Summary : South Georgia is a historic island offering superb photographic opportunities of amazing wildlife such as vast colonies of king penguin, fur and elephant seals. Follow in the wake of one of the great heroes of Antarctic exploration, Sir Ernest Shackleton, who is buried in Grytviken at the foot of South Georgia’s mountain range. On the Falkland Islands, spend time leisurely hiking to penguin rookeries and other pristine wildlife habitats, or discover village life on a stroll through the streets of Port Stanley.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking
$12,150 to $17,950
Embark the vessel in the afternoon and sail toward the Falkland Islands. Golfo Nuevo is world renowned for Southern Right whales and there is a good chance to see them as you head towards open ocean.
As you sail toward the Falklands, keep an eye out for several species of albatrosses, storm petrels, shearwaters and diving petrels. The waters here are rich in krill, making them a favorite with local wildlife searching for food.
Spend the whole day on the fascinating western side of the archipelago. Hike along the shore of Carcass Island giving views of magellanic and gentoo penguins, but also numerous waders and passerine birds are present. On Saunders Island, observe four species penguins: gentoo, king, magellanic and rockhopper. You can also see black-browed albatrosses and king cormorants.
2016 Only: If weather permits, land on the rarely visited Steeple Jason Island on which the largest black-browed albatross colony in the world is located (population approx. 113,000).
Experience the Falkland's unique blend of South American culture and Victorian charm as you wander among colorful houses, well-tended gardens, and English style pubs. The small, but very interesting museum is well worth a visit featuring an exhibition covering the early days of settlement up to the Falklands War of 1982 (admission fees not included).
On the way to South Georgia, cross the Antarctic Convergence. Entering Antarctic currents, the temperature can drop by as much as 10 degrees C in the time span of only a few hours. Nutritious water is brought to the surface by the colliding water columns bringing a multitude of seabirds near the ship such as albatross, shearwaters, petrels, prions and skuas.
An exciting expedition with two adventure options: the normal sea voyage for “sea explorers” with zodiac excursions and hiking options (included) and a land expedition for “ski explorers” (extra fee).
The sea explorers will explore the coastlines of the island while at the same time the ski explorers will attempt to traverse the island on a self-supplied ski trek from the south coast (King Haakon Bay) to the north coast (Fortuna Bay) in 4 days.
Ski Explorers - Trek Across South Georgia:
A group of up to 12 ski explorers and 2-3 mountain guides will attempt to traverse on an unsupported and self-supplied trek across the island with skis hauling pulkas (sledges) weighing 20-30kg. The skiers will cover a total distance of 40-50 km retracing sections of the historic Shackleton route. On arrival day at King Haakon Bay, the expedition members will spend their first night further inland. The expedition will then embark on their trek across alpine passes and glaciers aiming for reunion with the ship at Fortuna or Stromness Bay. After both expeditions have re-joined, all passengers will then continue to enjoy the latter part of the South Georgia cruise itinerary.
Sea Explorers Voyage:
The sea explorers may visit Prion Island (the island is closed for visitors during breeding season from November 20th – January 7th) where the previous summer’s fully grown chicks of the huge wandering albatross are almost ready to fledge and adults are returning to seek their old partner after a year and a half at sea. Explore Salisbury Plain, St Andrews Bay and Gold Harbour to discover king penguin colonies, and breeding beaches for elephant seals. You may see large 4 ton male bulls fight for territory.
In Fortuna Bay, king penguins and seals inhabit the beaches. Both, sea explorers and ski explorers can follow the final section of Shackleton’s route to Stromness, the abandoned whaling village. The route crosses the mountain pass past the “Shackleton Waterfall”. The terrain is partly swampy and some small streams may be crossed along the way. There will also be opportunities for walkers in the group to hike at Godthul and Gold Harbour. Hikes will be guided and vary in length from approx. 2-4 hours. All hiking excursions are subject to weather and landing site availability.
At Grytviken, see an abandoned whaling station, where king penguins now walk in the streets and elephant seals have taken residency. Visit the Whaling History Museum as well as Shackleton’s grave.
During the next few days, the expedition will attempt to explore the beaches of Ocean Harbour, Godthul, Cobblers Cove, Gold Harbour, Drygalski Fjord, Larsen Harbour, Cooper Bay, St. Andrews Bay, Possession Bay, Right Whale Bay and Elsehul. Enjoy visits to sites that give a good opportunity to see a wide spectrum of landscapes and wildlife, like king and macaroni penguins, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, Antarctic fur seals and elephant seals.
The ship is again followed by a multitude of seabirds. At some point, the ship might encounter sea-ice, and it is at the ice-edge where you might have a chance to see some high-Antarctic species like the McCormick skua and snow petrel.
Arrive in the morning to Ushuaia, disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions - and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase insurance including medical, accident and repatriation/evacuation insurance. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for Antarctic trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist you with this.
Ski Trekking Option: $6,000 per person
Ski trekkers will pull their own sledge with personal and shared equipment in mountainous terrain. Retrace Shackleton’s heroic footsteps across the island. Ski explorers and mountain guides will attempt to traverse on an unsupported and self-supplied ski trek across South Georgia. Skiers will cover a total distance of 40–50 km retracing sections of the historic Shackleton route from 1916. See itinerary for more details.
All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea; free use of rubber boots and snowshoes; group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation); shore excursions by Zodiac; snowshoeing; program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; pre- and post-land arrangements; transfers to the vessel; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; ski trekking; meals ashore; travel insurance; excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as Stanley museum charge, laundry, bar, beverage and telecommunication charges; and the customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for the ship's crew; fuel surcharge may apply.