St Andrew's Cathedral School: Antarctic Voyage

St Andrew's Cathedral School: Antarctic Voyage

Trip Highlights

  • The most wildlife-rich part of Antarctica - penguins, whales, seals, sea birds
  • Narrow sheltered waterways and fjords
  • Spectacular mountains rising directly out of the sea
  • Icebergs and active glaciers
  • Historic sites and active scientific stations
  • Day hikes in the spectacular Tierra Del Fuego National Park

Trip Summary

This expedition begins in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, where we embark on two days of hikes in the well known walking area, of the Tierra Del Fuego National Park which is set on the bay to the west of Ushuaia. This gives us a chance to walk among the hills and beech forests of the 'end of the earth'. This expedition offers St Andrew's Cathedral School students the ideal introduction to the Great White continent. Albatross and petrels will escort us across the Drake Passage until we spot our first huge icebergs and we eagerly anticipate land. Our planned landing on King George Island will give us our first taste of Antarctica before continuing onto the Peninsula via the Bransfield and Gerlache Straits and Neko Bay. As we head further south the magnificence of the natural beauty of Antarctica is truly breathtaking. Besides the magnificent scenery you can expect to see a wide variety of wildlife including seals, whales and an abundance of penguin and other bird-life. The journey is not only focused on wildlife; after cruising through the Neumayer Channel, we hope to have a chance to visit Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. Once a British research station, it now houses a fascinating museum and also serves as the world’s most southerly post office, certainly a unique place from which to send a postcard! Our journey is rounded off with a dramatic entry via Neptune’s Bellows to the bay at Deception Island, a place which has no equal anywhere in the world. The ring-shaped island is in fact the top of a volcano, a caldera. Imagine walking straight into a wildlife documentary and you could well be on Deception Island among a teeming colony of hundreds of thousands of Chinstrap Penguins

Suitability

Although there is no commitment to extended walking on this journey we nonetheless want to keep the ‘accent on the active’. We therefore advise that any physical training you complete before undertaking the trip will be to good effect. During our time on land, there is no shortage of advantages of packing as much into your time as possible. Whether this includes climbing to the summit of a small hill or walking along the shorelines, the fitter you are, the more this will enhance your experience.

Itinerary

Your group will be greeted at the airport in Buenos Aires by a World Youth Adventures representative and transferred to the hotel (15kms). Once you have checked in and freshened up, your guide will take you to one of the nearby restaurants for dinner. We suggest an early night because of the early flight to Ushuaia in the morning. Overnight: Merit San Telmo Hotel Buenos Aires LA 806 30DEC SYDSCL 1250 1110 30DEC LA 461 30DEC SCLAEP 1700 1905 30DEC (flights subject to change)

Meals:  D

Wake early for the transfer to the airport to catch the 5:00am flight, arriving in Ushuaia at 8:45am. You will be met at the airport by your guide and driver and you transferred to your hotel. Today is a day of rest to recover from the flight and to prepare for the adventure ahead. Ushuaia, the most southern point of Argentina and South America, is located in the province of Tierra del Fuego and is the gateway to Antarctica. It is the place where the Cordillera de los Andes finally rests on the sea, providing beautiful scenery and a unique landscape. Ushuaia is a small town, with a population of 70,000 people, so when you feel up to it, you can set out to explore, perhaps dropping into the Maritime Museum and the Presidio de Ushuaia. You'll find banks and ATMs along the main street. Your guide will take you to lunch at a local restaurant and dinner will be a special New Years Eve dinner at the hotel. Happy New Year! Overnight: Los Acebos Ushuaia Hotel LA7742 31DEC AEPUSH 0500 0845 31DEC (flights subject to change)

Meals:  B,L,D

Welcome to 2020. What a great way to bring in a new year, soon setting off on a voyage to the polar south! Your guide and driver will collect you from the hotel after breakfast and take the National Route 3 from Ushuaia, stopping at a Panoramic Point in the Beagle Channel. We reach the Tierra del Fuego National Park and begin our trek to see the Bahia Lapataia (Lapataia Bay), a fjord that is connected to the Beagle Channel, accessing it through stunning coastal scenery with the opportunity to spot rare wildlife, such as Chilean dolphins, sea otters, blackish cinclodes and Pacific steamer ducks. Today we can choose to trek all or some of these spectacular introductory trails – • Paseo de la Isla (The Island Hike) – a 600m trail along the Cormoranes archipelago along the banks of the Lapataia and Ovando Rivers. Easy. • Laguna Negra Trail – a 1km trail to a peat bog. Easy. • Mirador Lapataia (lookout) – a 1km trail offering a panoramic view of Lapataia Bay pictured above. This trail connects with Del Turbal (see below) offering the option of reaching the bay through a deciduous beech forest. Easy. • Del Turbal (Peat bog hike) – a 2km trail that also leads to Lapataia Bay via a peat bog. Easy. • Castorera (Beaver Lodge hike) – a 500m hike to an active beaver colony that allows easy observation of the impact that this non-native species has had on the area. Easy. Overnight: Los Acebos Ushuaia Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we have the choice of four slightly more challenging trails, which of them we hike will depend on the weather and trail conditions. • Pampa Alta Trail – A 5km walk offering a bird’s eye view of The Beagle Channel and the Pipo River Valley. Moderate. • Costera Trail – An 8km trail that largely follows the shoreline of Lapataia Bay before crossing inland and ending at Roca (Acigami) Lake. Moderate. • Hito XXIV Trail – A 7km walk that begins along the northwest shore of Roca (Acigami) Lake and ends at a marker on the Argentine-Chilean border. Moderate. • Cerro Guanaco Trail – A 4km hike to the summit of Cerro Guanaco (973m /3192ft) from Roca (Acigami) Lake. Moderate/strenuous. Overnight: Los Acebos Ushuaia Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

