11 days with Silversea Rating:
Day 1 — Ushuaia, Argentina
Departing from Buenos Aires, fly to Ushuaia and transfer to the port. 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
The Drake Passage has a notorious reputation for its turbulent seas due to the westerly winds and the funnelling effect of the passage’s seafloor. While crossing the Drake Passage we will encounter the Antarctic Convergence, a natural boundary between cold polar water flowing northward and warmer water moving southward. The Antarctic Convergence is not a fixed line but moving, depending on the season. Where 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 Black-browed Albatross, Sooty Shearwaters and White-chinned Petrels gliding in the air currents of Silver Cloud’s wake.
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 that will prepare you for the exciting adventures that lie ahead.
Days 4–8 — Antarctic Peninsula
While sailing to Antarctica in early December the winter pack ice is breaking up and melting. Every turn can reveal a new and breath-taking adventure. As the pack ice becomes thicker, it becomes apparent to everyone that we are moving closer into Antarctica’s vast white wilderness. Remote and otherworldly, Antarctica is irresistible for its spectacular iceberg sculptures, calving glaciers, and for the possibility of close encounters with marine mammals.
Watch for seals sunbathing on slow-moving ice floes and for humpback, Minke, and orca whales to surface from below the frigid waters.
Each day we will attempt Zodiac departures, and, if conditions permit, we will cruise amidst colourful icebergs or step ashore to visit a variety of penguin rookeries and perhaps scientific research stations on complimentary excursions led by our team of natural history experts.
A flexible itinerary allows 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:
Named after Nordenskjöld’s ship, this 30 miles long stretch of water at the north end of the Antarctic Peninsula offers some of the best tabular iceberg observations.
Brown Bluff, Tabarin Peninsula (a 2,200-foot bluff on mainland Antarctica)
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 this as a breeding area. Birds such as the all-white Snow Petrel and skuas may be seen from a distance. As you explore the area, a Weddell seal may be seen basking in the sunlight. Wait long enough and you will see the Adelie Penguins standing along the shore finally making their way into the surf.
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. If conditions permit, a hike towards the top of the island will permit stunning views of the surrounding mountains and channels. During Zodiac tours around the many icebergs, hauled-out Weddell seals may be seen.
Paradise Bay (Antarctic Peninsula)
The bay is well named for its spectacular scenery of mountains, glaciers and icebergs. From the ship, observe Argentina’s “Base Almirante Brown”, and the Chilean station “Gonzalez Videla”, two of many Antarctic research stations that are manned periodically. Here, you can actually set foot on mainland Antarctica. View the wildlife from sea level while cruising in your Zodiac with one of our experienced Expedition Team members.
Neko Harbor (Antarctic Peninsula)
The site is named after a whale factory ship, which often used this bay –and Neko Harbor still today offers good chances to see whales. A landing will provide an opportunity to see Gentoo Penguin rookeries and quite possibly Weddell seals and crabeater seals hauled out on the cobble beach. A hike to a lookout point will be a good exercise and will be rewarded with panoramic views of the glacier, Andvord Bay and the Gerlache Strait.
Port Foster, Whalers Bay (Deception Island)
Deception Island is home to a collapsed volcano and an excellent example of a caldera where it is believed that the volcano’s summit collapsed with one section sinking far enough to allow the sea to flood the interior. We plan to sail inside this breached wall through a narrow entrance called Neptune’s Bellows.
Our resident geologist will take the opportunity to explain the unique volcanic features of the area while our naturalists might introduce you to the whaling history of Deception Island. 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 then used as a research station in the 1950s and since 1996 as a museum and gift shop. Snowy Sheathbills and Gentoo Penguins roam outside the museum. Have a look to see how science was done in Antarctica more than 50 years ago. A post-office and mailbox are located inside the former station.
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. Take this opportunity to attend additional presentations offered by the Expedition Team lecturers and to edit photos.
The Captain will invite you and your new friends to the Farewell Cocktail, as we travel towards Ushuaia.
Day 11 — Ushuaia, Argentina
After breakfast, disembark Silver Cloud and transfer to Ushuaia International Airport for your return flight to Buenos Aires.
All This Included
Traversing Drake’s eponymous passage is a must for any explorer. With diverse seabirds attracted to the area, have your binoculars and cameras ready and as you sail closer to the Antarctic Peninsula, look for seals basking on ice floes, Macaroni penguin, and the prodigious Orca whale. Begin and end your expedition at the “world’s end”, Ushuaia.
Cruising: Cabin onboard Silver Cloud Expedition or Silver Explorer
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.