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Oceanwide Expeditions


Polar voyages and Antarctica and Arctic Cruises


Oceanwide Expeditions specialises in ship-based expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic. Besides these Arctic and Antarctic destinations we also offer expeditions to several remote North and mid-Atlantic islands. [Zodiac Cruising] We are convinced that while reading about our destinations you will become increasingly fascinated by these unique wildernesses, places with so much drama, wildlife, history, and true emotion.




The Arctic

The Arctic, the land of the midnight sun, of snow and ice, offers some of the finest scenery and wildlife experiences in the world. Visitors to the region can witness enormous colonies of seabirds thronging the cliffs and shores, and enjoy the thrilling antics of whales at sea, and seals and walruses hauled out on rocks and ice-floes. The proximity of the pack-ice offers spectacular cruising between ice-floes. The lucky may even encounter the very symbol of the Arctic - the Polar Bear.
 

     

North Atlantic Islands

Maybe less extreme but no less interesting are the North Atlantic islands that we visit on some of our expeditions. In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and the north of Scotland and in the north of Norway rugged islands can be found where local communities have lived for thousands of years. Sailors, hunters, fortune seekers, Vikings and Christian monks, they all in one way or another ended up on these islands and forged unique cultures that are still very much alive today. Besides the remains of thousands of years of human history, these islands also teem with wildlife.


   

Antarctica

Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic Islands are some of the last truly unspoilt regions of the world. The mysterious White Continent, with its multi-coloured ice caps, glistening glaciers and towering snow-capped mountains, offers unparalleled scenery and photographic opportunities. Enormous numbers of penguins, whales, seals and seabirds congregate in the food-rich waters along the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic shores.


 

Antarctica Expedition Cruises

Antarctic Peninsula - Falkland Islands - South Georgia

Itineraries

All promoted itineraries are for general guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions and ad hoc decisions by the Expedition Leader to take advantage of opportunities to see wildlife. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. Landings are always subject to weather, local site availabilities and environmental regulations (IAATO). Official sailing plans and landing slots will be scheduled with IAATO approximately 5 months prior to the start of the season. The final sailing plan will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board. The implementation of the sailing plan is subject to the capability of the vessel and the discretion of the Master. Taking the exorbitant high fuel prices into account, it is agreed that Oceanwide Expeditions has the right to reduce the speed of the engines (including sailing on one engine) wherever possible, unless this affects the character of the intended voyage substantially and jeopardises the safety of the vessel, its crew, staff and passengers.

Rubber Boots and Expedition Jackets

Onboard Plancius & Ortelius all passengers are entitled to use a pair of sturdy rubber boots for free. Sizes need to be pre-ordered with Oceanwide reservation departments at least 8 weeks prior to departure. A voucher will be sent with final travel documents approximately 4 weeks prior to departure. Laying claims on equipment items without pre-order and voucher can not be accepted when boarding the vessel. Boots will need to be returned to the expedition team at the end of the voyage. Rubber boots are of high quality, keeping your feet dry, warm and comfortable for all landings. Expedition jackets (on Plancius only) can also be pre-ordered for a special price.
 

Shore Excursions and Zodiac Cruising

Guided shore excursions, walks and wildlife spotting and zodiac cruising are included in the fare and will be offered to all passengers during the voyages. We put our emphasis on active wildlife and nature experiences.


# Including Helicopters. 
On these 4 voyages the vessel will be equipped with a minimum of two helicopters.  The use of helicopters can support us in our goal to reach the scheduled landing sites that otherwise are inaccessible.  As always plans are subject to conditions (such as ice and weather).

