WHAT'S NEW: Two years ago a new emperor penguin colony was discovered on the south side of Snow Hill Island. You can be among the first to witness this 4,000-breeding-pair rookery of majestic birds on Zegrahm Expeditions' October journey aboard the icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov. Setting sail from Ushuaia, Argentina, the icebreaker will cruise the 500-mile (805-kilometer) Drake Passage—where guests on deck can photograph whales and swooping albatross—and crash through frozen waters to reach the Antarctic Peninsula and Weddell Sea. There, giant tabular icebergs dot the horizon and crabeater seals drift by on ice floes. "Emperor penguin colonies are usually much harder to reach," says Zegrahm spokesperson Casey Marker. "That's what makes Snow Hill so special."
ON THE GROUND: Once on the island, if weather permits, helicopters will carry you to the rookery to watch newborn penguin chicks cluster and brood at their parents' feet. You'll also have a chance to make a Zodiac landing at the Trinity Peninsula's Brown Bluff and set foot on the Antarctic landmass itself.
Outfitter: Zegrahm Expeditions (www.zeco.com)
Length: 15 days
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