Eternally flowing beauty
If you need a quick reminder of the beauty that nature is capable of producing, there is no better example that can be offered than the famed Iguazu falls. Such is the beauty and majesty of these falls that there are two countries that proudly claim ownership of one part each, Brazil and Argentina. On the Brazilian side, soak yourself in the local ecosystem at the National Park. Feel like a dwarf on a specially designed walking tour that offers unparalleled views of the massive waterfalls.
The city at the edge of the world
Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world – with mountains to the North and the icy seas to the South. It is no mere port, however. A traveler about to take ship for the South would do well to arrive early to the city – the Tierra del Fuego national park is worth the visit. And of course, the city’s fine Argentine wine and the artisan steakhouses will throw you a farewell worthy of Amundsen. Wave goodbye to civilization.
In the footsteps of the giants
In 1578, Sir Francis Drake first dared make this voyage, and it is for him that the first part of our journey is named – the crossing of the Drake Passage. For two days and nights, Le Soléal will sail through the confluence of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, giving you the rather unique accomplishment of having sailed over three oceans in a single voyage.
The Drake Passage will be the first overture of the journey an opportunity for you to acquire your sea legs, get acquainted with your ship and fellow adventurers, be briefed for safety, and prepare for the White Continent to take your breath away.
Neko Bay & Paradise Bay
Two days into your journey, you’ll get your first true experience of the South Pole – a great mass of ice, rising slowly from the waters, growing larger as you approach, a glacier such as you have never imagined. And at the foot of this behemoth lies one of the Antarctic’s treasures – Neko bay. The silence of the oceans is broken by the cries of the birds – Cape Petrels and Cormorants, dipping and weaving among the gulls.
You have arrived in Antarctica.
The mark of man
Port Charcot & Port Lockroy
When compared to the size and the majesty of the Antarctic, we are insignificant. And yet we venture out into the unforgiving cold, again and again, determined to make our mark. The tiny ports of the South Shetland islands stand testimony to the indomitable nature of man. Our ship will drop anchor at three of them, at least, weather permitting.
Pleneau island is a tiny, ice-covered rock, desolate, beautiful and home to the kelp gull, the south polar skua and the antarctic tern, a haven for the avid wildlife enthusiast. The island of Goudier hosts Port Lockroy, a picture-perfect cove discovered by Jean-Baptiste Charcot. First a relief and repair base for whalers, it fell into British hands in 1944.
Named for Edouard Lockroy, Jean-Baptiste Charcot’s partner, the port has a museum devoted to life on the base 1950’s, but its true treasure is its little store and post office – the only place on the White Continent where you can send a postcard – a postcard from the far end of the earth. The Port is also used as a research station on Gentoo penguins- perhaps you will meet a few.
A black horseshoe of volcanic ash. An uproar you can hear from across the water. Abandoned huts. This is Deception island – a place steeped in history. Over the years it has served as a port, a base for seal hunters, a whaling station and a research center. Time and again, countries have fought over its ownership, and its volcanic eruptions have driven off occupiers until it achieved its present status – a territory administered by the Antarctic Treaty and devoid of human habitation.
The island is home to the largest colony of Chinstrap Penguins in the Antarctic Peninsula. Prepare to witness the breathtaking sight of over 100,000 pairs of penguins at play and the serenity of Elephant seals and Fur seals lounging on the ice. This is one of the few places on earth that has resisted civilization, and won.
The lord of the Weddell Sea
The Weddell Sea
The crack and boom of calving icebergs are the only sounds to break the silence of the Weddell Sea, a place that is famous for being one of the quietest places on earth. This icy expanse of the Antarctic hides a sight very few see – the Lord of the Weddell Sea –the Weddell seal himself. He can stay submerged for over an hour, unlike any other seal, and his dark grey pelage and spotted belly make him even more unmistakable. As you sail away, the occasional call of the Wandering Albatross and the Giant Petrel will follow you back.
Coming back to life
On the voyage back, it’s time to try and wean yourself away from the magic of the White Continent, the hypnotic blue tinge of the icebergs, and the haunting call of the tern. The sights and sounds ebb and flow, as you make your crossing. The Drake Passage will mesmerize you once again, as you make your way back to Ushuaia and civilization.
The triumphant return
Even before the first sighting of land, you’ll begin to miss the sea. It has become a part of you. The air will feel different the further north you sail, alien yet familiar. And you’ll know that what’s changed is not the air, but you. Soon you will dock and leave the gentle rocking of the ship behind. But every journey only ends when you want it to.
It’s not over until you say so
If you want some time to thaw before you go back to your everyday life, well, you’re already in hedonistic Argentina – just say the word, and our team will put together a little holiday-within-a-holiday for you in no time at all.
South America is full of treasures with familiar names – Machu Picchu, the mighty Amazon, the Andes and the Galapagos islands. The continent is vast and addictive, and once you begin to explore it, you’ll find yourself returning again and again. The natural wonders of South America are unique, boasting landscapes unlike anywhere else on earth.
Your journey could take you paddling down one of the thousands of narrow streams of the Amazon, taking in the wildlife. Or you could spend a few days on your surfboard, catching the breakers on either coast. If hiking is your thing, the magical Andes trail will challenge you.
For those who would like to experience the continent’s man-made wonders, the electric nightlife and wild abandon of the capital cities await. Beaches, clubs and stately manors blend smoothly into each other, turning