 

Basecamp Plancius – Our activity base (C H K M P)

The ship becomes our base camp on selected dates. "Base camp" is by definition a temporary storing and starting place, from which an activity starts, in this instance a "coast to mountain" expedition. During designated "Basecamp Plancius" voyages the ship will be taken to carefully chosen places in the Antarctic. The vessel will stay for two or three days at specific locations to serve our active passengers as a comfortable hub to allow more time than usual for wide ranging activities:
mountaineers (M) and hikers (H) to climb mountain ranges, photographers (P) to explore photo opportunities, campers (C) to enjoy life at shore base camps, kayakers (K) and zodiac passengers to explore near shores where the ship cannot go.
Passengers who do not wish to become physically active will enjoy our zodiac excursions and follow the normal shore program and land excursions (easy to moderate walks and hikes with focus on wildlife). We also offer photo workshops. All adventure activities are free of charge.

 

Bilingual voyages (B): English-French or English-German

English is the ship's language. Some German or French speaking expedition staff will be onboard for designated bilingual voyages (English–German or English-French). Welcome and safety briefings, announcements, daily briefings, and recaps will be provided in English and German/French. English and German/French lectures may vary in content. Simultaneous translations of lectures will not occur but a summary in the second language may be given at the end of a lecture. Guidance during activities ashore will depend on the group each passenger chooses according to their own physical ability. Passengers will be split up in interest groups whenever needed, i.e. activity voyages: longer walks (faster-paced group) and a leisurely walk (slower-paced group) in the vicinity of the landing beach (more time for photography). A German or French speaking staff member will not necessarily be available for each group. During Zodiac cruises, each boat's driver/guide will not necessarily be bilingual.
 

Camping (C)

On some Antarctic voyages we offer an exciting 'open air' camping option, which gives an intensive experience of the Antarctic wilderness. Special gear and field equipment will be provided: tents, wind and waterproof bivouac bags (lightweight alternative to a tent system). This shelter will protect you from the elements during the night in the open air of Antarctica. Mattresses and polar sleeping bags provide comfort during the night. The maximum number of participants for this camping option is 30 participants per night. One expedition guide will conduct the activity ashore. Camping is always subject to weather, local site and environmental regulations. 1 night has to be booked prior to the trip; any extra nights (if those are possible) must be arranged onboard. There is no guarantee that a second night can be implemented. Additional nights will be charged by the Hotel Manager. For more details please refer to the activity manual.

Diving (D)

Divers must be advanced and experienced in dry suit and cold water diving. We hope for 1-2 different dives per day parallel to all other activities. Diving depends on local ice and weather conditions. Dive masters and dive guides are responsible for safety during operation. Basic equipment is onboard (scuba tanks, compressors, weights and diving essentials). Divers bring their personal gear. A supplement will be charged for the activity package.
 

Hiking (H)

During voyages with hiking options we hope to be able to exceed on our normal shore excursion walking Program. The possibilities to hike longer distances in de Antarctic are limited by mountains and glaciers. In general the longest hikes can last up to two hours. We aim at one or two hikes per day during morning and / or afternoon landings. The final decision on those hiking options will be met by the Expedition Leader on the day of the excursion. We recommend bringing a proper pair of ankle high hiking boots (illustration in Basecamp activity selection form) and gaiters. Hiking is free of charge.

Kayaking (K)

In general we plan to at least offer 4 kayaking days. Basic kayaking experience is required and physical fitness is essential. Parallel to all other activities we are planning on offering kayaking excursions during morning and / or afternoon landings. The final decision on those excursions will be met by the Expedition Leader. Oceanwide will provide kayaks, neoprene wet suits, booties and gloves. Kayakers will bring their own personal gear. Kayaking is subject to weather and prevailing ice conditions. A supplement will be charged for the activity package (except "Basecamp Plancius" voyages).
 

