|December 30 - 31||Fly to Ushuaia, Argentina. Overnight in Ushuaia on the 31st (cost included).|
|January 1||Morning group field trip. Embark on the Ortelius in Ushuaia.|
|January 2 - 3||Cross the Drake Passage. Possible evening landing in South Shetland Islands on the 3rd.|
|January 4 - 13||Ten days of landings along the western Antarctic Peninsula, Weddell Sea, and South Shetland Islands.|
|January 14 - 15||Cruise the Drake Passage and up the Beagle Channel to Ushuaia.|
|January 16 - 17||Disembark on the 16th and fly home from Ushuaia or extend your stay.|
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NOTE: Due to the expeditionary nature of our voyage, specific stops cannot be guaranteed. Accompanied by our naturalists, we will land often and stay as long as possible, abiding by the Guidelines for Responsible Ecotourism from IAATO.
December 30 - 31, Sunday - Monday International Flights to Ushuaia, Argentina
Depart by December 30 to arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina by the evening of December 31. Review complete flight information. Upon arrival in Ushuaia (pronounced "oo-SHWY-ah"), you will be met by our transfer agency, Rumbo Sur, for transfer to Hotel Albatros near the waterfront. Ushuaia, the world's southernmost port town, has grown from 8,000 to more than 62,000 inhabitants in the last 30 years. Although quickly becoming the largest town in Tierra del Fuego has resulted in some growing pains, it is a charming town, especially on a sunny day. Dinner is on your own on December 31. If you wish to arrive early as a buffer against travel delays or to spend extra time in the Ushuaia area, we are happy to book extra hotel nights and to suggest or arrange field trips.
Lodging on December 31: Hotel Albatross
Map of possible landing sites
January 1, Tuesday Ushuaia and Embarkation
Happy New Year! Today you will have the option of joining a group field trip (included in the cost of the trip and details to be provided) or spend the day exploring Ushuaia on your own. You will not be burdened with your luggage as our expedition staff will collect anything you don't need for the day at the hotel and send it ahead to the Ortelius for you. Ushuaia is often graced with all four seasons in one day, so be prepared for any conditions and hope for beautiful blue skies! Lunch will be included for those on the group field trip.
By 4:00 pm, meet our transfer at the dockside parking area to board the Ortelius. We'll be directed to our cabins where our luggage awaits and prepare for embarkation in the early evening. As Ushuaia fades in the distance, we will find ourselves cruising by the largely uninhabited, scenic shores of the Beagle Channel where the Hshgans (Tierra del Fuegans) once lived. Our staff will spot and identify birds such as Chilean Skua, South American Tern, Kelp and Dolphin gulls, and Imperial Shags. Magellanic Penguins will swim by. Enjoy our first dinner together aboard ship, a special way to celebrate the New Year! Dusk will linger late enticing us to stay up watching for seabirds, marine mammals, and spectacular scenery. The shallow waters at the mouth of the Drake Passage are rich with sea life and birds are usually present in huge numbers, especially Sooty Shearwaters and Black-browed Albatross. Schools of dolphins may also be seen and may entertain us with bow rides in front of the ship. After sunset, phytoplankton phosphorescing on the water and a brilliant, starry sky may be the rewards as we sail south into the open waters to Antarctica.
Shipboard Cruising and Seabird Spotting
January 2 - 3, Wednesday - Thursday Cross the Drake Passage; South Shetland Islands
We'll spend these two days at sea with familiarization of all aspects of ship life and preparations for what to expect on land while also hoping for frequent interruptions from the bridge announcing wildlife sightings. Those on watch may sight several species of albatross and petrel following the ship; it is a particularly good area for Royal Albatross and Blue Petrel. We'll also be on the lookout for Sperm Whale and other species of marine mammals that have been sighted in the passage.
Named for the 16th Century English seaman Sir Francis Drake, the Drake Passage separates the southernmost tip of South America from Antarctica and is about 600 miles across. We cross the Polar Front approximately halfway across Drake Passage, where surface water temperatures drop to around 34°F (1°C). The Antarctic Convergence, better known as the Antarctic Polar Frontal Zone (or "Polar Front"), is a boundary encircling Antarctica where cold, northward-flowing Antarctic waters meet the warmer waters of the sub-Antarctic. The mixing and upwelling generated where these waters meet creates a zone very high in marine productivity, especially for Antarctic Krill. The location of the front varies seasonally; in traveling south, it is made evident by the sudden drop in surface water temperature. There is no Arctic equivalent, due to the amount of land surrounding the northern polar region. This boundary not only separates two hydrological regions, but also separates areas of different climates and distinctive marine life associations.
