Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctica

Antarctica and South Georgia Adventure

Duration: 18 Days / 17 Nights

Starts: Ushuaia, Argentina

Ends: Montevideo, Uruguay

Itinerary

On this epic 18-day voyage, we explore the South Shetlands and the Antarctic continent before heading via the Antarctic Sound and Weddell Sea for an extended South Georgia visit. The adventure ends in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo.

Departing from Ushuaia in Argentina, we cross the mighty Drake Passage en route for the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. Here we will make Zodiac landings at penguin rookeries, research stations and fascinating lookouts.

Continuing towards the east, we will explore the Antarctic Sound with its mighty tabular icebergs and enter the Weddell Sea in search for wildlife.

Sailing onwards between Elephant Island and South Georgia offers a small glimpse into the passage made famous by Shackleton 100 years ago, when he navigated the 1300 km course through open seas of Drake Passage in an effort to save his stranded crew. South Georgia is one of world’s greatest natural wonders. Wildlife-packed beaches, active research stations, former whaling stations and a visit to Shackleton’s final resting place are on our agenda. This trip has an extended South Georgia itinerary, allowing us to see more than usual.

On our last leg we sail to Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, allowing for easier flights onwards in South America or towards home. The last seadays can be spend bird watching from the top deck and attending lectures, workshops and photo re-caps in one of the ship’s lounges.

Onboard our brand-new strong ice-strengthened expedition vessel, we are sure to get close to the dramatic coastlines. Zodiac cruising and shore landings are an important and considerable part of the planned itinerary, hopefully enabling all expedition guests to set foot on the Antarctic continent, as well as the many surrounding sub-Antarctic and South Georgia islands.

Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina

Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina – the world’s southernmost city. In the afternoon, we board our ship.

Our journey begins as we navigate through the calms of Beagle Channel, a strait in the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago.

Day 2-3: At Sea – Drake Passage, South Shetland Islands

Sailing onward, we cross the famed Drake Passage – a body of water that marks the intersection of the cold Antarctic with the warmer Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Drake Passage is known for rollicking conditions and strong westerly winds, called the Roaring Fifties. While this passage may be challenging, you can rest confidently aboard our expedition vessel, which is purpose-built with stabilizers, powerful engines and a highly-qualified crew. The most spirited sailors consider Drake Passage a lifetime achievement – and soon you can tick it off on the list yourself!

In the Drake, the excitement builds as Antarctic wildlife comes into view -the area is well-known for its abundance of birds.

Having crossed the Drake, we will start exploring the Antarctic islands of the South Shetland chain and be marveled by the captivating landscapes we will encounter along the way.

With the patented X-BOW design, the ship will offer you a smoother sailing across the Drake Passage, and due to the speed of the vessel, we might be able to do a first landing or activity in the South Shetland Islands on the afternoon of day 3, weather permitting.

Day 4-5: Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands

The next couple of days, we will explore the Antarctic islands of the South Shetland chain as well as the Antarctic peninsula.

Landfalls could include: Deception Island, an extinct volcano with waters warm enough for a polar swim; and Half Moon Island with nesting Wilson’s storm petrels and chinstrap penguins.

The itinerary and activities over the next few days depend on weather and ice conditions. The route and shore landings will be determined by the captain and expedition leader and communicated to guests through regularly scheduled briefings.

Day 6-8: Antarctic Sound, Weddell Sea and Elephant Island

Over the coming days, we will begin the exciting Antarctic experience at the very tip of the Continent. During these days in the Antarctic Sound, named in 1902 after the Swedish vessel Antarctic, the captain and the expedition team will keep a watchful eye on the mighty tabular icebergs, born from the floating Larsen Ice Shelf further south. We aim to have both continental and island landings on the shores of Antarctic Sound and Weddell Sea, always on the lookout for some of the unusually large penguin colonies, which have recently been observed.

The Weddell Sea takes its name from the early British explorer James Weddell, who by hunting seals through a break in the ice in 1823 got to the southernmost point at his time. As we enter the Weddell Sea of today, we grow accustomed to giant floating icebergs and witness the sheer quantity of sea ice in these waters. Apart from penguins, the wildlife here includes Weddell and elephant seals and seabirds. Humpbacks feed in the nutrient-rich waters (caused by the upwell of cold water from the ocean depths), so there are opportunities to see whales, as well as the Antarctic’s largest predator, the solitary leopard seal.

