Antarctic cruise with the World Wildlife Fund
Description of Antarctic cruise with the World Wildlife Fund
Even in such a spectacular destination as Antarctica, this small ship expedition cruise is truly special. For not only is your ship crewed by a team of Antarctica experts, this voyage will also be accompanied by a team of working scientists from WWF-Australia conducting research on the region’s whale population. While you’re on your daily excursions they’ll be hard at work, but happy to present their findings and share their insights in the evenings for any curious passengers.
Cruises depart from Ushuaia, at the tip of Argentina, the southernmost city in the world. If time allows, we recommend arriving a day or two early to spend some time in the dramatic Tierra del Fuego National Park.
To reach the Antarctic Peninsula you must first navigate the Drake Passage. Sea conditions can be rough at times, but some cruises are lucky enough to see dolphins, orcas, and seabirds off the bow. As you sail, the ship’s knowledgeable and attentive crew will be at hand to fill you in on the region’s history, geology, and wildlife; offer advice on photography, and show you around the amenities including a library and a spa suite.
The great advantage to any small ship cruise over polluting ‘floating hotels’ is that they offer much more flexibility in where they go. In a place such as Antarctica, where the weather can be unpredictable and where ships regularly share information about wildlife sightings, this is a huge advantage. As such, treat the itinerary on this page as a guideline only – your captain will adjust it on a daily basis to ensure you make the most of your time here.
Daily excursions are taken by Zodiac boat – you’ll want to be fit enough to climb in and out – whether you’re drifting up to glaciers to hear them creak and see the vivid colours in the ice, or mooring up on land for a hike to a penguin colony. Leopard seals are also found in Antarctica, as well as a cacophonous cast of seabirds.
But for many travellers, the long-held ambition on an Antarctica cruise is to see whales, which is what makes this particular holiday such a draw. There are several species of baleen whales found here, including humpbacks and minkes. The WWF scientists will use advanced technology to study their appearance and behaviours while your responsible crew will ensure that any sightings are enjoyed at a respectful distance.
The evening entertainment is always a highlight of cruises here, but don’t expect karaoke and magicians. Instead you’ll enjoy a series of fascinating discussions and lectures from experts in marine biology and Antarctic geology. And, as a donation is made for every holiday sold, your adventure is also making a difference to whale conservation here, in a place as fragile as it is beautiful.
PlanetJoining you on this voyage is Dr Ari Freidlaender – a marine ecologist at UC Santa Cruz and the Californian Ocean Alliance. Dr Friedlaender’s work is currently focused on using tag technology to study the ecology and underwater behaviour of whales around the world, and the implications of climate change on these species. Having made over 35 trips to Antarctica over 20 years, he, along with an expert research team, is being supported by our Foundation and WWF-Australia to join this polar voyage. As the team will be continuing their research and data-gathering, along with advocacy for whale conservation, environment is at the heart of this trip. This is in addition to our expedition staff, who are highly-skilled experts in fields like natural history, glaciology and marine biology (to name but a few).
We work hard to conserve and protect the polar regions and their fragile ecosystems. We are members of IAATO – the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators and are fully compliant with their rules and guidelines. All our trips are run under strict regulations that ensure the environment of Antarctica remains in a pristine state. Being a member means that we actively support and contribute to the environmental and scientific work being carried out there. Encounters with wildlife are also controlled by a responsible code of conduct.
Our expedition vessels are much smaller and less imposing on the polar environment than the bigger cruise ships and our passenger to crew ration is 1:8.
PeopleThe places we visit in Antarctica have no permanent residents other than researchers who live there seasonally or overwinter at their research stations. There’s a strong relationship between the researchers at these stations and our expedition staff. We also take the research staff with us on board if they need to be transferred back to South America or vice versa. They share their knowledge and stories and passengers can even join them for a beer or vodka at their bar.
Travellers are welcome to book pre and post tour accommodation with us. We’ll always do our best to secure rooms at family-run bed and breakfasts or hotels. Our travellers will also be given local restaurant recommendations, so that money is put back into the Argentinian economy. As this trip starts and finishes in Ushuaia, we encourage our clients to buy souvenirs from local vendors and discourage the purchase of endangered animal products or items unduly taken from the environment.
We also support the Mawson’s Huts Foundation which was established in 1997 to conserve the Mawson’s Huts at Cape Denison in East Antarctica. Since then, it has funded over 10 major expeditions to the historic site with further expedition planes.
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