Summary : Visit the most remote archipelago in the world on this mind-stretching adventure. Be prepared for astounding diversity: sea-lions, seals, dolphins, albatrosses and penguins are just some of the wildlife you can expect to see. Absorb the vastness of the South Atlantic Ocean with unforgettable views as the spectacular scenery unfolds before you.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
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Embark the vessel in the afternoon and meet the Expedition Leaders. As you sail away, enjoy the mountain-lined shoreline of the Beagle Channel while you leave Ushuaia and bid farewell to Tierra del Fuego, the Land at the End of the World.
Gather in The Theater to hear fascinating tales of adventure and to learn more about the region’s endemic wildlife and remarkable nature. Knowledgeable Lecture Staff members are experts in a variety of scientific fields. Other onboard amenities include spa treatments, a workout in the Fitness Center, and exquisite dining experiences.
On Steeple Jason is the Steinhart Station, a field research station built in 2003 for monitoring wildlife. Only used for sheep-grazing until the 1980s, Steeple Jason was never properly inhabited; therefore birdlife was less disturbed and includes Rockhopper Penguins, Magellanic Penguins, Gentoo Penguins, Slender-billed Prions, caracaras and Blackish Cinclodes (known locally as tussac-birds), as well as Black-browed Albatrosses. Roughly 70% of the world’s population of Black-browed Albatrosses is said to breed on the Falkland Islands and Steeple Jason has the largest colony. The Magellanic Penguin is near the southern part of its range here, while the more cold-tolerant Gentoo also occurs substantially south into Antarctica. Sea lions and fur seals can be seen along the shore.
In the afternoon, watch for Peale’s dolphins and the distinctive black and white markings of the Commerson’s dolphin as the Silver Explorer approaches West Point Island. Upon arrival, photographic opportunities are everywhere as you walk across rolling moorland and admire colonies of Black-browed Albatrosses that nest side-by-side with feisty Rockhopper Penguins. Learn about the island’s unique vegetation including the rare Felton plant. The hospitable island owners are always happy to answer your questions and share their stories.
Stanley has a distinct British ambiance, and following your morning at Bluff Cove, there will be time to stroll through the colorful town area along charming streets lined with quaint cottages and a variety of traditional pubs. Sights include the 19th-century Anglican cathedral, a small local museum and some lingering reminders of the 1986 Falklands War between Britain and Argentina.
Binoculars and camera in hand, head out on deck to watch for seabirds and whales. Attend informative lectures that will prepare you for upcoming ports-of-call and adventures that lie ahead. Peruse an array of titles and topics in the well-stocked Library, enjoy the finest cigars and cognacs at the Connoisseur’s Corner or indulge in any of the other special amenities offered aboard ship.
This breathtaking destination of towering snow-covered mountains, mighty glaciers, and low-lying grasslands attracts an astounding concentration of wildlife: Southern fur seals, Southern elephant seals and a variety of albatross species including black-browed, light-mantled sooty, grey-headed and the spectacular wandering albatross, plus thousands of king and macaroni penguins. South Georgia is also linked to many early Antarctic explorers. Captain James Cook first stepped ashore in 1775, but perhaps more famous is the 1916 arrival of Ernest Shackleton to the island following the sinking of his infamous ship, the Endurance. Visit Shackleton’s grave and the whaling museum at Grytviken.
Other places you may visit:
Cooper Bay – An unforgettable view of huge icebergs can be seen surrounding Cooper’s Bay. Go ashore by Zodiac to see numerous breeds of penguins, such as macaroni’s and chinstraps, on the rocks and waters surrounding the island.
Gold Harbour – A large king penguin colony can be found between Weddell Glacier and Gold Harbour. Seals can be seen resting on ice floes and sunning themselves on the beaches.
Grytviken – A historic whaling station, all that remains today are the rusted hulls of long abandoned whalers and working sheds. Now a museum, guests can learn about past whaling techniques and view various exhibits on exploration and discovery. At the burial site of the famous explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, toast the great explorer and his many accomplishments.
Salisbury Plain – A favorite breeding ground for hundreds of thousands of king penguins; it is amazing to see how they completely cover the beaches and hills. In early March, you may also be able to watch adorable seal pups at play.
Participate in onboard activities, relax in one of the lounges, or peruse an array of titles and topics in the well-stocked Library. Tonight, before turning in, take a stroll on deck and enjoy the solitude and splendor of the vast sea and sky.
