As you approach the Antarctic Peninsula, a ripple of excitement is likely to run through the ship. This is a landscape that almost defies description, and your first glimpse of it will show why. Over the course of the next few days this otherworldly terrain will become more familiar as you attend lectures given by the Expedition team on the geology, wildlife and history, and make regular land excursions in a Zodiac. Using their knowledge of the region, the team will work around the weather and ice conditions, as well as wildlife opportunities, to create daily schedules that maximise your understanding and experience of the Antarctic Peninsula.
With around 18-20 hours of daylight the days bring an abundance of opportunity, and it is likely you will aim for two landings or Zodiac excursions each day. These could be sailing past towering ice cliffs, charting the path of whales who come to the surface to feed and making shore landings to visit penguin rookeries, historic sites and seals. Towering mountains and shimmering glaciers dominate the landscape, while the waters are a playground for minkes, orcas and humpback whales, as well as crabeater seals. Travelling in Zodiacs you can get closer to the bays to explore their wildlife and landscapes, including large chinstrap penguins, fur seals and elephant seals. Basaltic turrets covered in yellow and orange lichens rise from the pebble beaches, vast glaciers calve into the harbour with a thundering crack, and gentoo penguins and Weddell seals rest on the beaches. Should ice conditions prove favourable, you could also sail down the Lemaire Channel, bordered on either side by vertiginous cliffs that shoot up from the ocean to 700 metres high.