The aim of the Antarctic Cricle Quest voyage with Exodus is to head as far south as ice and weather permit. On most of these Antarctic Cruises you will generally head over teh Antarctic Circle line, which is the last latitude before the South Pole. The 'deep south' is explored on this Antarctic Cruise over a few days, with many oppourtunities for shore excursions. The Antarctic Cruise then heads towards the northern parts of the Antarctic Peninsula for even further oppourtunities to explore. This Antarctic Cruise is a great option to really explore Antarctica and is popular with those that want to see as much of the Antarctic Peninsula as possible.
The ships used for this Antarctic Cruise are small enough to navigate through the narrow Lemaire Channel when weather permits. As you enter the channel huge glacial walls tower high above the ship on both sides and this then leads to a jigsaw of jewel-like islands that are home to huge Penguin Rookeries, Elephant Seals and countless seabirds.
This Antarctic Cruise often gets great sightings of whales: imagine a pair of Humpbacks of at least 30 tonnes, rising imperiously against a turquoise ice-wall viewed from a Zodiac only metres away, and you have the essence of this Antarctic Cruise. If you can spare the extra time, the rewards of this unique icy pilgrimage are immeasurable
You will begin your journey in Ushuaia, a small, but bustling port town at the tip of South America. This Argentinean town is an ideal gateway for you to explore the southern extent of Patagonia while preparing for your adventure ahead. Get active in the mountains or enjoy some hand crafted chocolate at a café in town.
For cruises aboard the Ocean Endeavour the first day will be spend in Buenos Aires before flying down to Ushuaia on Day 2 aboard a special charter flight.
The Beagle Channel sets you on your way as the ship sails in the late afternoon. The channel opens up to the vastness of the Southern Ocean, where your next land sighting will be along the Antarctic Peninsula. Named after the famed ship in which Charles Darwin voyaged, the channel presents many great photo opportunities to capture sea birds hovering overhead.
The waters of the Drake Passage are unpredictable, so hope for clear skies and a calm ocean. You’ll have plenty of time to stare out at the sea, get to know your fellow shipmates and chat with your Expedition Team. Time over these two days will be spent preparing for the exciting days ahead, with numerous educational and informative lectures from your Expedition Team. You’ll learn about everything from safety procedures to the history of whaling in Antarctica.
With the Drake Passage left in our wake, we make a final approach to Antarctica. Get your cameras ready, as the continent’s coastline will make its first appearance, signaling the start of your adventure in the realm of the Antarctic. You’ll see plentiful icebergs floating by and be fixated on the surface of the ocean as curious whales spout and breach before your eyes.
As exciting as it can be from onboard the ship, your true exploration occurs when you disembark and set foot on the great continent. There are several potential landing sites we may visit, including Neko Harbor, Orne Harbor or Paradise Bay. While weather dictates which specific landing sites we can visit, each one presents a new collection of wildlife and natural attractions.
Your days will be busy spotting wildlife and being mesmerized by the beauty of Antarctica. Watching penguins waddling on the beach and listening to the crackling and crumbling sounds of icebergs and glaciers will become your daily entertainment, while kayaking with whales and camping in Antarctica are a couple of optional activities available on selected voyages.
Crossing the Antarctic Circle is an impressive achievement, as most expeditions to the Peninsula do not reach this far south, which is officially noted at 66° 33' S. You and your shipmates will celebrate in style with a well-earned glass of champagne!
Make a toast and take pride in knowing you’ve made it to a part of the world still visited by very few people.
By now, your knowledge of Adelie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins will be matched by your ability to differentiate between a leopard, fur or Weddell seal. Terms like ‘bergy bits’ and pancake ice will seem normal too, yet there are still many tales to be told. As you head back towards the Drake, Zodiac excursions will continue to fill your days, while the Expedition Team will help fill in any blanks that remain in your newly acquired knowledge of the Antarctic.
Re-crossing the Drake, Antarctica fades away and you’ll be left with a collection of memories to last a lifetime. Excited conversations with your newfound friends will make the time passing the Drake Passage fly by, independent of weather and sea conditions. Your Expedition Team will round up their series of lectures as well, perhaps with a slideshow of some of the great landing sites and wildlife you’ve visited over the course of your voyage.
Today you’ll say goodbye to your Expedition Team and your fellow travelers. You’ll disembark in the morning so that you may catch your homeward bound flights.
For cruises aboard the Ocean Endeavour you will fly to Buenos Aires aboard a special charter flight and your itinerary will end upon landing in Buenos Aires
Important reminder: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a voyage. There are nearly 200 recognized sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned above may be changed to others equally as interesting.
