Marine Mammals of Antarctica

Vavilov Cruise Ship
Vavilov
92 Passengers
Adventure Options

March represents an important time for whales in Antarctic waters as they feed on the vast krill swarms to build energy stores for either a long migration to tropical breeding grounds, or to maintain their energy as they struggle to survive in the ice-choked waters that will soon return to the region.

For humpback whales, there is growing evidence that while many migrate north over winter, some remain in areas of Antarctica that stay ice-free due to what scientists believe are warming climates. We survey several of the bays that are the focus of long-term and unique research projects to determine how the abundance of whales changes throughout the course of the Antarctic summer.

Our proprietary ‘GRUVA’ (GoPro Underwater Viewing Apparatus) technology will be in every zodiac and will enhance encounters with the whales and seals beneath the surface. Paired with hydrophones, this ground-breaking technology provides unparalleled underwater viewing to watch live, or back on board the ship.

Overview
By March, the short Antarctic summer is drawing to a close and bays and harbors that have been ice choked since winter become free of such impediments. As a result, our access increases dramatically to an even wider range of landing sites. Penguin chicks are almost fully-grown (many now physically larger than their parents) and are quickly shedding their downy coats in preparation to take to the sea before the long winter sets in.

This is also a time of great activity in and under the water and, historically, we encounter a much higher concentration of whales - in particular humpback and minke - during this period. Crabeater, Weddell and leopard seals are also often found in good numbers, resting and storing energy that will sustain them over the cold months ahead. This special expedition brings the marine mammals of Antarctica into even sharper focus and, once again, we are joined by several cetacean and marine mammal specialists for this special 11-day voyage. Did we mention it’s also our favorite time of the year for blistering orange and pink Antarctic sunrises and sunsets?

Dr. Ari Friedlaender will once again be aboard for this special Marine Mammal voyage as a Guide and Research Scientist.

Ari's research focuses on the foraging ecology and effects of climate change of marine mammals. He is involved in several projects tagging marine mammals (including humpback, minke, pilot, and beaked whales) in a range of environments from Antarctica to the tropics to study how their behaviors relate to environmental variables including their prey. He uses a suite of geospatial analysis tools and emerging technology to visualize and analyze the movement patterns and behaviors of these whales underwater.

Day 1 — Ushuaia, Argentina

Our journey to Antarctica commences this afternoon in Ushuaia, in southern Argentina. We gather at our central meeting point and transfer to the pier and embark our expedition ship, Akademik Sergey Vavilov. After settling in to our cabins and exploring the ship, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail and dinner and cast off, bound for Antarctica and the adventure of a lifetime.

Days 2 & 3 — Drake Passage

Crossing the Drake Passage, we sense the anticipation as we make our way ever closer to the white continent. As we cross these fabled waters, our on board naturalists spend their time on deck looking for whales and in the presentation room leading lively discussions about the marine life of the Antarctic. Crossing the Antarctic Convergence is an exciting event as we scan the waters for marine mammals feeding on the abundance of krill in the frigid waters. Large icebergs will now be a regular feature. The history of early polar exploration is another popular theme. Perhaps you will pick up some valuable tips from our onboard photographic guide, learning about image composition, the subtle and soft polar light and all the basics of good camera craft.

Days 4 to 8 — Antarctic Peninsula

Now that we have arrived in Antarctica, we plan our route primarily based on typical marine mammal migrations and activity for this time of year. With our knowledge of marine mammal feeding grounds we can pick and choose the areas to explore. We will modify our itinerary based on sightings and encounters with the whales.

We find at this time of the season the whales are more social and demonstrative, which leads to incredible viewings from the ship and the zodiacs. We spend as much time as possible off the ship, exploring in our inflatable zodiac boats marveling at the magnificent glaciated mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula.

We may get as far south as Peterman Island, cruise the Lemaire Channel and view the magnificent iceberg ‘graveyard’ at Pleneau Island. Other classic sites include Paradise Harbor, Orne Harbor and the dome shaped Cuverville Island. In all these locations expect to see an abundance of Weddell, crabeater and elephant seals, and birds such as skuas and gulls. Adelie, gentoo and chinstrap penguins all inhabit the region. Wilhelmina Bay is a known whale ‘hotspot’ and a place we are sure to spend some time exploring.

We plan to set foot on the continent in this vicinity and, if the weather allows, some may choose to camp ashore overnight. Other onshore activities could include hikes of up to several miles, visits to historic huts, science stations and places offering incredible views of the coastline and ice-filled bays. Whatever your vantage point, whether it is onboard or onshore, expect to feel transformed as you experience twilight and the rich abundance of wildlife from the very bottom of the planet.

The excitement is not yet over. A final highlight will be a visit to the South Shetland Islands. Weather permitting, we hope to visit Deception Island with its sizable chinstrap penguin rookery at Baily Head. Here, inside the sunken volcanic caldera, is a perfect museum of natural and exploration history with its old buildings and rusting remnants from the whaling era. For those wanting to stretch their legs, a spectacular hike to the crater rim offers a challenge. Other sites we sometimes visit in the South Shetlands include Half Moon Island, Yankee Harbor or Hannah Point.

