Into the Blue: A Voyage to Antarctica
The world’s last great wilderness
Sailing the famous Beagle Channel
Close ecounters with seals, whales and penguins
The vast, pristine and silent landscape of ice and snow
Small expeditionary vessel for an exclusive, personal experience not possible on larger ships
Dancing the tango in glamorous Buenos Aires
- Antarctica & Argentina
- Great for wilderness seekers
- 16 days
- Escorted by Jemma Wilson of Mai Journeys
Antarctica, known as the Great White Continent, is the world’s last great wilderness area & is often considered the ultimate travel destination. It is the coldest, driest and more remote continent on Earth with unspoilt, awe-inspiring scenery, and incredible wildlife encounters at every turn. This is travel to the end of the earth…
Departing from Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world, we will embark our specialist ship and sail through the fabled Drake Passage, where the Atlantic and Pacific meet the Great Southern Ocean to create the Antarctic Convergence. While cruising the Peninsula, we'll sail along ice-filled fjords and between spectacular icebergs, exploring the amazing pristine wilderness of snow, ice and mountains, and an incredibly wide variety of wildlife. In addition to penguins and seabirds you are likely to see Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals along with minke, orca and humpback whales at close range. The sound of silence is awe inspring!
We'll then spend 4 fabulous nights in Buenos Aires, Argentina's most cosmopolitan city. Wandering elegant Recoleta, we'll browse upscale shops and hip boutiques and explore La Recoleta Cemetery, home to the ornate graves of Eva Perón and other Argentine luminaries. San Telmo, the oldest barrio in the city, has cobblestone streets, fabulous bars and cafes and an addictive flea markets while La Boca offers the colourful Caminito alley and people everywhere dancing the tango. Leaving the city we'll spend a day at a traditional estancia enjoying a true Argentinean papilla BBQ and soaking up the idyllic charm of rural gaucho life.
A voyage to Antarctica is the ultimate Bucket List journey and this tour does it in uncompromised style with small group umbers, expert guides and touches of luxury and style along the way.
Welcome to Argentina! On arrival we will be met and transferred to our hotel which is close to the airport as we depart early in the morning for Ushuaia.
Buenos Aires, the country's capital and largest city, is undeniably one of Latin America's hottest destinations. Located on the shores of the Rio de la Plata, the city's European architecture and the passion of its people work together to create a colourful and dynamic modern city.
After check in, rest and relax - have a swim or 'Jet Lag Revival Treatment' in the Spa if you wish, then meet in the bar for a cocktail before retiring
after a long flight.
A quick domestic flight will take us to Ushuaia. Ushuaia, the world's most southern city, is located in Argentina's Tierra del Fuego, on the shores
of the Beagle . Wander the town and sample the 6 local specialties Ushuaia is famous for: king crab, black haze from the South Atlantic,
Rio Grande trout, Beagle octopus, mussels and Patagonian lamb, then relax with an evening at lesiure.
Transfer to the port and board Ocean Nova. Ocean Nova is a modern and comfortable vessel, built in Denmark in 1992 to sail the ice-choked waters of
Greenland, and the ice-strengthened hull is ideally suited for expedition travel in Antarctica. We'll sail along the Beagle Channel towards Puerto
Williams, Chile, the southernmost town in the world, where we'll explore our surroundings before setting sail to Antarctica. This will be our first
evening on the boat, our home for the next 9 nights.
Over these two days we will sail towards Antarctica across the famous Drake Passage named in honour of Sir Francis Drake, the great 16th century British
explorer. As we sail en-route to South Shetland Islands, we'll attend an engaging program of lectures and presentations. In the company of expert
guides, we'll watch for wildlife from the glass-enclosed lounge or from the outside decks and you may spot magnificent sea birds such as the albatross
and petrels as well as different species of whales on their way south to Antarctica.
After crossing the Antarctic Convergence, the environment changes noticeably. Keep your camera ready, as this is the time to watch for the first icebergs and first sight of Antarctic land.
As we cruise between the South Shetland Islands and the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, we'll sail along ice filled fjords and among spectacular icebergs, while enjoying the company of sea birds, penguins, seals and whales. Each day, we disembark to board small Zodiac boats and explore the landscape together with expert polar guides. From the ship we will enjoy spectacular vistas from the glass-enclosed lounge while sharing our daily adventures with fellow guests. While the exact itinerary changes with each expedition due to weather conditions you will explore several spots that offer the best possible overview of the varied Antarctic environment. Landing sites include:
CUVERVILLE ISLAND - A gentoo penguin rookery is situated on the north end of the island on a rocky beach. Giant petrels and kelp gulls breed on the
DAMOY POINT - Damoy Point is the northern entrance to the harbor on which Port Lockroy is located.
DANCO ISLAND - This small island, one mile (1.6 km) in length, is easy to explore and home to gentoo penguins. We can visit the marker of a former British Antarctic Survey hut and watch for a variety of seabirds such as snowy sheathbills, kelp gulls and blue-eyed shags.
