Antarctic Explorer: Marine Mammals of The Antarctic Peninsula
A journey with a purpose #AntarcticaMatters
Join Marine Biologist Annette Bombosch, PhD, and special guests for a unique 14-day expedition focusing on Marine Mammals. As the Antarctic summer comes to a close in March, migratory whale species like the Humpback are very active, socializing and feeding in preparation for the long journey ahead.
Resident whale species like the Minke and Orca are abundant, and we stand a good chance of encountering Southern Right whales and some of the larger pelagic species. Leopard seals are also very busy in March, hunting naïve penguin chicks as they mature, develop their waterproof feathers, and make their first journeys to the sea.
We’ll see all this action close-up; from Zodiacs, onshore landings, and from the deck and observation platform of our ship – the Island Sky. Photographers and videographers will have ample opportunities to capture stunning images, and those of us with scientific interests will be thrilled to work with the Citizen Science team, contributing data and images to a variety of active marine mammal research projects.
- Perfect for first-time visitors to Antarctica
- Explore the highlights of the Antarctic Peninsula
- Learn about the environment and wildlife from on-board lecturers and specialists
- Experience abundant wildlife: penguins, seals, whales and more!
- Become an Ambassador to help in spreading the message of protecting Antarctica.
Day 1: Arrive in Ushuaia
Arrive in Ushuaia anytime today, or take advantage of our complimentary flexible arrival program and arrive up to 24 hours in advance. You’ll be staying at the beautiful Arakur Hotel & Resort, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. The day is free to explore on your own, the trails, take a spa, relax and soak in the surroundings, or head into Ushuaia and browse the Argentinean leather markets and the Outdoor gear stores. For golfers, you may venture to play on the southern most Golf course of the world! Our optional evening briefing is a great opportunity for you to ask questions and to meet some of your fellow travelers.
Day 2: Embarkation day
Today, we’re free to explore Ushuaia or unwind at the resort until our mid-afternoon transfer to the ship. On board, we’ll be greeted by our Expedition Team and the Ship’s Officers. A concise safety and orientation briefing will be followed by the Captain’s welcome dinner. After dinner, we’ll relax and take in the scenery on our early evening sail through the Beagle Channel, past Magellanic Penguin, Rock Cormorant, and Sea Lion colonies.
Day 3: Crossing the Antarctic Convergence
As we make our way ever closer to the white continent, our Expedition Team and Marine Mammal experts will be out on deck and on the bridge, looking for the whales and dolphins that may be seen as we travel south. They will prepare us with presentations on everything Antarctic, from wildlife to history, including helpful briefings on environmental regulations and expedition safety. Eventually, we’ll cross the Antarctic Convergence where we’ll notice a distinct drop in temperature as we enter the waters of the Antarctic Ocean. The length of our journey depends on sea conditions, but we should approach the South Shetland Islands in the evening of Day 4. We will keep especially keen watch for Pelagic whales as we approach the nutrient rich upwelling areas of the Continental Shelf.
Day 4: Crossing the Drake Passage - Day 1
As we make our way ever closer to the white continent, our Expedition Team and Marine Mammal experts will be out on deck and on the bridge, looking for the whales and dolphins that may be seen as we travel south. They will prepare us with presentations on everything Antarctic, from wildlife to history, including helpful briefings on environmental regulations and expedition safety.
Day 5: Crossing the Drake Passage - Day 2
On the second day, we’ll cross the Antarctic Convergence where we’ll notice a distinct drop in temperature as we enter the waters of the Antarctic Ocean. The length of our journey depends on sea conditions, but we should approach the South Shetland Islands in the evening of Day 4. We will keep especially keen watch for Pelagic whales as we approach the nutrient-rich upwelling areas of the Continental Shelf.
Day 6: Antarctica Day 1
Exploring the South Shetland Islands, we may visit Half Moon Island with its stunning backdrop of mountainous and glaciated Livingston Island. Or perhaps we will sail the ship into an active volcano with an opportunity to take a dip in the relatively balmy waters that surround Deception Island.
