Antarctic Peninsula - Whales, Penguins, and Landscapes - February 16 to March 5, 2019

Tour date: 
Saturday, 16 February 2019 to Tuesday, 5 March 2019
Duration: 
18 days
Price: 
COST: $13,750 to $23,400 (NOW 10% Off! $12,375 to $21,060 per person)
Highlights: 
Fly over the Drake Passage, with stunning views from above, saving two days of ship travel. Get up-close and personal with Humpback Whales as they “spy-hop” out of the water to get a better glimpse of you! Be a part of the scientific research the marine scientists are conducting throughout the voyage via citizen science opportunities. Experience beautiful sunrises and sunsets backlighting stunning landscapes. With fewer than 100 participants, everyone can be on shore or Zodiac cruising together rather than taking shifts. Our 16 leaders are marine scientists, polar specialists, photographers, and naturalists that will provide lectures, workshops, and guided excursions.
Overview: 

Since the first explorers discovered this unknown continent, they’ve shared stories of incredible vistas and abundant mammals. This exciting expedition will combine years of experience on the Antarctic Peninsula with a scientific focus on marine mammals, in partnership with the American Cetacean Society (ACS). We designed this itinerary to maximize our opportunities to study and watch the whales that inhabit this vibrant and nutrient filled area of the South Shetland Islands and western Antarctic Peninsula. Happily, here we find some of the best whale feeding grounds in the midst of Antarctica’s most stunning landscapes, taking full advantage of the season’s golden light. Landscape photography, time with Humpbacks, Antarctic Minke Whales, and Orcas, and visits to penguin and seal colonies will surpass your wildest expectations. Our priority on this special expedition is to give you the maximum field time during a unique period on the Peninsula and to share our passion and experience in the Antarctic with a special scientific component along with opportunities to engage in citizen science. Come and experience the Antarctic Peninsula with us!

Start Location: 
Punta Arenas Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena
Chile
Finish location: 
Ushuaia Tierra del Fuego
Argentina
Itinerary download: 

Antarctic Peninsula - Whales, Penguins, and Landscapes - February 16 to March 5, 2019

SAFARI OVERVIEW
Since the first explorers discovered this unknown continent, they’ve shared stories of incredible vistas and abundant mammals. This exciting expedition will combine years of experience on the Antarctic Peninsula with a scientific focus on marine mammals, in partnership with the American Cetacean Society (ACS). We designed this itinerary to maximize our opportunities to study and watch the whales that inhabit this vibrant and nutrient filled area of the South Shetland Islands and western Antarctic Peninsula. Happily, here we find some of the best whale feeding grounds in the midst of Antarctica’s most stunning landscapes, taking full advantage of the season’s golden light. Landscape photography, time with Humpbacks, Antarctic Minke Whales, and Orcas, and visits to penguin and seal colonies will surpass your wildest expectations. Our priority on this special expedition is to give you the maximum field time during a unique period on the Peninsula and to share our passion and experience in the Antarctic with a special scientific component along with opportunities to engage in citizen science. Come and experience the Antarctic Peninsula with us!

HIGHLIGHTS
Fly over the Drake Passage, with stunning views from above, saving two days of ship travel.
Get up-close and personal with Humpback Whales as they “spy-hop” out of the water to get a better glimpse of you!
Be a part of the scientific research the marine scientists are conducting throughout the voyage via citizen science opportunities.
Experience beautiful sunrises and sunsets backlighting stunning landscapes.
With fewer than 100 participants, everyone can be on shore or Zodiac cruising together rather than taking shifts.
Our 16 leaders are marine scientists, polar specialists, photographers, and naturalists that will provide lectures, workshops, and guided excursions.

LEADER AND STAFF
Ted Cheeseman is our Expedition Leader, along with an additional Expedition Staff of 15, for a total of 16 diverse and incredibly experienced staff including prominent marine scientists. See Expedition Staff information on page 4.

DAYS: 18, including estimated travel time with 11 landing days.

GROUP SIZE: 98. With fewer than 100 participants, everyone can land and/or Zodiac cruise at once, rather than in separate groups, giving you more time on shore.

SHIP: The Akademik Ioffe. 

COST: $13,750 to $23,400 NOW 10% Off! $12,375 to $21,060 per person, shared occupancy, depending on cabin choice, not including airfare. See Costs section on page 13.

CONDITIONS: This is a non-smoking expedition for people who are very interested in spending the maximum time in the field. See Conditions on page 17.

Date / Description / Accommodation / Meals

Feb 16
Depart home.

