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The return journey can be the same, or there is now the possibility of making one leg by air and the other by sea. Either fly down and sail back or sail down and fly back. The South American airport for the journey/s is Punta Arenas in Chile while the seaport is Ushuaia in Argentina.
Fly - Cruise trips sail around the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula, which are the most accessible regions of Antarctica, where spectacular scenery abounds as well as all kinds of Antarctic wildlife, penguins, whales, seals and all manner of sea-birds. There are also many opportunities for landings ashore to visit wildlife colonies and walk amongst spectacular landscapes, you can expect daily landings once in Antarctica.
Avoid crossing the Drakes Passage by ship - this can be a very rough crossing which for some people may prevent them going to Antarctica at all if they feel ill on ships.
Time saving - two sailings across the Drakes Passage saves about 4 days in all meaning that is possible to go to Antarctica without spending so much time travelling.
You don't get to cross the Drakes Passage - there is something special about arriving in Antarctica by ship where the weather and ice change slowly over a longer period, spotting albatrosses following the ship, the first ice-bergs, first penguins, seals etc.
Delays to your trip - While no Antarctica Fly and Cruise departure has been cancelled due to weather conditions (yet), some departures in the past have experienced delays of up to three days. The current estimate is that the chances of delay are in the range of 5-10%. Ships can operate in conditions in Antarctica that leave planes grounded.
It is important that prospective participants understand that weather conditions could impact the operation. Should weather delay a departure, contingency plans will be put into operation. There is also the possibility of the return leg being delayed so flexibility should be allowed when returning home
For the 2014-2015 season we have three cruise ships taking part:
There is a variety of trips available of varying durations and with the possibility of camping ashore in Antarctica for a night and/or kayaking depending on the facilities available on the ship you are on.
King George Island - this is the largest island of the South Shetlands group, it is part of the Scotia arc situated 75 miles (120 kilometres) to the north east of the Antarctic Peninsula. It is the unofficial capital of Antarctica in that it has ten national research stations and a semi-permanent population of about 500 people largely on the small ice-free area of the Fildes Peninsula at the south-west tip of the island. Semi-permanent in that the population is a fairly steady 500, though people come and go quite frequently, spending from a few months to a year or two. It is the only place in Antarctica with something like a normal human population (at the Chilean Presidente Frei station the location of the air strip) where there are families living and even a small school.
King George Island is also home to a Russian Orthodox church with its own priest and the world's most southerly lighthouse. It is the site of an annual Antarctic Marathon.
Prices are per person based on sharing a cabin of usually two, rarely three berths.
Please use the form to the right to request more details about a Fly-Cruise trip to Antarctica, please specify Fly-cruise in the notes section if this is your interest.
Please allow for the fact that a delay in return is equally likely.
Shackleton's 1914-17 Trans-Antarctica Expedition on Twitter - follow us now to get the story 100 years to the day later. @danthewhaler
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