Day 7: Antarctica Day 2
Bransfield Strait, once the site of an abandoned whaling station, gives us an excellent chance to see whales, who often return to its rich waters.
Day 8: Antarctica Day 3
In the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, our Expedition Leader, Captain, and Marine Mammal experts will create a flexible itinerary based on weather, ice, and previous sightings to maximize our whale watching opportunities, while also exploring some of the lesser traveled areas of the Peninsula. We will aim for the most scenic bays and channels, with stops at penguin rookeries, seal wallows, bird colonies and whale feeding areas, as well as sites of historic and scientific interest.
Day 9: Antarctica Day 4
Heading further South, we will be sure to explore the Gerlache Strait and its surrounding channels and islands. This may include trips to picturesque Neko Harbor, sheltered Paradise Harbor, the Humpback Whale favored Wilhelmina Bay, the striking Lemaire Channel, the wildlife-filled Penola Channel, or the majestic Neumayer Channel.
Day 10: Antarctica Day 5
We may stop at an active scientific base as Poland’s Arctowksi or Ukraine’s Vernadskiy as well as a historic base such as U.K.’s Port Lockroy or Wordie House
Day 11: Antarctica Day 6
At this time of year, most areas have amazing marine mammal viewing opportunities with Weddell, Crabeater and Elephant Seals often found hauled out to rest along with predatory Leopard Seals and the assertive Antarctic Fur Seal. Minke and Humpback Whales are frequent visitors during this season and Orca sightings are also common.
Day 12: Crossing the Drake Passage
As we leave this magical place and make our way north, heading again across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage, we will continue our presentation series and wildlife spotting.
Day 13: Crossing the Drake Passage
Sailing back to Ushuaia through the Beagle Channel, we celebrate the conclusion of our expedition with a special slideshow.
Day 14: Disembarking at Ushuaia
Morning disembarkation lets you catch a flight to Buenos Aires or stay in Ushuaia for more sights and adventure.
Important reminder: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a voyage. There are nearly 200 recognized sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned above may be changed to others equally as interesting.
|Trip Dates||2 – 15 March 2019|
|Arrival/Departure Location||Ushuaia, Argentina|
|Included||Antarctica small ship cruise aboard the MS Island Sky for 12 nights
One night hotel accommodation in Ushuaia. Early check-in (up to 24 hours prior to usual check-in time) available if requested, with confirmed air itinerary, at least 90 days prior to departure.
Transfer from Ushuaia airport to group hotel if arriving on Day 1 of itinerary, and providing we have confirmed air itinerary at least 90 days prior to departure
Transfer from group hotel to ship for embarkation
Group transfer from ship to airport, hotel in Ushuaia, or central location following disembarkation
All scheduled Landings / excursions
All meals onboard
|Coffee/tea/cocoa 24 hours daily
House wine / beer / soft drink with dinner
Expedition jacket (yours to keep)
A pair of boots for use during the voyage only
WiFi from the public computers in the library
100 minute WiFi card (for use on your personal devices)
Daily international news service
Complimentary beer and wine for dinner – house brands
|Not Included||International air fares to Ushuaia and airport taxes
Travel or medical or evacuation insurance
Accommodation in Buenos Aires or any other destination
Argentina visa charges
Any expenses associated with arrival in embarkation city (Ushuaia)
Kayaking (conditions permitting) for up to 8 passengers- if requested cost to be $695 pp and guests must be under deposit
|Camping (conditions permitting) for up to 15 passengers – if requested cost to be $125 pp and guests must be under deposit
Pre or post voyage expenses
Laundry and personal expenses incurred on board the ship
Onboard communication charges
Hotel crew gratuities
Anything not mentioned in “expedition includes”.
There are 4 different types of cabins available to book onboard and each one comes with a different price. Choose the one that best fits your needs and book it in our booking section below.
Window Suite – $ 13.095 per person
Promenade Suite – $ 13.745 per person
Veranda Suite – $ 14.895 per person
Penthouse Suite – $ 17.295 per person
Booking an Adventure Option on your expedition is a great way to enhance your polar experience. These options are subject to availability and fill up quickly, so be sure to book yours early. Please note Adventure Options are weather dependent.
