Experience Santiago with your private guide before you embark on a private charter flight to Antarctica to discover the great White Continent while you kayak and sail by private yacht. Discover the spectacular scenery and amazing wildlife of one of the last true wildernesses on earth. This exclusive private yacht will allow us to visit tiny coves and shallow anchorages where you can enjoy the magnificent solitude of one of the most remote places on earth, while watching close-up the antics of the local inhabitants, curious leopard seals, playful humpback whales, or frenetically busy penguins. You are a part of the dazzling landscapes and plentiful wildlife- and with this private yacht expedition, you have the time and flexibility to stop and enjoy it at your own pace.
Next Available Departure: March 6, 2013. Other dates are available on request.
Enjoy a private Punta Arenas Airport transfer with professional driver and English speaking guide.
Hotel Cabo de Hornos offers excellent accommodation and quality services. This property is a perfect place for a memorable stay. Centrally located, the Cabo De Hornos Hotel is near the business and government centres located 20 kilometres from the airport.The hotel boasts 110 well-appointed guestroom that are comfortable, pleasant and equipped with all the modern facilities. The onsite restaurant serves a variety of national as well as international specialities for you to feast on, in a very comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.
Northeast of the Brunswick Peninsula on the Otway sound is a place where Magellan Penguins come every year to nest and care for their young. From the access point, there is a walk of around 2 kms (just over a mile) to arrive at this wonderful open air museum where it is possible to watch the penguins and study their behaviour.
The excursion departs from Punta Arenas' pier or hotel or airport.
Take a private charter flight from Punta Arenas over the Patagonian ice cap, the Drake Passage, and the northern South Shetland Islands to your destination: King George Island. Flight time is approximately 2.5 hours.
On arrival at King George Island you will be transferred to the jetty where an awaiting Zodiac will bring you to your yacht.
Your captain and expedition leaders Cath and Darrel will welcome you aboard Icebird, and after some familiarization and safety briefings, you'll head out to anchorage to enjoy your first dinner on board.
Built in 1999, the sailing yacht Icebird is a highly specified Van de Stadt 61 built by the Trintella Shipyard in the Netherlands. She is an extremely strong, heavy-duty expedition yacht that will carry her guests in luxury, safety, and speed, worldwide from the Arctic ocean to the tropic islands of the South Pacific and on to Antarctica. The enclosed pilothouse provides comprehensive navigation, pilotage, and monitoring systems and keeps the sailor in heated, air conditioned, dry comfort. A large garage in the aft compartment allows plenty of storage for a large aluminum hulled rigid inflatable boat, as well as skis, kayaks, dive gear, and other equipment for making the most of the exciting destinations you'll be visiting.
After a morning visit to the local elephant seal colony, we head out into the Bransfield Strait and set sail for Deception Island. Although Cath and Darrel can handle the yacht alone, guests are welcome to participate, and a hand to crank in the mainsheet or take a turn at the wheel dodging ice is very welcome.
As you enter Port Foster through the narrow ‘Neptune’s Bellows’, the sunken caldera of volcanic Deception Island opens before you, bringing in sight the remnants of what was once a bustling whaling industry at the turn of last century, with fleets of whale catchers and factory ships anchored in the harbour and more than a few interesting anecdotes and shenanigans to relate! For those with active dispositions, a 4 hour traverse over the island to Bailey’s Head is rewarded with stunning views of the sea cliffs and “Sewing Machine Needles” rock formations.. and the incredible sight of penguins as far as the eye can see. At Baileys Head you can watch the chinnies surf in on to the black sand beach and pop out walking on their two feet! Perhaps we’ll wash off the penguin scent with a dip in the volcanic hot springs at Pendulum Cove where steam rises eerily from the shore obscuring the dark brooding volcanic landscape.
