Marine Mammals of the Antarctic Peninsula | Polar Unbound | Antarctic Wildlife Tour

Experience Antarctica while its marine mammals are at their most active during this unique 14-day expedition from Ushuaia. Witness leopard seals as they hunt for penguin chicks, get up close to seal wallows and penguin rookeries on zodiac excursions, and watch as humpback and minke whales migrate through these icy waters in what is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Photographers will have no shortage of inspiration with these fascinating wildlife encounters, while there is the opportunity to help collect data as part of numerous marine mammal research projects. 

Itinerary

Ushuaia

Your expedition begins in the southernmost town in the world, Ushuaia, with a night at the beautiful Arakur Hotel & Resort. Take the time to explore its walking trails and indulge in a spa treatment or head into Ushuaia to browse its Argentinean leather markets and award-winning museum. Ushuaia is also on the doorstep of Tierra del Fuego National Park which can be accessed along the famous “Train at the End of the World”. 

In the evening there will be an optional briefing where you can meet some of your Expedition Team and fellow travelers.

ACCOMMODATION : Arakur Hotel and Resort

Embarkation

Spend the morning exploring Ushuaia before being transferred to the ship in the mid-afternoon. On board you will meet your Expedition Team and the ship’s Officers, then relax on deck as we sail through the Beagle Channel, passing colonies of Magellanic penguins, rock cormorants and sea lions.

ACCOMMODATION : MS Island Sky
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Drake Passage

The next couple of days will be sent sailing across the Drake Passage as we head towards the “White Continent”. Join your marine mammal experts out on deck to spot whales and dolphins, together with albatross, prions and petrels which may follow the ship. A series of informative lectures will be presented by your Expedition Team on the wildlife, history and geology of the Antarctic Peninsula, then take note of the distinct drop in temperature as we cross the Antarctic Convergence.

Sea conditions will determine the exact length of our journey, but we should approach the South Shetland Islands during the evening of Day 4, with pelagic whales often spotted in these nutrient-rich waters. 

ACCOMMODATION : MS Island Sky
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Antarctica

During the next couple of days, we will explore the South Shetland Islands, visiting Half Moon Island with its mountainous backdrop and the glaciated landscapes of Livingston Island. We may also sail directly into an active volcano and go swimming in the waters of Deception Island or visit the site of an abandoned whaling station in Bransfield Strait. 

As we continue sailing through the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, the flexible itinerary will be largely determined by weather, ice and wildlife opportunities. We’ll aim to explore the most spectacular bays and channels, with the chance to see Adelie, Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins.

ACCOMMODATION : MS Island Sky
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Antarctica

We’ll then head further south into the spectacular landscapes of Antarctica, exploring the scenic bays and channels of the Peninsula. Destinations may include Gerlache Strait, picturesque Neko Harbor, Paradise Harbor, Wilhelmina Bay which is renowned for its humpback whales and the striking Lemaire Channel. We may also visit the magnificent Neumayer Channel and the wildlife-filled waters of the Penola Channel. We’ll launch the zodiacs to visit penguin rookeries, seal wallows and bird colonies, as well as working scientific bases such as Poland’s Arctowksi or the U.K.’s Port Lockroy.

At this time of year, marine mammal sightings are impressive, with Weddell, crabeater and elephant seals found basking in the sun, together with predatory leopard seals and Antarctic fur seals. Minke and humpback whales are also frequent visitors, while orca sightings are not uncommon.

ACCOMMODATION : MS Island Sky
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Drake Passage

We’ll depart the Antarctic Peninsula on our return trip across the Drake Passage, continuing our presentation series and wildlife spotting. Then cruise back through the Beagle Channel as we celebrate this incredible wildlife expedition during a slideshow presentation.

ACCOMMODATION : MS Island Sky
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Ushuaia 

This morning you will disembark the vessel for your flight back to Buenos Aires or an extended stay in this southern city. 

