- Sail in, Fly out with the Drake Crossing
- Premium accommodation in balcony staterooms.
- On board multi media room with editing capabilities.
- Snorkeling included as additional activity.
- Natural history lectures from on board specialists.
- Photography and processing lectures and workshops.
- Vast tabular icebergs pass by in Antarctic sound.
- Retrace some of Shackleton’s and Nordenskoljd’s route.
- Visit fascinating fossil fields with an on board palaeontologist.
- Capture Antarctic light with your Wild Eye Photographic specialists.
- Delight in Adelie, gentoo and chinstrap penguins.
- Hunting orcas, feeding humpbacks and slinky minkes.
Reviews 0 Reviews0/5
Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging
Group Size Large Group
Antarctica is a quintessential bucket list destination and in 2021 Wild Eye will be partnering with Aurora Expeditions on an expedition to King George Island, the Weddell sea and the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.
With zodiacs landings & cruises, dedicated lecture and multi media room, as well as the high standards of hosting and education Wild Eye is known for, this expedition on board the brand new Greg Mortimer is ideal for anybody who wants to experience one of the world’s most beautiful wilderness areas.
In true expedition style we encourage exploration and adventure, by offering flexibility in challenging environments in a way that puts you among the action to see and do as much as possible. This itinerary is only a guide and subject to change due to ice and weather conditions but your Wild Eye expedition leaders will keep you updated in real time throughout the voyage.
February is Antarctica’s most active wildlife month – in the rookeries, the penguin chicks are growing up fast making strong demands on their parents for food.
As they become larger and more resistant to the predations of greedy skuas, the urgency on the part of their parents to provide enough food will mean they are left on their own while both parents go out to sea to fish. This steady stream of dutiful parent penguins entering and exiting the water means leopard seals are often seen predating along the ice edge.
From late February, young penguin chicks start fledging and learning to swim in the shallows. February and March are also the best months for whale sightings in Antarctica, in particular humpback, minke and orca. The humpback whales tend to be very focused on feeding at this stage. On South Georgia, the main bulk of the king penguins will start laying their eggs in February/March, which means that there is the maximum number of birds in the rookeries at this time.
Other highlights include:
- The penguin chicks are now very active and curious, chasing both parents for food as soon as they return from fishing trips
- It’s peak whale spotting season as all migrating pods have now made it down to Antarctica’s rich waters
- February is the perfect month to reach the Polar Circle, now that the ice has receded to its maximum extent
- The moulting stage begins for the adult penguins, while the chicks are fledging and learning to swim in the shallows
- The focus of the Humpback whales now changes, becoming more inquisitive now they’ve sated their appetite
On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service.
All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage.
Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner.
Captain’s Welcome and Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house
cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages.
All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises.
Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team.
Access to our onboard doctor and basic medical services.
A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket.
Complimentary use of muck boots during the voyage.
Comprehensive pre-departure information.
A printed photo book produced with photos from your voyage.
Port surcharges, permits and landing fees.
A printed photo book produced with photos from your voyage (posted post voyage).
International or domestic flights to or within South America, unless specified.
Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary.
Airport arrival or departure taxes.
Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination charges.
Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges.
Hotels and meals not included in itinerary.
Optional excursions not included in the itinerary.
Optional activity surcharges.
All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages andsoft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical
expenses, gratuities, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges.
Arrive in Ushuaia, where you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to your group hotel (preferred flights only). Upon arrival at your included hotel, kindly remind hotel check-in staff to provide you with Aurora Expeditions cabin tags. Please clearly label the tags with your name and ship cabin number.
This morning, please ensure your cabin luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labelled with your name and cabin
number. Please take your cabin luggage down to hotel reception by 8.00 AM. Your luggage will be collected from
your hotel and transferred directly to port for clearance and delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board.
Keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day. Once you have checked out of your hotel by
11.00 AM, you have free time before meeting back in the hotel lobby at 2.00 PM to commence a tour of Ushuaia.
Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego is located at the shores of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by the Martial
Mountains giving you a unique landscape in Argentina, which is the combination of mountains, sea, glaciers and forests.
On this half day introductory tour, you will visit “La Mision” neighbourhood, the old Government House, and the upper area of the city, which offers beautiful panoramic views of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel.
During the excursion you will see the antique houses that belonged to the first families settled in Ushuaia. The excursion ends with a visit to the Old Prison Museum before transferring to the pier for embarkation at approximately 4.00 PM.
