NOTE 1: The dates provided are the dates the expedition ship leaves from Ushuaia and arrives back in Ushuaia.
NOTE 2: We recommend that you arrive in Ushuaia one day before the departure of the expedition ship.
NOTE 3: You will be able to fly out from Ushuaia the same day the expedition ship arrives back in Ushuaia – but in the the afternoon.
Named after the renowned explorer Sir Francis Drake, who sailed these waters in 1578, the Drake Passage also marks the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar water sinks beneath the warmer northern waters. This creates a great upwelling of nutrients which sustains the biodiversity of this region. As a result, the Drake Passage also marks the northern limit of many Antarctic seabirds. As we sail across the passage, expedition lecturers will be available to help in the identification of an amazing variety of seabirds, including wandering albatrosses, grey headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, cape pigeons, southern fulmars, wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels and Antarctic petrels which follow in our wake. A full program of lectures will be offered. In the past, we have been treated to many sightings of whales and other sea life. The first views of icebergs and snow-capped mountains will indicate that we have reached the South Shetland Islands, a group of twenty islands and islets first sighted in February 1819 by Captain William Smith of the Brig Williams.
We will land, weather permitting, on several locations in and around the Antarctic Peninsula and Mainland and embark on what will be the final journey of the 4 Deserts for many competitors The Antarctic Peninsula's remarkable history will provide a type of excitement often only associated with the early explorers. You will have time to explore the amazing scenery, a pristine wilderness of snow, ice, mountains and waterways, and an incredibly wide variety of wildlife. Apart from penguins and seabirds you are very likely to see Weddell, Crabeater and Leopard seals as well as Minke, Killer (Orca) and Humpback whales at close range.
Locations where we may land include:
Other landing sites could include Melchior Island, Aitcho Island, Dorian Bay, Danco Island, Cuverville Island, Portal Point, Neko Harbour, Lamaire, Port Charcot, Booth, Pléneau Island, Hoovgard Island, Waddington Bay and others.
Depending on the ice conditions, we will also navigate some beautiful waterways like the Gerlache Strait, Neumayer Channel and Lemaire Channel. The latter channel involves narrow passages between towering rock faces and spectacular glaciers.
We will leave Antarctica, having completed The Last Desert 2020, and head north across the Drake Passage.
You may join lecturers and naturalists on deck as they search for seabirds and whales and enjoy some final lectures indoors. You can take the chance to relax and reflect on the truly remarkable 4 Deserts expedition of the past week and the past year(s) on the way back to Ushuaia.
During the return trip, we will hold the traditional Awards Banquet on the expedition ship. Amongst awards presented at the banquet include:
We will arrive in Ushuaia in the early morning and disembark the ship after breakfast.
NOTE 1: The above itinerary is a guide only. Our exact route and program will vary to take best advantage of local weather and ice conditions. Changes will be made by the Captain, Expedition Leader and the 4 Deserts staff to facilitate the best results from the prevailing conditions.
NOTE 2: A daily race briefing will be given on board. Flexibility is the key to success.
NOTE 3: We highly advise you to purchase a flexible plane ticket and to arrive well in advance in case of any problems with your flights.
NOTE 4: Although not likely, the itinerary is subject to change and RacingThePlanet will not be held responsible for any fees incurred due to airline ticket changes, re-bookings, etc.