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S/V Australis, Penola Strait, AntarcticaGentoo penguin, Paradise Bay, Antarctic PeninsulaS/V Australis, Lemaire Channel, AntarcticaAdelie penguins, Antarctic PeninsulaAntarctic PeninsulaAdelie penguin, Antarctic PeninsulaS/V Australis, Iceberg arch, Antarctic PeninsulaOvernight camp option, Dorian Bay, Antarctic PeninsulaS/V Australis, Dallmann Bay, AntarcticaS/V Australis, Penola Strait, AntarcticaOvernight camp option, Antarctic Peninsula
 
 
Learn More 17 Days / Starting at $22,995 (800) 543-8917 for Availability Share

Sailing Antarctica: The Ultimate Polar Nature Expedition – NEW ITINERARY!

Join the Exclusive Few to Explore the White Continent by Private Sailboat!
Please note: Just two departures of this exclusive expedition are offered in 2014/15. The first departure is scheduled to operate as listed in the itinerary below. The second departure operates in reverse order, starting in Punta Arenas. For details on that route, please see that itinerary.  In 2015/16 we will be offering four similar departures – all sailing and flying combinations.

Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina
Fly to the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia, located at the tip of Tierra del Fuego. Accommodations in Ushuaia are included.

Day 2: Ushuaia – Tierra del Fuego National Park / Martial Glacier Option
This extra day is included as a “reserve day” if flights are delayed. You don't want to take a chance on missing your boat departure tomorrow! But there’s plenty to see around Ushuaia, too. We’ve included a half-day tour of scenic Tierra del Fuego National Park, which combines coast, islands, mountains and the southernmost subantarctic Andean forests. Beneath the deciduous lenga, beech and wild cherry trees we find a moist understory of moss, ferns and peat bog. Red fox, guanaco, otter, geese, ducks, woodpeckers and 90 additional bird species are among the native fauna found in the park. The landscape shows typical signs of glacial formation, with broad valleys filled with lakes and rivers alternating with rows of mountain ranges. Throughout the park are signs of its past inhabitants, the indigenous Yámanas people.

Following lunch back in town, an optional excursion is offered to Martial Glacier. Near the glacier are several beautiful waterfalls and a lush forest with old lenga trees. The glacier is accessible via a chair lift ride followed by a 30-minute uphill walk. There's free time this afternoon to explore Ushuaia, a lively tourist town catering to the many adventurous climbers, trekkers and sailors that set forth from here. 

Day 3: Ushuaia – Board S/V Australis / Beagle Channel
Today our real adventure begins as we board our expedition sailing vessel Australis in Ushuaia harbor. After introductions and a safety orientation, we set out into the calm waters of the Beagle Channel. We're excited to be sailing with one of the world's preeminent mariners in polar waters, our skipper Ben Wallis, and his seasoned crew. Drink in the views of Patagonian peaks that unfold as we make our way south, enjoying the long daylight of a southern summer.

Days 4-6: Crossing the Drake Passage
Named for renowned explorer Sir Francis Drake who sailed these waters in 1578, the Drake Passage is notorious for its often-fierce gales, creating large, wind-whipped swells – we're likely to have some raucous sailing! All guests are invited to help sail the vessel if they wish, and we'll set up a round-the-clock watch schedule so that those who want to may participate. The southern portion of the Drake Passage also marks the Antarctic Convergence, a biological zone where a great upwelling of nutrients draws an amazing variety of seabirds, including many albatrosses that follow in our wake. The first sightings of icebergs and snow-clad mountains indicate that we have reached the South Shetland Islands. If conditions are favorable, we’ll step ashore for our first encounter with penguins and other wildlife of this southern polar wonderland.

Days 7-14: Sailing and Camping on the Antarctic Peninsula
For the next eight days we follow the best weather and safest water, sailing along the bays and fjords of the Antarctic Peninsula. These waters are a haven for a remarkable collection of wildlife, including vast penguin rookeries and beaches ruled by Antarctic fur seals and Southern elephant seals. We script our itinerary as we go, with plenty of time to truly explore as a small band of adventurers. Taking advantage of the perpetual light, we spend long days sailing among the icebergs, watching for whales and seals bobbing by. Bird life is extraordinary, with huge populations of albatrosses, petrels, skuas, gulls, terns and cormorants. Where landings permit, we step ashore to hike.

Every day holds something different. While at times we are struck by the depth of the silence, other times we're amidst a cacophony of squawking penguins, honking seals and crackling ice. With our special permit from the National Science Foundation, we have the option to camp for a maximum of six nights, weather permitting, on deserted beaches, sharing the solitude only with the legions of wildlife. There are few places on the planet where the natural world feels more intact, while we have never felt smaller.

Day 15: King George Island
The only airstrip on the Antarctic Peninsula archipelago that can reliably serve the South American continent on a regular basis is located on King George Island in the South Shetland group. We arrive here today, one day prior to meeting up with our return flight home, as a hedge against any weather problems. Tomorrow morning, it will be time to say a reluctant goodbye to the Australis and her outstanding crew after a fortnight of extraordinary adventure.

Day 16: Fly to Punta Arenas
Weather permitting, we board our airplane for the 3-hour flight back to the Punta Arenas on the southern tip of Chilean Patagonia and enjoy an evening on the town.

Day 17: Punta Arenas / Depart
Fly homeward today from Punta Arenas, with a cache of memories to last a lifetime and then some!

Please see Dates, Fees & Inclusions for further details.

Important note about flying or sailing to/from King George Island:  When flying or sailing to/from King George Island on the Antarctic Peninsula, weather determines all schedules. If weather does not allow us to travel as scheduled, we must wait, either in Chile or on King George Island, depending on the direction of our journey, for the weather to clear. This is an expeditionary adventure, and to some degree, waiting can be expected. Though historic weather patterns dictate that we should not be delayed for more than a few days, we can never predict when – and even if – inclement weather will clear so that we can depart to participate in this adventure. While we have "padded" our itinerary some as a precaution against such circumstances, we ask that all guests purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance to cover tour costs should your adventure be canceled because of the weather.

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