Kayaking – $ 695 per person (Limited to 8 persons only): To experience Antarctica up close and personal, there’s really no better seat than the one in your own kayak, just inches above the water, navigating among icebergs and glacial ice dating back 30,000 years. Gliding through an otherworldly landscape with a small team, led by our expert guides and occasionally joined by a family of playful penguins or seals, this is about as intimate and magical as it gets.
The kayaking adventure option is open to all levels of experience. However, we advise that kayaking in polar waters is not an activity for first-time guests. Beginners interested in kayaking should first take an introductory kayaking course prior to their voyage. In addition, regardless of your experience, we recommend kayaking lessons for a minimum of three hours in preparation for your expedition. It is of the utmost importance that you be comfortable while kayaking in order to maximize your enjoyment and your overall experience.
Camping – $ 125 per person (Limited to 15 persons only) What’s camping in Antarctica like? Long after most passengers are tucked away in their cabins, chances are you’ll still be lying awake, cozy in your tent and sleeping bag, captivated by the ethereal sounds of gently lapping waves, creaking glaciers and perhaps the blow of a whale passing in the night.
The air seems even purer than in the daytime, the scale of your surroundings even more humbling, and by morning you’ll find yourself wondering how you could possibly describe this once-in-a-lifetime experience to friends back onboard.
Awarded ‘Citation of Merit’ by the Explorers Club, USA
Awarded 'Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award’
Selected as 'Most Innovative Tour Operator' in India
Named among ‘Best Adventure Travel Companies On Earth’
Ibex Expeditions is:
Recognised as an inbound adventure tour operator by the Government of India’s Ministry of Tourism
A member of The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO)
A member of Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI)
Outdoor Journal Feature Articles on Ibex:
First Indian ascent of Meru North — a personal account
In 1986, mountaineer Mandip Singh Soin and a small group of friends made the first Indian ascent of Meru North, alpine style — fulfilling one climber’s determination to defeat the crux that had been his undoing before.
Thinking Beyond – Profile on Ibex founder Mandip Singh Soin (PDF)
Mandip Singh Soin runs the most innovative, dynamic adventure travel company. He’s also an established Earth warrior, environmental pundit, and a modest badass.
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Following the Ganges – Source to Sea
A group of explorers follows the holy waters of the Ganga from source to sea – documenting the river and the world around it by climbing to the top of the Ganges watershed, following it through the Himalaya, across the Gangetic plain and through the delta to where it kisses the ocean.
Adventures in the Land of Neruda – Top Things to Do in Chile
A sliver of a country that stretches from South America’s belly down to its southern tip, Chile is a land of volcanoes and flamingoes, dry deserts and lush vineyards. Here are some of our favorite Chilean adventures.
Why TOV loves Ibex Expeditions:
Ibex Expeditions promotes responsible travel, eco-sensitive consciousness and various volunteerism efforts. Ibex is engaged in world-wide committees for conservation, preservation, education, empowerment and emancipation, both nationally and internationally.
The people at Ibex make a real effort to immerse themselves in meaningful humanitarian efforts, interactions with local communities, purchasing from Non Governmental Organisations (NGO’s), in order to make a positive difference to their destinations and the local people who live there. For example, their sustained efforts have benefited several hill communities with education, healthcare, environment, plantation of trees, and support during natural disasters.
An example: in a tour in Tamil Nadu, Ibex has donated eye glasses to silk weavers or supported Tsunami affected families by providing skills and raw materials for their livelihood. Ibex also provides well matched and prepared volunteers to work on-site to preserve and facilitate a quality of life for indigenous peoples in conjunction with local staff.
For more on Ibex’s environmentally conscious initiatives, visit here.
This is a multi-day trip with fixed departure dates. Some trips have different itineraries or lengths, so please check that you've chosen exactly what you want, and the correct trip start date. If you have any questions at all, please use the chat feature and we'll answer as quickly as possible.