OOE 2020/21 Antarctic Circle Crossing

 

The quest for the Antarctic Circle

Explore the Antarctic Peninsula in search of reaching the Antarctic Circle. Travel in comfort and style aboard the incomparable RCGS Resolute. Fly from Santiago to the Falkland Islands to commence a cruise that visits historic Elephant Islands en route to the Antarctic Peninsula and an attempt to reach the Antarctic Circle. 

WILDLIFE  |   SHIP  |   ITINERARY  |   DATES & PRICES  |   FAQs

Antarctic wildlife

Observe seabirds, penguins, seals and whales as you explore the Antarctic Peninsula.

As you cross the Antarctic convergence zone, you’ll notice a subtle change in the species of seabirds found soaring alongside the ship. You’re likely to encounter whales transiting the Drake Passage as well. Once in sight of land, you’ll encounter colonies of penguins, several species of seals hauled out on ice, and whales feeding on krill in deep, sheltered bays.

The polar expedition ship RCGS Resolute

Operated by One Ocean Expeditions

Spacious staterooms with all the amenities, RCGS Resolute provides comfort, stability and the highest ice rating.

Spacious, comfortable and stable. RCGS Resolute offers generously sized staterooms, a variety of public spaces with panoramic views and choices for traditional dining or lighter bistro fare.  More about RCGS Resolute »

Your Itinerary

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Day 1 | Arrive Santiago

Arrive in Chile’s capital and transfer to your hotel, where early check-in has been arranged. 

Enjoy an afternoon of leisure. A variety of optional half day tours are available to pre-book (see options below).

Hotel:  Holiday Inn Santiago Airport

Day 2 | To Port Stanley (Falkland Islands)

An early morning charter flight will take you to Port Stanley, the quaint capital of the Falkland Islands. On arrival, you will be transferred into town. You’ll have the option of exploring the town on your own, or joining a guided tour to Gypsy Cove, your first opportunity to observe local wildlife, including Magellanic penguins and other sea birds. In the afternoon, you’ll board RCGS Resolute and meet your expedition team and fellow passengers. Enjoy a welcome cocktail as the ship gets underway and your adventure begins!

Ship: RCGS Resolute, BLD

Days 3 - 4 | At sea 

RCGS Resolute continues a southerly course for Antarctica. This stretch of the South Atlantic is rich in its bio-diversity and showcases an abundance of wildlife. We will be joined by hundreds of seabirds including the wandering albatross. Giant petrels and smaller Cape petrels are constant companions as you make your way south. Photographing these magnificent birds takes patience and skill and a photography expert will be on hand to show you the best techniques. Join the ship’s Captain on the bridge and learn about the operations of our modern research vessel. Throughout the day, on board experts will offer a series of presentations about the environment, the wildlife and history and the locations planned in the coming days. As you approach the coastline of Antarctica, you can anticipate an increase in whale sightings.

Weather and sea conditions permitting, we may include a visit to the very historic location of Elephant Island – a place central to the Shackleton story. Shore landings at Point Wild are notoriously tricky due to surging swell onto the rocky beach. Nevertheless this is a thrilling place to visit.

Accommodations: RCGS Rsolute, BLD

Days 5 - 6 | South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula

You'll start your morning at King George Island – the largest in the South Shetlands group. There are two landing sites here and a visit depends on the prevailing weather conditions. Penguin Island and nearby Turret Point offer good opportunities for shore landings to view Adelie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins. Southern giant petrels, kelp gulls and Antarctic terns are also known to nest here. This afternoon you'll continue your journey south, navigating into the broad expanse of the Bransfield Straight – making your way ever closer to the Antarctic coastline. This is an important migration corridor for wildlife. Keep a lookout for whales in the waters surrounding the ship. Large icebergs will be present from this point onwards and make for striking photographs in the evening light.

By morning, the towering mountain peaks of the Antarctic continent loom into view and you should make landfall around Wilhelmina Bay. This is truly an ‘A-list’ location and a place where sizeable pods of humpback whales are frequently encountered. Navigate under the towering cliffs of Spigot Peak and into the Errera Channel hoping for a shore landing at Cuverville Island – home to a rookery of gentoo penguins. It’s a fantastic location for a Zodiac cruise or a paddle in the sea kayaks.

Accommodations: RCGS Resolute, BLD

Days 7 - 9 | Towards the Antarctic Circle

Spend time on the outer decks soaking up the scenery as the ship navigates further south. You'll pass through the ice strewn waters making our way towards your ultimate objective, the Antarctic Circle. Given favorable ice conditions, the first goal will be to sail south of the Antarctic Circle and into Crystal Sound.

A favored landing site here is Detaille Island, home to an abandoned British science hut from the 1950s. This vicinity marks the turnaround point and from now on, the ship returns in a northerly direction exploring the dramatic coastline of the Antarctic Peninsula. Weather permitting, you'll visit a working scientific base to learn something of the important climate-related research happening here. A hike over the snowy saddle of nearby Winter Island allows you to stretch your legs and explore a historic British Antarctic Survey hut – Wordie House.

If the conditions are right, there will be an opportunity to camp overnight somewhere in this vicinity. The gear is already onboard and an experienced team will make this a night to remember!

Petermann Island is home to an Adelie penguin rookery. Adelies - the smallest of the Antarctic penguins, nest here and share the location with gentoo penguins and Imperial cormorants. The view to the north of Mount Shackleton and Mount Scott is impressive. These towering granite sentinels mark the southern entrance to the nearby Lemaire Channel. Pleneau Island offers more opportunities for shore landings. Just off shore, massive icebergs run a round in the shallows. Constant wind and wave action sculpt these gargantuan chunks of ice into fantastic shapes, revealing more shades of blue than you can possibly imagine. For many, a Zodiac cruise here may well be a highlight of the voyage.

Accommodations: RCGS Resolute, BLD

Days 10 - 11 | Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands

The aim is to transit the Lemaire Channel heading north towards Paradise Harbour. The Lemaire Channel is known as "Kodak Alley" for it's dramatic scenery.

There should be an opportunity to step foot on the continent of Antarctica itself. Nearby Neko Harbour offers another continental landing. Both locations offer terrific hiking opportunities up to panoramic view points. For the sea kayakers, paddling opportunities here are endless. Expect to be in full sensory overload by this time of the voyage. By morning you'll arrive back in the South Shetland Islands. The adventure is not over and if the weather conditions allow, the ship will sail into the flooded volcanic caldera at Deception Island to visit the remains of an old whaling station. 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 also an outstanding hike here, high up onto the rim of the crater.

On a sunny day, cruising along the coast of Livingston Island is a memorable experience. There are several other landing sites in the vicinity including Half Moon Island, or the broad pebbly beach at Yankee Harbour, where you sometimes encounter Weddell seals sunning themselves. This is another great spot for a hike or a Zodiac cruise. It’s a fitting place to reflect on a wonderful expedition. Charting a course for King George Island in the early evening light, you'll enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.

Accommodations: RCGS Resolute, BLD

Days 12 | to Punta Arenas

This morning you'll bid a fond farewell to your expedition team and transfer ashore by Zodiac. You'll walk from the shore landing site past the Chilean research station and up towards the airstrip where you'll board a special two hour charter flight to Punta Arenas. Upon arrival, you'll be met and transferred into town for an overnight stay.

Accommodations: Hotel Cabo de Hornos, BL

Day 13 | Depart Punta Arenas

After breakfast and check-out, make your own way to the airport for your onward journey. Otherwise, consider continuing your adventure with a visit to the spectacular Torres del Paine National Park – home to towering peaks, glaciers and spectacular wilderness - a paradise for hikers and nature lovers.

Dates and Prices

All prices are per person, double occupancy unless otherwise specified.

