Antarctica: diving and swimming with leopard seals
Snorkeling with leopard seals, swimming with whales, killer whales, seals and penguins, iceberg diving.
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07 February - 02 March, 2020
25 days
Diving/snorkeling expedition
Difficulty level: high
13 500 EUR
What to expect from the trip?
A real expedition
Our journey starts in Ushuaia, the southernmost port of Argentina. A comfortable and safe yacht Aurora and its seasoned crew will take us across the Drake Passage. Aurora is equipped with everything necessary for a long expedition, from a shower and a kitchen to modern means of communication and salvage equipment. In 4 days we are going to find ourselves at the Antarctic Peninsula where we'll spend more than 2 weeks savoring the beauty of the primordial nature, engaging in iceberg diving and snorkeling with whales, watching penguins and seals. We'll visit abandoned stations of the pioneers and in our turn will become the explorers of new lands.

Snorkeling with leopard seals

The key moment of the expedition is snorkeling with leopard seals. These large seals are indeed a calling card of Antarctica, they are well known for their unusual behavior towards divers. It's in February and March when the chance to come across these magnificent creatures is at its highest. Accompanied by an experienced guide, we'll go into the water with these gracious predators. Very few divers in the world can say they've done the same thing. The better part of this expedition is going to be about snorkeling with leopard seals.

Scuba diving, iceberg snorkeling and snorkeling with penguins
Are you a diver or a free-diver? Do you want to see the underwater part of Antarctica? Then you've come to the right place. Our yacht has everything there is necessary for a group of scuba-divers and free-divers. Our experienced guide will tell you how to dive right and without any risk to your health, how to properly choose your gear, he will fill your tanks and make sure that your dives are exciting.

Lectures
Besides thrilling adventures, there are also educational programs waiting for you. Our guides will tell you about whales, seals, leopard seals and penguins. You will learn about the formation of icebergs, what crabeater seals eat and many other things. You'll hear exciting stories about expeditions of previous years and how to survive for a month in an isolated group of people.

Why is better to sail a yacht rather that a cruise liner?
What's special about our expedition is that we go on our own vessel in a small group of people which allows us to fully control the route and adjust it to the guests' needs and wishes. You can always swim with passing whales or spend more time taking pictures of penguins and their colonies if you want to.
The Aurora yacht can take aboard 14 people including the crew and the guides which means that we're going to have a small group of 7 guests, so that everyone can spend some time alone with nature, have plenty of time for taking pictures of animals and get individual approach in anything. Besides, each and every one of you will have an opportunity to learn how everything is organized and works around the yacht, to steer the wheel, to wind winches and feel what it's like to be a real sailor.

What animals are we going to see?
We'll have an opportunity to see a lot of rare and endemic animals, among which are:- Whales (minke whales, humpback whales, killer whales, fin whales);- Seals (leopard seals, crabeater seals, Weddel seals, southern elephant seals, fur seals);- 3 species of penguins: Chinstrap, Gentoo and Adelie;- Many different species of seabirds.
1
Diving and Free-diving
We are going to dive in places where few people have been under water. Diving in Antarctica is any diver's dream. Incredible forms and shapes of icebergs, splendid creatures and a terrific unique atmosphere are waiting for you.
2
Leopard seals
These animals are the main goal of this journey. You are going to see under water the largest seal in the whole world. Our guide will make sure that we find leopard seals and ensure your safety in the water.
3
Icebergs
We'll sail the yacht among icebergs. Those who want will be able to dive among them and see what's hidden under their tips.
4
Whales
Snorkeling with whales is one of our main goals.
5
Penguins
We'll see several species of penguins, and if we are lucky, there's a chance we'll see some of them under water.
Itinerary
25 days, 22 days at sea
Day 1 (07 February)
Arriving to Ushuaia by plane and checking into a hotel.
Day 2 (08 February)
A reserve day in case of any flight delays.
Day 3 (09 February)
Early in the morning we accommodate at the yacht, carry out the necessary paperwork and go into the open sea. This is the day we start across the Drake Passage.
Days 4 - 6 (10 -12 February)
Still going across the Drake Passage.
Day 7 (13 February)
The Subantarctic. Meeting with penguins and fur and elephant seals.
Day 8 (14 February)
Deception island. It's and abandoned whaling station in a volcano crater. Going down south to the Antarctic Peninsula.
Days 9 - 12 (15-18 February)
The Cuverville Islands are home to the largest colony of gentoo penguins (up to 10 000 specimens) and a great variety of other seabirds. These islands can also impress with their steep 200-meter (656-ft) cliffs. Leopard seals often come to the islands to feast on penguins. This is where we're going to look for leopard seals and dive with them for a few days.
Day 13 (19 February)
Gigantic glaciers of Paradise harbour. Looking for seals and diving with them.
Day 14 (February 20th)
At sea.
Days 14 - 17 (20-23 February)
Lemaire Channel and Petermann Island are the most picturesque places of Antarctica: here you can see tall mountains and lots of icebergs and animals. These are the places where colonies of Adelie and gentoo penguins live, as well as a lot of seals, among which are leopard seals. We are going to look for leopard seals and dive with them.
Day 18 (24 February)
Pleneau Bay is an "Iceberg Graveyard", a place icebergs get drifted to shallow water by currents. The bay is inhabited by penguins and seals, including leopard seals which we are going to dive with.
Day 19 (25 February)
The Vernadsky Research Base. It's the southernmost shop and pub in the world. The base is a popular tourist site in Antarctica. Also it's a great place to snorkel with leopard seals.
Days 20 - 23 (26-29 February)
Returning to Ushuaia through the Drake Passage.
Day 24 (01 March)
Arriving to Ushuaia and checking into a hotel.

