10 days exploring Antarctica on a superyacht

Punta Arenas to King George Island

With a surge in explorer yachts being built  voyages to remote destinations are becoming increasingly popular. This is especially true of Antarctica which has just recorded its busiest superyacht season ever. One of the most incredible ice destinations in the world there is no shortage of amazing spectacles to see.

Here EYOS Expeditions — who arrange bespoke superyacht trips and who organised Arctic P’s record breaking voyage south — give an overview of the best way to spend 10 days in the breathtaking region.

Day one - Punta Arenas to King George Island

Crossing the Drake Passage by air instead of by sea will provide a safe, fast and efficient crossing of this infamous stretch of water, often quoted as the roughest seas on earth. The use of a multi-engine jet aircraft cuts the crossing down from two days to just a couple of hours as you fly directly from Punta Arenas, Chile, to King George Island. This is perhaps one of the most exclusive trans-continental flights.

You will be landing on the airstrip belonging to the Chilean Presidente Eduardo Frei M base. Russia’s Bellinghausen base is located nearby, and you may have the opportunity for a quick visit. Transfer to the waterfront where Zodiacs will take you to your luxury yacht for embarkation.

Picture courtesy of EYOS Expeditions

Antarctic Sound & The Weddell Sea

Known as Iceberg Alley, Antarctic Sound is at the northeastern point of the Antarctic Peninsula, where large tabular icebergs drift north from the Weddell Sea. You may land and visit Adelié penguin colonies at Paulet Island, Brown Bluff, Devil Island, or elsewhere in the area.

If you decide to spend some time exploring the northern fringes of the Weddell Sea on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula be sure to search the ice floes for emperor penguins, which breed during the winter on nearby Snow Hill Island. The magnificent emperors are hard to see during the summer months when their colonies have dispersed. However, if you dedicate time to searching there is always the chance of finding a newly fledged juvenile resting on the ice.

Picture courtesy of EYOS Expeditions

The Danco Coast & Gerlache Strait

On the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula spend several days exploring the numerous islands and channels of this breathtakingly scenic area. On these islands you can drop in on gentoo penguin colonies and may also have the chance to visit an active scientific research station.

Cruise amongst icebergs in Zodiacs and pass immense glaciers and ice cliffs. Sites you may visit include: Paradise Bay, the Errera Channel, Neko Harbour, the Lemaire Channel, Petermann Island, Booth Island, Pleneau Island and the Penola Strait. The choices are many, but all offer amazing experiences, discuss the options with your captain each day and choose the best sites for the conditions.

Picture courtesy of EYOS Expeditions

The Grandidier Channel, Crystal Sound & Antarctic Circle

If sea-ice conditions and time permit you may venture still further south on the western side of the peninsula, towards the Antarctic Circle. If you are able to make your way through the pack ice and into Crystal Sound you may cross the Antarctic Circle at 66°33’S. Landing at the deserted British base on nearby Detaille Island is a step back in time as the base has remained untouched since it was abandoned in the 1950s.

Picture courtesy of EYOS Expeditions

The Gullet and Marguerite Bay

Once south of the Antarctic Circle assess conditions to attempt to transit ‘The Gullet’. Squeezed between Adelaide Island and the Tyndall Mountains this narrow passage offers incredible mountain scenery on either side of the ice-strewn waters of this hidden channel. This rarely visited passage eventually opens out onto spectacular Marguerite Bay.

This bay was first visited by the French Polar explorer Dr. Jean-Baptiste Charcot who named it after his wife. Only a hardy few allocate the time and effort to get this far south and the rewards are many. Savouring the full 24 hours of sunlight, use it to explore seldom-visited sites such as Bourgeois Fjord, Jenny Island (site of the world's southernmost Elephant Seal colony), Bongraine Point and to enjoy the spectacular backdrop of Adelaide Island and the peninsula itself.

Picture courtesy of EYOS Expeditions

Danco Coast

Sail north to continue your exploration of the Danco coast. You may visit Port Lockroy, home to an abandoned British naval base-turned museum and Cuverville Island, which is home to the largest gentoo penguin colony on the peninsula.

Picture courtesy of EYOS Expeditions

King George Island to Punta Arenas

Arrive off King George Island in time for your return flight north to Punta Arenas. Weather permitting, arrive in Punta Arenas in the afternoon for onward travel.

Picture courtesy of EYOS Expeditions

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