Dates & Rates

Supplementary Information

Date: March 2-15, 2019
Rates: Starting at $9,995
Camping Option: $125
Sea Kayaking Option: $695
Ship: Island Sky

Cabin Options:

 Owner's     NA
 Penthouse $18,995 Per Person
 Veranda $16,495 Per Person
 Deluxe $15,395 Per Person      
 Single                                                          NA
 Promenade $14,995 Per Person
 Window $14,595 Per Person
 Porthole $12,495 Per Person
 Triple                                                            $9,995 Per Person       

 

Included: 

  • One night Hotel accommodations in embarkation city. 
  • Transfer from Airport in embarkation city
  • Transfer from group hotel to ship for embarkation
  • Group transfer from ship to airport or central location on disembarkation
  • Shipboard accommodations
  • All scheduled landings and excursions
  • All meals on board
  • Coffee, Tea and Cocoa available 24 hours a day
  • Welcome and Farewell Cocktail
  • House wine, berr and soft drink with dinner
  • Expediton Jacket (yours to keep)
  • Insulated rubber boots for use durring the voyage
  • Wifi on Library computers
  • 100 minute Wifi Card (for use on personal devices)
  • All port fees
  • All landing fees
  • Digital voyage log
  • In Owner's Suite, Penthouse, Veranda, Deluxe, Single and Promenade categories: champagne and chocolates on arrival, complimentary mini-bar, and $100 gift shop credit

Excluded: 

  • Airfare
  • Transfers from airport to group hotel, unless arriving on Day 1 of the itinerary
  • Pre or post voyage expenses in Ushuaia or Puerto Madryn
  • Laundry and personal expenses incurred on board
  • Alcohol and soft drniks on board (except as listed in inclusions)
  • On board communication charges such as outgoing phone calls, wifi from personal devices in excess of 100 minutes provided
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

Images & Videos

Ship Details

Hebridean Sky Technical Specifications

Passengers: 118*
Crew: 75 (includes Staff)
Manager: Salén Ship Management AB, Sweden
Registered in: Nassau, Bahamas
Built by: Nuovi Cantieri Apuania, Italy
Built in: 1991
Refurbished: May, 2016
Length: 90,6 m
Width: 15,3 m
Tonnage: 4 200 GRT
Class: B.V. Ice Class 1C
Stabilization: Blohm & Voss Stabilization System with wave-anticipation roll technology

*To enhance our guest experience, we carry a maximum of 114 passengers

 

Island Sky Technical Specifications

Passengers: 118*
Crew: 75 (includes Staff)
Manager: Salén Ship Management AB, Sweden
Registered in: Nassau, Bahamas
Built by: Nuovi Cantieri Apuania, Italy
Built in: 1992
Refurbished: Sept, 2015
Length: 90,6 m
Width: 15,3 m
Tonnage: 4 200 GRT
Class: B.V. Ice Class 1D
Stabilization: Blohm & Voss Stabilization System with wave-anticipation roll technology
*To enhance our guest experience, we carry a maximum of 112 passengers 
 

 

Staterooms

All Suites

  • Exterior views
  • Your choice of queen-sized or two twin-sized beds
  • Sitting area with sofa and side chair
  • Flat Screen TV with DVD/CD player
  • Telephone
  • Independent temperature controls
  • Mini-Bar
  • Marble-appointed bathroom with fine toiletries
  • Hair dryer
  • 220 square feet or more
  • Sofa can be converted to bed for third person

Promenade, Deluxe, Single, Veranda & Penthouse Accommodations Include all of the features above plus: 

  • En suite Champagne & Chocolates on Arrival
  • Complimentary mini-bar (beer, wine & soft drinks)
  • En suite Nespresso machine

*Please see the deck plans for additional informaiton regarding cabin options. 

Ship Photos

Deck Plans

FAQ & More

Are flights included?

No flights are included in the cost of your trip.  While we are not licensed to purchase international air we can recommend an excellent flight broker to assist you with your travel to Ushuaia, Trelew or Puerto Madryn (depending on your itinerary).

