South Georgia Island is incredibly rich in rare wildlife and history. See over 30 species of birds, including four penguin species, and visit the grave of the great explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton. Encounter whales, seals and penguins on regular Zodiac excursions along the plunging coastline of the Antarctic Peninsula. On-board lectures by polar experts provide great insight into the unique history, geology and wildlife of the region. Few people ever get the opportunity to set foot on the Great White Continent, but you’ll be one of them
If you desire to ‘do it all’ on your Antarctic adventure, then this is the voyage for you. Not only will you cross the Antarctic Circle and travel further south than traditional Antarctic cruises, you’ll also visit the wildlife playgrounds of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. This journey is for anyone who appreciates a wide variety of landscapes, unprecedented wildlife viewing opportunities and a decent mix of historic landing sites.
Breakfast Included: 21 Lunches Included: 20 Dinner Included: 21
Welcome to Ushuaia. This morning, enjoy free time exploring this Patagonian port town at the ‘end-of-the-world’. In the late afternoon set sail through the historic Beagle Channel, which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago and opens up into the Southern Ocean. Photo opportunities abound, as dramatic coastlines emerge, seabirds soar overhead and dolphins swim in the waters below.
There are many activities to keep you engaged while at sea. Take advantage of the library of books available on the ship, become acquainted with fellow travellers at the bar and enjoy spectacular views from the deck. Thick parkas will be provided to keep you warm. The expedition team will conduct a series of presentations on polar wildlife and history and to prepare you for the Zodiac cruises and shore landings ahead.
Explore the two main islands, East and West, of the rugged Falkland archipelago on Zodiac excursions and daily landings. Visit the capital of Stanley, a remote and peaceful outpost with a British country charm. There are plenty of churches and museums to explore, and the locals are often happy to chat over a drink at the pub. Wildlife sightings around the Falkland Islands should include at least three species of penguin and two endemic bird species - Cobb’s wren and the flightless steamer duck. The expedition team will educate you on the local flora and fauna so you will know what you’re looking for. Other potential landing sites include West Point Island, Saunder’s Island, Sea Lion Island and Bleaker Island.
En route to South Georgia Island, cross the invisible biological boundary of the Antarctic Convergence. Unique to Antarctica, this meeting of oceans creates an abundance of krill and marine life. With the help of the expedition team, keep an eye out for large cetaceans, including humpback whales. Learn more about Antarctic conservation as well as the fascinating history of the area, as your on-board presentations continue.
South Georgia is sometimes referred to as the ‘Galapagos of the Poles’ due to the diversity and abundance of its wildlife. Visit rookeries teeming with hundreds of thousands of king and macaroni penguins. Encounter huge elephant seals or smaller fur seals, as well as shags, prions and albatrosses. You’ll also have the chance to see the grave of the great explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton, at the settlement of Grytviken. Other potential landing sites in South Georgia include Salisbury Plain, Gold Harbour, Fortuna Bay, Grytviken, St. Andrew’s Bay and Cooper Bay. Excursions are determined by weather conditions, but your expedition team will ensure that each landing offers something unique.
Spend your days at sea enjoying the view from the deck and attending educational presentations made by on-board experts about the history, geology and wildlife of the region. Hot drinks are available around the clock, so relax with a cup of tea or coffee. If weather conditions are good, a visit to the South Orkney Islands may mark your official landing on Antarctica.
Enter another world as you sail past icebergs, glaciers and snow-covered mountains along the Antarctic Peninsula. From the ship, watch whales feed in the waters of the South Shetland Islands and enjoy the comical antics of penguins playing among the ice floes. Dependent on the weather, you’ll make several excursions over the next few days. Hike to see glaciers, visit research bases and search for fur and elephant seals on a Zodiac cruise.
Some landings may be as simple as sitting on a beach and taking photographs of curious gentoo penguins, while others may include hiking up a hill to enjoy panoramic views of the Peninsula. You may also like to awaken your senses with a polar plunge into the sea, or take part in the sea kayaking adventure option (reserve in advance when booking your trip).
Few people can say they’ve crossed the Antarctic Circle. Toast to your adventure and the first explorers to venture this far south with a glass of champagne. This region has the densest concentration of wildlife in Antarctica, and is home to the midnight sun and otherworldly ice-sculptures. While not a typical landing, the crossing of the Antarctic Circle is a moment to remember. The event will usually happen while at sea, so be sure to head up to the bridge and snap your photo of the GPS reading 66° 33’ S.
Northbound along the Antarctic Peninsula
Travel north along the western Antarctic Peninsula and continue to journey onto land by Zodiac twice a day, weather depending. By now you should have gained enough knowledge to be able to tell the difference between various species of penguins, seabirds, whales and seals. Your expedition team will always be on the lookout for new species of wildlife.
The journey homeward begins as you cross the famous Drake Passage, named after the British navigator, Sir Francis Drake. Sail past icebergs and keep on the look out for any wildlife in the water or in the air. On your last night onboard the ship, reflect on your adventures over dinner with your fellow explorers.
Disembark in Ushuaia
We will dock in Ushuaia early this morning, and disembarkation will take place after breakfast.