ushuaia weddell sea and antarctica cruise

Weddell Sea Quest

  • Overview
    An expedition on board the Ushuaia discovering both the popular west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula and the often forgotten about Weddell Sea (east coast). This voyage offers a more diverse experience in terms of landscape and geology than a Classic Antarctic voyage
    Duration: 11 days
    Passengers: 88 passengers
    Embarkation Point: Ushuaia, Argentina
    Disembarkation Point: Ushuaia, Argentina
    Physical rating: Soft Adventure
    Fly/Cruise: Cruise only
    Single Supplement: 1.5x - 2.0x twin rate or share options
  • Itinerary
    • Day 1 - Ushuaia; Embarkation Day

      Embark the USHUAIA in the afternoon and meet your expedition and lecture staff. After you have settled into your cabins we sail along the famous Beagle Channel and the scenic Mackinlay Pass.

    • Day 2/3 - Crossing the Drake Passage

      Named after the renowned explorer, Sir Francis Drake, who sailed these waters in 1578, the Drake Passage also marks the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar water sinks beneath the warmer northern waters. This creates a great upwelling of nutrients, which sustains the biodiversity of this region. The Drake Passage also marks the northern limit of many Antarctic seabirds.

      As we sail across the passage, Antarpply Expeditions' lecturers will be out with you on deck to help with the identification of an amazing variety of seabirds, including many albatrosses, which follow in our wake. The USHUAIA´s open bridge policy allows you to join our officers on the bridge and learn about navigation, watch for whales, and enjoy the view. A full program of lectures will be offered as well.

      The first sightings of icebergs and snow-capped mountains indicate that we have reached the South Shetland Islands, a group of twenty islands and islets first sighted in February 1819 by Capt. William Smith of the brig Williams. With favorable conditions in the Drake Passage our lecturers and naturalists will accompany you ashore as you experience your first encounter with the penguins and seals on Day 3.

    • Day 4/6 - Exploring the Weddell Sea

      This is where huge tabular icebergs roam. In some years, the Erebus & Terror Gulf and Weddell Sea are chock-a-block full with ice, making for exciting ice navigation. Get up early and go out on deck. It may be 3:30h in the morning, but the sunrises will be unlike anything you´ve ever seen. Huge tabular bergs break from the Larsen, Ronne, and Filchner ice shelves and combine with one-year-old and multi-year sea ice to produce a floating, undulating panorama of rugged ice scenery. All-white Snow Petrels are likely to be coursing over the floes, often joined by Pintado Petrels.

      The usual passage to the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula traverses the Antarctic Sound, which is 30 miles (48 km) long and 7-12 miles (11-19 km) wide and runs northwest-to-southeast. Hope Bay and the Argentine Station Esperanza, are located on the western side of the Sound. Brown Bluff, a promontory on the Tabarin Peninsula, is located south of Hope Bay. Both of them might be possible landing sites. The Weddell Sea represents the center of the Peninsula´s Adélie Penguin population. Devil Island, Paulet Island and the already mentioned sites, might give us ample proof of this. The numbers of penguins are breathtaking. Sometimes juvenile Emperor Penguins have been sighted, riding ice floes but are by no means regular in the area.

      This region also teems with vibrant exploration history. The most bizarre of these tales involves the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1901-03 under the command of geologist Otto Nordenskjöld. Four visitor sites have links to this expedition: Hope Bay, Paulet Island, Snow Hill Island, and Cape Well-Met on Vega Island. Our expedition staff will be pleased to share their exciting story with you. Nordenskjöld´s expedition was the first to overwinter in the Peninsula. His ship the Antarctic, under the command of the famous Norwegian whaling captain Carl Anton Larsen, was trapped in the ice and sank, but the men survived on different locations and even managed to carry out significant scientific research in the area.

    • Day 7/9 - The Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands

      The Antarctic Peninsula´s remarkable history will also provide you with a type of excitement often only associated with the early explorers. You will have plenty of time to explore its amazing scenery, a pristine wilderness of snow, ice, mountains and waterways and a wide variety of wildlife. Apart from Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins and other seabirds you are likely to encounter Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals as well as Minke whales and orcas at close range.

      We hope to navigate some of the most beautiful waterways: the Gerlache Strait, Errera Channel and Neumayer Channel. Possible landing sites may include: Paradise Bay, which is perhaps the most aptly named place in the world with its impressive glacial fronts and mountains, Cuverville Island, home of the biggest Gentoo Penguin colony in the Peninsula surrounded by glaciers and castellated icebergs, and the British Museum and Post office at Port Lockroy.

      Further exploration will lead us to the South Shetland Islands. The volcanic island group is a haven for wildlife. Vast penguin rookeries and seals hauling out on the shorelines make every day spent here unforgettable. Sailing through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island is truly amazing, so is visiting the crescent shaped island Half Moon, home to Chinstrap Penguins in breathtaking surroundings.

      There might also be a chance to visit the enigmatic Elephant Island. Sir Ernest Shackleton fans will need no introduction to this historic windswept island. In 1916 Shackleton was forced to leave 22 of his men stranded on these shores, while he and five others embarked on an unbelievable last-ditch rescue attempt. What followed is one of the greatest rescue stories of all time. Every passenger will return with a greater knowledge of this gripping tale of adventure in a truly remarkable part of the world.