ENTERPRISE ISLAND - Located in Wilhelmina Bay, the island was used by whalers. A Zodiac cruise around the island passes a wrecked whaling ship.
LEMAIRE CHANNEL - This strait runs between Booth Island and the Antarctic Peninsula; you'll see that this is one of the most scenic locations on the western coast, especially during sunrise and sunset. The 6.8 mile-long (11 km) Channel may become impassable when ice fills the narrow passageway, so we'll hope for clear waters.
MELCHIOR ISLANDS - A group of low islands in Dallmann Bay, on which we may see male fur seals haul-out at the end of the breeding season to recuperate from their battles for supremacy.
NEKO HARBOUR - Little evidence remains that this bay was once used by the floating whale factory ship Neko. We might see some whale vertebrae used by resident gentoo penguins as shelter from the wind. There is an unmanned refuge hut here, erected by Argentina. Climb past the hut and up a steep slope for spectacular views of the glacier-rimmed harbor.
PETERMANN ISLAND - Here, near the Lemaire Channel, you can stand ashore and see the southernmost breeding colony of gentoo penguins. The dome of the island rises 650 feet (200 meters) above the sea, offering a challenging hike for panoramic views. Adélie penguins, shags and south polar skuas also inhabit the island.
PORT LOCKROY - A secret base was built on the harbour during the Second World War as part of Operation Tabarin. It is now designated as a historic site, where Port Lockroy is a museum and post office. Proceeds from your purchases here support the preservation of historic sites from the Heroic Age of Exploration.
WATERBOAT POINT - Of historic interest, we may venture to this unique point, which at low tide is connected to the Antarctic mainland. Zodiacs are used to explore the area when the tide is in. Two scientists studying penguin behavior lived in a water boat on the Point from 1921-22. The remains of their camp have been designated an Antarctic historic site.
Relax and take the time to watch wildlife from the bridge or outside decks while enjoying lectures given by the Antarctic experts. By this point we
will be sailing along the Beagle Channel to Port Williams, before returning to Ushuaia.
Disembark the Ocean Nova & say farewell to our Antarctic team, then transfer for the airport for our return flight to Buenos Aires. On arrival check into a beautiful boutique hotel in the chic suburb of Palermo, known for its grand monuments and leafy green spaces. This evening will be at leisure and the hotel has an excellent restaurant for those who wish to dine there.
This morning we'll take to the streets for a guided tour of Buenos Aires, taking in Centro, La Boca and San Telmo. Centro is known for its historic monuments and famous Plaza de Maya which has seen many important historical events from the revolution in 1018 to famous speeches by Eva Peron 100 years later. We'll visit many architectural highlights of Buenos Aires including the Palace of Justice, the Argentine National Congress building, the 'Cabildo (old town hall) and the presidential palace 'Casa Rosada' (pink house) before stopping for a coffee in Cafe Tortoni - supposedly the oldest cafe in Buenos Aires, opened in 1858.
Next we'll visit ‘La Boca', the historically working-class Italian neighbourhood which is perhaps the city’s most photogenic area with its brilliantly coloured houses impromptu tango dancing, street performers and local handicrafts. Finally we'll continue to SanTelmo, famous for its historic architecture, street art, tango parlours, flea markets and antique shops aswell as a disctintly bohemian atmosphere thanks to the artists that moved in during the 1960s.
On our way back to our hotel we pass through the newly restored Puerto Madero area where we can stop for a glass of wine by the waterfront.
This recently revitalised neighbourhood used to be the city’s industrial hub but today, the former warehouses have been converted into
trendy restaurants, boutiques, and hotels.
This evening is free at leisure.
Today we'll explore the suburns of Recoleta and Palermo.
The architecture in Recoleta is strikingly French and many of the buildings were in fact modelled after the famous châteaux in the Loire Valley. We'll wander the streets of elegant boutiques, cafés, embassies and impressive architecture, stopping at the Pilar Church, Evita Monument and the famous Recoleta cemetary, home to a whole host of Argetinean lumineries, aswell as Teatro Colon (the Opera House) and one of the world’s most famous bookshops.
In Palermo we'll discover stately mansions, beautiful parks, hip hotels and high fashion stores before returning to the hotel, ready for wine tasting, dinner and a tango show.
Leaving the city behind, today we head to the rural town of San Antonio de Areco, which is steeped in gaucho history. Our first stop will beat the workshop of a famous traditional silversmith and from here we will continue to a private estancia to savor a typical Argentine barbecue of premium beef and relax among soothing views of the endless plains, enjoying the nature, history, and tradition of the countryside. After lunch, you can go horseback riding, ride in a local ‘sulky’ (horse driven chariot) and watch a demonstration of gaucho horsemanship. Please note this is not a ‘tourist show’, but a day away from the city to experience the ambience of estancia life.
We return to the hotel in the evening, which is at leisure.
Today brings the itineray to a close and we'll be trasnferred to the airport to begin our journeys home or continue with onward arrangements. Thank you for joining us on this unique adventure.