The visit here is subject to government approval. A dependency of Tristan da Cunha and part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, Gough Island was originally known as Gonçalo Álvares (the captain of Vasco da Gama’s flagship). The volcanic island is uninhabited except for the personnel of a South African weather station (usually six people). It is one of the most remote places with a constant human presence.
Gough Island and Inaccessible Island comprise the UNESCO World Heritage Site by the same name, as they are protected wildlife reserves and an “Important Bird Area”. Cruise by Zodiac and look for Tristan Albatross, Atlantic Petrel, Gough Moorhen, Gough Bunting, and Rockhopper Penguins — some of the many birds using this mid-Atlantic island as their nesting ground.
Recognized as the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world, its closest neighboring landmass is the island of St. Helena some 2,430 km away. The main island is home to fewer than 301 hardy residents (census March 2016). Today enjoy guided walks with the local inhabitants of the village while the onboard geologist leads a walk to the 1961 volcanic cone and lava flow. Learn how the islanders were evacuated and how it affected their lives. Once at the top, take in the beautiful scenic view of the whole settlement — a photo opportunity not to be missed. Meet with some of the island children and hear what Tristan life is like through their eyes during a visit to St Mary’s School.
The onboard ornithologist will point out birdlife, hopefully including the Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross, Sooty Albatross, Tristan Thrush, and Tristan Wandering Albatross — a critically endangered species with fewer than 1,500 breeding pairs left in the world. The archipelago is also where 90% of the world’s Northern Rockhopper Penguins come to breed.
Nightingale Island is an active volcano and one of three islands in the extremes of the South Atlantic Ocean known as the Nightingale Islands falling within the Tristan da Cunha group. The three islands are administered by the United Kingdom and are visited for scientific research purposes and little else. This means the magnificent wildlife with an estimated one million seabirds, in addition to unusual flora, is all unspoiled by people. Nightingale Island is also a protected wildlife reserve and World Heritage Site. Nightingale has two peaks on its north end and the rest of the island is ringed by cliffs and sea caves, and is fringed with kelp beds.
Enjoy a variety of on-board activities. Days at sea are filled with educational lectures and interesting entertainment options. All accommodations feature an interactive television system allowing you to watch your choice of movies or documentary films and even recorded broadcasts from The Theater in the comfort and privacy of your suite or stateroom. Enjoy a Farewell Cocktail Party and special Farewell Dinner.
Arriving in the morning of Day 21, you will be able to explore the natural wonders of Cape Town. You can choose to ascend Table Mountain by cable car and hike in the protected area, having a look at the many endemic plants and animals. Later you will travel by bus to Signal Hill for dramatic views over Table Bay and Cape Town. Or you can go on an excursion to see an African Penguin colony at Boulders Beach. The scenic drive to Boulders Beach will go along the Atlantic seaboard and later will continue through the prestigious suburbs of Bishopscourt and Constantia into the region where South Africa’s wine industry began over 3 centuries ago. At one of the local wine estates you will enjoy a formal wine tasting (paired with canapés).
In the evening you are free to enjoy the unique opportunity to explore the vibrant V & A Waterfront in Cape Town Harbour on your own.
After breakfast on Day 22, disembark Silver Cloud.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist you with this.
Ship accommodation; most onboard meals (Le Champagne Restaurant excluded); butler service; most wines, champagnes and spirits on the ship; tea, coffee, hot chocolate, water and soda; parka; onboard gratuities (except spa); port charges and handling fees; Vista and Veranda Suites receive one hour of included internet access per guest/per day; Medallion, Silver, Royal, Grand, and Owner’s Suites receive unlimited internet access; Royal, Grand, and Owner’s Suites receive laundry service throughout the voyage as well as dinner for two in Le Champagne (one evening per voyage) and two hours of worldwide phone use from your suite, per voyage segment. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; meals on board at Le Champagne Restaurant unless mentioned above as included; some alcoholic premium beverages; travel insurance; government fees and taxes; visa and passport expenses; internet use not mentioned as included; gifts and items of a personal nature such as laundry (unless mentioned as included) and spa options; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © Creative Services at Silversea Cruises, © Michel Verdure (seal in grass), © Richard Sidey (penguin chicks, waterfall)