Photo workshop (P)

On selected voyages and "Basecamp Plancius" voyages Oceanwide Expeditions is going to offer photo workshops for beginners and advanced photographers under the supervision of a photo expert on board. Everybody is welcome to participate, no previous experience required. The workshop group (up to 20 participants per guide per landing, and up to 14 participants per guide on supplemented voyages) will be accompanied by the photo expert during activity ashore. Participants with a special interest in photography will bring their personal photo equipment. During cruise days everybody will be able to listen into photo lectures and workshops in order to learn more about objects, exposures and photo composition. The workshop does not intend to instruct on how to use specific camera models, but more to give an insight on better photo results by respecting basic rules of photography. Photographers can also take part in other activities of their choice. Photo workshops are free of charge on Basecamp voyages, and supplemented on other activity coded voyages. The photo workshop must be pre-booked prior to departure.

Character of photo workshops: Basecamp Plancius and other non supplemented voyages: free "try out" activity for everybody, participants also dip into other activities, group size up to 20 participants per photo guide and landing, daily changing groups, workshop content not too specialised, target group "beginners to experts" who wish to receive daily photo tuition. During photo workshops powered by Leica Akademie (see attached dates & rates), participants can test Leica camera equipment free of charge.

Activity coded & supplemented voyages: Leica Akademie photo workshop, up to 14 participants will be instructed by a photo guide lecturer of Leica Akademie, homogeneous group, progressive workshop sessions specialise on improving specific photo skills, Leica photo equipment can be tested (cameras and objectives), target group "experts and those who want to become experts".

 

Snowshoeing/hiking (S)

Especially on early departures at the beginning of the season there are still snow covered hills and mountains further inland. During voyages to the Antarctic we are planning on offering hiking excursions with snowshoes. Snowshoe walking is easy and does not require any technical skills. With the use of snowshoes it is easier and safer to walk on snow surfaces. Snowshoes will be provided to everyone on board.  Those will fit all boot sizes and can be used in combination with Oceanwide's rubber boots. Snowshoe hiking is free of charge.

Mountaineering (M)

This is a technical and more strenuous activity for mountaineers who wish to walk beyond the shore radius in order to reach higher grounds and view points. Mountaineers walk in rope parties under the leadership of a certified mountain guide mostly across glaciated environment. Mountaineering knowledge is preferable, but not required. Physical fitness is essential. The maximum number is limited to 6 mountaineers per rope party. Special glacier equipment will be provided: ropes and carabiners, harnesses, helmets, ice axes and crampons. Participants will bring their personal protective outdoor clothes, mountaineering boots (leather or plastic) suitable for using crampons. A mountain guide and assistants (depending on group size) will supervise and guide the activity.

 

Ski Trekking (T) – Shackleton Traverse

A group of up to 12 ski trekkers will pull their own sledge (approx. 30 - 35 kg) with personal and shared equipment (food, stoves, fuel) in challenging mountainous terrain. The sledge can be carried as a backpack on stretches without snow. Ski trekking involves elements of ski mountaineering, glacier travel and winter camping. In general participants must be physically conditioned and experienced in order to participate in this strenuous exercise in alpine environments facing sometimes extreme weather. In addition, ski trekkers must be familiar with skiing and crevasse rescue techniques which can be learned in Alpine Introductory Courses. The group will access sometimes difficult, glaciated, heavily crevassed and potentially hazardous alpine terrain. There is no real climbing on this trip, but the extreme weather conditions and very strong winds can make this crossing a very challenging undertaking. There is a possibility that due to stormy weather the expedition members must remain in tents for several days at a time.

Fully approved IFMGA (International Federation of Mountain Guides Association) mountain and ski guides are responsible for safety and will lead the group during this multiple day expedition. A medically qualified person will be appointed.  The minimum client to guide ratio is 1 guide to 4 clients. Basic equipment is available onboard (sledges, snowshoes, field camp and alpine mountaineering essentials). Ski trekkers only bring their own ski equipment (Randonées or Telemark skis, skiing boots) and personal expedition clothing. In order to be considered for this ski trekking expedition all participants are required to fill in a Personal Information / Medical form. Furthermore participants need to submit a report summarising their personal ski mountaineering/trekking history preferably in an expedition setting. Applications will be reviewed for interview. A supplement will be charged for the ski crossing package.
           
           

 


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