If conditions allow us to make good time across the Drake, we might celebrate our arrival to the Antarctic with an evening landing in the South Shetland Islands on January 3.
January 4 - 13, Friday - Sunday South Shetlands, Antarctic Peninsula, and the Weddell Sea
Dawn will come surprisingly early as the warm glow of sunrise reveals our position in the South Shetland Islands. The long days of the Antarctic summertime will provide us with many daylight hours for photography and observation; we will include early and late landings and cruises to take full advantage of the best light. So get plenty of sleep leading up to the voyage – nights are short in the Antarctic summer!
The South Shetland Islands
Chinstrap Penguin Colony
at Bailey Head on Deception Island
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 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 has close to half a million Chinstrap Penguins nesting at this time of year, 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 to Graham Land, the glorious northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula. We will hope for magnificent, late-night 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 the Antarctic summertime, the coldest temperatures we normally experience during landings on the Peninsula are in the 30s °F (0-4°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 first or dive through the Antarctic Sound into the Weddell Sea will be determined by weather and ice distributions; happily, we have ample time for a thorough exploration of both sides of the Antarctic Peninsula. When heading south, we will travel down the Gerlache Strait 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 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 fathometer (depth sounder). We will find colonies of Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins, sometimes in mixed colonies, along with their attendant scavengers: Snowy Sheathbills, Brown Skuas, Southern 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 Ortelius navigates through stunning Neumeyer and Lemaire channels 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 at their nest sites 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. In 1984, there were only about 40 Gentoo Penguin nests at Petermann Island and there are now several hundred. However, there has been a decline in Adelie nests, with several hundred in 1984 and a much lower number now. This change illustrates the global warming phenomena, as Gentoos prefer warmer conditions than Adelies. Photogenic Antarctic Shags are also found on the edges of the colonies.
More landings and Zodiac cruises are possible as we take full advantage of the continuous daylight. We will hope for good conditions to travel further south along the western side of the Peninsula, possibly down to the Fish Islands and Crystal Sound on the Antarctic Circle. Look for Snow Petrel and Antarctic Petrel. With the sun setting close to midnight, we'll enjoy late evening landings with beautiful lighting for photography. 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.
Alongside a Humpback Whale
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 may 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 Minke Whales feeding and Killer Whales 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.
The Weddell Sea
Not so many years ago, the ice in the Weddell Sea made it difficult or impossible to enter during our peak-season expeditions. In a twist of fate, we actually have climate change to thank for the better access that we are likely to enjoy to reach such highlights as Paulet Island. Paulet is the site of the vast Adelie Penguin colony that supplied sustenance to stranded sailors from the Nordenskjold Expedition over a hundred years ago. Though far less known, Nordenskjold's story is a survival epic on par with Shackleton's. Theirs are the most amazing accounts of survival that one could imagine, a storied backdrop to a seascape of penguin-studded icebergs. There is no place on the planet like this part of the Weddell Sea for Zodiac cruising among penguins and we intend to drink our fill of these fine sites. Nearby Devil Island, with its small pair of volcanic peaks just off the much larger Vega Island, also hosts substantial numbers of Adelie Penguins and is blessed with the calm weather that is characteristic of the Weddell Sea. While Adelie Penguin populations have declined 90-95% along the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, the colonies in the Weddell Sea appear to be holding steady for now, with sufficient ice-covered waters to keep these charismatic birds happy and well fed.
Adelie Penguins, Paulet island
The seldom-traveled Weddell Sea holds promise of more surprises, including perhaps an Emperor Penguin as we ship cruise farther south among the otherworldly tabular icebergs. A continental landing among Gentoo and Adelie penguins at Brown Bluff along the Antarctic Sound not far from Paulet Island may be another highlight to add to other possible continental landings on the Antarctic Peninsula. We will explore in the ultimate expeditionary style, planning our route and objectives around the ice, the weather, and the opportunities that nature presents.
When it is time to turn the helm northwards, 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 nesting in the Chinstrap and Gentoo colonies. The usual rookery scavengers (skuas, gulls, giant-petrels, and sheathbills) should also be present and some may be guarding nests of their own. Kelp Gulls are especially wary and easily frightened from their nests, so we will give them a wide berth. 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.
January 14 - 15, Monday - Tuesday 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.