After embarkation, you’ll have time to settle into your cabin before our important mandatory briefings. As the ship pulls away from port, we’ll gather on the deck to commence our adventure with spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego.
This evening, get to know your fellow expeditioners and friendly expedition team and crew at a welcome dinner to celebrate the start of a thrilling adventure to Antarctica.
(Breakfast and dinner included. Lunch is at own expense)
As we commence the Drake Passage crossing, we make the most of our time getting comfortable with the motions of the sea. Our expedition team prepare you for our first landing with important wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures, and start our lecture program to help you learn more about Antarctica’s history, wildlife and environment.
Our wildlife experiences begin as we enjoy watching and photographing the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels following in our wake. They rise and fall skilfully, using air currents created by the ship to gain momentum.
Drake Passage and South Shetlands
Nearing the South Shetland Islands and the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula on day four, the excitement is palpable with everyone converging on one of the observation decks, watching for our first iceberg. The ocean takes on a whole new perspective once we are below the Antarctic Convergence and are surrounded by the surreal presence of floating ice sculptures. The memory of your first big iceberg sighting is likely to remain with you for a lifetime.
Weather permitting, we may attempt our first landing in Antarctica by late afternoon.
Day 5 to 10
Weddell Sea & Antarctic Peninsula West Coast
It’s almost impossible to describe the feeling of arriving in Antarctica. Spotting your first iceberg and taking a deep breath of some of the most fresh, crisp air on earth is an experience that will stay with you forever.
Once we arrive, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands are ours to explore, and we have a host of choices available to us. Because we are so far south, we will experience approximately 18-24 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish.
Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.
We generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. You’ll want to rug up before joining Zodiac cruises along spectacular ice cliffs or among grounded icebergs, keeping watch for whales, seals and porpoising penguins.
Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you can visit penguin rookeries, discover historic huts and explore some of our favourite spots along the peninsula.
While ashore we aim to stretch our legs, wandering along pebbly beaches or perhaps up snow-covered ridgelines to vantage points with mountains towering overhead and ice-speckled oceans below. If you have chosen an optional activity, you’ll have the option to do that whenever conditions allow, and of course keen polar plungers will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in polar waters – conditions permitting!
In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, we may ship cruise some of the narrow, dramatic straits separating offshore islands from the mainland, or linger in scenic bays to watch whales travelling or feeding. This is a great time to enjoy the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge for uninterrupted views of Antarctica in
all its splendour. Keep an ear out for the creak and deep rumble of glaciers as they carve their way from summit to sea, and take a quiet moment to experience the wonder of this incredible white continent.
Central to the story of where Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance became trapped in formidable sea ice, the Weddell Sea certainly is high on the list for most polar adventurers. A small set of islands standing off to the east of the Antarctic Peninsula collectively form the Antarctic Sound – the gateway to the Weddell Sea. With a well deserved reputation as being an iceberg alley, many large tabular bergs escape the Weddell Sea through the Antarctic Sound, often making navigation difficult. However, the rewards can be great. Fossils are a reminder of a more temperate era – gastropods, large clams, and spiral-shaped ammonites, all turned to stone.
Be spoiled for wildlife encounters as the Weddell boasts a large Adélie penguin colony just outside of the Antarctic Sound, some of which breed on the rocky slopes of a small volcanic island, where a large colony of Antarctic blueeyed shags jostle for space with nest-building Wilson’s storm petrels. On thrilling Zodiac cruises or slicing a path through the maze of sea ice in your kayak, keep watch for chinstrap and gentoo penguins in and out of the water,
where you’re likely to spot humpback, minke and orca whales. With good ice and plenty of luck, you may even get close to a well-known emperor penguin colony. Your camera is sure to get a solid workout during your time in the Weddell Sea.
King George Island to Punta Arenas
As we approach Frei Base on King George Island, it is time to farewell Antarctica and our amazing adventure before boarding our flight to Punta Arenas, Chile. On arrival at the Punta Arenas airport, you will be transferred to our group hotel.
NOTE: King George Island is located at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula in the South Shetland Islands and is one of the most remote places on Earth. A clear sky with perfect visibility is required in order to take off and land safely. We apologise in advance if you experience any delays.
After breakfast, bid a fond farewell to your fellow passengers as we all continue our onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature. (Breakfast included)
NOTE: Please advise your Aurora Expeditions’ Reservations Consultant or travel agent if you require an airport transfer, so it can be booked in advance. The departure airport transfer is not included in your voyage cost and will be at an additional cost.