Sweet dream voyage will be realised
The Antarctic snow is knee-high, dry and pure white.
I’ve already put my jacket in my backpack, and gradually other layers get stuffed in, too.
It’s a sunny day on the Antarctic Peninsula, and crisply warm.
I have crossed the Drake Passage, left bays full of whales, the basking seals and colonies of penguins, and climbed up through the snow to finally make this peak.
I had dreamt of standing here, overlooking the white world at the bottom of the planet.
I made it a reality.
I dream of standing here again.
And, with our friends at Aurora Expeditions, I will make it a reality again ...
The world was riveted motionless by the coronavirus pandemic. We learnt to stay home, hold on to hope, watch the wider world, dream of a future. We’ll learn to move again, too.
In the most locked-down moments, I thought about the one place I’d want to be again ... and this is it. This peak in Antarctica, overlooking this pure, white and azure world.
And so, West Travel Club has partnered with Aurora Expeditions to make that a reality, not just for me, but maybe for you.
choice of options
The 12-day voyage across the Drake Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula departs Ushuaia on November 17, 2022.
There are two options:
THE FULL EXPERIENCE
For those joining us for the full West Travel Club experience, a broader and deeper picture of travel to Antarctica.
Those joining me for the full tour will first fly with me to Auckland with Air New Zealand.
We will stay there for two nights, with the purpose of thinking about and exploring Australian and New Zealand aspects of Antarctica. We will include a special dinner event, at which some of this story will be told.
There will also be a tour of Auckland and guided visit to Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium in Auckland, and see penguins and the replica of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott’s Antarctic hut, with authentic memorabilia.
We will then fly on together, from Auckland to Ushuaia with LATAM, staying a night at the Alvear Hotel in Buenos Aires.
JUST THE VOYAGE
Travellers can just join us in Ushuaia, making their own flight and pre and post cruise arrangements. They will be included in all our pre-departure events, and be very much part of our adventure family, of course.
USHUAIA TO THE PENINSULA
Cup the palm of your hand skyward, fingers together and stick your thumb in the air.
This is pretty much how Antarctica is; the bowl at the bottom of the planet.
And your thumb is the Antarctic Peninsula.
The peninsula is the most northerly point of the Antarctic mass, meaning it gets summer first, and it lasts longest there. It is sort-of an extension of the spine of the Andes, heading south down South America and ducking under the Drake Passage, meaning it is good for 300,000 breeding pairs of gentoo penguins, pictured, and chinstraps, and Adelies.
And that’s why I’m convinced that voyaging from Ushuaia, at the southern tip of South America, to the peninsula is the best experience for those who will visit Antarctica once. For whom it will be the trip of a lifetime.
Besides, I like the two-day voyage south across the Drake Passage. I like seeing the albatrosses fly, the first penguins flying in arcs over the surface, and my first iceberg. I like earning the privilege of arriving in Antarctica.
And all of that will be rather different to my many previous visits to Antarctica, because I (with my reader-companions) will be aboard Aurora’s ship Greg Mortimer. The ship is built for just such expeditions, and it’s the distinctive Ulstein X-BOW that will help cross the Drake more comfortably and efficiently. The bow cuts through swell and makes quicker transits through waves, giving fewer vibrations and disturbances. It also helps reduce fuel consumption by up to 60 per compared with previous ships. The ship has amazing observation decks, and a beautiful interior. I’m looking forward to the Glass Atrium Lounge inside the bow, with its huge windows.
EXPLORING THE ANTARCTIC PENINSULA
After crossing the Drake Passage, we will explore the coast, bays and islands of the Antarctic Peninsula. We plan to arrive at the peninsula through the South Shetlands islands (where we may make our first landing), but after that the itinerary will depend on conditions. We may get to Paradise Bay, Mikkelsen Harbour or Wilhelmina Bay; Danco Island and Cierva Cove — all places I’d like to see again. Maybe the Lemaire Channel.
But we can say we aim to make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day, so there will be plenty of exciting outings. I love the Zodiacs — cruising along ice cliffs or through fields of icebergs, seeing the whales and seals from pretty much water level.
BEFORE WE GO
It’s a big adventure to look forward to — and we’ll be enjoying the build-up from September 8, 2022, when I’ll host a morning tea for all the expeditioners booked through West Travel Club.
On October 1, 2022, I’ll have a full gear briefing and preparation session. I’ll bring examples of clothing, bags and other gear.
For those interested in photography, I’ll help prepare for that, suggesting suitable equipment. And before we leave, I’ll offer a photographic workshop, covering the basic photography principles that make for good pictures in Antarctica.
On October 29, 2022, I’ll do a final bag check, for those who want it, it will be just two weeks until we go.
We’ll be ready for our adventure.
And, of course, I’ll travel with the group from Perth and lead throughout.
The folk at Aurora Expeditions are great, trusted friends. They have arranged for all of our guests to book direct with them, whether joining us for just the voyage, or the full experience.
Aurora have designated a senior and experienced person ready to help.
It means our whole group will be dealt with by one person. One point of contact.
The Full Experience package starts from $19,495 per person, twin share, including all flights and the accommodation, events and visits in Auckland, where will stay for two nights at Four Points by Sheraton. There will be an event dinner and drinks one evening. There will also be an Auckland city tour, and a guided tour at Sea Life, with a focus on all-things Antarctic. It also includes one night at the Alvear Hotel in Buenos Aires (one of my personal favourites).
Expedition-only prices start from $15,095 per person, with travellers making their own travel arrangements.
All our guests will receive $US100 onboard credit.
Phone 1800 637 688 or email email@example.com
You can see the full itinerary, and find further information, at West Travel Club.
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