January 16 - 17, Wednesday - Thursday Disembark in Ushuaia and journey homeward
We will dock in Ushuaia by early morning on January 16. After an early breakfast, we will bid farewell to our shipmates, expedition staff, and the crew of the Ortelius and disembark at 8:00 am or earlier if you have a 9 am flight. Our local agents will collect the luggage in the luggage van to be held until check-in time at the Ushuaia Airport. Fly out of Ushuaia by early afternoon to arrive in Buenos Aires or other points in Argentina or Chile for connections to evening flights homeward, arriving home on January 17. If you wish to extend your stay in Ushuaia, we are happy to assist you with the arrangements.
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More expedition staff members will be listed to make a total of 13.
Hugh Rose (Expedition Leader, Naturalist, Geologist, Photographer, Lecturer, and Zodiac Driver) brings to this expedition over 20 years of professional guiding experience in Antarctica and Alaska and has been a key member of our Antarctica staff since 1998. After a decade as a field geologist, Hugh changed course finding his calling as a naturalist, tour leader, and freelance photographer. The vast landscapes and incredible wildlife of the polar regions are his subject and passion, evident in his inspired expedition leadership and stunning photos (visit Hugh Rose Photography). Hugh also leads our three Alaskan journeys and receives unending praise for his amazing knowledge, delightful and accommodating personality, and attention to every trip detail.
Rod Planck (Professional Photographer, Lecturer, and Zodiac Driver) and Marlene Planck both excellent naturalists, spend every moment possible on watch. Rod and Marlene lead popular nature photo workshops and conduct seminars through their photography business, Rod Planck Photography. Rod's book, Nature's Places, is a masterpiece of superb photography. On shore, Rod and Marlene always welcome you to join them and ask questions about photography or about the wildlife encountered.
Tom Fleischner (Ecologist, Lecturer, and Zodiac Driver) has been a Conservation Biology and Natural History professor at Prescott College in Arizona for over 20 years. He teaches a variety of courses, including Seabird Ecology and Island Biogeography, as well as creative writing and environmental politics. His most recent field research project was a study of migratory and wintering shorebirds in the Gulf of California and, prior to that, he conducted field research of marine mammals and birds. Tom is collaborating with colleagues to create the Natural History Network to promote the essential importance of natural history, which he points out is the earliest human endeavor. Tom joined our Antarctica expedition staff in 2008 and offers unique and engaging lectures.
Marco Restani, Ph.D. (Wildlife Ecologist, Lecturer, and Zodiac Driver) is a wildlife ecologist specializing in birds of prey, mostly eagles and owls. His research in western North America, Greenland, and Australia focuses on conservation, migration, and predator-prey interactions. Marco splits his time between university teaching at St. Cloud State in Minnesota and a vacation hideaway in Montana. He teaches courses in wildlife conservation, population ecology, and ornithology. Marco is a former "Army brat" and, despite a lifetime of world travel, made his first visit to Antarctica as a member of our expedition staff in 2011.
Nan Eagleson (Naturalist and Zodiac Driver) is a wildlife biologist who has worked professionally as a naturalist guide in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada for seven years and has continued that work throughout her 20-plus years in Alaska. She resides in the Denali National Park area year round with her family, which includes a team of sled dogs. Nan works as the head naturalist and instructor for the Denali Education Center when she is not off birding, hiking, canoeing, dog sledding or conducting botanical surveys in the wilderness of Alaska. Her years of exploring the natural world has led to a deep appreciation of polar wilderness and its significance as the greatest wild regions remaining on Earth.
Juan Manuel Salcedo (Naturalist and Zodiac Driver) 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.
Joe Kaplan (Naturalist and Zodiac Driver) has pursued a passion for natural history since childhood. Though interested in many aspects of avian ecology, the population dynamics of the common loon has fascinated him for almost twenty years. An itinerant biologist at heart, Joe has worked and traveled extensively throughout the Americas, the Pacific, Australasia, and Madagascar gaining a broad understanding on biology and conservation that he generously shares. Joe is a director and biologist with the non-profit organization Common Coast .
Craig Poore (Historian and Zodiac Driver) is our historian and will entertain us with the great stories of Southern Ocean history, early exploration, and the heroic age. While under sail, he will be on deck scanning the waters for cetaceans and interesting sightings. After years of Zodiac experience, he will assist with carefree beach and ship transfers, and Zodiac cruising. Craig wrote a special guide to polar packing after years of traveling experience and a complete deconstruction of the perfect bag for Antarctica that is complete, light and manageable.
