Beyond The Polar Circle

Cross the Antarctic Circle during an exceptional 17-day cruise. An expedition to the far reaches of the Southern Hemisphere, aboard Le Boréal. Before passing over the Antarctic Circle, the high point of your cruise, you’ll be dazzled by your ports of call on the Antarctic Peninsula, a fascinating backdrop of ice where the play on light is like nowhere else in the world.

Route Map

DATES: 2019 – Feb 04 to 22

Duration: 19 days / 18 nights

Departure Port: Ushuaia, Argentina

Port of arrival: Ushuaia, Argentina

Ship: Le Boreal

Download the Beyond the Polar Circle PDF

HIGHLIGHTS:

ABUNDANT ANTARCTIC WILDLIFE

  • Our only cruise proposing to cross the Antarctic Circle: latitude 66° 33’ 39’’.
  • Outings and shore visits in Zodiac® inflatables with a team of experienced naturalist guides.
  • Hiking opportunity: Fortuna Bay, Gold Harbour, Neko.
  • Landscapes: vast moors scattered with grassy tussocks, moss and lichen in the Falklands. Mountain chains, imposing glaciers and lush green pastures in South Georgia. Drifting icebergs and sea ice in the Peninsula.
  • Wildlife: Magellanic penguins and Commerson’s dolphins in the Falklands. King penguins, many elephant seals and fur seals in South Georgia. Gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap penguins in the Peninsula.
  • Educational discovery in the respect of environment.

ITINERARY:

Day 1: Arrive Buenos Aires, Argentina
You will be met and transferred to your deluxe hotel. Remainder of the day is free.

La Boca district of Buenos Aires

Day 2: Buenos Aires Tour
Enjoy a full day tour of Buenos Aires, “Paris of South America”, arranged exclusively for Explor Cruises’ guests. Visit the unique neighborhoods of San Telmo, Recoleta, La Boca, Puerto Madero and Palermo. Lunch is included. This evening, you will be taken to a Dinner & Tango Show at Tango Porteño, Includes round trip transfers and a tango lesson of 1hr before the dinner. Return to your hotel late.

Day 3: Flight to Ushuaia – Embarkation
Transfer from your hotel to the city airport for your included flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. Meet and transfer to ship. Capital of Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego province, Ushuaia lies in a bay opening into the Beagle Channel, at the country’s southernmost tip. Its colorful houses are framed against towering mountains, snow-capped in winter and summer alike.

Day 4: At Sea

Day 5: New Island – Grave Cove
This island with its distinctive jagged relief is located on the western edge of the Falkland Islands and is home to a tiny village of two families. A narrow pathway weaves around typical Falkland moorlands. Follow it and in under 20 minutes you’ll find yourself at the heart of a colony of southern rockhopper penguins, black-browed albatross and imperial shags.

Make your way through the turbulent Woolly Gut strait and emerge in the stillness of Grave Cove. Located in the northern edge of the Falkland Islands, this bay owes its name to the vestiges of whalers’ graves that overlook the beach. On the other side of the island you’ll find one of the largest gentoo penguin colonies in the area.

 Days 6-7: At Sea

Rockhopper Penguins – Falkland Islands

Day 8: South Georgia Island –  Salisbury Plain – Fortuna Bay –
Salisbury Plain is home to one of the most unforgettable natural vistas of South Georgia. Formed by the retreat of Grace Glacier, the same majestic peaks that once awed Shackleton still tower over the surrounding land. At the heart of this wild refuge, on the beaches of the bay, lies a colony of 250,000 king penguins. Amidst this sea of black and orange heads, fur seals and their young can be spotted nosing their way through the crowd.

Situated at the foot of sharply-rising mountains, Fortuna Bay is a truly dazzling vision to behold. The bay itself bows inward to form a perfect crescent, indented by a torrent. During your excursion, you can follow in the footsteps of Ernest Shackleton or even encounter the 50,000 king penguin couples who call the island their home.

In May 1916, Sir Ernest Shackleton arrived in Stromness, formerly a Norwegian whaling station. There, at long last, he found the help needed to rescue his men stranded on Elephant Island. A former Norwegian whaling station, from your Zodiac you’ll still get a good glimpse of the island’s fur seals, who have completely reclaimed the beach and village.

Grytviken, South Georgia

Day 9: South Georgia Island – Saint Andrews Bay – Grytviken
From the bay’s long grey-sand beach, home to abundant fur seals and elephant seals, you can easily access a vast glacial trough bordered by steep mountainsides and enclosed by Ross Glacier. Here, at the heart of this valley, lies the climax of your visit: the largest colony of king penguins on the South Georgia Islands. You’ll be witness to a surreal visual and auditory experience: entire hillsides covered with adult penguins dutifully going back and forth from land to water to feed their young.

The Grytviken stopover is a highlight of South Georgia Island. This former whaling station, now a ghost town, is set against a serene backdrop of ochre-colored earth.  Vestiges of the whaling industry are still very much present, particularly old whale bones and remnants of shipwrecks. Grytviken’s other historical point of interest is the grave of famous adventurer Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Day 10: South Georgia Islands – Gold Harbor – Cooper Bay
Majestic glaciers with a bluish sheen, waterfalls that reflect the rays of the setting sun, pitch-black volcanic sand beaches: these are just a few of the wonders to be found in Gold Harbor’s landscape. This natural gem is blanketed by bright green tussocks and framed by snow-capped peaks. On this island where summer days are endless, the wildlife stays up with the sun. Fur seals, elephant seals and king penguins move about the island like tiny black dots along the landscape. Those humans who enter this kaleidoscope of colors and sensations do so as privileged and tolerated observers of the austral wildlife.

Day 11: At Sea

Elephant Island

Day 12: Elephant Island
This mythic island, one of the northernmost of the South Shetland Islands, served as a refuge for part of the crew of Shackleton’s Endurance expedition. From there, the James Caird, a rescue boat from the Endurance, embarked on the perilous journey to South Georgia to rescue the men left behind. Elephant Island’s steep, ice-covered mountainsides bear no trace of man. Yet these rough conditions haven’t deterred a colony of chinstrap penguins from settling at Point Wild or gentoo penguins and elephant seals from taking shelter at Cape Lookout.

Day 13: Astrolabe Island
This small, rugged island was discovered by French explorer Jules Dumont d’Urville and named after the ship aboard which he led multiple expeditions.

Day 14: Neko Harbor – Petermann Bay
A little corner of paradise in the shadow of a towering glacier, Neko Harbor is without a doubt one of the most beautiful sites on the Antarctic Peninsula. It was discovered by Belgian navigator Adrien de Gerlache during his 1897-1899 expedition. Mountains, ice and wildlife combine to form a truly unique landscape.

Located at the end of the famed Lemaire Channel, Petermann Island played a key role in the history of Antarctic exploration. In the early 20th century, French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot chose to ride out his second winter aboard the Pourquoi Pas? on the shores of this round, little island. The initials ‘PP’, engraved on the rocks by Charcot’s crew, can still be seen at the spot where the ship was anchored.

Day 15: Antarctic Circle
Weather permitting, we’ll cross the mythic line of the Antarctic Polar Circle, located along 66°33’ south of the Equator.

DAYS 16-18: At Sea – Drake Passage
Cross Drake Passage.

 DAY 19: Ushuaia – Disembarkation
Transfer from ship to included flight from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires. Connect with flight home, or stay longer in Argentina.

 

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