Silver Cloud Expedition 11/12/17-21/12/17
Excursie programma inbegrepen in de prijs:
USHUAIA ROUNDTRIP / 10 DAYS
11 DECEMBER 2017 / VOYAGE 1722
Marvel at spectacular iceberg sculptures and calving glaciers
Set foot on the continent and mainland of Antarctica
Encounter Gentoo, Chinstrap and Adelie Penguins and see the penguin chicks hatching.
Spot elephant seals, Weddell seals, leopard seals and crabeater seals
Watch for humpback, Minke, orca, pilot, and beaked whales
Identify Snowy Sheathbill, Antarctic Cormorant, Kelp Gull, Antarctic Tern, Cape Petrels, Wandering Albatrosses, Southern Fulmars, Blue-eyed Shags, Southern Giant Petrels, Black-browed Albatrosses, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, and other seabirds.
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 equatorial 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 horizon and Black-browed Albatross, Sooty Shearwaters and White-chinned Petrels gliding in the air currents of Silver Cloud’s wake. Have your camera ready to capture the magical colour of a late night sunsets.
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, every turn can reveal a new and breath-taking adventure. Remote and otherworldly, Antarctica is irresistible for its spectacular iceberg sculptures and 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:
Aitcho Islands, South Shetland Islands (just off the Antarctic Peninsula at the entrance to the English Strait)
Penguin species here include Gentoo and Chinstrap. Other annual seabirds include the Southern Giant Petrels. While heading back to the ship, you may have company as a leopard seal follows alongside your group’s Zodiac.
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, Weddell seals 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.
If conditions permit, we might hike onto the nearby glacier.
Cuverville Island, Errera Channel
The island was discovered by de 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 may also 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, we can usually spot hauled-out Weddell seals.
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 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. There’s a good chance you will come across a crabeater seal relaxing on a nearby ice floe, or if you are very lucky, your Zodiac driver may locate a Minke whale.
In early summer the Lemaire Channel should be navigable. This is one of the most scenic passages in all of Antarctica. Only 7 miles long the steep walls on both sides seem to make the channel even narrower than it is. The Lemaire Channel leads to the Wilhelm Archipelago and it would be a shame not to be out on deck watching the landscape pass by.
Petermann Island, Wilhelm Archipelago
The island is named for German geographer August Petermann and was first discovered by a German expedition in 1873-74. Our on-board geologist will take the opportunity to point out various geological features. Rock surfaces show glacial polish, some glacial grooving and nice samples of frost shattering.
During our landing, we will be able to observe rookeries of Adelie Penguins, Gentoo Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags. A hike to the top will give views of extensive iceberg areas towards the open waters.
Pleneau Island, Wilhelm Archipelago
Pleneau Island lies at the south end of the Lemaire Channel, and was first explored during Charcot’s 1903–05 French Antarctic Expedition. The island was named for the expedition’s photographer, Paul Pleneau.Amongst the common breeding birds are Gentoo Penguins, Kelp Gulls and South Polar Skuas. Southern elephant seals are often hauled-out ashore in wallows. During a Zodiac cruise enjoy spectacular glacial and ice scenery.
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 on Goudier Island 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. A special souvenir from Port Lockroy might be a postcard sent from its post-office.
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 the opportunity to attend additional presentations offered by the Expedition Team lecturers and to swap photos with new friends as we travel towards Ushuaia.
The Captain will invite you to a Farewell Cocktail and the on-board Photographer/Videographer will present his/her voyage DVD permitting you to re-live all the otherworldly experiences in this pristine and magical continent.
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.