Michael Wald (Naturalist and Zodiac Driver) has a passion for sharing his knowledge of wild places that led him to becoming a wilderness guide, educator and researcher. He has been leading wilderness tours since 1991, helping others understand and enjoy wild lands from Alaska to Labrador to the Antarctic in all seasons. Additionally, Michael has taught science courses at the high school and the undergraduate level, and has participated in research projects ranging from marine mammal studies to songbird habitat characterizations. Michael draws on these diverse experiences to help others understand the intricate and fascinating ecology of Polar Regions.
Ron Niebrugge (Professional Photographer, Lecturer, and Zodiac Driver) finds the ordinary and mixes it with beautiful natural light to create the extraordinary in his inspiring photography. His images have caught the attention of many including impressive clients such as National Geographic, Smithsonian, National Park Service, and lots more advertising agencies. When not shooting stock photos, Ron keeps busy leading many photo tours and traveling on assignment in Alaska. He has lived in beautiful Alaska since the age of twelve near the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park among wildlife and nature.
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Under new ownership as of 2011, Ortelius has been significantly upgraded by major work on her engines, inner workings and passenger spaces. She now has a totally remodeled dining room and lecture room, a newly installed observation bar, and substantial improvements to many cabins. She now provides comfortable accommodation for 100 passengers and 41 Russian crew.
We choose Ortelius for this voyage because she is impressively stable at sea yet very capable in ice. The vessel is robust yet still small enough to explore places beyond the reach of bigger ships. The vessel has the highest ice-class notation (UL1 equivalent to 1A) and is therefore very suitable to navigate in solid one-year sea ice and loose multi-year pack ice.
The ship has spacious cabins and large public spaces, including the bridge and outer decks, observation lounge and lecture room. A large observation bar provides the perfect space for passengers and crew to wind down and socialize following dinner in the well-appointed dining rooms.
The spacious bridge is always open to passengers and the decks are ideal for photography from the ship, as well as excellent places to watch for wildlife. In the observation bar, you can relax and also find a good collection of polar books. Enjoy entertaining lectures on the flora, fauna, history and glaciology as well as photographic techniques. Meals prepared by an excellent European chef are served in a comfortable dining hall, keeping us warm and full of energy for the next wildlife encounter. Landings are made possible by a small fleet of high quality Mark V Zodiacs with clean-burning four-stroke outboard motors. See the ship details, including deckplan, cabin descriptions and photos.
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Cabin Options: View the deck plan.
|Cabin (call for availability).||Tour Cost1|
|Triple cabins with shared2 bath||$9,400|
|Double cabins with shared2 bath||$10,600|
|Double cabins with private bath||$12,490|
|Superior double cabins with private bath||$13,290|
|Mini-suites with private bath||$14,290|
|Suites with private bath||$16,590|
|Large suite with private bath||$17,590|
1Cost is per person, double or triple occupancy.
2Shared bath is in the hall.
Single Occupancy: No single cabins are available. Double occupancy cabins may be booked on a single basis at 1.9 times the published rate. If you are willing to have a roommate assigned to your cabin, there will be no single supplement charge.
Payments: Payments are due as listed in the following table. Cost is per person, double or triple occupancy. We reserve the right to charge for cost increases, including changes in exchange rates or fuel costs that occur between now and the date of travel.
|Intial Deposit||Now to reserve your space||$500|
|Second||September 15, 2011||$2,000|
|Third||July 1, 2012||$2,000|
|Final||September 15, 2012||remaining balance|
|1For reservations made after due dates, all previous payments are due with registration.|
Cancellation Policy: Refunds are given depending on the time left before the departure on December 30, 2012 according to the following table. You can purchase trip cancellation insurance that would refund your trip costs in the event of your cancellation. Please take the time to learn if this insurance would be in your best interest. Read about travel insurance and our recommendations and requirements.
|Days until Departure||Dates||Refund Amount|
|180 or more||Before July 3, 2012||$300 withheld1|
|179 - 150||July 4 - August 2, 2012||10% of tour cost withheld|
|149 - 120||August 3 - Sept. 1, 2012||40% of tour cost withheld|
|119 or less||After September 2, 2012||no refund possible|
|1This $300 cancellation fee may go toward another tour if reserved within six months of the cancelled trip's departure date.|
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To Make a Reservation: Please contact us (there are many methods of contacting us) to assure space availability and to let us answer your questions. Then, print our reservation form, fill out one form per person, and post it to us in the mail with your deposit. Or fill out our handy online information request and we will send you more information.
|Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris
20800 Kittredge Road
Saratoga, CA 95070
|Toll Free: (800) 527-5330
Fax: (408) 741-0358
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Flights: Please let us know if you would like help arranging your international flights and we will put you in contact with our excellent ticketing agent. The most convenient international flight routes tend to be through Buenos Aires, Argentina. Additional information including flight routes, group fare options, and trip extensions will be sent approximately 11 months prior to voyage.
Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina (USH) by December 31. For most, leave home by December 30 to arrive in Buenos Aires by mid-morning on December 31 to connect with an afternoon flight from the domestic airport, Aeroparque Airport (AEP) to Ushuaia. Approximately four hours are necessary between flights to have time to clear customs and transfer with your baggage from the international airport (EZE) to the domestic airport (AEP). There is also a morning flight from EZE to USH. A group fare may be possible round trip from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia; details will be provided once determined. LAN airlines also offers flights to Ushuaia via Santiago, Chile (SCL). You may prefer to arrive in Ushuaia a day or two early as a buffer against travel delays. Please let us know if you would like assistance booking extra hotel nights.
Depart Ushuaia any time after 9:00 am on January 16. Flights departing Ushuaia by early afternoon arrive at the international airport in Buenos Aires (or other intermediate stop such as Santiago) for connections to evening flights homeward. If you prefer to extend your trip, we can assist with extra hotel nights and trip extensions.
Travel Insurance: Emergency Medical Insurance is required for this tour. Read about travel insurance and our recommendations and requirements.
Expedition Log: After the completion of our voyage, you can look forward to a full color log of the expedition. This descriptive and detailed record includes daily sightings, trip accounts, species lists, and photographs taken by participants and staff throughout our incredible journey.
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 two open ocean passages. This is a total of approximately three days and four nights. Days and nights when we are landing or cruising between landings are quite calm because we are very close to land. The Ortelius has an excellent stabilizing system. The Southern Ocean has a reputation for the worst seas in the world, not because they are always rough (on the average day, the seas are actually quite calm!) but because their 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. Recommendations will be provided with registration. Read our suggestions for coping with seasickness.
Trip Materials: Detailed information about your specific tour will be sent to you after you make your reservation with us. These trip materials include information about flights, packing, entry and departure requirements, airport transfers, gratuities, packing, etc. Please take a moment to read this important informtation upon receipt.
Conditions: We have a strict non-smoking policy - smoking is not permitted at any time or any place during our tours. We try to spend as much time in the field as possible, sometimes resulting in long days but giving you a more in-depth experience. Travel to remote places is exciting, but understanding and accepting the risks, both medical and logistical, are important. Minor medical problems can usually be treated, but due to the fact that we often travel to locations 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 trip. Bring enough medication for the duration of the trip for any chronic medical needs, since pharmacies are usually not available. When you send your tour deposit and signed reservation 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. For all tours that are ship-based, please note that although we cannot guarantee a request for a specific cabin, we do guarantee that you will be in a cabin of equal or greater value specified in your reservation.
Mailing List: If you would like to be on our mailing list or request information, please use our online information request form or contact us to give us your name, address, email address and phone number. Please note we will never share your personal information with anybody!
Responsibility: Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris, Saratoga, California, act only as agents and shall not be responsible or become liable for any delay incurred by any person in connection with any means of transportation, nor for the loss, damage, or injury to person or property by reason of any event beyond the control of the agency or default of such agency suppliers. We reserve the right to cancel the tour prior to departure in which case full refund will constitute full settlement to the passenger. No refund will be made for any unused portion of the tour unless arrangements are made at the time of booking. All rates are based on current tariffs, exchange rates and fuel prices and are subject to adjustment in the event of any change therein. By sending your initial deposit, you agree to accept our payment schedule as a contract. If payments are still outstanding two weeks after the due date, your space may be forfeited. Baggage is at the owner's risk.
Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris is registered as California Seller of Travel #2063050-40. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California. Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris is a participant in the Travel Consumer Restitution Corporation (TCRC). In event of a client canceling where a refund is applicable in accordance with the schedule above, or in the event that CES needs to cancel the trip, all payments for transportation or travel service not provided to the client shall be promptly refunded, unless the client instructs us otherwise in writing. All client payments are deposited into a trust account in accordance with California law. If for any reason a valid refund is not forthcoming, the client may request reimbursement from the TCRC within six months of the scheduled end of the tour. Please feel free to ask us for more information.
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