Polar Circle Quest
OverviewYour adventure starts in Ushuaia - the most Southern city in the world. From here you set sail into the Beagle Channel and wave goodbye to solid ground as you know it!
The next few days are spent sailing across the 'Drake Passage', which connects the Southwestern part of the Atlantic with the Southeastern part if the Pacific. There is a whole plethora of seabirds to spot here and a glimpse of the first icebergs of the trip!
Following Drake passage there is an optional stop (weather permitting) at Hannah point where you can spot a variety of penguins and seabirds and even elephant seals. Then onto Deception Island, a natural harbour for the boat to stop and you can appreciate many species of birds and some natural hot springs.
On your way South, there is an opportunity to spot a large colony of Gentoo Penguins and breeding pairs of Brown Skuas before stepping foot, for the first time, on land! Surrounded by icebergs and fjords, this setting is a sight to behold. Sail on through this stunning part if the trip, passing Adélie penguins and try landing at Pléneau Island, for Humpback and Minke Whale watching.
With more wildlife spotting opportunities along the way, head South to meet the Polar Circle. Eventually, you'll arrive at the Melchior Islands with a very beautiful landscape containing amazing icebergs, you may encounter Leopard Seals, Crabeater Seals and whales and you even have the opportunity to kayak or dive in the waters!
It is then time to head back across the Drake Passage for you onward journey from Ushuaia.
Day 1: Arrival - Ushuaia
In the afternoon, embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel. Meet your expedition and lecture staff. After you have settled into your cabin you will set sail along the famous Beagle Channel and the scenic Mackinlay Pass.
Days 2 & 3: At Sea - Crossing the Drake Passage
Named after the renowned explorer, Sir Francis Drake,who sailed these waters in 1578, the Drake Passage also marks the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar water sinks beneath the warmer
northern waters. The Drake Passage also marks the northern limit of many Antarctic seabirds. As you sail across the passage, the lecturers will be out with you on deck to help with the identification of an amazing variety of seabirds, including many albatrosses, which follow in the wake.
Our open bridge policy allows you to join our officers on the bridge and learn about navigation, watch for whales, and enjoy the view! The first sightings of icebergs and snow-capped mountains indicate that you have reached the South Shetland Islands, a group of twenty islands and islets first sighted in February 1819 by Capt. William Smith. With favourable conditions in the Drake Passage, our lecturers and naturalists will accompany you ashore as you experience your first encounter with the penguins and seals on Day 3!
Days 4-9: Exploring The Antarctic Peninsula, The South Shetland Islands, and endeavor to cross The Polar Circle
Exquisite beauty and pristine landscapes are waiting for you on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula. Myriads of icebergs with different shades and shapes are floating free in the waterways around the continent. The Antarctic Peninsula´s remarkable history will also provide you with a type of excitement often only associated with the early explorers! You will have plenty of time to explore its amazing scenery and a wide variety of wildlife. See Adélie, Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins as well as other seabirds, you are also likely to encounter Weddell, crabeater, fur and leopard seals as well as Minke whales and orcas at close range! At this time of year it is also very likely to encounter big cetaceans, such as humpback, Fin and Sei whales in the area.
We hope to navigate some of the most beautiful waterways the area has to offer, such as: The Gerlache Strait, Errera Channel, Neumayer Channel and the extremely narrow Lemaire Channel. Possible landing sites may include: Paradise Bay, which is perhaps the most aptly named place in the world with its impressive glacial fronts and mountains, Cuverville Island, home of the biggest Gentoo Penguin colony in the Peninsula surrounded by glaciers and castellated icebergs, and the British Museum and Post office Port Lockroy.
As further exploration will lead you far South of the Lemaire Channel in quest of the Polar Circle, you might also visit the Ukrainian Station Vernadsky, the former British base Faraday, the rugged Yalour Islands and south of the Polar Circle Detaille Island. On your way North we plan to explore the South Shetland Islands. The volcanic island group is a haven for wildlife. Vast penguin rookeries and seals hauling out on the shorelines make every day spent here unforgettable. Sailing through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island is truly amazing, so is visiting the crescent-shaped island Half Moon, home to Chinstrap Penguins in breathtaking surroundings.
Days 10-11: Crossing The Drake Passage, Northbound
You leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. Join our lecturers and naturalists on deck as you search for seabirds and whales and enjoy some final lectures. Take the chance to relax and reflect on the fascinating adventures of the past days on the way back to Ushuaia.
Day 12: Ushuaia
Arrive at the port of Ushuaia in the early morning and disembark after breakfast.
The above itinerary is a guide only. Our exact route and program will vary to take best advantage of local weather and ice conditions and opportunities to view wildlife. Changes will be made by the Captain and/or Expedition Leader to facilitate the best results from the prevailing conditions. A daily program sheet will be issued on board.
Would you like us to organise all your pre-departure arrangements for you? Just get in touch and make your booking hassle-free!
Are you wondering about flights, deposits and other bits and pieces? Here are a few items of essential information that could help with the planning of your trip with Tango Tours. If you have any questions please just contact us.
Getting to Ushuaia (the starting point for all our Antarctica tours) is straightforward from most areas of the world, but you may find that the choice is bewildering, or you’re not sure about the easiest route. Tango Tours are experienced in planning flights and we are very happy to advise you on the different choices available. Because prices tend to increase closer to your departure date, we advise that you buy your international flight tickets as soon as you have made a decision about your trip. As an ATOL bonded tour operator, we can assist in your purchase of international flights. In fact, your entire tour can be protected under our ATOL licence by booking your international flight with us. Please note that 100% of your flight ticket price is payable on tour confirmation and is non-refundable.
As with international flights, Tango Tours' friendly and knowledgeable staff are on hand to book your internal flights within Argentina to Ushuaia. For Antarctica itineraries, you will need to arrive at a particular destination at a required time/date in order to board the expedition boat, therefore it is vital that you book the correct flights and times of arrival. Our ATOL licence will protect your whole tour if your internal flights are purchased through us. Please note that flights are non-refundable and 100% of your flight ticket price is payable on tour confirmation.
To confirm your booking with Tango Tours, we require a payment of 20% of the ground-based arrangements and 100% of all flights booked with us. The remaining balance of your tour is then payable 10 weeks prior to departure. For any bookings made within these 10 weeks, the full amount is payable.
We provide brief information about activities/ excursions in the itinerary, if you would like to know more we are very happy to provide more in-depth details. Please note all itineraries may be subject to change.