Departure Twin Private Superior Superior Plus Shackleton Suite One Ocean Suite
16 Dec - 28 Dec 2020
Christmas day at the Antarctic Circle
$15,995 $17,195 $17,695 $18,595 $20,895
06 Jan - 18 Jan 2021 $15,995 $17,195 $17,695 $18,595 $20,895
Early Booking Specials:  Must book and deposit by August 31st, 2019
$750 per person travel credit

Included

Booking Documentation

  • Extensive pre-departure information package

  • Onboard information folder

  • Personalized Services

  • Educational presentations from experienced guides such as ornithologists, glaciologists, historians, geologists, naturalists and marine mammals experts

  • Photography advice and instructions from the resident photographer. Extended photography workshops available on select departures

Activities

  • All zodiac and landing excursions

  • Zodiac cruising, hiking, guided walks, photography workshops, fitness & yoga

  • Optional overnight camping, including high quality equipment. No pre-registration required. Camping can be affected by itinerary and weather conditions.

Board and Lodging

  • All meals during the voyage prepared by One Ocean expeditions chefs

  • Welcome reception & welcome dinner

  • One Ocean Expeditions Farewell dinner hosted by the Captain

  • Daily afternoon tea with fresh snacks

  • Coffee, tea & hot chocolate available anytime

  • Access to wellness area (Finnish sauna, plunge pool filled with sea water, hot tub)

  • Natural essential oil amenities

Expedition Gear Package for duration of the voyage

  • Windproof/waterproof jacket and bib pants

  • Comfortable insulated rubber boots

  • Water resistant binoculars

  • Waterproof backpack

  • Trekking poles available on shore

Onboard Physician

  • Services of English speaking medical officer

  • Access to ship's infirmary

Transfers

  • From/to designated meeting points to/from the ship

  • Required flights to/from the ship

  • Luggage transfer to/from your cabin

Multimedia Room

  • Use of multimedia room to download images Lightroom, Adobe, Photoshop and card readers are available for use on MAC and PC computers


Optional Extras

Single Supplement

  • Single guests wishing exclusive use of a stateroom pay 50% of the second berth. Otherwise, single guests are welcome to book as “willing to share” without any single supplement.

Sea Kayaking

  • An extra cost of US$795 per person. Pre-registration required at time of booking. Confirmed access to kayak at any offered excursion. Limited to 30 passengers per voyage. Includes high quality kayaking equipment (dry suits, booties, pogies, paddles, PFD and single or double kayaks)


Not Included

Trip price does not include

  • International and national airfares, except where noted

  • Visa and passport fees, airport taxes

  • Pre- or post-cruise hotel accommodation in arrival/departure cities, except where noted

  • Meals & transfers in arrival/departure cities

  • Personal expenses

  • Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages

  • Massages from registered therapist

  • Personal laundry charges

  • Postage, telephone calls & email set up

  • Medical expenses such as fees, prescriptions or medications

  • Travel medical insurance including medical evacuation (mandatory)

  • Trip interruption / cancellation insurance

  • Gratuities to staff and crew

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to go?

The Antarctic season runs from late November through early March, with the best weather during December, January and February, which also coincides with breeding season for most penguin species.  Of course weather in Antarctica can be unpredictable, but routes are flexible to maximize your time at the destination.

What will I will see? 

You will get your first glimpse of penguins when you arrive in the Falkland Islands. Colonies of Rockhopper, Gentoo and King Penguins nest throughout the Falklands. All along the way, you'll also encounter a variety of sea birds including several species of Albatross, Petrel and Skua.  Entering Antarctic waters, whales abound with the possibility of sighting Southern Right, Minke, Humpback, and if you're lucky, Blue and Sperm whales.

How can I be sure this is the right trip for me?

Antarctica is the trip of a lifetime. Shore excursions are designed for anyone with reasonable mobility.  Walks with small uphill sections are optional, but a reasonable level of fitness will guarantee greater enjoyment. For the more active, sea-kayaking is also available.

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