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ITINERARY

DAY BY DAY CRUISE ITINERARY

January 27, 2017 — Ushuaia, Argentina -Embark Silver Explorer, settle in and attend a mandatory safety drill before leaving port. During the afternoon you will be introduced to some of the important crew members and your Expedition Team. At sail-away, bid farewell to Tierra del Fuego, the ‘Land at the End of the World’.

Days 2–3 — Drake Passage-The Drake Passage has a notorious reputation for its turbulent seas due to the westerly winds and the funnelling effect of the passage. The Antarctic Convergence, a natural boundary where cold polar water flows northward and warmer equatorial water moves southward, is within the Drake Passage. When these two currents meet, nutrients are pushed to the surface, often attracting a multitude of seabirds and whales. Spend some time on deck watching the horizon and the variety of seabirds that glide in the air currents of our ship’s wake such as the Black-browed Albatross, Sooty Shearwaters and White-chinned Petrels. Have your camera ready to capture the magical colour of a late night sunsets.

As we set sail on our initial transit, familiarise yourself with the elegant Silver Explorer and the friendly Expedition Team members.Attend wildlife, geography and history discussions hosted by our expert naturalists and guest lecturers that will prepare you for the exciting adventures that lie ahead. When available, visit the Bridge and meet our Captain and officers; information will be posted in the “Chronicle”, our daily on-board newsletter.

Days 4–8 — Antarctic Peninsula-While sailing to Antarctica, every turn can reveal a new and breath-taking adventure. As the pack ice becomes thicker, it becomes apparent to everyone that we are moving closer into Antarctica’s vast white wilderness. Remote and otherworldly, Antarctica is irresistible for its spectacular iceberg sculptures and calving glaciers, and for the possibility of up-close encounters with marine mammals. Watch for seals sunbathing on slow-moving ice floes and for humpback, Minke, and orca whales to surface from below the frigid waters. Each day we will attempt Zodiac departures, and, if conditions permit, we will cruise amidst colourful icebergs or step ashore to visit a variety of penguin rookeries and perhaps scientific research stations on complimentary excursions led by our team of natural history experts.

A flexible itinerary allows us to take advantage of favourable sea and weather conditions. In the true spirit of expedition cruising, each day the Expedition Leader and Captain will determine our best course depending on weather, ice conditions and wildlife we may encounter. Here are some of the places we may visit:

Aitcho Islands, South Shetland Islands (just off the Antarctic Peninsula at the entrance to the English Strait) – As you step off the Zodiac to explore the island, it is very likely you will be greeted by the locals…penguins! Penguin species here include Gentoo and Chinstrap. Other annual seabirds include the Southern Giant Petrels.

While heading back to the ship, you may have company as a leopard seal follows alongside your group’s Zodiac.

Brown Bluff, Tabarin Peninsula (a 2,200-foot bluff on mainland Antarctica) This is an ice-capped, 745-metre-high, flat-topped mountain with a prominent cliff of reddish-brown volcanic rock. Adelie and Gentoo Penguins, Kelp Gulls, and Cape Petrels use this as a breeding area. Birds such as the all-white Snow Petrel and skuas may be seen from a distance. As you explore the area, a Weddell seal may be seen basking in the sunlight.Wait long enough and you might see the Adelie Penguins standing along the shore, finally making their way into the surf.

Cuverville Island, Errera Channel- The island was discovered by Gerlache’s Belgian Antarctic expedition of 1897–99, and was named for a vice admiral in the French navy. Large bare rock areas provide nesting sites for Gentoo Penguins. Snow Petrels and Cape Petrels also may be seen whilst Wilson’s Storm Petrels nest in the higher scree of the island. During Zodiac tours around the many icebergs, hauled-out Weddell seals may be seen.

