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  • Day 1: Ushuaia [March 13th]
    This is a travel day, where you will meet everyone! Once you arrive at Ushuaia Airport, a representative of Aurora Expeditions (our ship) will be waiting for you (with a sign) to help you with your bags and transfer you to our hotel. I will be available to help with the flight booking process as I have made this trip to South America many times - so there are a lot of options I can share! I will also be arriving to South America a few days earlier (to get on top of jetlag and do a little adventuring). For those who book, I will be in constant communication with you around this and you are more than welcome to join me for this part :) At approximately 6.00 pm on this date, we will all meet the other expeditioners at a voyage briefing. We will have our own meeting also to really kick things off. Afterwards, there’s free time to enjoy the local cuisine at one of Ushuaia’s many restaurants. (Dinner not included). Accommodation: Las Hayas Hotel (or similar) Expect a scenic flight to Ushuaia Usuaia, Argentina We will have free time to explore the town or go for a hike.
  • Day 2: Embarkation [March 14]
    This day might sound boring, but it is filled with a lot of palpable excitement! We will start by taking our luggage down to the hotel reception by 8.00 am and this will be transferred from our hotel, directly to the port for clearance, and delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Once we have checked out of your hotel by 11.00 am, we have free time to explore Ushuaia together. This is my first time travelling to Ushuaia, so I will be very keen to explore! At 2.00pm there is a short sightseeing tour of Ushuaia (if we want to join this - we can decide the night before), or alternatively, we can enjoy our own leisure time until 3.45 pm where we will re-join the group to be transferred to the pier for embarkation. Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego, is located at the shores of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by the Martial Mountains giving you a unique landscape in Argentina, which is a combination of mountains, sea, glaciers and forests. On this brief introductory tour, you will visit the “La Mision” neighbourhood, the old Government House, and the upper area of the city, which offers beautiful panoramic views of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel. You will see the antique houses that belonged to the first families settled in Ushuaia during the excursion. The excursion ends with a visit to the Old Prison Museum before transferring to the pier for embarkation at approximately 4.00 pm. ​ After embarkation, you’ll be guided to your room where you will receive your onboard credit ($100) and your Expedition Jacket - this is yours to keep and will be the only jacket you need on this trip (base layers such as thermals are still required). You will have time to settle into your cabin before our important mandatory briefings (fire drills, all of that fun stuff). As the ship pulls away from the port, we’ll gather on the deck to commence our adventure with spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego (incredible views). ​ This evening we will have a drink with the captain as we get to know the ship, our expedition team and the rest of the crew at our welcome drink to celebrate the start of a thrilling adventure to Antarctica. Room Arrivals Balcony Room Views Don't worry, the views will change quite quickly from the video above
  • Day 3: Drake Passage Crossing [March 15]
    As we commence the Drake Passage crossing, we make the most of our time getting comfortable with the motions of the sea. Our expedition team prepare you for our first landing with important wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures and start our lecture program to help you learn more about Antarctica’s history, wildlife and environment. These lecture programs are amazing! To listen in on whale lectures as whales appeared from the window at the same time, or to learn about species of dolphin that I have never heard about - only to see them jumping by the ship shortly after. These lectures are fun and interactive. The Ships Lecture Theatre These lectures aren't just on wildlife that we will see each day, but also cover topics such as Citizen Science, or Antarctic Photography Workshops with the ships onboard professional photography. On Ground Photography Workshops These photography workshops can continue in the field if you choose. An announcement will be made for individuals interested in joining the professional photographer that day and you simply sign up and join in. I am of course excited to meet up and cover off the same information before and during our trip :) ​As far as other activities available to enjoy during these sea days, we will be travelling on an EXPEDITION SHIP. Equipped with a specialised BOW that will make travel in rough seas as pleasant as they can be, but also equipped with everything else you might need to keep you entertained! 2 x Upper Deck Jacuzzi's, Gym, Sauna, Massage Therapist, Library, Cafe & Bar etc. Upper Deck Jacuzzi's We can't all cross the Drake's Passage like Shackleton. Someone has to make use of the balcony Jacuzzi's and Heated Swimming Pool (each person who books will have a $100 USD voucher to spend. We were drinking the good stuff clearly at $35 a bottle) Our wildlife experiences begin as we enjoy watching and photographing the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels following in our wake. They rise and fall skilfully, using air currents created by the ship to gain momentum. There will be Citizen Science projects on the deck and Photography Workshops too. Gym with a View On sea days I preferred to go for a walk around the deck - camera near by for any whales that decided to pop up - but I certainly made use of the gym (or the sauna at least) on days that I felt I needed it. Massages available (at a cost) and group yoga sessions. By day 10, most of us also decided that we probably should use this gym a little more considering we were doing double servings of mains and desserts for every meal. For whatever reason, I was the only person using this for the first week. As soon as everyone settled in though, this was a great spot to meet after a day on the ice. Guessing where we will spot our first Iceberg with Lucas, one of our many onboard Scientists (also our Snorkel Leader for that trip).
