A Classic voyage to the Weddell Sea & The Antarctic Peninsula aboard M/V USHUAIA.
Our Weddell Sea Quest voyage is the ultimate introduction to the spectacular Weddell Sea and Antarctic Peninsula. The most accessible part of the continent, etched with fjords and dozen little islands.
We travel south from the Argentine port of Ushuaia. The journey provides time to ponder the immensity of the Southern Ocean. Learn about the frozen continent and all its wildlife through a series of special lectures by our Antarctic experts. Zodiacs allow us to cruise among the ice and make easy landings.
Reminders of early explorers and the whaling industry are scattered amongst penguin rookeries and seal colonies.
Our small group size makes it easy to appreciate these treasures of the Antarctic Peninsula and Weddell Sea.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Ushuaia (Argentina)|
29 January 2024 – 8 February 2024
|DURATION||10 nights/11 days|
|PRICES per person||Triple Standard Plus US$7,990
Twin Standard US$8,570
Standard Plus Twin US$10,380
Premier Twin US$12,380
Premier Single US$14,860
Superior Twin US$13,080
Suite Twin US$13,750
|GROUP SIZE||88 Guests|
|Destination||Antarctica, Weddell Sea|
Welcome to Ushuaia – Argentina.
Embark the USHUAIA in the afternoon and meet your expedition and lecture staff. After you have settled into your cabins we sail along the famous Beagle Channel and the scenic Mackinlay Pass.
Crossing the Drake Passage
Named after the renowned explorer, Sir Francis Drake, who sailed these waters in 1578, the Drake Passage also marks the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar water sinks beneath the warmer northern waters. This creates a great upwelling of nutrients, which sustains the biodiversity of this region. The Drake Passage also marks the northern limit of many Antarctic seabirds.
As we sail across the passage, Antarpply Expeditions’ lecturers will be out with you on deck to help in the identification of an amazing variety of seabirds, including many albatrosses, which follow in our wake. The USHUAIA‘s open bridge policy allows you to join our officers on the bridge and learn about navigation, watch for whales, and enjoy the view. A full program of lectures will be offered as well.
The first sightings of icebergs and snow-capped mountains indicate that we have reached the South Shetland Islands, a group of twenty islands and islets first sighted in February 1819 by Capt. William Smith of the brig Williams. With favorable conditions in the Drake Passage our lecturers and naturalists will accompany you ashore as you experience your first encounter with the penguins and seals on Day 3.
Exploring the Weddell Sea
This is where huge tabular icebergs roam. In some years, the Erebus & Terror Gulf and Weddell Sea are chock-a-block full with ice, making for exciting ice navigation. Get up early and go out on deck. It may be 3:30h in the morning, but the sunrises will be unlike anything you´ve ever seen. Huge tabular bergs break from the Larsen, Ronne, and Filchner ice shelves and combine with one-year-old and multi-year sea ice to produce a floating, undulating panorama of rugged ice scenery. All-white Snow Petrels are likely to be coursing over the floes, often joined by Pintado Petrels.
The usual passage to the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula traverses the Antarctic Sound, which is 30 miles (48 km) long and 7-12 miles (11-19 km) wide and runs northwest-to-southeast. Hope Bay and the Argentine Station Esperanza, are located on the western side of the Sound. Brown Bluff, a promontory on the Tabarin Peninsula, is located south of Hope Bay. Both of them might be possible landing sites. The Weddell Sea represents the center of the Peninsula´s Adélie Penguin population. Devil Island, Paulet Island and the already mentioned sites, might give us ample proof of this. The numbers of penguins are breathtaking. Sometimes juvenile Emperor Penguins have been sighted, riding ice floes but are by no means regular in the area.
This region also teems with vibrant exploration history. The most bizarre of these tales involves the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1901-03 under the command of geologist Otto Nordenskjöld. Four visitor sites have links to this expedition: Hope Bay, Paulet Island, Snow Hill Island, and Cape Well-Met on Vega Island. Our expedition staff will be pleased to share their exciting story with you. Nordenskjöld´s expedition was the first to overwinter in the Peninsula. His ship the Antarctic, under the command of the famous Norwegian whaling captain Carl Anton Larsen, was trapped in the ice and sank, but the men survived on different locations and even managed to carry out significant scientific research in the area.
Exploring the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands
The Antarctic Peninsula´s remarkable history will also provide you with a type of excitement often only associated with the early explorers. You will have plenty of time to explore its amazing scenery, a pristine wilderness of snow, ice, mountains and waterways and a wide variety of wildlife. Apart from Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins and other seabirds you are likely to encounter Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals as well as Minke whales and orcas at close range.
