- Research Ship
- 84 Capacity
- 17 Days
- Price from
Summary : Antarctica is among the most beautiful, pristine and least explored places on the planet. Truly exhilarating, mysterious and alluring! For over two centuries, the 'White Desert' has attracted scientists and adventurers, drawn by its unmatched natural beauty. This largely untouched wilderness is now more accessible to a new generation of intrepid explorers. Visit the Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands and the wildlife haven of South Georgia in the comfort of the Ushuaia. From the southern spring onwards, large birds and sea mammals gather at breeding colonies and the ceaseless daylight of the southern summer makes exploration in this incomparable landscape a unique experience. Take advantage of the amazing wildlife and spectacular scenery for a truly unique and unforgettable experience.
Activities : Birding, Hiking
$8,500 to $13,710
In the morning, board your flight from Santiago, Chile to the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), with a stop in Punta Arenas. After arrival at Mount Pleasant airport, you will be transferred to Stanley where leisure time in town or excursions will be offered.
In the evening, board your ship and make yourself at home in the assigned cabins. Introduction to the crew and expedition staff will follow. The ship will sail towards South Georgia, widely regarded as one of the most beautiful and inspiring places on earth with more wildlife than virtually anywhere else on the planet.
The open bridge policy on your vessel allows you to join officers on the bridge and learn about navigation, watch for whales, and enjoy the view. These waters are home to countless seabirds, which often ride the currents created in the wake of the ship. Join your lecturers and naturalists on deck as you search for seabirds and other local wildlife. Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Wandering Albatross, Grey-headed Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Cape Petrel, Giant Petrel, Blue Petrel, Antarctic Prion and many other species can be seen from the decks and the bridge.
On board, the extensive lecture program will begin. Expert naturalists share their knowledge of the wildlife and unique ecosystems that you will encounter throughout your voyage. The lecture team will accompany you through every step of the journey, offering insight and ready knowledge on this amazing region.
South Georgia will come in sight! Though extremely isolated, it has an amazing landscape ranging from high mountains and mighty glaciers to deep fjords and low-lying grassland. Your exact itinerary will be determined by local conditions on sea and land. The following destinations are among those you may explore:
If sea- and wind-conditions have been favorable during the crossing, you might be able to start your program in the late afternoon in the extreme North-west of the island, at Elsehul. This beautiful little harbor is the only visitor site on the island where colonies of Black-browed and Grey-headed Albatrosses can be viewed from zodiacs within the protection of sheltered inshore waters. If conditions allow, you might even be able to walk up to a nesting site of Light-mantled Sooty Albatross.
Right Whale Bay
Another possible landing for this day could be an excursion to the sheltered Right Whale Bay. Land on a beach formed by black volcanic ashes, home to fur seals, elephant seals and King Penguins amongst other bird species, such as Prions and Giant Petrels.
Other landing sites may take you to see the handsome King Penguins that breed on South Georgia in abundance. Salisbury Plain, sometimes called the "Serengeti of the South", is a wildlife site without parallel. Several large glaciers provide a dramatic backdrop for the tens of thousands of King Penguins that nest in the tussock grass of this remarkable ecosystem. The wide beach makes for excellent walking as you visit the colony, where you are literally surrounded and delightfully outnumbered by throngs of curious, gentle penguins. Elephant and fur seals also abound, as well as Southern Giant Petrels and the occasional wandering Gentoo Penguin. Prepare for an awe-inspiring experience.
Fortuna Bay & Stromness Bay
In Fortuna Bay, try to follow in the footsteps of the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton as you cross over to Stromness Bay. Today the whaling station which operated here from 1907 is abandoned and King Penguins as well as seals roam free through the streets. Buildings are occupied by elephant seals and guarded by fierce fur seals. On your way over the plain, come across a colony of Gentoo Penguins in the vicinity of a melt water lake. They like to nest on the grass here.
Once a thriving whaling station, the ruins of Grytviken stand as a reminder of an era of exploitation that thankfully grows more distant by the day. In Grytviken, another former whaling town, visit the interesting Museum about Natural History and Whaling. At the last resting site of Sir Ernest Shackleton at the nearby graveyard in King Edward cove, join the naturalist team for a graveside toast honoring this remarkable explorer and venerated mariner.
Another highlight may include a visit to Cooper Bay at the southeast end of South Georgia. There is a wealth of wildlife at this site in a spectacular setting. Chinstrap, Gentoo and Macaroni Penguins dot the tussock slopes and there are plenty of fur seals on the beaches. Fascinating volcanic rocks tower over small fjords, and a thrilling zodiac cruise allows for wildlife viewing from the water.
In the afternoon, leave Stanley and sail East en route to South Georgia. Cross the waters to the South Shetland Islands with excellent wildlife viewing opportunities on deck, or catch up on your reading and reflect on the amazing experience of South Georgia. Lectures and activities will be offered throughout this time.
