Weather and sea-ice permitting, we hope to enter the Weddell Sea. Here, colossal tabular icebergs welcome our arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. Paulet Island, with its large population of Adélie penguins is a hopeful stop for us. You might also visit Brown Bluff, located in the ice-clogged Antarctic Sound, where you could have your first chance to set foot on the Antarctic Continent itself.
If due to ice conditions, it is not favorable to enter the Weddell Sea from the east, our ship will set course for Elephant Island and head into Bransfield Strait, between South Shetland Island and the Antarctic Peninsula. Since we will be in the Antarctic early in the season (by design), the ice will dictate our movements. We hope for big ice bergs that will provide us with breathtaking beauty, but at the same time, they will control our itinerary. So from this point, we will attempt to access the Antarctic Sound from the northwest.
The volcanic islands of the South Shetlands are windswept and often cloaked in mist making for moody landscapes. Gentoo penguins, chinstrap penguins and southern giant petrels live here. Chinstrap penguins and Weddell seals often haul out onto the beach near Càmara Base, an Argentine scientific research station on Half Moon Island.
On Deception Island, the ship plunges through Neptune’s Bellows, a channel on the southeast side of Deception Island, and then makes its way into the flooded caldera. Here you can find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, and thousands of cape petrels. A number of kelp gulls, brown skuas, south polar skuas, and Antarctic terns are found here as well.
This extended expedition gives us the chance to sail even farther south down the icy coast of the western Antarctic Peninsula. In the Gerlache Strait are several opportunities for great landings where you might set foot on the Continent, surrounded by brilliant landscapes of alpine peaks and mammoth glaciers calving at sea level. Gentoo penguins, leopard seals, Weddell seals, humpback whales, and minke whales are often seen here.