Marine Mammals of Antarctica

Marine Mammals of Antarctica

From USD $9,095

Description

By March, the short Antarctic summer is drawing to a close. Penguin chicks are almost fully-grown and quickly shedding their downy coats in preparation to take to the sea before the long winter. March is a time of great activity in and under the water where we have historically encountered a high concentration of whales, in particular Humpback and Minke. Crabeater, Weddell and Leopard seals also often grace us with their presence, as they rest and store energy that will sustain them over the cold months ahead.

Trip Name
Marine Mammals of Antarctica
Days
11
Overview
Vessel Type: Ice - Strengthened Length: 117 metres Passenger Capacity: 92 Built: 1988 Stability and Strength. Our ship was purpose built to conduct sensitive hydro-acoustic research and science in the polar regions. The original design brief dictated that the vessel offers a very high level of stability. This is achieved through a sophisticated internal trimming system, controlled via a series of gyroscopic sensors around the vessel. This stability feature is something you will greatly appreciate should you encounter less than ideal sailing conditions. Maneuverable, Quiet and Fast. With both bow and stern thrusters and twin reversible propellers, the ship can spin on its own axis – greatly assisting embarkation of the zodiacs in windy conditions. You will notice there is little – if any – ambient noise or vibration, which makes for a quiet ship. The ship is fast, with a top speed of 14.5 knots in open water. Unmatched stability, coupled with superior speed allows for more time at your destination (rather than ‘at sea’) and more flexibility with itinerary planning – a critical factor in polar waters where ice and weather conditions sometimes dictate our daily itinerary. Superb Design and Layout. Throughout the ship there are spaces ideally suited to every need. Spacious outer decks provide 360 degree views of the stunning polar landscapes – as well as a great place for an outdoor barbecue, which usually happens once on every voyage. Inside there are comfortable presentation spaces for lectures and film screenings and there’s a multimedia computer lab with several large screen workstations where guests can download and back up photos. Six Different Cabin Categories. All cabins feature outside windows allowing ample natural light to filter in. Cabins all have lower berths (some triple share cabins have one upper/lower bunk scenario and feature port holes). Akademik Sergey Vavilov carries a maximum of just 92 guests – making for true, small-ship expedition cruising. This is particularly important in Antarctica where visitor guidelines dictate that no more than 100 people can be on shore at any one time. We fall under this limit and that equals maximum time ashore at all locations. Ships carrying more than 100 guests compromise your time ashore. Enjoy Great Dining? So do we. The exciting schedule of onshore excursions, zodiac cruises and onboard activities are guaranteed to work up a serious appetite. Although the ship operates in some of the most remote locations in the world, you can expect an exceptional variety of tasty meals, prepared by a team of professional international chefs. Breakfasts are usually buffet style. Lunches offer a great choice of light meals - as well as more substantial options for those who are hungry - and each evening there is a hearty three-course meal offering both variety and choice. There’s also an excellent wine list featuring a range of international wines. You can get a cup of tea or coffee at any time of the day or night and we always offer afternoon tea with cakes and biscuits. Guests with dietary restrictions or special meal requirements are also well catered for. Join us on the Bridge. There is an open-bridge policy and guests are welcome to meet the navigating crew at virtually any time of day; there’s always something to learn from the officers on watch and the bridge is one of the best places on the ship for spotting whales and sea birds. Operational Safety. There are no compromises here. The expedition staff and crew onboard Akademik Sergey Vavilov have the deepest respect for changeable weather in the polar regions and the varying sea and ice conditions. That respect is apparent in every decision made throughout the voyage. The ship carries the most extensive inventory of safety equipment on all excursions and require leaders to undergo vigorous and effective safety training programs. Your expedition team are well prepared, so you can relax and enjoy your voyage. Relax — You're on Holiday. The ship also features a Finnish dry-heat sauna, a plunge pool, a hot water Jacuzzi, a small gymnasium and day spa with massage therapist. An expedition gear package is included. An expedition cruise requires a fair bit of planning and some special items of clothing and equipment are needed. You will have use of an expedition wet weather gear package free of charge, which includes a quality waterproof/windproof jacket and bib-pants as well as insulated, comfortable rubber boots designed for extended walking. A set of expedition binoculars and a walking pole are also available for the duration of your voyage. This saves you buying expensive items you may only ever use once and eliminates the need to carry such cumbersome gear all the way to the ship. If you do have your own gear, of course you are welcome to bring it. Make sure it is wind and waterproof. If you have questions about gear, feel free to ask.

