Waterproof Cruises

Antarctic Peninsula and the Weddell Sea

This area of the Peninsula is rich in exploration history and known for its huge tabular icebergs.

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Antarctic Peninsula and Weddell Sea

The Weddell Sea is rarely visited and home to huge tabular icebergs. Sometimes the spectacular waterways are choked with ice, creating exciting navigational challenges for our captain and crew.

Our emphasis is on unique wildlife encounters, exploring new sites and pristine landscapes, visiting sites of historical interest and the occasional visit to scientific stations. However we stress that this is an expedition style cruise. Our actual program will vary to take best advantage of local conditions, spontaneous opportunities and wildlife. There is always an element of the unexpected. This is true of course for the weather as well, which can vary from thick snow or sleety rain to brilliant sunshine. But, as you will see, whatever the weather, your voyage will be full of wonderful surprises.

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
On some departures we also offer a Polar Scuba diving and Polar Snorkeling option. You will be one of the few divers and snorkelers ever witness the fascinating underwater world of these Antarctic waters.

Note:
This is a sample itinerary. We do our utmost to guarantee the best experience, unfortunately we have no control over the weather or wildlife behaviour. Ports of embarkation and disembarkation and sites may change depending on vessel and departure dates, weather- and ice conditions.

  • Weddell Sea

    Travel through the iceberg canyons of Antarctic Sound to the Weddell Sea. Huge glaciers pour down between the mountains from the polar plateau, and plates of ice the size of city blocks cover the ocean’s surface. Visit fossil-rich islands, wildlife havens and remnants of historic explorers’ huts.

    Depending on the weather, we will first approach Antarctica to the north of King George Island or in narrow channels between the South Shetland Islands. From there we will head through Antarctic Sound to the eastern side of the Peninsula.

    We arrive in the calmer waters of Antarctic Sound, and we aim to make landings at least two times a day. To get ashore we will use Zodiacs. You will have been briefed on the workings of these sturdy craft and their use prior to your arrival to Antarctica. Sometimes we cruise along spectacular ice cliffs, or make contact with whales. In these situations we will appreciate the distinct advantage of being on a small vessel, which gives everyone the opportunity to experience these very special close encounters with wildlife.

  • You may visit the following exciting places if conditions and time allows: Brown Bluff

    Situated on the eastern side of Tabarin Peninsula, the spectacular 745-metre promontory of Brown Bluff towers over some 20,000 nesting pairs of Adelie penguins and hundreds of gentoo penguins. Nesting skuas, snow petrels and pintados inhabit the upper slopes and kelp gulls screech overhead. Brown Bluff's volcanic origins have created some fantastically shaped boulders that make colourful nesting sites for some of the penguins.

    Paulet Island


    This tiny volcanic island forms the nesting grounds of some 120,000 pairs of Adelie penguins, and the surrounding seas literally teem with penguins! There is also a blue-eyed shag colony situated at one end of Paulet's long beach front. Leopard seals are often seen cruising offshore, hoping to pick up a penguin snack. Apart from its plentiful wildlife, Paulet is also rich in the history of Antarctic exploration, for it was here that the 22 men of Larsen's ship Antarctic arrived on 28 February 1903 after their ship had sunk. The men wintered on Paulet, living on penguins and seals.

  • James Clark Ross Island

    Separated from Trinity Peninsula by Prince Gustav Channel, the beaches and rocks of this island are a mix of volcanic and sedimentary. The beaches are populated with kelp gulls while Antarctic terns and skuas nest on the island's higher slopes. Many of the island's rocks are decorated with bright red and orange lichens, presenting fantastic photographic opportunities. Ice floes provide temporary floating homes for Weddell and leopard seals. We may walk up to Hidden Lake. If ice conditions and time permit, we may also circumnavigate this fantastic island.

    Devil Island


    This rarely visited island was named for its two striking 'horns'. It is the nesting site for some 10,000 pairs of Adelie penguins. If weather conditions permit, we may walk up a scree slope to the top of the island's western peak. The summit provides superb views into Erebus and Terror Gulf. On the upper slopes we may even see nesting snow petrels and Wilson's storm petrels. For those who are less active, the comings and goings of penguins on the beach provide endless fascination. There are often large numbers of grounded icebergs offshore that we may cruise among in our Zodiacs.

  • View Point

    View Point is one of the few places where we may be able to set foot on the Antarctic continent proper. A British hut was built here in 1953 and an Argentine refuge hut was established a few years later. In front of the old hut are the remains of crabeater seal carcasses, which provided food for the sledge dogs. Thanks to the cold conditions, the well-preserved hut looks just as it did all those years ago - a fascinating place to get a feeling for the olden days of Antarctic exploration.

  • Larsen Ice Shelf

    Antarctica's most conspicuous geographical feature is ice. Glaciers inch towards the sea from towering mountain peaks and ridges. If conditions permit, we hope to cruise south and along part of the spectacular Larsen Ice Shelf, which runs continuously for some 800 km between Cape Longing and Cape Mackintosh. In 1995 a massive iceberg measuring 37 km x 36 km calved from the Larsen Ice Shelf and drifted north. We may see some remnants of this spectacular event and perhaps even witness smaller pieces of ice splitting away.

