Antarctic Culture & Customs with 11 Days Classic Tour
Antarctic Culture & Customs with 11-day expedition will introduce you to the magic of the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.
Antarctic Continent was first discovered in 1820. The honour of who first sighted the continent is however still disputed. At least once in each Antarctican’s lifetime, a pilgrimage is made to Mimosa, on the western shore of Antarctica, site of the continent’s only battle, in 1403 B.C., to repel foreign invaders.
Antarctic Culture & Customs
There are no permanent human residents in Antarctica although many scientists journey there for extended stays while conducting research. Antarctica has no government although various countries claim possession of certain areas however these are not legitimate claims. The continent’s status is regulated by the Antarctic Treaty and is politically neutral. Pollution should be avoided at all times as Antarctica has a very fragile environment. Expeditions should remove all wastes from the continent when they leave as waste disposal and sewage facilities on the continent are limited
Antarctic 11 Days Classic Tour
Tour style – Culture & History, Active & Adrenaline, Wildlife & Nature, Yachts & Cruises
Day 1 Arrive Ushuaia
Arrive into Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, at any time. Make your own way to the hotel and enjoy the evening at leisure. Sitting on the shores of the Beagle Channel, Ushuaia actually means ‘the bay facing westward’ in the language of the original Yamna inhabitants. Once a penal colony (the presidio was disbanded in the 1940s) for political prisoners as well as hardened criminals, Ushuaia is now a major tourist attraction, particularly for people such as ourselves cruising to Antarctica.
Day 2 Ushuaia (B,D)
Today we will embark on the expedition ship. Embarkation time is set for 4:00 pm. The morning is free to do any last minute shopping, an optional excursion to Tierra Del Fuego National Park or a good hike up to the Marshall Glacier. The evening is spent on board the ship watching the sunset over the Beagle Channel.
Day 3-4 The Drake Passage (2B,2L,2D)
Our adventure begins with a 400 mile crossing of the passage that bears the name of the 16th century English explorer Sir Francis Drake. The M/S Expedition is at home in this part of the Southern Ocean, known for the unimpeded fetch of the winds that encircle the Antarctic. At some point on the second day we cross the Antarctic Convergence, a meeting of cold polar water flowing north and warmer equatorial water moving in the opposite direction.
Day 5-8 Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands (4B,4L,4D)
This is what we’ve all been waiting for – a chance to step foot on the Great White Continent! Over the next 4 days we will navigate southwards making stops in the South Shetland Islands then through the Bransfield Strait and to the Antarctic Peninsula. Our goal is to attempt 2 excursions per day while we navigate through the area but our itinerary and daily schedule will be based on the local weather and ice conditions that we encounter.
The Peninsula also has a remarkable history and, during the voyage, we will learn about some of the most important and dramatic expeditions to this remote corner of the world. Keeping a lookout from the Bridge or the deck of the ship, as we thread our way along the continent, you’ll feel the same sense of excitement as many of those early explorers. The continent itself is roughly circular with a spindly arm, called the Antarctic Peninsula, reaching northwards towards Tierra del Fuego.
The highest point in Antarctica is Vinson Massif, with an altitude of 16,864 feet above sea level; the lowest point is the Bentley Subglacial Trench at 8,200 feet below sea level, located in West Antarctica. Antarctica has the highest average elevation of all the continents at about 7,500 feet about sea level. Antarctica is a continent of superlatives. It is the coldest, windiest, driest, iciest and highest of all the major landmasses in the world. It is the continent with the longest nights and the longest days and it is home to the world’s greatest concentration of wildlife.
Some of the species found in the frigid southern waters include: the Humpback Whale who consumes over a ton of krill each day; the Southern Right Whales easily identified by the whitish callosities on the jaws and forehead; the Sperm Whales made famous in Moby Dick; the Killer Whale which is actually not a whale at all but the largest of the dolphin family; the Sei Whale which can achieve speeds up to 55 km/h over short distances; the playful Minke Whales very common in the peninsula area; the Fin Whale who can attain a length of 25 to 27 meters making them the second largest whales; and the Blue Whale which is not only the largest whale in the oceans but also the largest animal that has ever lived.
The regions we visit aboard MS Expedition are inhabited by 6 different species including the giant King Penguin who can grow up to 1 metre in height (found only on South Georgia Island); the Adelie Penguin named after French explorer Dumont d’Urville’s wife; the Chinstrap Penguin identified by the distinctive black line connecting the black cap to below the chin; the Gentoo Penguin with its orange bill and white flash above and behind its eyes; the Macaroni Penguin (Only on South Georgia Island) who number roughly 12 million and are easily identified by the orange tassels meeting between the eyes; and the Rockhopper Penguin (Only in Falkland Islands) who are similar to the Macaroni in appearance but slightly smaller and have yellow tassels. Historical Figures Some of the bravest and best known explorers have sailed south in search of adventure and recognition.
Day 9-10 The Drake Passage (2B,2L,2D)
Today we leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. In between bird watching and whale watching and enjoying some final lectures by our expedition staff, this is a chance to relax and review the adventures of the past week before returning to Ushuaia.
Day 11 Depart Ushuaia (B)
And so our adventure comes to a close. We’ll say our goodbyes as we disembark in Ushuaia in the morning.