Itinerary



Day 1 - Day 1 / Ushuaia
Our journey to Antarctica commences this afternoon in Ushuaia,in southern Argentina. We gather at our central meeting pointand transfer to the pier and embark our expedition ship. Aftersettling in to our cabins and exploring the ship, we meet ourexpedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the airas we enjoy a welcome cocktail and dinner and cast off, boundfor Antarctica and the adventure of a lifetime.
Day 2 - Days 2 & 3 / Drake Passage
We chart a southerly course for Antarctica. This stretch of theSouth Atlantic is rich in its bio-diversity and showcases anabundance of wildlife. We will be joined by hundreds of seabirdsincluding the wandering albatross. Giant petrels and smallerCape petrels are also constant companions as make our waysouth. Photographing these magnificent birds from the deck ofthe ship takes patience and skill and our photography expertwill be on hand to show you the best techniques. Join theship’s Captain on the bridge and learn about the operations ofour modern research vessel. Throughout the day our onboardexperts educate us with a series of presentations about theenvironment, the wildlife and history and the locations we hopeto visit in the coming days. As we approach the coastline ofAntarctica, we anticipate an increase in whale sightings.
Day 3 - Days 4 - 7 / Antarctic Peninsula
We awaken today and the magnificent snowy peaks ofcontinental Antarctica are laid out before us. Even ourexperienced expedition staff, some with more than 100 journeyssouth, will take a moment to pause and reflect on the immensepower of Antarctica. Take a deep breath – you have arrived.The waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula are home to deepbays, pristine coves and inlets and numerous islands. Thelandscape features heavily glaciated mountains permanentlycovered in ice and snow. Rocky outcrops, known as ‘nunataks’are home to gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap penguin rookeriesand the waters are rich in marine life.We frequently encounter seals, including the powerful leopardseal, often found relaxing on an ice floe. Curious humpbackwhales and the smaller minke whales are found in sizeablenumbers in this region. Sightings of orca are not uncommon.Fournier Bay is a known whale ‘hot-spot’ and ice permitting, weexplore in Zodiacs hoping to encounter pods of whales.The science team hope to deploy non-invasive trackingdevices on the whales to collect data on dive and feedingpatterns. Observation and photography of whale flukes (tails) issomething everyone is encouraged to participate in both fromthe ship and while Zodiac cruising. Whale flukes are uniqueidentifiers of particular animals, in much the same way as ahuman finger print. Collecting and analyzing this data is vitalto our understanding of whale migration patterns and socialbehavior.In addition to our whale encounters, we enjoy a regular programof exploration on and off the ship. Popular activities includeguided hikes on shore and visits to wildlife colonies with ourexpert naturalist guides, while the historic huts and sciencestations provide a fascinating glimpse into the past and thepresent. Zodiac cruising among the ice is a memorable activityand our sea kayakers may range several miles from the ship.Our photography guide will be on hand to help you with yourcamera handling, image composition and the peculiar lightfound in Antarctica.Planned excursions could include Cierva Cove, Danco Island,or a cruise through the Errera Channel to visit the penguinrookeries at Cuverville Island. Wilhelmina Bay never disappointsand is another important location where the scientists hopeto deploy their research tools. Neko Harbour is yet anotherhighlight and offers an excellent hiking route providing stunning360 degree views.After several busy days of exploration along the Peninsula, wehead north across the Bransfield Strait, bound for the SouthShetland Islands. This is an important whale migration corridorand frequent sightings can be expected of humpbacks andeven the fast moving orca.
Day 4 - Day 8 / Deception Island
By morning we arrive in the South Shetland Islands. Theadventure is not over and if the weather conditions allow, we sailthe ship into the flooded volcanic caldera at Deception Island.This is a very dramatic place and history is all around us aswe explore the old whaling station, with the rusted old boilersand dilapidated wooden huts. At the far end of the beach is anold aircraft hangar. This is where Australian, Sir Hubert Wilkinsmade the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928. There is also anoutstanding hike, high up onto the rim of the crater.After leaving Deception Island, we cruise along the coastof Livingston Island which on a sunny day is a memorableexperience. There are several other landing sites in the SouthShetland's including Half Moon Island, or the broad pebblybeach at Yankee Harbour, where we sometimes encounterWeddell seals sunning themselves. This is another great spot fora hike or a zodiac cruise. Hannah Point, with it's elephant sealcolony and nesting Antarctic petrels - is another possibility. Inthe evening, we navigate north through the McFarlane Strait andinto the Drake Passage, charting a course for South America.
Day 5 - Days 9 - 10 / At sea
As we make our way back to South America, the educationalpresentations continue and we enjoy an entertaining andmemorable voyage recap by our Expedition Leader. Join ourphotography experts in the multimedia room and downloadand back up your precious images. If weather conditionsallow, we hope to make a rounding of Cape Horn. This fabledstretch of water is home to legendary tales of exploration andearly navigation. It is a fitting place to reflect on a wonderfulexpedition. Approaching the entrance to the Beagle Channel inearly evening light, we enjoy a special dinner attended by theCaptain of the ship.
Day 6 - Day 11 / Ushuaia
In the early morning, we arrive into Ushuaia, Argentina. It is timeto say farewell to your crew and fellow travellers. Guests willbe transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flightshome. It will be possible to connect to flights through to BuenosAires or other destinations in South America. Otherwise enjoy anight in town or venture further afield to explore the highlights ofPatagonia.
Day 7 - Please Note:
Specific sites visited will depend on ice and weather conditions, the planned itinerary will be updated at the time of final preparations as well as throughout the voyage in order to take advantage of favourable conditions.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
05-03-202015-03-2020USD $0Triple Share
05-03-202015-03-2020USD $0Twin Semi-Private
05-03-202015-03-2020USD $0Twin Private
05-03-202015-03-2020USD $0Superior
05-03-202015-03-2020USD $0Shackleton Suite
05-03-202015-03-2020USD $0One Ocean Suite

Inclusions

    • Encounter large numbers of whales and observe important scientifi c fi eld research
    • Outstanding wildlife observation on shore, zodiac cruising and from the ship
    • Visits to historic sites and science stations
    • Learn about the environment, wildlife and ecology of Antarctica from polar experts

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