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The Antarctic Peninsula is part of the Antarctic Continent and is the southern continuation of the mountain chain that runs from North America through South America into the Scotia Sea. Here it continues as a mainly sub-marine ridge, the Scotia Ridge, until it comes above sea-level at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. The peninsula consists of an 800 kilometres (500 mile) long mountain chain, the highest peaks rising to approximately 2,800 metres (9,186 feet), and numerous off-lying islands. The Peninsula offers the most dramatic scenery and biggest variety of wildlife in Antarctica. Visitors are easily overcome by sensory overload by the huge amount of ice-bergs, glaciers, high mountains and the abundant and tame wildlife.
The history of discovery runs parallel to that of the South Shetland Islands. Here, exploitation was again the major force behind the early explorations. Nowadays the Antarctic Peninsula is protected by the Antarctic Treaty, which has been signed by 46 countries. The signatory parties have agreed to abstain for 50 years from recognizing, disputing, or establishing territorial sovereignty claims. The parties also agreed to set aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, established freedom of scientific investigation and banned military activity on the continent.
Antarctica can boast several records with relation to climate. It is the coldest, driest and windiest continent on earth. Although the Antarctic Peninsula is part of the continent it does not show these extremes. During the Austral summer temperatures as high as 15°C (59°F) have been recorded at the west side of the peninsula, however, the average temperature is around 2°C (36°F). Although blue skies and calm weather are common in the sheltered bays and channels, cold katabatic winds, caused by cold air accelerating under gravity from icecaps and glaciers, pick-up quickly and form a strong opponent for the Antarctic traveller.
M/v "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 eventually purchased by Oceanwide Expeditions. The vessel was completely rebuilt as a 114-passenger vessel in 2009. All cabins offer lower berths (either two single beds or one queen-size bed), except for the 5 quadruple cabins (for 4 persons in 2x upper and lower beds). The vessel offers a restaurant/lecture room on deck 3 and a spacious observation lounge (with bar) on deck 5 with large windows, offering full panorama view. M/v "Plancius" has large open deck spaces (with full walk-around possibilities on deck 3), giving excellent opportunities to enjoy the scenery and wildlife.
NOTE: Your itinerary may vary according to your departure date.
In the afternoon, we embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel and sail through this scenic waterway for the rest of the evening.In the afternoon, we embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel and sail through this scenic waterway for the rest of the evening.
During these two days we sail across the Drake Passage. When we cross the Antarctic Convergence, we arrive in the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area we may see Wandering Albatrosses, Grey Headed Albatrosses, Black- browed Albatrosses, Light- mantled Sooty Albatrosses, Cape Pigeons, Southern Fulmars, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Blue Petrels and Antarctic Petrels. Near the South Shetland Islands, we glimpse at the first icebergs.
We will sail directly to “High Antarctica”, passing the Melchior islands and the Schollaert Channel between Brabant and Anvers Island. We will sail to the Neumayer Channel, where we position our ship for the multi activity base camp. The protected waters around Wiencke Island will become our playground for all activities. In this alpine environment there great opportunities to scout the region on foot, per zodiac and during kayak trips. Walkers will find opportunities to use snowshoes on hikes near the shore lines and the mountaineers will find their challenge by climbing hills and view points further inland, ie. Jabet Peak (540 m). All climbs and excursions can only be conducted in good weather conditions. We plan to stay two overnights at anchor in order to implement two camp nights and two full activity days. We will visit the British research station and post office Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. Close to Port Lockroy we may also offer a landing on Jougla Point with Gentoo Penguins and Imperial Shags. We sail through the spectacular Lemaire Channel to Pleneau and Petermann Island where we can find Adelie Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags. In this area there are good chances to encounter Humpback Whales, Minke Whales and Fin Whales. Our second Basecamp night will be erected near the continent, we choose a camp site which is suitable and close to next days activity. The mountaineers hope to reach the summit of Mt Demaria (640 m) at Waddington Bay. A visit to one of the scientific stations in Antarctica will give you an insight about the life of modern Antarcticans working on the White Continent. Further south we may have time to visit the Ukrainian Vernadsky Station, where we will receive a warm welcome from the station crew. When sailing to Paradise Bay, with its myriad icebergs and deep cut fjords, we will have the opportunity for zodiac cruising and kayaking between the icebergs in the inner parts of the fjords. In this area we have good chances to see Humpback Whales and Minke Whales. Hikers, mountaineers and photographers will spend time ashore. In afternoon at Neko Harbour we will have the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent in a magnificent landscape of huge glacier and enjoy the landscape during zodiac cruises, hikes and kayak excursions. A small group of mountaineers may climb up on higher grounds of the glacier. We will spend the night at Neko or near Paradise Bay with a camp erected ashore. We will leave Neko Harbour in the early morning after breaking our last camp. We sail via Melchior Islands towards the open sea of the Drake Passage. We have again a chance of seeing many seabirds.
During these two days we sail back to the South American continent.
We arrive in the morning and disembark in Ushuaia.