|Punta Arenas, Antártica Chilena, Chile||Punta Arenas, Antártica Chilena, Chile|
Skip the four days of Drake Passage crossings and optimize your Antarctica experience by flying! A short two-hour flight takes you between Punta Arenas, Chile, and King George Island. Once in Antarctica, the penguins, seals and whales will keep you and your camera busy, as will the massive icebergs, mountains and glaciers, which create other-worldly landscapes on the white continent. Within hours of your departure you’ll be greeted by our team of experts on the ship and be heading out on your first Zodiac experience in search of wildlife.
Your adventure begins in Punta Arenas, Chile, the most populated city in Patagonia. If you arrive early, there are museums, restaurants and shops to keep you busy. By early afternoon, a Quark Expeditions representative will meet all passengers at the official starting point hotel, where you’ll enjoy a welcome dinner and be briefed about preparing for your embarkation day.
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
Your flight from Punta Arenas to Antarctica will have you smoothly crossing the legendary Drake Passage in only a few hours. Way below, the ship is also approaching King George Island, after having spent a couple of days of cruising the Drake. With clear skies, you’ll be rewarded with a rare sight – seeing Antarctica from above! After landing, stretch your legs and spend some time exploring the island before being transferred by Zodiac to your ship. Meet the rest of your shipmates and set sail to explore Antarctica.
Meals included: 4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners
There are few places in the world as evocative as Antarctica. As we approach the white continent, you may be overcome by feelings of excitement and awe. Much of Antarctica is indescribable and can only be fully appreciated through the human eye.
As the Captain and Expedition Team keep their eyes out for whales and seabirds, you’ll be alerted to any new sightings. Our team of expert lecturers will also provide in-depth explanations of the geology, history and wildlife of the region.
Even more exciting are your daily excursions to land. Your first Zodiac landing is something you’ll never forget! Walking up to a beach that is dotted with penguins and seals is the most intimate way to experience the unique wildlife of Antarctica.
Each landing is different and is dependent on weather, but every day presents new sightings and photo opportunities. You may take a Zodiac cruise in search of whales and icebergs in Pléneau Island one day, followed by a hike to a chinstrap penguin rookery the next day.
From the booming shot of a calving glacier at Petermann Island to the thrill of watching a leopard seal hunt a penguin, you’ll wake early and welcome each day with sense of excitement and desire to explore this unrivaled travel experience. Our Expedition Team will be with you all along, providing insights into the places you visit and the wildlife you see.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
After so many awe-inspiring visuals and memorable days of wildlife encounters, you’ll finally be able to stop and take a breath again. Say goodbye to the Expedition Team and disembark at King George Island for your three-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Punta Arenas, Chile.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Today your trip comes to an end in Punta Arenas. Bid farewell to your fellow travellers.
Important reminder: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a voyage. There are nearly 200 recognized sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned above may be changed to others equally as interesting.
These Trip Notes should be read in conjunction with Gecko’s Antarctica pre-departure information that is provided to you shortly after booking (or which can be requested prior to booking). A second information manual dealing with Antarctic history, geology, geography, marine and bird life will also be provided.
1. Budgeting: in addition to funds for onboard expenses, it is sometimes possible to purchase souvenirs such as books, t-shirts, stamps, postcards, windcheaters, caps and similar items at some of the research stations in the Antarctic Peninsula area. Mail can sometimes be posted from these stations as well. Transactions are usually in US dollars cash.
2. Clothes: please read our Antarctic pre-departure information carefully. Although you don’t need to make expensive, specialist-clothing purchases for this trip, you will need clothes that adequately protect against cold and wet conditions. (Sea spray is common on board Zodiacs). It is recommended that you have warm, waterproof clothing available for use upon arrival in Ushuaia, to protect yourself against the inclement weather.
3. Gratuities: we suggest you allow the equivalent of US$11-13 a day for gratuities for the crew and expedition staff. This is usually collected just prior to the end of the cruise. If you wish, the amount can be paid by Visa or MasterCard.
4. Sea kayaking: there are separate Trip Notes for the sea kayaking option. Please note that this option must be booked prior to your departure from home and it cannot be booked on the ship. Some prior experience is required.
5. Camping: if you chose to camp on the continent, we’ll provide all the required gear such as tents or bivouac (or 'bivy') sacs and sleeping bags. This excursion is managed with strict environmental regulations - a portable toilet is used and absolutely everything is transported back to the ship afterwards. Please note that this option must be booked prior to your departure from home, it cannot be booked on the ship. Spaces are limited.
Gecko's Voyage Documentation
Once you have booked your voyage to the Polar regions with Gecko's, you will be required to complete a series of online forms. You will be sent a link via email (my polar forms) which will take you to an enrolment form, cruise contract, medical form, arrival/departure information form and expedition parka size order form. These forms must be completed.
Please note that the exploratory nature of this expedition involving weather, ice, wildlife or other mitigating factors may require that unscheduled or last-minute changes be made to the itinerary, sometimes resulting in the cancellation of certain shore excursions. Every effort will be made to adhere to the itinerary, within the limits of safety and time constraints.
Contingency Plan for 2012-2014 Antarctic Express (Fly South & North and Cruise South, Fly North) Programs.
Quark Expeditions will make every effort to ensure the Antarctic Express programs takes place, but due to weather conditions, flying in this region can be difficult and is beyond the control of Quark Expeditions. We strongly recommend that all expedition guests purchase a travel insurance policy including trip delay, cancellation and interruption insurance. Please ask your Polar Travel Advisor about travel Insurance.
In the unlikely event that the charter flight is unable to fly on day 2 due to weather delays, Quark Expeditions will provide an additional night hotel accommodation in Punta Arenas and a ½ day tour.
On day 3 should the charter flight not be able to take off by 1400hrs, Quark Expeditions will officially cancel the voyage and provide letters for all clients to submit to their travel insurance providers under trip delay/Interruption and cancellation clause.
QUARK AND PEREGRINE EXPEDITIONS WILL NOT OFFER PASSENGERS A REFUND IN THE EVENT OF TRIP CANCELLATION. QUARK AND PEREGRINE EXPEDITIONS WILL NOT OFFER PASSENGERS COMPENSATION IN THE EVENT OF A DELAY.
IF THE CHARER FLIGHT IS NOT ABLE TO TAKE OFF BY 1400 HRS ON DAY 3. Quark Expeditions will make every effort to assist passengers with rebooking hotels or flights, but this will be at the cost of the passengers, and Quark Expeditions strongly recommends that all clients contact their insurance provider prior to changing any reservations.
Passengers on board the ship during these delays will remain on board with no additional cost until the time in which the charter flight is able to arrange transport. Quark Expeditions advises all clients to book changeable airlines tickets along with cancellation and interruption insurance to assist with additional airline change fees. We advise all passengers to have flexible travel arrangements upon disembarkation of the voyage if delays arise. Quark Expeditions will not be held responsible for any change/cancellations fees due to weather related delays or any other delays arising from force majeure.
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
28 January 2014