Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia, Tristan da Cunha, St. Helena, Ascensions and Cape Verdes
Aboard MV Plancius
- 17 Mar to 22 Apr 2016 37 days – Ushuaia to Ascension via Antarctica
- 26 Mar to 22 Apr 2016 28 days – Ushuaia to Ascension
- 26 Apr to 1 May 2016 7 days – Ascension to Cape Verde
Named for the fabled lost civilisation of Atlantis, the huge expanse of water separating the giant continents of the Americas and Africa and Europe is the embodiment of conquest, adventure and exploration. A path to discovery, riches and often tragedy, the mighty Atlantic has lured dreamers for millennia. The ancient Greeks, the Vikings and the vast armadas of the great European sea-faring nations have all plied these historic waters. The Concorde used to jet across “the pond” between Paris and New York in around three and a half hours at 1500 km/h. Columbus took one month and rowers do it in two or three. Such are the extremes we go to to subdue its mythos.
At Adventure Associates we are renown for unusual shipboard adventures and regularly send passengers to the furthest extremes of navigation imaginable. This very unusual expedition will attract naturalists, modern-day adventurers, bird-watchers, scientists and regular travellers on the lookout for something different. It’s a rare chance to see some extremely remote and seldom-visited locations and an unique way to travel to Europe! But the limited spaces are already filling fast, so please do not delay.” To call it a cruise would not do it justice, our ship sails between the Beagle Channel (from Ushuaia at the tip of South America) and the Cape Verde Islands (off the west coast of sub-Saharan Africa) stopping at some of the most isolated and inaccessible locations on the planet.
From embarkation we set a course due south to the Antarctic Peninsula for a truly remote experience amongst the icebergs, penguins and pelagic birds of The Great Southern Land. Then slowly, we make our way northward via the enigmatic and wildly beautiful islands of South Georgia where landings will be made to explore and observe this historic and wildlife rich location. From these southerly extremes, we approach warmer climes and sail around the incredibly remote Gough Island, home to a fantastic variety of seabirds. Beyond Gough is the tiny settlement of Tristan da Cunha, whose reclusive British inhabitants see ‘outsiders’ only a few times a year – if that! What they do see plenty of is magnificent seabirds in abundance – like Yellow-nosed albatrosses and brown noddies. Beyond Tristan da Cunha lies another remote settlement – St Helena – legendary as the island home of the exiled Napoleon Bonaparte from 1815 to 1821. Steeped in history, passengers disembark for a rare, yet comprehensive excursion in this tiny, 500 year old community. This remarkable voyage continues to the volcanic island of Ascension, where the RAF operates a mid-Atlantic airfield. It’s possible to leave the cruise at this point, or sails on to the final island destination of Sal, one of the Cape Verde group where a final exploration will take place before the journey’s official end and your flight to Europe.
Ushuaia – Beagle Channel
In the afternoon, we embark in Ushuaia and sail through the Beagle Channel. D
In the Drake Passage we witness a multitude of Albatrosses, Petrels and Fulmars. BLD
Hope Bay – Brown Bluff
At Hope Bay and Brown Bluff we hope to set foot on the Antarctic Continent. In this area chances are good for encounters with Gentoo Penguins, Weddell Seals, Leopard Seals and Orcas. BLD
From Devil Island at the tip of the Weddell Sea we will be surrounded by the huge table icebergs of the Larsen Ice Shelf. We will climb a hill with a gentle slope from where we have a great view of the surroundings. At Paulet Island we will observe the last individuals of a large Adelie Penguin colony near the ruins of the Nordenskiöld Expedition from the beginning of the 20th century. BLD
At sea we will probably sail along the sea ice drifting north out of the Weddell Sea. On the floes we may see some juvenile Emperor Penguins. BLD
South Orkney Islands
On our way north we plan to visit South Orkneys, where the Scotsman Bruce once wintered and where we now may visit the friendly people of an Argentinean base. BLD
At sea, on our way to South Georgia, we witness a multitude of albatrosses, petrels, and fulmars. BLD
In South Georgia we will pay visits to the abandoned whaling settlements Grytviken, where now the penguins walk through the streets, and King Edwards Point with the grave of Shackleton. We will walk near the big King Penguin colony on Salisbury Plain and the breeding Wandering Albatrosses on Prion Island in the Bay of Isles. The last day in South Georgia we will spend in Cooper Bay where we will observe Chinstrap Penguins and Macaroni Penguins and breeding Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses. Later we intend to sail to Gold Harbour to visit another King Penguin colony and to see many Elephant Seals and Fur Seals. It is a good area for long walks. We conclude our visit with zodiac excursions in magnificent Drygalski Fjord and Larsen Harbour. BLD
In the westerlies we have a pleasant tailwind. On both sides of the Antarctic Convergence, we observe many species and great numbers of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic seabirds. BLD
Today we plan to approach the unique Gough Island for zodiac cruising around the island, as always weather permitting. In 2003 we managed to circumnavigate all but four miles of the 33 mile circumference of the island in the ship, saw spectacular scenery and an unprecedented abundance of wildlife. We felt very privileged to be among the few visitors who have been able to experience Gough and in particular, to see it at such close quarters and in such favourable conditions. We hope to be lucky enough to repeat this unique experience with you on board. BLD
Tristan Da Cunha Archipelago