Feb 17
Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile.
Hotel in Punta Arenas

Feb 18
Fly to King George Island and board the Ioffe.
Aboard the Ioffe
B, L, D

Feb 19–Mar 1
Eleven days of landings along the western Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands.
Mar 2–3
Cruise northward across the Drake Passage.

Mar 4
Disembark and fly homeward from Ushuaia, Argentina.
B

Mar 5
Arrive home.

ABOUT THE WHALE FOCUS OF THIS EXPEDITION

As longtime pioneers of Antarctic expeditions that focus on wildlife, we are collaborating with the American Cetacean Society (ACS) to offer this in-depth exploration of the marine mammals of the Antarctic Peninsula. Expedition leader Ted Cheeseman and ACS are excited to offer this opportunity to share science, education, and exploration of one of the most whale-rich stretches of water in the world during the season of peak whale abundance. At the feet of the stunning mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula, krill congregate in countless numbers, drawing great congregations of whales into seasonal feeding binges on a scale found few other places on the planet.

Together, tour participants, ACS scientists, and other marine scientists will gather data for long-term ecological research projects, including photo-identification of individual whales that we’ll link to breeding populations around the world and track individual whales to link behavior to environmental conditions. Thanks to the citizen science platform Happywhale, we will be able to identify individual whales during the voyage. We will have a team of active scientists aboard, utilizing the unique platform of this whale-focused expedition. Science goals and methods for the expedition will be determined as our departure date approaches.

This expedition provides opportunities to travel alongside marine biologists, to whale watch from ship and Zodiacs, to learn photographic techniques from professional photographers, and to land at wildlife-rich and historically significant sites on the Antarctic continent and outlying islands. Ted designed the itinerary to maximize marine mammal encounters, diverging from the norm of Antarctic cruises in keeping with our philosophy of offering the most in-depth expeditions possible. We will still devote plenty of time to explore penguin colonies and photograph stunning Antarctic landscapes under the special golden light of the season.

EXPEDITION STAFF (total of 16)
Ted Cheeseman ~ Expedition Leader, Ecologist, Photographer, and Zodiac Driver
Ted grew up traveling extensively and began studying and photographing wildlife as a child. After completing a master's degree in tropical conservation biology at Duke University, Ted returned to California to lead and organize expeditions full time. Ted currently leads expeditions to Antarctica, the Arctic, and the Caribbean and recently completed a five-year term on the Executive Committee of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO).

Hugh Rose ~ Assistant Expedition Leader, Naturalist, Geologist, Photographer, and Zodiac Driver
Hugh has over 20 years of professional guiding experience and has been a key member of the Antarctica staff since 1998. The vast landscapes and incredible wildlife of Alaska and the Polar Regions are his subject and passion, evident in his inspired leadership and stunning professional photos (www.hughrosephotography.com). Hugh receives unending praise for his amazing knowledge, delightful and accommodating personality, and attention to every trip detail.

Dr. Asha de Vos ~ Whale Scientist
Asha is a marine biologist, ocean educator, and pioneer of Blue Whale research within the Northern Indian Ocean. She is the first (and only!) Sri Lankan to have a PhD in Marine Mammal research. Asha has started her own non-profit, Oceanswell (www.ashadevos.com); runs ‘The Sri Lankan Blue Whale Project;’ is a research fellow for multiple organizations; is a National Geographic Explorer; and has been published not only in research journals, but by popular outlets such as TED, the New York Times, and BBC.

Dr. Phil Clapham ~ Whale Scientist
Phil directs the Cetacean Assessment and Ecology Program at NOAA’s Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle where he studies population biology, behavioral ecology, and conservation management of large whales. For thirty years, he has advised government and non-government agencies on whale research and conservation. He is a former member of the Board of Governors of the Society for Marine Mammalogy, a founding member of the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium, and since 1997 has been on the U.S. delegation to the International Whaling Commission’s Scientific Committee.

Oliver Coray ~ Naturalist, Lecturer, and Zodiac Driver
Oliver was born and raised in Alaska, spending every summer of his life in remote Lake Clark National Park at his family’s wilderness lodge. He takes guests into the surrounding Brown Bear territory to photograph and observe bears. He also uses charter boats and kayaks to access bays up and down the coastline, the perfect way to gain access to pelagic bird nesting grounds, Harbor Seal rookeries, and wandering Sea Otters. After receiving a degree from Montana State University, he now splits his time between the lodge, travelling, and photography.

