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L'Austral, Antarctica & Climate Change ex Ushuaia Return

L'Austral, Antarctica & Climate Change ex Ushuaia Return

10 Night Cruise sailing from Ushuaia roundtrip aboard L'Austral.

Join New York Times science writers Henry Fountain and James Gorman on this expedition to the heart of the Antarctic Peninsula. Witness with them the grandeur of this most remote of continents and discover the ways in which climate change may alter its role in the global eco-system.

Visiting Antarctica is almost like stepping back in time, to the era when the world was new. There are no human sounds in this land of primeval beauty, only the wild cries of birds, seals, and whales echoing across a vast expanse of land and sea. Travel with us to this magical land during the austral summer, when the days are long and relatively mild, when seabirds are courting, and massive icebergs thaw into sculptures of brilliant form and color.

The start of our expedition is marked by the crossing of the mythical Drake Passage, during which we will likely be escorted by albatrosses and cape petrels, the sentinels of these often-choppy waters.

When we reach the White Continent, we explore the pristine wilderness of the Antarctic Peninsula, a narrow finger of land that juts into the ice-choked waters of the Weddell Sea. Witness a breathtaking panorama of icebergs, blue glaciers, and jagged, snow-capped mountains. Cruise aboard Zodiacs among ice floes; explore penguin rookeries; and visit with scientists at research stations.

Highlights of this cruise:

Ushuaia
Capital of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province, Ushuaia lies in a bay opening into the Beagle Channel at the country's southernmost tip. Its colourful houses are framed against towering mountains, snow-capped in winter and summer alike. Downtown, the End of the World Museum showcases Tierra del Fuego's natural and indigenous history. A ride on the heritage railway is an exciting excursion into the Tierra del Fuego National Park, while a cruise on Ushuaia Bay is the perfect way to spot sea lions and Magellanic penguins.

Antarctic Peninsula
Succumb to the magic of a place unlike any other. To this day, the mythical Antarctic Peninsula still holds real fascination and promises its visitors unforgettable moments. Throughout your adventure in this icy realm, you will find yourself in the heart of a spectacular decor in subtle shades of blue and white, surrounded by exceptional wildlife. Penguins, humpback whales, seals and giant petrels are at home here, as are elephant seals, fur seals, Antarctic minke whales, and orcas. Depending on which sites you will be lucky enough to visit, you may get the chance to observe them and share with them the beauty of these extreme parts.

Each day, based on ice conditions, the Captain and the Expedition Leader will suggest ZodiacĀ® outings or landings to discover the infinite riches of the Antarctic Peninsula. Glaciers, ice floe, tabletop icebergs, mountain peaks that plunge straight into the sea, volcanic beaches, research stations, enchanting bays, and vestiges of the whaling industry: these are the faces of the Antarctic that will likely reveal themselves to you, in a hushed and surreal atmosphere. You will sail in the wake of Jean-Baptiste Charcot, Adrien de Gerlache and Sir Ernest Shackleton, great Antarctic explorers who, from the 19th century, set out to conquer these remote and uninhabited lands.

Drake Passage
If there is one place, one sea, one waterway dreaded by tourists, researchers and hardened seafarers alike, it is undoubtedly Drake Passage. Situated at the latitude of the infamous Furious Fifties winds, between Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands, it is the shortest route to Antarctica. Seasoned navigators will tell you that you must earn your visit to the White Continent! As the Antarctic convergence zone where cold currents rising up from the South Pole meet warmer equatorial water masses, Drake Passage harbours a very diverse marine fauna. Don't forget to look to the sky to catch a glimpse of elegant albatross and Cape petrels, playfully floating about in the wind around your ship.

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