Following breakfast at the hotel, the day is at leisure to explore Ushuaia, and make sure you are packed and ready for your Antarctica Voyage. Lunch is arranged for the group, your guide will inform you when and where to meet for lunch. In the afternoon you will transfer to the port to embarkthe ship between 4-5pm. The voyage will depart through the Beagle Channel and sail through this scenic waterway for the rest of the evening. Overnight: cabins

Meals:  B,L,D

During these two days we sail across the Drake Passage. When we cross the Antarctic Convergence, we arrive in the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area we may see Wandering Albatrosses, Grey Headed Albatrosses, Black- browed Albatrosses, Light- mantled Sooty Albatrosses, Cape Pigeons, Southern Fulmars, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Blue Petrels and Antarctic Petrels. Near the South Shetland Islands, we spot our first icebergs. Overnight: cabin

Meals:  B,L,D

Gray stone peaks sketched with snow, towers of broken blue-white ice, and dramatically different wildlife below and above. You first pass the snow-capped Melchior Islands and Schollaert Channel, sailing between Brabant and Anvers Islands. Sites you may visit include: • Danco Island – Activities here may focus on the gentoo penguins nesting on the island, in addition to the Weddell and crabeater seals that can be found nearby. • Neko Harbour – An epic landscape of mammoth glaciers and endless wind-carved snow, Neko Harbour offers opportunities for a Zodiac cruise and landing that afford the closest views of the surrounding alpine peaks. • Paradise Bay – You may be able to take a Zodiac cruise in these sprawling, ice-flecked waters, where there’s a good chance you’ll encounter humpback and minke whales. Overnight: cabins (1 night camp on land)

Meals:  B,L,D

The volcanic islands of the South Shetlands are windswept and often shrouded in mist, but do offer subtle pleasures. They feature a variety of flora (mosses, lichens and flowering grasses) and fauna, such as Gentoo Penguins, Chinstrap Penguins and Southern Giant Petrels. At Deception Island, which is a caldera (the top of a volcano) our ship enters the harbour through the spectacular Neptune’s Bellows. Here we find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, thousands of Cape Petrels and many Kelp Gulls, Brown and South Polar Skuas and Antarctic Terns. Wilson’s Storm Petrels and Black-bellied Storm Petrels nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay. Alternatively we may try to land at Hannah Point at Livingston Island. The area is closed off to visitors for part of the season as it is a high density wildlife area with species such as Chinstrap penguins, Gentoo penguins, and Southern Elephant seals. Around noon we depart for the Drake Passage. Overnight: cabins

Meals:  B,L,D

In the Drake Passage we have again a chance of seeing many seabirds and to take advantage of the knowledge of our lecture team. Overnight: cabins

Meals:  B,L,D

We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark the ship following breakfast. You will be met at the port by your guide and transferred to the hotel to check in and rest. Lunch is arranged, your guide will let you know when and where to meet for lunch. Tonight there will be a farewell dinner to celebrate your incredible adventure. Overnight: Los Acebos Ushuaia Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

Following an early breakfast, the group will be transferred to the airport for the flight to Sydney (via Buenos Aires and Santiago). There is a long stopover in Buenos Aires and so we leave the airport for a 2-3 hour city tour of Buenos Aires. We arrive back at the airport in time for our 2020 flight to Santiago, where we connect with our onward flight to Sydney. LA7743 B 14JAN departs Ushuaia at 0925, arrives Buenos Aires at 1255 LA 480 M 14JAN departs Buenos Aires at 2020, arrives Santiago at 2245 (flights subject to change)

Meals:  B

Flight departs Santiago in the early hours of the morning and arrives in Sydney in the morning of 16 Jan. LA 801 15JAN departs Santiago at 0035, arrives in Sydney 0915 on 16 Jan (flights subject to change)

Meals:  Nil

You arrive in Sydney at 9:15am, where this incredible adventure comes to an end.

Meals:  Nil

What's Included

  • 16 breakfasts, 14 lunches and 15 dinners (set menu for group at lunch and dinner: starter, main course, dessert).
  • Specialist expedition staff whilst on Antarctica voyage
  • Comfortable cabin accommodation on cruise - twin, quad and triple cabins
  • All activities while on cruise including zodiac excursions, lectures, videos, slide and film shows and guide services and one night camping on land
  • Use of all ship facilities and public areas
  • Medical services on Antarctic cruise (there is a resident medical officer and infirmary on board)
  • Port taxes and port charges imposed by government authorities
  • Airport transfers
  • 4 nights hotel accommodation in Ushuaia (twin share) and taxes
  • English speaking local guide in Ushuaia, and on day hikes
  • All necessary entrance fees for the tours detailed in the itinerary
  • Private road vehicles - 24 seater
  • Tierra Del Fuego National Park hiking excursions

What's Not Included

  • Travel insurance
  • Bottled water and aerated drinks
  • Laundry, postage, personal clothing, medical expenses and items of a personal nature such as phone calls
  • Customary end of voyage tips and gratuities
  • Emergency evacuation charges
  • Visa fees

Upcoming Travel Dates

 

AT A GLANCE

Duration:18 Days
Countries:Antarctica
Argentina
Starting Point:Sydney
Activities:Cruising
Wildlife Viewing
Day Walks
Grade:Introductory  Click for more information
Trip Code:SOG5305