A collaboration between Polar Latitudes, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution & the British Broadcasting Channel (BBC).
Antarctic Peninsula | March 2 - 15, 2019
This 14-day voyage aboard the Island Sky features a team of scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI*) the world's leading independent non-profit organization dedicated to ocean research, who will be conducting a ground-breaking study on the feeding habits of humpback whales.
Humpbacks migrate thousands of miles to their feeding ground in the Southern Ocean, yet nothing is known about how these whales find the krill that they consume. The more we can learn, the better we can understand how global warming, which is impacting the distribution and volume of krill in our oceans, will affect large whale populations.
If you book directly with us, you can enjoy a 25% off the published rate:
*All bookings include 2 nights of accomodations at the Arakur Resort and Spa hotel in Ushuaia.
All guests on this voyage will have the opportunity to participate as the scientists on board track whales and collect data. In addition to ongoing briefings on the study’s progress, we will hold a panel discussion on The Future of the Antarctic. The panel will feature the WHOI Team, our own whale expert, Annette Bombosch, PhD, and special guest, Peter Neill, the founding Director of the World Ocean Observatory, a platform for education and information exchange on the health of the ocean.
Also, a British Broadcasting Channel (BBC) film crew will be joining this amazing experience, to gather footage for their Big Blue Live series. Last year Big Blue Live won the coveted BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) award for best live event!
Please note that this itinerary also includes the normal activities of the regular Antarctic Peninsula voyages.
Complimentary Pre-Arrival Day:
Don’t sweat flight delays or missed connections when you begin your adventure a day early by taking advantage of an optional free pre-arrival night at the beautiful Arakur Hotel & Resort, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. Enjoy the spa, wander the trails, or unwind and soak in the surroundings.
Day 1, Ushuaia:
Today is all yours: explore some of the sights that Ushuaia has to offer, from museums to Argentinean leather markets, or continue relaxing at the lovely Arakur. An optional evening briefing is offered as a great opportunity for you to ask questions and to meet some of your fellow travelers.
Day 2, Embarkation:
After a complimentary buffet breakfast, you’re free to explore Ushuaia or unwind at the resort until the mid-afternoon transfer to the ship. On board, you’ll be greeted by the Expedition Team and the Ship’s Officers. A concise safety and orientation briefing will be followed by the Captain’s welcome dinner. After dinner, relax and take in the scenery on an early evening sail through the Beagle Channel, past Magellanic Penguin, Rock Cormorant, and Sea Lion colonies.
Day 3-4, Drake Passage:
As the ship makes its way ever closer to the white continent, our Expedition Team will be out on deck and on the bridge, looking for the whales and dolphins that may be seen while traveling to the south. They will prepare you with presentations on everything Antarctic, from wildlife to history, including helpful briefings on environmental regulations and expedition safety. The WHOI Team will present you with an overview of their study’s goals and methods. Eventually, we’ll cross the Antarctic Convergence where you’ll notice a distinct drop in temperature as you enter the waters of the Southern Ocean.
Those eager to participate in Citizen Science can take part in seabird sighting surveys, or help collect salinity samples and weather data along the way. The length of the journey depends on sea conditions, but the ship should approach the South Shetland Islands in the evening of Day 4. We will keep especially keen watch for pelagic whales as you approach the nutrient rich up welling areas of the Continental Shelf.
Day 5-8, Antarctica:
Exploring the South Shetland Islands, you may visit Half Moon Island with its stunning backdrop of mountainous and glaciated Livingston Island. Or perhaps you will sail the ship into an active volcano with an opportunity to take a dip in the relatively balmy waters that surround Deception Island. Bransfield Strait, once the site of an abandoned whaling station, gives you an excellent chance to see whales, which often return to its rich waters.
In the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, the Expedition Leader and Captain will create a flexible itinerary based on weather, ice, and previous sightings to maximize you whale watching opportunities, while also exploring some of the lesser-travelled areas of the Peninsula. You will aim for the most scenic bays and channels, with stops at penguin rookeries, seal wallows, bird colonies and whale feeding areas, as well as sites of historic and scientific interest. The WHOI Team will begin their research, and will give you periodic updates on the study’s progress.
Day 9-11, Antarctica:
Heading further South, you will be sure to explore the Gerlache Strait and its surrounding channels and islands. This may include trips to picturesque Neko Harbor, sheltered Paradise Harbor, the humpback whale favored Wilhelmina Bay, the striking Lemaire Channel, the wildlife-filled Penola Strait, or the majestic Neumayer Channel. The ship may stop at an active scientific base such as Poland’s Arctowksi or Ukraine’s Vernadsky as well as a historic base such as U.K.’s Port Lockroy or Wordie House.
At this time of year, most areas have amazing marine mammal viewing opportunities with Antarctic fur seals, Weddell, crabeater often found hauled out to rest along with predatory leopard Seals. Minke and humpback whales are frequent visitors during this season and orca sightings are also common.
All of the onboard experts will take part in a panel discussion on The Future of the Antarctic Ecosystem.
Day 12-13, Drake Passage:
As you leave this magical place and make your way north, heading again across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage, you will continue the presentation series and wildlife spotting. The WHOI Team will give you a final briefing on their field results. Sailing back to Ushuaia through the Beagle Channel, you will celebrate the conclusion of the expedition with a special slideshow.
Day 14, Ushuaia Disembarkation:
Morning disembarkation lets you catch a flight to Buenos Aires or stay in Ushuaia for more sights and adventure.
The Ship Island Sky
On board you’ll find fifty-nine spacious and well designed suites. All feature a sitting room area and some have private balconies, while those on the Promenade Deck feature tinted, sliding glass doors allowing enhanced viewing opportunities from your suite and quick access to the deck when a pod of whales is spotted. The vessel is outfitted with wood panelling and brass, which predominate throughout, conveying the atmosphere of an old-world private yacht.
Great expeditions require great food!
This team of world-class chefs offer breakfast, lunch and dinner menus that change daily. They have boat-loads of creativity, so you are sure to experience a variety of remarkable cuisine throughout your voyage.
All Suites Feature:
Team Bios of the Antarctic Peninsula Whale Science Voyage with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution*
Daniel Zitterbart, PhD
WHOI Whale Study Team
Dan will be leading this study. He is a specialist in the use of motion in biological systems and uses arti ficial intelligence to unravel behavioral traits. He will be responsible for the study's design, protocols and experiment execution.
Kylie Owen, PhD
Whale Behavioral Specialist
WHOI Whale Study Team
Kylie is the team's whale foraging specialist. She will take the lead in finding the whales, following them and assessing their behavior.
Joseph D Warren, PhD
WHOI Whale Study Team
Joe is an expert in finding what whales eat. He will operate the sonar we use to map krill distribution during our study.
Alessandro Bocconcelli, MS
Whale Tracking Technician
WHOI Whale Study Team
Alex has been involved with whale studies for more than 30 years and will be responsible for all of the technology used in this study.
Peter Neill, Founder W.O.O.
Peter is the Founder and Director of the World Ocean Observatory, a web-based place of exchange about the ocean and its relationship to climate, fresh water, food, energy, health, security, economic development, policy, governance, and cultural traditions.
Annette Bombosch, PhD
Polar Latitudes Marine Mammals Specialist
WHOI Guest Investigator
Annette studied humpback habitats in the Southern Ocean for her PhD, and has been part of the Polar Latitudes Expedition Team since 2014. She is one of Polar Latitudes' Citizen Science Coordinators and leads the communication of the team's scientific methods and results to the guests.
Contact us for more information about this one of a kind experience in the spectacular Antarctic!