Days 9 & 10 — At Sea

Our final days returning to South America are spent catching up on journal entries, or perhaps downloading and reviewing photos in the multi-media room with our photography expert. The wonderful lounge and bar on our ship provides fantastic panoramas and is a great place to sit with a book and a cappuccino.

The educational presentations continue and we enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by our Expedition Leader. A particular highlight of our return journey will be frequent sightings of the majestic albatross, petrels and other seabirds as they soar above the ship on the winds of the Drake Passage. Approaching the entrance to the Beagle Channel in the soft evening light, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship. It’s a great time to reflect on a special journey to the white continent.

Day 11 — Ushuaia

In the early morning, we arrive into the city of Ushuaia, Argentina. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travelers. Guests will be transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home. It will be possible to connect to flights through to Buenos Aires or other destinations in South America. Otherwise enjoy a night in town or venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia.

As with all our expeditions, safety is our top priority. For that reason weather, ice or other conditions may require us to change our itinerary and shore excursions as we go but that is half the fun of Polar exploring. Predictability is a word that has no relevance in this environment.

* Itinerary may be subject to change

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Rates 2017-2018
Triple
Twin Semi Private
Twin Private
Superior
Shackleton Suite
One Ocean Suite
Photography, Kayak, Snowshoe
Punta Arenas - Falklands
Falklands - Punta Arenas

Special Photography Symposium

Early booking discount: $750
(Prices in Red) Expires May 31st 2017
$9,495$8,745Limited$11,495$10,745$12,695$11,945$13,495$12,745Limited$15,295$14,545Full$16,995$16,245Full
Photography, Kayak
Punta Arenas - Falklands
Falklands - Punta Arenas

Early booking discount: $750
(Prices in Red) Expires May 31st 2017
$9,495$8,745$11,495$10,745$12,695$11,945$13,495$12,745Full$15,295$14,545Limited$16,995$16,245Full
Camp, Photography, Kayak, Snowshoe
Ushuaia-Antarctica
Antarctica-Punta Arenas

Early booking discount: $750
(Prices in Red) Expires May 31st 2017
$9,695$8,945Full$11,995$11,245Limited$12,695$11,945$13,395$12,645Limited$14,695$13,945$15,995$15,245
Photography, Kayak
Punta Arenas-Antarctica
Falklands-Punta Arenas

Early booking discount: $500
(Prices in Red) Expires May 31st 2017
$15,295$14,795Limited$17,495$16,995$19,495$18,995$20,795$20,295Limited$22,495$21,995Limited$24,295$23,795
Camp, Photography, Kayak
Punta Arenas-Falklands
Antarctica-Punta Arenas

Early booking discount: $500
(Prices in Red) Expires May 31st 2017
$10,695$10,195Limited$12,695$12,195Limited$13,695$13,195Full$14,395$13,895Full$15,795$15,295Full$17,395$16,895Full
Camp, Photography, Kayak
Punta Arenas-Falklands
Falklands-Punta Arenas

Early booking discount: $500
(Prices in Red) Expires May 31st 2017
$15,295$14,795Limited$18,195$17,695Limited$19,895$19,395Full$20,895$20,395Full$22,995$22,495Full$25,195$24,695Full
Camp, Photography, Kayak
Punta Arenas-Antarctica
Falklands-Punta Arenas

Early booking discount: $500
(Prices in Red) Expires May 31st 2017
$11,495$10,995$13,695$13,195Limited$15,295$14,795Full$16,195$15,695Limited$17,895$17,395Limited$19,495$18,995
Camp, Photography, Kayak
Punta Arenas-Falklands
Antarctica-Punta Arenas

Early booking discount: $500
(Prices in Red) Expires May 31st 2017
$10,695$10,195$12,695$12,195$13,695$13,195Full$14,395$13,895Full$15,795$15,295Full$17,395$16,895Full
Camp, Photography, Kayak
Punta Arenas-Falklands
Falklands-Punta Arenas

Early booking discount: $500
(Prices in Red) Expires May 31st 2017
$15,295$14,795$18,195$17,695$19,895$19,395Full$20,895$20,395Full$22,995$22,495Full$25,195$24,695Full
Camp, Photography, Kayak
Punta Arenas-Antarctica
Falklands-Punta Arenas

Early booking discount: $500
(Prices in Red) Expires May 31st 2017
$11,495$10,995$13,695$13,195$15,295$14,795$16,195$15,695Full$17,895$17,395$19,495$18,995Full
Camp, Photography, Kayak
Punta Arenas-Antarctica
Antarctica-Ushuaia

Early booking discount: $500
(Prices in Red) Expires May 31st 2017
$11,495$10,995Full$13,695$13,195Full$15,295$14,795Full$16,195$15,695Full$17,895$17,395Full$19,495$18,995Full
Camp, Photography, Kayak
Ushuaia-Antarctica-Ushuaia

