The target is to land ashore on Elephant Island to learn more about the famous Antarctic adventures of Sir Ernest Shackleton. This island was a place of refuge in 1916 for Shackleton and his crew after the destruction of his ship by pack ice in the Weddell Sea. After losing their ship, the men reached Elephant Island after a harrowing ordeal on drifting ice floes. They established a camp at a place they called Point Wild, named after Shackleton’s commander, Frank Wild, and which now houses chinstrap penguins.
Time will be spent sailing among the South Shetland Islands just off the Antarctic Peninsula. Dazzling wildlife observations the participants during excursions to some of the islands, including King George, Half Moon, Barrientos or Livingston. Adélie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins thrive here, as do many species of seals. The expectation is to have the chance to visit the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island. Along the coast of the South Shetlands, humpback whales looking for krill can sometimes be observed.
The cruise continues south along the Antarctic Peninsula, where the pack ice still covers large parts of the bays, and one watches experienced officers pilot the icebreaker ship. Navigation can be through labyrinths of icebergs, some of which may have penguins at rest watching curiously. In good ice conditions, the expectation is to set foot on the Antarctic continent at Hope Bay or Paradise Harbor. The landscapes, from colossal icebergs to the seemingly endless ice cap of Antarctica, are truly breathtaking.