Blanketed with ice and largely unspoiled, the pristine land of Antarctica offers some of the most awe-inspiring sights in the world. Discovering the region on a yacht charter, gliding past icebergs and cruising to islands populated with penguins, is a truly unique holiday experience.
This is an example of an eight day adventure yacht charter itinerary, exploring the wonders of Antarctica. Itineraries are created individually for every client based around personal preferences and how you want to spend your time onboard.
Arrive via Punta Arenas and join your adventure yacht in King George Island, Maxwell Bay. This island is known as Antarctica’s unofficial capital, with eight national winter stations. Also the largest island of the South Shetlands, King George Island also boasts the St Trinity, the first Orthodox church in Antarctica, located at Russia’s Bellinghausen station in Maxwell Bay. Settle into your surroundings as the vessel prepares to depart, sailing through Bransfield Strait to the first stop.
The active volcanic Deception Island is unmissable. A narrow channel in the volcano’s walls, known as Neptune’s Bellows, allows entry into Whalers Bay in the caldera. See the sulphurous steam rising off the beach. Dig your feet into the black sand to feel the heat from the subterranean volcanic vents. Visit the ruins of a whaling station dating from 1906. Swim in the thermally heated waters of Pendulum Cove watched by thousands of chinstrap penguins on the surrounding hills.
Penguins & Post
Wake up in Port Lockroy – an impressive harbour, ringed by high cliffs. Part of British Antarctica, it is a designated historic site. Visit Base A, now a museum, and the only post office on the Antarctic Peninsula.See the Gentoo penguin rookery at Jougla Point.Spot nesting blue-eyed shags and see remnants of past whaling activities - a reconstructed composite whale skeleton on the shore. Possibility of visiting Palmer Station, an American modern research post in the Antarctic.
Have cameras ready as you cruise through Lemaire Channel, so photogenic that its nickname is “Kodak Gap”. Arrive at Paradise Harbour and pass beneath multi-coloured cliffs – the emerald green of moss, blue-green from copper deposits and the oranges and yellows of lichens. Spot blue-eyed shags nesting in those cliffs. Go ashore and wander amongst the Gentoo penguins. Look out for humpback whales and seals. Photograph the majestic icebergs of Paradise Bay and the mountains reflected in the water.
Set your first foot on the continental mainland of Antarctica at Neko Harbour. Neko was named after a Scottish whaling ship. Venture up the snow covered hills. Capture dramatic video footage of great chunks of ice breaking off the glacier – known as calving – and forming icebergs. Take the kayaks to slide between the ice. Get up close to a glacier in the tender.
Hannah Point is on Livingston Island. Watch the wildlife spectacular flying, waddling, swimming or sitting all around you. 1500 pairs of Gentoos and 1000 pairs of chinstrap penguins call this home. See also a colony of giant petrel, kelp gulls and cormorants. Climb up the hill above Hannah point beach and look down at Elephant seals and Fur seals basking on a sheltered beach on the other side of the point.
Penguins at Play
Tiny Penguin Island is just off King George Island. Observe Chinstrap and Adélie penguins here. You will also find blue-eyed shags and southern giant petrels here. Climb Penguin Island’s highest point, the 170m Deacon Peak to the extensive crater at the summit with a meltwater lake in a former volcanic crater. Turret point is a group of prominent high rock stacks above the beach, a nesting area for Antarctic terns.
Arrive back in Maxwell Bay, King George Island, for a final farewell to Antarctica and your charter yacht crew before joining your transportation to Punta Arenas and beyond.