Dr. Merel Dalebout ~ Naturalist, Lecturer, and Zodiac Driver
A scientist with many interests, Merel studied botany then earned her PhD specializing in the evolutionary genetics of rare “beaked whales.” She spent several years studying Southern Ocean cetaceans and realized she had a true passion for reconnecting people with nature. After training as a wilderness guide, she now travels extensively throughout the world as a trekking guide and a naturalist on small expedition ships while continuing to do scientific research as time allows. Merel combines her enthusiasm and passion for the world’s wild places with a burning curiosity to know all she can about them.

Scott Davis ~ Naturalist, Photographer, and Zodiac Driver
Scott is a professional photographer specializing in wildlife, nature, and travel (www.scottdavisimages.com). Originally trained as a wildlife and marine biologist, his research and photo assignments took him to the far corners of the globe. National Geographic, BBC, Animal Planet, and renowned magazines have used his photography. His patience for teaching and love of capturing the essence of his subjects make him one of our most popular tour leaders.

Raphael Fennimore ~ Naturalist and Zodiac Driver
Raphael is a passionate ocean advocate and a member of the National Board of the American Cetacean Society (ACS). Raphael attended Boston University for Marine Science and specialized in whale ecology while at NOAA’s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the New England Aquarium. He is pursuing a graduate degree in Marine Science and Technology through the University of Massachusetts, where he is tracking whales using drones and infrared thermal imaging.

Dr. Yulia Ivashchenko ~ Whale Scientist
Yulia is a Research Associate with NOAA’s Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle. She works on historical studies of whaling and uses whaling data to facilitate assessments of the status of whale populations today. Yulia has published detailed investigations of Soviet illegal whaling and has played a key role in correcting the Soviet whaling catch record in the North Pacific. She is a member of the U.S. delegation to the International Whaling Commission’s Scientific Committee. 

Joe Kaplan ~ Naturalist, Lecturer, and Zodiac Driver
Joe has had a passion for natural history, especially birds, since childhood. He has worked and traveled extensively throughout the Americas, the Pacific, Australasia, and Madagascar, gaining a broad understanding of biology and conservation. Joe is co-director and biologist for the non-profit organization Common Coast Research and Conservation (www.commoncoast.org). He is an expert on the birds that you will encounter on this expedition and is ready to identify and talk about the many exciting seabirds we will encounter.

Allison Lee ~ Phytoplankton Biologist
Allison is a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography studying polar phytoplankton and holds a master's degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation. She has conducted research for more than a decade in the fields of neuroscience, biofuel, genetics, and ecology. Her work has taken her to exotic ecosystems in the Amazon jungle, the plains of Africa, and fjords of Antarctica. As lead developer of the citizen science project, FjordPhyto, she hopes travelers can help better our scientific understanding of Antarctic fjord ecosystems and their response to a changing climate.

Juan Manuel Salcedo ~ Naturalist, Lecturer, and Zodiac Driver
Juan was born and grew up in the Galápagos Islands where he developed his love and passion for observing and interpreting wildlife as a child while sailing on his father's boat. After studying in Quito, he spent a year in Los Angeles studying sailing and navigation to gain a skipper certificate. He finished his undergraduate degree at the University of San Francisco, Quito where he studied Applied Ecology, Biology and Geology. He has been involved in Environmental Education projects in the Galápagos Islands and on mainland Ecuador. He is, without a doubt, one of our most popular tour leaders and members of our Antarctic staff.

Dr. Fred Sharpe ~ Whale Scientist
Fred has been studying humpback whales since the 1980s. In 1996, he joined the Alaskan Whale Foundation’s research program and focuses on bubble-net feeding behavior and vocalizations in humpbacks. Tenacious in his research, he has spent more time observing social behaviors of humpbacks than most could fathom. In 2001, he was awarded a doctorate from Simon Fraser University.  When Fred takes a break from whale research, he can often be found wandering the hills and forests of the Pacific Northwest collecting plant specimens and recording bird calls. Fred's handiwork can be seen in his books Birding in the San Juan Islands and Wild Plants of the San Juan Islands.

Kate Spencer ~ Naturalist and Zodiac Driver
As a captain and naturalist, Kate is on the whale rich waters of Monterey Bay, California almost every day driving the vessel Fast Raft (www.fastraft.com). She has participated in Humpback Whale field research with the Alaska Whale Foundation. Before moving to Monterey, California Kate was a scientific illustrator at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. She is active in the American Cetacean Society's Monterey Bay Chapter, working to protect marine life and reduce human impacts on the oceans.

SHIP
The Akademik Ioffe is modern, comfortable, safe, and ice strengthened; she was designed specifically to sail with stability in polar regions. A cruising speed of 13.5 knots (14.5 knots in open water) allows more time ashore and more flexibility in changing weather. The ship has the capability to spin on its own axis – greatly assisting embarkation of the Zodiacs in windy conditions.