Are pre or post trip hotels included?

Day 1 of every departure is your arrival day at your embarkation city and a hotel stay is included.  You can arrive any time this day and you will be guaranteed your room will be ready.  If you arrive on the scheduled day of departure there will be an airport transfer provided.

Do I need a passport or visa for this trip?

Currently all you require as a US citizen is a valid passport – we recommend having at least 6 months validity remaining beyond your planned return date – while Argentina is not currently enforcing this it is a requirement for many other South American countries and we cannot be held responsible if you are denied entry because your passport is close to expiration. 

Currently citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand do not require a visa to enter Argentina (please double check however if you require to pay and entry fee). Please be sure your passport has sufficient blank pages for entry and exit stamps.

Do I need to purchase travel insurance?

Yes. Travel insurance in mandatory.  You must be covered for personal injury, medical expenses, evacuation and repatriation expenses.  This must include coverage for pre- existing medical conditions.

Can I kayak or camp on this trip?

Sea Kayaking is available on all of our trips and camping is available on the Antarctic Peninsula voyage.  These options have limited availability and are an additional cost.  Please inquire about these options early as they sell out quickly.

What clothing do I need to bring?

Please refer to our packing list for specific packing suggestions.  In general pack for dressing in layers with an outer waterproof layer on top (We will provide you with a Helly Hansen waterproof jacket that is yours to keep as part of your trip cost).

Do I need rubber boots?

Most landings will involve stepping into water so we provide these for you. We recommend a thick pair of thermal socks for wearing under these to keep your feet warm.

What is the on-board dress code?

ress on board is casual and always informal and again we suggest dressing in layers for moving between different parts of the ship.  A pair of sneakers or trails shoes with a sturdy, non-slip sole are all that you will need.

What is the weather like?

Typical day time temperatures are 28 to 39 degrees Fahrenheit but it can change in an instant.  Winds can also make the temperatures feel considerably colder so it is best to be dressed for wet and windy conditions all the time.

What amenities are in the cabins?

All cabins will have a personal bathrobe and slippers, a hairdryer, toiletries (shampoo, conditioner and shower gel).  Refrigerator / minibar.  There is a laundry service on board and the pricelist will be in your cabin.

Is there a fitness room on board?

There is no fitness room but we do have some fitness equipment available for guests.  These are available on a first come first served basis from reception.

Electricity?

Ship voltage is 110V with US style 2 flat pin sockets.

Should I be concerned about motion sickness?

Once in the Antarctic motion sickness should not be a problem however crossing the Drake Passage can be particularly rough and you should be prepared.  Please make sure you start taking motion sickness medication before the ship departs.

What currency should I bring?

The US Dollar is the on board currency.  On board expenses will be charged to your account and you can settle these using Visa or Mastercard at the end of your voyage.

What Gratuities are recommended?

All gratuities are entirely at your discretion.  Should you wish to tip the suggested amount is $12 per person per day.  This can be added to your onboard account and paid by credit card.

Is Wi-Fi available?

Wi-Fi is available from anywhere on board.  Each passenger will receive a 100 minute card for access from personal devices. Additional cards will be available for sale.

What language is spoken on the ship?

English is the official language of the voyage. All briefings and presentations will be in English.

Is there an available Doctor?

There will be an English speaking physician on board however be aware that full medical facilities may be days away.

Can I travel with my Children?

While these trips are not aimed at children we are happy to welcome families on board.  If you intend to travel with children younger than 16 please talk to us to discuss what trip would be appropriate.

How often do guests explore off the ship?

While we are in Antarctica we typically manage two landings/excursions per day. This is always weather dependent but we make every effort to maximize our time outside exploring on land and/or cruising via zodiac. Given our guest capacity we are able to get all guests off for every activity. The experienced crew and staff make for a seamless and efficient operation.

What if I have special dietary requirements?

We can accommodate most dietary specialties as long as we have advanced notice.  Every meal will have 3 key options: Meat, Fish and Vegetarian. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style.

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