is also a published photographer and an avid snowboarder, spending his quiet time in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Andrew grew up on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada and has brought his East Coast sense of humor with him all along the way. After earning a degree from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, he played a strategic planning role for a major Canadian player in the transportation industry. With around five years in the corporate world under his belt but searching for a life of meaning, Andrew decided to "run away to sea". What started as a three-month commitment to manage a ship transformed itself into a very successful entrepreneurial career in expedition cruising where he could apply his experience and his passion. With a reputation for innovation and attention to detail, Andrew has become well known in the expedition cruise industry for the high quality expedition cruise programs he develops. He is also noted for his attention to vital areas of safety and his commitment to environmental protection.