All cabins feature windows for ample natural light and lower berths (except triple shared cabins have one upper/lower bunk and port holes). The Ioffe carries a maximum of 98 guests, allowing true, small-ship expedition cruising. This is particularly important in Antarctica where restrictions limit the number of passengers landing simultaneously to 100. This maximizes your time ashore since we don’t need timed landing shifts.

The Ioffe carries a fleet of ten Zodiacs for daily excursions, weather permitting. Ship amenities include gym, sauna, outdoor Jacuzzi, gift shop, and observation decks. A dedicated expedition “mud-room” gives you room to prepare for off-ship excursions. A separate lounge and bar, as well as a library, provide ideal places to relax or catch up on some reading. A selection of movies and documentaries can also be watched in the lounge. The ship boasts an open-bridge policy. A theatre-style presentation room provides a comfortable place to learn more about the Antarctic during lectures. The sumptuous meals prepared by the culinary team are enjoyed in the dining room, which can sit all passengers at the same time.

Akademik Ioffe Deck Plan (see attached pdf )

See cabin descriptions under “Costs.”

Deck plan, cabin arrangements, and cabin amenities are subject to change by ship operator.

DETAILED ITINERARY

Feb 16 ~ International flights to Chile
For most traveling to Punta Arenas, Chile, you will need to leave home today.

Feb 17 ~ Arrive in Punta Arenas
Arrive in Punta Arenas by 4:00pm today. Upon arrival in Punta Arenas, a transfer agent will meet you and transport you to our hotel. If you wish to arrive early to buffer against travel delays or to spend extra time in the Punta Arenas area, we can arrange extra hotel nights and suggest or arrange field trips.

Feb 18 ~ Fly to King George Island, Antarctica
Fly to King George Island. Located at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, King George Island is the largest island in the South Shetland Island archipelago. You will land at Teniente R. Marsh Airport, the northernmost airport on the continent of Antarctica via a charter flight because no regularly-scheduled public flights service this airport. You will then transfer via Zodiac to your home for the duration of the voyage – the Akademik Ioffe.

A note about expedition cruising: Due to the expeditionary nature of our voyage, specific stops cannot be guaranteed. Flexibility is paramount in expedition travel; the following itinerary depends on the conditions at the time of travel. We strive to land often and stay as long as possible, abiding by the Guidelines for Responsible Eco-tourism from the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO).

Feb 19–Mar 1 ~ Explore South Shetlands and Antarctic Peninsula
The warm glow of sunrise reveals our position in the South Shetland Islands; we will include early and late landings and Zodiac cruises to take full advantage of the best light.

The South Shetland Islands

The South Shetlands are a string of volcanic islands, some still active, that run parallel to the Antarctic Peninsula across the Bransfield Strait. Fondly known as the “Banana Belt of Antarctica,” these islands boast the richest concentrations of terrestrial wildlife in the Antarctic due to their proximity to the rich upwelling waters from the great Circumpolar Current. Even with our luxuriously in-depth itinerary, we will have to choose between many very compelling sites. Deception Island is a favorite and one of the most exciting islands on our voyage. This horseshoe-shaped, volcanic island is still active, as its hot thermal pools demonstrate. We hope to land on both the outside wall and inside the caldera that opens to the ocean via a narrow gap called Neptune’s Bellows. The landing at Bailey Head is home to about 100,000 Chinstrap Penguins, but the sea can make landings tricky with steep swells crashing on an exposed beach. Inside Deception’s huge caldera, we hope to make a fascinating landing that may include a short hike up the mountainside among the lichen-draped cliffs to the scenic overlook. On the beach at Whaler’s Bay, we may find Weddell Seals basking and we’ll go ashore if conditions are favorable. Deception Island also offers one the most unique experiences of the voyage – soaking along side the beach in the thermal pools surrounded by clouds of steam. The water temperature can be fairly comfortable, although it can get so hot that it’s necessary to mix in colder water!

On a clear day, the Chinstrap Penguins of Half Moon Island make a delightful foreground to the breathtaking eastern coastline of nearby Livingston Island. At this end of the Earth, the vast scale of nature will open our senses. Great respect must be given to the fragile vegetation and the wildlife colonies. We will review proper landing procedures throughout the voyage, allowing you as much freedom as possible to enjoy the magnificent wildlife and landscapes within the bounds of safety and minimal impact.

