The Drake Passage, named after Sir Francis Drake who explored these waters back in 1578 marks the Antarctic Convergence. This is a bio barrier that occurs when cold water from the poles sinks below the warm waters of the north. The result is a huge upwelling nutrient, which supports the biodiversity in this area. Drake Passage is also the northernmost limit for many Antarctic seabirds. Antarpply Expeditions lecturers are on board to identify the amazing range of seabirds that follow us, such as many albatrosses.
Open bridge policy of the USHUAIA allows you to learn navigation from our officers, observe whales and take in the views. There will also be a full schedule of lectures.
We have now reached the South Shetland Islands. This group of 20 islands and islets was first discovered in February 1819, by Captain. William Smith, the captain of brig Williams. On Day 3, our naturalists and lecturers will be with you as you have your first experience of penguins or seals.
The western part of the Antarctic Peninsula is a place where you can enjoy pristine scenery and exquisite beauty. In the waters around the continent, icebergs in all shades and forms are freely floating. You will experience the same excitement as early explorers when you learn about the history of Antarctica. There will be plenty of time for you to enjoy the amazing landscape and wildlife. You will also see Minke and Orcas, as well as Adelie and Gentoo Penguins, as you explore the area. It is very possible to see large cetaceans such as the humpback whale, Finn, and Sei in this area.
The Gerlache Strait is one of the best waterways in the region. Other options include the Errera Channel (which has a glacial front), Neumayer Channel (a narrow channel) and Lemaire Channel. Landing sites could include Paradise Bay with its glacial mountains and impressive glacial fronts. Cuverville Island is home to the largest Gentoo Penguin Colony on the Peninsula, surrounded by castellated glaciers, as well as the British Museum Port Lockroy and Post Office.
We may also explore the Yalour Islands, south of Polar Circle Detaille Island, and the Ukrainian station Vernadsky.
We plan to visit the South Shetland Islands on our journey north. Wildlife is abundant on the volcanic islands. The vast penguin colonies and the seals that haul out along the coast make each day here memorable. The narrow passage leading to the caldera on Deception Island and the half moon island, which is home to Chinstrap Penguins, are both breathtaking.