In the Tristan da Cunha archipelago we call at the settlement at the west side of the main island. We will also try to make landings at Nightingale Island with millions of seabirds ranging from Yellow-nosed Albatrosses to Brown Noddies. We allow one day in reserve for bad weather. BLD
At sea, we now enter sub-tropical waters with their own brand of seabirds and dolphins. BLD
St. Helena has a good anchorage and landing site. During our time on this island, we will have ample opportunities to enjoy local culture, pleasant climate, and endemic plants and birds. We will also visit the place where Napoleon lived in exile. There will be opportunities to explore the Island on your own and for snorkelling where, in the shallow surf near a wreck, there will be many fish. BLD
At Sea. BLD
Ascension Island is a dry volcanic island with a moist and richly vegetated top. The Sooty Tern (wide-awake) colony sometimes consists of more than 1 million breeding pairs. We will try to climb the moist summit of Ascension Island and make a zodiac-cruise around Boatswain Bird Island offering also great opportunities for snorkelling. We may witness egg-laying sea turtles coming ashore at night. BLD
A second day to enjoy the wonders of Ascension Island. Some of our passengers may disembark and fly with the scheduled RAF Royal Air Force) flight to Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, UK. In the evening the vessel will depart from Ascension Island. BLD
At sea, we witness the northbound spring migration of northern birds like Arctic Terns and Long-tailed Skuas who join us to cross the Equator (‘the Line’). BLD
Cape Verde Islands
We land at Fogo. This is the great vulcanological laboratory of the Cape Verde Islands. Here we shall see lava as fresh as is possible because it emerged from the ground within the last 10 years and with the dry atmosphere of the islands there is little weathering to take place. We shall land a short distance from the capital, Sao Felipe and shall take an excursion into the very crater to the village of Portela where the people, unbelievable as it seems, make wine. This is perhaps not, one of the greatest vintages of the world but it deserves tasting because of its curiosity. On returning to Sao Felipe we shall relax for a while before re-embarking for an early dinner after which we shall try an evening zodiac cruise in order to see the sea birds before dark. BLD
Praia, Cape Verde Islands
Praia on Sao Tiago, the main island of the southern group, has a character of its own. We shall make an excursion to Cidade Velha, steeped in history, and shall observe the massive fortress on the hill, built to deter English marauders in the period when the Crowns of Portugal and Spain were united and Portuguese possessions became as fair game to the likes of Drake and Raleigh as were Spanish ones. We shall see the ruins of the Cathedral, the oldest Christian Church in the tropics, and the slave whipping post in the main square. The village is well watered and there are plantations of sugar cane, which support a rum distillery, and several species of birds. We shall have another guided stroll around the City of Praia, which is the capital of the Cape Verdes, and which has given rise to a unique variety of folk music, which we shall hear as we pass the various bars! BLD
Note: Shortly after midnight, on Day 39, you may fly to Lisboa (Lisbon) in Portugal. (Flight not included in cruise cost). B
Dates & Cost 2016
- Ushuaia to Ascension via Antarctica – 37 days 17 Mar to 22 Apr 2016
|Quadruple||Triple||Twin + Porthole||Twin + Window||Twin Deluxe||Superior|
- Ushuaia to Ascension – 28 days 26 Mar to 22 Apr 2016
|Quadruple||Triple||Twin + Porthole||Twin + Window||Twin Deluxe||Superior|
- Ascension to Cape Verde – 7 days 26 Apr to 1 May 2016
|Quadruple||Triple||Twin + Porthole||Twin + Window||Twin Deluxe||Superior|
- Voyage aboard the individual vessel as indicated
- All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including, snacks, coffee and tea
- All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac
- Programme 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.
- Onboard M/V Plancius free loan of boots & snow shoes
What’s not included
- Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights
- pre and post land arrangements
- transfers to/from 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)
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 in the brochure 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.
|Deposit required:||25% of the expedition cost per person|
|Balance due:||90 days prior to departure.|
|If booking within|
90 days of departure:
|full payment must be made|
For deposits in US Dollars, your local bank will be able to arrange a US Dollar bank draft to be made payable to “Adventure Associates. Alternatively you may make payment by telegraphic transfer. Contact us for our bank details. Deposits only may also be made in Australian dollars (contact us for the applicable amount) which will be converted to US Dollars at the applicable exchange rate. All final payments should be made in US Dollars.
Cancellations and Refunds
Written instructions only will be accepted by Adventure Associates to cancel a reservation. Cancellation charges are subject to regulations or airlines, cruise companies, coach and tour operators, hotels and any other Principals involved. If it is necessary to cancel your arrangements, the following non-refundable provisions will apply.
|More than 60 days prior to departure||10% of the expedition cost per person|
|Between 59 and 30 days prior to departure||30% of the expedition cost per person|
|Between 29 and 15 days prior to departure||45% of the expedition cost per person|
|Between 14 and 6 days prior to departure||75% of the expedition cost per person|
|On or within 5 days prior to departure||100% of the expedition cost|
If cancellation occurs within the 5 day period and full payment has not yet been received, the full penalty will still apply and unpaid monies are due immediately. For these and other reasons it is mandatory that you obtain trip cancellation insurance (see terms and conditions).
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.