Fly to Ushuaia, Argentina
For most traveling to Ushuaia, you will need to leave home today.
Sail on an icebreaker amid Antarctic Peninsula icebergs then helicopter to the emperor penguin colony near Snow Hill Island. Experience one of the most elusive wildlife scenes on the planet deep in the heart of the Weddell Sea: emperor penguins with their beautiful young. To “march with the penguins” is a rare experience that few people are so fortunate to share. The polar-class icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov, equipped with helicopters to access the Snow Hill rookery, will travel to Antarctica for the first time in eight years. The availability of helicopters for ice reconnaissance and transfers to otherwise inaccessible wildlife viewing areas sets this apart from other Antarctic voyages. This expedition is just too special to let it pass by! Join us as we sail through stunning seascapes in the iceberg-strewn Antarctic Sound into the Weddell Sea and behold the incredible emperors for yourself!
• Take a helicopter flight and trek across the pristine, open sea ice to the emperor penguin colony.
• Spend time up close with the world-renowned emperor penguins and their chicks.
Itinerary Updated: September 2017
|Oct 17||Depart home.|
|Oct 18||Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina.||Hotel in Ushuaia|
|Oct 19||Board the Khlebnikov.||On board the Khlebnikov||B, D|
|Oct 20 - 21||Cross the famous Drake Passage to the Weddell Sea.||On board the Khlebnikov||B, L, D|
|Oct 22 - 28||Six to seven days of opportunities for excursions to the emperor penguin colony of Snow Hill Island.||On board the Khlebnikov||B, L, D|
|Oct 29 - 30||Cruise northward across the Drake Passage, returning to Ushuaia.||On board the Khlebnikov||B, L, D|
|Oct 31||Disembark the Khlebnikov and fly homeward from Ushuaia.||B|
|Nov 1||Arrive home.|
Ted grew up traveling extensively and began studying and photographing wildlife as a child. After completing a Master's degree in Tropical Conservation Biology at Duke University, Ted returned to California to lead and organize expeditions full time with Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris. Ted currently leads expeditions to Antarctica, the Arctic, and the Caribbean and recently founded the citizen science project Happywhale.
Scott Davis is a professional photographer specializing in wildlife, nature, travel, and editorial imagery. Originally trained as a wildlife and marine biologist, Scott's research and photo assignments have taken him to far corners of the globe and all seven continents. His photographic work has appeared in numerous national and international magazines and newspapers, commercial websites, prestigious stock agencies, and corporate reports. His patience for teaching and love of capturing the essence of his subjects make him one of our most popular tour leaders.
Tom has a passion for wildlife in extreme environments and is working hard to conserve them in a changing world. His PhD involved tracking macaroni penguins to understand penguin foraging behavior. Since then, he expanded into genetics and image analysis to monitor wildlife in remote places. He runs the Penguin Lifelines project at Oxford University through which he seeks to understand changes in Antarctic wildlife using time-lapse cameras, volunteer photos, and population genetics to effectively create protected areas and manage fisheries.
For most traveling to Ushuaia, you will need to leave home today.
Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina by this evening. Upon arrival in Ushuaia, a transfer agent will meet you and transport you to your hotel. If you wish to arrive early as a buffer against travel delays or to spend extra time in the Ushuaia, we are happy to book extra hotel nights and transfers.
You’ll embark on the Khlebnikov in the afternoon and head east down the Beagle Channel. As Ushuaia fades in the distance, you will find yourselves cruising past largely uninhabited scenic shores. The wind-pruned evergreen nothophagus (southern beech) trees fill every protected valley between the gently rolling hills with beautiful mountain backdrops. Look for birds such as Chilean skua, South American tern, king cormorant (blue-eyed shag), kelp and dolphin gulls, and black-browed albatross. Later in the evening, enjoy your first dinner aboard the ship as you head into the open waters of the Drake Passage.
Spend two days at sea making your way across the Drake Passage to the Weddell Sea. En route to Antarctica, the expedition staff will offer presentations on a variety of topics, including the biology, habitat, and behavior of emperor penguins. Familiarization on all aspects of ship life and preparations for what to expect at Snow Hill will keep you busy, but you’ll also find there is time for viewing from the bridge or stern. Wandering and black-browed albatross should follow as you head south and there’s also a chance of spotting a royal albatross in these waters. Photographers on the stern will have a field day following birds on the wing in their viewfinders. Icebergs will dominate the scenery as you approach Antarctica and pass by the South Shetland Islands.
Pack ice will determine the ship’s path as you head around the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula into the Weddell Sea. Spend six to seven days at Snow Hill Island, weather and ice conditions permitting. Helicopters will shuttle you in small groups and set down some distance from the colony to not disturb the wildlife. From the landing area, you will walk approximately one mile to the emperor penguins. You will have an incredible opportunity to watch the adult emperors tending to their chicks, while ice and snow provide a scenic backdrop for incredible photographs. Weather conditions can greatly affect the safety of helicopter flights, so there are no guarantees regarding flights or flight times. Helicopter flights for reconnaissance, as determined by the Expedition Leader or Captain, take precedence over passenger flights. Although the emperor penguin colony at Snow Hill Island is the main goal of this expedition, if weather or other conditions prevent you from visiting the colony, or shorten the duration of your visit, you may visit some of these potential landings sites.
Potential Landings Sites:
Brown Bluff: A possible exposed volcano, Brown Bluff towers 2,225ft (678m) over the rookeries of the Adélie and gentoo penguins, which number in the thousands. As a potential visit would be very early in the breeding season, you may see the colonies as they are just starting to form.
Devil Island: The Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1901–1904 discovered the narrow island, which is 1mi (1.6km) long and has a low summit at each end.
