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.
On selected voyages a crossing of the Antarctic Circle is planned. This border, that is located at Latitude 66° 33′ South, marks the Antarctic Territory according to one of the definitions. The Antarctic Circle experiences a period of 24 hours of continuous daylight at least once in the year. The reason for this phenomenon is that the axis of the earth is tilted by 23.5 degrees. South of the Polar Circle at Detaille Island in Crystal Sound is the farthest south that we will probably reach at Latitude 66°52' South. The further south in Antarctica, the colder it gets. Temperatures slightly below 0ºC (32ºF) can be expected on these journeys, in part because Antarctic Circle voyages are planned later in summer. The reason for this period is that in this time of the year the chances of meeting heavy pack-ice, which can interfere with our programme, is limited.
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. 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.
During our Antarctic dive expedition you may observe penguins from under the surface as well as sea-lions and perhaps even leopard seals. The Falkland islands are rich with krill (which is consumed by many species) and therefore interesting for finding marine wildlife. The dive sites will vary from shallow ice diving, diving along a wall, from a beach or from the zodiac. The maximum depth is around 20 meters / 60 feet. The combination of sunlight and the often extraordinary formations of ice, causes an overwhelming, ever-changing spectre of colours, with a fantastic variety of shades and brilliance.
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