Summary : Irresistible for its spectacular iceberg sculptures and calving glaciers, Antarctica offers wildlife spotting opportunities like no other place on Earth. Do not miss the chance to spot Black-browed Albatross and Rockhopper Penguin colonies that abound in the Falklands. With in-depth lectures from Expert leaders and Zodiac landings, this life changing journey is simply not to be missed.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Triple/Quad Cabins
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Embark Silver Cloud and meet some of your fellow explorers as you become acquainted with the luxurious amenities found on board. A mandatory safety drill will take place before you set sail, and you'll be introduced to your Expedition Team and important members of the crew.
Familiarize yourself with the elegant Silver Cloud. Attend wildlife, geography and history discussions hosted by expert naturalists and guest lecturers preparing you for the exciting adventures that lie ahead.
During the morning, visit New Island, a wildlife and nature reserve. Zodiacs will take you ashore near the island’s small settlement at Coffin Harbour. From there, hike across the island to reach the rocky cliffs and a rookery where Rockhopper Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags share the same nesting area. Observe Black-browed Albatross going about their daily routines and you may even spot Upland Geese on your hike.
During lunch, Silver Cloud will sail in a north-easterly direction to West Point Island. Peale’s dolphins and Commerson’s dolphins with their distinctive markings can often be spotted as Silver Cloud approaches the island.
Walk across rolling moorland and past gorse for slightly less than 2 miles to observe Grass Wrens, Long-tailed Meadowlarks, Falkland Thrushes, Striated Caracaras and Turkey Vultures. The goal is to reach Devil’s Nose where colonies of Black-browed Albatross nest side-by-side with Rockhopper Penguins. The winds at Devil’s Nose are usually so strong that the albatross only have to spread their wings to take off.
Once back at the farm, the hospitable island owners will invite you to have tea, coffee, and homemade cakes and cookies. They are always happy to answer your questions and share their stories.
Stanley is the capital of the remote Falkland Islands, and although Argentine authorities have repeatedly claimed the islands as part of their country, it has a distinct British ambience. A reminder of the 1982 Falkland War between Britain and Argentina is the War Memorial.
Opt to take a ‘city tour’ by bus with a local guide or stroll through the charming streets of this colorful little town, lined with quaint cottages and a variety of traditional pubs. Visit the 19th-century Anglican cathedral (the southernmost Anglican cathedral in the world) and wander through the Falkland Islands Dockyard Museum. For stamp collectors a visit to the Philatelic Bureau is a must.
Spend some time on deck watching the horizon and the variety of seabirds that glide in the air currents of the ship’s wake. You might spot the Wandering Albatross, Cape Petrels, White-chinned Petrels and Sooty Shearwaters.
While sailing in Antarctica’s vast white wilderness, a flexible itinerary allows for taking advantage of favorable sea and weather conditions. In the true spirit of expedition cruising, each day the Expedition Leader and Captain will determine the best course depending on weather, ice conditions and the wildlife you may encounter.
Here are some of the places you may visit:
Brown Bluff, Tabarin Peninsula:
A 2,200-foot bluff on the Antarctic continent, Brown Bluff is an ice-capped, flat-topped mountain with a prominent cliff of reddish-brown volcanic rock. Adelie and Gentoo Penguins, Kelp Gulls, and Cape Petrels use the base of Brown Bluff as a breeding area. Birds such as the all-white Snow Petrel and skuas may be seen from a distance. Weddell seals may be seen basking in the sunlight near the base of a glacier.
The sight of Adelie Penguins covering the entire island is quite amazing. The island is home to 80,000-90,000 Adelies that come here to breed. On a nearby hill is a massive colony of Blue-eyed Shags. Kelp Gulls and Snowy Sheathbills are among the birds that also breed on Paulet Island, and Wilson’s Storm-petrels are regularly seen.
Members of a Swedish Antarctic expedition had to over-winter on the island in 1912 after their ship was ship-wrecked. Remnants of their hut still remain and you will have to walk past the hut on your way to the island's lake.
Cuverville Island, Errera Channel:
The island was discovered by Gerlache’s Belgian Antarctic expedition of 1897-1899, and was named for a vice admiral in the French navy. Large, bare rock areas provide nesting sites for Gentoo Penguins. Snow Petrels and Cape Petrels also may be seen, whilst Wilson’s Storm-petrels nest in the higher scree of the island. During Zodiac tours, hauled-out Weddell and Antarctic fur seals are quite often encountered.
The bay is well named for its spectacular scenery of mountains, glaciers and icebergs. The Silver Cloud will reach Argentina’s “Base Almirante Brown”, one of many Antarctic research stations. Here, you will actually set foot on the mainland of Antarctica. You can also view the wildlife from sea level while cruising in the Zodiacs. Apart from observing nesting shags in the cliffs there is a good chance to see crabeater seals relaxing on ice floes, and you might even locate Minke whales.
Neko Harbour offers a visit to small penguin rookeries, a nice Zodiac cruise in search of whales and the possibility to hike onto a glacier for spectacular views of the glaciers, the bay and the ship. The common breeding birds are Gentoo Penguins, but Chinstrap Penguins, Kelp Gulls and skuas can be seen too. Seals are often hauled-out close to the landing site.
Port Lockroy, Goudier Island:
The British built a listening station here during WWII, which was later used as a research station in the 1950s and since 1996 as a museum and gift shop and Post Office. While you are inside sending a postcard from this lonely outpost, Snowy Sheathbills and Gentoo Penguins roam outside the museum.
Port Foster and Whalers Bay, Deception Island:
Deception Island is an excellent example of a caldera that can be reached from the sea. Sail inside the caldera through a narrow entrance called Neptune’s Bellows. Learn of the unique volcanic features of the area, and its interesting history from whaling to scientific studies. Still visible on the island are the boilers used to make whale oil in the early 1900s.
As you return through the Drake Passage, watch for seabirds and wildlife you may have missed on the first leg down. Take this opportunity to attend additional presentations offered by the Expedition Team lecturers and to edit the many photos taken as you travel towards Ushuaia.
After breakfast, disembark the 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.
Kayaking will be offered complimentary and will run on a first-come-first-serve sign up basis. Guests cannot pre book the kayak tours. It will be run by two professional kayak guides. Participation requires good physical condition and right of participation is reserved. The kayak guides will make the final determination if a guest is fit to participate. Kayaking will be weather dependent.
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; backpack and water bottle; 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; boot rental; 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, © Richard Sidey (two penguins, passenger walking), © Ray Stranagan (landscape, penguins and zodiac)