Paradise Bay ( Antarctic Peninsula) The bay is well named for its spectacular scenery of mountains, glaciers and icebergs. From the ship, observe Argentina’s “Base Almirante Brown”, one of many Antarctic research stations. Here, you will actually set foot on mainland Antarctica. View the wildlife from sea level while cruising in your Zodiac with one of our experienced Expedition Team members. There’s a good chance you’ll come across a crabeater seal relaxing on a nearby ice floe, or if you’re very lucky, your Zodiac driver may locate Minke whales.

Paulet Island- As you arrive, the sight of Adelie Penguins covering the entire island may well amaze you. The island is home to 80-90 thousand Adelie Penguins that come here to breed. On a nearby hill, view a massive colony of Blue-eyed Shags. Kelp Gulls and Snowy Sheathbills are amongst the other birds that breed on Paulet Island, and Wilson’s Storm Petrels are regularly seen. Listen as your Expedition Team member tells of Otto Nordenskjöld and his Swedish Antarctic Expedition. The crew of his relief ship Antarctic had to over-winter on the island in 1903. Remnants of their hut still remain.  If time permits, hike to Crater Lake or take a Zodiac cruise to view impossibly blue icebergs and the Adelie Penguins making themselves at home on the ice floes.

Petermann Island, Wilhelm Archipelago- The island is named for German geographer August Petermann and was first discovered by a German expedition in 1873-74. Our on-board geologist will take the opportunity to point out various geological features such as the many leucocratic dikes along the shoreline and the more granitic composition towards the small ice-covered summit. Rock surfaces show glacial polish, some glacial grooving and nice samples of frost shattering. During our landing, we will be able to observe rookeries of Adelie Penguins, Gentoo Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags.

Pleneau Island, Wilhelm Archipelago- lies at the south end of the Lemaire Channel, and was first explored during Charcot’s 1903–05 French Antarctic Expedition. The island was named for the expedition’s photographer, Paul Pleneau. Amongst the common breeding birds are Gentoo Penguins, Kelp Gulls and South Polar Skuas. See the Gentoo Penguins during a landing and Southern elephant seals that are often hauled-out in wallows. Enjoy spectacular glacial and ice scenery.

Port Foster, Whalers Bay (Deception Island) -Deception Island is home to a collapsed volcano and an excellent example of a caldera where it is believed that the volcano’s summit collapsed with one section sinking far enough to allow the sea to flood the interior. We plan to sail inside this breached wall through a narrow entrance called Neptune’s Bellows. Our resident geologist will take the opportunity to explain the unique volcanic features of the area while our naturalists might introduce you to the whaling history of Deception Island. Still visible on the island are the boilers used to make whale oil in the early 1900s.

Port Lockroy, Goudier Island- The British built a listening station here during WWII, which was then used as a research station in the 1950s and since 1996 as a museum and gift shop. Snowy Sheathbills and Gentoo Penguins roam outside the museum. Perhaps sight a whale or two on your Zodiac approach to Goudier Island.

Days 9–10 — Drake Passage Return-Navigating our return through the Drake Passage, we will watch for seabirds and wildlife we may have missed on the first leg. Take this opportunity to attend additional presentations offered by the Expedition Team lecturers and to swap photos with new friends as we travel towards Ushuaia.

February 6, 2017 — Ushuaia, Argentina – Silver Explorer will arrive at Ushuaia in the morning. Following breakfast, disembark Silver Explorer.

Expedition Highlights:

  •  Marvel at spectacular iceberg sculptures and calving glaciers
  •  Set foot on the continent and mainland of Antarctica
  •  Encounter Gentoo, Chinstrap and Adelie Penguins
  •  Spot elephant seals, Antarctic fur seals, Weddell seals, leopard seals and crabeater seals
  •  Watch for whales – humpback, Minke, orca, pilot, and beaked whales
  •  Identify seabirds – Snowy Sheathbill, Antarctic Cormorant, Kelp Gull, Antarctic Tern, Cape Petrels, Wandering Albatrosses, Southern Fulmars, Blue-eyed Shags, Southern Giant Petrels, skuas, Black-browed Albatrosses, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Sooty Shearwaters

Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather, wildlife activity and ice conditions. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.

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