    Other places we may visit around the Weddell Sea area and on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula are:
    Joinville Island - D'Urville Island - Hope Bay - Seymour Island - Snow Hill Island - Vega Island - Prince Gustav Channel - Beak Island - Crystal Hill - Herbert Sound.

  • Western Flanks of the Peninsula

    We hope to navigate some of the most beautiful waterways: the Gerlache Strait, Errera Channel and Neumayer Channel. You will have plenty of time to explore its amazing scenery, a pristine wilderness of snow, ice, mountains and waterways and a wide variety of wildlife. Apart from Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins and other seabirds you are likely to encounter Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals as well as Minke whales and orcas at close range.

    We may visit some of the following sites:
    Half Moon Island


    A wildlife rich island tucked into a neat bay at the eastern end of Livingston Island. On a clear day the glaciers and mountains of Livingston Island dominate the scene. There is a healthy chinstrap penguin rookery tucked in between basaltic turrets. Gulls nest on these turrets and there are often fur seals and elephant seals hauled out on the pebble beaches. At one extremity of the island there is a large colony of nesting blue-eyed shags. At the other end lies a small Argentine station that is sometimes occupied by scientists conducting research on the penguin colony and surrounding waterways.

  • Lemaire Channel

    If the ice conditions allow, standing on the bow of our vessel and quietly moving through the narrow Lemaire Channel may be one of the highlights of the voyage. Cliffs tower 700 metres directly above the ship. The water can be so still that perfect reflections are mirrored on the surface. Gigantic icebergs can clog the channel, creating navigational challenges for our captain; occasionally they may even obstruct our passage.

    Hydrurga Rocks


    This group of low lying unprotected granitic rocks protrudes from the sea, swept by southern ocean swells. At first these rocks appear uninteresting, but on closer investigation, calm channels lead to a hidden interior where Weddell seals are hauled out on protected snow beds and noisy chinstraps raise their families on rocky platforms. There are many places to simply sit and watch the rise and fall of clear green water and listen to the magic sounds and calls of the wildlife.

  • Possible other landing sites may include:

    Paradise Bay

    which is perhaps the most aptly named place in the world with its impressive glacial fronts and mountains.

    Cuverville Island and Port Lockroy

    home of the biggest Gentoo Penguin colony in the Peninsula surrounded by glaciers and castellated icebergs, and the British Museum and Post office at Port Lockroy.

*NOTE: Snorkeling & Diving activity on designated trips need a minimum of 6 participants.

Dates and Rates

  • Ortelius Antarctic Peninsula and the Weddell Sea

    Dates
    • 26th Nov - 6th Dec 2017
    • Embark: Ushuaia
    • Disembark: Ushuaia
    Prices from
    Superior Cabin
    EUR 11,900
    Twin Deluxe
    EUR 11,300
    Twin Window
    EUR 10,800
    Twin Porthole
    EUR 10,350
    Quadruple cabin
    EUR 9,800
    Triple Porthole
    EUR 9,100
  • Ushuaia Antarctic Peninsula and the Weddell Sea

    Dates
    • 10th Jan - 21st Jan 2018
    • Embark: Ushuaia
    • Disembark: Ushuaia
    Prices from
    Premier Single
    USD 14,830
    Superior Twin
    USD 13,720
    Suite Twin
    USD 13,060
    Premier Twin
    USD 12,350
    Standard Plus Twin
    USD 10,350
    Standard Twin
    USD 8,550
    Standard Plus Triple
    USD 7,990
  • Polar Pioneer Antarctic Peninsula and the Weddell Sea

    Dates
    • 17th Feb - 27th Feb 2018
    • Embark: Punta Arenas
    • Disembark: Punta Arenas
    Prices from
    Captain's Suite
    USD 15,900
    Superior Cabin
    USD 14,500
    Twin Private Cabin
    USD 13,500
    Twin Public Cabin
    USD 11,200
    Triple Cabin
    USD 9,500
    Full Charter
    POA
  • Ortelius Antarctic Peninsula and the Weddell Sea

    Dates
    • 20th Feb - 3rd Mar 2018
    • Embark: Ushuaia
    • Disembark: Ushuaia
    Prices from
    Superior Cabin
    EUR 9,100
    Twin Deluxe
    EUR 8,500
    Twin Window
    EUR 7,900
    Twin Porthole
    EUR 7,600
    Quadruple cabin
    EUR 6,950
    Triple Porthole
    EUR 6,150
  • Polar Pioneer Antarctic Peninsula and the Weddell Sea

    Dates
    • 25th Feb - 7th Mar 2018
    • Embark: Punta Arenas
    • Disembark: Ushuaia
    Prices from
    Captain's Suite
    USD 15,900
    Superior Cabin
    USD 14,500
    Twin Private Cabin
    USD 13,500
    Twin Public Cabin
    USD 11,200
    Triple Cabin
    USD 9,500
    Full Charter
    POA