Hope Bay: Three members of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition spent the winter in a hut on the shores of the bay. The hut is located close to the jetty of Esperanza Station, an Argentine research station.
Paulet Island: Located in the northwestern Weddell Sea, Paulet Island is home to a large Adélie penguin rookery. With a volcanic cone that rises 1,158ft (353m), the island reminds you that this was once a very active landscape. In addition to penguins, you may visit a historic hut built by members of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition. A cross marks the gravesite of Ole Wennersgaard, a member of the crew.
Seymour Island: Northeast of Snow Hill Island is a smaller island that was, when first seen, mistaken for a cape. The island is significant for the fossil finds and for the remains of the K-Pg Boundary (formerly K-T Boundary), a geological stratum, which can be seen there. It marks the transition between the Cretaceous and the Paleocene Periods of geological times, characterized by a mass extinction of many forms of life, including dinosaurs.
On the voyage back to Ushuaia, spend two days at sea recalling your experiences as you cross the Drake Passage once again. Be on the lookout for several species of albatross and petrels following alongside the ship. Once you’ve the crossed the Drake Passage, you’ll head back up the Beagle Channel and enjoy a final scenic cruise to Ushuaia.
The ship will dock in Ushuaia by early morning. After an early breakfast, bid farewell to shipmates, expedition staff, and the crew, and disembark for flights homeward. You will be transferred to the Ushuaia Airport or downtown if your flight is later in the evening. Let us know if you are interested in extending your stay in Ushuaia, as we are happy to assist with booking extra hotel nights.
Arrive home today depending on your flight schedule.
Sail on an icebreaker amid Antarctica Peninsula icebergs then helicopter to the emperor penguin colony near Snow Hill Island.
The Kapitan Khlebnikov is a polar-class icebreaker originally designed for the rigors of northern Siberia. It can cruise at 15 knots in open water and can carry 110 guests and 70 staff and crew. All cabins have private bathrooms, large windows, desk, and wardrobes and the ship features a heated indoor swimming pool, exercise room, and sauna, and a theater-style auditorium. She is equipped with two helicopters that are used for ice reconnaissance, transfers to the emperor penguin rookery, and aerial sightseeing.
|Type||Description||Cost Per Person|
|Triple||Triple occupancy, with one lower berth, one sofa bed, and one pull-down upper berth. Features a large window, desk, wardrobes, a storage box, and shelving.||$19,995|
|Twin||Double occupancy, with one lower berth and one sofa bed. Features a large window, desk, wardrobes, and storage shelves.||$29,995|
|Suite||Double occupancy, one double bed and separate sitting room with sofa bed and table. Features TV and DVD player, refrigerator, two windows, desk, wardrobes, and shelving.||$32,995|
|Corner Suite||Double occupancy, one double bed and separate sitting room with sofa bed and table. Features TV and DVD player, refrigerator, two windows, two desks, wardrobe, and CD player.||$34,995|
We reserve the right to charge for cost increases that occur between when we set tour prices and the date of travel, for example, changes due to the cost of lodging and transportation. If you are a single traveler and you desire, we will find a roommate for you. If we cannot find you a roommate, we will not charge you a single supplement. If space is available, some cabins can be booked for a single occupant by adding 1.7 times the cabin cost (for a Twin Cabin) and 2 times the cabin cost (for Suites). Single rooms are subject to availability.
Please note that we cannot guarantee a specific cabin number. If changes occur, we will do everything in our power to assign a cabin of equal or greater value as the cabin type specified in your reservation. Deck plan, cabin arrangements, and cabin amenities are subject to change by ship operator.
|Payment||Due Date||Amount Per Person|
|Deposit||Due now to reserve your space||$1,000|
|Second||November 15, 2017||$5,000|
|Final||June 1, 2018||Remaining balance|
Payments will be due based on the schedule above. All reservations require a deposit to confirm reservation of your space. For reservations made after a due date, all past payments will be due with registration. By sending your initial deposit, you agree to accept our payment schedule and cancellation policy as a contract. If payments are still outstanding two weeks after the due date, your space may be forfeited.
Refunds are given depending on the time left before departure according to the following table. Due to the circumstances of this trip, the cancellation fee of $1,000 per person cannot be applied toward another Cheesemans’ tour. Cancellations are non-transferrable. Consider purchasing trip cancellation insurance that could reimburse your trip costs in the event of your cancellation.
|Dates||Forfeited Amount per Person|
|On or before April 20, 2018||$1,000|
|April 21 to June 19, 2018||20% of tour cost|
|On or after June 20, 2018||100% of tour cost|
In October and November, normal temperatures can range from 25 to 29°F (-1.7 to -3.6°C) on Snow Hill Island. Wind chill while on the sea ice is the primary condition to insulate against; it is also possible to get wet weather. Sunscreen is critical. The temperature on the ship is comfortably warm, but you may still wish to dress in layers.
Medium fitness level required. Be sure you can confidently walk one mile, with all your gear, across uneven terrain in cold, windy conditions without assistance. Please contact us if you have any health concerns that may make this trip challenging.
Airfare is not included in trip costs. Detailed logistical information and the contact information for our recommended flight-ticketing agent are included in the Trip Materials we will send you. Please let us know if you are arriving earlier or staying later as we are happy to assist you with any extra overnights that you might want to arrange.
Flights you (or a travel agent) book: Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina (USH) no later than October 18. Depart from Ushuaia (USH) anytime after 12:00pm on October 31.
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 open ocean passages. Days and nights when we are landing or cruising between landings are quite calm because we are very close to land. 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. Many of our frequent travelers are quite susceptible to seasickness, yet they come back year after year because they love Antarctica! Read our suggestions for coping with seasickness.