Early booking discount: $750
(Prices in Red) Expires May 31st 2017
$8,295$7,545Full$10,295$9,545Full$11,295$10,545Full$12,295$11,545Full$13,395$12,645Full$15,295$14,545Full
Camp, Photography, Kayak
Ushuaia-Antarctica-Ushuaia

Early booking discount: $750
(Prices in Red) Expires May 31st 2017
$8,295$7,545$10,295$9,545$11,295$10,545$12,295$11,545$13,395$12,645$15,295$14,545
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Click on the tour dates in the left column to view a trip itinerary. Point MOUSE at Cabin Category to view DETAILED description.

Rates are per person, based on twin-share.

The Single supplement is 1.5x the published twin rate for twin-semi private, twin private and superior cabins.
Single supplement is 2x the published twin rate for suites.
Single supplement is not available in triple cabins.
No single supplement applies for passengers willing to share.

Voyages commencing/ending in Stanley (Falkland Islands) or King George Island (Antarctica) include flights from Punta Arenas (Chile).

Costs for standard adventure options: Photography - Free of charge, Snowshoeing - Free of charge, Camping - Free of charge, Kayaking (must be pre-booked, maximum 16 participants) – $795.
Please note - camping is less likely to happen on the longer voyage to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica itinerary or on March voyages. Camping not offered on South Georgia In Depth voyages.
Photography Symposium (21OCT17): Limited Availability - interested participants must pre-register at time of booking.

Space is subject to availability. Some activities require experience.

Mandatory Emergency Evacuation insurance is required on all trips.

All trips subject to possible fuel surcharge.

DeckPlan_Vavilov_c

   One Ocean Suite
Located on deck 5 this cabin is separated into two very spacious rooms. A spacious lounge area is perfect for relaxation and features a sofa (convertible to bed), large table, writing desk, ample storage, plus large picture windows overlooking the bow (forward facing) that can be opened.
The separate bedroom features a double bed with upgraded linen/ pillows, night light, and window over the port side of the ship. The bathroom has a bathtub and shower. There is also a region specific iPad, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, fully stocked mini bar, iPod alarm clock with audio line and several arms chairs.
   Shackleton Suites
Located on decks 4 and 5 these cabins are separated into two spacious rooms, one that is ideal for relaxation with a sofa (convertible to bed), large table, writing desk, chair, ample storage and a large window that can be opened. A separate private bedroom has a double berth with upgraded linen/ pillows, night light, private facilities, a region specific iPad, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, fully stocked mini bar, iPod alarm clock with audio line.
   Superior Cabins
There are three superior cabins, all located on Deck 3. These spacious and well-appointed cabins feature two lower berths, a writing desk and chair and plenty of storage space. Washroom facilities are private and all cabins have a porthole, which opens. These cabins provide great access to the outer decks, the dining room and gangway.
   Twin Private Cabins
Located on decks 3, 4 and 5 these spacious, well-appointed cabins feature two lower berths, with private washroom facilities (sink, shower, toilet and bathroom cabinet). There are tall wardrobes with internal shelving for storage, a writing desk, chair, bookshelf, and a window that can be opened. Twin Private cabins on deck 3 feature portholes instead of windows.
   Twin Semi Private Cabins
Located on deck 4 these cabins have two lower berths, one of which can be converted to a sofa during the day. These cabins have tall wardrobes with internal shelving for storage, a writing desk, chair, bookshelf, and a window that can be opened. Facilities are semi-private – meaning you share the washroom with the adjacent cabin.
   Main Deck Triple Cabins
Located on deck 3 these cabins feature two lower berths and one upper berth. One lower berth can be converted to a comfortable sofa during the day. Washroom facilities are shared. There is a washbasin in the cabin, a writing desk and chair and ample storage for all cabin occupants. These cabins are efficient and well-appointed with two portholes with the option to open one.

 

Cabin and Voyage Inclusions            
Outside View With Opening Porthole/Window
Complimentary use of Wet Weather Gear
Complimentary use of Wellington Boots
Complimentary use of Waterproof Backpack and Binoculars
Innovative Dream Sleep Package
100% Cotton Bathrobes
Custom Blend Natural Canadian Made Essential Oil Amenities
Custom Color Coordinated Canadian Made Linen Package
Black Out Curtains
Clock Radio with Media Connector
Desk with Chair
Complimentary Water Bottle
In-Room Coffee & Tea Station
In-Room Private Field Guide    
In-Room Private Reference Library      
In-Room Mini Bar        
In-Room iPad Preloaded With Reference And Fictional Content        
In-Room Single Brew Coffee System        
In-Room Mini Stereo        
Complimentary Welcome Package (Wine, Fruit Basket, Natural Snacks)        
Complimentary Field Guide to the Antarctica        
Early Morning Adventure Concierge Coffee Service