The Ohio State University Alumni Association

Astounding Antarctica

Feb. 12 – Feb. 25, 2018 Sold Out

Details

Join this truly life-changing adventure to experience the boundless beauty and pristine vastness of Antarctica.

Embark from Ushuaia, Argentina, and cruise through notorious Drake Passage to the South Shetland Islands amid the Antarctic Peninsula—exploring the dramatic landscapes and remarkable wildlife that call this continent home. Trek through penguin rookeries, observe vast flocks of seabirds, learn about Antarctic ice conditions, and discover the sites of both past and present scientific expeditions.

Your vessel for this amazing journey is the 114-passenger Sea Spirit, a nimble craft designed specifically for polar cruising—with stylish and comfortable cabins, exceptional amenities, and a knowledgeable and friendly crew. Her small size provides the ability and agility to maneuver narrow channels and make various landings, and access bays that are closed for bigger ships. The ship also features an ice-strengthened hull and fin stabilizers for smoother sailing.

Tour highlights and included features

  • Explore the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula, a beautiful island chain filled with an impressive variety of wildlife
  • Cruise aboard the perfect vessel for exploration—ice-hardened and agile, with stylish, comfortable cabins, and the ability to navigate narrow channels and bays closed to larger ships
  • Join the optional Sea Kayaking excursions (additional fee): Paddle among the penguins and alongside glittering glaciers—a rare opportunity. Gaze up at towering glaciers and ice shelves, cruise along the shoreline and observe seals, penguins and other wildlife up close. Participants must have prior kayaking experience, and be reasonably fit and in good health
  • Join the optional Polar Camping excursion (additional fee): It's the ultimate Antarctic experience. With specialized performance gear and expert guidance, prepare for an evening beneath the austral firmament. Campers choose between sleeping in a deluxe tent or unsheltered in a cozy bivy sack—to experience the utmost connection to the environment, as hearty explorers have done in years past
  • 1 night hotel accommodations prior to embarkation, including breakfast
  • 10 nights luxury accommodations onboard Sea Spirit
  • All onboard meals including a welcome and farewell cocktail
  • 24-hour self-service coffee and tea facilities onboard
  • All scheduled landings and excursions (subject to weather and ice conditions)
  • Your own expedition parka to keep
  • A pair of rubber boots for shore landings for duration of the cruise (to be returned prior to disembarkation)
  • A digital voyage log (including a map of the ship's charted course)
  • A list of wildlife spotted
  • Photo album
  • Port fees; gratuities to airport drivers and porters for guests arriving and departing during the suggested times
  • Transfers from the hotel to the ship or into town on the day of embarkation
  • Group transfers for all guests arriving and departing during suggested times

Dates Feb. 12 – Feb. 25, 2018 Sold Out

Cost $9,995* (From price. Airfare is not included. All prices are per person, based on double occupancy, and early booking deadlines. Dates, itineraries, and prices are subject to change.)

Type Land and Cruise

Region Antarctica

Activity level

Operator

Contact Laura DeRose
derose.25@osu.edu
614-292-2372 or
800-852-TOUR (8687), ext. 2

Map

Experiences

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Itinerary

Welcome to Argentina, where you'll spend one night in the world's southernmost city before embarkation. Relax at the luxurious Arakur Ushuaia Resort and Spa—a contemporary, ecologically-renowned property offering a wide variety of amenities—located inside the Reserva Natural Cerro Alarken (Nature Reserve) in the shadow of Mount Alarken. From your room or the welcoming public spaces, embrace the stunning, panoramic views of natural rock terraces and native forests that surround you. If time permits, explore nearby Arroyo Grande Meadows or the Rio Chicco Waterfall, indulge in the hotel's infinity pool and hot tub, or lounge in the inviting lobby by the roaring fireplace.

Overnight: Arakur Ushuaia Resort & Spa

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Explore Ushuaia or the nearby nature parks, then join the group transfer this afternoon to board your luxury vessel for this expedition, Sea Spirit. Settle into your stateroom, then get acquainted with fellow travelers as you sail through the Beagle Channel. Step out onto the viewing decks to embrace the passing scenery, and keep an eye out for immense icebergs and marine mammal activity.

Overnight: Sea Spirit (B,D)

Through today and tomorrow, sail south past the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago across the Drake Passage, named for 16th-century English privateer, Sir Francis Drake. This waterway marks the convergence of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Southern Oceans, and is the latter's biological boundary. Seabirds like the albatross are commonly spotted during this passage, so be sure to have a camera available while out on the viewing decks.

Overnight: Sea Spirit (B,L,D daily)

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Overnight: Sea Spirit (B,L,D daily)


Your experienced Captain will seek out the most opportune locations to spot marine life, dependent on weather and ice conditions. Longer daylight hours offer extended opportunities for wildlife viewing and Zodiac excursions. The water's cold environment is ideal for krill, and whale and seal species, and a plethora of penguin colonies—from gentoo and chinstrap, to adelie—who nest on land nearby. Glaciers and icebergs thousands of years old dot the landscape and provide an icy timeline of the area's history.

Deception Island, located at the northernmost point of the South Shetland Islands, is home to the flooded caldera of an active volcano, which severely damaged research stations in 1967 and 1969. Remains of abandoned whaling buildings and tanks can be still be seen. Throughout the voyage you may also see evidence of past and present polar exploration and scientific expeditions, including modern stations operated by several nations. Learn about explorers and their challenges and victories that make their stories so fascinating.

Continue south through Gerlache Strait, an area rich with sheltered bays filled with animal life and stunning scenery. Out on deck, watch for feeding whales, napping seals, and boisterous penguins.

Throughout your stay on the Peninsula, daily excursions ashore with the ship's expedition leaders and scientists provide the opportunity to explore the dramatic polar scenery, with millennia-old ice shelves, sheer cliff faces and permanent snow cover. Zodiac explorations of the wildlife-filled waters and plentiful penguin colonies will provide charming and memorable encounters with the locals. Optional sea kayaking and overnight polar camping, plus a variety of other activities provide opportunities to discover all that this remarkable area has to offer, all at the pace you choose. Returning to the ship each evening, enjoy the ship's hot tub, or a drink in the lounge with fellow guests before adjourning to the ship's dining room for a hearty and delicious dinner combined with tales of the day's adventures from fellow travelers.
Overnight: Sea Spirit (B,L,D daily)

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The journey returns north-bound back through Drake Passage. Join your travel companions indoors for a variety of nature presentations and lively accounts of experiences during the expedition, or enjoy the ship's various recreation facilities. Take advantage of the last days at sea to capture the panoramic beauty of the Antarctic from the Sea Spirit's outdoor viewing areas.

During the final evening on board, enjoy a special farewell dinner featuring the ship and crew's End of Voyage ceremonies.
Overnight: Sea Spirit (B,L,D daily)

After breakfast, guests departing during the suggested times take the complimentary transfer to the airport for flights home. (B)

†NOTE: Travel time from/to U.S. may take up to two days depending on flight schedules.

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*Itinerary subject to change due to local conditions.

Contact

Contact Laura DeRose at Ohio State Alumni Tours:
Phone: 614-292-2372 or 800-852-TOUR (8687), ext. 2
Email: derose.25@osu.edu

Space is limited. Book your tour now!