Sir Ernest Shackleton admirers will need no introduction to this historic isle. In 1916, Shackleton was forced to leave 22 of his men stranded on these shores, while he and five others embarked on an unbelievable last-ditch rescue attempt. What followed is one of the greatest rescue stories of all time. Attempt a zodiac cruise off this historic site and return with a greater knowledge of this gripping tale of adventure in a truly remarkable part of the world.
The South Shetland Islands are a haven for wildlife. Vast penguin rookeries, and beaches ruled by Antarctic fur seals and southern elephant seals make every day spent in this amazing island group unforgettable.
The Antarctic Peninsula's remarkable history will provide you with a type of excitement often only associated with the early explorers. You will have time to explore its amazing scenery, a pristine wilderness of snow, ice, mountains and waterways, and an incredibly wide variety of wildlife. Apart from penguins and seabirds, you are very likely to see Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals, as well as Minke, killer (orca) and humpback whales at close range.
Navigate some of the most beautiful waterways (depending on the ice conditions), such as the Antarctic Sound and the Northern Gerlache Strait. Plan to make at least two landings per day. However, your exact itinerary will be determined by local conditions on sea and land. The following destinations are among those you might explore:
Deception Island, South Shetland Islands
Long ago, volcanic pressure on Deception Island resulted in a tremendous eruption that caused the island's peak to explode. The resulting caldera flooded with seawater, creating the unique landmass you may visit. Your Captain will expertly pilot the ship through a narrow gateway in the icy cliffs of the island, taking your vessel into the caldera itself. Stark volcanic landscapes wait for you on the inside. Brave souls may don their bathing suits for the unusual opportunity to swim in the Antarctic, since the waters around Deception Island are usually geo-thermally heated.
Half Moon Island, South Shetland Islands
The crescent-shaped island lies at the entrance to Moon Bay between Greenwich and Livingston Islands. There are some excellent hiking opportunities and truly glorious scenery. A short climb uphill over the cobbled beach is required to reach the first of the breeding Chinstrap Penguins.
The passage to the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula traverses the Antarctic Sound. This is where huge tabular icebergs roam. All-white, Black-pupiled, and Black-billed Snow Petrels are likely to be coursing over the scenery, often joined by Pintado Petrels and, early in the spring, by Antarctic Petrels streaming south to nesting territories on slopes fringing the Weddell Sea.
A spectacular rust-colored promontory on the Tabarin Peninsula, Brown Bluff, is located south of Hope Bay. On its long beach, more than 20,000 Adelie penguins and a smaller group of Gentoo Penguins have found their home. There is also an assortment of Kelp Gulls, Snow Petrels, and Pintado Petrels swirling above.
Argentinean Antarctic Station Esperanza
You may visit the Argentinean Antarctic Station "Esperanza”, the year round station in the Antarctic Sound. In the immediate vicinity there is a colony of Adelie Penguins.
This group of islets lies east of Two Hummock Island in the Palmer Archipelago. Chinstrap Penguins, Blue-eyed Shags, and Kelp Gulls breed here. The island rises to approximately 25 meters above sea level with views of the northern Gerlache Strait with its steep ice-covered mountains creating a stunning backdrop.
Depart Antarctica in the evening and head north across the Drake Passage. Named after the renowned explorer, Sir Frances Drake, who sailed these waters in 1578, the Drake Passage marks the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar water sinks beneath the warmer northern waters. This creates a great upwelling of nutrients, which sustains the biodiversity of this region. The Drake Passage also marks the northern limit of many Antarctic seabirds.
As you sail across the passage, lecturers will be out on deck to help in the identification of whales and an amazing variety of seabirds, including many albatrosses which follow in your wake. Join your lecturers for final presentations and take the chance to relax and reflect on the fascinating adventures of the past days on the way back to Ushuaia.
Arrive at Ushuaia in the early morning and disembark after breakfast.
The above itinerary is a guide only. Exact route and program will vary to take best advantage of local weather and ice conditions and opportunities to view wildlife.
Tour operator requests passengers purchase comprehensive travel insurance including trip cancellation and mandatory medical evacuation and repatriation coverage. In case of a medical problem arising during the voyage, either on board or on shore, which results in costs for evacuation, use of aircraft or repatriation, the responsibility for payment of these costs belongs solely to the passenger. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends that the travel insurance policy covers trip cancellation insurance, trip delay (interruption or after departure coverage), baggage and repatriation. ExpeditionTrips can assist you with this.
Charter flight from Santiago, Chile to Stanley, Falklands; transfer in Stanley from airport to vessel; excursions in and around Stanley; landing fees in South Georgia; voyage as indicated in the itinerary; all meals throughout the voyage; all shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by zodiac; program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff; all miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program; comprehensive pre-departure material; detailed post-expedition log.
Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights not included in the itinerary; pre- and post land arrangements; transfers from the vessel; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (strongly recommended); excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as bar and beverage charges and telecommunication charges; and the customary gratuity at the end of the voyages (guidelines will be provided); fuel surcharge may apply.