For those of us at Rockfish Divers who have been imagining this kind of trip for a long time (gazing at Mother Nature's most dramatic ice sculptures as big as sky scrapers shooting towards the sky, seeing the world's southern-most creatures against a stunning frigid backdrop, and diving along sheer walls of ice), it is beyond exciting to put these dreams into motion. Here are some of the important details for anyone looking to join this magnificent adventure.
DIVE TRIP QUICK FACTS:Expedition Dates:
March 18, 2020 - March 31, 2020Price: From $8,500 USD Deposit Required: 20% Booking Status: Currently Taking Reservations Trip Hosted By: Rockfish Divers This is a partner trip! BOOK THIS ADVENTURE
What Is Included:
To confirm your spot on this voyage at the current rates, a non-refundable deposit of 20% is required. Payment can be received by cheque, direct deposit or credit card (based on the currency rate at the time of deposit) with Fly & Sea Dive Adventures.
To add the scuba diving excursions to your voyage, there is an additional cost of $735 USD per person (further details on polar diving below). There is room to accommodate 24 divers maximum on this voyage. All remaining passengers would be taking advantage of surface and shore excursions only.
All prices in USD.
- Quadruple Porthole $8,500
- Triple Porthole $9,550
- Twin Porthole $10,450
- Twin Window $10,950
- Twin Deluxe $11,700
- Superior $12,500
- Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary below.
- All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
- All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac (scuba diving is an additional cost).
- Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
- Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
- Luggage transfer from pick-up point to the vessel on the day of embarkation, in Ushuaia.
- Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation).
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program.
- Comprehensive pre-departure material.
What’s Not Included
- Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights (Contact Fly & Sea Dive Adventures for options); please note you will need to be in Ushuaia the night before embarking on the voyage).
- Pre- and post- land arrangements.
- Passport and visa expenses.
- Government arrival and departure taxes.
- Meals ashore.
- Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is mandatory).
- Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.
- The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines are provided below).
What Else You Need To Know:
PLEASE NOTE: All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. The on-board expedition leader will determine the final itinerary. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. Average cruising speed of m/v Ortelius is 10.5 knots.
Day 1: End of the World, Start of a JourneyYour voyage begins where the world drops off: Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego – nicknamed “The End of the World” – and sail the scenic, mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the rest of the evening.
Day 2 – 3: Path of the Polar Explorers
Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you catch a taste of life from the perspective of the polar explorers who first braved these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale blasting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer subantarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too: A variety of albatrosses and petrels show up, along with Cape pigeons and southern fulmars . Then, near the South Shetlands Islands, the first icebergs flash into sight.
Day 4 – 5: Enter the Antarctic
Gray stone peaks sketched with snow, towers of broken blue-white ice, and dramatically different wildlife below and above. You first pass the snow-capped Melchior Islands and Schollaert Channel, sailing between Brabant and Anvers Islands. Then on to Cuverville Island, stabbing up between Rongé Island and the Antarctic Peninsula. On Cuverville lives a massive colony of gentoo penguins as well as pairs of breeding brown skuas. Neko Harbour, the next stop, affords you the first chance to step onto the Antarctic Continent itself – an epic landscape of mammoth glaciers and endless wind-carved snow. During the following stop at Paradise Bay, you may be able to take a Zodiac cruise in its sprawling, ice-flecked water before sailing on to the Lemaire Channel.
Day 6 – 8: Through the Gullet
After a comfortable night of sailing, you wake among the many islands south of Lemaire Channel. You are now near the Antarctic Circle. At this point a voyage through the aptly named Gullet – a narrow but picturesque channel between Adelaide Island and the Continent – is possible if the ice isn’t too thick. You can explore this area either from the prow of the ship or the edge of a Zodiac, getting the closest possible contact with the terrain as you venture southward. You might also circumnavigate Pourquoi Pas Island, named after the ship of the famous French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot. This location is known for its tight fjords and lofty, glacier-crowded mountains. On Horseshoe Island is the former British Base Y, a remnant of the 1950s that is now unmanned, though still equipped with almost all the technology it had while in service. Stonington Island is home to the former US East Base and British Base E, which was occupied until 1975. If a stop here is possible, it marks the southernmost landing site of the trip – 68° south. From there your road turns north again, through the Gunnel Channel into Hanusse Bay, with its countless icebergs – and a good chance of spotting whales.
Day 9 – 11: Whales of Wilhelmina Bay
You are near the Antarctic Circle again, cutting north through the countless ice floes of Crystal Sound. Humpback whale sightings are likely, and your approach to the Fish Islands offers the possibility of a Zodiac cruise or even a landing. Whatever the case, the scenery is beyond compare in this area. There may also be more Adélie penguins congregating among the icebergs nearby. If you’re a bird lover, Petermann and Pléneau Islands provide a great variety of avian life as well as Zodiac cruises among icebergs that are popular leopard seal and crabeater seal hangouts. Minke whales, humpbacks, and gentoo penguins also love to frequent this “hot spot” of Antarctic activity. Conditions on the Drake Passage determine the exact time of departure.
Day 12 – 13: Familiar Seas, Familiar Friends
Your return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, you’re again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. But they seem a little more familiar to you now, and you to them.
Day 14: There and Back Again
Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, but with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.
Day 6 – 8: (Alternate program if the route to the south of Crystal Sound/Hanusse Bay is blocked by ice)
You may take a course around the western side of Adelaide Island to reach Marguerite Bay. Should ice conditions also not allow this approach, you may continue the program by exploring the Antarctic Peninsula in and around the Penola and Gerlache Straits.
OUR DIVE SHOP TRAVEL PARTNERS
In addition to being a full service local dive shop in the Greater Victoria area on Vancouver Island, Rockfish Divers is also a 5 Star PADI International Resort Destination. Located in central Victoria, they are offering scuba diving instruction for all level of divers, and combining this with local marine eco-system awareness, current environmental issues and best diving practices.
With two custom built dive boats, they can easily reach the local dive sites, many only 5 minutes away. Stay and Dive packages are available.
In addition to local diving & courses and equipment sales, Rockfish Divers also offers tropical dive vacations, from Cozumel to Galapagos, hosted by owners Tyler & Alisa Preston.
Asked what makes them different as a dive shop, they had this to say “Ocean protection and conservation is at the forefront of everything we offer. All of our education programs touch on how to minimize our impact on the aquatic environment, our special events and charters maintain a focus on how we, as divers, can make a difference, and we thrive off the fact that we incorporate all of this while diving in our backyard with some of the most diverse plant and sea life in the world.
Our specialty is scientific diving, and we offer scientific dive training and research programs for our non-profit efforts to collect data to support environmental stewardship and protect the marine biodiversity of Saanich Inlet and the Southern Gulf islands.
How do we travel? If there’s an opportunity….we go! While we have casually organized several trips over the years to places such as Palau, Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, and Galapagos in addition to some incredible trips up and down the coast of BC, we are excited about bringing for regular travel opportunities to our customers, such as our 2019 Socorro trip, or our 2020 Antarctica trip. We believe in community, acceptance of anyone who appreciates the awe of the ocean that diving allows, and fun while having the experience of a lifetime, whether it is diving with whale sharks, working with volunteer programs for sea turtle hatching, or shaking hands with one of our local giant pacific octopuses.