Elephant Island, Weddell Sea & Polar Circle
13 Nights/14 Days
Start/Finish: Ushuaia, Argentina
Price from €7,600
Hondius: 14 March
This adventurous polar expedition in the Antarctic Circle combines the exciting Weddell Sea with the amazing Antarctic Peninsula, including such iconic landing sites as Ernest Shackleton’s legendary Elephant Island and the many icy and wildlife-filled islands of Crystal Sound.
Possible Route Map
Point Wild, Elephant Island, Antarctica. Here the 22 men from the Shackleton Expedition who survived the wreck of the Endurance lived for four and one half months before being rescued.
Adelie Penguins in the Weddell Sea
Orca (killer whales) in the Erebus and Terror Gulf, in the WeddellSea
An Emperor Penguin on an ice flow in the Erebus and Terror Gulf, in the Weddell Sea
The Wright Ice Piedmont in the Orleans Strait
The m/v Plancius enters the Lemaire Channel
Wordie House in the Argentine Islands
Vernadsky, Ukrainian Station in the Argentine Islands
James at Elephant Island
To make a booking, or to ask any questions you have about the voyage and its suitability for you, please contact us. James has guided on this voyage before and will be happy to discuss all aspects of the trip with you.
PLEASE NOTE: All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions and in order to take advantage of opportunities to see wildlife. The on-board expedition leader determines the final itinerary. Itineraries may mention places that require permission to land, which must be granted by the relevant national authorities. Such permission is not granted prior to the publishing of these itineraries. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. Average cruising speed is 10,5 knots.
Day 1: End of the world, start of a journey
Your voyage begins where the world drops off. Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, is located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed “The End of the World,” and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening.
Day 2 – 3: Path of the polar explorers
Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you enjoy some of the same experiences encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too. 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 are a few of the birds you might see.
Day 4: From Point Wild to the Weddell Sea
We will arrive early to the famous Point Wild, Elephant Island, where Shackleton’s crew made their first landing after the loss of their ship Endurance. This inhospitable spit of land is a favourite among our guests, and if conditions permit, we will offer activities around the point before setting off for the Weddell Sea.
Day 5: Weddell Sea Devil Island
Today you enter the wondrous Weddell Sea, a relatively unvisited area in which we hope to carry out activities in Erebus and Terror Gulf. We may also visit such places such as Beak Island and Devil Island, which boast some stunning scenery as well as the pack ice for which the Weddell Sea is famous.
Day 6: Exploring the most remote regions
As we continue to explore the area of Erebus and Terror Gulf, we look for new opportunities for activities. You may also visit Vega Island, experiencing the wilderness of Antarctica in its most remote places.
Day 7: Orléans Strait whale search
Now we sail down the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula, entering the Orleans Strait. Here we hope to see humpback and orca whales as we sail toward Mikklesen Harbor for our afternoon activities.
Day 8: Port monuments and island wildlife
Passing the Lemaire Channel, you next arrive in the area of Port Charcot, where there is a cairn that was erected by the French Antarctic Expedition of 1903 – 05. In the afternoon, we head to Petermann Island to see a great variety of birdlife. You might also enjoy Zodiac cruises among icebergs that are highly popular with leopard seals and crabeater seals. Minke whales, humpbacks, and gentoo penguins can also be found here.
Day 9: Detaille Island’s historic station
Today we reach Crystal Sound, viewing the area’s beautiful ice formations and wildlife before landing at Detaille Island. This remote island was once home to a British research station that is now an historic monument.
Day 10: Amazing Argentine islands
Next you arrive at the Yalour Islands, a small archipelago composed mostly of isolated rocks and one principal island that offers us a rewarding landing. Home to Adélie penguins and some of the most southerly gentoos in the world, Yalour also has small patches of bearded and crustose lichen, including xanthoria, buellia, caloplaca, and usnea. Extensive moss beds and some Antarctic hair grass (Deschampsia antarctica) can be seen as well. We hope to also visit the nearby Ukrainian research station, Vernadsky, where a warm welcome awaits us. Here you can take a guided tour of the facilities, which include a small gift shop, a post office that is always popular with our guests, and Wordie House, a well-preserved historic hut. This hut still contains its rations, tools, and beds, so you can compare the amenities of an early facility with a modern one like Vernadsky.
Day 11: Farewell to Antarctica
We have our farewell to Antarctica in the Melchior Islands for our final activities before heading towards the Drake Passage.
Day 12 – 13: Familiar seas, familiar friends
Your return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, you’re again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. But they seem a little more familiar to you now, and you to them.
Day 14: There and back again
Every adventure, no matter how great, must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, but with memories that will accompany you wherever your next journey leads.
Our Green Promise
If you book this polar expedition cruise through us we will pay your Carbon Offset for you and will provide you a Certificate on completion of your expedition.
19 DAY EXPEDITION CRUISE = 9.3 T
20 DAY EXPEDITION CRUISE = 9.8 T
(calculated at https://co2.myclimate.org/en/cruise_calculators/new )
It is your responsibility to book your travel to and from the start and finish of the expedition. This is normally a flight. If you would like to carbon offset this cost please use our carbon offset calculator here.