Through The Drake Passage
SAILING DATE: 30th Nov - 13th Dec 2018 (Silver Cloud Expedition)
The 02 Dec 2018 sailing includes:
01 Dec 2018 – Pre Cruise Hotel Night in Santiago de Chile
02 Dec 2018 – Transfer to Airport and Charter Flight from Santiago De Chile to Ushuaia
02 – 12 Dec 2018 – Accommodation with Personal Butler Service in a Suite of your Choice.
Antarctica Expedition with at least 2 landings per day, weather permitting 12 Dec 2018 – Return Charter Flight from Ushuaia to Santiago De Chile
Day 1 — Ushuaia, Argentina
After arrival in Ushuaia, embark Silver Cloud, settle in and attend a mandatory safety drill before leaving port. During the afternoon you will be introduced to some of the important crew members and your Expedition Team. At sail away bid farewell to Tierra del Fuego, the ‘Land at the End of the World’.
Days 2–3 — Drake Passage
As we set sail on our initial transit, familiarise yourself with the elegant Silver Cloud and the Expedition Team members. Attend wildlife, geography and history discussions hosted by our expert naturalists and guest lecturers preparing you for the exciting adventures that lie ahead.
The Drake Passage has a notorious reputation for its turbulent seas due to the westerly winds and the funnelling effect of the passage. With modern navigational aids and stabilizers Silver Cloud will bring you safely across these southern waters. The Antarctic Convergence is a natural boundary within the Drake Passage where cold polar water and warmer equatorial water come together. When these two currents meet, nutrients are pushed to the surface, often attracting a multitude of seabirds and whales. Spend some time on deck watching the horizon and the variety of seabirds that glide in the air currents of our ship’s wake -such as the Black-browed Albatross, Cape Petrels, White-chinned Petrels and Sooty Shearwaters.
Days 4–8 — Antarctic Peninsula
While sailing in Antarctica’s vast white wilderness, a flexible itinerary will allow us to take advantage of favourable sea and weather conditions. In the true spirit of expedition cruising, each day the Expedition Leader and Captain will determine our best course depending on weather, ice conditions and wildlife we may encounter.
Here are some of the places we may visit:
-Aitcho Islands, South Shetland Islands (just off the Antarctic Peninsula at the entrance to the English Strait)
After you step off the Zodiac to explore the island, you will be guided to Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguin colonies. Southern Giant Petrels and skuas are also present. Elephant seals quite often look for company near the landing site, and while heading back to the ship, you may see a leopard seal hunting penguins.
-Brown Bluff, Tabarin Peninsula (a 2,200-foot bluff on the Antarctic mainland)
Brown Bluff is an ice-capped, 745-metre-high, flat-topped mountain with a prominent cliff of reddish-brown volcanic rock.
Adelie and Gentoo Penguins, Kelp Gulls, and Cape Petrels use the base of Brown Bluff as a breeding area. Birds such as the all-white Snow Petrel and skuas may be seen from a distance. Weddell seals may be seen basking in the sunlight near the base of a glacier.
The sight of Adelie Penguins covering the entire island is quite amazing. The island is home to 80-90 thousand Adelies that come here to breed. On a nearby hill is a massive colony of Blue-eyed Shags. Kelp Gulls and Snowy Sheathbills are amongst the birds that also breed on Paulet Island, and Wilson’s Storm-petrels are regularly seen.
Members of a Swedish Antarctic expedition had to over-winter on the island in 1912 after their ship was ship-wrecked. Remnants of their hut still remain and you will have to walk past the hut on your way to the islands lake.
-Cuverville Island, Errera Channel
The island was discovered by Gerlache’s Belgian Antarctic expedition of 1897–99, and was named for a vice admiral in the French navy. Large, bare rock areas provide nesting sites for Gentoo Penguins. Snow Petrels and Cape Petrels also may be seen, whilst Wilson’s Storm-petrels nest in the higher scree of the island.
The bay is well named for its spectacular scenery of mountains, glaciers and icebergs. The Silver Cloud will reach Argentina’s “Base Brown”, one of many Antarctic research stations. Here, you will actually set foot on the mainland of Antarctica.
You can also view the wildlife from sea level while cruising in our Zodiacs. Apart from observing nesting cormorants in the cliffs there is a good chance to see crabeater seals relaxing on ice floes, and you might even locate Minke whales.
-Petermann Island, Wilhelm Archipelago
The island is named for German geographer August Petermann and was first discovered by a German expedition in 1873-74.
During our landing, we will be able to observe rookeries of Adelie Penguins, Gentoo Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags. Our onboard Geologist might take the opportunity to point out various geological features and especially where rock surfaces show glacial polish and some glacial grooving.
Neko Harbour offers a visit to small penguin rookeries, a nice Zodiac cruise in search of whales and the possibility to hike onto a glacier for spectacular views of the glaciers, the bay and the ship. The common breeding birds are Gentoo Penguins, but Chinstrap Penguins, Kelp Gulls and skuas can be seen too. Seals are often hauled-out close to the landing site.
-Port Foster, Whalers Bay (Deception Island)
Deception Island is an excellent example of a caldera that can be reached from the sea. We plan to sail inside the caldera through a narrow entrance called Neptune’s Bellows.
Our Geologist might take the opportunity to explain the unique volcanic features of the area, while our Historian will introduce you to Deception Island’s interesting history -from whaling to scientific studies. Still visible on the island are the boilers used to make whale oil in the early 1900s.
-Port Lockroy, Goudier Island
The British built a listening station here during WWII, which was later used as a research station in the 1950s and since 1996 as a museum and gift shop and Post Office. While you are inside sending a postcard from this lonely outpost, Snowy Sheathbills and Gentoo Penguins roam outside the museum.
Days 9–10 — Drake Passage Return
Navigating our return through the Drake Passage, we will watch for seabirds and wildlife we may have missed on the first leg down. Take this opportunity to attend additional presentations offered by the Expedition Team lecturers and to edit the many photos taken as we travel towards Ushuaia.
Day 11 — Ushuaia, Argentina
After breakfast, disembark Silver Cloud.