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    Terra Incognita Australis

    • Periodo Ottimale: 3 - 14 Novembre 2020
    • Giorni: 13
    • Zona di interesse: Antartide e Terra del Fuoco
    • Costo: € 5690,00
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    Wildlife watching trip led by a biologist in one of the most spectacular place on earth: the Antarctica. On a small expedition ship, navigating from Ushuaia to the Antarctic land masses via the evocative Beagle Channel and the legendary currents of the Drake’s Passage.

    • Different species of penguins, grouped in huge colonies
    • Antarctic minke whales, fin, sei and humpback whales…
    • The magnificent dusky and hourglass dolphins, orcas and other cetaceans
    • The leopard seal, the southern sea elephant and others pinnipeds
    • Albatrosses, antarctic shags and a spectacular avifauna
    • Icebergs, glaciers and snowy mountain peaks in a landscape out of time
    • Ushuaia, the southernmost town in the world, and the Tierra del Fuego

    ClimateBiogeographic provinceBiodiversity

    Average annual temperatures in the central plateau reach -50°C, whereas along the coastline and especially throughout the Antarctic Peninsula, that stretches north of the polar circle, temperatures are higher, with average summer oscillating around 0°C. Of particular interests along the coastline are the so called “oasis” where summer temperatures can reach 15°C . Climate is generally dry, rainfalls are nearly absent. Typical of the whole continent are the violent and sudden wind storms (Katabatic winds), with peaks of 300km/h.

    The Antarctic ice sheet stands for more than 98% of the whole 13 million sqkm large continent. Strong cold circumpolar sea currents encircle the continent up to the Antarctic Convergence (54° south on average), while atmospheric perturbations run west/east between 40° and 65° south. The continent ca be roughly divided in three zones, different for variety and decrescent ecosystem complexity as latitude increases and according to the severity of environmental conditions: the subantarctic zone ( 46°-55° latitude south, north of the Convergence), the maritime Antarctic (including the Antarctic Peninsula and the near islands), the continental Antarctic (wholly enclosed in the polar circle, 66°33’ latitude south).

    Due to the peculiar harsh environmental conditions (low average temperature, scarce humidity, uneven and rocky, violent winds, strong climate seasonality…) land ecosystem biodiversity is among lowest on Earth. In areas not ice-covered and along the coastline more than 300 species of algae, 200 lichens, 25 hepatics and 28 fungi have been described since now. Only invertebrates stand for a real terrestrial fauna, by contrast the marine ecosystem is highly productive, and full of life both in the pelagic and benthic zone. Among aquatic mammals: 7 species of pinnipeds (including the Leopard seal and the Southern elephant seal), 10 cetaceans (resident or migratory between the Southern Ocean and the tropics). The 58 species of birds are mainly sea-migratory heading north of the Antarctic Convergence on early winter; the 8 species of penguins grouped in dense colony account for more than 90% of the whole continent biomass.

    Detailed itinerary

    • Day 1: arrival at Ushuaia. Exploration of the surroundings in search of the majestic Andean Condor, the largest flying bird. Overnight stay at hotel
    • Day 2: eventual excursion at Tierra del Fuego National Park, charcterized by sparse Nothofagus forests and peculiar species, as the Austral parakeet and the Black-necked swan. In the afternoon start of the antarctic cruise, navigation through the Beagle Channel to Puerto Williams (Chile), the southernmost town in the world. Exploration of the surrounding before leaving for the Antarctic continent.
    • Days 3-4: navigation south through the famous Drake Passage, named in honour of the famous XVI century english explorer Sir Francis Drake. During the navigation to the South Shetland Islands possibility of different wildlife encounters from the lounge windows, primarily seabirds as albatrosses and petrels and cetaceans. After crossing the Antarctic Convergence the lanscape changes, and the time for iceberg sightings and the first glimpse of the continent has come.
    • Days 5-8: Cruise between the South Shetland Islands and the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, in a landscape dominated by spectacular icebergs and fjords. Sightings of seabirds, penguins, seals and whales, and daily excursions with the Zodiac. The route will be scheduled for giving the best chances to have an overview of the antarctic ecosystem: the itinerary will likely stretch among Paulet Island, Hope Bay, Port Lockroy, Petermann Island, Paradise Bay, Deception Island, the Lemaire Channel and other spectacular places. It will be a very active cruise, with daily excursions with Zodiacs, different landings, lectures, etc.
    • Days 9-10: return to South America with a route north of the Drake Passage, with different wildlife sightings from the lounge of the external decks.
    • Day 11: landing at Ushaia, recap of the expedition and trasfer to the airport for the flight to Buenos Aires. Overnight stay at hotel (depending on flight time schedule to Italy).
    • Day 12: international flight to Italy.

    The trip will be led and accompanied by one Biosfera Itinerari expert biologist guide who will be responsible of logistics, activities and tour guidance.

    The price includes
    • Cruise “all inclusive”, including drinks (wine, beer, etc.) and all activities
    • Accomodation (double room with private bathroom)
    • Hot drinks (the, coffee) and snacks on board
    • Rent of expedition boots
    • A comprehensive travel insurance
    • Hotel at Ushuaia and Buenos Aires
    • All transfers
    • Guidance from a Biosfera Itinerari Biologist from Italy
    • Brochures with all useful infos before the expedition
    Not included
    • All flights
    • Cost of  Procedure Management (30 euro)
    • Meals and all optional excursions at Ushuaia and Buenos Aires
    • Extra drinks at the ship bar
    • Visas and cancelling insurance (the latter optional)
    • Laundry service and communications (mail and phone service on board, etc.)
    • Voluntary activities and service tips, and in general everything not mentioned in section “The price includes”
    € 5690 based on 10 pax (in case the group will not be completed there will be a surcharge of € 367). The travel package price can vary in case of change of the currency exchange rate.

    Disclaimer 1: Please note this is an indicative and standard itinerary. Dates, activities and the succession and length of each part of the itinerary may change each year, and can be rearranged with the participants. Upon request by the participants, we will send the definitive and detailed programme to be evaluated at least some weeks prior to the confirmation deadline.

    Disclaimer 2: We will generally honor the posted prices, but these are subject to change at any time due to action or decisions made by local authorities. In such situations, and in the hope that will not happen, we will send all the ministries official communications to all participants, free from ambiguity and in total transparency. We reserve the right to correct the final price to the fullest extent permitted by law.

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