Antarctica Yacht Charter Itinerary

Author: Lisa Larsen

An Antarctica yacht charter itinerary is different for everyone, every time. Looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience? Set your course for the end of the earth.

Antarctica is a remote wilderness best explored by an ice-class vessel. Charter a yacht and crew with family and friends for a highly personalized experience, with deluxe accommodations and gourmet cuisine. GREY WOLF is just such a vessel, an intimate yacht, built for safety and comfort, with an amazing crew. An Antarctica yacht charter itinerary will be designed just for you. Here are some suggestions for your voyage to the world’s end.

Antarctica Itinerary 12-Days, Central Peninsula

DAY 1 Boarding

Arrive at King George Island, Antarctica. Transfer to your yacht. Your Antarctica yacht charter itinerary begins with a magical, overnight sail through the South Shetland Islands. 

DAY 2: Discover Deception Island

Imagine the only place in the world where you can sail into the caldera of an active volcano. The name says it all, you have to know how to find the entrance to this bay. Once inside, the horseshoe island encircles Port Foster, a fascinating, safe harbor. Search for a colony of Chinstrap penguins. Hike from Whalers Bay to Neptune’s Window with a guide. Then sail overnight to Gerlache Strait, known for its spiky blue icebergs.

Day 3: Enterprise Island

The half-submerged wreck of the Governoren, a Norwegian whaling factory ship, is of greatest interest to history buffs, arctic divers, vessels using it as a mooring and nesting Arctic Terns.

It was Wednesday, January 27th, 1915. The end-of-the-season party was in full swing when most likely someone knocked over an oil lamp igniting the ship. The crew made it safely ashore. They watched helplessly, as the blazing ship slipped into the sea.

Take the Zodiac to examine the ship’s remains. The quiet bay is also ideal for kayaking and paddle-boarding in icy waters. 

DAY 4: Anvers Island

Explore the bays around Anvers Island and its surrounding islets. A customized Antarctica yacht charter itinerary means you decide what you’re in the mood for.

Antarctica whales and wildlife

Visit Palmer Station, operated by the United States Arctic Program. (View webcam) Cruise through Paradise Bay to track orcas and humpbacks. For photographers here, everything is a picture, you won’t know what to shoot first – whales, penguins, ice, glaciers, seals…

Embark on a Zodiac cruise to view the heavily-crevassed glaciers. Keep a lookout for nesting Gentoo penguins, kelp gulls, and skuas. Sail through the Strait of Lemaire, where tall cliffs hem in an iceberg-filled water passage.

Day 5: Vernadsky Research Base

The Base, founded in 1947, is one of the oldest in Antarctica. It is designated an historic site and is a favorite tourist attraction. The British sold the Base to Ukraine in 1996 for one British pound, with the stipulation that they continue running it and share data. The coin Vernadsky was purchased with still resides at the Vernadsky Station Lounge. One of the southernmost bars in the world, they appropriately distill a liquor that beats the chill.

On your Antarctica yacht charter itinerary you can choose to go ice caving and mountaineering near the Base, or explore the Argentine Islands and Petermann Island. Visit nearby penguin colonies. Even camp overnight on Argentine Island. 

DAY 6: Wilhelm Archipelago

Grab the binoculars and camera as you are likely to see Gentoo penguins and Leopard seals from your deck. Disembark from the yacht to hike up the surrounding mountains. If you have a guide, you can reach a memorial cross and plaque, pay respects and ski back down.

DAY 7: Wiencke Island

Go mountaineering on Wiencke Island, or take a Zodiac cruise through the Neumayer and Peltier Channels. Visit Base A at Port Lockroy, a historic museum that depicts Antarctic life in the 1940’s and 50’s. There’s a souvenir shop and “Penguin” post office. 

Antarctica itinerary: Central Peninsula Map

DAY 8: Explore Spert Island

Take a ride in the Zodiac to photograph an alien landscape of rocky spires and hollowed arches. Divers will observe walls of cold-water corals that grow beneath the surface in the north Palmer archipelago.