Both Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins breed on Aitcho Island, an island covered in mossy green carpets making a surprisingly bright contrast to Antarctica’s intensely achromatic landscapes. Conditions permitting, we’ll take a walk across the island past the Southern Elephant Seal wallows. This landing site and other similar sites with Southern Elephant Seals offer a terrific chance to see (and smell!) the world’s largest species of seal, also perhaps joined by hauled out Weddell Seals and Southern Fur Seals.

From the South Shetlands, we sail southwest across the Bransfield Strait into the fabled Gerlache Strait. Here we can expect whale sightings to ring out from the bridge as the Antarctic Peninsula landscape rises up around us into a glacier-draped view of mountainous proportion. The waters around Anvers Island, Dallmann Bay to the north and the Gerlache to the east are a likely starting destination. We can expect our whales among sculpted icebergs in the foreground and staggering mountain walls in the background, making for some of the world’s best Zodiac cruising. We will hope for magnificent sunsets, sculpted blue icebergs, and close penguin and whale encounters, each with the potential for an experience that we will never forget. We will visit sites where the penguins and seals that once sustained early Antarctic explorers have taken over, leaving only faint clues of the age of exploration and exploitation.

Over the last few decades, the Southern Ocean has experienced a significant warming trend, showing clear evidence of global warming. The Antarctic Peninsula has been feeling climate change the most, with a massive 9°F (5°C) warming in average winter temperatures over the last 50 years. This has dramatically changed and reduced ice distributions, but we will still be among a world of spectacular icebergs! In late summer, the coldest temperatures we normally experience during landings on the Peninsula are in the high 20s and low 30s F (-5 to 5°C). It is a bit like winter temperatures at ski resorts – usually very pleasant wearing good layered clothing and a jacket and certainly nothing like wintertime temperatures in Antarctica.

WESTERN ANTARCTIC PENINSULA ~ The Danco Coast, Neumeyer Channel, and Lemaire Channel

Whether we travel south down the west coast or sail east through the Antarctic Sound into the Weddell Sea will be determined by weather, ice distributions and reports of marine mammal sightings; happily, we have ample time for a thorough exploration of the Antarctic Peninsula. When heading south, we will travel down along the picturesque Danco Coast on the west coast of Graham Land. This area has awe-inspiring scenery with coastlines deeply indented with bays and scattered with islands. Impressive mountains rise sharply from the coast to the central Graham Land Plateau and glaciers descend to narrow piedmont ice shelves. Extensive Zodiac cruising and opportunistic landings during the best light will allow us to soak in the serenity of this majestic place.

We’ll make our way down the coast into Wilhemina Bay, Neko Harbour and Paradise Bay, among the most beautiful areas in Antarctica. These waters rank high on our long list of favorite places for Zodiac cruising. Enjoy views of sculpted icebergs and surfacing whales as we cruise the inner bays near spectacular glaciers and ethereal mountains. We can expect wonderful whale behavior in these plentiful summer feeding grounds. The krill swarms are enormous, sometimes even visible on the ship’s depth sounder. We will find colonies of Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins, sometimes in mixed colonies, along with their attendant scavengers: Snowy Sheathbills, Brown Skuas, South Polar Skuas, and Kelp Gulls. We’ll aim for a landing in Neko Harbour on the Antarctic continent proper, hopefully with an opportunity for a walk and an incredible view.

Enjoy the view from the ship as the Ioffe navigates through stunning Neumeyer and Lemaire channels or around the south end of Anvers Island into Biscoe Bay where we will be completely surrounded by ice-draped peaks soaring dramatically out of the water. Crabeater, Weddell, and Leopard seals are often hauled out on the ice floes and whales may even surface between the floes, so keep your cameras ready! Tall, hanging ice cliffs, the fronts of highly fractured tidewater glaciers, decorate most of the shoreline for unforgettable scenery. At the southern part of the Lemaire Channel we’ll come to Petermann Island. Located at 65° S, Petermann is outstanding for seeing Gentoo and Adelie penguins on their nesting grounds and making feeding trips in large groups along a “Penguin highway” in the snow. The clear water is beautiful for observing and photographing penguins returning to land. Petermann has seen a reversal in abundance between the two species, with half the numbers of Adelie Penguins we found here twenty years ago, but twice the numbers of Gentoos. Photogenic Antarctic Shags are also found on the edges of the colonies.

We will hope for good conditions to travel further south along the western side of the Peninsula, possibly down to Crystal Sound, the Antarctic Circle, Fish Islands and beyond into Margarite Bay to explore the southern reaches of summer navigable waters. Look for Snow Petrel, Antarctic Petrel, ice-loving Antarctic Minke Whales and maybe an extremely rare Ross Seal. When we are out in the golden light of an Antarctic evening, be sure to put your camera down for a moment and simply absorb the beauty and silence.