Because of the considerable sea ice and enormous bergs in the Weddell Sea, navigation through this remote nature is at the edge of what is possible; your captain and expedition leader are well aware that shifting ice means that no individual part of this area can be guaranteed as accessible at any time, so they will work together to find the most magnificent opportunities. This is part of the wonder of this part of the world, and you’ll be visiting an area few humans have ever seen.

From the Weddell Sea we continue our journey into the open sea, just as Ernest Shackleton and his men did more than hundred years ago. Having lost their ship Endurance deep south in the Weddell Sea they moved slowly north on ice floes and later in open lifeboats until they reached Elephant Island. From here started one of the most remarkable boat journeys in the polar history, when Shackleton and five of his men for two weeks navigated the 720 nautical miles to South Georgia to call for recovery of the stranded crew on Elephant Island. We on the other hand will reach the mighty South Georgia after just a few days at sea!

Day 9-10: At sea towards South Georgia

Days at sea are great for participating in lectures, photo sessions and recaps, reading books in the ship library and watching the ubiquitous storm petrels and albatrosses from top deck. Additionally, a raffle or auction onboard usually takes place during this time, to raise funds for charitable organizations focused on global issues and local environmental solutions. In this case, for example, South Georgia Heritage Trust, Whale & Dolphin Conservation, and more. Take this opportunity to give back to the world while educating yourself on the subjects that these organizations support in a fun and enjoyable time.

Day 11-15: Exploring South Georgia and its wealth of wildlife

South Georgia has a dramatic setting with glacier-clad rugged mountains. Lying in the Southern Ocean south of the Antarctic convergence, the cold sea is booming with life. The island, often referred to as “The Galapagos of the Poles”, can only be reached by ship. There is no permanent human settlement, but seabirds and seals breed in the millions. The difficulty of getting there and the restrictions to protect the environment, makes South Georgia one of the least-visited tourist destinations in the world. Today the island has been largely left to recover from human over-exploration, resulting in dramatic increases in the number of whales, seals as well as penguin and seabird populations. The itinerary and activities over the next days are largely dependent on the weather and the sea.

The British administration at Grytviken, a former Norwegian whaling station, is also worth a visit. The famed British explorer Ernest Shackleton died in Grytviken on his second visit, and is buried south of the station. The endemic South Georgia pipits and South Georgia pintails may be seen around the buildings.

We will have a chance to visit Salisbury Plain, home to one of the largest king penguin colonies on the island, estimated between 250,000 and 5,000,000. Gentoo penguins, giant petrels and Antarctic prions also breed on the island.

We will explore the fjords of the north coast and take as many shore landings as time and the swelling sea will allow us. The proximity of the possible landing locations usually allows for a very diversified and active itinerary, sure to give us memories for a lifetime.

The marine life around South Georgia is at its most active during March/April, with thousands of whales feeding with ferocity to prepare for their coming migrations. Fur seal pups amass on the shorelines and Albatross chicks are peeking out from the nests. The king penguin chicks will shed their brown feathers and start heading into the ocean, other penguins like gentoo, macaroni and chinstrap will also see their chicks starting to grow confidence for a life on their own.

Day 16-17: At sea toward South America

We are now into the last leg of this adventurous voyage, heading to Uruguay’s capital of Montevideo.

Day 18: Montevideo, Uruguay

After a hearty farewell to vessel and crew, we disembark in the morning after breakfast.

Please note: The above itinerary is a guide only. Our exact route and program will vary to take best advantage of local weather and ice conditions and opportunities to view wildlife. Changes will be made by the Captain and/or Expedition Leader to facilitate the best results from the prevailing conditions. A daily program sheet will be issued on board. Flexibility is the key to success.

INCLUSIONS
  • 18-day/17-night cruise with accommodation in a shared outside stateroom with private facilities
  • Shuttle transfers to ship from city centre (Ushuaia)
  • All Zodiac landings and excursions as per itinerary
  • Expedition parka
  • Rubber boot rentals
  • Guiding and lectures by our expedition leader and team
  • Special Photo Workshop
  • English-speaking expedition team
  • Visual Journal link after voyage including voyage log, gallery, maps, species list and more!
  • Full board on the ship - breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon snacks
  • Free tea and coffee 24 hours’ daily
  • Welcome and farewell cocktails
  • Taxes
EXCLUSIONS
  • Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Single room supplement and stateroom upgrades
  • Meals not on board the ship
  • Beverages (other than coffee and tea)
  • Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 14 per person per day)
  • Personal expenses
  • Anything not mentioned under ’Inclusions’

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION!