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With featured guest Fridrik Rafnsson, founder of the Charcot Museum and former president of the Alliance Française.
Your journey aboard Le Commandant Charcot will begin with your first look at this strikingly elegant ship, capable of navigating our planet's most extreme environments. You are about to begin an adventure that will lead you to the edges of the Earth, on the continent that no people have ever inhabited, the Antarctic. But while these lands belong to no one, they have been the theatre of the greatest expeditions and have proven the heroism exemplified by certain men. From the Antarctic Peninsula to the Bellingshausen Sea and its unknown islets, LeCommandant Charcot will humbly take you on a 15-day exploration of the FarSouth, in the wake of the legendary man to whom it owes its name.
After crossing the mythical Drake Passage, beaten by the winds and home to soaring cape petrels, you will glimpse the last continent on the horizon. Jean-Baptiste Charcot led his first journey to the Antarctic over a century ago, but his exploits still resonate and his traces are tangible here. His first expedition with the ship Le Français built his legend and made a mark on Salpêtrière Bay. A little further south lies Marguerite Bay, which he explored during his second expedition. He named this mountainous and magnificent land after his wife and Pourquoi-Pas Island after his eponymous ship. At the exit of the Lemaire Channel, Petermann Island still holds memories of the wintering of this exceptional expedition.
As you sail on exploring the Bellingshausen Sea, the conditions become increasingly extreme. Ice takes over your horizon, the ice floe stretches out, and icebergs drift around you. The approach to Charcot Island guarantees intense emotions and gives you the unique feeling of being among the privileged few able to contemplate it.
Throughout your journey, our team of passionate experts will go over all the details of these historic exploits with you while sharing their in-depth knowledge of the wildlife and landscapes. You will have the chance to observe Adelie, Gentoo and chinstrap penguins and perhaps even some young emperor penguins on the edge of the ice floe. Leopard, crabeater and Weddell seals,humpback and Mink whales, and orcas also live in these southern waters that you will sail through like those men of legend did before you.
We are privileged guests in these extreme lands where we are at the mercy of weather and ice conditions. Our navigation will be determined by the type of ice we come across; as the fast ice must be preserved, we will take this factor into account from day to day in our itineraries. The sailing programme, outings, activities and observation of fauna cannot be guaranteed and are subject to weather and ice conditions. These experiences are unique and vary with each departure. The Captain and the Expedition Leader will make every effort to ensure that your experience is as rich as possible, while respecting safety instructions and regulations imposed by the IAATO.