As we take our time sailing back north, we’ll again be on the lookout for cetaceans, including Orcas and even rare beaked whales, and explore wonderful coves that are breeding areas for Leopard Seals. We will surely find ourselves cruising with Humpbacks as they swim and lunge feed among the icebergs offshore in these waters where whale populations escaped the worst of the whaling age. The region offers excellent opportunities to find Antarctic Minke Whales feeding and Orcas cruising looking for seals and penguins. The photography in these rich krill areas of the Peninsula is truly fantastic. Additional landing sites along the western Peninsula are expected, which ones will depend on conditions (as is the case with any landing). Port Lockroy, located at the end of the very narrow and beautiful Peltier Channel close to Neumeyer Channel, has a British Antarctica Survey maritime museum and a sprawling Gentoo Penguin colony that we hope to visit. We’ll also hope for good conditions to land at tiny Cuverville Island with Gentoo Penguins on the headlands.

As we continue north, we are likely to again pass through the South Shetland Islands, possibly for a landing at Hannah Point on Livingston Island. Look for a possible pair of Macaroni Penguins among the Chinstrap and Gentoo colonies. The usual rookery scavengers (skuas, gulls, giant-petrels, and sheathbills) should also be present. At Hannah Point we will also find excellent examples of Antarctica’s only two flowering plants, a complete flora of the entire continent at one site.

Mar 2–3 ~ Return through the Drake Passage and Beagle Channel
Even with the extended time our voyage will allow along the Antarctic Peninsula, it will no doubt still feel too soon to leave the continent behind. As we sail north on the homeward leg, we will share delightful memories of our experiences, enjoy a group slide show of images captured, and talk of plans for future travels. The wildlife, however, is not all behind us. Almost 500 miles north of the South Shetlands, near Cape Horn, the waters here at the tip of the South American continental shelf are as rich as seawaters can be and seabirds are sometimes present in large flocks, especially Sooty Shearwaters if the sea is calm. Peale’s Dolphins and other marine mammals may also be seen. Once in the lee of Cape Horn, any ocean swell will disappear and we will enter the Beagle Channel for a final scenic cruise to Ushuaia.

Mar 4 ~ Disembark in Ushuaia, Argentina, and travel homeward
We will dock in Ushuaia, Argentina, by early morning today. After breakfast, we will bid farewell to our shipmates, expedition staff, and the crew of the Ioffe and disembark early for morning flights. Our local agents will collect the luggage in the luggage van to be held until check-in time at the Ushuaia Airport. If you wish to extend your stay in Ushuaia, we are happy to assist you with the arrangements.

Mar 5 ~ Travel homeward
Travel and arrive home today depending on your flight schedule.

COSTS (all costs are in US Dollars)

Costs and Cabin Options

Type / Description / Cost per Person

Triple Shared
Deck 3 cabins feature two lower berths (one that can be converted to a sofa) and one upper berth, ample clothes storage, desk and chair, and two portholes (one opens). Bath facilities are shared but a washbasin is in the cabin.
WAS $13,750 NOW $12,375

Twin Shared
Deck 3 cabins feature bunk beds with one upper and one lower berth, ample clothes storage, desk and chair, and two portholes (one opens). Bath facilities are shared, but a washbasin is in the cabin.
WAS $14,850 NOW $13,365

Twin Semi-private
Deck 4 cabins feature two lower berths (one that can be converted to a sofa), tall cupboards for clothes storage, desk and chair, bookshelf, and an opening window. Bath facilities are semi-private (shared with the adjacent cabin).
WAS $16,450 NOW $14,805

Twin Private
Deck 4 and 5 cabins feature private facilities, two lower berths (one that can be converted to a sofa), tall cupboards for clothes storage, desk and chair, bookshelf, and an opening window.
WAS $18,350 NOW $16,515

Superior Private
Deck 6 cabins feature private bath facilities, two lower berths, a comfortable sofa, a writing desk and chair, plenty of storage space, and several opening portholes.
WAS $19,450 NOW $17,505

Shackleton Suite
Deck 4 and 5 cabins feature two spacious rooms: living area and bedroom with private facilities. The living area is ideal for relaxation with a sofa (convertible to bed), large table, desk, chair, ample storage and a large window that can be opened. The bedroom has a double bed with upgraded linens and pillows.
WAS $21,450 NOW $19,305

One Ocean Suite
Deck 5 cabin has two very spacious rooms: living area and bedroom with private facilities (with a bathtub and shower). The living area is ideal for relaxation with a sofa (convertible to bed), large table, desk, chair, ample storage, large windows overlooking the bow (forward facing) that can be opened. The bedroom features a double bed with upgraded linens and pillows.
WAS $23,400 NOW $21,060

We reserve the right to charge for cost increases that occur between when we set tour prices and the date of travel, for example, changes due to the cost of lodging and transportation. If you are a single traveler and you desire, we will find a roommate for you. If we cannot find you a roommate, we will not charge you a single supplement. Single rooms are subject to availability.

