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Deep Weddell | Sylvia Earle

14 Days FROM USD 12,236 20 % off!

Overview

On this exciting new Weddell Sea cruise, we’ll immerse ourselves into the Weddell Sea region and spend more time here than any other of our voyages. The Weddell Sea region is renowned for vast amounts of ice – sea ice, pack ice and gigantic icebergs. On this 14 day voyage, we hope to see ice seals such as crabeater and leopard seals hauled out on ice floes, and while ashore, you can scour for ancient fossils of gastropods, large clams and spiral-shaped ammonites. The area is rich in geology and paleontology, both fascinating and ancient. 

For adventurous expeditioners, a visit to the area can be rewarding, not least for its historical associations. In 1902, Swedish explorer Otto Nordenskjöld was forced to spend two winters in the Weddell Sea, and the main expedition hut built on Snow Hill Island still stands. The area is also central to Ernest Shackleton’s story. It was in the Weddell Sea that Shackleton’s crew had to abandon their ship, the Endurance, after it became trapped in the ice. 

Departing from Ushuaia, your Weddell Sea adventure allows for plenty of time in both the Antarctic Peninsula and the Wedell Sea region. 
 

Optional Activities : Kayaking, Snorkelling

Trip Code: ACAEDW

Travel Style: Expedition Cruise

Location: Antarctic Peninsula

Ship: Sylvia Earle

Flights: International flights are not included. Ask us about booking your flights to/from South America to save money by creating an 'airpass'.

CRUISE ITINERARY

Having made your way to Ushuaia, you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to our group hotel. This evening, enjoy a light refreshment as you meet your fellow expeditioners at a Welcome Reception.

Arrive Ushuaia

This morning, please ensure your cabin luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labelled with your name and cabin number. Your luggage will be collected from your hotel and transferred directly to the port for clearance and delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Please keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day. Enjoy free time after check-out, meeting back in the hotel lobby at 2.00 pm to commence a short sightseeing 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 brief 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.

If you choose to not participate in the sightseeing tour, you will need to make your own way to the Prison Museum carpark by 3.45 pm to re-join the group for the transfer to the pier for embarkation.

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.

Embarkation

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 our vessel. On sea days, you may can enjoy the facilities on board the vessel including the gym, wellness centre or the relaxing in one of the observation lounges.

Nearing the South Shetland Islands and the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula on the afternoon of 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. Time and weather permitting, we may attempt our first landing in Antarctica by late afternoon.

Drake Passage Days 3-4

It is 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.

A voyage to the Antarctic Peninsula is by its very nature a genuine adventure, but to venture to the Weddell Sea region located on the wild eastern side of the peninsula is turning up the dial a few notches. A considerable aspect of a voyage to the Weddell Sea is the thrill of not knowing if the ice will allow us to enter its frozen realm. The Weddell Gyre pushes enormous amounts of ice from the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf up towards the area near Antarctic Sound, blocking the entrance to the Weddell Sea, but a visit to the region has numerous rewards.

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 many 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.

Gigantic icebergs, the size of skyscrapers, dwarf our Zodiacs as we attempt to push through seemingly impenetrable sea ice to land on remote beaches where ancient fossils can be found. The wildlife we may encounter in the Weddell Sea region makes the attempt worthwhile. The abundant ice attracts ice seals such as crabeater, leopard and Weddell seals, which all breed and birth on sea ice. The Weddell Sea 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 blue-eyed shags jostle for space with nest-building Wilson’s storm petrels.

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 and in the Weddell Sea region.

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, as well as humpback, minke and orca whales. In the Weddell region, fossils are a reminder of a more temperate era – gastropods, large clams, and spiral-shaped ammonites, all turned to stone. Your camera is sure to get a solid workout during your time in the Weddell Sea.

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!

Antarctic Peninsula & Weddell Sea Days 5-11

Enjoy a final morning landing before we re-enter the Drake Passage for our return journey to South America.

With lectures and film presentations to complete our Antarctic experience, there is still plenty of time to enjoy the magic of the Southern Ocean and the life that calls it home. There is time for reflection and discussion about what we have seen and experienced. We hope you become ambassadors for Antarctica telling your family, friends and colleagues about your journey to this magical place, advocating for its conservation and preservation so that they might one day visit the region to experience what you have been lucky to see and do here.

