• Marvel at spectacular iceberg sculptures and set foot on Antarctica.
• Spot elephant seals, Antarctic fur seals, Weddell seals, leopard seals and crabeater seals in the water, ashore, or on ice floes.
• Watch for humpback whales, Minke whales, orcas, pilot whales, and beaked whales.
• See Cape Petrels, Wandering Albatrosses, Black-browed Albatrosses and Southern Giant Petrels in the Drake Passage and Snowy Sheathbill, Antarctic Cormorant, Antarctic Tern, Southern Fulmars, Wilson’s Storm-petrels, and Gentoo, Chinstrap and Adelie Penguins further south.
Silver Cloud will have kayaks onboard that will allow small groups to explore Antarctica in a unique way –accompanied and supervised by certified kayak instructors. These kayak excursions have limited space; they require a certain level of fitness and will also depend on local conditions for safe operation.
Day 1 — Ushuaia, Argentina
Embark Silver Cloud in Ushuaia, 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. Partake in wildlife, geography and history discussions hosted by our expert Team Members and naturalists and attend talks by our 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, but with modern navigational aids and stabilizers Silver Cloud will bring you safely across these southern waters.
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.
Day 4 — Antarctic Sound
We will start our Antarctic experiences at the top of the Antarctic Peninsula, venturing into Antarctic Sound and its magnificent array of tabular icebergs, historical sites and Adelie and Gentoo Penguin rookeries.
Depending on weather and ice conditions Silver Cloud might visit Brown Bluff, Hope Bay and cruise the Antarctic Sound.
Brown Bluff, (a 2,200-foot bluff on the Antarctic mainland) is an ice-capped, 745-metre-high, flat-topped mountain with a prominent cliff of reddish-brown volcanic rock.
The coastal area at the base of Brown Bluff is used by Adelie and Gentoo Penguins, Kelp Gulls, and Cape Petrels as a breeding area. Under good climatic conditions a walk onto a nearby glacier might be feasible.
Hope Bay has one of the largest Adelie Penguin colonies in Antarctica and a Zodiac cruise past the Argentine Station “Esperanza” will show some of the penguins, Weddell seals and Blue-eyed Shags.
Days 5–7 — Antarctic Peninsula
While sailing in Antarctica’s vast white wilderness, our itinerary will be flexible and 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:
Cuverville Island was discovered by Gerlache’s Belgian Antarctic expedition of 1897–99. Large, bare rock areas provide nesting sites for Gentoo Penguins. Snow Petrels and Cape Petrels may also be seen, whilst Wilson’s Storm-petrels nest in the higher scree of the island. Under good conditions one can climb part of Cuverville’s hill for spectacular panoramic views.
Paradise Bay is well named for its spectacular scenery of mountains, glaciers and icebergs. The Silver Cloud will sail past Argentina’s “Base Brown”, one of many Antarctic research stations. You can also view the wildlife from sea level while cruising in our Zodiacs. Apart from observing cormorants in the cliffs there is a good chance to see crabeater seals relaxing on ice floes; whales have been seen regularly.
Petermann Island is named for geographer August Petermann and was 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. Petermann has various geological features, especially rock surfaces showing glacial polish and some glacial grooving.
Pleneau Bay lies at the south end of the Lemaire Channel, and was first explored during Charcot’s 1903–05 French Antarctic Expedition. Gentoo Penguins, Kelp Gulls and South Polar Skuas are usually found breeding on Pleneau Island and Southern elephant seals are often hauled-out in wallows.
Enjoy the spectacular scenery of icebergs nearby either from shore or during a Zodiac cruise.
Day 9 — South Shetland Islands
We will end our Antarctic sojourn in the South Shetland Islands.
Port Foster, Whalers Bay and Telefon Bay are all located in Deception Island, an excellent example of a caldera that can be reached from the sea. We plan to sail into the caldera through the narrow entrance called Neptune’s Bellows. Ashore Deception Island’s interesting history -from whaling to scientific studies- still shows remains of a former whaling station, including the boilers used to make whale oil in the early 1900s, and houses belonging to a British research base. The unique volcanic features of the area can be seen during hikes.
The Aitcho Islands have Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguin colonies. Southern Giant Petrels and skuas are never far from penguin rookeries and elephant seals quite often look for company near the landing site.
Days 9–10 — Drake Passage
Navigating our return through the Drake Passage, we will watch for seabirds and wildlife we may have missed on our initial crossing. There will be opportunities to attend additional presentations offered by the Expedition Team lecturers and to edit the many photos taken as we travel towards Ushuaia.
During the last afternoon, our Photographer/Videographer will show the Voyage –DVD.
Day 11 — Ushuaia, Argentina
After breakfast, disembark Silver Cloud.
Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather, wildlife activity and ice conditions. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.
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