The Antarctic continent is an endless white wilderness full of overwhelming vistas of nature and wildlife. But you will also witness the brutalities of nature on this expedition; Leopard Seals feeding on helpless penguins and Killer Whales killing seals not for feeding, but to teach their young to improve their hunting technique. On this special trip, we plan to cross the Antarctic Circle (lying at latitude 66° 33' 39''), one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. The equivalent line of latitude in the northern hemisphere is the Arctic Circle. We will try to land in several places while we are here, and in addition offer activities like hiking, kayak trips and snowshoeing. You might even have the chance to spend a night ashore in a tent.
Visiting the South Shetland Islands is definitely something worth looking forward to. Deception Island, Half Moon Island and Yankee Harbour all have a diverse landscape, amazing animal life and spectacular photo opportunities.
The narrow Errera Channel offers a spectacular passage to and from Cuverville Island as icebergs become trapped and grounded on its shallow bottom. Watching our expert navigators weave the ship carefully between the icebergs from the observation decks as is as exciting as being surrounded by the crowds of nesting penguins onshore. Neko Harbour is feeding ground for shy Minke whales. The harbour itself is perfectly situated to appreciate the grandeur of Andvord Bay and scenery of Antarctic mainland. Named after a whaling ship in the early 1900s, Neko is one of the rare places in the Antarctic Peninsula where we may land on the continent’s mainland. When conditions permit, the Expedition Team will lead a walk up to the edge of the glacier. If the path is in good condition you may slide down the steep hillside for an adrenaline-boosting return to the landing site!
Paradise Harbour offers another rare opportunity for a mainland landing and some of the finest vistas of the Antarctic Peninsula. Waterboat Point got its name after two members of a failed expedition spent the cold winter of 1922 living there underneath a small upturned boat! The research station Almirante Brown had to be rebuilt after a crazed base doctor set fire to the buildings in 1984. In favourable weather, a gentle hike up the snowy path to the viewpoint behind the Argentine station is highly recommended.
The Lemaire Channel is known as one of the most beautiful passages in Antarctica. Being sublime and impressive as well as daunting and inhospitable it exhausts superlatives. On a clear day we might offer an exclusive optional tour with our Polarcirkel boats through the channel. With its location in the picturesque Penola Strait, Petermann Island is a great place for iceberg- and whale-spotting and once again you will have spectacular views across the channel to the Antarctic Peninsula.
The British base on Goudier Island in Port Lockroy was built in 1941, and abandoned in 1962. In 1996 the Antarctic Heritage Trust refurbished it as a museum. Now it is one of the most popular sites in Antarctica. Get a peek into life on an Antarctic base in the 1950s. See pemmican and tinned custard lining the old cupboards and the 1950s books and magazines in the lounge. The nesting Gentoo penguins surrounding the main building have become accustomed to human visitors. The museum operates a post office and shop selling souvenir hats, t-shirts and postcards. In addition to a postal service, the shop offers first-day covers and rare Antarctic stamps. All mail sent from Port Lockroy has a special Antarctic stamp and frank.
Wilhelmina Bay is feeding ground for whales and seals, and was a preferred hunting ground for whalers back in the days. As evidence of this, the partially submerged wreck of the Norwegian whaling ship Guvernøren lies in a tiny harbour of the bay. If weather and ice conditions permit, we may take a closer look at the wreck from our Polarcirkel boats. The ship caught fire in 1915 and was run aground in order to rescue men and supplies. Now it provides a perch for tired terns and an occasional mooring for passing sailboats.
The huge ice shelves of the Antarctic continent give birth to mile-long tabular icebergs. The strong currents of the Weddell Sea conspire to bring these massive flat-topped bergs north into the Antarctic Sound at the northeast end of the Antarctic Peninsula. The 48 km (30 mi) sound is also home to an estimated half million Adélie penguins as well as Gentoo penguins, Leopard seals, and Killer whales. On Brown Bluff we might land and take a walk along the beach admiring the lava "bombs" from the old volcano and all the penguins. There is also the chance to walk to the viewpoint above the landing site.
On Detaille Island we find the former Station W. The personnel used to work in the fields of surveys, geology and meteorology but the base was evacuated when the sea ice and weather made relief by ship impossible. Horseshoe Island occupies most of the entrance to Square Bay on the west coast of Graham Land. Horseshoe Island is an important example of a relatively unaltered and completely equipped British scientific research station of the 1950s. It was established in March 1955 by the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey as Station Y, and was closed in August 1960.