Day 25 (02 March)
Flight back home.
Attention
The schedule and the program may be altered due to weather conditions.
The cost:
13 500 EUR per person (a double or triple cabin)
Optional: + 2000 EUR to guarantee a double cabin
Single cabins are available on demand
The Dates:
February 7th – March 2nd, 2020
Included:
  • Accommodation and meals at the vessel
  • Polar diving/free-diving/snorkeling
  • Tanks and weight belts
  • Transfer to and from the airport
Not included:
  • The airplane tickets to Ushuaia and back
  • Living at the hotel in Ushuaia
  • Any additional expenses in Ushuaia
  • Your personal gear, including diving equipment
  • Diving insurance
Is it scary to sail to Antarctica on a yacht?

No, it's not. Yachts are one of the most tough vessels to sink, and our crew members are seasoned guys who have been working in Antarctica and the High Arctic for years. To sail across the Drake Passage is a piece of cake for a crew like this one. They'll see to your full safety and make sure that you are comfortable during the entire expedition.
The Tour Leader
Stas Zakharov
Biologist, diver, free-diver
This guy is a biologist of the Team Trip Project. Also he's a diving PADI instructor. Stas will tell you all about the animals you'll see, and in the evenings he'll read you the most gripping lectures on marine mammals.
The list of the required equipment:
Make sure that you have the following things
  • Warm fleece clothes and thermal underwear.
  • Several pairs of warm socks.
  • Rubber boots (for landing).
  • Shoes to wear on board of the yacht.
  • A storm coat and waterproof clothes: gloves (it's better to take 2 pairs of them), a hat (it's also better to take 2 hats).
  • Swimsuits, shorts and swimming trunks (in case we get lucky with a thermal bath at Deception Island.
  • Sunshades (with a rope, otherwise you might drop them in the sea).
  • Personal hygiene items.
  • Sunscreen and hand cream.
  • Waterproof cases for your photo devices.
  • Your aid kit with your personal medications.
  • It's better to pack your things in soft bags and backpacks.
  • Motion sickness pills (Dramina)
Our journey is going to be in Antarctic summer. In this time of year, the air temperature varies from +2 C (35.6 F) to -6 C (21.2 F). When you're at sea and exposed to winds, the air temperature may seem to be lower than it really is.
Diving Equipment
  • A scuba mask, a scuba tube, paddles
  • A dry diving suit with a hood
  • A weather-appropriate set of thermal underwear (it would be a sound idea to take 2 sets of those)
  • 2 independent DIN regulators for cold-water diving
  • A buoyancy compensator
  • Gloves (we recommend 7mm wet gloves), a buoy, a knife, a dive computer, a flashlight, a compass.
  • A repair-kit for your equipment.
Polar diving isn't the hardest, but also isn't the easiest kind of diving. The water temperature can fall to -2 C (28.4 F) which is why it's extremely important that you're entirely sure that you can do it and that you can rely on your equipment. A cold-water diving experience is a must. We don't go for records, so it's going to be no more than two dives a day at the depth of up to 20 meters (65.6 ft). We have tanks, a compressor and weight belts on board.
Attention
In the Drake Passage where our route goes, the weather is highly unpredictable and can affect the route and duration of the expedition. We can't control the weather, and we can't guarantee that there's a calm sea ahead of us, therefore we are not responsible for any alterations to the schedule or to the expedition itself due to weather conditions.
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Contacts
Phone: +7 999 721 01 84
E-mail: info@team-trip.ru
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