  • Day 4: Drake Passage & South Shetland Islands [March 16]
    Nearing the South Shetland Islands and the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula on day four, the excitement is palpable with everyone converging on one of the observation decks, watching for our first iceberg. The ocean takes on a whole new perspective once we are below the Antarctic Convergence and are surrounded by the surreal presence of floating ice sculptures. The memory of your first big iceberg sighting is likely to remain with you for a lifetime. Weather permitting, we may attempt our first landing in Antarctica by late afternoon. Please note - apart from Em & I - we were all strangers a few days before this. Piano on board near the bar. After dinner the ship will usually put on something in the lecture theatre, whether its a movie or presentation, but most of the time we would end up here or on the upper deck bar where we could play games and make a little more noise.
  • Day 5-11: Antarctic Peninsula, Crossing the Antarctic Circle [March 17-March 23]
    It’s almost impossible to describe the feeling of arriving in Antarctica. Spotting your first iceberg and taking a deep breath of the most fresh and crisp air on earth, is an experience that will stay with you forever. Balcony View - My First Morning on the Peninsula This was taken just seconds after waking up and setting foot on my balcony (I didnt have time to put warm clothes on, didn't care) Pulling back the curtains each morning to see a field of ice, or begs that towered above the ship, or penguins playing on smaller icebergs that floated part - this is the feeling I remember the most from my trip. That unknown sense of excitement - having no idea what I might see and always looking upon something that I never could have imagined. Every day just continued to surprise me. Balcony Views - Day 1 on the Peninsula Just a few of the views I saw on my first morning as we arrived to the Peninsula, all before heading to grab my morning coffee This is also where we will set foot on the continent of Antarctica! Once we arrive, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands, they are ours to explore, and we have a host of choices available to us. Our experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design our voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities. This is an Expedition Expect plans to change, we are in the worlds most wild & pristine location, so we go where the weather allows us! Be prepared to climb onto floating ice shelfs, hike along the continent of Antarctica, sit with penguin rookeries, explore the coastline by zodiac, enter century old huts that have been used by researchers and explorers of our past, send a post card from the most southern Post Office on the planet and if its open and available to visit (it was closed on my trip due to covid), stop in at Vernadsky for a vodka from the worlds most southern bar). Icerberg and Continent Landings If our zodiac guide finds a suitable iceberg for us to climb on, expect to jump on it! Vernadsky Station The worlds most southern bar! Unfortunately due to covid restrictions we were unable to stop in for a vodka (distilled from local glacier), however, fingers crossed we make a visit next trip! Zodiac Hot Chocolate This particular morning it was colder than usual, so it was a nice surprise for our friends from the restaurant to load up a zodiac and make a floating Hot Chocolate base a few hundred metres from a penguin rookerie For those who are Kayaking, Snorkelling or SUP'ing, be prepared to do so here at every opportunity available! The Kayak Program Where you might go if you take part in the Kayak Program (additional costs are required for this, as a specialised guide is required) Team Snorks (The Snorkel Program) This is the program I participated in, one which I couldn't recommend more! We went snorkelling with this team around a dozen times. Climbing icebergs like this, to swimming next to Leopard Seals in South Georgia. This program does have an additional cost as a specialised guide is required. I loved this program, because we always left the ship first each excursion, often half an hour earlier than the other groups. Snork's would go first, Kayaks second and then all other zodiac and land excursions would follow. This allowed us extra time to still explore on the Zodiac and take part in the Shore Excursion (often before anyone else is on land), followed by a Snorkel! We also had the added benefit of 'looking for the best place to snorkel' on the zodiac, which often meant we explored further. Watch This This video was taken (iPhone) from Sophie - one of my favourite new friends from my last trip. This happened at the same time that I was SUP'ing (pic above). Everything was so quite and peaceful, whales were gently swimming around and then this happened (something that is very common in this particular bay). We generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. Where we will cruise along spectacular ice cliffs or among grounded icebergs, keeping watch for whales, seals and penguins. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you can visit penguin rookeries, discover historic huts and explore some of our favourite spots along the peninsula. While ashore we aim to stretch our legs, wandering along pebbly beaches or perhaps up snow-covered ridgelines to vantage points with mountains towering overhead and ice-speckled oceans below. If you have chosen an optional activity, you’ll have the option to do that whenever conditions allow, and of course keen polar plungers will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in polar waters - conditions permitting! Polar Plunge Don't forget the Polar Plunge! Unlike other operators (who tie you up with a big, ugly rope), you will be free to jump on in, any way you please! Clothing optional (as the ship announced before hand) In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, we may ship cruise some of the narrow, dramatic straits separating offshore islands from the mainland, or linger in scenic bays to watch whales travelling or feeding. This is a HUGE HIGHLIGHT and one which I didn't expect. Spending hours cruising through the most scenic and unbelievable passageways I have ever lay my eyes on, while whales and wildlife constantly pop up to say hello. Lemaire Channel One of the many bays and channels that we will cruise through. Enjoy from the Jacuzzi (pictured here), heated pool, or underwater observation deck. Indoor Viewing There are man indoor viewing locations also. Such as the Sauna room, Bar, Lecture Theatre, Gym, Library, or the upper observation room. The Sauna makes for a great meeting place after a big day on the ice, or snorkelling. "Meet you in the Sauna? Yep, I'll grab a beer on the way!". This is a great time to enjoy the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge for uninterrupted views of Antarctica in all its splendour. Keep an ear out for the creak and deep rumble of glaciers as they carve their way from summit to sea, and take a quiet moment to experience the wonder of this incredible white continent. It was the silence that I enjoyed the most. The minor detail in everything! On this voyage, we plan to cross the Antarctic Circle, an imaginary line located at the Antarctic Circle at latitude 66°33' South. This is certainly a special highlight for everyone, and the moment will be celebrated with a toast on the deck. You’ve earned some boasting privileges, joining a small group of lucky adventurers who’ve made it to this part of the world. As we approach and cross the circle, you will notice subtle changes in the landscape, icescape, and in the distribution of wildlife. The waters at this time of year are rich with krill and we hope to see plenty of whales - particularly humpbacks and minkes and enjoy the spectacle of penguins feeding their ravenous chicks. Zodiac Excursions Citizen Science Let's not forget about the many Citizen Science programs available to participate in. These are optional, but they are available every single day, at multiple times - so it is easy to drop in and learn on the fly, OR take part every single time. You will learn a lot during this process, and it certainly makes you realise how important citizen programs like this are for the overall future of our planet (this is not an easy place for scientists to reach, especially on a consistent basis - the results we gather, under the supervision of the onboard scientists, are being used in actual research). Photography I hope I can help you capture the most incredible images of your life and also capture images of you in action :) And yes, an Album Cover is required. I should mention, which ever activity program you choose, you will spend so much time with the people in that group that strong bonds are going to be formed. I will participate in all activities (Kayaking, Snorkelling and SUP), to ensure I can spend time with everyone, but generally, you will go out every single day with these people, sharing other-worldly experiences together - so expect to make new life long friends (I'll be visiting two people from this pic in LA in a few months). Zodiac Excursions & Dry Suits
  • Day 12-13: Scotia Sea
    En route for South Georgia we'll head across the Scotia Sea, following the route that Shackleton and five of his men took in order to find help for the rest of their crew. On 24 April, 1916, they piled into the James Caird, the most seaworthy of their open boats, to attempt this perilous journey to South Georgia, some 1290 km (802 miles) distant. Shackleton hoped to reach South Georgia in two weeks. There he would enlist the help of the whalers to return to Elephant Island and rescue the men who had been left behind. As excitement builds for South Georgia, catch up with fellow expeditioners in the bar, keep watch for wildlife alongside our naturalist from the open bridge, or learn more of the Shackleton story from our historian. ​ I was surprised at how much this part of the trip inspired my inner explorer. There is no better place to learn about our greatest explorers than being in the very classroom that they survived - or periled. During our Scotia Sea travel we stopped in at the infamous Elephant Rock and although we were unable to land on the beach that Shackleton and his men managed to make it to, we still enjoyed multiple zodiac excursions around this wild island (as shown below). “Nearly always there were gales. So small was our boat and so great were the seas that often our sail flapped idly in the calm between the crests of two waves. Then we would climb the next slope and catch the full fury of the gale where the wool-like whiteness of the breaking water surged around us.” - Ernest Shackleton
  • Day 14-17: South Georgia
