Antarctic Expedition Itinerary
Dec. 25th, 2009 -
Jan. 11th, 2010
Our Antarctic itinerary is always subject to change due to weather and ice conditions. It is rare that we ever follow an itinerary exactly as planned. One of the mottoes of expedition travel is Flexibility is the Key. We take advantage of all our opportunities, while at the same time respecting the power of the Antarctic climate. With that in mind, here is an outline of our exciting itinerary:
Dec. 25-27: Travel Days!
Season's greetings! Students will travel from all over the world to meet us in the gateway cities of Toronto, Miami, and Santiago, Chile. On the 26th, our group will travel from Toronto to Miami, and then on to Santiago with our American participants. Our international students will join our group in Santiago on the 27th. and our nearly-complete expedition team will continue southward to Ushuaia, Argentina. A great opportunity to catch-up with some last minute Antarctic reading!
Dec. 27: Ushuaia, Argentina
Early this afternoon we arrive to the southernmost town in the world, Ushuaia! Located on the shores of the Beagle Channel, this beautiful region is home to mountains, forests and glaciers. Upon arrival we will check into the Hotel del Glacier and have a chance to shower, change and rest. The final additions to the expedition team will arrive to Ushuaia this evening. This evening we will have our first Expedition Briefing at the hotel and discuss our adventure ahead. Our day concludes with a wonderful dinner together.
Dec. 28-29: Ushuaia, Argentina
Over the next 48 hours, we will explore
Ushuaia and the surrounding region. Our activities will include a hike into the Tierra del Fuego backcountry, workshops, meetings and other pre-expedition educational activities.
Dec. 30: Ushuaia, Argentina, and setting sail!
This afternoon we'll have some free time in town for shopping and exploring before we board our expedition vessel, the M/V Ushuaia. After checking into our cabins, there will be an Introductory Briefing with our Expedition Leaders and the ship’s staff. Then we'll cast off the lines and set sail down the Beagle Channel towards the Drake Passage! Our shipboard journey to Antarctica begins! This evening, we'll also have a mandatory Emergency Drill. Be sure to look for the Southern Cross in the night sky!
Dec. 31: Drake Passage
We spend the day at sea sailing across the infamous Drake Passage towards Antarctica. Our shipboard lecture and seminar series kicks off and there will be an important briefing on Antarctic Visitor Guidelines. Be sure to get out on deck in search of whales and seabirds, including the mighty Wandering Albatross! We will ring in the New Year this evening with festivities!
Jan. 1: Drake Passage / South Shetland Islands
Happy New Year! We cross the Antarctic convergence during our second day at sea. Our lecture and seminar series continues and we'll be instructed on Zodiac safety and landing procedures. Depending on weather conditions and the speed of our Drake Passage crossing, we may attempt our first landing in the South Shetland Islands!
Jan. 2: Antarctica
Our first full day in Antarctica! Almost 24-hour daylight will allow us take full advantage of our days here. Possible landing sites today include Paulet Island and a visit to the Argentine Esperanza Base. Thousands of Adelie and Gentoo penguins and their chicks await us at these sites, and we'll be in excellent whale watching territory.
Jan. 3: Antarctica
A full day for exploring and making landings along the Antarctic Peninsula. If weather conditions permit, we'll attempt Zodiac landings and cruises on and around Deception Island. This horseshoe shaped dormant volcano is Chinstrap penguin country!
Jan. 4: Antarctica
A full day of Zodiac landings, cruises and educational activities. We hope to make visits to Danco Island, Neko Harbour and Vernadsky Station. Danco Island is home to an old cabin belonging to the British Antarctic Survey. At Neko Harbour, we'll be able to hike up onto a small icecap for an incredible view of Andvord Bay. The Ukraine's Vernadsky Station is one of the most interesting Scientific Research Bases in Antarctica.
Jan. 5: Antarctica
Today is a full day of landings and activities! By now the beauty and wonder of Antarctica will have cast its spell over us. We hope to try and explore Petermann, Pleneau and
Jan. 6: Antarctica
Our final full day in Antarctica will be spent on and cruising among the rocky Wauwemans Islands. A visit to Koerner Island and ice core gathering is also scheduled, as a possible landing at Gourdier Island. This evening we bid farewell to Antarctica and begin our journey back to South America.
Jan. 7: Drake Passage
We spend the day at sea reflecting on the experiences and adventures behind us. Our lecture series continues and we'll begin the Student Forum activities.
Jan. 8: Drake Passage
Our education program and lecture continue today. Weather conditions permitting, we'll sail around famous Cape Horn! This evening we arrive back to the Beagle Channel. Tonight we celebrate our expedition with a Farewell dinner and special presentations.
Jan. 9: Ushuaia, Argentina
This morning, we arrive back in Ushuaia and disembark our expedition vessel. We will spend another afternoon exploring Ushuaia, including a visit to the famous Laguna Esmeralda and big celebratory dinner and dance at Kaupe Restaurant!
Jan. 10-11: Travel Days!
This afternoon, we board our return flights to Santiago, Chile, and begin our homeward journeys. Our international students split from the group in Santiago, while the American and Canadian students continue on to Miami.
After landing in Miami, many of our students will depart via connecting flights. Others, continue north. Tonight, the Canadian contingent will arrive back to Toronto to drive, train, bus or take their connecting flights home.