Please note that we cannot guarantee a specific cabin number. If changes occur, we will do everything in our power to assign a cabin of equal or greater value as the cabin type specified in your reservation. Deck plan, cabin arrangements, and cabin amenities are subject to change by ship operator. If space is available, some cabins can be booked for a single occupant at an additional cost; please contact us for details.

Payment Schedule

Payment / Due Date / Amount per Person

Initial deposit - Due now to reserve your space -  $500
Second - November 1, 2017 - $4,000
Third - April 1, 2018 - $5,000
Final - September 1, 2018 - Remaining balance

Payments will be due based on the schedule above. All reservations require a deposit to confirm reservation of your space. For reservations made after a due date, all past payments will be due with registration. By sending your initial deposit, you agree to accept our payment schedule and cancellation policy as a contract. If payments are still outstanding two weeks after the due date, your space may be forfeited.

Cancellation Policy

Refunds are given depending on the time left before departure according to the following table. The cancellation fee of $300 per person can be applied toward another tour if reserved within six months of the cancelled trip’s departure date. Cancellations are non-transferrable. Consider purchasing trip cancellation insurance that could reimburse your trip costs in the event of your cancellation.

Dates / Forfeited Amount per Person

On or before June 30, 2018 - $300

July 1- July 31, 2018 - 10% of tour cost

August 1 to August 31, 2018 - 40% of tour cost

On or after September 1, 2018 - 100% of tour cost

Included

All leaders, landing fees, passenger fees and port taxes, including an IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators) passenger fee for all activities unless described as optional.
14 nights aboard the Ioffe.
Accommodations in Punta Arenas for the night of February 17.
Charter flight on February 18 from Punta Arenas, Chile to King Georgia Island, South Shetland Islands.
Meals from breakfast on February 18 through breakfast on March 4.
Transfer from the airport to our hotel in Punta Arenas upon arrival.
Airport transfer in Ushuaia as described on March 4.
Trip Materials - information about flights, packing, entry and departure requirements, airport transfers, gratuities, etc.
Expedition Gear Package: outdoor gear, such as waterproof parka, pants, and boots plus hiking poles and dry bags on loan for the duration of tour. We’ll send more details with our Trip Materials.
Onboard lectures during free time and sea days.
Professionally produced and printed expedition log.

Not Included

All airfare (except flights listed as included), airport arrival/departure taxes, excess baggage fees, and any airport transfers on return trip through Buenos Aires. Airfare is approximately $1,300-$2,000 round trip from the USA, depending on origin.
Passport fees, visa fees, or reciprocity fees.
Gratuities for the ship’s crew - tipping is, of course, discretionary, however we suggest budgeting $10 to $15 per participant per day for February 18 to March 4 aboard the Ioffe (about $150 to $225 total per passenger) to be divided among the crew and officers, including cabin and dining room service staff. Expedition leaders do not expect a tip.
Items of a personal nature such as laundry, fax/phone/email charges, medical costs or hospitalization, room service, alcoholic and other beverages, items not on the regular menu, etc. If you have special dietary needs, please indicate them on your Reservation/Release Form.
Emergency medical and evacuation insurance, but it is required for you to purchase.

OTHER DETAILS

Climate

Antarctica has a cold, dry, sometimes windy climate even in the summer. Normal late summer temperatures are -5 to 5°C (25 to 40°F) on the Peninsula, known as the ‘Banana Belt’. Penetrating cold is not usually a problem. Wind chill and wetness while riding in Zodiacs are the primary conditions to insulate against. It is also possible to get wet weather, but often it is with wind, so an umbrella is not usually practical. Waterproof gloves, warm cap, layers of light, loose, warm clothing, and water repellent outer garments are necessary. Sunscreen is critical. The temperature on the ship is comfortably warm, but you may still wish to dress in layers and keep a warm layer handy in case there is exciting wildlife (such as an Emperor Penguin!) to watch from the ship’s deck.

Fitness Level

Although participating in the Antarctic Peninsula voyage does not require a high level of physical fitness, you should be fit enough to walk up and down stairs on the ship and on the gangway that hangs on the side of the ship, able to get into and out of the Zodiac with assistance of Expedition staff and crew, and walk on sometimes unstable, rocky, and slippery terrain on shore. Once on shore, you can choose to walk for short or long distances (within the specified guidelines). Landing details will be given in advance of each landing. If you have any questions about your physical abilities, please give us a call!

Medical Questionnaire

In addition to your registration form, you will be asked to complete a medical questionnaire before traveling. Our ship’s doctor will review all information so that any concerns can be addressed prior to the voyage. A doctor’s signature is not required for participation in the tour except in certain cases as determined by our doctor and Expedition Leader.

Flights

Airfare, except flights listed as included, is not included in trip costs. Detailed logistical information and the contact information for our recommended flight-ticketing agent are included in the Trip Materials we will send you. Please let us know if you are arriving earlier or staying later as we are happy to assist you with any extra overnights that you might want to arrange.

Flights you (or a travel agent) book: Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile (PUQ) by 4:00pm on February 17. For most, this means leaving home by February 16, and most flights route through Santiago, Chile. Depart from Ushuaia, Argentina (USH) any time after 12:00pm on March 4. Most flights homeward route through Buenos Aires, Argentina. Allow at least four hours to transfer between the domestic and international airports in Buenos Aires.

Flights we book for you: The charter flight from Punta Arenas to King George Island. The cost of this booking is included in the tour cost.

Seasickness

Don’t let a fear of seasickness scare you away! Over the years many who have dreamed of experiencing Antarctica with us have stayed home for fear of seasickness, but of all those who have joined, we know of only one passenger who said that seasickness really affected the enjoyment of the trip. Still, that same passenger talked about repeating the trip, because the rest of the experiences more than made up for it. For all but the most sensitive, motion sickness is only a problem during the open ocean passages. While we are cruising close to land – the majority of the trip – seas are usually quite calm. The Ioffe has an excellent stabilizing system. The Southern Ocean has a reputation for the worst seas in the world, not because conditions are always rough (on the average day, the seas are actually quite calm!) but because the extremes are large. If we are hit by a storm during a crossing, the experience will be memorable. For this reason, unless you know you are immovable by the heavy seas, bring a good supply of medication. Many of our frequent travelers are quite susceptible to seasickness, yet they come back year after year because they love Antarctica!

Conditions

Non-smoking policy: We have a strict non-smoking policy. Smoking is not permitted at any time or any place during our tours.
Maximum time in nature: We try to spend as much time in nature as possible, sometimes resulting in long days, but giving you a more in-depth experience.
Itinerary route: The itinerary route, stops and plans are subject to change by unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, such as weather or road conditions.
Additional forms: For some of our tours, you may be asked to fill out additional forms (e.g., medical questionnaire).
Medical conditions and travel risks: Travel to remote places is exciting, but it is important to understand and accept the risks, both medical and logistical. Minor medical problems can usually be treated, but because we are often far from medical facilities, there can be no expectation for immediate medical treatment or evacuation, even in cases of trauma. Anyone with health problems needing close medical supervision should not consider going on this tour. Bring enough medication for the duration of the trip for any chronic medical needs, since pharmacies are usually not available. When you send your deposit and signed Reservation/Release Form, you certify to us that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions that would create a risk for yourself or for other trip participants.
Use of Drones/UAVs on Tours: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), AKA drones, are not suitable for use on most Cheesemans’ Ecology expeditions due to logistical constraints and in many cases, local and national laws or regulations. In some cases, such as on our polar voyages, we operate under environmental regulations that ban the use of recreational drones. Do not bring a drone on safari without contacting us first.

Conservation

We are passionate about conserving the precious regions that we travel to and supports many conservation efforts. By visiting these areas, we contribute to sustainable conservation of these valuable wildlife habitats. We are full members of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), a membership organization that advocates, promotes, and practices safe and environmentally responsible travel to the Antarctic. We urge you to support conservation organizations that protect and restore natural habitats and write letters to tourism and government agencies to promote work in preserving wildlife. Near the end of our expedition, we will host an auction with all proceeds benefiting Antarctic conservation.

We aim to make all our voyages carbon neutral by splitting the cost of carbon offsets with our passengers. For your convenience, the optional donation amount for your half of the carbon offset will be indicated on your invoice. We source high quality offsets through CarbonTree Conservation Fund, a non-profit we helped found, supporting pioneering forest conservation in the Valdivian Coastal Reserve, a Nature Conservancy project (http://bit.ly/valdivia_tnc).