Set sail for Enterprise Island and start to view the mainland Antarctic Peninsula - High jagged peaks, overhanging seracs, huge glaciers dropping newly formed ice bergs into the ocean.. and everywhere life abounds in this icy paradise. You will see numerous humpback whales, penguins, and seals drifting on the sea ice. Perhaps your first impressions of Antarctica will make you feel that you have entered an alternative reality! You'll spend the night tucked into a small ice cove tied to the wreck of the ‘Gouvernor’, a Norwegian whaling factory ship which caught fire and was run aground in 1912. The tranquillity and serenity is somewhat broken by busy Antarctic and Arctic terns who have made the wreck their home. They can often be seen returning to their chicks with large krill dangling from their beaks.
A morning kayak circumnavigation of Enterprise Island and perhaps a snow shoe walk to the summit in the afternoon will round out a magic day today.
Today you'll set sail for Paradise Bay, sailing through Wilhelmina Bay, where humpback whales feeding on krill are often seen. A lunch stop at Cuverville Island will allow you to go ashore and watch the comical antics of the bustling gentoo penguin colony. You'll likely see the ever-present leopard seals waiting for the unwary chick..From there, cruise to Paradise Bay, tucking into tiny Skonthorpe Cove for the night. A sense of tranquility is often broken by the roar of avalanches or the calving Avalanche Glacier, as it continues to advance into the sea.
Enjoy a day for sea kayak exploration and a snowshoe walk to catch the views from the snow hill above Almirante Brown station where both arms of Paradise Bar are laid out before you in a fabulous spectacle of ice, mountains and ocean.
Today, head out the southern arm of Paradise Harbor and set the sails for a brisk reach across the Gerlache Strait to the Peltior Channel. As you cruise down the spectacular channel the Fife Mountain range looms over your starboard hand, and those who wish may take to the kayaks and paddle the narrow channel.
You'll drop anchor under the ice cliffs at Port Lockroy and visit the English historic base that was pivotal in the days of early exploration and of fascinating Operation Tabarin, a secret wartime initiative to counter Nazi intelligence. The antiquated risqué paintings of 1940’s temptresses seem demure by today’s standards!
Keep your eyes peeled for whales and other wildlife as you navigate the icy waters surrounding Port Lockroy. Perhaps there will be an opportunity to explore in the kayaks.
While your captain starts to watch for a suitable weather system to ride back to Cape Horn, perhaps you head around to Arthur Harbor on Anvers Island, site of the U.S. base Palmer Station, where a base visit is always an interesting experience.
Today you head out into the Drake Passage and set your course for Cape Horn 600nm to the northwest. By nowthe team will be like a well oiled machine as you start your watches at sea, and time spent watching for icebergs from the comfort of the heated pilot house is not too hard to handle! Typically, this crossing takes between 2.5 to 3.5 days.
As you cross the Antarctic Convergence, the air temperature warms, layers come off and a turn on deck towatch the albatrosses is very inviting. You'll be sailing the "screaming sixties", with landfall in the "furious fifties" but thankfully the ‘state of the art’ weather systems aboard Icebird help to negotiate the deep lows the Drake Passage is legendary for.
Often, the captain is able to choose weather windows that provide a safe, comfortable and fast passage across the Drake Passage- and you’ll find that with the routine of watches at sea, the time passes quickly, and the chance to steer a yacht in the southern ocean is an exhilarating experience in itself, an exhilaration matched by the soaring flight of wandering albatrosses as they lift off the wave tops and soar above the yacht.
As you 'Round the Horn', the obligatory bottle of whiskey comes out… a share to King Neptune and the rest for the crew! Perhaps the weather conditions will be suitable and you will be able to land and visit the monument which evokes the souls of lost sailors, with its interesting sculpture that sings hauntingly in the wind. As you sail through the Cape Horn Archipelago and into the Beagle Channel, the verdant green magic of Patagonia with its lush Antarctic beech forests, sun dappled mountains and cascades will delight senses accustomed to sea ice and snow.
A return to relative civilization, but Ushuaia's claim to 'the end of the world' will leave you skeptical, as like most people who travel to Antarctica, you will forever be graced by images of the landscapes and thriving inhabitants of 'that other world' that lies to the south, bound by ice, but rich in life.
A private airport transfer with a professional driver and English-speaking guide is included (between Ushuaia hotel and airport or vice versa).
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