A real expedition
Our journey starts in Ushuaia, the southernmost port of Argentina. A comfortable and safe yacht Aurora and its seasoned crew will take us across the Drake Passage. Aurora is equipped with everything necessary for a long expedition, from a shower and a kitchen to modern means of communication and salvage equipment. In 4 days we are going to find ourselves at the Antarctic Peninsula where we’ll spend more than 2 weeks savoring the beauty of the primordial nature, engaging in iceberg diving and snorkeling with whales, watching penguins and seals. We’ll visit abandoned stations of the pioneers and in our turn will become the explorers of new lands.
Snorkeling with leopard seals
The key moment of the expedition is snorkeling with leopard seals. These large seals are indeed a calling card of Antarctica, they are well known for their unusual behavior towards divers. It’s in February and March when the chance to come across these magnificent creatures is at its highest. Accompanied by an experienced guide, we’ll go into the water with these gracious predators. Very few divers in the world can say they’ve done the same thing. The better part of this expedition is going to be about snorkeling with leopard seals.
Scuba diving, iceberg snorkeling and snorkeling with penguins
Are you a diver or a free-diver? Do you want to see the underwater part of Antarctica? Then you’ve come to the right place. Our yacht has everything there is necessary for a group of scuba-divers and free-divers. Our experienced guide will tell you how to dive right and without any risk to your health, how to properly choose your gear, he will fill your tanks and make sure that your dives are exciting.
Besides thrilling adventures, there are also educational programs waiting for you. Our guides will tell you about whales, seals, leopard seals and penguins. You will learn about the formation of icebergs, what crabeater seals eat and many other things. You’ll hear exciting stories about expeditions of previous years and how to survive for a month in an isolated group of people.
What’s special about our expedition is that we go on our own vessel in a small group of people which allows us to fully control the route and adjust it to the guests’ needs and wishes. You can always swim with passing whales or spend more time taking pictures of penguins and their colonies if you want to.
The Aurora yacht can take aboard 14 people including the crew and the guides which means that we’re going to have a small group of 7 guests, so that everyone can spend some time alone with nature, have plenty of time for taking pictures of animals and get individual approach in anything. Besides, each and every one of you will have an opportunity to learn how everything is organized and works around the yacht, to steer the wheel, to wind winches and feel what it’s like to be a real sailor.
We’ll have an opportunity to see a lot of rare and endemic animals, among which are:
– Whales (minke whales, humpback whales, killer whales, fin whales);
– Seals (leopard seals, crabeater seals, Weddel seals, southern elephant seals, fur seals);
– 3 species of penguins: Chinstrap, Gentoo and Adelie;
– Many different species of seabirds.
02 February – 26 February, 2023
Our journey is going to be in Antarctic summer. In this time of year, the air temperature varies from +2 C (35.6 F) to -6 C (21.2 F). When you’re at sea and exposed to winds, the air temperature may seem to be lower than it really is.
In the Drake Passage where our route goes, the weather is highly unpredictable and can affect the route and duration of the expedition. We can’t control the weather, and we can’t guarantee that there’s a calm sea ahead of us, therefore we are not responsible for any alterations to the schedule or to the expedition itself due to weather conditions.
Polar diving isn’t the hardest, but also isn’t the easiest kind of diving. The water temperature can fall to -2 C (28.4 F) which is why it’s extremely important that you’re entirely sure that you can do it and that you can rely on your equipment. A cold-water diving experience is a must. We don’t go for records, so it’s going to be no more than two dives a day at the depth of up to 20 meters (65.6 ft). We have tanks, a compressor and weight belts on board.
No, it’s not. Yachts are one of the most tough vessels to sink, and our crew members are seasoned guys who have been working in Antarctica and the High Arctic for years. To sail across the Drake Passage is a piece of cake for a crew like this one. They’ll see to your full safety and make sure that you are comfortable during the entire expedition.
Arriving to Ushuaia by plane and checking into a hotel.
The Subantarctic. Meeting with penguins and fur and elephant seals.
Deception island. It’s and abandoned whaling station in a volcano crater. Going down south to the Antarctic Peninsula.
The Cuverville Islands are home to the largest colony of gentoo penguins (up to 10 000 specimens) and a great variety of other seabirds. These islands can also impress with their steep 200-meter (656-ft) cliffs. Leopard seals often come to the islands to feast on penguins. This is where we’re going to look for leopard seals and dive with them for a few days.
Gigantic glaciers of Paradise harbour. Looking for seals and diving with them.
Lemaire Channel and Petermann Island are the most picturesque places of Antarctica: here you can see tall mountains and lots of icebergs and animals. These are the places where colonies of Adelie and gentoo penguins live, as well as a lot of seals, among which are leopard seals. We are going to look for leopard seals and dive with them.
Pleneau Bay is an “Iceberg Graveyard”, a place icebergs get drifted to shallow water by currents. The bay is inhabited by penguins and seals, including leopard seals which we are going to dive with.
The Vernadsky Research Base. It’s the southernmost shop and pub in the world. The base is a popular tourist site in Antarctica. Also it’s a great place to snorkel with leopard seals.
Returning to Ushuaia through the Drake Passage.
Arriving to Ushuaia and checking into a hotel.
Flight back home.
The schedule and the program may be altered due to weather conditions.