The Peninsula is one of the most accessible parts of the Antarctic due to ice conditions that make navigation by small vessels possible during a short season of opportunity that lasts from December to March.
Because of a relatively mild climate and this annual break up of the pack ice, the Peninsula is home to large concentrations of marine fauna including penguins, seals, whales and many species of sea birds. The landscape is an inspiring mix of towering ice covered mountains and ice bergs afloat on a deep blue sea.
Our scheduled voyages on Pelagic Australis are for a minimum of 21 days. Custom expeditions for longer periods, or on board the original Pelagic (groups only) can be organized. We can accommodate up to eight to nine guests on Pelagic Australis or six guests on Pelagic depending upon the circumstances and the goals of the party. In addition to general visitors wishing to explore this region, we are interested in finding clients who have mountaineering, filming, diving or wildlife projects with specific objectives in mind.
Pelagic Australis near Cape Renard
Crew members meet the vessel in Puerto Williams Chile. From there we sail from the eastern end of the Beagle Channel directly south across the Drake Passage which usually takes between three and four days. For a minimum 21 day schedule (Pelagic Australis) we envisage 12 days on the Antarctic Peninsula in the Gerlache Straits area. Return time can take four to five days depending on the weather.
For longer expeditions we can be autonomous with regards provisions, fuel and living space for up to three months. With a six voyage we can reach as far south as Marguerite Bay, well below the Antarctic Circle.
While on the western side of the Peninsula we navigate mainly in sheltered waters in amongst the numerous islands and base our activities ashore from good anchorages. Whale watching (humpbacks) is always a feature of any Antarctic program.
Crossing the Drake in 45 knots of breeze
How much can be accomplished in the Antarctic is totally dependent upon the vagaries of the weather and ice conditions for the season. From our many seasons operating in the region, we have averaged about 50% of our time stormbound in anchorages. It becomes evident that with a greater commitment in time, the greater the chances we have of achieving our goals. However, we can never guarantee total success in any venture - which is really one of the most fascinating aspects of this voyage!
Humpback whale under Pelagic
Summer temperatures at sea level hover around 5 degrees C and rarely dip below freezing. On a warm, sunny, windless day, an inner layer of clothing would suffice, but with any wind the ‘chill’ effect is felt and a middle and possibly outer layer of clothing is necessary. Because of this risk of exposure, the region must be considered extreme climatically. Snow is the norm, but it can also rain. The prevailing strong wind associated with frontal passages moving through the Drake Passage is from the northeast which is accelerated down off the peninsular plateau.
Ski randonne Antarctica video
Sailing to Climb in Antractica January 2016 40 minute video
December to March is the "open season." Scheduling as per the web site for the three week cruises on Pelagic Australis or on a custom basis for longer itineraries for either vessel.
Travel and Accomodation Arrangements
Puerto Williams is serviced once per day by a Dash 7 plane from Punta Arenas on the Straits of Magellan. Punta Arenas has at least three flights per day from Santiago. Check your Chilean Consul for visa requirements. We strongly recommend that international return flights are fully flexible to allow for missed connections due to bad weather.
For flight information in Tierra Del Fuego in particular getting to and from Puerto Williams and Punta Arenas contact:
DAP Antártica Tour Operador Ltda.
Phone: 56-61-616110 / 616130 / 616137
Address: O'Higgins Nº 891
Punta Arenas - Chile
Sales Executive: Alejandro Lizama
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and copy to email@example.com
Accommodation in Puerto Williams
For clients spending a night in Puerto Williams either before or after the cruise, we recommend the following:
fax +56 61621224
The Greenpeace Book of Antarctica by John May 086318 2836.
Readers Digest Antarctica 949819646
Below the Convergence by Alan Gurney 07126 73296
Of Ice and Men by Vivian Fuchs 0904614 069
The Antarctic Guide to the Wildlife by Tony Soper 184162 019X
For our work in Antarctica, we hold an annually renewable UK Foreign Office Permit under the Antarctic Act and we are a member of IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators)