|Antarctica, Argentina, Chile|
|Punta Arenas, Antártica Chilena, Chile||Ushuaia|
Take advantage of the fastest, most direct way to Antarctica: flying. A short three-hour flight takes you to the white continent where you will enjoy everything the Antarctic has to offer. Immense penguin rookeries and icy landscapes await your arrival. You will get the full Antarctic experience, while only having to cross the Drake Passage once.
Your journey begins in Punta Arenas. This port city is situated at the southern tip of Chile, on the north bank of the Strait of Magellan. Once a Chilean penal colony, Punta Arenas offers beautiful views of the ocean, an impressive cemetery and some excellent dining options. Explore the city by day, and then join us for an evening dinner to meet your fellow Antarctic fliers.
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
Today you board your chartered flight to Antarctica. The journey over the Drake Passage will take you just over two hours, whereas our ship-based travelers take two days to make the journey by sea. Your first glimpse of Antarctica comes into view shortly before the aircraft descends towards King George Island -- hope for clear skies so you can appreciate the vastness of this great continent! You will have some free time to photograph parts of the island and stretch your legs before joining the ship. Once aboard, you’ll get your first trip in a Zodiac and begin your exploration of the Antarctic region.
Meals included: 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
You’ll get a sense that you’ve arrived on a new planet during the start of your Antarctic voyage, as the pristine nature and dramatic environments are like nothing else on earth. From the vessel you can watch whales swim and feed in the nutrient-rich waters and spot penguins porpoising in the water and jumping aboard ice floes. Just as amazing as the wildlife are the towering snow-covered mountains and massive glaciers of the Peninsula, which will be your playground for the next four days.
Every Zodiac excursion and landing presents new sights, sounds and smells. Some landings may be as relaxing as sitting on a beach, taking photographs of curious gentoo penguins. Other landings may provide exhilarating panoramic views of the Antarctic continent by hiking atop a hill. Perhaps you’ll catch a calving glacier crumbling into the sea at Petermann Island, or take a Zodiac cruise in search of fur and elephant seals around Pléneau Island.
Even common travel experiences like mailing a postcard take on an extra level of excitement in Antarctica. While weather and sea conditions determine which landings we can make, your Expedition Team will ensure that each day of your Antarctic adventure leaves a lasting impression.
Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
A rite of passage for any Antarctic adventurer, the Drake signals the end of your journey. No matter the sea conditions, you will benefit from having developed your sea legs over the course of the previous four days. While the journey home has begun, your wildlife spotting continues. Your Expedition Team will be available on deck and on the ship’s bridge to help you spot the majestic wandering albatross and a number of whale species, such as minke and humpback.
When you’re not looking at photos and reminiscing about the previous days, the Expedition Team will conclude their series of engaging presentations on subjects such as marine biology, polar history and glaciology.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
After a final breakfast aboard the ship, say goodbye to your crew as we disembark in Ushuaia. We’ll transfer you to the hotel (included) to check in and then you’ll have a chance to explore the town on your own to shop, sightseeing and sample some Argentinian cuisine.
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.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
The trip ends today in Ushuaia.
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. Motion sickness: the waters of the Drake Passage can be some of the roughest seas in the world, although at other times they are so smooth that it is referred to as the 'Drake Lake'! Although our vessel is among the most stable ship in its class, we will still inevitably encounter motion. Unless you are certain you are impervious to the problem, you should take precautions against seasickness. Your doctor can advise you as to the best methods for avoiding this uncomfortable condition.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
Argentinean Reciprocity Fee (visitor visa)
This will now be done entirely ONLINE, effective October 31, 2012 (for arrivals to Aeroparque airport) and December 28, 2012 (for arrivals to Ezeiza airport).
Until now, this fee was paid upon arrival at the airport. From the dates listed above, US/AUS/CAN tourist or business visitors must pay the reciprocity rates with their credit card through the online system. After these dates, cash payments will NOT be accepted at the airports.
The rates are USD160 for Americans, USD100 for Australians and USD75 for Canadians, for single entry.
How to pay the reciprocity fee online:
• Visit www.migraciones.gov.ar or www.provinciapagos.com.ar and register to start the process
• Fill out the form with the corresponding personal and credit card information
• Print the payment receipt
• Present the printed receipt at Immigration Control on arrival in Argentia. The receipt will be scanned by the Immigration officials, the information will be checked, and entry to the country will be registered
Gecko's Voyage Documentation
Once you have booked your voyage to the Polar regions with us, you will be required to complete a Medical Information Form. This form must be completed, signed and returned to us no later than 90 days prior to departure. This can be downloaded here.
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 Antarctica 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!
7 January 2014