DAY 9: Joinville Island

Sail north to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula to explore incredible valleys and bays. Overnight sail to Paulet Island. 

DAY 10: Explore Paulet Island and Tay Head. 

DAY 11: Hope Bay

Explore Hope Bay and visit Esperanza Research Station, where scientists study Antarctic glaciology and seismology. Sail back towards King George Island. 

DAY 12: King George Island

Take a few final photos and exchange fond farewells with your crew. Although it is time to go home, Antarctica will stay with you forever.

Postscript: Simon Lucas, GREY WOLF Captain

Simon, Captain Grey Wolf Charter yacht

Simon Lucas is a Captain of many talents. Among them, piloting GREY WOLF through the amazing waters of Antarctica, the dramatic Drake’s Passage, and the Falkland Islands. He holds a BSC in Zoology and a Post Graduate Diploma in Wildlife Management. He is an accomplished photographer, videographer and raconteur. The fabulous photographs illustrating this feature and unique insights for future explorers, are to his credit. 

Antarctica group of Lion seals

What was your favorite stop?

“My favorite spot was Port Lockroy. There was “fast ice”, which is sea ice attached to shore, in the anchorage. This was being used as a home base by four Leopard seals! I have heard so many stories about their predatory behaviour. So, it was amazing to just watch them snooze and relax in the snow. They appear to be semi-nocturnal. Just before they go swimming they give themselves a good rub in the snow. I believe this helps aerate their fur for insulation!

The site is home to the non-profit ‘Base A’ historic site, maintained by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, which includes a post office and souvenier shop. So neat to hear about the history of Port Lockroy and it’s not every day you get to send mail from Antarctica!”

What is a must-do for charter guests?

“All of it. Every anchorage / landing is unique and incredible. For me, the biggest highlight is the wildlife and the interactions you witness while you are down there. These interactions are constantly happening everywhere – from humpbacks bubble net feeding to penguins ice-sliding down for a swim. So, it doesn’t really matter where you are on the peninsula, it’s full of action. Literally everywhere wildlife pops up and gives you a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

What camera gear do you recommend bringing? 

“I shoot with a Panasonic GH5 and GH5s using a 100-400mm lens for close ups and an 8-18mm for wide angles. I definitely recommend a big zoom! The wildlife is super friendly and you can get pretty close, but a zoom is even more intimate. Close-ups allow you to capture their personality.

You must have good gloves and handwarmers. When shooting, you constantly are taking gloves off to operate the camera. It’s really nice to have a warm place to put your hands afterwards. Great to have a waterproof bag/case for your camera, just big enough for the body and two lenses. This helps when you’re moving between the dinghy and the shore. You don’t have to worry about getting your equipment wet or dirty.”

Any more funny stories?

(The last one was great! Read: Simon Lucas: Man of Valor)

Antarctica Lion seals and wildlife

The Elephant Seal and the Snuggle Buddy

“When the baby elephant seal pups are born they weigh just 80-100lbs. From their birth, the mother nurses them for several weeks. They grow to weigh up to around 400-500lbs.

During this nursing period, the mother doesn’t eat anything. Eventually, she must return to the sea to feed. The pups are left alone to fend for themselves.

The result is that they desperately seek attention, and try to suckle anything they can find. On one occasion this included our gear bags. We put our safety kit ashore. A short time later, we discovered it had been commandeered as a junior elephant seal snuggle buddy. Eventually the pup let us have it back, but covered in slobber!”

Contact Select Yachts for charter availabilities in Antarctica, or anywhere on the planet. Captain Simon and Grey Wolf are currently in Antarctica. But they’ll be setting a course to the other end of the earth, and new, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, soon.

Click for additional information about Antarctic Yacht Charter:

Grey Wolf Brochure

The Antarctic Travel Guide

Antarctica: Beyond the Beaten Path

Simon Lucas: Man of Valor, Grey Wolf Captain

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