As we approach the tip of South America, our Captain may sail close to legendary Cape Horn, weather and time permitting.

Drake Passage Days 12-13

During the early morning, we cruise up the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia, where we disembark from approximately 8.00 am. Farewell your attentive crew, expedition team and fellow passengers as we all continue our onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature. A transfer to Ushuaia airport or to your hotel is included in the voyage fare.

Note: At the conclusion of the voyage, we do not recommend booking flights departing Ushuaia prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays.

Disembark in Ushuaia
DOWNLOAD ITINERARY PDF

Pricing per person & date

Deep Weddell | Sylvia Earle from USD 12,236
Departing Ending Duration
24 Mar 2024 06 Apr 2024 14

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES

Kayaking

Kayaking

Snorkelling

Snorkelling

Important Information

  • Inclusions

    All airport transfers mentioned in the itinerary. 
    One night’s hotel accommodation including breakfast, in Ushuaia on Day 1.  
    Onboard 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 receptions including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages.  
    All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises.  
    Educational lectures and guiding services provided by Expedition Team.  
    Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consultation).  
    One 3-in-1 waterproof, polar expedition jacket.  
    Complimentary use of Muck Boots during the voyage.  
    Comprehensive pre-departure information.  
    Port surcharges, permits and landing fees. 
    Gratuities for ship’s crew.  

    Exclusions

    International or domestic flights – unless specified in the itinerary.  
    Transfers – unless specified in the itinerary.  
    Airport arrival or departure taxes. 
    Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination fees and charges.  
    Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges.  
    Hotel accommodation and meals – unless specified in the itinerary.  
    Optional excursions and optional activity surcharges.  
    All items of a personal nature, including but not limited to alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, wi-fi, email or phone charges.  

  • 2 (light adventure)
  • Available upon request, contact us for more details.

  • Please note that the itinerary is subject to weather and ice conditions.

  • Departure date, seasonality and availability

SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

Talk to one of our Destination Specialists to find the perfect Antarctica expedition cruise and turn your dream into a reality. Chimu also specialise in Tailor-Made journeys so you can explore some of the highlights of South America pre or post cruise. Our Destination Specialists have exceptional knowledge and first-hand experience in the regions we visit, and will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.

Sustainability

Chimu Adventures is passionate and dedicated to sustainbility measures and understands the crucial part sustainability plays within the tourism industry.

We use local guides and office staff to both maximise local employment opportunities and minimise carbon footprint. Local guides also ensure you benefit from the intimate knowledge, passion and culture of the country you’re visiting. Our guides are all highly qualified (most with university degrees) or equip with many years of experience and are paid above the standard wage. Whether it be our knowledgeable local guides, locally produced meals or the transport on tour, we do not use imported goods when local products are available. We aim to minimise our impact on the environment and give as much back as possible to the communities we work in.

We ensure that we have as little negative impact on the wildlife as possible and minimise disturbances. We also encourage the education and visitation of protection and conservation services, specifically associated with the area. You will also find that we visit many locations and landmarks of which we encourage you to explore yet advise you to remain culturally aware and sensitive. We further encourage you to buy appropriate souvenirs and discourage the buying of anything wrongfully made or taken from the environment i.e. shells and endangered species products. Information on how you can be environmentally conscious, and travel responsibly will be made available in pre-departure information and en-route by guides and staff. Furthermore, in our further efforts of supporting the communities, a percentage of the funds generated from your tour (10%) will go back to our charities and assist us supporting the next generation and the environment they live in.

Being environmentally accountable is a crucial part of our organisation. Chimu is currently striving towards using less paper, taking several initiatives to do so and tracking our progress along the way. Our goal: A paperless organisation. For this reason, all information given to you will be sent electronically. We encourage those who choose to travel with us to support our aspirations and actions and ask that you reconsider printing out documentation. To view these documents, you can download them to your iPad or portable computer before and during your trip.

For more information visit our sustainability page.

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