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The Weddell Sea Unwrapped

Why Book This Trip

Unlock the treasures of the Weddell Sea on a journey of contrasts: from sailing by vessel to soaring by helicopter, among icy expanses and over volcanic landscapes. Remote in every sense, you'll be in excellent company with the region's bounteous number of emperor penguins.

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Six emperor penguins standing on a glacier, Weddell Sea, Antarctica

Emperor penguins

The Weddell Sea Unwrapped

Sunset over the Weddell Sea

The Weddell Sea Unwrapped

Zodiac cruising in the Weddell Sea

The Weddell Sea Unwrapped

Get up close to wildlife on your zodiac excursions

The Weddell Sea Unwrapped

Weddell Seal in Antarctica

The Weddell Sea Unwrapped

Adélie penguins ready to plunge

Helicopter flight from Antarctic vessel, Weddell Sea, Antarctica

Helicopter taking flight from the vessel

The Weddell Sea Unwrapped

Cape pigeon near Deception Island

The Weddell Sea Unwrapped

The ship at Devil's Island

Six emperor penguins standing on a glacier, Weddell Sea, Antarctica
The Weddell Sea Unwrapped
The Weddell Sea Unwrapped
The Weddell Sea Unwrapped
The Weddell Sea Unwrapped
The Weddell Sea Unwrapped
Helicopter flight from Antarctic vessel, Weddell Sea, Antarctica
The Weddell Sea Unwrapped
The Weddell Sea Unwrapped

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The Weddell Sea Unwrapped - 11 - $11,750

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

  • 5 days 'off ship' exploring the Peninsula – planned landings include Seymour Island, Brown Bluff and Deception Island
  • Emperor penguins are a highlight of this part of the Weddell Sea, and rich diversity of other birdlife 
  • Recently renovated, the ship retains its original expedition-style design while offering high levels of comfort
  • Use of the ship's vessels and helicopters allow you to explore as far as possible
  • Possible visits to Grytviken and Fortuna Bay if the route is ice-free
  • Only one departure per season

Start from Ushuaia and end at Ushuaia

Landmarks visited on The Weddell Sea Unwrapped

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1 – Embarkation in Ushuaia:

Start your adventure in the world's southernmost city – Ushuaia, Argentina. You'll embark the ship in the afternoon, sailing into the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel.


Days 2 & 3 – At Sea:

During your first two days at sea you'll make your way through the Drake Passage, feeling the cool salt breeze as the rolling sea below hums, occasionally met with a spout of sea spray courtesy of a fin whale. You'll reach the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone after passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica's natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer Sub-Antarctic seas.

Both the marine and avian life change; look out for wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels, and Antarctic petrels.


Days 4 to 7 – Antarctica:

Your journey to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula may take you through the huge tabular icebergs that populate the Antarctic Sound. As you reach the Weddell Sea, the search for the emperor penguins begins. Exploring by both vessel and helicopter, you'll have a strong chance of seeing them. You might also enjoy scenic flights, and if conditions allow, helicopter landings in locations otherwise out of reach this time of year. Possible landings include:

The west slopes of the Antarctic Sound – The western side of this area is only rarely seen from the air, though the landscape is truly worth the flight: layered sandstones, lava flows, glaciers, icebergs, and pack-ice extend as far as the eye can see. There are often individual emperor penguins and Adélie penguins on the ice floes, as well as kelp gulls, skuas, and various breeds of petrel. Jagged mountain peaks stab through the snow, and enormous walls of ice lie shattered on the slopes below.

Duse Bay – A soaring helicopter flight may deposit you on a rocky hillock close to an old refuge hut overlooking this bay. There’s still a lot of snow and ice this time of year, but much of the walk in this location is over frost-shattered rock covered with lichen of all shapes and colours.

Seymour Island – This is where the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1901 to 1904 wintered under harrowing polar conditions. Today, you'll see impressive sedimentary rock, fossils, and expansive views.

If conditions allow for deeper ventures into the Weddell Sea, zodiac trips may include:

Devil Island – Home to a large colony of Adélie penguins, this island offers a magnificent vantage point for hikers willing to foot it to the top of the hill. Melting ice sometimes forms a waterfall dropping from the cliffs close to Cape Well-met.

Brown Bluff – Maybe the most scenic location in the entire northern tip of the Antarctic Continent: sheer canyon walls, fallen boulders, beautiful volcanic creations capped with ice. A large Adélie penguin rookery lives here, with gentoo penguins and nesting snow petrels also to be found.

Gourdin Island – Chinstrap, gentoo, and Adélie penguins love this island, which is yet another landing option for your continuing Antarctic adventure.

Esperanza Base – This Argentine research station, which operates year-round and is one of only two civilian settlements in Antarctica, could serve as an alternative landing site.


Alternative Days 5 & 6 – Grytviken, Fortuna Bay:

If the route to Snow Hill Island is free of multi-year pack ice you'll visit Grytviken and/or Fortuna Bay, visiting the emperor penguin colonies there by helicopter. There is a less than 50 % probability that this will happen.


Day 8 – Deception Island:

Upon reaching Deception Island you'll make your final landing of the voyage, either at Pendulum Cove or Whalers Bay. Conditions on the Drake Passage determine the exact time of departure.


Days 9 & 10 – At Sea:

Your return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, you’re again greeted by the vast array of seabirds that you first saw initially heading south – seeming all the more familiar now.


Day 11 – Disembark in Ushuaia:

Every adventure must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.


Please Note: This itinerary is for guidance only as each voyage will vary depending on ice and weather conditions, and opportunities to see wildlife. Flexibility is key and all part of the adventure of an expeditionary cruise.

About The Ship

  • A 3-4* expedition vessel for 108 guests
  • All cabins have been recently updated
  • A broad, heavy design = great stability
  • High 1A ice class rating
  • Kayaking, camping, mountaineering, hiking
  • Rubber boots are provided on loan

With its original working ship roots, this vessel feels like being on a real expedition, but without the discomfort.

Alex Mudd Polar Specialist

Prices, Departures and Inclusions

Prices quoted below are per person based on 2 people sharing. Cabin availability changes all the time so please contact us for up-to-date details and information on specific cabin availability.

* Note: Prices are per person. Paid in USD ($) - figure above is based on today's exchange rate. Actual cost $11750

Single Supplement And Child Policy

For those travelling solo and want their own cabin, the single supplement is 1.7 times the cost of a single berth, please contact us for details. However, there is no single supplement for passengers willing to share a cabin. 

Children aged 3 years old or over are welcome. On select departures, children under 16 may receive a 40 % discount, please contact us for details.

Includes

  • Voyage aboard the vessel as indicated in the itinerary
  • Accommodation and meals during the voyage on full board including snacks, coffee and tea
  • All shore excursions and zodiac activities
  • Educational lectures by expert onboard polar guides
  • Access to an onboard doctor and basic medical services
  • Loan of rubber boots and snowshoes for the voyage's duration
  • Luggage transfer from pick-up point to the vessel on embarkation day
  • Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia directly after disembarkation
  • Port taxes and any entry fees to landing sites (except additional fees for museums in Port Stanley, Falklands)

Excludes

  • Flights to and from points of embarkation/disembarkation
  • Any additional pre/post land services, including meals
  • Transfers not specified in the itinerary
  • Optional adventure activities (e.g. diving)
  • Visa, passport and any vaccination expenses
  • Airport arrival or departure taxes
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature - laundry, beverages, etc
  • Customary staff gratuity at the end of the voyage
  • Additional onboard purchases (i.e. gift shop)

Questions about this Voyage?