DEPART : 30th November 2019
RETURN : 18th December 2019
Join us for an exclusive and unique opportunity to dive the Antarctic summer. Only two companies offer Antarctic Scuba Diving and all dive trips are in the Antarctic Autumn.
The best time to visit the Antarctic is in the height of the Antarctic summer. This gives you the best chance to have good weather. It is also the penguin breeding/gestation season, and makes for the best all round experiences.
EXCLUSIVE GUIDED ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION
Scuba diving in the Antarctic and South Atlantic Islands is no different. The best visibility and most prolific marine life occurs about midsummer. The African and Oriental Travel Company has teamed up with the great Antarctic diver, Jeffrey Bozanic to ask Oceanwide Expeditions, (the globally accepted leader of Antarctic Diving Expeditions) to operate a one-off, best of the best, summer diving expedition.
Without doubt the most exciting and fulfilling Antarctic Voyage is the one that takes in the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Orkneys and the South Shetlands. South Georgia is actually more difficult to get to than the Antarctic Peninsula. Very few vessels call there, and yet these islands, the subject of Blue Planet, are perhaps the most unique breeding grounds for birds on earth. Protected by British legislation and fisheries protection infrastructure, the wildlife on South Georgia is immense and unique. For divers and non-divers alike, this is the jewel of any southern ocean expedition.
This exclusive and fully guided voyage is open to divers and non-divers alike. This really is an incredible experience whether at sea, on land, or underwater. Non-divers will land daily on the Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula, while divers explore what is below the surface. On many occasions divers will also have the opportunity to land and view firsthand the stunning scenery and amazing life of this pristine part of our earth. Most active people will have the correct cold weather clothing for this voyage, but specialized boots (and snow shoes if needed) are provided by the boat for the land based activities. December is warm for Antarctica, but even so you should be prepared as though you would be spending an entire day outside skiing or hill walking on a snow bound and cold Welsh hillside.
ANTARCTIC SCUBA DIVING
The dive numbers are limited to 16, or two zodiacs, in order to keep this expedition exclusive and easy to manage. You will need to show that you have completed at least 30 drysuit dives. Cylinders and weights are included; all other equipment must be provided by you. (details upon request). What you do not have, we can put you in touch with first class suppliers.
You can expect to see many species of penguins, Leopard seals, Weddell seals, Antarctic Fur seals, dusky dolphins, albatrosses, skuas, snow petrels, and whales (orcas, minkes, and southern right whales are common). Benthic fauna includes nudibranchs, gigantic sea spiders and isopods, fish with antifreeze in their blood, anemones, brachiopods, crinoids, and many other animals unique to Antarctica.
We will depart from Ushuaia, Argentina aboard the ice-strengthened M/V Plancius to the world famous Falkland Islands. Steeped in history, this British Outpost is home to much wildlife and great diving. The vessel will then set sail again to the jewel of the journey, the British Antarctic Territory of South Georgia. This is a unique part of the earth which is only accessible by ship. We will spend our largest time bloc here before proceeding on to the South Orkney Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. We then pass into the South Shetlands for a final glance at the 10,000ft high peaks before steaming home to Ushuaia through the Drake Passage.
THE FALKLAND ISLANDS– Where history meets nature
The Falklands are famous for their multitude of exquisite natural history sites on the islands. Breeding Magellan penguins, gentoo penguins, rockhopper penguins, albatrosses, and many other uncommon birds inhabit the islands. Short walks will allow us to explore their realms. When you add diving to this you are faced with an irresistible ecological combination. We may also see Peale’s dolphins and Commerson’s dolphins in the waters surrounding the Falklands.
The Falklands are also steeped in history, being a British Outpost for the past few centuries. Most notably, The German Pacific fleet met its’ end here in 1914 at the hands of the Royal Navy. Tensions have always lurked below the surface between Argentina and Great Britain over the sovereignty of the islands. In 1982, the Argentines invaded. Britain’s response is a matter of historical record which has had a lasting impact on the history and geography of the Falkland Islands.
THE ANTARCTIC PENINSULA & SOUTH SHETLANDS
No expedition to the Antarctic is complete without setting foot on the seventh continent. But there is so much more to Antarctica than this. The whales, birds, seals, penguins and iconic icebergs are the reason to go to Antarctica.
In addition to this, there is a palpable sense of history in the British Antarctic Survey/Heritage Trust huts that can be found on the peninsula. Britain’s post WW2 presence at the south Shetland Islands is impressive in its far sightedness. Diving on icebergs and the wrecks of whalers is an experience that must be had.
The views of the endless snowcapped peaks and the pack ice are literally like no other.
YOUR EXPEDITION LEADERS:
The trip will be led by two divers and an anthropologist. All of whom bring a diversity of experience and knowledge that will compliment your journey.
Jeff is an experienced Antarctic diver, having spent multiple seasons working on the ice as the Dive Technician supporting the scientific diving for the U.S. Antarctic program. An accomplished re-breather instructor, Jeff has extensive experience testing re-breathers in Antarctica. In addition to this, he has lead numerous ecotourism trips and is a NAUI Course Director with three decades of dive training experience.
Farhat “Raf” Jah.
Farhat started diving in 1992 and started his first dive school in 1995. He has organized and led dive expeditions on remote islands in the Indian Ocean ever since. In 1998 he crossed the Sahara Desert for the first time in a 110Landrover. A feat he has repeated in Landrovers and lorries seven and a half times. Raf is a keen historian, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and NAUI Instructor Trainer.
Francisca is a maritime anthropologist with extensive experience in maritime communities. With over 1000 dives to her name, she is a very proud advanced scuba diver. She operated a beach resort on a small African island for 15 years before co-founding the African and Oriental Travel Company. An accomplished tour leader and no stranger to Antarctica, she brings her organizational skills and educated knowledge of the region to the expedition.
Prices include: Expedition PLA24, diving tanks and weights, all shipboard guiding fees, all meals on board the vessel. Two dives per day on diving days (at the discretion of the dive leader.)
Not Included: flights, airport transfers, hotels, dive gear rental, departure taxes, alcoholic drinks, soft drinks, personal expenses, food on shore (except breakfast) land based tours, dive equipment, dive and travel insurance (mandatory), clothing hire.
BUILD YOUR OWN PACKAGE:
As per the oceanwide requirements you will need to spend a night in Ushuaia. We strongly recommend 2 nights in case of any baggage issues. We are more than happy to tailor make your package with flights from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, hotels and transfers in Buenos Aires and Ushuaia. We also offer diving and tours in Ushuaia and flights to Buenos Aires from your home town if required. Simply contact us below and we will organize everything.