    PREPARE TO HAVE YOUR MIND BLOWN Antarctica is amazing, it is like no other place on the planet - but the hidden surprise which seems to steal everyones heart is South Georgia. There is not a photo I can show you that will prepare you for the feeling you will get when you land on a beach with 100,000 King Penguins or as you sit with giant Elephant seals. As you near the rugged island of South Georgia, spare a thought for Captain James Cook, who arrived here in 1775 and believed it to be the northern tip of a great southern continent! In fact, it is a small island only 176 km (110 mi) long, but with a 3,000 m (9,842 ft) snow-capped mountain range, some of the world’s largest congregations of wildlife and a truly fascinating human history, South Georgia is an island of incredible riches. Surprise Sunrise Landing at the worlds 2nd largest King Penguin Rookerie On approach, jagged mountain peaks rise steeply, while seabirds are often spotted soaring around the ship. You’ll sail down the east coast, taking in the spectacular glaciated scenery and enjoying a little shelter from the prevailing westerly winds. This enchanting coastline is yours to explore! Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their local knowledge to plan your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing weather, sea state and wildlife opportunities. We generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. Make sure you layer up before joining Zodiac cruises around craggy coves and along the rocky coastline in search of porpoising penguins, seal haul-outs and bird cliffs. Remember to keep an eye out for South Georgia’s kelp forests—these remarkable underwater ecosystems are quite mesmerising as their fronds sway back and forth on the water’s surface. Zodiacs will also transport you from ship to shore, where you can visit some of the largest king penguin colonies on earth, take a guided walk among fur seals and elephant seals (making sure you listen to your guides and keep your distance!) and wander along pebbled streams and grassy glacial outwash plains. We also hope to visit the remnants of South Georgia’s thriving whaling stations and pay our respects to Sir Ernest Shackleton, whose incredible voyage of survival is synonymous with this island. If you have chosen an optional activity, you’ll have the option to do that whenever conditions allow. Grytvicken, South Georgia - What a surreal experience this township is. Once a whaling station responsible for bringing various whale species to the brink of extinction, now an eerily beautiful remnant of the most southern point of civilisation as it has become reclaimed by the local fur seals and wildlife. An important part of the Antarctic story and where Shackleton himself was laid to rest. In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, we may ship-cruise through fjords with towering cliffs of ancient stone, or into deeply indented bays towards dramatic glacier fronts. This is a great time to find a comfy spot in the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge to enjoy uninterrupted views of South Georgia’s majestic coast. Coopers Bay, South Georgia
  • Day 18-20: At Sea
    Between South Georgia and the Falklands~Malvinas, you will be entranced by the ceaseless flight of the many seabirds that follow our wake, skilfully using the air currents created by the ship to gain momentum. On this leg, we are usually travelling into the prevailing weather, so it is difficult to estimate our arrival time in the Falklands~Malvinas. Our lecture program will continue and highlight all the amazing sights we have witnessed over the past few days. We’ll have ample time to enjoy the rest of our time observing the sea birds, whale watching from the bridge, or simply relaxing in the bar with a book. If time and weather conditions permit, we could pass close to Shag Rocks, a fascinating group of jagged rocky islets protruding from the sea, in the proximity of South Georgia.
  • Day 21: Falklands~Malvinas
    The Falklands~Malvinas comprises two large islands (East and West Falkland), with over 700 islands scattered off the coast. All but seven of these are uninhabited, with windswept coastlines, white sand beaches and crystal-clear water. These beautifully barren islands are true wildlife havens, sheltering an impressive diversity of birdlife, including the largest black-browed albatross colony on earth. The cold, nutrient-rich waters surrounding the islands make this a prime location for spotting marine life. There are many beautiful areas to explore across the Falklands~Malvinas, each offering a unique perspective on this magnificent archipelago. Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing winds, weather and wildlife opportunities. We generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. Even though we’re north of the Antarctic Convergence it can be quite chilly here, so you’ll want to layer up before joining Zodiac cruises into rocky coves or along sea cliffs, keeping watch for seals, sea lions, dolphins and penguins. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you may be able to visit albatross colonies, penguin rookeries and perhaps even have a traditional English ‘tea and scones’ at a local cottage. We also aim to land in historic Stanley, the capital of the Falklands~Malvinas. This charming town has a distinctly British character, with terraced townhouses, pioneer cottages and even an iconic red telephone box! Colourful buildings house cosy cafes, English pubs, souvenir shops, a post office and the fascinating Historic Dockyard Museum, with displays on the maritime history of the Falkland Islands, natural history and links to Antarctica.
  • Day 22: At Sea
    As we sail towards Ushuaia, you may choose precious time editing photos, enjoying the onboard facilities, or attend final lectures. Celebrate the end of an unforgettable voyage with newfound friends at a special Captain’s farewell dinner.
  • Day 23: Disembark in Ushuaia
    During the early morning, we cruise up the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia, where we will be free to disembark around 8.00 am. Farewell your expedition team and fellow passengers as we all continue our onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature. A transfer to Ushuaia airport or to your hotel is included in the voyage fare. ​ Note: At the conclusion of the voyage, we do not recommend booking flights departing Ushuaia prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays.
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