Larsen Ice Shelf & Weddell Sea Expedition Cruise
Prepare yourself for a unique journey on board an icebreaker that will make it's way into the most remote Antarctic coasts! This expedition cruise will take you to the North of the Antarctic Peninsula and through the Antarctic Sound. This is the gateway to the Weddell Sea and it gives you a good taste of what it still to come. We expect to encounter gigantic tabular icebergs and sea ice that drifts north through the sound. This is also an area where you might spot individual emperor penguins and Adélie penguins on the ice floes.
Once sailing on the vast Weddell Sea you will get to experience the eerie silence of these ice packed waters. The ship will forge it's way through a maze of floating ice and majestic tabular icebergs. Amongst this desert of ice you have good chances to spot fur seals, penguins, wandering albatross and of course the most famous resident of this area, the Weddell seal.
On the northwest of the Weddell Sea, stretching along the eastern coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, you find the colossal Larsen Ice Shelf. This giant white mass of ice is a breathtaking and fascinating creation of nature not many people ever get to watch.
It is a challenge and a wonderfull experience to sail into this frozen world with exceptional landscapes almost inaccesable for other ships. This expedition cruise is without doubt one of the most unique journeys to the Antarctic.
NOTE: This is a sample itinery, things may variate on your journey due to the ice and weather conditions.
Ushuaia is nicknamed by the Argentinian people as the end of the world, from here your journey to the Larsen ice shelf begins. After entering the ship you will have the oppertunity to settle in your room and explore the vessel that will be your home during the trip.
Crossing the Drake Passage
During your time on the Drake passage your Expedition Leader will first present the IAATO rules of conduct for the landings in the region and will explain everything you need to know about the Zodiac outings. Lectures about the history and wildlife of the Antarctic will be held for you to sharpen your knowledge about this magical region, where every expedition cruise is a unique experience. From the ship’s bridge, you will experience exceptional sailing moments before joining the naturalist-guides on your ship’s exterior decks to look out for albatrosses, cape petrels, and other seabirds flying over the Drake Passage.
South Shetland Islands
On the edge of the Antarctic Peninsula, 120 km (70 miles) from Antarctica you'll find the South Shetland Islands. These islands offer beautiful yet mysterious scenery. On these volcanic islands of dark rock, the landscapes alternate between long, jagged and snow-covered coast and large, gently sloping bays. These wild lands are home to important scientific research stations and a large number of animal species: chinstrap penguins, crabeater seals or Weddell seals, Antarctic terns, giant petrels and elephant seals have taken up residence here.
During your time in the north of the Antarctic Peninsula, you will find yourself in the heart of a spectacular decor in subtle shades of blue and white, surrounded by exceptional wildlife. You will sail through the Antarctic Sound, named after the ship of Swedish explorer Otto Nordenskjöld which got stuck in the ice. The Antarctic peninsula forms a gateway to the Weddell Sea, this sound is filled with gigantic tabular icebergs and plates of sea ice drifting northward from the coastal areas of this vast sea. It is home to Adelie penguins and a great amount of leopard seals.
The Weddell Sea
Amidst the calmt of the Weddell Sea, your vessel will sail it's way through a labyrinth of dense ice floes and majestic table icebergs. These magnificent ice platforms sculpt a landscape unlike any other, populated by fur seals, penguins, wandering albatross and other impressive seabirds. The Weddell seal, king of this realm, will welcome you to his territory. You will recognise him by his dark grey fur and spotted belly. Weddell seals have the impressive distinction of being able to stay underwater for more than an hour.
Larsen Ice Shelf
During your expedition cruise on the Weddell Sea, you will sail close to the gigantic Larsen ice shelves. These floating ice shelves help to prevent the erosion of the Antarctic ice sheet. Over the last fifty years, scientists have however observed regular collapses of these shelves, along giant cracks that can be several hundred kilometres long and deep. In 2017, a portion had broken off the Larsen C ice shelf, forming one of the largest tabular icebergs in the world. This disintegration is believed to be due in part to global warming and melting sea ice.
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