Ocean Endeavour is a comfortable, well-appointed expedition ship carrying a maximum of just 199 passengers. The ship has an ice-strengthened hull, Zodiacs for exploration and remote landings, generous deck space and advanced navigation equipment. The ship offers a superb guest experience with a nautical lounge, two restaurants, sundeck, and plenty of deck space for observation of polar landscapes, and lounges for learning and reflection. The ship’s interiors have a contemporary aesthetic that provides a bright and spacious feel to the cabins and common spaces.
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Sail aboard the Ocean Diamond a modern, stable super-yacht and experience Antarctica. Carrying a maximum of 189 passengers this outstanding vessel, features onboard amenities such as a massage and wellness program and a well-stocked polar library. The Ocean Diamond is staffed with Quark’s legendary captains, officers, expedition leaders, and guides.
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Originally built in 1975, the Sea Adventurer underwent a USD13 million conversion in 1998 and has a proud reputation as a well-appointed and elegant expedition ship. Carrying just 117 passengers the Sea Adventurer has all the necissary equipment for exploration, including Zodiacs for shore landings and kayaks on selected cruises. On-board she also offers fine dining and comfortable cabins, all with exterior views and en-suite facilities.
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Expedition cruising in comfortable conditions.
12 nights on the ship, 1 in Ushuaia or Buenos Aires
Full board while on the ship.
The voyages are designed to be as flexible as possible, taking advantage of circumstances and events as they occur, as well as passengers' wishes and particular interests wherever possible. The atmosphere onboard is relaxed and friendly with expedition staff, including naturalists and polar experts, on hand and the opportunity to mingle with people from all over the world. The ship is kept warm, clean and comfortable with a wet / mud room in which to hang gear and store boots ready for the next adventure.
On the Zodiac cruises you are sitting still for most of the time with the potential for some sea spray and a cold headwind - if you are not dressed appropriately you will get cold. On the shore excursions, the majority of landings are 'wet' which means that the Zodiacs beach and you are helped to slide into the ankle deep shore break before walking up onto dry land (wellington boots are issued to all passengers). There are, of course, no paths, so be prepared for slippery, rough terrain and sometimes fairly deep snow. Back on board the cosy ship after each adventure, you can have a sauna and/or a hot shower and then relax with a tea, coffee, hot chocolate or something stronger from the bar.
Sea kayaking option
On many of our Antarctic voyages there is the chance for some members of the party to take regular sea kayak excursions in place of the Zodiac excursions. There are a limited number of kayaks on each ship, and you must book and pay for this option in advance. All kayak trips are expertly guided, and are subject to suitable locations and weather conditions. Should the kayaking not be possible, a place on a Zodiac is always available. Basic kayak competence is required; please ask for the Kayaking Information Sheet for more detail.
Camping on Ice option
Spending a night camping on ice is a unique experience we offer on some of our Antarctic departures. No previous experience is needed to participate in our camping option. We provide the equipment: you contribute a desire for a personal and intimate connection with the continent.
Mountaineering option On some of our Antarctic voyages there is the chance for some members of the party to participate in a mountaineering option. This is an awe-inspiring experience from the first step to the final glissade - the last slide on your descent. You can expect to summit 2 or 3 small Antarctic peaks. All equipment is provided, and although no previous experience is required, you will be using crampons, harness, and an ice axe; some technical climbing is involved.
Cross-country skiing option
On some of our Antarctic voyages there is the chance for some members of the party to participate in a cross-country skiing option. It is impossible to imagine a continent better suited to cross-country skiing, the earliest method of transport used by Antarctic explorers.
Diving in Antarctica does not only offer ice, but also an interesting marine life, such as kelp walls, sea-snails, crabs, sea butterflies, various Antarctic fish, shrubby horse-tails, jelly-fishes, sea-hedgehogs, starfishes, krill and giant isopods. You may have the possibility to snorkel or dive with Fur seals, Leopard seals and Penguins.The dive sites will vary from shallow ice diving, diving along a wall, from a beach or from the zodiac. The maximum depth is around 20 metres / 60 feet.
Especially on early departures at the beginning of the season there are still snow covered hills and mountains further inland. During voyages to the Antarctic we are planning on offering hiking excursions with snowshoes. Snowshoe walking is easy and does not require any technical skills. With the use of snowshoes it is easier and safer to walk on snow surfaces. Snowshoes will be provided to everyone on board. Those will fit all boot sizes and can be used in combination with the provided rubber boots.
Normal group size and age
Full complement of qualified Expedition Staff. Minimum age 18.
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