We hope to navigate some of the most beautiful waterways: the Gerlache Strait, Errera Channel and Neumayer Channel. Possible landing sites may include: Paradise Bay, which is perhaps the most aptly named place in the world with its impressive glacial fronts and mountains, Cuverville Island, home of the biggest Gentoo Penguin colony in the Peninsula surrounded by glaciers and castellated icebergs, and the British Museum and Post office at Port Lockroy.
Further exploration will lead us to the South Shetland Islands. The volcanic island group is a haven for wildlife. Vast penguin rookeries and seals hauling out on the shorelines make every day spent here unforgettable. Sailing through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island is truly amazing, so is visiting the crescent shaped island Half Moon, home to Chinstrap Penguins in breathtaking surroundings.
There might also be a chance to visit the enigmatic Elephant Island. Sir Ernest Shackleton fans will need no introduction to this historic windswept island. In 1916 Shackleton was forced to leave 22 of his men stranded on these shores, while he and five others embarked on an unbelievable last-ditch rescue attempt. What followed is one of the greatest rescue stories of all time. Every passenger will return with a greater knowledge of this gripping tale of adventure in a truly remarkable part of the world.
At Sea crossing the Drake Passage, northbound
We leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. Join our lecturers and naturalists on deck as we search for seabirds and whales and enjoy some final lectures. Take the chance to relax and reflect on the fascinating adventures of the past days on the way back to Ushuaia.
Arrival in Ushuaia
We arrive at the port of Ushuaia in the early morning and disembark the USHUAIA after breakfast.
Please note: The above itinerary is a guide only. Our exact route and program will vary to take best advantage of local weather and ice conditions and opportunities to view wildlife. Changes will be made by the Captain and/or Expedition Leader to facilitate the best results from the prevailing conditions. A daily program sheet will be issued on board. Flexibility is the key to success.
Originally built for the United States agency NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration), the ice-strengthened polar vessel USHUAIA is very well appointed and provides ample deck space and an open bridge policy. The full complement of inflatable landing craft ensures superb landings and wildlife viewing opportunities on the otherwise inaccessible coastline.
All cabins include ample storage space. Public areas feature a large dining room (one sitting), an open-plan observation lounge / lecture room with modern multimedia equipment, bar and a well-stocked library. There is also a changing room and a small infirmary. Our expert captain, officers and crew are highly experienced in Antarctic navigation and have a great love of nature. We provide a specialist team of international expedition leaders and lecturers, all extremely knowledgeable, enthusiastic, helpful and dedicated to the protection of the environment. Our chefs prepare excellent cuisine including many local specialties and the bar is well-stocked with carefully selected wines and spirits.
|Length||84.73 m / 278.3 feet|
|Beam||15.41 m / 51 feet|
|One of two outside Standard Plus triple cabins on Deck E featuring a window, private facilities and three lower berths.|
|One of twelve outside Standard twin cabins on Deck E featuring a porthole, two berths (upper/lower) and semi-private facilities.|
|One of eleven outside Standard Plus twin cabins on Deck E featuring a porthole, private facilities and two lower berths.|
|One of six outside Premier twin cabins on the upper Deck G featuring a window, private facilities and two lower berths.|
|One of two outside Premier single cabins on upper Deck G featuring a porthole (view obstructed by lifeboat), private facilities and one single bed.|
|One of nine outside Superior twin cabins on the upper Deck G featuring a window private facilities and two lower berths.|
|One of four outside Suites on the upper Deck G with windows, private facilities, lounge, TV, DVD player and fridge. This portside corner suite features one double bed in the bedroom and one sofa bed in the sitting area.|
How to Book
To ensure your place on this exciting adventure, please contact us to reserve a place 02 6355 2022 or , then complete the Adventure Associates Booking Form and return to us with your USD per person deposit.
|Deposit required per person:||30% in US$ per person|
|Balance due:||90 days prior to departure|
|If booking within 89 days of departure:||Full payment must be made.|
Reservations are established when you receive written confirmation and acceptance of the deposit and Booking Form. Travel insurance is strongly recommended at the time of booking.
Cancellations must be advised in writing to Adventure Associates. Cancellation charges are subject to regulations of airlines, coach and tour operators, hotels and other principals involved. If it is necessary to cancel your arrangements, the following non-refundable charges will apply.
|More than 150 days prior to departure||US$ 1000 per person|
|Between 149 and 90 days prior to departure||Full loss of deposit per person|
|Between 89 and 76 days prior to departure||75% of tour cost per person|
|On or within 75 days prior to departure||No Refund|
If the cancellation charge is more than your advance payment you remain liable for the difference. For these and other reasons mentioned above you are strongly recommended to take out Travel Insurance. Once the tour has departed there will be no refund for any unused portions of the trip.