Crossing the Drake Passage on your way to Antarctica can be a thrilling adventure, at times calm as a lake and at other times so turbulent it’s nicknamed the “Drake’s Shake.” It takes a about two days each way, which is why trips to Antarctica often take a couple of weeks. If you prefer a shortcut, Quark Expeditions’ “Antarctic Express” cruise includes a two-hour flight over the Drake Passage, joining your ship, the Ocean Adventurer or World Explorer, on King George Island in the South Shetland Islands. You’ll be only a few hours sail from an exciting realm of penguins, whales, seabirds, towering icebergs, other extraordinary landscapes—and a calm you’ll find nowhere else on earth.
ItineraryPLAN YOUR TRIP
Day 1Overnight in Chilean Patagonia
Day 2Flightseeing Enroute to King George Island
Days 3-6Intimate Encounters with Penguins, Glaciers, Icebergs
Daily excursions with the best expedition team in the polar regions will bring you ashore for wildlife encounters—such as watching chinstrap, gentoo, macaroni, and Adélie penguins go about their business and march by. Your Zodiacdriver may make a beeline to an iceberg where a leopard seal has been spotted or bring you right up to the face of a towering iceberg or glacier, all jaw-dropping experiences.
Weather and ice conditions determine the route on each sailing, as you explore places including the gorgeous icy landscape of the Lemaire Channel. You’ll visit penguin rookeries, bays where humpback whales and seals tend to hang out, and the remnants of bases for human exploration. The historic site Port Lockroy, a secret British base during World War II, includes a museum and post office, where you can send home postcards from a far corner of the earth.
Keep your eyes out for whales and seabirds viewable from the ship—with the captain and expedition team alerting you to any of their sightings. The whole ship will embrace an expedition spirit, buzzing excitement at each new sighting and adventure.
Days 7-8Memory-Filled Return
In Punta Arenas, you’ll transfer to your included hotel for a night, and are free to explore and spend an evening on your own—perhaps sampling Chilean crab and other fresh-caught seafood. Next day, you’ll continue with your own travels in South America or make your way to the airport for your flight home.