Antarctica may be at the end of the Earth, but we’ve been bringing guests here for decades— safely sharing all the wonders of this vast land and sea. Join us to experience the thrill of crunching through the sea ice aboard our fleet of three state-of-the-art expedition ships to see scores of penguins and whales. People come for the wildlife but fall in love with the ice: an entire museum of colossal and magical ice forms defying description. And, you’ll get a front seat to the dashing history of the Heroic Age of Exploration. Armed with a flexible itinerary that allows us to go where conditions are best and wildlife is most active, we’ll experience all the splendor of Antarctica. Venture into channels and coves framed by towering peaks. Watch whales play off the bow; glide around enormous icebergs in Zodiacs; photograph penguin colonies with a National Geographic photographer; hike, kayak, and even possibly cross-country ski in complete tranquility.
Explore the world’s last great wilderness in the company of a team of top naturalists celebrating Lindblad’s 50+ year expedition heritage
Hike on magnificent mountains and see huge glaciers, plus observe thousands of penguins: gentoos, Adelie, and chinstrap
Kayak in protected waters, paddling as penguins swim nearby
Zodiac cruise in ice-choked channels and land on distant shores to explore on foot
Early November departures offer the possibility to cross-country ski or snowshoe across the frozen sea ice, conditions permitting
You’ll get out on adventures every day we’re in Antarctica, sometimes twice a day—to walk ashore, kayak or Zodiac cruise among icebergs. Make the expedition as active as you choose, and each day join a different naturalist for more viewpoints. Plus, get top shots with the help of a National Geographic photographer.
We will cover your bar tab and all tips for the crew on all National Geographic Explorer,National Geographic Resolution, and National Geographic Endurance voyages.
Book by May 31, 2021 on select departures for free economy group airfare between Miami/Buenos Aires (or Santiago). Valid for new bookings only, subject to availability.
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Travel on this itinerary from $15,080 per person
Make the most of your proximity and time
Iguazú Falls Post Voyage Extension for Explorer and Endurance
Iguazú Falls Post Voyage Extension for Explorer and Endurance
$3,170 per person
Taller than Niagara, Iguazú Falls is also twice as wide with 275 cascades spread in a horseshoe shape over nearly two miles of the Iguazú River. Situated in Iguazú National Park in northeastern Argentina, this natural sanctuary is a UNESCO World Heritage site, owing to its beautiful landscapes and subtropical forest, with 450 species of birds, including toucans and parrots, and butterflies, orchids and endangered jaguars.Note: On select National Geographic Endurance departures this may run as a pre-voyage extension. Please call for details.
Today was the first day of expedition in Antarctica. We began at Snow Island, which made for a beautiful landing with plenty of elephant seals, the largest of all pinnipeds. A couple of young fur seals, nesting giant petrels, and a few gentoo and chinstrap penguins were all accompanying us at the landing. Snow Island is in the southwest corner of the South Shetland Islands, an archipelago that forms the first landmass you encounter when you travel south from South America.
Deception Island is one of two active volcanoes in Antarctica. The caldera formed after a major volcanic eruption about 10,000 years ago, where a vast amount of lava blown out on to the surface led to an emptying of the magma chamber down below, and eventually resulted in a collapse of the volcano. The center part of the caldera is today flooded by sea water, through the narrow opening at Neptune’s Bellows.
Our Zodiac cruise this afternoon was on the outskirts of Deception Island, near Baily Head. This is an active nesting area for a chinstrap penguin colony which contains numerous shag nests on cliff edges. Baily Head itself is comprised of consolidated volcanic ash layers, altered to palagonite, the breakdown of which the chinstraps use to build their nests.
Antarctica is one of the world’s most geographically isolated locations. As a result it is highly biologically isolated—meaning many of the animals and plants are found nowhere else and there is very little gene-flow toward the continent. As visitors it is our duty to insure we don’t upset this balance by bringing outside contaminants with us. Today as we crossed the Drake Passage we participated in a mass cleaning and decontaminating of gear, to insure we protect the pristine wildness of Antarctica.
We cast off our lines in the wee hours of the morning and were halfway down the Beagle Channel by dawn. The early risers were treated to a display of breaching by a mother and calf pair of humpback whales. Then it was out into the Drake Passage, which lived up to its infamous reputation: a relentless strong wind, gusting up to 65 knots, whipped the sea into a frenzy. From the aft deck we watched the seabirds in awe as they deftly used the wind to their advantage, hurtling by and arcing high above the horizon. As the storm system passes to our east tonight, we hope to make better progress as we head south towards the Antarctic Convergence Zone and the Southern Ocean proper.
We slowly wake from a dream: whales, ice, penguins, ice, mountains, and sky. At first there is only ocean and birds, motion and clouds. Snatches of the dream remain, black and white, tall fins, gigantic lunging bodies in the water, endless parents and children on the land, not a tree nor a shrub to be seen… so strange, so different, so beautiful!
Yes, it is over, but it really did happen. It might seem like a dream, especially the whales, from the ship, from the Zodiac. Who has ever seen that before? Where is it written? Nature so raw. Killer whales so arrogant, so strong, swimming between giant icebergs like streets in a city. Now it is behind us, literally and figuratively. Now we try to put it in context.
By noon we start to come back to our world. There is Cape Horn. Some call it the end of the world. So it is, the end of our world, but we come from beyond that. The albatross fly around us…no, not fly, soar, so different, the last wisps of our dream before morning and a new day and we are different now ourselves.
After lunch we enter the Beagle Channel, narrow hills and mountains with trees, even cows and roads. Pack our bags, get our passports, gather images, pixels not pictures from a computer, left by our shipmates and ourselves. End of the world, end of time, and now it is tomorrow with memories of yesterday that become part of ourselves.
During dinner, we arrive at Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. May it always be that, a million steps from Antarctica where nature rules and dreams begin.
What a day! The full sea experience of the Southern Ocean started somewhere around 1:00 a.m. as conditions in the Drake Passage grew increasingly more turbulent. By mid-morning, there were gusty winds up of up to 50 knots. This did not keep us from getting out on the bridge to find nearby wildlife. We were rewarded with the occasional black-browed albatross and sooty shearwater, but the abundance of seabirds was noticeably low at this time. Our first break came around 9:00 a.m. when we spotted a pod of hourglass dolphins riding the port-side waves coming off the vessel. These were a treat to see, and there was still quite a way to go before entering the Beagle Channel!
Ian Bullock gave a fantastic presentation on maritime conditions of the Southern Ocean, which was certainly fitting, given the boisterous conditions we were then experiencing. Afterward, Conor Ryan gave us an underwater perspective into the acoustics and soundscapes of marine mammals. The ship was lively and both talks were well attended, even though there was a lot of rocking and rolling on the ship!
We heard from Gabriela Roldan about the Natives of Tierra del Fuego just as we could see land in the far distance. And with that, relief pervaded our group upon learning that calmer waters awaited. We closed out our activities aboard
National Geographic Orion
with a few rounds of pub trivia about Antarctica and all that we had learned over the course of our expedition. Competition between teams was palpable. However, the Drake Lakers was the team who ended up taking victory this day.
With photos taken at regular intervals, a series of the Drake Passage illustrates how truly dynamic the Drake Passage experience has been! Despite the rolling seas and slight discomfort, I think I can speak for everyone in saying that it is difficult to say goodbye to good company and travel experiences in such a remarkable setting.