    • Day 10/11 - At Sea. Crossing the Drake Passage, northbound

      We leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. Join our lecturers and naturalists on deck as we search for seabirds and whales and enjoy some final lectures. Take the chance to relax and reflect on the fascinating adventures of the past days on the way back to Ushuaia.

    • Day 12 - Ushuaia; Disembarkation

      We arrive at the port of Ushuaia in the early morning and disembark the USHUAIA after breakfast.

    Please consider that our voyages are expeditionary in nature. This means, that there are no concrete itineraries, your Captain and Expedition Leader will utilise their vast experience to chart the best course for your expedition depending on the climatic and environmental conditions. Mentioned highlights and wildlife cannot be guaranteed.

  • Highlights & Activities

    Antarctica's Babies

    During January and February Antarctica's babies are born and fledging, its a magical time as new
    life comes to Antarctica. The experience of seeing newly hatched penguins and seals pups just days old, is an
    experience that will last forever.

    Penguins

    Taking centre stage on your Antarctic Peninsula expedition, are the Brushtail penguin species. These photogenic and intriguing species include, Gentoo, Chinstrap and Adelie penguins. The species are in abundance across Peninsula and are always performing.

    On board voyages in our other details you may come across Rockhopper, Macaroni, Magellanic, King and Emperor penguins.

    Whales

    Whale numbers swell in Antarctica over the southern summer. Arriving in Antarctica from November onwards, whale numbers reach their peak around December and January. Sightings and particularly breachings reach a pinnacle in February and March, when the Krill is closer to the surface. Some 10 species of whales are found in Antarctic water each summer, with the most abundant species being the Humpack.

  • Inclusions

    All meals on board

    On board your expedition all meals are included and prepared by our chefs. Meals are prepared to a restaurant standard and to cater for most diet requirements.

    All Zodiac excursions

    During the course of your expedition, you will have direct access to our onboard expedition team. Our expedition team members are a wealth of information, they have backgrounds in exploration and adventure or science based backgrounds. Our teams will usually comprise of naturalists, historians, geologists and ornithologists.

    During your expedition these team members will expertly guide you off the ship and provide you with first hand knowledge about the geology and wildlife of the region. Back on board the vessel, the team members will hold lectures about their studies or perhaps the wildlife that was seen during the course of the day.

    Inclusions / Exclusions

    Included in your Expedition

    - Detailed post-voyage log
    - Port charges
    - Comprehensive pre-departure material
    - All shore excursions and lectures
    - All accommodation and meals on board

    Not included in your Expedition

    - Gratuities
    - Internet & Wifi
    - Bar & beverage charges
    - Mandatory waterproof gear not provided
    - Baggage / cancellation / interruption and medical travel insurance
    - Arrival and departure taxes
    - Passport & Visa fees
    - Transfers to/from the vessel
    - Pre and post-cruise land arrangements
    - Any airfares
  • Map
    Screen shot 2017 07 04 at 5.22.31 pm
  • Gallery
  • Vessel

    USHUAIA

    Originally built for the United States agency NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration), the ice-strengthened polar vessel USHUAIA is very well appointed and provides ample deck space and an open bridge policy. The full complement of inflatable landing craft ensures superb landings and wildlife viewing opportunities on the otherwise inaccessible coastline. All cabins include ample storage space. Public areas feature a large dining room (one sitting), an open-plan observation lounge / lecture room with modern multimedia equipment, bar and a well-stocked library. There is also a changing room and a small infirmary. Our expert captain, officers and crew are highly experienced in Antarctic navigation and have a great love of nature. We provide a specialist team of international expedition leaders and lecturers, all extremely knowledgeable, enthusiastic, helpful and dedicated to the protection of the environment. Our chefs prepare excellent cuisine including many local specialties and the bar is well-stocked with carefully selected wines and spirits.

    Features & Facilities
    • Comfortable accommodation
    • Large observation decks
    • Open bridge
    • Dining room
    • Observation lounge
    • Lecture room
    • Bar
    • Library
    • Internet
    Key Facts
    Luxury star rating: 3
    Guests #: 84
    Crew #: 38
    Ice Class: 1C
    Speed: 12
    Refurbished:
    Technical Specs
    Year built:
    Length: 84m
    Width: 15
    Draft:
    Tonnage: 2923
    Registry: Comoros
    Elec Outlets: 110V / 2 Flat Pin
Check Voyage Dates, Pricing and Availability

Standard Plus Triple

06 Feb 2019 - 16 Feb 2019
Triple cabin with private facilities
USD 7,630pp
USD 7,630pp

Standard Twin

06 Feb 2019 - 16 Feb 2019
Twin cabin, with semi-shared facilities
USD 8,160pp
USD 8,160pp

Standard Plus

06 Feb 2019 - 16 Feb 2019
Twin cabin with private facilities and a window
USD 9,880pp
USD 9,880pp

Premier Twin

06 Feb 2019 - 16 Feb 2019
Premier cabin with twin beds, private facilities and window.
USD 11,790pp
USD 11,790pp

Superior Twin

06 Feb 2019 - 16 Feb 2019
Superior cabin with 2 lower berths, private facilities and window
USD 12,460pp
USD 12,460pp

Suite

06 Feb 2019 - 16 Feb 2019
Suite have a seperate sitting area, private facilities, windows and can accommodate up to 3 guests
USD 13,090pp
USD 13,090pp

Premier Single

06 Feb 2019 - 16 Feb 2019
A dedicate single cabin, with private facilities and window
USD 14,150pp
USD 14,150pp