Antarctic Peninsula

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 Vinson of Antarctica 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 Vinson of Antarctica 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.

See: THE ANTARCTIC PENINSULA: FLYING THROUGH A DREAM from Roger Fishman on Vimeo. for his dramatic vision of Antarctica taken on one of our expeditions.

Pelagic Australis near Cape Renard

The Voyage

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 (Vinson of Antarctica) 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

Available Dates

December to March is the "open season." Scheduling as per the web site for the three week cruises on Vinson of Antarctica 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:

Catalina Navarrete B. ANTARCTIC AIRWAYS
Direct phone: 56-61-2616124
Mobile: +569 99392684 - +569 93461487
Address: O'Higgins 891 - Punta Arenas - Chile
E-mail: -

Accommodation in Puerto Williams

For clients spending a night in Puerto Williams either before or after the cruise, we recommend the following:

+56 61621721
This is the only luxury hotel in Puerto Williams and highly recommended for a soft start to the trip.

Hostel Pusaki
+56 61621116
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)


Click image to watch 20 minute video of our 2013 sailing to climb expedition to Antarctica


Pelagic Australis the Cadillac of high latitude sailing vessels. Photo: George Duffield